The Apple(s) of My Eye

This past Saturday my friend and I went to pick apples. I picked some and then, seeing how incredibly lovely they were on the tree, I took some photos. I have had a lot on my mind in recent weeks — some of it personal, related to to me, some involving a friend who has been struggling with himself. If you’ve ever had to struggle with yourself, you know it’s no fun.

So, since I’m in an artistic slump (it happens and doesn’t worry me) but really wanted to make art I decided on an “apple a day.” Today, as I worked on the fourth apple, I thought about art philosophy and criticism.

This past Saturday my friend and I went to pick apples. I picked some and then, seeing how incredibly lovely they were on the tree, I took some photos. I have had a lot on my mind in recent weeks — some of it personal, related to to me, some involving a friend who has been struggling with himself. If you’ve ever had to struggle with yourself, you know it’s no fun.

So, since I’m in an artistic slump (it happens and doesn’t worry me) but really wanted to make art I decided on an “apple a day.” Today, as I worked on the fourth apple, I thought about art philosophy and criticism.

It’s unlikely I will ever be a NON-representational artist. After spending time last week with an artist friend who had a very different philosophy and who chides me for being what I am, I’ve been thinking about that. I finally told her, “I don’t see me doing abstract paintings.”

“Why not? Your brush strokes are abstract.”

It’s not because I don’t like abstract art. I do. It’s just not fulfilling for me. My primary relationship is with nature; the important questions for me are “how does this work? What is it really? How can I see it better?” For me, a painting is a synthesis of brush strokes. It’s not brush strokes. It’s a totality. For me, it’s a way of seeing.

So, four days of apples. Some from “life” (those I picked), one from a photo. These are notecard size and I’ll use them for that.

I could hear my friend in my head saying, “You don’t have to get every little thing!” a chorus I’ve heard before. But what is it to work toward “every little thing”? (Which I don’t actually do) As I worked on the two apples on the tree I realized what was going on in my head. I was relieving the stress of the last several weeks. I was meditating. The image — the colors of the leaves, the striations on the apples, the problem of the branch — all of it — drew me out of my self into a clearer mind. There’s not much smaller to make art with than the sharpened end of a watercolor pencil.

Reblogged from My Amazing Life Distilled.

17 thoughts on “The Apple(s) of My Eye

  1. I’m happy that the art brought you out and smoothed the emotional wrinkles. I think you must have some special affinity for apples. All of your apple drawings look delicious!

  2. For me, music comes and goes from the forefront. This evening was a blessing of improvisation. It was so nice to be able to do what I really do. I so get it about the “artistic slump” and rejoicing when the slump vanishes. My paintbrush is a guitar. Different, but the same, if that makes any sense.

  3. The apples are beautiful, Martha. I understand about the abstract. My writing can go to some absract thoughts–but they are “grounded” by concrete and visual evidence. It’s easier for me to take places, and nature (like you), and use them as analogies for some of the apple seeds in my mind (;-). It’s not easy to convey the beauty of an apple. With my perception my apple painting would look extremely abstract. Hugs from me and Finn. She’s not going to know what to think when I leave her for two weeks to visit my new granddaughter. It’s sad that I’m so sad to leave her. But the two of us just have this bond. I’ll enjoy every moment with my grandies (and can’t wait to slice apples for him as he loves them!). I’ll come home in time to go to one of my favorite fall festivals–Apple Butter Makin’ Days.

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