Trying to Capture the Light


, , , , , , , , ,


Capturing light in painting is one of the artist’s greatest challenges and deepest joys.

I fell in love with the dazzling white lights in the paintings of Sorolla. And later the warm, buttery light that infuses Franz Bischoff’s California seascapes. I couldn’t help but be tempted to try my own hand at capturing even a fraction of the light they capture in their paintings.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to come close, but you can learn so much from your failures. You learn what is possible, what doesn’t work, what your limits are, what you still need to learn.

I decided to start by trying to capture some of that warm buttery feel in Bischoff’s paintings, before moving toward Sorolla’s dazzling white light.

These first two attempts are from photographs I took on a trip to Big Sur at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park along Highway 1. Before donating the land to the state, the original owners had a house on a bluff overlooking the ocean. These are the views from her home. On one side the coastline and Highway 1 snaking northward. to the south a private cove with an 80 foot waterfall. In their backyard are the redwoods. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have lived in that magical place, to have woke each morning to these views from their windows.



I’m not unhappy with the results. When I compare my paintings to photographs of his (below), I think I captured some of that warm, buttery glow.


That encouraged me to try a study of one of my favorite Sorolla paintings, changing it slightly–a different boat and adding a swimmer snorkeling. I could not capture his dazzling white rocks, so I settled for a something more colorful, abstract.


I’m happy enough with the results, although it’s nothing like Sorolla’s. His secret is still safe from me. Still, I’m more in awe of him now than before.


His blues are so much deeper, his lights so much brighter. And his reflections! His colors! How does he do that? I get drunk on his colors. I want to dive in and live there.

Here are links to more of Sorolla’s and Bischoff’s paintings where you can see them in greater detail. They are artists you could fall in love with. I did.

Images of Franz Bischoff’s artwork on Google

The paintings of Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida


Nothing But Miracles


, , , , ,




Walt Whitman, 18191892

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

[Many thanks to Writing Without Paper for providing a link to this poem.]

Still Playing – Landscapes, Dreamscapes


, , , , , , , ,


I’m still playing with my painting, copying artists I love or using their vision, their palettes, for inspiration. Still trying to learn the art of painting and its craft. Trying to discover what I want to do with my painting, what I want to capture, and how.

The two below were inspired by the paintings of Peter Doig. I think of them as “dreamscapes.” They are nothing like what you would really find in the tropics, and yet they capture what it feels like to be there at night in that dark/light denseness.

The first I painted is a near likeness of one of his paintings. And I have to say I’m pleased with it. I like it almost as much as his, meaning that I recognize the quality of mine doesn’t match his, but it does capture, at least for me, the “feeling.” You can almost smell the humidity, the damp earth and folliage, feel the balmy stillness of night in the tropics.


The second was inspired by his painting of the milky way reflected in water, but mine is not like his at all. I created a different version of the Milky way, and a different land and seascape below. It’s very much its own painting, and I’m pleased with it.


The next two were inspired by Ann Oram’s paintings of the Mediterranean. The first is a close copy, mine in watercolor and ink, hers in pastel and ink. You can see her original at the top of this page. I liked the way she used candle wax as a “resist” to add texture to the rocks and water. I liked the way the ink defined splashes of color into buildings. I hadn’t used ink or wax before, and now have started using them in other paintings as well.


The second is my own creation, and not as successful, I think. I wanted the cliffs in the foreground to be the focus, but I think I strayed from that. I’m not unhappy with what I created, but something doesn’t quite sit well with me. I’m not sure what’s off. Someone suggested the buildings on the far cliff are too large for the perspective, and she’s probably right. But even if I shortened them, I don’t think it would “fix” it. Maybe you have some ideas for me.


Sometimes I have to sit with a painting for a long time before I see what I need to do to complete it. I put it up where I can see it whenever I enter the room, and stop to study from time to time.  And slowly I come to realize, oh yes, that needs to be darker, that lightened, that edge hardened, that one softened. But sometimes, even after studying it for a long time, I realize this painting is as good as it gets, at least for now, and I put it away.

I still don’t know what “my style” is when it comes to painting, or even my medium. I’ve been mixing collage and watercolor recently and will share some of that with you soon. Right now I just like playing, tying new things, discovering new artwork that I love. When I love it enough, it’s too tempting not to at least try to see if I can recreate something remotely similar.

Most recently I’ve been trying to capture something of Sorolla’s light. I’ll share that attempt soon.



Can You Paint a Poem?


, , , , , ,


It’s a question a blogger friend asked one day in response to my comment that I would like to try to paint my poems.

Often my poems start with a strong visual image, and as I’m reading them I’m seeing these images flash through my mind.

When I wrote “Hot Hills in Summer Heat” I was travelling on Highway 101, looking up at the golden hills profiled against the blue sky as they cascaded down to the sea.

I watch them every summer, the hot hills

Crouched like a lion beside the road.

Something masculine and sensual about that image gripped me, and a poem was born.

Lovers2 (5)

I’m not sure if my poem “A Pleasing Design” was inspired by, or inspired, an abstract drawing of the male and female forms that I created long ago.

Both appeared around the same time. I don’t remember which came first.

I like the intricate pattern we create,

Stripped bare and essential,

The piling planes and lacing lines,

The way we meet and mingle.

My poem “Walking Among Flowers” was inspired by the image at the top of this post, drawn by a Zen monk from the 17th century. Something about its blunt beauty, or stark un-beauty, struck me fiercely, as if tearing open something deep within.

Walking among flowers

Drowning in scent

Petals assault me

Cool and bent

But the poem itself was written as we lay anchored in a bay in Moorea, looking up at a house on the bluff with a garden spilling over the edge. I wanted to roam that garden, to let the deep, dark beauty I imagined there tear me apart so I could be reborn. I wanted to swoop down from the high garden wall and swallow it whole.

Even now, I want to paint that garden with the rough, blunt strokes of Pa-ta Shan-jen.

A poem, after all, is just a vehicle to express something deeply felt, some emotion or insight or new way of seeing. And a painting is another way to express the very same things. Each would be distinct, it’s own unique creation. And neither would ever quite capture what you wanted to share. Both mediums are limited.

Poems inspired by paintings are common. But the other way around less so.

Recently, though, another blogger friend led me to the website of Lena Levin, an artist who does just that. She’s  created a whole series of paintings inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets.  Her blog on the Art of Seeing is well worth reading as well.

I don’t know if I will ever paint my poems, or how successful they might be if I try. Words and images tangle in my mind, and it’s hard to sort them out. In the past the only way I could capture what I was seeing/feeling was through poetry. Now I want to see if I can use color and contours, images empty space like words, shaping them into phrases to be felt and understood.

Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to the works of the French Symbolist,  Odilon Redon, and his “Mysterious and Poetic Paintings.” Viewing them is like reading between the lines of a poem. It says more than words can tell.

I don’t know if I have the expertise at this stage of my learning curve to be able to do such a thing. But I do know I want to try.

You can read the full text of the poems mentioned in this post at the links below:

Hot Hills in Summer Heat

“A Pleasing Design” from The Geometry and Geography of Love

Walking Among Flowers


Celebrating Poetry: Music of the Spheres


, , , , , , , ,

300px-Milky_Way_IR_SpitzerThe first poem I shared on my new blog five years ago was scribbled in the starlight on a moonless night while crossing the Sea of Cortez.

A few months later I received an email from Troy Armstrong, a classical composer who said he had set my poem to music to be performed by a choir. As I listened to the music, tears were streaming down my cheeks, for I knew this is what I would have heard that night had I ears to hear, sailing among the stars.

Poetry, as well as music, has the power to capture that state of wonder we all feel at times when confronting the beauty and majesty of nature, and its power to move us beyond ourselves.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m sharing the original post below with the poem and a link to the music.

Sailing Among the Stars

Last night I swam among the stars. The air and water temperatures were both 78 degrees, so it felt like I was moving from one warm atmosphere into another more dense when I stepped in my pool. There was no moon and the Milky Way was strewn across the sky like scattered bones of light. When I lay on my back to watch them, it felt like I was floating among the stars.

And then I realized–I was! We all are.

We sail across the universe on the back of a tiny planet at the edge of a galaxy that swirls around us. Too often we forget that–how embedded we really are in the universe.

I became acutely aware of this one night when we were crossing the Sea of Cortez from Baja to mainland Mexico. There was no wind, no moon. The sea was perfectly still like the surface of a dark mirror, marred only by our trailing wake.

Above us the bare mast stirred a billion stars, which were reflected in the sea’s surface below. I felt like we were on a starship sailing through the cosmos.

Later that night I wrote this:

Night Crossing, Sea of Cortez

The sea appears so simple

With a dark, indulgent face,

The stars there twice reflected

Like a world spun out of space.

Our sloop shoots through the cosmos,

Through a mute and moonless night,

Our wake a fiery comet

Streaming effervescent light.

With all the universe inert

We slip from star to star,

Then reach across the Milky Way

Toward galaxies afar.

Eons swirl, light-years unfurl

And none can still our flight,

Leaping toward the infinite

To apprehend the light.

I’m not alone in seeing the overlap between the ocean and the night sky. Various artists are fond of depicting whales and dolphins and other sea creatures swimming among the stars. The ocean and the universe stand at the edge of the wild, the last two true frontiers we have to explore, except for the human consciousness, of course.  The ocean and the universe have become symbols for consciousness as well as adventure.

We seem to grasp that there is something that connects all three—some deep, dreamy, ever-flowing, ungraspable, powerful yet nurturing element in which we all are steeped. That calls us to move beyond ourselves, beyond the safe and familiar, the already known. That inspires us to reach for something that lies just beyond our grasp.

You can listen to the haunting music Troy Armstrong wrote at this link:

Celebrating Poetry: Blown Away By Matthew Dickman


, , , ,

Matthew Dickman

In celebration of April as the National Month of Poetry, I’ve been looking back at posts on poetry that I’ve written over the years, and thought that I’d share two “firsts” with you:

  • the first poet I blogged about back in September 2012, and
  • the first of my own poetry that I shared in July of that year, which, coincidentally, was turned into an exquisite piece of music by a classical composer.

I’ll save that one for next time and start with Dickman under the original title.

Wild Poet, Talking Nerdy: Matthew Dickman

I stumbled across him by accident.  One thing led to another and another, the way it often happens surfing the internet. And there it was, a video of Matthew Dickman reading at the San Francisco Zen Center.

And I was blown away. Yes, I actually was. The same way Emily Dickinson said poetry affected her—as if the top of her head had been removed—“blown away” I believe is the expression we’d use today.

Now, Dickman’s poetry isn’t Zen, or even spiritual. It’s earthy, sometimes crass and crude, lightly humorous. Hip, you might say, in the way the beat poets were hip, so clued into the “street life” of their age, with such insight and understanding, that they could be said to speak for that generation.

So I think is Dickman’s poetry, though since I’m not from that generation, and don’t normally speak that language, I may be wrong.

So please listen and tell me. Am I right? Does he capture something from today’s youth that expresses its particular angst and yearning , love and loss, in a way that both elevates and exemplifies it?

I’m trying to figure out just what captivates me in listening to him read his poetry. It’s so unpretentious and unassuming:

Like a scrap of paper blown down a dirty sidewalk that takes on a beauty of its own without meaning to.

Like that paper bag being blown around and around in the film “American Beauty.” Remember? It’s like that.

In this way, it may be Zen-like, after all. In that his blunt, sometimes unbeautiful images strike you as an unexpected blow, like that “thwack” from the Master’s stick on the student’s head, that makes you wake up and “see,” but you’re not sure yet what you’re seeing, only that this quick-silver clarity is already fading, while something solid and meaty seeped unawares into your bones and shored them up.

If you’ve felt this way before, you know what I mean.

If you haven’t, don’t stress, you will.

Listen to Dickman reading his poem “Slow Dance”, or read the poem “V” I’ve posted below the video. See if it happens to you. Tell me if it does or doesn’t do what I say. I really want to know. People either love his work or hate it, I’ve heard, so either way I’m open.

If you want more, pick up his book All-American Poem.

Or go to the blog where I first found Matthew Dickman reading at The San Francisco Zen Center. It’s about 22 minutes long, but well worth the time it takes to listen to it.

Matthew Dickman reads his poem “Slow Dance” at Narrative Night 2008 in Seattle, Washington.


By Matthew Dickman

The skinny girl walking arm-in-arm

with her little sister

is wearing a shirt that says


and I want to,

I want to put my bag of groceries down

beside the fire hydrant

and whisper something in her ear about long division.

I want to stand behind her and run

a single finger down her spine

while she tells me about all her correlatives.

Maybe she’ll moan a little

when I tell her that x equals negative-b

plus or minus the square root

of b-squared minus 4(a)(c) all over

2a. I have my hopes.

I could show her my comic books

and Play Station. We could pull out

my old D&D cards

and sit in the basement with a candle lit.

I know enough about Dr. Who

and the Star Fleet Enterprise

to get her shirt off, to unbutton her jeans.

We could work out String Theory

all over her bedroom.

We could bend space together.

But maybe that’s not what she’s asking.

The world’s been talking dirty

ever since she’s had the ears to listen.

It’s been talking sleazy to all of us

and there’s nothing about the hydrogen bomb

that makes me want to wear a cock ring

or do it in the kitchen while a pot of water boils.

Maybe, with her shoulders slouched

the way they are and her long hair

covering so much of her face,

she’s asking, simply, to be considered

something more than a wild night, a tight

curl of pubic hair, the pink,

complicated, structures of nipples.

Maybe she wants to be measured beyond

the teaspoon shadow of the anus

and the sweet mollusk of the tongue,

beyond the equation of limbs and seen

as a complete absolute.

And maybe this is not a giant leap

into the science of compassion, but it’s something.

So when I pass her

I do exactly what she has asked of me,

I raise my right hand and make a V

the way Vulcans do when they wish someone well,

hoping she gets what she wants, even

if it has to be in a galaxy far away.


Poetry: The Thing We Die for Lack Of


, , , ,

Paul Klee, Versunkene Landschaft, 1918

Paul Klee, Versunkene Landschaft, 1918

Wallace Stevens once famously said: “You can’t get the news from poems, but men die every day for lack of what is found there.”

It may be hard to argue the truthfulness of that statement when we consider the widespread unpopularity of reading poetry. A recent study finds that “since 2002, the share of poetry-readers has contracted by 45 percent—resulting in the steepest decline in participation in any literary genre.”

Poetry, it appears, is less popular than knitting, jazz, and dance. Perhaps that’s why we need the month of April to celebrate poetry, to help curb the decline and rekindle a comeback.

But Stevens wasn’t arguing that we die from the lack of reading poetry, but from the lack of what is found in there, the thing that inspires poets to put pen to paper, and artists to pick up their brushes, and musicians to play their instruments.

The thing we find in poetry that saves us, that renews us, that keeps us from dying for lack of, is the “poetry” we find in life, in nature, in human experience. In our deepest feelings and highest aspirations. So much of written poetry is about that, discerning the poetry in ordinary life, in things forgotten and overlooked and dismissed, and unfurling it in words on paper for all to read.

The ability to see poetry in all the aspects of our lives is what saves us. We don’t have to be poets to see the beauty, symmetry, grace in our surroundings, the imperfect perfection of ordinary things; to discern the repetitions in patterns, the rhymes and rhythms that surround us, to hear the alliteration, and the way assonance and dissonance complement and complete each other; to understand the contradictions and similarities of things, the subtle differences and deep complexities, to appreciate the humor and irony, the paradox and profundity that weaves itself through our lives.

In all of this is the poetry that poets write about. It’s what makes life rich and diverse and meaningful. It’s what moves us toward compassion and forgiveness, and inspires us toward greatness, and fills us with hope and humility.

The discernment and appreciation of the subtle and glorious intricacies of this grand tapestry in which we are woven–this is what saves us.

And this is what we find in reading poetry, if it is poetry at all.

I’ll leave you with the following poem.


by Pablo Neruda

And it was at that age . . .  Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.


The Luscious Light of Sorolla’s Paintings


, , , , , , ,

Rocks and white boat, Javea - Joaquin Sorolla:

It was love at first sight when I discovered the paintings of Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923). Known as “the painter of light,” his seascapes and beach scenes are drenched in a warm, buttery light, and swim with dazzling swirls of color.

They evoke a dynamic sense of playfulness, as if capturing fleeting moments of the here and now, brief snapshots frozen in time.

They reveal a deep love of nature and the simple pleasures of life.  Sorolla was a family man and many of his paintings feature children at play, mothers with flowing skirts, young women with veils and parasols.

As I enter each painting and let it wash over me, all that luscious light and sensuous movement thrills me, and I feel bathed in bliss

I couldn’t help sharing some of my favorites with you. Enjoy!



Image result for Running along the beach by Sorolla






On the Beach at Valencia - Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida:


Image result for the white boat by Sorolla


Image result for The white boat javea by Sorolla


Joaquin Sorolla - Csak ki a tengerből:


Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida  1863 - 1923:


'Clotilde and Elena on the Rocks at Javea', Oil by Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida (1863-1923, Spain):

Promenade au bord de mer | LASKO:

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida  ArtExperienceNYC

Sorolla - A Spanish impressionist who doesn't get enough recognition.:

Mending the Sail Painting  - Mending the Sail Fine Art Print:




Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 –1923)  "Maria Watching the Fish at La Granja":


My Art or My Novel. Which Would You Choose?


, , , , , , , ,

Mother and children Lange-MigrantMother02

Dorothea Lange’s iconic photograph

Someone asked me recently what I loved more, my painting or my writing? Or, she added, is that like trying to choose which child you love most?

It is a little bit like that. Writing has always been the love of my life. Like a first child, I never thought I could love another as much as I loved him. And then number two came along and I learned that I could. Just as much, but differently.

Some children are easier to raise than others. My writing, like my first child, has wild mood swings. It’s like riding a roller coaster, one moment were up, up, up, dizzy with exhilaration, and the next were down, down, down, hating each other and sure we will never write another word again. But painting, like my second child, couldn’t be easier to live with, and there’s never been a cross word between us. She’s always ready to play when I am, and she keeps me delighted for hours.

Painting gives me more pure pleasure than writing. There’s pleasure in looking for a new project and in planning it. Pleasure in the process of painting and in the finished product. Pleasure hanging it, and every time I enter the room to view it anew.

There’s pleasure in writing too, especially in those first few hours, or days, or weeks, when the writing is hot and flowing out of me like I’m taking diction from some inspired muse. There’s even pleasure in the revision process where I’m weeding out what is extraneous and trying to make it as lean and luscious as possible. There’s pleasure in reading what I’ve written when it goes well, when I’m in the right mood, when I’m feeling confident or inspired.

Those are the peak moments. But in between all this pleasure are deep, deep lows. The sense of futility and frustration and despair can seem overwhelming. And then there are the long droughts when nothing inspires me. And the long, cold slogs when nothing is going well. And the times when I cannot force myself to sit down and try again, to keep it going. When I’d rather clean the toilet or go to the dentist or pull out my own teeth with pliers than sit down and write.

With painting, I never have to force myself to start or finish a project. If anything, I have to force myself to leave it be so I can do the laundry or prepare dinner. It’s not that I absolutely love everything I paint. But at the end of the day, it’s deemed good enough. And I feel my time was well spent. Sometimes I’m thrilled with the results and hang them on the wall. Other times I’m mildly pleased and lean them against some bookcase or pin them on bulletin board. Either way they keep me company. They suffice.

But writing, when I’m finished, disappears from sight. I might get pleasure re-reading it from time to time, but mostly I don’t bother. The few pieces that get published seem to go into a dark vault and are forgotten. Worse are the pieces that were much-loved but remain unread, unpublished. Instead of pleasure is a sense of loss and regret, of unrequited love, of stillborn life.

Given all that, you might wonder why I bother to write at all. Why not give it up for painting?

Because I can’t imaging life without writing. In some ways, for me, it’s like breathing. It seems a natural, intrinsic part of me. I can’t live without it, as difficult as it might be. I’m writing in my head all the time. Thinking and writing gets all rolled up together. Writing–putting thoughts on paper–takes me to a deeper place, and sometimes I don’t know what I think until I write it. It’s like the act of writing pulls up astonishing things from my unconscious and twirls them before my eyes so I can see what I’ve never seen before and be amazed. How could I give up something like that?

Writing this blog gives me pleasure and is a great outlet for my need to write. And your “likes” and comments help to sustain that pleasure, make it seem worthwhile. I don’t feel like the writing has dropped into a black hole or disappeared into cyberspace. I don’t feel I’m engaged in a futile exercise.

But my novel. My poor, poor novel. Unless I return to it, it will remain stillborn. And that I can’t bear. Pleasure or no, I must do it justice and publish it myself if nothing else. But all that takes time. Days, weeks, months of dedicated painstaking work. And I’ve become bewitched by painting. I can hardly stand to be away from her for a minute, let alone days, weeks, months.

So if you were me, what would you choose? Pure pleasure, or high anxiety and uncertain results? The answer seems obvious.

And yet, and yet, in the still of night my novel still calls to me.  In soft, wistful whispers.

Still Playing – Still Life and Florals


, , , , , , ,


I’m still “studying the masters” and playing with style. Most recently with two contemporary artists.

The first is a floral inspired by a David Peikon painting of pink dahlias. I love the way his flowers and surrounding garden fill the whole space, a riot of colors, lines and shapes. I found I enjoyed painting that tangle of leaves of the left as much as, or more so, than the flowers in the center. I didn’t try to copy his leaves but created my own, each shape leading to the next and the next, making it up as I went along. The same with the garden on the right. I tried to keep this side lighter, hinting at what was there and using less detail. I’m happy enough with this to want to frame and display.


I’ve discovered that I like painting detail in a complex design, that I can get lost in it. I’ve also found that I like vibrant colors that fill the whole paper leaving little white space.

That’s probably why Shirley Trevena’s work and her book Taking Risks with Water Color caught my eye. In her book she details how she painted “Pink Pears Red Flowers.” I tried to follow along but kept getting ahead myself. I didn’t want to copy hers, but use some of her techniques and basic design, simplified somewhat, as seen below.


I liked how she started with the rich, red blossoms on the blank white paper and worked outward, filling up the space, placing objects and background patterns, often from her imagination rather than what’s actually before her.

I used some of her techniques to create my first still life drawn from objects collected around my home: an African violet and orchid in bloom, two oranges in an antique bowl, a clay figurine, and a crocheted doily. I wanted the cobalt blue to be the unifying color, and a mix of warmer hues of yellow, gold, orange, and sienna as the complement.



When I finished painting the main objects, I created the surrounding background from my imagination, inspired by the way Trevena breaks up her still life,s with bands of color and patterns.Thus the coral background and strip at the top left and the purple/yellow combo on the right.

While some parts of the painting I like more than others, altogether I’m pleased with my first still life drawn from real life, from things that I love.