Krista Schoening is our November 2012 Artist of the month. Her oil painting Tea Stack was a finalist in the still life/floral category of The Artist’s Magazine’s 28th Annual Art Competition. “The joy I found in painting lured me away from graduate school. For a period of about four years I studied full time between the Ryder Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Studio Escalier in France,” says Schoening.
A Twist on Tea
Just before I set up this still life, I was painting a study of one of my grandmother’s tea cups. I had borrowed several, which were sitting on the sideboard. Their colors and glossiness appealed to me, and I wanted to see them in a vertical format. I liked the idea of stacking them and twisting them, to give a sense of movement and provide me with a challenging problem of perspective.
For this painting, I first drew the still life in graphite. When I was satisfied with my drawing, I transferred the drawing to canvas using charcoal rubbed on the back of a cartoon. Then I proceeded with a chromatic underpainting, followed by an opaque final painting. Based on the drawing and the painting, I also made a Tea Stack etching.
Tea Stack took me about a month to paint. Each painting has its own pace, so it is hard for me to generalize about how long I spend on a painting. I have completed some paintings in three hours, and others in three months
The saucer was my favorite aspect to paint— the color is lush, and its patterning makes some wonderful shapes.
My primary painting medium is oil, and my preferred drawing medium is graphite. In addition, I make intaglio prints when I can find the facilities. Sometimes I play with other media, but I would rather master the media I already use than have a general understanding of multiple media.
I enjoy visual knowledge; it is vague, open and speaks to human understanding on different terms than textual information. My work is an exploration of visual phenomena, and I am constantly asking myself what I would like to see. Being able to look carefully and at length is not something that our culture encourages, so I am grateful that as a painter I have the privilege to marvel at the light on a stack of tea cups, or witness the slow death of a flower. That sort of experience may seem archaic, but for me it is the source of much delight.
MORE RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS