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!


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