On September 1, 2020 I took part in a six-week painting challenge. This challenge was the “Series Six” challenge through the Artist Academy Advanced group. The challenge was to complete six paintings in six weeks. For this challenge, I decided to revisit oil painting.
I learned how to use oil paints in college and thoroughly enjoyed them. I enjoyed them so much that I almost forgot how to use acrylic paint. But after college, I was not sure how to safely use oil paints and solvents in my own home, so my oil paints remained in a drawer for over six years. By the time of this challenge, I had forgotten how to use oil paint. I missed it though, it was almost as if my paints were calling to me from their drawer. So I began painting with oils.
In addition to using oil paints, I decided to revisit still life painting. I had not painted a still life with multiple subjects since college, save for one tiny gouache piece. The only still life paintings I had completed in recent years consisted of one piece of produce or one object, not multiple objects.
For the first piece, I took three of the mystery pumpkins that grew from our compost pile and set them up in my studio. I called this piece “Compost Pumpkins” or “Mystery Pumpkins”, because I have no idea how white pumpkins grew out of our compost pile. White pumpkins also have this sense of mystery around them, they are not the usual orange Halloween pumpkin.
When I finished that piece, still life set ups seemed to flow from my hands. I used squash from our garden, eggs from our hens, and one squash from the store. Painting these still life paintings brought me such joy! I completed the remaining challenge paintings on canvas paper, large stretched canvas, small stretched canvas, and long stretched canvas. They range in size from an 8 x 8 inch stretched canvas up to a 18 x 24 inch canvas.
This challenge really brought me joy as a painter. It was equal parts challenging and relaxing. I loved painting in oils after so long and I remembered again the beauty of a simple still life.
These paintings are available as prints in my shop and the originals will be available soon. Which painting is your favorite?