Food. QP (continued)



If wishes were fishes, the world would be an ocean

~ Rob Ross

For my second attempt to meet the food challenge I went with fresh fish. Like Manet and others before me, fish are the subject of a still-life. On two recent occasions someone caught fish and we cooked them giving me the opportunity to photograph them. I made nice photos of the fish. The one I worked from for this painting was of trout from a river rafting trip a campion of my brother caught. He brought them home for our cook out and I had to assist. I was more interested in capturing their subtle pale shades then worrying about herbs. The natural lightening in the kitchen was perfect that day. The trio posed on an oval platter was compelling.

The painting turned out, I think. It captures the luminosity, watery, and iridescence colors.

I still have oranges, corn, and plums to paint.

A Display of Mackerel (partial)

by Mark Doty

They lie in parallel rows,

on ice, head to tail,

each a foot of luminosity

barred with black bands,

which divide the scales’

radiant sections

like seams of lead

in a Tiffany window.

Iridescent, watery

prismatics: think abalone,

the wildly rainbowed

mirror of a soapbubble sphere,

think sun on gasoline.


They don’t care they’re dead

and nearly frozen,

just as, presumably,

they didn’t care that they were living:

all, all for all,

the rainbowed school

and its acres of brilliant classrooms,

in which no verb is singular,

or every one is. How happy they seem,

even on ice, to be together, selfless,

which is the price of gleaming.


Aunt Becky’s Salad

When considering the subject of food, the art world is full of examples - Still-life of bowls of fruit, butcher’s shop dead meat, and the pop of bakery shop cakes. I often painted pots of lobsters and clams and seaweed growing up on summer trips to the east coast when Aunt Becky lived there. Later, she moved to California and opened a small gourmet restaurant.

One painting of food from my undergrad days stood out to mention here. Since I had just recently taken it out of storage, I could get a photograph. It had been rolled up for many years and was a monumental watercolor painting. For a 1995 summer photography class, I’d taken many photos on a trip to California including one of my aunt’s famous salad.

Aunt Becky’s Salad was a grid exercise assignment from undergrad - advanced watercolor class. Working from a photo divided into a grid, the ratio of the grid transposed to enlarge on huge watercolor paper called Double Elephant, 29” x 41” a sheet. I painted many smaller versions at the time as well. This large painting had been a hit at school among my classmates. But when my professor asked what I thought, I said I hated it, the process was annoying, pencil marks, and gave me a bad feeling towards the painting. Now, I’m glad I did it. Thank you Prof. Erdle.

Watercolor painting of fish, and Aunt Becky’s Salad:

Fish. (Food, QP)

Watercolor on paper, 18” x 24”, 2020

Aunt Becky’s Salad (BFA)

watercolor on paper, 29” x 41”, 1995.

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