Commemorating two darling kids through still life paintings of their favorite foodsRead More
I recently accepted a painting commission with a concept I utterly adore. The patron, Ashley, asked me to create two paintings inspired by her two daughters' personalities using their favorite foods as a vehicle of expression. The painting with a pea and French macaroons represents Betsy, a two year-old as described by Ashley as thus:
- Betsy is our clever, gregarious little clown
- She loves to make people laugh and loves to laugh
- She is feisty and rather demanding, but quick to pull a funny face
- Her favorite foods are honey, cookies, frozen peas, and baby oranges
Here is Ashley's description of her older daughter, a four year-old named Maggie:
- Maggie is very empathetic, articulate, creative and insightful
- She is a little bit serious and a little bit of a know-it-all
- She takes her role of big sister very seriously - adores her baby sister and loves teaching her new things
- Her favorite foods are spaghetti, ice-cream (in cones), asparagus and broccoli
Vincent van Gogh set an auction record in 1987 with the sale of his "Sunflowers" painting for $39.9 million at Christie's (read more here). In stark contrast, van Gogh supposedly only sold one painting during his lifetime.
I'm fascinated by the tremendous success some artists achieve posthumously, despite struggling financially during their lifetime. What did collectors not see during the artists' lives? Did the artists fail as marketers? Van Gogh made incredible paintings in his last two years of life, and I wonder if more financial success or popularity in those years would have saved him from his ultimate mental demise.
If I could write Vincent van Gogh a letter, I would tell him people care about his artwork--he is still relevant.
Relevance has to be one of my greatest motivators in art. Financial success aside, I want to know that my artwork feels relevant, that people care about what I create, that it has a place.
A wonderful man named Gregg purchased my painting of sunflowers this winter. Gregg shared the photo below with me, along with a thoughtful message about how much sunflowers mean to him, his wife, daughter and mother. The photo depicts his daughter in 1996 standing near his mother's sunflowers. Thank you, Gregg, for giving my painting a home.
Abdi Haji dug through his basket of eggplants in his booth at the Capital City Public Market to find me these two luscious, deep purple beauties. With a broad smile, he told me he picked them that very morning. Abdi made the effort to find these particular vegetables once he understood my rambling explanation of using them as subjects for an oil painting.
Buying locally grown produce for my still life paintings adds an extra layer of meaning for me. Supporting local producers means keeping funds in our community and often benefits refugees. Abdi, a Somalian refugee, owns Umoja Na Uhuru World Farm and has sold produce at Boise's longstanding public market for three years.
Many refugees come to Boise through Idaho state programs, the top five countries being Iraq, Congo, Bhutan, Burma, and Somalia (see Idaho Office for Refugees for more information). An abrupt relocation often means they arrive not speaking English and with few possessions. Organizations like Global Gardens and Create Common Good offer agricultural-based programs to help refugees transition to a sustainable life here.