The transfiguration of the pomegranate

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Two Pomegranates (acrylic) 2018

Sometimes I look at some of the artists I follow on Instagram and wonder if they ever get bored, painting the same type of thing day after day. If I paint a piece of fruit today, tomorrow I want to start a line drawing of a man wearing a mask in the form of a fox’s head. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

So the idea of following a seven day online painting project to produce a series of variations on a theme was a little outside the box for me, but that’s exactly the point of Tara Leaver‘s challenge. I started with a straightforward painting of a pomegranate, just to ease myself into it:

My plan was to move from this towards an abstracted version of the fruit but, switching media to charcoal and pastel, I produced something more conventional on the second day:

A fresh approach was needed, so I put together a collage next, just to see what would happen:

That seemed to do the trick, and by the end of the week I was more relaxed and, after a short detour into a painting of quinces, I finally reached the rather more abstract pomegranates at the top of this post. The full sequence can be found on Instagram. As I wrote to Tara at the end of the seven days, it was an exhilarating experience. Exploring different ways to approach a single subject every day for a week was astonishingly liberating. I felt no compulsion to produce ‘finished’ work even though I was posting it on Instagram. The journey was the key, empowering me to experiment. Others, it seemed, had the same experience. Tara was the perfect companion on this journey: her admission that her own theme had gone somewhat awry but she was going to enjoy it anyway inspired and relaxed many of us, I felt.

If, like me, you like to flit from subject to subject, I can wholeheartedly recommend a short period of concentration on one, using different media, pushing your style in new directions, not worrying about the outcome as much as enjoying the process. If we can do that, it would appear, an ‘end result’ suddenly makes itself apparent.

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27 thoughts on “The transfiguration of the pomegranate

  1. This is a wonderful way of working Michael, and as you say, liberating! I started working in series a couple of years ago and love it. I used to flit from subject to subject (easily bored!), but have learnt and developed much more from working on the same subject, pushing it further and further. As soon as I looked at this post I thought ‘wow! Those first two works are very striking’, so it was interesting to read what led to them. I really like them. Thanks for sharing your process.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of the many blogs I follow, yours tops the list of the ones I most enjoy seeing in my inbox. There’s always a surprise waiting for me– a new approach, a new thought, something that pushes the bounds. What you’ve created here is exciting. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So great to read about your experience and process Michael! Interesting to see how you got to your ‘destination’ while still being able to meander and explore.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Sometimes I look at some of the artists I follow on Instagram and wonder if they ever get bored, painting the same type of thing day after day. If I paint a piece of fruit today, tomorrow I want to start a line drawing of a man wearing a mask in the form of a fox’s head. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.”
    WOW!! Thought I was the only person who felt this way! Thank you for sharing this post – inspiration!!!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of course the collage instantly grabbed me. I did an exercise drawing the same shell for days from different angles last year. Having moved recently, I don’t know where it’s hidden itself, but I meant to eventually paint it as well. I like that you added different approaches in different media. I always think of Monet and his water lilies. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

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