Saturday, April 3, 2010
Hazards of a Still Life Painter
Painting can present all kinds of hazards for the painter. Plein-air painters have to endure the outdoor elements. All oil painters have to be aware of the metals contained in their paints. But the still-life painter has it's own set of problems. For example, flowers wilt before the painting is finished. Fruit becomes moldy and shrivels looking nothing like it did in its original, fresh form. Well I am adding one more to the list. Before I left for the M Gallery workshop with Sadie Valeri, I began a large still life containing objects and foods from yesteryear. I should have waited till I got back but I couldn't wait. I decided the jug of milk could be put in the refrigerator and the jar of preserves would last with no problem. The item that became the "hazard" was the mozzarella cheese. After wrapping it up in white cheese cloth with interesting folds and positioning it just right, I got right down to business. Upon leaving Sunday, I decided it would be okay to leave it out because it was still package in a clear plastic wrapper. I didn't want to disturb the folds that I had arranged so carefully and the weather was still a little chilly in the studio. After arriving back, I began working again. I noticed the cheese had a small swell on the side but everything was in its proper place. Today when I entered the studio, the most gosh awful smell greeted me like a thousand rotten eggs. The wrapper had broken from the pressure of the rotting cheese and my beautiful still life set-up looked like a white paint-ball had exploded all over it. Everything needed to be removed and cleaned. I opened the windows immediately. I'm only hoping I can arrange everything back to its original position after buying a new package of cheese. The picture shows how far I got before the explosion.