Tewkesbury Barons, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 inches
Not often, but occasionaly, I find it hard to let go of a painting for a while.
It may be an emotional attachment of some kind, or sometimes just because I want to keep looking at it for a while.
I read recently (I can’t rememeber where) a quote that went something like “your last painting will tell you what your next painting needs to be”.
That’s why I’ve kept this one in the studio for a while. It was telling me something about where I was heading, and how I might get there.
It had to do with the texture, partly. I spent a long time with this painting carefully building up the texture in the background, trying to get it to the right point so that it added life but didn’t detract from the subject.
You can let me know in the comments if you think I got the balance right 🙂
I scraped it with a palette knife, went over it with a scrunched up cloth to wipe parts away, went over it again with a paper towel with carefully mixed colours of paint after it was dry, mottling it, I sanded it – anything I could think of that would add texture.
On the shelf too, I tried to create a texture that brushes can’t make, that would somehow help the shelf to live in the painting more, to feel and not just look like old wood.
It was exhilerating, and somewhere along the way I found something that fell in love with and wanted to be reminded of for a while.
I mentioned emotional attachment. That comes from the flower. Recently, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught early, she’s doing well and it’s likely that she’ll make a full recovery. I know many of you out there will know how that moment feels, when you’re told the news.
A few days later, a friend came over and brought with her a bouquet of white chrysanthemums, this is one of them.
I’d had a set up of the apples for a little while, moving it around and changing it without really finding anything that said “paint me”.
Although I added the carnation to the set up to add some variation of value (I could see that the subject would need it) it also brought with it multiple layers of meaning.
That may be the real reason I found this one hard to release, at first.
But now I have, and I’m looking forward to it going out into the world and finding a new owner, someone who will perhaps find something in it that moves them, another layer of meaning of their own to add.
I hope so.
The apples themselves, after which the painting is named (perhaps as a diversion from the emotional meaning) are a wonderful variety, large and deep red, almost black sometimes. Like all my apples now, they came from my friends’ traditional orchard farm, and are an endangered variety.
Dave was so excited to show them to me! He loves to bring me varieties I haven’t seen that have something remarkable about them. I think he might be secretly hoping I’ll make paintings of them.
This time, I did. But it was really the crysanthemum that made the painting.
Best wishes and thanks for reading,
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