When I was in DC I visited an exhibition of the Still Life paintings of a Spanish Master Luis Meléndez . His work is fantastic and I was actually so inspired by it that I wanted to try my hand at Still Life paintings.
Now that I finished reading his book I find the artist and his work even more intriguing. Meléndez did not have expensive art materials, yet he was able to achieve wonderful paint results that still left his paintings looking as if they were painted yesterday.
He did not believe in idealizing and rendered his fruits with all the imperfections and bruises, just as he saw them when he painted. His subject matter came straight out of the kitchen and were utilitarian items. Some of his renditions actually show a culinary recipe of the times as he often grouped ingredients meant for a certain dish together in his paintings.
One thing he was careful about was how he staged his compositions. He would often reuse the same objects and rearrange them to create various paintings.
A interesting aspect of his work was that it caught the attention of the Prince of Asturias, for whom Meléndez painted several still life compositions. In some of these paintings he juxtaposed the fruit against sky, which was a rather unusual treatment and new innovation.
This exhibition has now come to Los Angeles and is on display at LACMA.