It all started one afternoon as I was walking into a grocery store that had a mountain of beautiful red apples with a little pink and green smeared around their skins, right in front of the entry way. Ignoring my list, I filled a bag, carefully selecting the perfect specimens.
When I got home from the grocery store with the apples, I scurried around, gathering objects that I thought would fit; Flour, cinnamon sticks, a branch covered with moss, some leaves from the yard and a rolling pin that I had recently picked up at an antique shop.
When I closed my eyes, I thought of the slight chill to the air while picking apples with my family in Maine. I pictured a light scarf protecting my neck and face from the chill. So I draped a scarf over the cutting board, and placed the objects over it.
Pie reminds me of family gatherings and the comforts of home. Living away from my family for close to 10 years now, I really appreciate the little things that bring us closer.
I had wanted to try looking down on a still life for a while, and thought it was a good time to try it. I placed the cutting board on the floor with all the objects near the deck door, in order to use natural light.
You might have noticed the blue cloth was not actually blue in real life. Sometimes I change things if I feel like the painting needs it. I am certainly not a slave to copying only what I see. I was about finished with the painting but felt like it needed something... I just wasn’t sure what.
Ulan suggested I glaze the fabric blue to let the orange and reds of the pie and apple shine. At first the blue seemed electric and extremely high intensity, but as soon as I stepped back to look at it, the apples popped and the whole painting clicked into place. The soloist of the painting is red/orange and the chorus is blue and purple. Like music, color can be keyed and adjusted so that they compliment each other and give the painting harmony.
I especially like the impression of foamy water from the sea washing over the still life, that the blue cloth gives.
As American as apple pie
Though the pie was made in Europe long before apples were brought to America, over time the humble apple pie became the symbol of optimism, resourcefulness and the pioneering spirit that has built America.
In the 1600’s, colonists brought familiar foods they trusted with them from the old world; apples being one of them. In the 1640’s there was a law in the state of Virginia insisting that all land holdings above a certain size include an apple orchard. After the 10 years it took for the first orchards to produce a harvest, the colonists celebrated by making pies. Apple pies soon became the image of America the nation, self sufficiency, colonial beginnings and motherhood.
Whenever World War Two soldiers were asked by journalists why they were serving in the war, the common reply was “for mom and apple pie”, similar to how the English would say they fight for God and country.
Apple pie has appeared in songs, literature, movies, and represents anything that is truly American and inarguably good.
Thank you to all of the mothers who raise great men and women. Thank you to my own mother for giving me life. You are my best friend, and this post is dedicated to you.
for those of you who live locally and are interested in learning more about color, we are having a workshop in our studio on July 1st and 2nd. There are only three spots left! You can learn more about it and register here