Dark, sweet Bing cherries are my favorite.
I live in the high desert. Who knew cherries could grow here? A while back they were selling Black Tartanian cherry trees so we wagged one home and plopped it into the ground. It turns out they don’t grow here. After struggling for an entire season it died. Too hot.
We pulled it up and replaced it with an apricot which is doing well. The birds are happy about this. Very happy. Almost as happy as they are about the grapes.
Of course I had to paint the tree’s root ball. I wasn’t as interested in the dirt and those crazy roots but I was mesmerized by the subtle violet hues on the trunk and all those little grey eyes.
Much of my work is inspired by nature and by how we relate to it or not, and how that provides a metaphor for our relating, or not, to our deepest selves. This painting is somewhat different than my usual approach and more straight forward. Still, it relates to memento mori which is a big area of interest for me.
I knew this study (and memento mori in general – let’s face it, who wants to think about death?) might hold little appeal for anyone else, and that perhaps no one would ever want to want to hang it on their wall. But I had to paint it none the less. It was a compulsion.
This raises questions about what we choose to paint and why.
Why do you paint what you do?
How much of what you do as an artist is born of compulsion, of a need to paint a certain thing, of a desire to communicate ideas? How concerned are you that others will relate to what you’ve done? How closely does what you paint align with why you paint?
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions and hear about your approach to your work. Please share your thoughts in the comments.