Malted Milk Balls
oil on canvas, 11" x 9", 2011
ODE TO COMMON THINGS
Recently Beth and I were in a small antique shop in our neighboring town. It is a very sweet place with old linens, plates, silver and every sort of bric a brac . I was asked why I do not paint some of the objects that I was admiring there in the shop. I thought for a minute and replied;
"These things are too nice."
That is to say, they didn't need transformation. Although very tastefully attractive they would have not been very interesting on canvas. A poem by Pablo Neruda came to mind. It's a poem about a French fried potato:
INTO THE PAN
LIKE THE MORNING SWAN'S
HALF-GOLDEN FROM THE OLIVE'S
ODE TO FRENCH FRIES
French Fries! So,having cleaned the studio out for Thanksgiving dinner I found this bag of malted milk balls long forgotten on a shelf. Although old they still retained a glossy, rich surface. At the same time I was writing an appointment into the calendar and noticed a painting by Egon Shiele.
Portrait of Gerti Shiele, 1909
55" x 55", oil and stuff on canvas
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Egon Shiele was an Austrian artist who briefly flourished during Vienna's Belle Epoque period. He died during the Great Influenza epidemic of 1919 at the age of 28.
You take your influences wherever you find them.
There is a saying that people who have died still live in the memories of those who loved them. Perhaps. Sometimes when I look at an old painting it seems so alive to me that I can almost touch the artist.
copyright 2011 James Aponovich