Children are naturally, instinctively creative. But creativity is harder to come by as an adult, at least it is for me, what with “grownup” inhibitions and fears getting in the way. But I love classical still lifes, and I will never have the money to own one of them, so when the opportunity came in the Berkshires to learn how to paint them, I fearfully but stubbornly jumped at it.
This is one of my early chiaroscuro efforts in oils, and it’s one I like a lot because I think the pears have personality. I call it Angry Pears, and I really enjoy my painted anger.
For several years I continued painting in this vein, with murky backgrounds from which emerge dramatically spotlit fruits or pottery and other objects. And then we went for a month out of the grim New England winter into the brilliant sunlight of San Miguel de Allende, a colonial city in the central highlands of Mexico.
That first visit to Mexico I went wild with my camera, with earth tones and vivid colors and all the light! Brilliant unsparing light — Suddenly I was disenchanted with painting in chiaroscuro, and found myself pining for the light. When we went to San Miguel for a month the following winter I found a wonderful teacher, Edgar Soberon, whose still lifes were suffused with light and color. Under his guidance I abandoned my somber palette in favor of in-your-face brilliance, and this was the painting that resulted:
Then, curiously, having satisfied my urge to own a classical still life, and my urge to recreate some of Mexico’s brilliant colors, I discovered that I had no more questions to ask in painting. I’ve turned instead to photography, with its infinite challenges and encouragements to creativity, and so far it has been the most satisfying medium of all.