Except you radish me, c 2010, Sukie Curtis, 24x24", oil on wood
Here's an image to help you welcome summer! It's a recently-finished painting called Except you radish me, which is a playful borrowing of a line from a poem by John Donne. The poem is his Holy Sonnet XIV, one of two John Donne poems that occupy some space in my memory bank.
In the poem Donne begs God, in powerfully personal and sensuous terms, to make God's presence felt and known. The poem begins with the line, "Batter my heart, three-person'd God" and ends with these lines:
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
There's not always an obvious rational or reasonable explanation for why lines of poetry, hymns, or childhood songs suddenly float up to consciousness from the recesses of memory. In this case, when I knew I was nearly finished with the painting, or perhaps even long before that, I found myself playing with the words, "Ravish/radish my heart, three person'd God," mixing up Donne's first and last lines.
Why radishes, you might ask? Simple!
I often feel "ravished" by the sensory world we live in, by the shapes and colors (oh, and yes, the flavors too, though I confess that is often a secondary consideration) of vegetables, fruits, flowers and trees. Last summer I was won over by a bunch of radishes I had purchased from a local farmer.
I drew the radishes a few times, then started and nearly finished (members of my family thought it was finished) this painting, then put it aside for many months because I found it boring. I didn't even come close to conveying my true delight at the actual radishes from the farmers' market. A few weeks ago I decided I was ready to see what I could do to jazz it up a bit. And I'm very happy with the result!
If you or someone you know loves radishes (or not) and would enjoy being ravished by these glowing beauties, let me know! (I will also have new notecards available soon.)
In the meantime, enjoy some local fruits and vegetables of your own to welcome in the summer!