Friday, 7 February 2014

Olives and Pomegranates.

Sieglinde se Sewe vrugte van Israel (commission)
100 c 60 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

This year kicked off with a commission - the best way a year can kick off!
Sieglinde and her husband Johan previously bought one of my favourite paintings, the Pomegranate still life, and decided they needed another piece to accompany it. Being devout Christians, the pomegranate had lovely symbolism for them. The second piece was to be a commission of the seven fruits of Israel - the verse they gave me was Deuteronomy 8:8 - 

'a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, 
a land of olive oil and honey'

The instructions were simply to use wheat, barley, pomegranates, dates, figs, olives and grapes in the composition.
I very much looked forward to doing the painting, and was mostly daunted by trying to find all the components at the same time to photograph (I have no idea when anything is in season). But I accidentally ran into some figs one day while grocery shopping, and I had to continue the search - with complications such as struggling to find dates, because I had no idea what they looked like!)
After the initial stress of photographing the fruit and finalising the composition, the rest was a breeze. The painting just came together, and I really enjoyed the way all the tones echoed each other: the tones of the green olives repeating on the figs, the stems of the grapes, the pomegranate and even the wheat. All the components seemed to have little samples of colours from each other, and the tricky thing was to use the same shades in everything, but having different overall shades to each fruit.
Sieglinde and Johan were dream clients, being excited about the process and being a part of every step, sending me short emails just to say they couldn't wait, and that really affects my attitude while working on the painting. (also, and this may be a little crass, but it needs to be said: having clients who pay on time, and don't guilt trip me about prices is INCREDIBLE, and I hope this sets a trend for future clients!)

Their first purchase: Pomegranate still life
76 x 61 cm

Since we don't actually eat olives (the rest of the fruit I finished off before even starting the painting) and since they were so beautifully shiny in the Seven Fruits painting, I thought I might as well re-use them for the next still life. Well that and (not knowing when anything's in season can really be a problem in my field! I might have to look into that..) I was planning to do a still life with cherries and a goblet, but when I wanted to start cherries weren't in season yet, and by the time I was done with my commissions they weren't in season any more! (you see? definitely a problem.)

 SO. Olives and a goblet.

Shades of Olive (available)
70 x 50 cm
Acrylic on Canvas
Which turned out rather nicely I thought. We bought this goblet at a tiny little 2nd hand store in Durbanville, and it actually says 'UPINGTON 1984' on the side, but it was so shiny, it had to be mine. I stole (was gifted?) the little copper bowl from my moms, it always stood on the mantle at our house when I was growing up, and it used to be my job to clean and polish it. AND the bowl was featured in another favourite painting, 'Vanitas with Cherries' which is owned by good friends of ours.

The afore mentioned Vanitas with Cherries (SOLD)

And so we come full circle, as the painting I started on this morning is once again a Vanitas of sorts. Updates to follow!