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Dining Room Art

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Oil on paper study for painting, “Dining Room”, Nancy Gail Ring, copyright 2010.

Here is another study of my dining room that I am doing in preparation for a series of large paintings I will begin soon. It’s the reason my baking posts have been less frequent lately.

There is always a balance that artists have to keep between what we need to do to survive, like working for money, cooking, cleaning and taking care of children, and what we need to do to make art, like making priorities that preclude a perfectly organized house and full social calendar such as long periods of solitude in the studio.

Conversely, there is also a richness of experience, necessary to art-making, that comes from simply living life — doing dishes, gardening, spending time with friends and family. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn, who also writes poetry, once said that there would be no poetry without gardening, meaning that if he did not experience life, there would be no inspiration to draw from when contemplating the form the art will take.

I have been living life, and lots of it, in this dining room for years and years. I hope the paintings will eventually be informed and deepened by that experience. If you know the paintings of Jan Vermeer, you will notice that I have given a small nod in this piece to his “Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid.” Read on for a reproduction of Vermeer’s painting and to see if you can pick out the details that repeat in mine. 


Jan Vermeer, 1670-72; Oil on panel, 72.2 x 59.7 cm; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

see also: Dining Room Art

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Life is a continual balance of duties, pleasures, priorities. The study for your painting is just beautiful and it’s easy to see the influence from Vermeer - one of the best in capturing that soft light from the window.

    – ciaochowlinda (March 14 2010 at 9:23)

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