I thought I’d give you a little background on this painted oil study from the Paintings From Rose Cottage series.
I dedicated this little conference pear tree painting to Vincent Van Gogh. I’ve come to learn a lot more about him and while in Ireland I was acutely aware of how he must’ve felt at times trying to paint in the face of nature.
“Theo, no matter how incompetent you feel at the overwhelming beauty of nature, you have to make a start.”
He went head on and it took everything he had. The sublime beauty of it all tempting him around every corner. I understand what that feels like now. How can you top THAT? It truly can be overwhelming and when I first got to Ireland I was blocked. I found myself in awe and I could not paint a thing. It was all too much.
I tried to imagine the emotional weight of it all on him. Somehow trying to balance everything; painting nature, his own mental struggles and how they were perceived, the selling of his work. He kept everything moving forward all the time. Sending paintings out to Theo, moving from place to place, getting inspiration where ever he could...and painting. Always painting.
He never really got the recognition he deserved in his own lifetime, but he's affected so many people lives with his work since then.
Ireland had experienced its worst drought in 40 years while I was there and I imagined this fruit tree as trying to awkwardly balance it all as well. The fickle nature of rain, sunshine and whether or not its efforts will bear fruit over time.
While I was painting this I listened to a lot of Nick Drake and there’s a lovely song of his titled Fruit Tree that I’ve quoted in the painting. Come to think of it, it could be dedicated to him as well. They both continue to inspire me in new ways.
“Fame is but a fruit tree so very unsound, it can never flourish till its stock is in the ground” - Nick Drake
Find a park and take a walk outside when the sun shines. Let some of that nature in, will ya? We owe it to ourselves to breathe in the fresh air and bask in some of the beauty that nature offers up unconditionally everyday.
Take care, friends.