Saturday, February 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
|Radishes on Blue Dinner Plate, © Sukie Curtis, 2011, oil on canvas|
The same bunch of radishes lasted me through several paintings and a few of my classes at Artascope Studios in South Portland, Maine. I haven't checked recently, but I have a hunch they are still occupying some space at the back of the refrigerator, much faded in color and certainly more puckery than smooth-skinned.
Though I never ate any of these radishes, I believe I got good mileage out of them all the same. Much more than mileage, really.
Inspiration. Delight. Amazement. Humor (those funny root tails!). Instruction in color, shape, invention, and the astonishing life-ward orientation of organic things.
I'm not ready to swear off radishes-as-muses all the way until next summer when there will again be locally grown ones at the farmers markets. But for a while, other colorful and shapely creatures may join the dance--clementines, pears, apples, bananas, maybe even pomegranates!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Radishing, oil on canvas, © 2011, Sukie Curtis
Yesterday a friend and fan of my paintings sent me a link to the morning's installment of the "Writer's Almanac," Garrison Keillor's daily NPR program, which had noted that last night was the Night of Radishes, Noche do Rabanos, in Oaxaca, Mexico!
Here's the brief description: "Tonight in Oaxaca, Mexico, folks will be celebrating the Noche de Rabanos, the Night of the Radishes, and the zocalo [public square] will become the scene of a huge exhibition of figures carved from radishes. These are not the familiar little round vegetables that are eaten in salads--these are heavy, long, contorted roots that grow up to two feet in length and can weigh as much as ten pounds." They are carved into nativity scenes and other holiday decorations for display in the square.
My friend added: "I like your radishes better!" Which of course brightened my morning, just as radishes often do.
I've taken a radish inventory recently, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit just how many radish paintings I have around in various states--from totally finished to almost to not at all. Three radish paintings are hanging in gallery shops (at Artascope Studios in South Portland, Maine and at Yarmouth Frame Shop in Yarmouth, Maine), and there are several more at home with me! I may have to name this the Year of Radishes!
My latest large painting, very nearly but not quite finished, also features radishes in a jumble of other objects--a French pottery vase, a large tin of olive oil, wine bottle, piece of fabric, and the rectangles of other canvases. Here's a peak at it:
The Way Things Hang Together, © 2011, Sukie Curtis
Anyway, the real point of this blog post is to wish you the delight and joy of radishes this holiday season.
May you and your loved ones have a joyful and peaceful Christmas-tide and/or Hanukkah and a very happy New Year!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
|Radishing, oil on canvas, 9x12", © Sukie Curtis, 2011|
One fellow painter on Facebook commented that this could be "red boulders in a landscape;" do you see it? The red boulders aren't so convincing, but the radish foliage does have the look and feel of hilly shapes. And maybe even a streak of golden color in the sky!
This little painting--a real burst of color face to face--is at the Yarmouth Frame Shop and Gallery for the "Small Works" show that opens today. It is hanging together with three of my paintings of pears and a somewhat wacky and fun still life of a striped table with candlestick.
If you live near Yarmouth (Maine, that is--not Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, or England, or . . . ), I hope you will stop by this afternoon or any other day before Christmas.
The gallery is at 320 Route One in Yarmouth. Today, Saturday, December 3, there's a reception from 4 to 7 pm. Art lovers of all kinds will be there--artists, lovers of artists, and lovers of art-lovers, too. And food! and refreshments!
I would love to see you there. If today doesn't work for you, the gallery will be open seven days a week until Christmas.
Monday, November 21, 2011
|Oak Leaf Shapes, oil on canvas, © 2011, Sukie Curtis (unfinished?)|
At the graveside, our prayers were accompanied by a psalm and Mary Oliver's poem "When Death Comes."
"When Death Comes" by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daily, and as singular;
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my lie something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Small Square Radishes, oil on canvas, © 2011 Sukie Curtis
I paint radishes more than I eat them. That's just the way it is!
I can hardly resist buying new bunches of them at the farmers market, even when I have an older bunch at home. But I've learned that they keep an impressively long time in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and can be my painting models and muses many times over, though their greens go limp and eventually rot.
Even then, the life force and the "urge" to live and create new life is so strong in them that in the dark and cold of the refrigerator drawer, old radishes will sprout vigorous new root hairs and even pale, spindly greens. They are built to live and flourish.
And to ravish the eyes: such lovely round, though not perfectly round, shapes! such whimsical, quirky tails! and such colors!
These days radishes come in more than just shades of red, crimson, and pink; there's deep blue-violet, wild magenta, pale pink, and a blush creamy white. And if that's not enough, you can always make up other colors as you paint them! Why not?
Which reminds me: the collage artist and children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle has a new book out, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. Carle calls it "an homage to the Expressionist painter Franz Marc." Carle was inspired at a young age by Marc's work when a teacher showed him his painting of a blue horse.