The Blue Pot
2019. Acrylic on canvas. 14 x 14 in.
I have a heavy (very heavy) blue ceramic pot that I picked up second-hand a few years ago. It’s square in shape but with the sides slightly rounded and an unusual, wavy, multi-level lip around the top edge. I’ve actually never planted anything in it, although plants get temporarily placed in it sometimes. It’s pretty groovy.
I wanted to make a painting with it, and did some sketches a couple years ago. It was tricky finding an approach that caught the aspects of it that interested me. But I found this close-cropped, straight-on angle satisfying. I was also at the time particularly interested in how Matisse handled pattern, and how often it showed up in his work. So a little patterning got added to the sketch. The palette was very simple, just raw sienna, phthalo blue, and a yellow, probably cadmium. The drawing was brushed on the canvas very loosely, and my main interest was the intensity and weight of the blue. I was not quite satisfied with the block of raw sienna in the upper right, and added the blue discs.
I liked the painting well enough but didn’t see where it fit in with the rest of my work. I didn’t expect to show it at Open Studio Art Tours. But on a whim I hung it up to replace another work that had sold, and it was quickly bought by a younger fellow who was furnishing his Mid-Century Modern mobile home. He showed me some photos of the trailer and I must say it was pretty cool. I was intrigued at the idea of this work in there.
When he and his friends were leaving they spotted the original blue pot on top of a low wall in my yard. They were pretty excited to see it. I’m kind of surprised they recognized it from this painting. Says something, I guess.