Examining the works of famous artists, I have noticed three popular subjects for paintings: fruit, flowers and naked people. It seems that when it comes to fresh produce, chrysanthemums and the human form, the art world can never have too much. These subjects are undoubtedly beautiful—contours, colours, boobs—but other things are beautiful as well. Like sunsets. I don’t see as many of those in my art books though. Giraffes too. You’d be hard pressed to find a decent giraffe on most art gallery walls.
What is it about fruit, flowers and nudes?
Here’s my theory. Anything in the sky—sunrises, stars, clouds—while certainly paintable, is too far away. A good subject is one close enough to touch (with consent, obviously, when it comes to nudes). And animals don’t sit still long enough to get anything worthwhile on the canvas. You could paint deceased animals (taxidermy I mean, not roadkill), but then, rather than calling your piece Cute Puppies, for example, you would have to call it Dead Cute Puppies. No one wants to look at that.
So… beautiful, nearby and still. That’s the criteria for a good subject.
Fruit, flowers and nudes certainly tick the boxes, but I wanted to try something different. What about shoes? Not as beautiful as a pineapple. A church then. You know, with the arches and the stained-glass windows? Yes, it was beautiful, but between mass and confessions and bingo and everything else, there was barely enough time for me to set up my easel. Plus, Father Darren didn’t like me rearranging all the prayer candles. I saw a Corvette parked at the beach. The car was beautiful, and red, and I had plenty of red paint, so it made sense, but then I talked to the car’s owner. He was happy for me to take a picture of his car so I could paint it, but he wore a lot of jewellery. Big, thick, gold jewellery. I got the impression he didn’t really like wearing it, but that he liked people to think he liked wearing it. It’s hard to explain. Anyway, I took a picture of his car but didn’t feel like painting it anymore.
I thought maybe a fresh take on the tried-and-true subjects would be to combine them. I did an internet search for “flowers and fruit” and found some inspiration. I searched “naked people and fruit” and found that to be eye-opening as well, though in a different way. In the end I decided to stick with the masters’ method. Why mess with a winning formula, right? I painted some fruit.
16″ x 20″ Acrylic on canvas.
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