A painting a day: #14, The Crabapples of Time

If you haven’t kept up with this project, here’s a quick summary: I did the first 12 paintings all on the same big sheet of paper. Those were all fairly realistic still lifes. For the second sheet of paper, I’m doing more free/abstract reworkings of all the paintings from the first sheet. The idea is that since the first sheet gave me practice in rendering objects accurately from life, the second sheet will be practice in painting freely, without so much care for the way things really look.

As I said repeatedly during the first phase, my skills improved tremendously in just those 12 days. When I started, even painting a single gourd seemed like a challenge; by the end, I felt confident that I could depict almost anything — textiles, glossy surfaces, fine detail — with a fair degree of accuracy. I am hoping to experience a similar rapid trajectory of improvement with this second phase… especially as, at the moment, I can’t imagine being successful with an entire page’s worth of abstractions! I don’t even know how to do it. But the first phase evolved a lot as I went, and I imagine it will be the same with this second phase: the project itself will teach me. I will teach me.

With my first attempt on this sheet, I thought the painting came out too dark and heavy-feeling. For the second attempt, although you can’t call it overworked, I almost wonder if it’s too light.

In progress:



Side-by-side comparison with the original version (as always, click to enlarge):


I don’t know exactly what I think of this reworking, but I do think it captures some essence of the original. It feels like a pared-down, more ethereal version of the first statement. I guess that’s a successful revision? Maybe it doesn’t matter, anyway. With the first sheet of paper there is definitely a powerful cumulative impact that’s greater than the individual paintings (even though some of them are quite good), so that’ll probably be true this time around too.




Music: I went for vintage foreign music during this session. Some selections from the playlist:

  • Françoise Hardy, “Voilà.” 1967. Sexy and lush.
  • Betty Chung, “Bang Bang.” 1968. A sleek, badass Cher cover.
  • Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa, “Que Pena.” 1969 I think? Even though it’s a song about a breakup, it sounds so cheerful!
  • Carlos Gardel, “El Día Que Me Quieras.” Not from the 60s! From 1935. Gardel was a beloved Argentinian tango singer. There’s a restaurant in LA called Carlitos Gardel. 🙂