Thursday, January 29, 2015

There's A Fake Fly In My Fake Soup

As a painter of food stuffs, a slow painter that works carefully from life, I sometimes have to deal with rot, mold and various smells in the studio which mostly have to do with my current still life set up. Reading the history of still life painting, this is not a new or unique problem. Painters of old would soak fish in kerosene to keep them looking fresh while they painted it. Chardin would have to purchase animals from hunters that looked similar to those rotting away in his studio as replacements to finish his work.
Luckily today since I often use modern food, so filled with cancer causing preservatives, this is not as much an issue.
For one of my more recent still lifes I needed a cup of tomato soup in the picture. I thought of using the real thing but I figured it probably was not necessary.
Spring Break Lunch, 16x20, oil, ©Richard Luschek 2014

I did need a stand in. I figured it would be just as well to use paper. Luckily for me I still had a set of Color-Aid from one of my useless foundations classes from college. I picked the color I thought would most approximate Campbell's Tomato soup. I cut it to shape, used a cardboard coffee cup sleeve to get the right height and made my own, fake cup o' soup.
To get the spoon to lay just the way I wanted it I had to clip off the end. While I try to make these set ups look as if they are happenstance, they are anything but. It took me a few days to get this all arranged just right.

Here is a shot of the set up with the first day lay-in. You can see I also used a fake apple. After a few days work it was replaced with a real one.

Here is a more detailed shot from the end of the first day. This is after about 5 hours of painting starting on a white canvas. I let it dry a few days and then start on it again, refining and tweaking till I am finished.
In case you are wondering, that is my kick-ass lunch box from when I was a kid. The toys are mine too. They are from a cool Fort Apache play set I got one Christmas. As my wife likes to remind me on a regular basis while trying to organize stuff, it is still in a box on a shelf in our basement- next to my Millennium Falcon.

The painting is currently on view at Rottinghaus Gallery.

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