There’s a pineapple in my studio, starting to smell yummy. In an attempt to start shedding the winter pounds, I bought a high-end blender that will break leafy greens down so well you won’t see a single chunk. Actually, I don’t have a problem with chunky green smoothies, but if I’d like to improve my kids’ vegetable intake as well, then consistency is second only to taste.
It has been fun trying new things in the blender, and when I brought this pineapple home, I decided to let it ripen in my studio so that I would have something beautiful to look at, and eventually smell. A low-cost version of a bouquet of flowers I guess.
I’ve never painted a pineapple before, but like anything else that occurs in nature, it has some wonderful patterns. I painted this one from life, but I also took some photos – the great thing about photos is that you can blow up a section to paint from, and you will see all sorts of details that you never noticed before. You also have more time to study and play with those details, you don’t have to worry about rotting fruit or changing light. There is so much to be learned from each approach.
The other element of this painting is the background pattern. I have always liked playing up the naturally-occurring patterns when painting foliage, visual rhythm adds to the illusion of movement and life in a work of art. However, my interest has grown, and like a woman who has just found out she is pregnant, and now find she sees pregnant women everywhere – I find myself drawn to examples of pattern in art.
Art Nouveau has always been a favourite and I was so lucky to see first hand examples in Paris, Brussels and Barcelona. I mean, talk about cultural tourism, I’m sure I’m not the only person who went to Barcelona just to see Gaudi’s buildings. When I was an art student I gravitated towards Impressionism and Post-impressionism, and I thought that the gold in Klimt’s paintings was just too gaudy (see what I did there?). Now though, I have a deeper appreciation for his work and the way he blended whimsical pattern with sensitive figure drawing and painting, to create art that has both visual appeal and emotional depth.
Now that I am on the lookout for it, pattern is everywhere … my next commissioned painting includes a textile pattern that I’ve used before, and in a recent post I mentioned Zentangle. Also, my prized possession from the trip to Paris in December was a Desigual handbag. Click the link, you’re going to thank me.
Anyway, this little painting is just one more step to finding a fun way not just to highlight pattern inherent in my subject, but to actively introduce it into my work.
If you have any favourite artists/art featuring pattern, please share in the comments below, I’m always open to new inspiration!