Painting in the Kitchen

When inspiration strikes you have to just go where it takes you, even if that means you’re painting in the kitchen!

I was inspired by my own kitchen, but I wouldn’t have painted this because of its location if I wasn’t influenced by two people.

First, a post by James Gurney here, where he posts about John Singer Sargent finding a subject to paint. My favorite quote from that post is the following.

The other painters were all astonished at Sargent’s never ‘selecting’ a point of view, but he explained it in his half-articulate way. His object was to acquire the habit of reproducing precisely whatever met his vision without the slightest previous ‘arrangement’ of detail, the painter’s business being, not to pick and choose, but to render the effect before him, whatever they may be.

Second, Duane Keiser, an artist I found by surfing blogger. This guy is awesome, he freaking paints anything and it all is done well! Who would paint looking down into an open bag of coffee beans, this guy. How about a not yet assembled puzzle of a master painting, yep. How about shelving full of about 10 still life painting worth of stuff, yep. And last but not least, a red tea kettle in the kitchen, yep. And the next awesome thing about this random guy that I found, his site is called “A painting a day”, now he doesn’t post every single day, but close to it. And I went back as far as I could go in his blog and his first post was in 2004!!! That means if he painted every single day since 2004 he would have a stock pile of 3,285 paintings! Through massive amounts of work he has “acquired the habit of reproducing precisely whatever met his vision without the slightest previous arrangement of detail”. This is why Duane can render anything and do it well.

And this is why I painted the following painting. An I’m happy to say that I did it well. Now its time for me to look at it and see what I can improve upon.

The Painting


The Setup


If you wondering why/how my spices are hanging from below the kitchen cabinet look here.

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color



How can I improve the drawing

So the drawing is a bit off. I fell into the artist focus inflation that most of us do. I was focusing on the spices so of course I drew them larger. What is interesting though is that it does not hurt the painting. That really depends on subject matter though. If I was drawing a nude model and I was off by this much everyone would know right away that the drawing was off. There are tons of things in life that needs specific drawing or they will scream at you letting you know without a doubt that your drawing needs improving. This is one reason why I try to hit a life drawing class at least once a week. Which reminds me, I need to get a mirror and start some self portraits.



How can I improve the values?

So the shadow side under the cabinet is a bit too light. This is a natural thing that us artists have to contend with. If you stare long enough at a dark space your eyes will begin to dilate a bit and you will see more detail and higher values in those shadows then what really should be painted. The fix for this is to squint more. Squinting will generalize the subject and get rid of all those details that shouldn’t be painted. Other than that, the values are pretty close.

As I’m looking at this painting though I notice that I didn’t finished the cord from the plug in the wall, it ends in mid air, doh!

Session Details