Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Feast for the Senses

You can feel it — that cool crisp edge to the breeze, slicing into summer’s heat, opening the rift to usher in fall.  My favorite time of year, when the senses are titillated by sights, sounds and smells.  A trip to the farmer’s market is a delight, an inspiration in color and activity, a painting waiting to happen.

Bright white tents mimic the clouds in the endlessly blue sky, shading shoppers dressed in colorful clothes handling a varied assortment of vegetables, the harvest after a long growing season, ready to pop in a pan and savor the smells of simmering sauces, soups and stews.

Strolling the stalls, I can’t help but be enthralled with the mix of textures and tones, colors and composition begging to be put on paper with pencil and paint. I photograph woven baskets from Africa, stacked one upon the other, handles mimicking twining vines.  Good gourd! Look at those bumpy pumpkins, pimples and puckers creating a mottled surface sure to challenge an artist intent on accurate rendering.  But the colors!  Oranges, reds and yellows, greenish-blue, cream and pink!  When did pumpkins become drenched in such a palette?  Crookneck squash, pattypan, chayote, shiny aubergine, baskets of scarlet tomatoes — I’m choosing paint tubes in my head already.

Moving on, drawn to the crackling hiss of hatch chilis, roasting in a rotating cage, radiating aromas that scent the scene.  Autumn is imminent when blistering poblanos tantalize the taste buds with the promise of a pot of hearty green chili.

Stall tenders probably wonder why I’m photographing their produce — aren’t artists always anxious to capture their impressions to save for a future masterpiece?  With the images in my camera, bounty in my market bag, inspiration in my mind, I head home ready to create —good food, captivating paintings and a home that, like the farmer’s market, offers a delight to the senses.