Artists paint objects from life -- still life -- in part as a way to flex our technical muscles. We demonstrate our ability to portray textures, reflections, light and shadows through still life. The usual model is to arrange the composition with a strategic color scheme, triangular relationships and to pull your eye throughout the painting. The common viewer may not think about these devices (or care about them); they just know they like the painting.
While I put a lot of thought into the composition, I ultimately want the painting to appear beautiful. So that's my first priority. My next priority is to remove the stuffy, elitist feel a still life painting can connote. I did not make this painting for the people who make up the top 10 percent of wealth in this country, even if one of them buys it. What do you think when you visit a museum and see a large realist painting of exotic flowers in a decorative vase or a Dutch Golden Age still life with pheasant, gourds, copper kettles, figs and the like? I think, damn, what an incredible painting and a talented painter. And then I think, damn, the patron must have been wealthy. I bet that painting hung in their foyer over a gold brocade chaise lounge with velvet pillows and a Pomeranian dog.
My figs got drunk. They are leaning on each other, falling over and dancing on the cheese. I named the painting "Full-boded with a Hint of Fig," not "Still Life with Figs, Cheese and Wine...hurr, hurr, schmee, schmee" (insert tightening of a neck tie and a golf clap). I made this painting for people who appreciate a beautiful work of art but don't take themselves too seriously.
By the way, my sister commissioned this painting and my aunt and uncle commissioned me to make another one using grapes in place of figs. I'm pretty tickled that my family gets me.