Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hidden Lemon

These past weeks I have been painting a small lemon tree. It's not the first time that I look at this subject of a tree-like plant. I like the scale and the intricacy of the leaves and recently, after having painted such an architectural and rigorous subject as boxes for a few months, I was in need of looking at a more complex and organic form.

        When I approach a subject, I am always aware of its endorsement as such: in this case the "father" of these set-ups is the treee in the Baptism of Christ by Piero. For me this is one of the most beautiful trees in the history of art. Its dark leaves are patiently depicted one by one and the scale of it is just so perfectly human.

 Another painting of a tree I love and I have been studying in paint is a Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini, in which the little tree is not more than a sapling.

And then of course there is the Membrillero by Antonio Lopez, documented in the film by Antonio Erice, a painting Lopez has abandoned finding it impossible to replicate the very elusive light that first got his eye, but a motif he has insisted upon in many drawings.

Then there are fantastic works by Sangram Majumdar and Sigal Tsabari that explore similar visual themes.

And so, on a much more humble plan, here come my paintings of this little resilient tree with its lonely lemon I have found at a local garden centre. Its leaves are dark and badly organized, there are stumps coming out at all angles and the fruit is pale and on the thin side.
The more I look at it the more I find this clumsy structure with its sickly looking sheltered yellow heart a very moving subject. Far from the heavy fruitful branches of Lopez's tree, I see it as a pale reminder of Mediterranean light and find myself longing for the South.

Hidden Lemon I, oil on canvas mounted on board,

Hidden Lemon III, oil on board 24x33 cm

Lemon and Boxes, oil on linen, 101x92

Hidden Lemon IV, in progress


ian warburton said...

I really like that central locking piece in Hidden Lemon 1, Ilaria. It really does its job.

Isabelle said...

I like your posts, your colors.
I like your researchs. Did you know that Sargent has also painted yellow gourds.'s on the same theme.

Isabelle said...

Ilaria said...

Thank you Isabelle, that is a wonderful watercolour !
I am realising ( things often don't happen consciously) that my painting seem to represent a non-place, as opposed to other pieces with a similar subject that masterfully capture a particular light ( Lopez's Membrillero is all about that special light).
I have been trying to paint outside in the past days, but I am just unable to paint a sense of place. I think this is one of the basics for landscape and this is why the genre is totally alien to me