Smorgasbord

A smattering of stuff I'm working on lately. The latest stage of my Breughel/Auden homage/knock-off:

Getting close but not there yet . . .

In my last post about this painting, I said that I had originally intended to make a big version of it, including a pair of vanishing legs in the lower right corner, but then decided not to. Well, I changed my mind. Yesterday I was feeling terribly impatient with the slow, accretive process of my observational paintings, and felt like doing something freer and less narrowly defined. (I keep thinking I have to choose between observation and invention, but perhaps it's a false dichotomy, and I actually need both ways of working, as complementary modes? Emerson's "a foolish consistency" and all that.) So I repurposed an abandoned 3' x 4' canvas and made a start on it. Except, to contemporize it, I'm doing a cargo ship with containers instead of a sailing ship of yore.

Remember a year ago when I thought it would be a fun little project to make people in my family paint-by-numbers versions of their favorite paintings? Yeah, me too. I managed to finish my mom's Vermeer in time for her birthday in January, but it turns out that these little babies take a while to do, and everyone else's has been languishing. Happily, I'm almost done with my sister's boyfriend's Fra Angelico:

What's left is the last pass, when I go over everything and make all the final adjustments, smoothing the edges and perfecting the colors. The chopped-off heads in their bubble-haloes are giving me the most trouble.

Also, I recently started a new still-life painting of a globe. I find that setting up still-lives takes me a long time, and because I like to have things at eye-level, it usually necessitates cobbling together an assortment of stuff that I can pile up and leave undisturbed for however long it takes me to complete the painting. Which is usually quite a while. Note use of various paint cans and art books:

The painting itself is just barely underway. Here are the first 2 stages:

The idea is to try and capture some kind of movement, to not paint the globe as a static object, but to give a sense of it spinning around, while still showing recognizable bits of the continents. Frankly, I'm not sure yet how to do it and if I can. I'm also struggling a bit with the black background. I thought it would be kind of cool challenge, and I was thinking of this Euan Uglow portrait of a woman wearing a black wig in front of a black background, in which he manages to make all kinds of subtle differentiations between various shades of black and gray:

Of course, the other bitch of black is, it's impossible to photograph accurately. Much of the nuances are lost, and any shine or glare can totally misrepresent the actual color. Anyway, we'll see if I can do it.