One reason to always travel with a camera: You never know when a still life is just going to appear in front of you. This bouquet of flowers sat on a table at a friend’s party, and everything about it was just perfect for one of these quick palette knife paintings.
I’ve also been known to pull out the camera in a restaurant and get a picture of what’s sitting on the table: salt shakers, candles, wine glasses, flowers. Once I was in the middle of photographing a spiral lemon peel sitting next to an empty cocktail glass when the waiter came and cleared it all away. I said, "No–wait–leave it!" and he just looked confused. "I can bring you another lemon," he said. But it was too late. He’d already made off with my still life.
I’ve sold two paintings on eBay so far, and a third is in the middle of its auction now. The reserve is only $9.95, so there are bargains to be had. It’s nice to see them leave my attic and go out into the world, and I find that I get immense satisfaction from packing them up and carting them off to the post office. It’s funny–I have an article due that will pay more than all the paintings I’ll sell this year, but I’m far more interested in this new challenge–painting more often, choosing quick, small, fun subjects, and putting them online. The whole thing is surprisingly entertaining.
Here’s something else: most creative people will tell you that they do their best work in the morning, when their mind is clear. This has never been the case for me. I am not a morning person. I spend most of the morning answering e-mails, paying bills, or doing other little jobs that don’t require any creative juice. I write in the afternoon and into the evening. And now that I’m painting more at home, I find that the same is true of painting. I like to get started around 8 or 9 at night, maybe with a glass of wine in hand, a little Monk on my computer’s CD player, and paint until 10 or 11. I could easily go until midnight if I was really wrapped up in it.