Sometimes something funny happens when you make a painting.
We were painting vegetables in one of my workshops. I had just given a big lecture on composition and then we did a meditation exercise. Instead of being overwhelmed, students became fearless and beautiful paintings were popping up all over the room. Anyhow, I was into the piece above of a market scene I photographed on a family vacation. It has my mother-in-law Irene Diederich in it in a pink dress with a hat and my brother-in-law Michael too. While demonstrating, I told the class a story about an earlier painting I created named “Wanna-buy-a-Papaya” which also had Irene looking like the total tourist in a pink dress. When Irene saw that painting she asked me “Why did you make look so fat?” My response was that “I thought you were a wonderful shape”. That did not make her happy.
After telling that story, I realized my demonstration painting again had Irene shopping at the market in a pink dress. To avoid future confrontation, I trimmed her down but named the painting “Abundance”. What I didn’t realize is that in the process of slimming her down, Michael’s hand, which was covered by her dress ended up on her rump. So when Michael and Mary came to an opening, Michael freaked out saying “You painted me with my hand on Irene’s ass!” Oops! So that is what you see here. The piece earned the nickname “Never a Dull Moment”. As a courtesy to Michael, he was cropped out of the painting and Abundance sold immediately without him. It wasn’t very flattering of him and certainly not a portrait, but as an artist I thought he was a well painted figure.
My favorite part of the painting is Irene’s hand surrounded by the colorful vegetables. They make active simple interlocking shapes in dark values. Something to try in your next painting… putting bright colors side by side. I started by coloring the whites and reflecting all the color of the vegetables on them. It’s clear to me why I revisited this subject.
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