Every Wednesday for one hour I sit at a yellow and grey leaf-patterned 1950s formica kitchen table, ready to meet the challenge.
In front of me is my late-in-life splurge, an Arches watercolor block. Next to that, my nearly four decade-old Pelikan pan of paints, my travel set of Windsor Newtons, my cup of tea, and subject matter that never in all my life had any appeal for me. Still life.
Normally possessed of a loose, gestural style, I find myself slowing down to contemplate the pores of a clementine, nicks in a bosc pear, age spots of an over-the-hill banana. The paper is teaching me how to respond, and, at least for now, I am held in a suspension of trepidation and awe. The fibers snag and grasp threads of color, pulling them into eddies and puddles that I navigate as best I can. I use no more than two brushes as oars on these serendipitous outings. Occasionally I drop one.
Why still life? It’s all been done, and better, both before and now: certainly Cezanne, Van Gogh, Manet…and more recently, Donald Sultan and my friend Sally Sturman.
Perhaps I am taking the path of both least and most resistance. In Violet’s kitchen there is always fruit in the bowl. And in this obscenely-paced world, slowing down to contemplate a single sunflower is an act of not only defiance, but deliverance.
all images copyright Sharon Watts 2013
What a beautifully written and painted post. Thank you for reminding me of one of the most important reasons to paint. (Loving the cut pear especially.)
Thank you Joanne! Sometimes for me the hardest thing is sitting down in the chair. And then it all comes back to me why I do this.
I think I tried watercolor one time, everything got very wet and very muddy. Yours are light and airy and fresh, I especially like the half pear. I admire the way you expand your mind and soul into new avenues.
Well, I just had a bit of a muddy session today, so it happens! As for expanding into new avenues, it sometimes involves resistance…but then it opens up. Thank you!
Inspiring, in many ways!
Although it was said above, I have to repeat that this was beautifully written, and expressed. It’s truly the best when new things, experiences or contemplations can turn us on with each turn of life’s path.
Thanks, V.A….or even “old” things, revisited. My oldest best friend and I were recently recollecting our 7th grade art teacher who looked at the “mess” of an outdoor woods scene w/waterfall I had made, and had nothing but positive encouragement for me. I never did pursue them just for myself with any direction, until now.
The pictures are wonderful. You definitely are up to the challenge. Trying new things can be difficult, but it also can be so rewarding.
Thank you Sheryl…I totally agree! I am putting off oil painting until my 80s 🙂