An Arbitrary Study of Beets

Study with Beets and Squash - Curtis Green
Study with Beets and Squash, 2018 by Curtis Green

The other day, I thought I would do an arbitrary study of beets. I suddenly decided to take them to the studio and arrange them for a painting.  When I got to the studio, I turned the radio on.  They were playing a music piece by Brahms.  The announcer said that the composer worked on it for a time and then abandoned the work for something else. 

Yet, he explained, the ideas from that work may have found its way into a finished work made later in his career.   Two days later I heard Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”, another work abandoned by the composer.  So, I was detecting a theme!

Casting it Out

One thing I enjoy most about looking at art is finding the areas where the artist was “working it out”. It can appear they are letting an idea be cast off into where-ever it goes.  Perhaps we’ve all been present when a musician is playing something to our enjoyment and delight, then suddenly stops, laughs it off and says he was just “playing around”!   

By definition, a study would not be a work of art fully resolved.  Rather, it is a meandering of sorts, specific in certain areas while the other parts are dismissed.  Here in this painting, the idea was to make a study of some arbitrary objects, arrange them and see what happens.  The beets were resolved to the point that I almost feel the weight of them.

Yet their leaves, rendered specifically, are languid and laying back.  The
squash gives a good shot of color, while the tea pot stands in good support of
the rest. 

At some point I decided to leave the painting as is. I just wanted attention to
nothing else other than the primary objects.  There are compositional and
painterly elements that intrigue me. For the sake of enjoying the work
as it is right now, I stopped, so I could just look at it.   I needed to
remind myself, it is a study, after all!

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