I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing when I draw or paint. I always seem to see human shapes or body parts in inanimate objects. I see tongues, hips, elbows and other body parts in flowers, plants, fruit or even lampposts.
So when I set up this still life, the two paired pears with one alone behind them reminded me of junior high, when two girls would whisper to each other about another, who would be left out of the conversation. Sometimes I was one of the gossipy whisperers; just as often I was the one left out.
Girls having a sleep-over would phone a friend and try to get her to say mean things about someone who was there, secretly listening in. Then after she’d said, “Mary’s butt is too big,” Mary would speak up and say, “Hi, This is Mary. Thanks a lot!” The next week it might work the other way around.
I learned the hard way not to say things about people which I wouldn’t want them to hear. The lesson gets reinforced regularly by a weird sort of karma that happens to me. It almost never fails that if I do speak about another, they unexpectedly appear, often from behind me, just like in the painting.
About the painting
I painted this on a day when I just had a couple hours and wanted to paint with oils. I didn’t take time to plan the composition and did very little with the set up, originally using my black light box as the background. This is how it looked originally before I revised the background, made some adjustments between the two front pears, and glazed the painting with Indian Yellow.
I thought the original version seemed cold and uninviting. I like it better now, with the softer, warmer feel and the rounded shape of the “table top” instead of the harsh horizontal line.
10 replies on “Junior High Pear-ings”
Your revision appeals more to me as well. The curved line in the background echoes the shapes of fruit, and the warmer glazing puts me in mind of a summer day. EVen the shadows are more convincing in the revision.
Don’t you think almost everyone sees pears as people, specifically girls?
I agree – I much prefer the top version. And I love the way they are whispering to one another – but about to be caught.
The yellow glaze made a huge difference. The second one is much warmer and and inviting. I like the story this painting tells. Who knew fruit were so gossipy?
I prefer the top version too. It has a greater depth with more contrast. Beautiful.
Your reminiscing about schoolgirl bitchiness had me shivering. I guess we’ve all been there and learnt some hard lessons. x
I love what the glaze does to the pear colors, especially the green one. The second picture is better to me, too. The glaze seems to distance the subjects, give the colors depth, and add to the shadows. I saw in the picture someone kissing a green horse, while an approving stable hand in red outfit looked on. Or maybe this is an inter-racial couple getting married by a bishop (red pear).
About reds. If I remember, Jana, you were interested last year in finding a red neither warm nor cool, and I certainly think the red pear is exactly that–vivid but not explosive.
Interesting…..I like the original version as much as the revised one, but in different ways……Whatever, though, I always enjoy your work!
Wow, what a difference! I have so much to learn about color. I would never have thought a glaze could change the feeling so much! And the story was entertaining!
I’ve been anthropomorphizing as long as I can remember, seeing crowds of people in wood grains, faces in patterns, etc. But, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen people in pears! It could be because I’m not a big fan of pears and never really looked. I love that one is whispering a secret to the other! Wonderful!
Thanks Alex. That’s interesting that you’ve done the same, but with wood grains and patterns. I used to see people in wall textures and clouds, too. With pears, it’s more about their over-all shape being sort of womanly (like some women, including myself, built with bigger hips and smaller shoulders.)
I love the painting and the vision behind it. Where would we be without imagination?
Well put! Thanks for writing. I like your horse sketches on your site! Jana