The Apples of my Eye

Last night it was oranges, today it was apples.  And now we can compare apples with oranges. 

I followed the same pattern as yesterday.  I drew first, then I painted.  To be more exact, I made pencil drawings, then an oil pastel drawing, then a water soluble crayon drawing, followed by the painting above.

The changes in medium dictate what you can describe and thus alter the way you think about the subject.

Each one has qualities it renders easily and qualities the medium can render only with difficulty.  And some qualities, of course, it cannot render at all — and that’s gotta really press you to think.

I don’t just think about the objects, but about each little corner of photons bunched together.  Every little “piece” of what you see can become a small composition in its own right, an object of meditation, a color or line thingy to yearn for.  A speck of color, a change from dark to light, a edge that diffuses into its surroundings ….  The world is wonderfully colored and composed.

In even a little clump of apples together.

Oh, my darling Clementine!

Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling, Clementine!

In the wake of my couple hours at the museum, I return to my still life plans with renewed enthusiasm.  I’m not sure why, but I always accept the gift of pleasure when it comes and try not to ask too many questions.  Something about copying the other guy’s still life objects (in this case figs belonging to Frans Snyders) jazzed up my experience of the colors, shapes and lines of my own set up.  I made these drawings last night — wanted to do something while that good feeling was still mentally vivid.  And I decided to approach my still life in the same way I had done at the museum:  I made some fast pencil drawings first.

Drawing the bright orange Clementines with pencil turns into a nice meditation upon tonal strength.  Without the umph of orange dazzling chroma, you have to find other means for deciding how to be emphatic.  I learned a new appreciation for nuances of dark and the wonder of figuring out where and how much gets you some magic (I’m still figuring).

I don’t really need to make the pencil drawings to do the color version, but making them helps nonetheless.  Having made the pencil version, I already know something about my subject.  We’ve already shaken hands and gotten beyond the formalities and are well on our way to the beginnings of a wonderful friendship.

(Just for the record, I didn’t actually sing the song while I was working, but it does make a clever post title.)