Guided Tour A Look at Five of my Best Paintings
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I want to give you a short guided tour through five of my best paintings. After each image, I’ll say a few words about why I think it was successful.
I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about these.
"Tea and Oranges" Guiding the Viewer's Eye Through a Painting
Start with the spoon coming out of the teacup at left. Let your eye follow the line it makes moving right to the top of the teapot. Let it fall naturally to the green stems of the oranges at bottom right. Then follow the line they make back to the spoon.
In this way, your eye makes a circular movement flowing through the painting.
Most good paintings give the eye a path, leading the viewer on a journey around the picture. It can be simple (like this one), or very complicated, and there is no right way to do it. But it’s an important characteristic of a successful painting.
"Pillars of Light" Creating a Stable but Lively Composition
An artist is always thinking about composition – the way in which the items are arranged throughout the picture. Here, I arranged everything as a pyramid – a symmetrical and balanced design. Yet, I wanted to prevent it from being static and repetitive.
Draw a line down the center of the painting – right through the clay flask in the middle.
Every object on the left is balanced by an object on the right. Balanced – but not reflected. The differences between each object and its twin create a sense of variety and liveliness in what could easily have been a stale composition.
"Pear, Olives, Knife, and Peach" An Endless Variety of Textures
One goal still life artists often have is to accurately portray the textures of the objects they paint – the viewer should almost be able to feel what they see before them.
In this painting, every object – even the oriental rug everything else rests upon – has a feel all of its own.
As they eye moves through this painting, it is presented with a constantly changing sense of physical texture.
"Silver and Orange" The Constantly Changing Nature of Light
Studying the ebb and flow of light is one of the great pleasures of painting.
Even in a small space, light can vary considerably. This painting was lit by a strong central beam. Notice the care that was taken to record how it changes intensity away from the center.
This is especially noticeable on the marble, the sides are slightly darker – and a slightly cooler color – than in the center of the painting.
Careful attention to these subtle aspects of the light brings a true sense of realism to painting.
"Mexican Pitcher and Two Eggs" The Virtue of Simplicity
Sometimes in painting – maybe not often enough – simplicity is the greatest virtue.
Thank you for joining me on this tour. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these paintings and learning a little bit about the thinking behind them.
If you’d like to see a much bigger collections of my paintings (though without commentary), click here.