Beginning The Painting Process

As a visual artist, working with oil paints as my medium, I usually go from initial idea, to setting up the still life, to sitting down in front of my easel and canvas and painting. I rarely do preliminary drawings or studies of the painting before I start on the actual painting. Recently, however, I had a really cool idea for a still life painting and decided to do a preliminary sketch to see if the idea was workable and how it would look as a finished work of art.

The idea was to use ordinary objects in a manner that would convey a concept of a life situation. In this case, it was how to convey the idea of a city that is undergoing a decline. I was born and raised in New York City, and over the years, I’ve watched my beloved hometown deteriorate. I felt the need to make a statement about it through my paintings, but since I don’t paint cityscapes, it becomes a metaphoric challenge. I collect thrift store items and odd and ends to incorporate into my still life paintings. I found in this stash of goodies several old cans and pitchers that were definitely past their prime. I do love rusty old stuff. Anyway, what if I took these items and arranged them in a crowded manner to give the impression of a city skyline?? And what if I then took a single apple (the only organic object in the painting) and stuck it at the bottom front of said “skyline”. The result would be a metaphor on “The Decline of the Big Apple”. It might be a stretch of the imagination, but I thought I’d try it anyway. It just seemed so cool!

I did the sketch, as seen above, and decided that this is beyond cool. That lead to my decision on the size of the painting (24″ x 30″) as well as how to set the lighting for the focal point of the painting (which is the apple, of course). Ah, the creative juices are working overtime! All of the thrift store items are of a metallic quality – brass, tin, copper, etc. That adds to the concept of “decline” since color and variety have been reduced to a similar level of decay. Only the small apple still shows signs of life and color.

It will be a fairly large painting and will take some work, but once it’s close to being a finished work of art I will post again, with images of the actual painting. My painting fingers and toes are crossed!!

Arrangement in shadow box for “The Decline of the Big Apple” painting

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