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Buddy McCue On March - 14 - 2011

tomato painting

This is one of the many tomatoes that my wife grew in her garden last year

She also had lots of eggplants and cucumbers and peppers, but didn’t paint any of them. I wish I had now, but she’s going to do it again this year, so I’ll have another chance. The thing about painting fresh vegetables or flowers is that you have to work fast! You can’t let the project drag on for days and days (for obvious reasons.)

There’s nothing like garden-grown vegetables. They really do taste better than the ones you get from the grocery store. My wife is happy that this “Square-Foot Garden” technique is working out really well.

This canvas is 10″ x 20″ and the paint is oil (no medium used; only mineral spirits to thin it.)


Written by Buddy McCue

I am a middle-aged artist and musician who was born and raised in the Southern United States. I have a Flickr page where some of my artwork can be seen : http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmccue/ I post various creative things on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BMcCue7 And you can hear some of my modest musical compositions here: http://home.mindspring.com/~safeathome/artandmusicofbuddymccue/id8.html

24 Responses so far.

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  1. skylover says:

    I’m glad I saw this, Buddy! Puts me in the mood to paint as well as garden. I also learned of Copol and the realism-centered website. Thanks.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      skylover -- I’m glad that you’re in the mood to paint and garden. Both are little acts of creation: making something from nothing. There is no nobler purpose in life, IMHO.

      And if you haven’t tried Copol, you definitely should! The stuff is great; it gives the paint a consistency of melted butter, and makes your brushstrokes longer, and easier to manage. I like it.

  2. boomer1949 says:


    Is it toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe?
    ” title=”kaos, vegetable, fruit, tomato smiley” style=”border-width:0;”/>

    ***EDIT*** I love your paintings btw — 😉

  3. jkkFL says:

    Damn Buddy!
    Just went to music-Geeze!

    Narrow the list for us- tell us both things you Can’t Do.
    ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Things I can’t do? Almost EVERYTHING, it seems to me!

      I’m only good at a few select things. Most everybody’s kind of like that.

      • jkkFL says:

        Sorry friend- I’m the poster child for ‘Can’t Do Anything’.
        The best you can hope for is distant second!
        Flutes, Space, and Mousetrap were some of my favorites. It’s bookmarked, so I will hook the netbook up to the speakers and spend the evening with your music.
        BTW- photography too?? grrr- thought I might have a chance, but..
        ” alt=”Smiley” border=”0″ />

        • Buddy McCue says:

          jkkFL -- I don’t believe in people who can’t do anything. Maybe you haven’t tried enough things yet, that’s all.

          I’ll tell you one thing I sure can’t do well -- sing. I envy people who can, but I don’t have the voice for it.

          My MIDI’s may not sound too well over the speakers; they sound different on different computers. All those little musical themes are based on the General MIDI palette, and sometimes they can sound a little weird on some computers. So don’t expect too much.

          If I ever get around to it, I’m going to make actual recordings of some of those compositions. Unfortunately, I write things that are a little beyond my capabilities as an instrumentalist, but I am trying to learn my instruments well enough for that (someday.)

          • jkkFL says:

            K- well I like them- so it doesn’t matter- I’ll listen to them whichever way they sound best.
            Tried singing- my 3 y/o nephew tells me and my sister ‘Shhh’! :)

  4. Artist50 says:

    Love, love, love your paintings! I don’t know how you find the time. You don’t do this for a living do you? You either are very fast or spend all your spare moments painting -- oil takes time. You had some new ones on the flickr site. Your portraits are quite good and there was a large dog that took up the canvas that looked like a photo that I adored -- with his big liver colored nose!

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Artist50 -- Admittedly, I am pretty fast with a brush because my background is that of a signpainter. I’ve worked in signshops my whole adult life.

      Oil DOES take time though, particularly if you aren’t painting alla prima, and you’re glazing layers one atop the other. In such cases, I use a Japan drier to speed things up.

      But I’m not as fast as you might think… it’s not like I painted all those Flickr paintings recently, you know! That collection of things represents years of painting.

      • Artist50 says:

        I’ve never used a dryer and I really don’t like acrylics -- I don’t like to paint with them or how they look. Your paintings make me want paint again. You don’t use any medium?

        • Buddy McCue says:

          Sometimes I do, sometimes not. It depends on what I’m doing.

          When I do use a medium, I like to use Copol. It doesn’t dry yellow like linseed oil does; that’s what I like about it.

          I agree about acrylics! Somehow the colors always look artificial and bad to me. I was forced to use them when I did volunteer work at the zoo. I painted backgrounds for the Reptile House there, and the animal experts said that oil was too toxic. So acrylic it was.

          And it dries much too fast! I found that a good thing to do is to keep a spray bottle on hand to spray water over the palette; that keeps the paint mixes from hardening up too quickly.

          • Artist50 says:

            I’ve always used copal too. I’ve done some murals in acrylics and I agree that you just can’t work them enough, plus I don’t like the look. I noticed you had experimented with some glazing. My ideal would be to learn to paint like Sargent who is my idol. I’ve seen his work and was in awe. When I was in Art school realism was kind of frowned upon, so I had to stand my ground -- that was in the late 60’s.

            • Buddy McCue says:

              Artist50 -- Sargent! Yes! I’d love to be able to paint like that.

              He could put down in one stroke what it would take me 50 to do.

              About standing one’s ground for realism, have you seen this site?

              These people are VERY opinionated; they believe that history will look back at “Modern Art” and consider it a mere blemish on art history.

              They LOVE realism, and their museum has some of the highest-resolution scans of great art anywhere on the internet. (Just don’t look for Paul Klee or anyone like that!) It’s great for doing reproductions.

  5. jkkFL says:

    Now, if I just had some bacon, mayo, lettuce and toast :)

    *edit: Buddy, I think you really ‘have to paint fast’ because you’re sitting there looking at lunch !! Maybe you should do one with a bite out of it..

    • Buddy McCue says:

      We like to eat BLT’s with avocado on it!

      Not only does it taste good, but adding a vowel to BLT makes for an easily pronounced acronym: BLAT.

      • jkkFL says:

        BLAT, hmmm….
        But I do like the avocado idea, gonna try that-soon!
        Do you still just use mayo as a dressing?
        Be sure to post your recipe in the Food corner, so I don’t have to fish thru 8,000 comments! :)

        • Buddy McCue says:

          I know the word BLAT doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it’s kinda fun to say.

          No mayonnaise on it for me, but that’s just a personal preference I guess.

          I don’t think simply adding avocado gives me an excuse to claim a whole new recipe! It’s just a BLT with one extra ingredient that’s all.

          • jkkFL says:

            Disagree! When you make something better it’s a new recipe :)

            BTW, HOW do you get the 3D effect- that tomato looks like it might hop onto my sandwich!!!

  6. Truth says:

    This tomato looks so yummy…. You really have a way to put life in your pictures, it’s amazing.

    Now I hope you’re going to post all of my favorites one after the other (which will be many!) I go and check and then make my wish list, ok???

    I’m also curious which pictures other Planeteers liked. Artist mentioned one that I haven’t even noticed.

  7. BigDogMom says:

    Buddy, love it, that is one fine tomato! Nothing beats home-grown, last year was a bad tomato year up here in the Northeast, but peppers and cucumbers did OK, was a very wet spring, followed by a very hot and dry summer. Hoping this year is better…As a gardener, there is nothing more beautiful than the simple natural beauty of one of mother nature’s wonderful creations…will post pics of my perennial and rose gardens this year.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      BDM -- Yes, please DO post those pics when you can.

      The reason I picked this particular painting to show is because I know there are people here who love gardening, and might also have things to say (and show) from their own gardens.

      My wife has been growing vegetable seedlings in the closet with a “grow light” over the last few weeks, and she has just put them in the ground outside recently. Hopefully, we won’t get another cold snap and have the frost kill them off.

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