Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Symbolism of Sunflowers and Lemon in Still Life Painting

Sunflowers in Antique Chinese Tea Canister
25" x 29"

The six sunflowers arranged in my circa 1930's Ringtons Tea Canister was another composition of mine created from a deep, personal dimension.  The color of the solar shaped blooms facing forward as I painted them complimented the sharp contrast of the blue-white pattern on the canister and another contrast in color with the lemon near that.

Recently, a southern collector of mine mentioned that a lemon signifies "bittersweet memories" after I shared with her my own research beginning with the artists of the 1500's placing certain objects in their paintings to give it meaning.  And naturally, adding further interest of their work to their patons.  Afterall, an artist's work is their subsistence.

With my new knowledge, I decided to place a solitary lemon into the arrangement.  First, for overall artistic beauty, and second for memories of my past travels throughout the South of France while the sunflowers were in full bloom.  Then thoughts of Van Gogh surfaced in my mind as his most prolific years painting were when he lived in the South of France.  "Bittersweet" seemed to be the correct meaning and my cutting the lemon in half was a balance of pleasure and pain in his later years.

Every painting should tell a story as it's not only about placing a painting on the wall.  It must move us beyond the visual. Then it starts our own imagination flowing, and our own memories surfacing.  It adds to conversations for patrons that share their personal collections with others.  Everything becomes more interesting.  More dimensional.

So . . . as time goes on, I'll continue to share more regarding paintings I create as I've been doing throughout my career.