Painting a Moving Target in Still Life

Completed 8 x 10" Still Life of Pepsi Carrier

Completed 8 x 10″ Still Life of Pepsi Carrier

“‘The truth, to be sure,’ [Nietzsche] once wittily put it, ‘can stand on one leg; but with two it will walk and get around.’  He was persuaded that there is no such thing as an absolute Truth, and that even in dealing with limited ‘truths’ the philosopher’s first task is to lift each one up and turn it around, like a stone, to see what might be lurking underneath.  And it was what lay below, in the inner depths of each spoken or written ‘truth’, that interested Nietzsche far more than the patent, superficial, often deceptive surface.”

Curtis Cate

Last night I wrote about my recent dual interest in focusing on one subject in a composition and in exploring the quality of the zone that lies between the highlights and the shadows.  I read with amusement the quote posted above, about Nietzsche’s conviction that Truth was something on the move, rather than static.  It reminded me of graduate school days, when I read with considerable interest the theological contributions of Karl Barth, who said that speaking of God was like painting a bird in flight.  You can only follow the movement with your eye, but you cannot arrest it.  And so, this afternoon as I finished up another small (8 x 10″) still life in watercolor, I immediately turned my attention to my next subject, and how I could work on these two new areas involving accents and half-lights.

I enjoyed the past two evenings, working on the watercolor posted above, and am anxious to learn new things with the next endeavor. I’m thankful that school is out now for a three-day weekend.  I need some time to explore

Thanks for reading.

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22 Responses to “Painting a Moving Target in Still Life”

  1. Sara Says:

    Great post and I love your painting style.

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  2. Sara Says:

    Is it watercolor?

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    • davidtripp Says:

      Hi Sara. Thank you for looking at my work, and for your gracious comments. Yes, it is watercolor. This is about the only medium I work in anymore.

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      • Sara Says:

        It looks good. I always use oil. I just bought watercolor materials though, and I’m about to try them for the first time. I hope it goes well.

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      • davidtripp Says:

        Good luck, and have fun with the watercolors. I hope you find joy in the experience. Isn’t it fun pushing into a new dimension with our art?

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      • Sara Says:

        Definitely. It keeps you passionate about it.

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      • davidtripp Says:

        I’m glad it’s working for you. I screwed up a watercolor last night, and can’t wait to finish school today so I can go back to the Cave and see if I can straighten it out. I have some new ideas I’m ready to try and figure “Why not?” I don’t have to worry about losing a watercolor already lost.

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      • Sara Says:

        One time I thought I had totally destroyed an oil painting and I let it sit for several days and then started painting over it, and it turned out that the lousy painting underneath made a great background for the new paint that I was laying over it. It turned out really good, because with oil paint you can paint over your mistakes. It’s not really so with watercolor. It’s definitely something I’m going to have to get used to.

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      • davidtripp Says:

        I’m going to continue layering darker washes over the top of the watercolor that went south last night. I have nothing to lose here. No matter what, I’ll re-post it on the blog for all of us to see if it improved or worsened. Maybe all of us can take something positive from it.

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      • Sara Says:

        Cool, I’m looking forward to seeing it. Good luck 🙂

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  3. Xraypics Says:

    You have a beautifully light touch with the watercolour. I tend to use wet-in-wet when painting and get a much more abstract design, I am inspired and will try to do something similar to yours. You also draw first with pencil before painting – do you erase the pencil when it is dry? Like your posts a lot, and enjoyed the Nietzsche quote – how true! – – do I really mean that? (The next statement is a lie. The last statement is the truth), Tony

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    • davidtripp Says:

      Love your comment, thank you! I get a kick out of Nietzsche. I need to be more courageous with wet-in-wet. I also have gotten away from pouring, and wish to get back to that as well. I seldom (almost never) erase my pencil lines (except when they are wrong and I catch it early enough!). I like graphite with watercolor and wish to get better at combining those media. Thanks for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. anna warren portfolio Says:

    The mix you get of strong rich colour and subdued areas is beautiful. Makes a very cohesive painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. julzH Says:

    If there is an absolute truth, then at some point someone will find it. That is the end of everything.

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  6. djdfr Says:

    Absolute truth is beyond us.

    One of my watercolour teachers says that the pencil lines are part of the work. I usually leave them, sometimes reinforce them and may erase them if I painted too far outside of them.

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    • davidtripp Says:

      I appreciate your comment, thank you. I really love the combination of graphite and watercolor, and try hard to integrate them. Sometimes it turns into a dirty mess, but nevertheless, I believe they belong together. I am especially pleased when my pencil lines accent the overall composition.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda Halcomb Says:

    David, this is a very special and subtle work of art. The texture and color scheme makes the red Pepsi Cola almost shimmer. It literally vibrates when I look at it. The work around the doorknob is also very nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you, Linda. I really struggled with this painting in its early stages, and thought I might lose it. I still don’t really know how to handle woodgrains in transparent watercolor. I like this one O.K., but think it might have been “saved” by the red Pepsi-Cola. I want to do another of this same composition, or similar. I’m also fascinated with these antique door knobs and locking plates. I have so much to learn here.

      Liked by 1 person

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