The Motive in the Motif

If you could know why you paint what you paint …  I am thinking that perhaps the placement of objects might hold the keys to the soul?  Too strong a thought?  I have written before about my epiphanous moments at the grocery store conveyor belt where I note that I arrange my purchases with Cartesian rigor.  When I paint (thankfully) I am rather more laid back.  But the selection of things and their arrangement does tell something about the artist for sure.

This painting goes way back — somewhere around the early 1980s.  My mother used to have a colorful lamp that she got in Japan during the 50s.  The red shade is visible in the upper left:  a bit of whimsical decoration and the lightbulb socket are visible below it.  Why on earth did I not paint the whole lamp?  I think it had a doll-like figure, a Geisha girl or something like that as its theme.

Something red, a ladies handbag, I think, sits between the lamp and the flowers making a wine colored background.  I never “finished” the flowers so at least one bloom defies gravity as it just hangs forever stemless above the glass.

Now compared to this arrangment of reality, I have this oil pastel still life that I made about seven years ago.  My daughter was in first or second grade and I was “playing” with this picture with much the same spirit as my kid put into her games.

The flowers in the second picture are almost camouflaged by whatever it is that sits behind the vase.  I began by placing object in relation to object, and later I put patches of color in relation to patches of color — twenty years difference in my ways of thinking, feeling, arranging.

But you should see me at the grocery store where I am unchanged and never changing– oh, the order, the rigor!