After covering my tender, newly planted veggies for the past couple evenings I surveyed the damage and hoped for a bountiful harvest throughout the summer and fall. Only a few leaves were nipped by the frost and so I look forward to recording some of the treasures I pull from the land that is so generously afforded me for reaping.
This tiny oil painting was worked up from a photo I took on the last day of gathering the final goods from my country garden a few years ago. Bulging tomatoes and a few stray cucumbers bask in the glow of a late day sun on a bed of dirt encrusted carrots, their feathery greens draped over the basket rim. The rumpled garden shoes look weary of many seasons of tredging through muddy fields and kicking through tangles of weeds. I believe they were retired after this photo.
Sometimes the vibrant colors of the fruit will inspire me to set a few pieces on the table as I encourage my daughters to join me in drawing their versions of what will eventually become our supper. The chalk drawing on the red background is just such a piece, and as I pulled it from one of my portfolios of older pieces I became curious as to what were considered some of the most famous still lifes.
There were such a wide variety of suggestions, and way too many wonderful pieces to select just one as my favorite. So I decided to mention just a few that caught my eye as I researched the subject. I like how in one of the articles I read, they mentioned that a series of still lifes seemed to be a rarity for Claude Monet but were a good fall back for days when bad weather forced him indoors. And so it is with me, when a live model can’t be found I’ll begrudgingly pull together a few objects for a still life, or go to my stash of photos to do a quick drawing or painting.
A couple of selections from the suggested list of famous still lifes instantly inspired a closer look: Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier, by Paul Cezanne; it’s beautiful strokes of color in the background and the jug are as delicious as any fruit that might be set out for display.
And some of Edouard Manet’s Still Lifes with fish are absolutely lovely.
I can’t help but to also include as one of my own favorites, Mary Cassat’s Lilacs in a Window, the colors are as wonderful as a breath of spring air. I think I shall go out and cut a bunch from the bush outside my door to bring in to savor today. Maybe there’s a still life about to be born.