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Life's Seasons

Oil on Canvas - 20"x16"

Finished 2020

Concept:

 

Although this is a fairly small painting, I've managed to put so much meaning behind every object and their placement.

 

It is essentially a painting of contrasts. Contrasts in a painting are usually thought of in the terms of light vs dark, soft vs rough texture but for me contrasts in a painting can be visual or of intangible thoughts. 

The initial concept was to add another painting to my tree series. The twist was to show leaves as trees themselves. If you ever look closely at a tree's leaves they look like miniature trees. The leaf's petiole (the stem) is like the base of a tree, the blade (outer edges of the leaf) kinda resembles a tree's foliage and the veins resembles a tree's branches.

 

I liked the concept so I started painting the largest green leaf making the stem brown to convey the feel of a tree's bark but I felt that this wasn't enough and didn't have enough heart. Then, I thought why not tell the story of the seasons which led me to want to use the seasons as a metaphor for not just life and death but for a life that has fulfilled its natural cycle. I achieved end goals through contrasts. Below is my explanation on how I did this.

I show the sky going from day to night, light to dark, life to death. This is reinforced, but in reverse order, with the ground going from rock to dirt to grass (death to life, ie. from nothingness comes life). By contrasting the sky and ground I'm showing that you can't have one without the other.

I've placed the acorns (representing the spark life) that are connected to the leaf representing life (Summer) and I have the brown leaf that represents death (Winter) laying down onto the rock. The green and brown leaves nearly fit together as puzzle pieces do because you can't have one with the other. 

In the foreground, there is a single leaf seedling sprouting from the soil representing birth (Spring). Here again I am contrasting how from nothing springs life. I've placed the leaf representing death behind all of the leaves since death is always the final stage of life.

Normally Summer represents youth and Spring represents life which I completely understand. However, I think Spring should represent birth and Summer should represent life. Life is comprised of conception and birth. I show the three forming a pyramid because life's foundation is conception and birth.

And this leads to the orange leaf slumping over (Fall). The slumping is to show that the leaf is nearing death through it having reached old age. This is, or should be, everyone's end goal in life. Living life to the fullest and having a long life is a gift. Though this is the natural order of things, oftentimes, sadly for some it is never reached. No matter what one believes regarding what happens on the other side of death, we should make the best out of the time we have here and apply the golden rule regarding camping and “leave it better than you found it”. It doesn't matter how you do so – it can be through service to others, simple kindness to others, creating art, and/or raising the next generation to break free what holds back our society from moving forward.

 

I wish everyone a well-lived life, ripe with good deeds and good thoughts.

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