A Basket of Tomatoes

Basket of Tomatoes
The garden was overflowing with tomatoes earlier this Summer.  I grabbed up some cherry and grape tomatoes and filled up a basket and put a few Roma tomatoes into the scene as well as a green pepper for contrast.  This piece is painted oil on panel 17 x 11 in. (43 x 28 cm).  The basket was painted in heavy impasto style to capture more texture.  It is a companion to Still Life with Hot Sauce.


With the sweltering Summer heat, I seek respite in a pleasant place, at least in my memories.  This scene could be just about anywhere on this planet where the sea touches the shore.   Wandering down the beach where the salt air is sweetened with cool breezes to stop and rest against a forsaken boat.  This painting is oil on panel 16 x 9 inches (40 x 23 cm).

Beached Boat

Museum Art

These two pieces are currently featured at the Pensacola Museum of Art.  The juried show has been extended an additional week until August 21st for anyone who has been waiting 'til the last minute.

I painted this one earlier this year to capture the mood at the end of the long Winter months.  It is oil on canvas 30 x 20 inches.

Threshold of Spring

My friend, Janice, has Rhode Island Red chickens and brought me a few to paint.  Eggs can be one of the most challenging subjects to paint.  I kept adding more items to the scene - a green glass carafe with olive oil, vegetables including tomato, green pepper, garlic,  a block of cheddar cheese, yellow squash, and an onion.  Oh, and the hot sauce bottle in the background.  I originally called it Still Life with Rhode Island Red Chicken Eggs, but that title was too long so eventually changed it to Still Life with Hot Sauce.  This scene is oil painted on 18 x 24 inch panel.
Still Life with Hot Sauce

Review of this piece by a local art critic was published in the Pensacola News Journal July 23rd, 2010:  

"Scott Shiffer keeps it real with his "Still Life with Hot Sauce," a detailed study of vegetables, a canter of oil and a bottle of [hot sauce] hiding in the pile. The oil painting is a strong example of representational work, despite some of its bright, tempera-like colors."

Reading in Art

Reading and writing have been the subjects of art probably since the beginning.  The Egyptian limestone sculpture, Seated Scribe found in the Louvre is thought to be made somewhere between 2600 - 2350 BC.  The subject is writing on rolled papyrus seen below.

Jean Jacques Henner (1825-1905) oil on canvas, La Liseuse (The Reader) painted in 1883 and is hung in the Musée d'Orsay seen below-

Yesterday I was talking with a woman who told me she is a voracious reader and recently bought an iPad to read her books and really liked the convenience of the device.  This led me to consider - will future artwork abandon paper books for painting and sculpting electronic reading devices?  I completed a charcoal/pencil drawing (14x17 in. on smooth Bristol paper) of a woman reading from a wireless device propped up by traditional books, Shakespeare's As You Like It and Balzac's La Comedie Humaine. I like the irony of the juxtaposition of the books supporting the reading device.  

Art Inconnu is a blog devoted to 19th and 20th Century under-appreciated art.  At that site, there is a whole folder of art devoted to reading here.  It's an interesting collection. 

Fog at Sunrise

If visual art has a purpose, it's to convey ideas like written words would tell a story or a musical score or lyrics in a song.  Just as music evokes emotions, visual art should inspire the spectator.  In Spring and Summer, the early morning fog hangs in the air at sunrise.  While standing on a dock, I found a balanced pictorial composition with the trees on both sides and water flowing from the bottom edge of the paper.  It takes us on a trip down the river toward the center of the drawing.  I observe the scene constantly change as the fog quietly thins and thickens causing the sunlight and morning commute traffic noise to wax and wane.  The dynamic vanishing point sometimes obscures the distant trees and will even change the reflections in the water.  Fog offers a great visual experience and easily lends itself to charcoal.

Charcoal and pencil on white Canson vellum art paper 24 x 18 inches (61 x 45 cm).   The paper worked well with this medium.  The slightly irregular surface worked suited the flora.  A jet ski was replaced with a more traditional boat.  A jet ski wouldn't work well visually and would have worked against the sense of tranquility I was striving for.