As promised, I am continuing to take you through the development process involved in the creation of a themed triptych of oil paintings. The theme that embraces all three works is the decline of a major metropolitan city. In this case, New York City or “the big apple”. Since I am a classical still life oil painter, the challenge is to communicate this theme through the use of objects only, such as metal, ceramics and glass. So, instead of painting the city itself, I’m utilizing objects that can represent the sensation and concept of a city in decline through a metaphor.
The first two paintings have been successful, communicating the general concept of a city in decline and a city that is burning. The third and last painting will depict the hidden forces at work that actively assist in the decline of the city, be it individuals, government or corporate powers.
Above you can see the preliminary sketch for the final painting. I am utilizing, as the main colors, blues and purples, which you will see in the color photo of the actual still life set up below. This is the first time that I will use glass objects, to imply that the dangerous entities are hidden in plain sight. And, of course, the iconic apple, which is in all three paintings, represents the city itself. As in the other paintings, a knife with the apple symbolizes the real and present threat within the city. In the color photo below, you can see the candlesticks and a large vase in the background, which are meant to emulate a city skyline. The gold coffee pot represents wealthy corporations. In essence, each piece is meant to represent something, sinister or just city related. The viewer will have the challenge of identifying what each object represents.
What has been wonderful for me, as the artist that is creating this triptych, is how well the paintings work together to communicate the overall theme, as well as individually, standing on their own merit. This is the first time I’ve ever endeavored to have a series of paintings that work as a whole in addition to working independently. It’s an exciting evolution and growth process and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
With my next story, I will show you images of the actual painting in progress and at the finished stage. Stay tuned!