Much of the time, I use a camera to take pictures of what I intend to paint, then import those pictures into Photoshop, edit them around, patch in different parts from different photos, mess with the color and so on until I get exactly what I want. Then I usually overlay a grid, pencil in that same grid on my canvas and work from that.
This is not one of those paintings. This time, I wanted to see if I could still paint well without those crutches, so I set up this arrangement of a red viola, the smaller violin, and a grapefruit. My wife & I took a ride out to the local fabric store so I could pick out a yard or two of the right fabric. I wanted the kind that has a pattern that “reverses out” when light hits it. I like that effect.
Then I set it all up, pulled up a chair and went to work. I rested the grapefruit on a small vase, and then removed the vase after painting the grapefruit in order to paint the background behind it. Looking close, you can see my reflection on the front of the viola.
This is oil on canvas, about 18″ x 24″. My idea was to try to depict a landscape with a rising moon behind it. The instruments were supposed to represent the ground, and the strings electrical wires. The paisley pattern in the fabric was supposed to represent clouds in the sky.
That really doesn’t come through, but I like the painting anyway.