24.3.08

New painting


This is one of my recent paintings called "little pumpkin with his coat and arms". Here he is, a little orange squash wrapped in a bright, pretty  cabbage leaf. He's sweet but also protecting himself.

Historically, weapons were carried and hidden under coats. This painting refers to the symbolic gesture of putting down your "guard" by removing one's coat and hat (and  shoes in many cultures) when entering a friend's home. This gesture would communicate that you are among friends, have nothing to hide and show respect to your host. ( The historic gesture of clinking glasses during a toast comes from a similar background. Diners would purposely hit their cups together hard enough to splash drink from one to the other before taking the first draw. Thus ensuring none of the cups were poisoned. Today, for example it's still considered polite to wait until after the initial toast to take your first sip of champaign or wine. ) I think of this little pumpkin as a new guest who isn't ready to let down his guard - he's vulnerable and kind of dangling out there socially because he's not sure of his new surroundings. He has just entered the room. So, the spotlight is on him ... he means no harm but takes a moment to adjust before letting his guard down.