The blossoms are heavier than in the other painting of the same theme, and they are more abundant. This horizontal spreading out of the flowers was something I loved — which I still love — and it reminds me of the shape of a tree. In this case the lilacs are also a little bit tree-like in the expressive, transparent shadow they cast. Once again, there are two lemons.
The color of the background wall was kind of a big deal in my family when I was growing up. I can’t recall the color name. But we liked it as an interior wall color. It was almost our official living room color. By the time this picture was painted my parents had moved to another state where they retired. I stayed behind. And the walls of the living room were still covered with the official hue.
Sometime or other in the early 1990s I made a group of flower paintings. Each was painted in one session. Lemons of varying quantity offered a counterpoint to the violet of the lilacs. This one has a bouquet sitting on the white enamel top of the stove. To the right the burners are visible with black grill patterns.
The colors of the pictures are so different from the way I use color now, and yet looking back at them, I can see how they created a path to my present.
Some of the organization seems almost Oriental to me in the angular simplicity, the outlined forms, in perspective that tips forward, and in the overt use of negative spaces. I was very affected by the paintings of Van Gogh at the time so I probably got the Asian influence through him. Like many the artists of his generation active in France during the 19th century, he loved Japanese prints.
If I sound like I’m describing someone else’s painting, well in a sense I am. The painting feels that way. Only slowly do the memories return.