Ten-Minute Madness



It’s a painting exercise I found in Carol Marine’s book, Daily Painting, and I thought it was probably a good exercise for learning to paint better. You divide up a canvas into sections, then use a timer to give yourself only ten minutes to paint your subject in the first box. Then move to the next box and paint the same subject, again for only ten minutes. It forces you to work quickly and try new approaches with color, shading, and brush work. But I procrastinated trying it until I saw this week’s “Challenge” on the Daily Paintworks website. 

I decided the week was almost over, and what did I have to lose? I had a fresh orange sitting there, saying “just try it,” to me. I have been struggling with getting orange hues mixed properly, so took the little citrus up on the offer. I used a 6″ x 6″ panel, and went to work. It was tons of fun. I think I did way better with some of the oranges here, than I did with a still life I spent all day on.

Then I went further, sending the results to the Challenge. I am now officially in the Challenge. I have no idea of anyone will see it. But, I was a player and that made me feel good. Putting my painting out there. That’s enough courage for one day.  I’m off to finish knitting a sweater for the rest of the evening.



It’s Winter. Time to paint still life

After a week spent painting the studio ceiling and skylight frame white, the room where I make art is bright and workable. I moved the half-ton of yarn and fleece to a bedroom for now, and have lots of space to set up the easel and a table. I’m itching to get some paintings done and having a lot of fun seeing what works and what doesn’t. After studying several books, I found that I was attracted to minimalist still life arrangements that centered on food. I guess those years as a foodie with a goat dairy segued right into painting portraits of squash and cabbages.

I gathered up some good looking fruits and vegetables and started posing them on a table with a clip-on light. They have their own character, that’s for sure. For me, matching orange color hues is a real challenge. And what’s not orange? Pumpkin, squash, onion, oranges, carrots — it seemed everything I thought of doing was a shade of orange. After lots of trial and error I figured out I need to mix a warm red, a cool red, and lots of yellow.  Some blue to darken the shadows.

For some reason, the images here are slightly darker and brighter than the originals, so I have to work on my camera or software to get really accurate colors.

Squash painting by Laurie Carlson
Squash painting in acrylics.


I set up a bowl of oranges, and gave them several tries.


Bowl of Oranges painting by Laurie Carlson
Bowl of Oranges 8 x 10 acrylic on canvas

While orange isn’t my favorite color, I can’t get away from it. Maybe winter foods are oranges for a reason–it brightens the long, dark nights.

Some bright red apples are fun and brightly cheerful in December, too.


Here’s another try, this one a cabbage and some onions. They are sort of orange.


After all was worked out to the best I could do, I whipped up a nice pot of vegetable soup, and a fruit salad.  Time to head to Safeway for more painting subjects!