You Say Tomato…. I See a Painting

Yellow tomatoes are turning up in the farmers’ markets here. Before getting wisked away and guillotined into a sandwich, this one made it into the studio.


Tomato Parasol 8 x 10 oil/panel

It sidled in next to an old, brown apothecary bottle that was rescued from the back of a cabinet where  reverse size places relegated it to status of invisible. It’s good to clean forbidden and frightening areas of the kitchen every few years.

I was trying for a ” study ” here, rather than a finished piece and taking the advice of admired artists Theresa Rankin, Mike Rooney and non-artist, my husband, who has also been encouraging me to ” just paint ” and not anguish over each canvas as though it was making its’ debut at the Jeu du Paume ( he didn’t say that, I did ).

Getting the reflections on the brown glass was a challenge. Doing it in one sitting, or standing, was my goal. And the tomato- well, it was a little ” dice-y”.

Almost as soon as I cleared the area, one of the studio assistants occupied the void.

life-still-blogLife, still.   5.5 lbs, on drape

Everyone has a recommended way of cleaning and storing brushes after painting. This seems to work very effectively:


I read about this method on Carol Marines‘ fabulous blog ( the queen of still life ) and tried it. After cleaning in solvent of your preference, I use OMS, and then follow with a washing in water and ” B&J Brush Cleaner, a white paste in a small jar, I gently squeeze the excess moisture out and sort of  mummify each brush in a small square of paper towel. It tames those little errant hairs that zing up like brush cowlicks and ruin the sharpness of a good brush. Excellent.

And because I expect some of you miss those wonky categories of ” What IS that? “, maybe you’d like to contribute your best guess as to what this is before I identify it.



I have them every day.

Because they keep coming back.

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30 Responses to “You Say Tomato…. I See a Painting”

  1. w1kkp Says:

    Umm…I guess… Tumbleweed.

    Love that tomato parasol and the slacker assistant.

    Ps. When I scrolled down to finish reading your blog, I could read the name of your jpg, that’s how I guessed Tumbleweed! Otherwise, I would have guessed the contents of a vacuum!

  2. Noel Luria Says:

    I would guess Crucian Dust Bunnies

  3. Mary Ann Mahoney Says:

    It looks like nest building stuff. Do you have birds making deliveries and waiting for a building permit?

  4. Donald Diddams Says:

    I say Noel is on the right track. Looks to me like the daily sweepings of dog hair, etc. We have things just like it only black. I imagine the dogs get tired producing all that hair… probably why they sleep so much.

    Nice painting again, Bonnie. And I bet that tomato was good!

  5. Anthony Says:

    I think its time to stop and eat…
    I see sliced yellow tomatoe, fresh buffalo mozzarel, basil leaves on a baguett drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar…yumee!

    Oh that had the distinct possibility of being your assistants hair ball.

    I love the title and the painting!
    Go B

  6. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Dang it- Pat- I forgot about the hidden jpeg ID under the cursor. Now I’m the curser. Vacuum might have been right except that this precludes the vacuum. It’s one mornings’ worth of brooms without borders.

    Noel- excellent points for the correct spelling of Crucian and a star for item recognition.

    Mary Ann- the birds are in a flockin’ union and don’t wait for stinking permits.

    Don- pretty close guess as it’s contents are partially correct.
    Let’s add to that dog hair, the sweepings from steroidal spiders, moth wings, and regurgitated grasses from one of four mammals.

    Anthony- yea, you made it to the comment section- welcome and now I’m hungry. Love that combination you described. What condition do you think a baguette would be in if I mail ordered one?

    Now everyone else will know what that amorphous bouquet was.

  7. mike rooney studios Says:

    the second benefit to painting small knockouts… lots of new comments on your blog LOL

    ps your husband sounds like my wife. doesnt know two cents about art but is right 100% of the time about it.

  8. Jala Pfaff Says:

    Love the painting!

    Love the kitty!

    Is that a hairball?

  9. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Did you change your blog format??? It looks so different. Love your STUDY!!!
    Is that your kitty or a visitor??

    As for the WHAT IS THAT??? (I’ve got one for you… coming up in the near future on my blog…. As soon as I saw it I thought of your last WHAT IS THAT photo… so cool.) Anyway… it’s either a dust bunny made from your kitty’s fur OR it’s the cast-off cocoon from one of those marvelous caterpillars you have their on your island…. WHICH IS IT?? or what else???

  10. carol king Says:

    dicey? really? ow!

    great study. not like your usual work, but I like it.

    If kaiya came to visit your “what is it?” photo item would be MUCH LARGER!

  11. S. Le Says:

    To me the “What is it?” looks like a hair ball mixed with dryer lint.

  12. wrjones Says:

    A very nice study. I bet you found it more fun to paint than striving for perfection.

  13. Judy (Reggie's sister) Says:

    Is it spider webs and leaves? Nice painting. I agree that it is a good idea to just relax and paint and not worry about whether it is a master piece or not. It helps me to loosen up and get the creative juices going again.

  14. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Mike- it’s a great way to get back in the groove. Small paintings are the equivalent of surfacing slowly from deep water so you don’t get the ” painting bends “.

    Jala- if you read some of the above, you’ll have a better idea of what accumulates here in the course of ONE day!

    Marion- you come with such imaginative posts- yes, it’s one of my two kitties, who rule alongside the two dogs.
    That should give you a partial answer to the mysterious pile.
    Read some of my above comments to find out the rest.
    My format looks different, huh! I didn’t knowingly change anything. Maybe it’s the wizards of WordPress.

    Carol, Kaiya would push this pile into a three dimensional factor of 10. Bring some in your suitcase when you come the next time.

    S.Le- a good supposition. It does look like dryer lint. Although we line dry here and almost never use the dryer unless it rains for three days which it hardly ever does.

    Bill- I did it for YOU. Carrying around the weight and judging tone of you, pushed me to do this. And I can’t wait to do another one. They really are good exercises. Thank you:-)

    Judy- Also see some of my above comments to end the suspense.
    You’re right about just painting for pleasure and relaxation. The lessons come anyway.
    Happy New Year to you.

  15. ted Says:

    Roomba vomit?

  16. ted Says:

    Love the bottle and tomato!

  17. nathaliewithanh Says:

    Happy New Year Bonnie!!! I’m back from Belgium’s frozen tundra.

    Very nice painting but it looks like your assistant is slacking off. Where is Larry when you need him?

    Where is Larry?

    I hope little pieces of him are not included in the “What is that” photograph. He’s there every day and he keeps coming back. Perhaps not anymore?

  18. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Ted- Roomba knows better than to eat this in the first place.

    Nathalie- welcome back from that frozen wasteland of family dysfunction. Yes, I read your new installment.
    Good to be home, no?

    Larry, is now reticent about coming out as much since I am the lone papparazzi. He preferred the three lenses and the endless attention.
    I just can’t seem to do enough for him.

  19. Bill Guffey Says:

    Hi Bonnie. Very well done. Nice and loose. The bottle really looks good.

    I don’t take care of my brushes as I should (probably). But I think as long as you’re consistent, whether you clean them or not even, you’ll know what they will do when you use them. You’ve got to know your tools.

  20. Dar Says:

    The painting looks great.
    Oh, we’re supposed to take care of our brushes? I have so much to learn.

  21. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Bill, thanks for the good words. Taking good care of brushes is something I have to consider since everything has to be sent by mail order.

    Dar- Glad you stopped by. Another brush abuser! Oh, isn’t painting so all about learning.

  22. Sharon Crute Says:

    Your brushwork injects so much energy into your “still” life.

    Re: care of brushes. Ivory bar soap and spit. I’m still using brushes that are 25+ years old. (ouch)

    Re: husband comments. Mine says those things and much more.

  23. Ginger Says:

    I like your hint about wrapping your brushes in paper to keep the bristles straignt, after cleaning them. An inexpensive brush cleaner that I use for my brushes is Murphy’s Oil Soap. It removes the oil paint that the MO or turp might have missed and leaves the brushes in great condition.

  24. solvay Says:


    Just stopped by to say how great were your words on Frank’s sad post. Wise and compassionate, both. It’s hard to do that in these situations where words are vastly inadequate, and most fumble with them or stay terse. You soared above that human incapacity and wrote words that broke through with touch. They moved me and they weren’t even directed towards me. Thank you for that loveliness!


  25. wrjones Says:

    Well, apparently you can wait.

  26. frank gardner Says:

    Hi Bonnie, That is a good attitude. Just paint and not worry about the outcome before it is even started.
    I saw what is was when I rolled over the photo, but maybe it would make a nice subject your next painting.

  27. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Frank- so glad to see you back.
    Yes it’s true that our own expectations of ourselves can freeze us into paralysis and take the fun out of what we love.
    I’m going to channel my third grade self, who didn’t care a whit about the end, just the doing.

    Thanks so much for dropping by again.

  28. Bill Sharp Says:

    Bonnie, I like this study. Do like me and call everything a study, then you don’t have to worry about making it perfect, or even good.

  29. Bonnie Luria Says:

    Bill- I was actually encouraging myself to approach this one with the fluid abandon that I like so much in your work.
    A very clever ploy on your part to call them all studies.
    Excellent advice.

  30. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    This is beautiful and I love the studio assistant.
    Also, I’m finally getting the hang of that value thing. You hold it out in front, right?

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