In brainstorming for ideas and inspiration I hoped to incorporate some different items as part of this still life composition. As I scrambled around looking, I recalled my experience with books as subjects in a small series of vanitas still life paintings I created several months ago. Books and maps were regular objects to be seen in traditional vanitas paintings as they marked a reference to academia and the acquisition of knowledge.
Taking a less symbolic approach for this small work, I thought books were something to look at again since they brought a collection of shapes that were simple yet interesting. Keeping true to tradition, the fruit were a must. The vintage glass bottles just a favorite of mine and nice counterpoints with in the whole. Aspects of this arrangement drew to mind the beautiful still life work of Morandi and his vision on canvas using bottles, vases and bowls. Although his work uses a very pastel if not mono-chromatic palette, I stay true to my expressive and bold color with more attention to line.
Naming the paintings can be a challenge although here it came pretty quick. A few ideas surfaced with the most dominant being “A Teachers Desk”. The arrangement and organization of the items along with their placement within the space stirred up some identification I have with things one might find on a teachers desk. There may be some historical aspect for me in this as I’m not sure how many books are found on teachers desks these days with the level of technology in schools vs. when I was a student. Regardless, there’s a comforting quality to this simple painting that reminds me of a teacher’s desk and a possible story for the imagination to expand upon.