Monday, November 02, 2015

Thumbbox Exhibition

Every year in early winter the Salmagundi Club holds its traditional Thumbbox Exhibition and Sale, a show of members' paintings measuring less than 108 square inches (about 9x12 inches) and sculptures less than 12 inches tall. The show itself has been a tradition for many years, attracting visitors and buyers to the club. This year's show runs from November 23 to New Years Day.

This year I've entered these three oil paintings. Each measures 6x8 and was done in oil. The first is a shiny coffee creamer I've had around for ages that just caught the light in a way I found arresting and interesting to paint. The ground I was using then had a lovely ochre tone and was pretty porous and absorbed oil and medium in equal amounts. It was fun putting cooler tones on top and judging the effects. The reflections help to give the sense of form and smooth surfaces.

"Shine," oil on paper mounted on board, 2011
The second is a painting done this week of the very last rose from my garden. I'm not usually much of a painter of floral subjects, though I do enjoy landscapes and streetscapes. Mostly, doing paintings of flowers has seemed to me like a waste--why not just look at photos or videos or just go outdoors? But as the cold months have begun to threaten here in the Midwest, gardens are going brown and dormant. Nevertheless, last week I discovered that my landscape rose in the front garden had one last, fat bud. I brought it in, gave it some warmth and light, and was rewarded with the last rose of summer. Here it is, almost faded.

"One Last Rose," oil on panel, 2015
And last, certainly not least, the final painting I sent to Salmagundi for the show is a quirky little still life I did around the same time as the one of the coffee creamer. Same ground, same interest in making cooler darks come forward. This is my studio tabletop, a tube of cobalt blue and an eraser and scissors. I cover my work surface with tan butcher paper which inevitably becomes marked by this or that pigment. This is pretty much how it looked one morning.

"Studio Tabletop," oil on paper mounted on board, 2011
The Thumbbox Exhibition has been a favorite of mine for several years, so off these went (via emailed entry) to the club for the jury's consideration. We'll see what they have to say.

Salmagundi Club Wikipedia entry

1939 History of Salmagundi Club (pdf)

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