Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daffodils ~

Oil on linen, 30" x 24" ~

I picked these King Alfred daffodils thinking they'd be bitten by a frost. Like the first ikebana, they were thrust, albeit not by a samurai, casually in a vase of violet glass. Not as much wabi as a water bucket on a battlefield, but good enough to make me think of painting it.

The design in the background is a 5 yard piece of indigo batik, by my friend Oyeniyi Obanji, a Yoruba artist and Sango dancer living in Osogbo, Nigeria. I added the silk to bring some more violet in.

Over the years I've painted and drawn daffodils a number of times. It's a way to celebrate Spring.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lemons ~

I'm sure that I must've painted lemons at some time when I was a kid. I did paint still-lifes, and some of them were surely stereo typical bowls of fruit - (is this one stereo-typical?) - but then maybe I wouldn't have considered lemons to be IN a fruit bowl when I was a kid. It would have been banana, grapes, orange, apple, in that order, in a wooden bowl. I knew what I liked.

I liked lemons, in desserts, and even the way my mom liked them, with salt. Cebah put salt on all kinds of things. She also made superlative lemon merengue pies, lemon bars, lemon pudding, lemonade, you name it. She liked granata, of course, when she tasted it. I introduced that one as an adult.

I think the first lemons were painted, on cardboard, in my teens, along with bread and a bottle of wine. I am a romantic. Then they were there because where I cook I like them to be, and because they were yellow. I think my nephew has this painting - it survived. So did the romantic.

The first time the lemons co-starred was in a mid-80s still-life, "Larks and Lemons." My dad brought me two dead field larks that he found in a snow drift. He knew that I liked to paint birds. The brilliant yellow breasts of the larks were slashed with a jet black V. On a sky blue cloth they were perfect with the lemons, like their Spring song, always a little dampness in the fields when you hear it - a penetrating thing, a single high falling note, like a very hopeful sigh. They are called "star-(bird)" by the Cherokee, because of the star-point pattern their tail feathers make as they fly. It all goes together.

The night before last they arrived in the dream, painted, along with the yellow cloud of daffodils and enough romanticism to pierce the mist of Spring birth-pang chill, and awaken, astounded at life's beauty, the lemons heaped in a stone bowl, glowing mysteriously tart in the middle of everything.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leaping Rabbit ~

A clay model for a bronze ~ 9" x 15"

Friday, March 4, 2011

On My Table ~ ink, brush, paper ~

Last night I dreamed about drawing the lemons on my table. It wasn't this drawing, but it did involve ink. It also involved the red clay from here on the hill, used as a pigment. And it was just the lemons.

But when I got out the paper to draw, all the other things on the table were interesting too, so I did everything, and omitted the red clay. Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, I'll try the lemons again. I could paint all the time just now.