Here in the American Northeast we are emerging from a long hard winter. People are cleaning up their yards and gardens to prepare for spring planting. The earliest bulbs have already broken ground and I am looking right past spring blossoms to the fruits of summer.
Summer means the rich bounty of fruits and vegetables resulting from the labors of spring. The stark black and white landscapes of winter are gone and it’s all about golden sunlight and a full palette of color. Artists have long been attracted to the subject of nature and all it has to offer at the height of this abundant season.
The still life in all its forms has been around almost as long as the creation of art. One can find examples of it among the ancients and moderns alike. Whether it is a grouping of inanimate objects or a bowl spilling over with fresh fruit, this tradition persists today.
What is it about ripe peaches, grapes or berries that appeal to us so? Walking through a farmers market in high summer is like walking through a candy shop or a museum, with so much to tempt and delight the senses. Is it any wonder that artists, from students just learning their craft, to established masters, come back to this most natural and beautiful of subjects again and again?
Just as local gardeners and farmers prepare the soil for planting, painters prepare their blank canvases and assemble the tools of their trade for the hard work ahead which will eventually result in a feast for the eyes. Behind every still life are messages of renewal, the rewards of labor, and that sometimes the best things in life are the simple pleasures right in front of us.
Brian Sylvester is a guest blogger on WallSpin, and an artist on Zatista.