Chardin Lakeside, approximately 11″ by 14″, oil on canvas covered panel.
I am easily fascinated by optical effects, particularly the distortions and refractions of glass and water. Normally, considered just verbally or conceptually a dead fish is probably a reasonably good token for something unattractive, lacking in appeal or charisma. But from a purely visual perspective it seems really beautiful to me. I suppose there is some overlay of narrative content that goes along with seeing such an image, notions of mortality, transformation, the circle of life, whatever. But what from a purely visual, almost abstract and prelinguistic perspective the image appeals to me because of the contrasts between the organic form of the fish and the cold granularity of the sand, and the contrasts in the different temperatures of white between the sun lit bottom of the lake and the cool dead flesh of the fish. Working on the image I kept flashing to imagery of various Chardin and Dutch still lifes in which dead animal flesh is depicted in still life studies of butcher shops or kitchens.
This painting shows a ripple of sunlight on the bottom of a lake contrasting with the cool white repose of the dead squawfish or sucker lying in the sand at the bottom of Payette Lake, near McCall, Idaho in the mountains of central Idaho. This is the same lake depicted in my painting Divers, which is also a study of the effects of sunlight in water.