Here’s a painting I did back in the spring but missed posting. I was in a local shop, caught a glimpse of some of these wonderful lemons and had to take at least one home. The colour as you can see, is much oranger than regular lemons and I really enjoyed how the slices glowed in the sunlight. They are also just sweet enough to eat as is …OK pretty tangy! I also had some fun with the wave pattern Japanese plate I put the lemon pieces on.
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.
Fruit in the summer is endlessly pleasing both to taste (so much better that supermarket winter stuff) and to look at. I was at the market and selected the box of plums with a few leaves attached …it makes me feel closer to the tree! I put these warm yellowy-peach coloured plums in a blue bowl that made them sing. Complimentary colours don’t always get me excited but I thought this worked.
Tom’s poem is a riff on a very famous 20th C American poem by William Carlos Williams. If you don’t know it, check out the link. Amusing!
You just need to hear
You have painted
that were on
I waited to eat
they are beautiful
and so bold
After not oil painting for a few months, I wanted to warm up with studies of cherries. The colour of the cherries was so gorgeous, they were calling to me! I painting them twice in the same pottery bowl which was glowing with sunlight and alive with reflections and shadows. Giving some indication of this while maintaining a painterly approach was the challenge. (The second one is more close up as well as subtly different in other ways.)
Here’s a wonderfully fun poem from Tom that argues …cherries alone are not enough!
They say life’s not a bowl of cherries
which seems to me just fine
for who would want their life, so merry,
to be gulped by summer swine
who stand and chat around the bowl
enjoying snacks and banter droll?
I’d rather life be like a feast
confected from odd ends, at least
a mix of bitter, sweet, and sour,
salty, savory, sumptuous:
it seems a bit presumptuous
to let one fruit alone devour
all the rest, however sweet,
I want a life diverse, complete!
What can I say? It’s fall and so it’s time to be inspired by all the fruit that is ripe and delicious right now. Pears have such a beautiful form and playing with colour within that shape was a pleasure.
I love how Tom’s poem combines all the senses in curious ways – just right to celebrate the overwhelming sensory input of the season. (The painting’s title is taken from the poem.)
Flagrant tapestry of light
disposed upon a simple plate
gives great pleasure to the sight
beguiling those who stand and wait
for just a taste of beauty’s touch
or perfume’s lovely sound. So much
is taken, still yet more abides,
and to us now on art’s spring tides
come simple feasts for senses all
served up with synethetic flair that melds the mind with plate and pairs
sweet voice with the scents of fall:
a smorgasbord of pure delight to lift our fancy in its flight.
(Tom says: Note Tennyson reference in “much is taken, much abides”.)
I wanted to explore patterns in a way inspired by William Morris. Lemons with their shapely yellow fruit, graceful leaves and pretty blossoms were a perfect subject to play with. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon creating this piece.
Tom’s poem puts the piece into a larger context.
Deep falls the sky behind the lemon trees
that grow beneath a blue which England knows
only through the hint of summer breeze
and ships that carry treasure in their holds:
fine fruits from distant lands where tropic suns
beat upon the backs of all who toil
in field and orchard, where the Empire runs
amok amidst the beauty and the spoil.
In fecund seasons endless bounty waits
for those who do not scruple at the cost
of houses overseeing fine estates
where none wander and yet all are lost.
Yet too this England grows a different kind
who will tend her gardens in our time.
More apples. This time there was more space to breathe around the subject and the footed bowl and background became an important part of the composition. The colours and pattern of the background looked good in my minds eye and were a pleasure to paint. The piece came together really smoothly.
Tom’s poem approaches the subject from another viewpoint compared to the previous apple poem …another kind of knowledge. Once again it seems just right for the painting!
Upon a pedestal ensconced
above a blue tabula rasa
just waiting for some renaissance
artiste, who from forbidden Lhasa,
high in Himalayan climes,
has walked the paths and learned the rhymes
of gurus old and lamas young
until she knows what’s wrought or wrung
from patterns cast upon the wall
of Plato’s cave are hardly all
that we can know when truth is sung:
for the artist sees the deep
where hidden knowledge lurks and leaps.
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!