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.


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!


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.