When someone said black was a noncolor Renoir replied: “But mon chere Monsieur, black is the Queen of the colors!”. I guess he meant black was the richest color since it's range goes from white to absolute black and allows the most possible shades. And mind you that came from an impressionist.
This series is about simplicity and going back to the basics. Charcoal is an amazingly versatile and rich medium. It's pretty ascetic but on the other hand you have an infinite variety of shades and tones. It has some Zen like meditative feel, at least for me.
Every drawing is an abstraction, it isn't a copy of reality. I am not a camera and the camera is not my competition. We surely start with copying reality as part of our training as an artist, but we have to go beyond that. The surface reflects the nature and essence of things.
At a certain point I realized I am not an epic painter or artist. My work is not even a short story, it's rather a metaphor, a symbol, perhaps a short poem or a koan or a haiku. I like that idea, so let's settle for visual haiku.
Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. These drawings are a sort of visual diary or a daily sequence, or a daily meditation and focusing on only one object at a time.
Most still lives in art history were not just a decorative collection of random objects, they had a message, a symbolic meaning. Well educated people knew what a candle, an empty glass, a snail, a rose stood for.
If you look at Bosh, Velasquez, van Gogh, Picasso, Degas or Hopper you see a certain open handedness. They don't go into microscopic detail. We should not confuse painstakingly painting every minutia with art. That is only craft and often meaningless show-off. Tromp l'oeil therefore I find pretty boring. The eye has nothing to complete, it's like giving birthday presents to kids every day...
In art or painting you can howl and scream like Grünewald in his altar, Picasso in Guernica, sing an opera like Rembrandt in his night watch, speak softly like Modigliani. I guess I am just whispering in these still lifes....
If you take your time and do a short brain storming what comes to your mind, what you associate with a nut and a shell you pretty much have a good starting point to understand the symbolic meaning.....
The good thing about working with charcoal is I don't have to change my pants :) and it's quick.