Milki’s Red Apple
Something in the western world’s collective consciousness associates apples with matters of the greatest consequence, usually involving life and death.
The forbidden fruit of Genesis is never called an apple in scripture, but popular culture is determined to imagine it as such. The Norse gods (according to Wagner) remain immortal by consuming the apples grown by the goddess Freyja. And of course there is poor Snow White, whose bite of a poisoned apple ends (almost) in disaster. When an apple appears in a story, it’s sure to be important.
Now, the meaning of this particular apple is—well, I can say only that it must mean something to my model Milki, who returned from a long hiatus with a special request that this picture be painted.
And a woman is entitled to her secrets, don’t you think?
Not Marie’s Boots
Here again is the marvelous and mysterious lady known as Not Marie. She prefers to hide her face, but I can assure you that it’s not for lack of beauty.
These boots are probably Not Marie’s boots. Or maybe they belong to Marie. Or possibly to Alice.
Oh, just look at the picture.
Still Life with Three Peaches
I have described this one as “old-fashioned modernism,” but I’m not sure the term is quite sensible.
Oddly enough, a lot of the stuff in my kitchen really looks like this.
Here is a playful cartoon of a model relaxing with a cigarette. Something about the pose (especially with those red lips) calls to mind the femmes fatale of old movies and pulp detective fiction.
This femme was not fatale, as far as I know; but of course the same cannot be said about the cigarette.
Have An Apple
Apples occupy a strange and often contradictory place in popular culture. On one hand, they are a symbol of all that is innocent and pure: Mom’s apple pie, an apple for the teacher, etc.
On the other hand, we associate apples with destruction: It was an apple that almost killed the virginal Snow White; and even though apples aren’t mentioned in the book of Genesis, people are determined to inject them there as the cause of expulsion from Paradise.
You certainly have to be careful in picking your apples. And your women.
Prior to settling down for a more ambitious project, most artists like to begin with a few quick sketches in order to loosen up a bit. This is especially the case when a figure is the subject.
This is a crude preliminary piece, never really intended for display; but here it is anyway.
Here is an expressionistic sketch of my 192-pound model, viewed this time from the back. I have cropped the image as tightly as possible to stress the subject’s bulk and sculptural qualities. Yes, I am aware that she looks like a pear.
Why is she green? My computer ran out of fleshtone pixels, so I used what I had.
Here is a painting originating in the fine photography of James Michael Cram.
While other women are toasting themselves to the color of my wallet, Milki takes pride in her ivory complexion. Contrasted with her dark hair, it is striking indeed.
There was a time when fashionable women coveted milky skin: It was a sign that they were rich enough to sit indoors (probably on pillows, eating candy) while their social inferiors toiled beneath the sun.
I don’t know where Milki belongs on the social ladder, but as a model she is a true aristocrat.