There's nothing like biting into a juicy island mango. The heavenly fruit makes you forget just how messy it can get, with its sweet nectar streaming down your face, and its stubborn pulp lodging between your teeth. But never mind, those delightful blissful bites are worth every article of white clothing you ruin in the process.
I have fond memories of picking mangoes with my Mom and sister every summer, lugging our golden jewels home and trying to decide which ones were ready to devour right away. I'll never forget what a Hana mango tree smells like in the middle of July: a pungent mix of sweet fruit ready to be plucked from the tree and sticky rotting mounds of mush that had fallen to the ground. We'd tiptoe around the poor unsightly remains, holding our noses and braving the mango battlefield, eager to find just one more perfect multi-colored gem.
While doing some research for this week's still life, I stumbled upon the official website of all things mango, which has a wealth of information on the world's most popular fruit. I learned a lot while browsing the site, and decided to share my three favorite mango fun facts with you:
1. The paisley design motif is a design from India based on the mango
2. The mango is a distant relative of poison ivy... yikes.
3. More fresh mangoes are eaten every day than any other fruit in the world!
Oh, and of course... this all leads up to this week's still life, "Piece 39"! As I look at the finished painting, I think back to the warm summer days under the mango trees, foraging the terrain with my sister in our version of a Hawaiian Easter egg hunt.
"Piece 39 (2008)" by Renee Coates. Oil painting on canvas. 6" x 6".
Abstraction is a concept that refers to art unconcerned with the literal depiction of something from the real world. For me, artistic achievement occurs when I can take an object, such as a still-life, and blur the line between reality and fantasy. The piece takes on new life when you are able to turn that corner, and reshape a pre-conceived idea on how something is "supposed" to be. My goal as an artist is to unlock that door for the viewer, and open their mind to a world where skies can be purple, cows can be pink, and bananas, of course, are blue.
I hope when you visit 52 Pieces and view my artwork you are able to rest your eyes on an image that transcends reality, even if for just a fleeting moment. Enjoy "Piece 38"!
"Piece 38 (2008)" by Renee Coates. Oil painting on canvas. 6" x 6".
I spent most of today finishing this painting and then agonizing over what to say about it. For so many years I've relied on my artwork speaking for itself, and I'm still getting used to putting such abstract emotions into words. How do you describe why you chose a certain color or why your brush moved the way it did? It's actually been more difficult for me to craft the written posts than the weekly paintings!
While I struggle to find my voice, my main goal is for the artwork to keep its integrity from week to week. So although I may not know what to say, I know "Piece 37" is animated and expressive, eager to tell you its story.
"Piece 37 (2008)" by Renee Coates. Oil painting on canvas. 6" x 6".
One of my favorite artists is Henri Matisse. I admire him not only for his still-life compositions infused with bold textile patterns, but also for his "scissor art", created in the years when he became crippled and could no longer paint. However, I don't believe Matisse ever painted island fruit or flowers, and I thought I'd put a Hawaiian twist on the classic still life. For the month of September, I wanted to try something new by "islandizing" Matisse and fusing tropical fruits with colorful textile designs.
"Piece 36" depicts the papaya, vivid and ripe, next to a freshly picked plumeria flower. In art, and in all things for that matter, I feel it is crucial to take chances and experiment with new concepts. As Matisse famously quoted, "Creativity takes courage," and "Piece 36" reflects a creative venture I'm pleased with.
"Piece 36 (2008)" by Renee Coates. Oil painting on canvas. 6" x 6".
My name is Renee Coates, and I'm an artist from Hana, Maui. Welcome to my website & blog, where you'll find original art, limited edition prints, and stories about each piece.
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