Last spring I saw an exhibition of paintings at the Mauritshuis Museum in the Netherlands by Adrian Coorte, a 17th century Dutch painter. These were all very small paintings, postcard-size, celebrating the seasonal bounty - strawberries, gooseberries, asparagus. He also repeatedly painted a particular Chinese porcelain bowl.
The intimacy of the size and the humility of the subject matter of the paintings belies their power. I couldn't get them out of my head. And I knew after seeing them what and how I wanted to be painting for next several months (years?).
As I began working on these small paintings, I kept thinking of the idea of 'sustain' and 'sustainable,' of sustaining life, of sustaining breath, of sustaining the fragile world.
Summer came and fall came, and no rain came.
We got our vegetables from our garden and from a local farm's Community Supported Agriculture program, where the drought affected what was in our market basket. (The vegetables in the paintings are from this farm basket.)
A note in music is sustained over time, is held in suspension in the air through vibration. The goal for me as I worked became clarity and the sustaining, visually, of a bell-like tone