A painting a day: #5, Flies

For the fifth day of daily painting: Brussels sprouts. I was delighted to go through my bag from the market and find five sprouts of varying shapes and sizes. I tried out several arrangements before deciding on a simple line-up. I wasn’t able to capture their delicate surface detail, but I am pleased with the elegance of my little sprouties, their outer leaves extending outward like wings (hence the title of the painting, Flies). This painting took me 53 minutes.

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At one point, while sketching, I reached for my kneaded eraser and accidentally grabbed the smallest sprout instead; I looked down in surprise when I felt it resist my attempt to squeeze it into shape. Whoops. Fortunately I’d already drawn it so I knew just how to put it back!

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By the way, the turnips from day three and the carrots from day four have now been cooked with a pot roast. I tell you what, I felt quite a twinge when I cut them up!

I went kind of folky-historical with the soundtrack to this painting. If you didn’t already know I have very broad musical tastes, you’ll know now. A few selections from the playlist:

  • James Taylor, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” from the wonderful album Appalachian Journey. It’s a Stephen Foster song and when Taylor sings it, it’s so hopeful.
  • Thousands Are Sailing to Amerikay.” When I was in grad school, I was briefly a subscriber to the Organization of American Historians magazine, and they had a special issue with a fabulous music CD, including this song performed by John Moulden. That version is gorgeous, sad and unaccompanied, but this other version I’ve linked is also worth a listen.
  • Sondre Bratland, “Eg Er Framand,” from Tom Russell’s amazing album, The Man From God Knows Where. My sister (Sarah) took an autobiography class in college and this album was one of the required “readings.” Singer-songwriter Russell traced his family history, wrote songs from the perspective of his ancestors, and collaborated with other artists to perform them. This particular track is one verse of a Norwegian folk song, and it’s so haunting.
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8 responses to “A painting a day: #5, Flies

  1. Haha I like that you accidentally picked up the sprout instead of your eraser! 😀

    Very cute. I am enjoying the results of this project very much! Thank you for sharing.

    • They do have a similar rubbery surface texture, but that’s where the similarity ends… 😉 I kind of shudder to think of trying to erase pencil marks with a Brussels sprout. ;b

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying! Thank you for following. 😀 I did more productive work in the past week than I have in months, thanks to this project. It’s been so gratifying. And everyone’s encouraging response is a big part of that. 🙂

    • I do not think I will ever paint fruit flies. 😉 I suppose they’re more of a drawing/sketching subject anyway. 😉

      I like the green too!! Greens and oranges and purples are tricky colors to mix, at least for me. I was hoping to get a brighter green, not so olive-ish, but then again I was painting at night so it’s no surprise everything went a little dark. ;b

  2. Ha! I loved the bit about the eraser, too! And I’m loving your increasing numbers of things. So fun to see!

    I also find myself wondering where you position yourself with respect to the paper when you work on these. Did you lean over the whole giant paper to put your sprouts and carrots at the top, or did you work sideways or upside down at times so as not to have to reach as far? (Sorry if you already said this and I missed it. My excuse is that I’m tired.)

    • Thanks so much, Alejna! As the numbers go up, things are getting trickier… at the moment I have a plan for 7 but I don’t know what I’ll do for 8!

      I do have to lean over the whole paper to work at the top, which is another benefit of doing this as a daily project, because all the previous days’ paintings are dry, so I can put my arm on them! It is a slightly awkward position and technically speaking is not the best, because I’m probably seeing things at a slightly different angle each time I have to stand up and then lean over again. But I have the paper on a card table that isn’t a whole lot bigger than the paper itself, so I do have the option of coming round to the side of the table to work from a different angle (and that sometimes helps when trying to get that background color around some funny little protruding part of the main subject).

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