A complex still life image, in a nutshell
Driving Me Nuts is a beautiful image to me because of the inherent challenges of the subject matter. Nuts are difficult to paint because of the rough textures that do not reflect the light and the dull colors.
Here, instead of relying on a rainbow of colors, I kept the palette sparse and explored the impact of light and shadow instead. I’m particularly pleased with how the double shadow adds brooding drama against the background.
As mentioned before, nuts are not the most sumptuous of nature’s bounty to paint. To enhance the aesthetic qualities the subjects did have, I arranged (and rearranged) the nuts to get a balanced, yet interesting, composition.
I also manipulated the lighting to provide maximum visual interest. Notice for example, how even the grainy surfaces glows with the right intense light. Getting the light right was a struggle, though. I eventually developed a movable track lighting system where I can add lights from both above and below.
The gentleman who purchased the original painting of Driving Me Nuts was the son of parents who owned a nut and bolt production company. His family would always joke that he “grew up in the nut house.” I love it when my work strikes an emotional chord like that - especially one I couldn’t have possibly anticipated.