November 6, 2007

"Hon Bar oysters"

Is it possible for food, in this case, oysters, to be a vice? I started painting oysters last year quite by accident. Every Wednesday morning I join a group of retired art professors from a local college who meet over breakfast to brainstorm about their work and discuss the latest exhibitions. It’s our version of Picasso and his friends at Els Quatre Gats. Last year one of the guys arranged for us to have a group show—aptly called “The Breakfast Club”—at a gallery in Berkeley Springs, WV. There was just one caveat: no nudes. I was working primarily with the figure so this posed (no pun intended) a problem. As it turns out this restriction proved fortuitous and I rediscovered my long dormant love of the still life. Who knew? I produced a dozen lovely, tight paintings of that lowly bivalve…the oyster. It seemed only right. Oysters have been portrayed throughout art history and they have a soft, wet sensuality that I thought would be my little joke on the gallery. The daily paintings have made me realize that I am more Manet then DeHeem. Wielding a charged brush is more exciting to me than meticulously painting dew and bugs on a perfectly painted leaf. That genre has its place, but not in my studio. To make a long story short…oops, too late, I give you the “Hon Bar Oysters!”

Below is a painting from the "Breakfast Club" show:

"Oysters - Mike Anderson's, New Orleans" oil on canvas - 14" x 19"

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