Friday was not blog day this past week, but it was a day of working on getting things done, so I would have something to write about when I was ready to blog. I’m friends with a Vincent Van Gogh page on facebook and I’d recently seen a couple of his paintings of lemons. I thought I might try painting some lemons. If they’re good enough for Vincent, they’re good enough for me, right? I decided to go to the grocery store and get some lemons.

I also needed gas and cash, though, so I went to the gas station and the ATM before heading to Publix. Since my memory is not what it once was, I was running my little three-item list through my head as I went to the car. “Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, over and over again, so I would remember what I needed to get. Yes, I could have written a list, but it was three items. I should be able to remember three items.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the gas station.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the ATM.

“Gas, cash and lemons,” I thought, as I drove to the grocery store.

Then I stepped out of the car in the Publix parking lot and thought, “Gas, cash and lemmings.”

“Wait…what?” I thought, “That can’t be right. Publix does not carry lemmings.”

People probably stared at me as I stood there, laughing at nothing in the parking lot at Publix. Then I walked inside, needing only lemons, since gas and cash had already been acquired. The first thing that caught my eye, though, was a lovely display of pears. They looked delicious. Also paintable. I picked up some pears. Then I passed the flower display on my way to the lemons and I couldn’t help but notice that there was a bouquet of sunflowers with two different kinds of sunflowers in it. I love sunflowers and I was already running on Van Gogh inspiration, so I bought sunflowers.

I drove home with three different things I could try to paint. No lemmings, though. They were fresh out of lemmings. That’s okay, I’m pretty sure I’m better with flora than fauna, anyway. Nice little fruits and flowers that will stay where I put them are challenging enough for me right now.

I was feeling excited about trying to paint, but I had one more errand to run. An ad in last Sunday’s paper had told me that a local craft store was having a huge sale on multi-packs of prepared canvases. I’ve committed to finishing fifty paintings this year, so I didn’t want to miss that sale. By the time I returned from the far-flung craft store, I had a ten-pack of 8”x10” canvases, a seven-pack of 11”x14” canvases and a five-pack of 16”x20” canvases. And no more excuses.

I started with the lemons. I put all five of them in a blue bowl and looked for a cloth to use as a background. I got in a hurry and chose the first thing I could find. An unbleached muslin dish towel does not make a pretty background. Another lesson learned.

Not lemmings

Not lemmings

Okay, I’m not fond of the background, but I don’t hate the whole painting. I’ve started trying to look for things I like about each painting, instead of things I hate. I like the shapes of the lemons and I like the color of the bowl. I can see all the imperfections, but there’s at least one highlight on that bowl that makes me happy. Progress!

That was enough for one day, but I woke up on Saturday with a feeling of pleasant anticipation. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way, first thing in the morning. I was actually looking forward to painting again. I put three of the pears on a white plate. I gave more thought to the background for this one, but I still made an unfortunate choice. In the real world, the green of the background is a very different green than that of the pears, but it doesn’t look that way in the painting. Oh, well…there is still something I like about this painting. I like the stems on the pears.



Today is Sunday and today I was way too ambitious. I tried to capture the sunflowers.
I don’t hate this painting, either, but it’s pretty far from what I was imagining, and from what I saw in front of me. The blue of the container is a very different blue from the background color, but it looks the same in the photograph. It appears I am now going to have to learn something about photography, if I want you to see my paintings as I see them.

Still, I’m happy today. I painted and it was fun. I’m looking forward to painting again, and I am not going to run out of canvases. Life is good.

4 thoughts on “Painting

  1. sarahcotchaleovitch

    I know a couple someones who could help you photograph your art. 😉 I love the lemming thing, too–reminds me of the kids’ game “telephone.” And I wouldn’t have even noticed the background of the lemons if you hadn’t brought it up. Keep up the good work!

  2. releaf1954 Post author

    Thank you, Sarah. I have so much to learn about photographing my paintings, I don’t even know where to begin. I sure would like to get the colors right. Maybe I’ll stick with the 8″x10″ canvases for a while. I can fit those on the scanner.

  3. katieflynn

    I love to see how far you have come with both painting and writing. You were well inspired with these paintings, and I think that you made a good choice with lemons instead of lemmings. Although I would like to have you paint a lemming for me one day.


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