Love, Light, Lemon!

Dutch Still Life, lemon painting, rose painting, still life painting

Lately wherever I go and whatever I do the Dutch Still Life is following my art journey. Two weeks ago we started studying Dutch Art in my Art History class. Week ago I went to the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco to see Dutch private collection. And last week my husband and I were traveling to Washington, DC and happen to come to the Smithsonian Art Museum; and, guess what, we crashed into a Dutch Still Life there, surprise! I can look at the still lives painted by old masters forever and ever and never get tired of them. The professionalism, the symbolism, the details! Incredible!
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The still life that you see in this post has it’s story as are all paintings (usually). The coffee pot was brought by my extended family Great Grandpa from Poland when immigrating to America in the beginning of 20th Century. The G-Grandpa is long time gone; but the coffee pot is in our family. One day I was sitting in my studio and winter sun hit the old table with the cup of coffee on it. The light was so sudden and so inspiring that I’ve grabbed what we had in the kitchen and dining room and started setting up a still life before the sun beam disappears. Lemon, Rose and Grandpa’s coffee pot won the prize.
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The dark background reminds me Dutch Still Life style. I didn’t think about symbols when setting it up, we can just have a brainstorm and come up with many. I named this still life painting Love, Light, Lemon! as it seemed to be very poetic and implies some kind of song.
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20″x16″ Watercolor on 300 lb Cold Pressed Arches, Winsor & Newton Watercolor

In Every Piece Of My Art
There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

13 thoughts on “Love, Light, Lemon!

  1. Amazing how you can capture the Dutch still life atmosphere in a watercolor! It is really beautiful, and I love the history of the coffeepot.

  2. I love those moments too, when the light beams in and illuminates something just right to make it suddenly seem magical. I never was able to capture that moment on film or canvas or paper. You've done it so beautifully! Great painting!

  3. Hi, Irina,
    Congrats! Your work is no less than the masters. Oh, what a lucky girl you are! You could see them with your eyes.
    Me, too, fell in love with Dutch old masters at primary school. I looked at their work hours after hours, years after years… Symbolism is very interesting. A bit like breaking codes, to get the meaning of a painting. Today, I've moved onto a different style, but like you, their work remains in my eyes and memory forever. Keep up your own style!
    Kind regards,Sadami

  4. You are an awesome artist, your work stunningly exquisite! I love the story of this piece; your grandpa would be very proud of you. Let me know when you write the song, in the meantime, the painting sings!

  5. The Dutch still life is fascinating to study isn't it. I had such fun exploring it while writing the book I did for my daughter. We got very carried away with the symbolism:) Do you know of the significance of a lemon?

    Your paiting has such a wonderful sense of light and the dark background really sets off the composition. Do you glaze to create your darks or mix on the paper?

    Ona

  6. The Dutch still life is such a fascinating subject to study isnt it. I had such fun re creating the style in the book I wrote for my daughter. We had such fun with the symbolism. I see you have a lemon… that has a large symbolic significance.

    I love the way you have captured the sense of light and the dark background really sets off the composition. Do you glaze to create your darks or mix on the paper?

    Ona

  7. I found several meanings of lemon in Old Masters Still Life paintings. Here are some of them:
    • lemon is a symbol of luxury which alienates man from God
    • a peeled lemon, as well as accompanying seafood was, like life, attractive to look at, but bitter to taste
    • Lemon is linked in Christian tradition to fidelity and, therefore, to the figure of the Virgin. In Abraham van Beyeren's time, the lemon was an imported fruit, thus connoting luxury.
    • lemon may be seen as a symbol of time passing
    • Half-peeled Lemon stands for casual excess, and so serves as a call for moderation, warning that life is not only sweet, but sour as well.

    I’ve even found a very interesting web site where you can play with the symbols on a Dutch Still Life base background and make your own still life:
    http://in-still-life.com/index.php

  8. Hi Ona,

    For darks of the background I made a very big puddle of paint on my palette out of ultramarine, pains grey, purple and hookers green. And I had to place a several washes before achieving a right consistency on a paper. Like they say the watercolor dries loosing 40% of intensity. Sometimes you are just not accounting for it and that leads to a number of washes.
    Thank you,
    Irina

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