Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Happy Halloween" (Detail)

As a kid growing up in Iowa, I always loved Halloween. My cousins and I would make up the most fantastic costumes and go trick-or-treating weeks in advance. There was no special designated night for trick-or-treating back then, so we'd make the most of it, turning it into 5 or 6 nights. We'd go to each other's neighborhoods and stay out for 3 - 4 hours at a time.

Halloween was NOT a good time to live in or near Detroit, however. For 30 years I lived on the outskirts of Detroit, where the holiday was marred with vandalism and arson. They didn't call it "Devil's Night" for nothing. Thank goodness I moved away.

I wanted to include the two classic Halloween candies: candy corn and those horrible peanut taffy confections that came wrapped in orange and black wax paper. Ugh! Even as a kid, I never cared for either. But they do say "Halloween", don't they? Found a package of each at the dollar store. I checked to see if they were made in China (no -- Indiana). My holy grail was "Almond Joy".

Probably the first thing I'd found that inspired me to do this piece were the clear plastic owl trays. They came from a Charlevoix consignment shop. The clear glass-covered pumpkin dish also came from a resale shop in Ellsworth. As with most of my still lifes, everything either comes from a resale shop or garage sale. I love it: shopping roulette! I love the concept of trusting in the Universe to steer one towards things they need.

Don't you just love the warty pumpkin? Actually, I've been told it's really a squash. Today I'm going to bake it and maybe make a pie.

I've had that black ceramic cat teapot for probably 30 years. Love that thing. It's probably about the only thing I bought new, aside from the candy.

The first things I painted in this piece were the maple leaves. I knew they wouldn't last but a day before drying up. It's getting late in the season and I feared waking up some morning to find all the leaves on the ground before I'd had a chance to paint them.

Maybe working in the auto factory was a good thing in that it got me used to constant interruptions, struggles and aggravations. I've adopted 2 little kitties for the studio and they interrupted me constantly. Kept wanting to climb up my legs, sit on my lap, wanting me to play with them all the time. At the end of every painting session I'd have to lock up the palette in another room, as they wanted to walk all over it.

I included a close-up detail shot of Elvis, my favorite cat. This is the third time I've included him in a painting. He typically hangs around me all the time, watching and guarding me from errant mice.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,