04 Jan

Pleasures of Produce

Tomato Landscape

This isn't a New Year's resolution about eating better, but take it that way if you prefer. My “produce aisle” paintings are very popular – fruits, veggies, wine bottles, etc. They’re often purchased in multiples for collectors’ kitchens or bathrooms. This doesn't bother me in the least. In fact, I find it flattering that people want to see my art so frequently.

These images are fun to paint because they’re big, juicy shapes that are less complicated than my cityscapes  and require less intense concentration. Finishing a still life relatively quickly is a nice break. It often provides immediate gratification, too – eating the subjects as soon as I'm done, because painting uses lots of energy and makes me hungry!

Not surprisingly, it’s the colors that inspire me. My experience at a farmers market with a friend is typical. She got excited about using the half dozen kinds of peppers to make ratatouille, while I raved about their half dozen colors. Then I set them up in a blue bowl – the only color not represented by a pepper – to paint them.

Even a vegetable can have meaning I want to capture. Gifts from gardeners often show up in my paintings, as do goodies from our local CSA farm share. If I don’t feel it, I simply get bored and can’t paint it. Here’s an example of a painting that started as a still life set-up in a workshop. I gave it more vibrancy with complementary colors and imagined it as a surreal landscape to keep myself interested.

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