Today’s Painting for You: Kitchen Still Life with Red Box
Today’s painting for you:
“Kitchen Still Life with Red Box”, Oil on Linen, 8×10 inches, 2012 (sold)
This week I’m working on another painting featuring a strong shadow on a lemon. That made me think about this one.
It’s in the tradition of Spanish kitchen still life paintings, also known as Bodegóns. These often austere paintings focus on the simple, common objects we have all around us, and in particular those related to food and its preparation.
Eating is our most basic need, and taste is such a strong and satisfying sense. It’s inevitable then that paintings in this genre speak to us in such a basic way. Add to that the inherent color and beautiful textures of much of what we eat, and you have a painting that speaks on so many levels.
The kitchen is an endless treasure-trove for finding objects of interesting textures. Creating arrangements with varied textures is an important part of the craft of still life painting. A good artist will strive for satisfying progressions of textures as the eye moves around the canvas. With this painting I wanted to create a narrative of textures, from the smoothness of the leather box, to the fragility of the eggshells, to the waxiness of the lemon, all anchored by the cold hardness of the stone.
Another common element in bodegón paintings is the dark background, frequently even a stark black. This lends them the austerity I mentioned above, and often even an other-worldly quality. It can also bring incredible drama, especially with a tightly-controlled and intense light source.
This atmospheric drama is at the heart of the two types of painting that inspire me the most: Dutch and Spanish still lifes of the 17th and 18th centuries. These great masters understood this: Take the humblest objects, study them with great honesty and care, and arrange them with drama and rhythm, and you will create a magnificent painting.
That frank simplicity is the best thing I can aspire to.
Prints of this painting are available, click here to see available sizes and finishing options.
I hope you enjoy it!