Saturday 26 April 2014

Melon on a Cloth; a Metaphor for Resurrection

Oil on canvas 36cm x 36cm
This study of a cut up melon on a white cotton sheet is as much a portrait of the sheet, with all it's creases, folds and subtle coloration, as a depiction of melon with it's contrasting strong chroma. If any additional layer of meaning arises while arranging a still life, a process that usually takes hours, then those elements tend to stay and become a focal idea which informs how the painting is painted.

The red melon flesh lying on a crumpled sheet stained with melon juice reminded me of the idea of the body of Christ lying on a shroud, and the old master paintings depicting this and also the still life paintings of the C17th monk, Juan Cotan.

There is also a trinity aspect; one melon cut into three pieces.  Unequal in size, there is a large piece on a raised level, a medium sized piece and the  smallest teeters on an edge. It is three aspects of the same thing from a spherical whole.

My studio is located inside a Baptist church. Before Easter I was chatting with the minister, James, about his preparations and mentioned this painting. I discovered that the apostle Paul describes Christ’s resurrection, as ‘first fruits’ (1 Corinthians 15:23). First Fruits is a harvest term, it’s an offering, an opportunity to give the first fruits back to God as a show of faith. There are also other references to fruit concerning Jesus and his teachings in the Bible. I was not aware of this when I started the painting, but did feel that somehow fruit was a good metaphor for Christ, crucifixion and resurrection as it conferred ideas of ripeness, seeds and growth, regeneration and rebirth.

He then invited me to talk about this painting during the Easter service. This was a great pleasure and an honour as it was also the churches 75th anniversary service.


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