by Kim Morin Weineck
original pastel, 6x6"
Since the girls went back to school I spend a fair amount of time outside walking in my neighborhood. It's a great spot to walk: hills, fields, rivers, ponds, forests, and so much to look at. Lately when I've been walking I've been stopping to notice small things at my feet: feathers, seed pods, interesting rocks, and of course -- acorns.
Acorns are everywhere right now. While waiting for the bus they seemed to be raining down on us. During my walks I am always picking up interesting acorns and bringing them home, my pockets stuffed. How many kinds of oak trees do we have in my neck of the woods? I had always lumped them together simply as oaks. Now I have been observing more closely--northern oaks, pin oaks, black oaks, red oaks, among others. Such interesting fun.
Last night I sat to write my blog post about Blue Coat and took an inventory of paintings for the month. Landscapes dominate, obviously, I am a landscape painter. I decided I needed another still life before month's end. Today in my studio I decided to paint acorns.
In art school, I was always working on a still life. My view from MassArt's Kennedy building was not my scene, so I'd set up my leather bag, or some other art supplies, and paint. It was then I learned that when painting a still life, the thing you're painting is important, but so, too, is the background -- even if it's a mass of a solid color. This is HARD to do! Professors often said (and now I repeat this to my students) that you should spend as much time on your background as you do the subject.
Today in the studio I really understood about the importance of the background in making a still life painting interesting. In person, it's almost as great to see the pinks, grays, blues, and yellows in the light neutral background as it is the collection of acorns.
Thanks for reading! -kmw