Friday, October 26, 2012

By Air, By Land, or By Sea

By Air, By Land, or By Sea
Gouache and acrylic on paper mounted on birch panels
12" H x 24" W

The 10th from the series Red Bean Paste and Apple Pie.

Growing up in tropical Asia, an apple was such a precious thing, so shiny, red and beautiful. They were also imported, being a cold weather fruit. Our whole family of 5 would split an apple after dinner. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I have an apple tree in my yard, and so do a lot of my neighbors. All through the neighborhood, I see unwanted apples on the ground by the hundreds, but I diligently pick mine. What we can't eat quickly enough, I dice up and freeze. I make apple sauce; I make apple sauce bread. The deer comes by to help as well. I'm happy to share. Every fall, I spend hours and hours processing these apples, but I appreciate having them when the season has passed. I'll probably still be eating these homegrown apples until March or Apple next year.

There are other thoughts going on in this piece. Transient vs. rooted. Precious vs. common. And who knows what else I'm still not consciously aware of yet.

But the initial idea here was simply the preciousness of what is hard to come by vs. what is common and taken for granted. On the left, cargo plane & cargo ship; on the right, ground covered in apples and a deer ready to dine:

Rather than making waves as I have done in previous pieces, which follow the style of traditional Chinese embroidery, I wanted something that moved more, something more turbulent. Something like what a cargo ship going across the Pacific would see:

As an aside, I started this a couple of weeks ago, and in these last 2 days, I listened to Life of Pi as I finished this painting. I had to wait for this book on CD to become available, I was something like no. 17 in line when I reserved it from the library. So there was no telling when I would actually get the book. But of course, the story is about a shipwreck, a cargo ship going across the Pacific. I find that many of the books that I listen to as I paint seem to have some relationship to the pieces that I happen to work on at the same time. I'm sure much can be explained by the simple fact that, well, it's what interests me, so I pick those books and I paint those paintings. But sometimes the pairing is uncanny. As a result, when I look at some of the paintings, I immediately remember the books that I listend to as well.

But I digress. Next, the big sky with cargo plane, and 3 giant apples with halos:

And the left side is almost complete at this point:

Started on the right side with the tree:

Followed by ground & sky:

And the finished piece is the top image.

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