Saturday, August 9, 2008

Andy's Summertime Picnic

I have taken a little time off to enjoy summer and am now back in the studio - still enjoying summer. I love geraniums and have some very fond memories of my Auntie Kathy's house where a large indoor geranium plant stood in its pot on the floor with fallen petals decorating the polished wood all around it. Leaving the petals on an otherwise well swept floor was a striking embrace of accidental beauty that has stuck in a happy place in my mind. Kathy is also the only person I have ever known to cut the buds of red geraniums and put them in a vase. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, where she makes her extraordinary paintings and where she and her daughter Sue share their teaching and their beautiful garden with students at Hooper Studios.

I have called my geranium painting "Andy's Summertime Picnic" because of the soup can. It is a nod toward the Pop Art movement of the 1960s which had, as one of its iconic starting moments, the 1962 introduction of Andy Warhol's "32 Soup Cans". (Now at the MOMA in New York) My work is not very much influenced by this movement but I appreciate the message that explored popular culture as a subject. It was also a much needed breath of irreverence in the intellectual world of abstract expressionism. Some of my current work can be categorized as "Pop Surrealism", a largly West Coast American movement of the past 10 years or so which uses images of popular culture in a surrealistic way. From one pop movement to another this painting is a little hello.

(My painting measures 8x10 and is oil on canvas. Click on any of these images to see them bigger though my painting will appear larger than it actually is in real life, which is kind of weird. The Warhol canvases are worth seeing bigger though. Their actual size is 20"x16" each canvas. The soup flavours are fun to read and I am surprised to find a vegetarian option in 1962)

Blueberries in my garden with Jolly Joker violas and thyme. Photographed today - before I eat them. Yum.


  1. Fun painting. Hope the blueberries were yummy.

  2. Jean,
    What a pleasure it is to visit your site, read your text and view your latest painting!
    This one is delightful. I love how you have played with the perspective so you are looking up at the arrangement so it has this monumentality (a play on the exaltation of the everyday by pop artists) Also, it has a quality as though it is generating light.
    I love that only part of the script of the Campbell's name is shown, but with its distinctive colors and lettering you know what it is.
    Geraniums, blueberries and Campbell soup have such an American or North East coast kind of summer nostalgia combined with the red, white and blue.
    It is always a treat to see your work, and your blog.
    Very Best regards,

  3. Love those Jolly Jokers, they are so brash. I don't have any this year, alas, just volunteer Ultima Morpho pansies. Happy blueberry eating!
    - Karen

  4. Thanks for the kind comments. Wenches, I hope that you have blueberries in your own marvelous garden.
    Philip, your perception is accute as always. I learn more about my art by reading what you think about it!
    Karen, Jolly Jokers are my favourite violas. They are so happy.