Watch this oil painting “Pumpkins and Mums” come alive

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is a good one to start October with. Imagine that we’re sitting at that cafe table enjoying warm conversation, a hot mug of tea, coffee, cocoa, or cider, and enjoying the fresh autumn air. What would we talk about?

Perhaps you’d tell me about your day, and I’d tell you about mine. The theme of my day seemed to be about leaving things unfinished. I worked a painting session, but it’s too dark in the house now to finish it or get a good photo of it. It will have to keep until tomorrow. Also keeping until tomorrow is my assembly project: putting my new garden cart together that was delivered today (garden supplies are on sale, by the way, since it’s the end of the summer growing season). 

My new cart is a raised planting container on wheels that I plan to grow romaine lettuce in. I got it ready to put together, but it looks a bit beyond my abilities so I’ve left the smaller pieces in an organized pile on the patio for now. Wouldn’t you know, it looks like it might storm tonight and the cardboard box containing the two heavy main pieces will likely get soaked. Oh well, it won’t matter much. I can remove the soggy cardboard later.

I’m taking this lifestyle change of growing my own food very seriously. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. It pushes me to be outside more, which always lifts my spirits (well, except when I have an encounter with fire ants or some other incident happens). At this point, I expect that our autumn visit at the pumpkin patch has evolved into me telling you my stories of comedic misadventure, and we’ve shared some great full-belly laughs. Maybe you’ve chimed in with something that’s made me laugh until I cried. I hope so!

Imaginary visits with people we’ve never met, but would like to think of as friends who “see” each other every day by dropping by our blog, video, or art space on the Internet, are pleasant to think about. When I paint inviting spaces with empty chairs, I feel wistful to be inside the painting, but not alone. I imagine being with a friend, maybe someone like you!

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Painting Social

“Social” has several different meanings, but what I mean here is how we communicate and interact with each other through talking, writing, reading, art, music, entertainment, touch, gift giving, selfless actions, and more. In our first example, “Redwing Blackbirds” are having a chat. Painting the act of talking is depicted by the tilt of the head. The speaker’s face is positioned upward, or forward, while the listener’s face is tipped downward (the reverse direction works well too). Angling the head or body position shows interaction between the pair or group.

Their body language speaks of an active conversation going on between the two birds. A loud or energetic exchange can be conveyed by painting a widely opened mouth (beak) and contrasting body positions. Their eyes and feathers are also expressive, mainly by the positioning of the lines and shapes. The speaking bird (extended body position) looks to be standing firmly for whatever he’s so passionate about, while the listening bird (bent body position) seems resigned to getting an earful. Notice the feet? The speaking bird is perched firmly, while the listening bird is clutching in a slouched manner, but neither look like they’re about to fly away any time soon. Engaged in rapt conversation, this pair looks like they could be old friends.

These affectionate “Spring Lambs” express their friendship through woolly hugs and shy smiles. Painting social touch can be depicted through texture and brush strokes. Soft textures, through fabrics (or fur, feathers, wool), combined with smooth brush strokes (skin, faces, eyes) can convey affection. A slight smile and a subtle tilt to the eyes suggests positive social interaction.

The highest social level, or perhaps we should say “the deepest depth”, is communicating through selfless acts of love. In the above “Angel Releasing Dove” video, you can watch how I made this art with shells and a dove from a sand dollar. Painting extended limbs and outstretched bodies conveys the act of letting go, releasing energy and emotion, and making a full, without abandon, commitment to an action. The shell “wings” are in both the back and the front, seemingly to support the angel as she leans forward to release the dove. Perhaps we can view this as a metaphor: when we choose selfless acts of love, we will not be left to fall, as we will be held up by angel’s wings.