Fresh Fruit Paintings by Erin Lee Gafill

Fresh Fruit Paintings

Sunsets and sunrises make us stop in our tracks, gasp with awe, even clap out loud, but they come and go so quickly, breathtaking but fleeting. 

My lemons, apples, pears, and pots, however, sit and wait for me patiently.  As I pass the studio, I see the light glancing across their forms, picking out their deep and vibrant colors, casting mysterious shadows, and my stride catches.  Oh, I want to come in now and paint you beauties!  But other tasks demand my attention, and so I carry on.

But I do not forget. In my mind, as I fold laundry and wash dishes, I am already arranging the tableaux, choosing colors, mixing paint. 

The morning light is the light I prefer to paint lemons by – cool and clear.  

The rich colors of the pears remind me of autumn leaves and in the late afternoon they really glow.

When the light is overcast, as it often is where I live, the colors shimmer in the pearly light. 

A few weeks ago I was giving a painting lesson to my sister-in-law Meg.  I began by choosing one green apple from a bowl and setting it in a surface.  I set up a strong light to illuminate it, and we sat together and studied its form, color, color, values. We worked our way from pencil to charcoal to paint.  

After Meg left, I kept painting.  The feeling of the oil paints under my brush – the beauty of the glowing green – the mystery of the shadows and the various ways the light infused each surface … it was a glorious experience.  

After painting apples for a while, I moved on to lemons, then to pears, and back to apples again. I never tire of this pursuit, the joy of creating something beautiful inspired by the form and color of a simple object.