6" x 7"
watercolor on paper
Winesap marks the final apple watercolor in this apple-a-day painting series I began in late November. I saved Winesap for last because its one of the oldest American varieties of apple and because it’s often picked after the first frost. It’s an apple that can take us through winter.
I started this project after experiencing one too many unproductive, unfocused days in the studio. By “studio” I’m referring to the half of my New York City bedroom that I commandeered for my artistic endeavors. I had the best intentions for the space when I moved into it in October 2012. The room had an incredible view and fantastic light. I convinced myself that a real artist could create art anywhere. While I did make some work that I’m quite proud of in this space including Just Drifting and Pick-up at the Pier, I often felt stifled by the lack of space. The need to constantly clean up and move supplies around in order to find my bed under a pile of supplies at the end of each night was endlessly frustrating. It became increasingly obvious to me that the small space was dysfunctional when used as both a bedroom and a studio. My sleep suffered and so did my painting.
It can feel impossible to consider a life outside New York City when you’re living in it. The sounds and lights are so strong and intoxicating that the rhythm of the city becomes indistinguishable from your own heartbeat. I sat down to work each day and felt distracted, unsure where I should put my efforts and fearful that I'd make the wrong choice and waste time. I had little to show for weeks of studio time. Finally one afternoon in November I put down the large, half-hearted painting I was working on and decided to focus on something smaller. I grabbed the Macoun apple I had on hand and did a small, simple painting of it.
The purpose of this exercise was to focus my sights on something attainable. I was experiencing sensory and stimulus overload in New York. I had no focus, but knew I needed to do something to get my confidence back and I needed a routine. Apples are a subject I'd always enjoyed painting. I knew that the assignment to make one small painting each day would give me something purposeful to work toward.
Painting an apple-a-day was the remedy I needed. Thirty apple paintings later, I’m now getting settled into a new life in Providence, Rhode Island where I moved two weeks ago. Here in the Ocean State I have a true studio space, a room of my own solely devoted to my work. I’m creating new work for the Lyman-Eyer Gallery in Provincetown, MA in anticipation for the summer season there. I have the physical and mental space to focus on my work again. The apple paintings were fortifying!
Because I undertook the project during the holiday season and during my final weeks living in New York City, I began to think of painting these apples each day as a sort of advent calendar in anticipation of my departure; a countdown of how many days I had left in the Big Apple.
I am thankful to everyone who has shown interest in this project and to those who have purchased these little apple studies. Your kind words and enthusiasm are encouraging and have kept me committed to seeing the project through in the midst of the busy demands of moving and the holiday rush.
As for the apples, my only regret is that I didn’t start the project a bit earlier in the fall when these beautiful specimens were at their peak. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of painting the thousands of varieties of apples that exist. I had no trouble finding thirty different apples to paint due in part to undertaking this project while living in New York State where so many orchards abound. I’m thankful for the Union Square Green Market, Fairway, the Shop Rite near my parents house in New Jersey, and the produce guy at Dean & Deluca in Soho who flat out asked me if I was painting apples when he caught me observing an Esopus Spitzenberg a bit too closely.
For the record, I still like McIntosh the best.