I painted this one from a photo I took at my parents’ a couple of years ago. They have a few fruit trees and that particular year, the pear trees were obligingly full of fruit – plump and hanging low on the branches.
Perhaps I should change the title to “A Study in Green” from Tom’s playful poem.
A Study in Green
“It is a mystery!” said Holmes
examining a pear
and recollecting weighty tomes
to learn what might be there.
“You see, through looking-glass I see
these fruit so ripe upon their tree
yet when I gaze with mine own eye
I do see nothing! Just blue sky!”
“You have the glass most angled, Holmes,”
good Watson did reply.
They both were lying on the ground
beneath the summer sky
amidst the greenly ripening pears
ignoring all the farmer’s stares
who had hired them to discover
where his wife would meet her lover.
“Oh, I see!” said Holmes at last
and bounced up to his feet
inspecting carefully the grass
still green in summer heat.
“This is the place! I do declare
where the lovers made their lair!
Just look how olive drab the shade
has turned the turf where they have laid!”
“How could you know?” the farmer asked,
and Holmes gave his reply:
“The lover was myself, of course!
And now it’s time to fly!”
Tom added: “The greens of this piece made me immediately think, “A study in green”,
which jumped me to “A Study in Scarlett”, which was the first Sherlock
Holmes novel. :-)”
Everything at the market is so inspiring at this time of year! I deliberately chose the apples that still had some leaves attached – partly because then I can tell that the apples are really fresh …but mostly because I like to paint the leaves. The wooden bowl I put the apples in has an oval shape – the view is pretty much looking straight down. I painted this alla prima and had lots of fun playing with colour as usual.
Tom wrote a nostalgic feeling poem for this one.
Early mornings on the way to school
in crisp September under shifting skies
I’d pick an apple, hard and tart and cool:
a burst of flavour telling me no lies,
just flooding all my senses with its taste
and texture, scent, and colour, then the crack
of every bite in autumn silence. Haste
devoured it to the core. No looking back
upon a lonely childhood would be fair
without those moments pure and full, delight
in what the world might be, what’s waiting there
for anyone who reaches for a height.
Apples gave us knowledge, so it’s told
Apples gave me beauty, bright and bold.
Starting with a poppy in the centre of this mandala seemed in tune with this time of year. Poppies and remembering.
Life is rather unsettled at the moment so it may be a while before I watercolour this. I wanted to share the black and white version anyway – since black and white also seems in tune with November.
Tom’s stirring poem:
Storm winds blow the scattered leaves of autumn
through the empty air, across the fields,
into ditches, craters, holes, and trenches
where a sniper aims for lost ideals:
service, duty, glory, resolution,
patriotic feeling, good and right,
huddled in the rank’s malign confusion
readying to rise and charge and strike.
The minutes tick around the face of time
measuring the heartbeats of the dead
breathing in the shadows, asking why
the blood of men so innocent is shed
for empire and for nation and for fear,
when all who seem so far are truly near.
In memory of Private George Lawrence Price, the last Canadian to die in WWI, two minutes before the Armistice:
For the next few weeks there will be less (or no) oil paintings and more watercolour or ink pieces. We are moving soon and the idea of trying to move wet oil paintings makes me cringe. Anyway, it is great to have other, quicker drying media that are also fun!
Dancing patterns of leaves fascinate me at this time of year and the colour play can be subtle or bold making for potentially endless variety. It’s very freeing because basically, all decisions work out looking good!
I always love Tom’s poems but this one is especially wonderful, I think.
Stems of autumn, soft decay
permeates their fallen leaves
yet still some beauty, green and grey,
falls between their stalks and sleeves
as season’s cycle yearns and turns
autumnal colours flare and burn
to scent the air with voiceless smoke
that rises from the forest’s coke
within the loam’s dark furnace hot
where summer crumbles into coals
and for the days of warmth there tolls
a curfew’s bell of iron wrought.
Falling figures through still air
dance for all that may be there.
This was a day when everything felt easy. Other times you need to struggle through the process but days like this are a joy.
…and here is a wonderful poem from Tom to go with this painting.
fractured crystal of the sky
scattering the evening light
as the darkness drawing nigh
ushers in the quiet night
to cloak world in winter cold
as lonely souls each other hold
and round the fire a tale is told
of bygone heroes, brave and bold
until the teller silent falls
and voices rise in ancient song
praying winter won’t be long
as the restless crows each call
while the stars come out in pairs
between the angled branches bare
Maybe not the very last of the season but with just a few in the box, it seemed like a good title. Juicy and sweet, they have to be eaten carefully …or with abandon, letting the juice run down your chin and arms!
The glowing purple-red of the plums contrasts with the dull green cardboard box.
More of the season’s bounty – delicious “prune plums”. Ever since I learned that prune is the French for plum, this name has seemed curiously redundant. 🙂 I believe these are the type of plums that are dried into prunes hence the logic of the name in English but they were delicious fresh!
As usual, this was painted alla prima (in one quick session). The background green-ish yellow colour was chosen as complimentary to the plums.
Find joy in the simple things and may the day bring you contentment!
Third in the series with Bartlett pears this time – a lovely green with subtle warm tones hinting towards red and yellow. The ribbed blue bowl added a fun counterpoint to the organic pear forms. The background contains the complimentary colours of the subject. This 6″x 6″ oil on gessoed board was painted alla prima and as with all three “pair of pears”, painted entirely with a #10 flat brush.
May the simple things in life bring you joy and contentment!
Continuing the autumnal harvest theme with more pears – this time red Anjou pears. Such a gorgeous colour! The painting came together with the complementary green(ish) colour of the background and some hints of green in the pears.
Once again, alla prima fun – oil paint on 6″ x 6″ gessoed board.
The cooling days and season of harvest inspired me to take a look at pears – to start, the golden brown colour and elegant shape of Bosc pears.
This is a small 6″x 6″ oil painting. Working at this scale is freeing since the time commitment is much less than larger pieces. It was simply a pleasure to use the alla prima technique (all done in one session) and see the piece come together quickly. With this method, the brushwork has an immediate, fresh quality that I enjoy.