Sketch of the Week: Shell Studies

Despite my ongoing reservations about my abilities as a painter, I've commenced a new still life on canvas, as implied by a study I posted last week. In addition to drawing the entire composition, I've been preparing for this work by making smaller pen and ink drawings of the most complex object in the scene, the large shell:

Making these drawings really helped to not only determine the modeling, but also the amount of detail for the work. Any painting, even the most hyper photo-realistic work, is an abstraction of our seen and lived reality. Whenever I paint or draw, the question isn't so much how detailed or naturalistic I want to make the image, but the degree to which I'd like to abstract my subject. Lived reality, or whatever it is you wish to call this phenomenon we experience daily, is already there: the task at hand isn't its replication, but articulating my own distinct perspective regarding this peculiar state we call existence.