Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fruit For The Greenhouse Gardeners

                                                             An original oil painting, on stretched canvas
                                                             36x24", unframed
                                                             $3,000.00, -(plus $35.00, pack and ship)

     It has rather humble subject matter for a painting this size: some old,clay flower pots,
filled with dirt and broken pot shards; an old galvanized, watering can, which has lost its
sprinkler head; some stray fabric, perhaps used as frost protection for tender plants; a
wandering vine from a philodendron plant; and some fresh fruit.  However, I suppose
those objects were not the real subject of this painting.  Back in the days of my youthful
enthusiasm for experimenting with composition methods, it was more about the painting
process, than it was about the subject matter.
     This is the painting to which I referred in my previous post, Variation On A Cezanne
Motif.  This one dates back a half dozen years or so earlier than that one, to the late
1950's or early 1960's.  I don't think I was too overly conscious of Cezanne's
composition methods at the time that I painted it, but I was certainly in full harmony
with his efforts to create deep space in paintings by making the planes rotate or move
around a central point, back and forth in space, without destroying the picture plane.
Therefore I deliberately modified the shapes and planes of the various objects to further
that effort, such as tilting the bench top at an exaggerated perspective, tilting the watering
can on its axis, and literally tilting one of the flower pots.  All of which combined to create
a strong directional thrust from the lower left corner to the center of the canvas, with
additional elements reinforcing the directional pulls from the lower right and both sides,
continuing that circular movement around the central pivot point.
     I recall that I first made a full scale, preliminary drawing for this painting, using charcoal
and ink, just blocking-in the major elements of the painting, to get a better feel for the
direction I wanted to take the composition.  That drawing must be lost or long gone.

     As for the painting technique, it bares practically no resemblance to the carefully
modulated planes of Cezanne's art.  This one was painted at a time when I, like so many
other artists, was enjoying the the love of paint, and the pleasure of seeing the paint itself
and the evidence of the application process, still visible in the finished painting.  Although
I didn't go quite so far as to have the paint drip and run down the surface of the canvas,
the painting was handled broadly, with undisguised elements of the under-painting and
glazes still showing beneath passages of strong, loaded brush-strokes.  

                                                            (click on image to enlarge)


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Variation On A Cezanne Motif

                                                       An original oil painting, on canvas panel
                                                       24x20", unframed
                                                       $2,000.00, (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     I have been an admirer of Cezanne and the other post-impressionists since my
early school days, and my own work has no doubt been influenced by those modern
masters who led the way for all artists, as we have followed their ground breaking
work.  Several decades or more ago, when I was looking at a book of Cezanne,
still-life paintings, I observed the often overly-elaborate, arrangements he set up to
paint, using favorite objects surrounded by an abundance of fruit, resting on flowing
folds of fabrics.  That abundance was very deliberate of course, so that Cezanne
could create the many, overlapping planes he required for the unique, spacial
organization of his paintings.
     One of the paintings which caught my attention, featured a dramatic swag of
drapery, flowing down from over the upper left portion of the composition, and I
decided to try a simplified study of that kind of arrangement, using just a few, handy
still-life objects.
     I no longer remember the specific Cezanne painting which was the motivation
for me to do this one, or even any of the objects he placed in it, other than the fabric,
but I know that this painting bares no resemblance to the great complexity of Cezanne's
compositions, or to the definitive modulations of his painting technique.  However, for
those viewers who enjoy richly textured, oil paintings, this one does have passages of
vigorously applied, loaded brushwork and painting-knife work.
     Looking at this painting now, it strikes me that the way I handled the fruit has more
in common with Gauguin or Van Gogh, and their interest in Japanese woodblock prints,
than it has with Cezanne's painting method.  Cezanne was on record as disliking the
flattened shapes of Gauguin's painting compositions.
     As for the old, hand-wrought, copper pitcher in this painting, it was purchased in
an antique shop in the mid 1950's.  I know nothing of its history beyond that, but its
quite aged patina makes me wonder if it might once have been used to serve up ale
or hard cider in some Early American tavern.  

                                                           (click on image to enlarge)

     Viewing this painting again, reminds me of an older one that I believe I still have,
which perhaps reflects a stronger influence of Cezanne's approach to composition.
It must be stored away someplace; I will see if I can find it for my next post.

      Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.