Still life number 1:
This painting pictures a couple of simple objects, arranged in a way that pleased my “artistic license.” I challenged myself to paint an open book. I don’t know how well I did in your opinion, but it was fun and a pleasure to paint. So, let’s take an inventory: white feather; rose quartz; small, dark blue book (Victor Hugo, Les Miserables); big, red book (Human Anatomy); paint tubes; paintbrush; eraser (also know as a dirty painting rag); and black drapery.
What could they mean?
The feather can mean several things: a spiritual evolution, or it could be the symbol of poetry and literature. Vaguely, it could relate to painting as well, if we say there is some poetry in the handling of colour or composition, etc. I haven’t seen anyone paint with feathers so far, but there is a much stronger connection to the next item.
Victor Hugo’s excellent classical book, Les Miserables. I probably don’t have to introduce this book. It did touch me, as I was listening to an audio version.
As a matter of fact, I was still enjoying some part of the audio book while I was painting this if I remember right. I did buy this book in an old English version from the late 1800s or early 1900s. I couldn’t just paint an earphone or the audiobook cover. This book so wonderfully depicts the “spiritual growth” of a galley slave that I wanted to paint it. This is probably the number one reason for the painting. The unfolding of the human soul, which is the link to the next thing, the red book.
It is about the human body. The human anatomy fascinates me. The body is constructed in such a beautiful and amazing way. I love to learn, read and study it. I find it so strange that we live in the body and yet we hardly know much about its workings, without any study. No wonder so many people treat their bodies just like a vehicle. It’s the same thing with our spirits. Spirituality is essential, especially when one advances in age. It is a wise to seek deeper understanding.
Let’s get back to our still life: two books, body and soul, which make a human being. There is a rose quartz, which is commonly known as a symbol for love, / without putting witchcraft on the table/. Yes, that’s right! I love everything: feather, the body, the human spirit, books, art, painting, even the reader. This does not need too much explanation, love is universal.
What is left, is my art equipment: the little brush, paints, and the rags. This is my voice.
Finally, the black drapery is some of my black shirts wrapped around some canvas boards (I know, you wouldn’t think this). It represents the all-embracing, limitless, transparent space which gives a home to all.
I know that unless I wrote this story, it would be hard to understand the intentions of the painting completely. Images are passive things and they become alive in the mind of the viewer. So, keep bringing life to paintings by looking at them.
The second still life is even more personal to me:
I painted this as a gift to my love; it’s for my muse. You can read her name on the little piece of paper. I think this was my first still life. Please bear with me; I won’t get too romantic… anyway, Valentine’s Day is coming. I will just simply explain the story of the painting.
I love crystals and one of my favourites is ammolite, though it is a fossil and not really a crystal… sorry. For this picture, I picked ammolite’s big brother, a fossil from ancient times, as my model. It is about palm sized. It did come with papers on what era it was from and where it was found, but I lost them. I don’t need documents; I trust it/him/her. It is the remains of some creatures that lived on this earth a long time before. I contrasted this with a living branch of a green bush found around our home.
I don’t know its name, and I have no documents for the branch, but it came with some lovely deep, dark berries. These two objects created something like – life and death, past and present – basically timelessness. Next, to them, there is a large, dark red leaf. I promised I wouldn’t be too sentimental, but it does resemble a heart shape. It is a little bit of a stretch but…
The story is that, when I met her, we worked at the same place for a short period. I was between studios and needed a job, so had ended up doing some warehouse job. We lived not far from each other and I offered her a lift to her home on the first day that we met. She wrote her name on a chunk of a cigarette box for me to find and add her on Facebook. Nothing else happened for at least a year. We did go out for a couple of meals, but that was it.
Meanwhile, I had a red candle; here comes the voodoo stuff. This red candle is my love’s candle. I burned it daily and I placed her handwritten name under the candle. That is why the cigarette box paper with her name is a bit pink. Later, when we got together and she found out that it was all black magic, it was too late!Now, we are engaged. When I painted this painting, I did burn the candle for a short while, to express that the flame was not sleeping and that time was standing still. Today there is only little of the candle left, but it doesn’t need burning anymore.
The third the landscape: the Fireplace
I started this over the Christmas break as a present for myself:)
It depicts a fireplace built by my mum. Yeah, I know or better to say I don’t know how she was able to build it? The fact is that she did, she planned, dug it out, mixed and laid the concrete base, put the bricks, formed a rim from concrete, and then placed the wooden seats. I just remember when I came home from my travelling, it was there. I only could help her to paint the benches /that did not work out that well/.
From there, in the coming years, it was a central place for us, we cooked, grilled, sat around and had so much fun on countless occasions. I even taught my son how to cook Hungarian stew there.
My mum passed away couple years back, and we sold the house. I decided that I will keep this place against the odds. I put some dabs of colours next to each other on the canvas, and the brushstrokes become this painting, including the good memories, my mum, my friends, my son and me as well.
Paul Cezanne said: “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” – I primed my canvas with emotions.
Thank you for reading.