Several weeks ago I attended a painting workshop with Bob Burridge. There were so many tips, tricks and wisdom that I took away from that experience, but I think the lesson that resonated with me the most was the practice of choosing a simple subject and painting it over and over and over. And over. Bob paints a lot of beautiful fruits and vegetables so I decided to take a page from that book and focus on painting some pears. Two hundred pears to be exact. Over this year I have committed to completing 200 pear paintings. 200 hundred was a random number and I may have bitten off way more than I can chew. But, hey, a pear is simply a circle and a triangle. Couldn’t be easier, right?
The way that I’ve set this up is to begin my studio day with a pear warm up. I have gesso’d an 18×24 sheet of cheap water color paper beforehand and torn it into 4 pieces. To me, this practice is just genius! We have cheap paper and a subject that has already been decided on. All that’s left to do is paint and explore. I paint on these for half and hour to an hour each day and come back to them the next day. I usually spend two days working on them and a few that I know that I will come back to and refine even more. Using Shawn’s stencils in these 2 pieces gave them both so much more interest and depth. I have since used them in several more pear paintings.
This painting practice is teaching me so much about color, contrast, brush strokes, brush size; etc. It’s not about the pear, but what I’m learning about myself and my own painting style. I encourage you to try something similar. To let go of the need to create some masterpiece every time you come to the table and to embrace the uncertain process that lets the painting go where it wants to go. I believe this is the way that we start to express our own unique voice.
I have many more pear paintings to complete. I’m sure a lot of them will be complete train wrecks, but I’m excited to see some tangible results in the evolution of my painting practice.
I hope you enjoy the video.
Paint: Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold Holbein Luminous Opera Golden Teal Golden Payne’s Gray Golden Ultramarine Blue Golden Hansa Yellow Medium Nova Color Medium Violet Nova Color Phthalo Blue Nova Color Indian yellow Nova Color Cad. Red Medium Nova Color Carbon Black
1/2 of an 18×24 140lb Cold Pressed water color sheet torn into 2 pieces. Utrecht Gesso Random scrap papers Neo Color 11 Posca Paint Pens Pencil India ink Violet
You can see more from Shannon below