What to paint? Sometimes, I sail right into a painting, knowing just what I want to do. Maybe I saw an object I wanted to paint, maybe I had an idea for a good composition, maybe the light inspired me. Other times, like now, I get stuck. I have some ideas for the kinds of things I want in the painting, but I can’t find anything in my collection that fits the bill. I was picturing a lush grouping of sumptuous fabrics and rich looking bowls, golds and velvets, with warm, rich colors.  Perhaps I’m just tired of my things and need to go shopping. After 14 years of setting up still lifes, I end up using the same things over and over again. Usually, I don’t find this a problem. If I can find the right composition, the objects take on a life of their own within the setup, and don’t look ordinary any more. I do think, however, that it’s time to add some bowls, boxes, pitchers, cloths, etc. to my prop shelves. My first stop will be the antique stores.


Here are some new props I just bought: a wine-carrying box, some interesting containers and a tray.  What I like about them is their large masses, warm colors, simple shapes and rich textures.