Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gumball Machine

Let’s face it: laundromats and oil painting don’t mix. But there I was with my paint kit, a beautiful gumball machine in front of me, and three hours to kill.

I set up my easel and my folding chair next to a washing machine, which is visible in the right of the painting. I left just enough floorspace for people to squeeze past me with their laundry hampers.

It took a while to draw in all those darned colored gumballs. As I painted them, my worst fear was that someone would actually buy a gumball and mess up the arrangement.

Sure enough, a kid snuck up behind me and jammed a quarter into the slot. He spun the handle before I could say anything. Each time he cranked it, all the gumballs shuffled around inside.

“Hey, my still life!” I protested weakly.

He popped the gumball in his cheek and narrowed his eyes. “What are you doing?” he said, between chews. “You an artist?”

This painting is reproduced full-page in Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. (in the context of "local color.") 

Thanks to Dan Dos Santos of the blog "Muddy Colors" for recommending Color and Light in the Top Ten Art Books of 2010.

By the way, I’ve been filling all your mailed-in orders, and I just want to compliment all of you wives who are giving the book as a gift to your husbands—and vice-versa. That’s really nice of you!

If you mailed in an order and are wondering when it will come, I’ve been turning them around within 24 hours after receiving them. Today I mailed out orders that were postmarked between November 30-Dec.3 and received yesterday.


Unknown said...

Hee, hee. Yeah, kid. You ever heard of Dinotopia?

Great little story! Thanks!

Lazy KZ said...

I was doing a watercolor sketch of a gum ball machine and a woman bought one. I told her she just ruined the whole picture and then I laughed. She did too. Kay

Kessie said...

An additional punchline could have been, "No, I just carry around this easel for a little workout! Here's your sign." :-)

Jeanie Chang said...

Heehee. I'm sort of glad someone did buy a gumball. Makes it a cute story to tell.

Rich Adams said...

I received my signed book today! It's great to have a true Christmas present under the tree already. I can't wait to open it and delve into color and light!

Thanks for the sketch and the signature! They look great!

Daniel Cruit said...

I love how much this little recollection reminds me of certain passages in Norman Rockwell's My Adventures As An Illustrator.

Now there's an idea for your next book!

Max West said...

That's always a challenge of drawing from life - reacting to changing conditions. No wonder it's consider challenging.

Judy P. said...

I just got my copy of Color and Light in the mail today- wow; I planned to spend my precious time painting tonight, but reading this ought to be as good as any practice! I bought mine before I heard your offer to autograph them, rats.
It's a great, clarifying book- thanks so much for your effort!

Richard J. Luschek II said...

I just mailed in my order today.

Love the gum ball painting. I just happened upon an old gum ball machine that someone gave me when they were cleaning out a old warehouse. So I hope to paint the thing, without worrying about any kids. I don't allow kids in my studio.

tiffannysketchbook said...

stupid kids. hehehe

no this is awesome. kudos for squeezing in a painting at the laundromat :D

Carolyn said...

That's awesome! That is really funny about the kid--I love the colors in this painting. really fun

Dan Gurney said...

Get a 3X5 card. On it write:

"OUT OF ORDER" and tape to gumball machine. Move sign as needed.

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Honey P. Amplegood said...

Did my husband buy me a copy? It's ok you can tell. I won't tell you told.

Nick said...

Ever since I was a kid I've loved gum ball machines, so I remember being especially taken with this painting when I saw it a few years ago.

I notice those small traces of reflected colour (purple, blue and green by the looks of it)by the coin slot. What caused those? The gumballs?

Unknown said...

Ha! Genius. If this were an Andy Goldsworthy piece, it'd be titled

Laundromat, colored gumballs
tough to render
kid came in half way through for a treat
rearranged the still life
start over

Unknown said...

ha ha ha...funny story: Probably this didn't happen to Charles Bell, the famous photo-realist painter. He had tackled the gum-ball subject as well.

After the gum-balls, won't you give us the still life of a pin-ball machine?;-)

K_tigress said...

Hehe, I bet you wished you could have summoned a large T-Rex on that young Denise the menace. ;)
Ahww just kidding. ;)

Unknown said...

I LOVE this painting!