Friday, February 18, 2011

Bananas for Madame Matisse

I fully intended to post something on Valentine's Day, but I had other tasks, including the making of valentine's, that occupied me instead.

I had set a goal for myself to finish a few paintings-in-process by Valentine's Day, and I made it--just barely! Now I'm able to share them with you.

The first is called Bananas for Madame Matisse. Here's a glimpse of it.

                               Bananas for Madame Matisse,  oil on canvas, © 2011 Sukie Curtis

The direct inspiration for the painting was, believe it or not, a bunch of bananas. But in addition to the bananas themselves, my admiration for a particular painting by Henri Matisse was also at play. It's his painting known as Femme au Chapeau, or Woman with the Hat.  It now belongs to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (though their website says it is not currently on view--mon Dieu!). The above link will take you to an image as well as a short article on wikipedia.

Or you can read the basics here: Painted in 1905 in what became known as the "fauvist" style--the term, Fauves, meaning wild beasts, was not intended as a compliment to Matisse and his painting companions of the day--Femme au Chapeau caused quite a stir when it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1905. It was the Fauves' astonishing use of color that prompted the remark about the wild beasts.

In any case, as you can see if you open the link above, the woman (thought to be Madame Matisse herself) is wearing quite the hat! It's a little hard to tell what's loaded on top of the hat, but why not imagine some bananas up there? At least that's what I found myself thinking as I painted my own bananas.

I seem to have a "thing" for painting fruits and vegetables. What can I say? I love them--sometimes more to paint than to eat! I enjoy their shapes and colors, their quirks and curves, the patterns they make overlapping one another. And I enjoy playing with those elements when I paint them.

In this particular painting, color was really the primary exploration and source of delight. That, plus the fact that the bananas in the painting are larger than life-size, since they occupy most of a 16x20" canvas. That larger than life size added to the enjoyment and sense of play as I painted.

I suppose I could have named the painting Bananas for Madame Matisse's Hat, but that seemed just a bit too much of a mouthful. (Let me know what you think.)

Now I'm thinking of a series of paintings for Madame Matisse. Next on the list are some lemons, before they become too old to use in cooking!


Cori Lynn Berg said...

Sukie... would it be okay for me to use one of your fruit or vegatable images with a link back to your site on my blog this wednesday. I am doing a mindful eating series and think it would be nice!

Sukie Curtis said...

Of course, Cori. If you could include the copyright sign (I finally learned how to do that with a mac keyboard) and my name and a link, that would be wonderful.

Let me know which one you use, and if I need to supply information, like a title or something.