Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Glass Ashtray" ACEO

Watercolor on watercolor paper - 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" (NFS)

Happy Easter everyone!

The whole family came over today. I found out my uncle had finally quit smoking cigarettes! This is HUGE! My uncle had been a daily smoker for at least the past 50 years (he's in his early 70's) so to stop "cold turkey" takes real guts and stamina.

I was so excited about the news that I had to mention it on my blog! To tie it into my artwork, I did a tiny painting of the ashtray he used to use when he'd visit.

This was so hard to draw! So many little bends of light. Quite hard to keep track of it all. Almost overwhelming. I started erasing and redrawing so many times I thought I'd ruin the paper. And painting the ashtray was just as difficult with all the layers in the glass.

I wanted to listen to something a bit more "macho" while working on the ashtray. My old RuPaul CD just wouldn't do (sorry Ru--you're still fierce!). I chose Aaron Copland's Rodeo Suite instead. Think masculine....classical....cowboys. Yee-haw!

The artwork was started early this morning. I touched it up here and there along the afternoon, putting the finishing touches on it this evening.

This didn't turn out perfectly. It almost looks like metal instead of glass which annoys me. But for my first real study/painting of glass I think I did a good job.

Just wanted to post something which represented what my uncle accomplished and will continue to accomplish. Way to go, Uncle Bill!

Close-up photo of my amaryllis blooming!

Oh, and my amaryllis bulb opened its first bud this morning. A bright, beautiful pink! Perfect timing, wouldn't you say?

A really great day. I haven't had one of those in a long time. Hope everyone else's was as nice!


Dolores said...

Great news about your uncle. My mother-in-law quit cold turkey after a bout with pneumonia and I really wish my husband would quit. I like your ashtray and I like the fact that it looks like it could be glass or metal. I know very little about painting but maybe if you had used different colours for the background (blue or green) it might have looked more like glass to your liking.

Carolina said...

Hi Dean, beautiful pic of your 'nardo' (amaryllis). The ashtray seems to have been difficult, as you shared. Painting glass is soooo difficult, and, in my very short experience, watercolor is maybe one of the most difficult media to do this. Congrats to you on this one (and to your uncle).

Unknown said...

I am so glad you're having a GREAT day Dean. My hat is off to your uncle. My dad didn't quit his 3 pack a day habit until he had his second heart attack in his 60's.

Love that watercolor piece and I can tell it's glass. We're our own worst critic aren't we? You're so talented, painting , photographing, sketching, writing.

oh, and I love RuPaul too. Did you enjoy his reality series as much as I did? Did you agree with the winner of the "DragRace"?

Windy City Sex blog said...

That's cool. I was going to suggest that you give it to him but you don't want to tempt him.

artbyakiko said...

Great painting of an ashtray! It's an ACEO. I like it a lot.
Beautiful Amaryllis. It must smell really nice.
Way to go, Uncle Bill!

Fábio Cembranelli said...

Hi , it lokks like glass, I'm sure. You did a good job. I like the close-up approach and your backgroud makes the difference.
And your amaryllis is gorgeous, a strong pink. As you know , I love this flower. All the best!

Dean Grey said...


Glad to hear your mother-in-law quit smoking too. Your husband will give up cigarettes when the time is right for him.

Thanks for the suggestions about the different background colors. That might've helped here.



Yes, the ashtray was really tricky to paint. Hopefully I'll get better at painting glass with each new study.

Glad you like the amaryllis photo!



Yeah, it was GREAT to have a GREAT day. LOL

Thanks for the kind words about the ashtray painting. Yes, we are our own worst critic sometimes.

And who doesn't love RuPaul, Sheila? Sorry, I haven't seen "DragRace" yet so I can't comment yet.


Windy City.....!

I thought the same thing.

The painting would've made a nice little memento to give my uncle but I was unsure if it would give him bad flashbacks or something!



Thanks for the compliments on the painting.

The amaryllis really doesn't have much of fragrance unfortunately. But it's so pretty I don't think that matters.



The close-up composition threw me a lot. It was really challenging to draw the ashtray to begin with. Having part of it cropped off made it that much trickier to pencil in.

And I knew you'd love the amaryllis pic! I remember you recently posted your own amaryllis blooming on your blog.

They are lovely flowers, aren't they?


Thanks to EVERYONE for your comments and the kind words for my uncle!


Hannah Rose said...

hi!! just found your blog today, and so far am really enjoying it!! But its just class that I happened upon you when you entry was about random tings!!
I'm 5"4 ut claim 5"5 and get away with it! thank the universe!! i also wear my glasses when i want to be invisable, unfortunatle it only seems to make me more visable!! and am also left handed!! ok sory for rambling, it just seemed cool that i landed on a blog for the first time and all that is me was being celebrated! thanls, if you have mad it this far!!


Hannah Rose

Dean Grey said...

Hello Hannah!

How fortunate for you that you found my wonderful blog! Hahahaaha.

Shorter than you'd like to be.....
Wears glasses.....

You are officially awesome, Hannah!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Mwah back at ya!


Cathy said...

Good news for your uncle! I love your painting of this ashtray! The cold colours make it very powerful, it makes me think of the loneliness found in some Hopper's paintings! A disused object, but also what a lonely smoker can stare at for hours, or what an ex-smoker can look at wondering why he has smoked for so long... somehow it doesn't look tempting at all, just some cold piece of glass.

Dean Grey said...


What an insightful comment!

I never thought about the cold colors in the ashtray like that until now. Looking at it from the eyes of an ex-smoker, like you suggest, gives this artwork new meaning!

Thanks for that!