Saturday, September 11, 2010


On a beautiful summer day we drove to Portsmouth to draw. This bountiful pear tree was growing in the wild at the end of a bridge. It was an unexpected find!

The pear tree as a whole was stunning and one of us will likely return to it in the near future.
For now, James brought a single pear from the tree back to the studio.

A study of the single pear by James Aponovich

"This is an oil painting on linen (8"x6"). It is simply set against a neutral gray background. It is painted as I observed it." James Aponovich

The inspiration for a painting comes from many sources .

This fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) is an image that James draws from in his painting. He notes the way the arch and horizontal plane of the wall below hold and balance the figures and Ghirlandaio's use of the landscape behind the wall.

"What interests me about this painting is the way that Ghirlandaio used a neutral background, the wall, to contain his figures the same way that I used the neutral gray to contain the pear. The surprising element is the glimpse of tree and sky." J.A.

Inspiration in Rome

In Rome James did a quick sketch of this pot in a cut out of the garden wall. He was interested in the cut away square space, the object filling the space, and the more distance facade seen in the background.

"In Italy, you find many interesting and ancient walls with niches cut into them that may have a may have a small plain statue of a madonna or just some plastic flowers to fashion a shine. What intrigued me about this opening in the wall was the view through to the outside, not unlike the Ghirlandaio fresco." J.A.

A painting in progress

On the easel is a new painting that James is currently working on of that pear .
The single pear is used here framed by an arch . The raspberries create a rhythm at the base of the pear. There is a landscape in the distance creating depth and sense of air in the painting.

"Here the Portsmouth pear is idealized and placed in a shrine-like opening with a imagined Italian landscape in the distance. One must always keep their eyes opened to find the unexpected. We constantly seek paintings not only in museums but more importantly where they were meant to be seen, chapels, churches, etc.
We call this acquiring visual vocabulary." J. A.

We always travel with sketchbooks and pencils. We find the information we record works its way into our paintings. The idea is to observe, record, imagine and then transform onto paper or canvas.

By the way, we took an afternoon break and had a lovely picnic lunch .

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James Aponovich & Elizabeth Johansson
Artwork cannot be reproduced without written permission of the artist.

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