I’ve had this idea for a while now that it would be fun to do a series of still life paintings of books.  It sounds simple, but books are tricky.  It’s hard to make a bunch of rectangles look interesting, and getting the perspective just right becomes very important.

So here’s my first attempt.  We start with the photo I used:


and then here’s the sketch, which I thought was pretty cool all by itself.  Usually the sketch is not at all pretty to look at–it’s just a bare-bones outline of what’s to come.  The idea is to rough in the major shapes–get everything placed correctly–before moving on to color and light and detail. 

But this time, I thought this loose, monochromatic drawing was kind of neat just the way it was.That means that from this point on, I’ll be thinking, "don’t mess it up!"  Because really, I could just stop at any time.  If it looks good the way it is, why go further?


But of course I’m not going to leave it alone at this point.  So I worked on it a little more today, but with a very specific idea in mind:  that I’d rough in the darker colors, let it dry, and come back later to fine-tune the edges and really hit it with some light.  This is not exactly a radical idea, but lately I’ve been into the idea of quick paintings that are completed in one session, piling wet paint on top of wet paint, which means that you can’t really build up any layers.  This time, though, I decided to be much more civilized about it and actually take time to let a layer dry before I move on.

So here’s where I left things today: