My Childhood Popping Plug

childhood popping plug painting by John Morfis
“My Childhood Popping Plug” • 9×6 inches • Oil

Don’t you just hate it when your favorite painting is also your smallest painting? I think this painting was one of my best for 2014. At only 9 by 6 inches it is also my smallest painting. Even though the artwork depicts a fishing lure type of object I still consider it to be part of my tool portrait series – a series of devotional style still life paintings I’ve been creating since the second half of 2013.

Part of me wishes “My Childhood Popping Plug” was just a wee bit bigger, but perhaps its small size is partly responsible for it’s success. This fishing item, an old wooden popping plug was indeed my childhood fishing plug of choice. I can remember begging my father to get it for me so we could catch saltwater blue fish in the creek near our house. After a while my father finally broke down and took me down to “Norm’s Bait Shop” and bought the blue popping plug for me and another plug for himself. Those simple little fishing plugs caught a lot of fish. If I can locate his popping plug I’ll surely be painting it as well. Hopefully I can find it, they are about 30 years old now, man how time flies!

This painting required much detail work. With my trusty liner brush I spent plenty of time perfecting the hooks and eyelets that adorned the popping plug. In the spirit of my entire tool portrait series the hooks were well worn and extremely rusty. Thank you salt water! Painting all that rust certainly called for some burnt sienna and yellow ochre. How often I find myself resorting back to earth tones. It’s no wonder artists where able to create such beautiful paintings with so few pigments way back when.

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