I thought it would be a good idea to check in and tell you about what I'm working on and thinking about. Bear with me, since this one doesn't have any pictures.
Painting inanimate objects is great. It's kind of my thing. Nevertheless, I have lately been feeling the urge to stretch out into less familiar territory. So, I've been working on two different projects over the last several weeks: a self-portrait and a figure study / portrait of a friend. I don't have any images to share yet, but I promise I'll post something eventually. After that is finished, maybe I will work on some larger still-life pieces and some outstanding commissions.
I read a number of blogs on a (mostly) daily basis, and I am a fan and spectator of the current "painting a day" / alla prima phenomenon. Though you might not suspect this based on my work, some of my favorite larger paintings look like they could have been produced in one sitting, like this painting of peonies by Manet. Producing a painting in one or two sittings provides quick gratification since my time is at a premium. It can help preserve the immediacy and spontaneity of my impressions, like a sketch. The alla prima method appeals to my genuine enjoyment of new things and fresh experiences and bold brushwork, but - let's face it - also to my good ol' fashioned Protestant work ethic and my obsession with efficiency. As a fairly typical "type A" person, I am easily sucked into this feverish pace of modern life.
Sometimes you just can't knock out a masterpiece in three hours. Now that Spring is in the air, I need to take a deep breath, slow down a little, step back a bit. Be a little more patient with myself. Experiment. Give myself room to fail. We'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted.