Still life painting is fun. There, I said it. Gathering the elements of the painting, setting it up, getting the light just right and then finally getting the paint out. It’s all fun. For this particular still life painting, I found something else to have fun with: Going to a thrift store and looking for an old flower vase…
Sometimes it just takes a small adjustment or two to improve your oil painting and not a complete overhaul. I am certainly not the only one who looks back on paintings from years past and says “If I had handled that part differently or this part over here another way, the entire painting would have been a lot better.”
What would be a good way to portray an old, weathered, beat-up football in an oil painting? I don’t know about you, but I thought a straight forward, no-nonsense approach would be best. Before getting into the painting, let me tell you about the football…
A New Oil Painting of an Old Football
The Football – I purchased this football around 1970 when I was about 10 years old with my own money through a mail order ad. The ball arrived in a white, beat-up, square box. This is the football my brother and I played with out in our yard for years. He went on to be an all-state high school football player and received a four year football scholarship to the University of Montana. He got the trophies, I got the ball. This is the same ball that we used when my cousins, uncles and school friends all came over to our house. This would also be the first football my son and I threw around, however he is just not into the nostalgia of this ball, so we have newer ones. This football has been in my possession for so long and has so many of my friends and family members DNA on it, why not make it the star of an oil painting?
The Oil Painting – After “kicking” it around for a bit, it seemed to me that a painting of this old ball should be straight forward with no frills attached. An oil painting of just any old football is not something I would normally be interested in. A football has that shape that I just don’t find that interesting, unless I’m playing football. I felt showing the laces was critical, and the white stripes were important as well.
6 Notes about this Oil Painting
- The football was set out on some sod and positioned over and over again to get a satisfactory “pose”.
- Showing grass and dirt in the painting was a must from the start. No still life oil painting of an old football sitting on the shelf for me. The sod just seemed like a more fitting environment than a table like the one in the oil painting of My Grade School Lunchbox, another sports painting.
- While not the most dynamic composition an artist has ever conceived, the intent was to be bold and hit the viewer with the ball without any hesitation.
- There would be no “rooting” for a particular football team or university in the form of colors or logos. This oil painting is about the sport and kids playing ball in the back yard, not about the big business of football.
- The touch of red on the nose of the ball is intentional for color and to symbolize blood. Hey, it’s a tuff game, things happen.
- While there is lettering still on the ball, I did not think adding a lot of lettering or stitching into the painting added to the piece.
The Extra Point: I have done other sport themed paintings, such as “Still Life Painting with a Baseball Theme“, and I enjoy them, however from a business point of view, they do not seem to be as popular as a traditional landscape paintings. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because sports are seasonal, but landscapes are always in season. Just a guess.
Now that this oil painting of the ol’ football is done, I think it’s probably time to moisten that leather up a bit and retire it. Time to also start a new painting.
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