Sunday, September 7, 2014

Recalling Idle Sundays: Old Friends, Figures, and Flowers

Company by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 10" x 10" 

"We are still painfully underserved when it comes to days off." - Tom Hodgkinson

Sunday: A Day of Rest

I have always loved Sundays. Although I may have whined at times about being bored, the truth is that Sundays were different from every other day of the week because all of the stores were closed. All of the chores were squeezed into the other 6 days of the week – the grocery shopping, the store shopping, the oil change – and Sunday was reserved for reading the paper, going out fishing in the boat, going to the pond to ice skate in winter, going to the beach for a picnic in the summer, taking in a movie, and family dinners at 3 in the afternoon.  

So, I was not going to let Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Challenge become a work day for me. I decided to take it easy. I was thinking of taking the day off. But I had this floral hanging around that I had been working on and thought I might be able to finish it today.  As you might guess, two weeks ago this was a traditional floral, with no figure in it. I scrubbed it out and threw it on the floor by my painting table and let it sit there to remind me that I had a painting with potential waiting for the finish.  

Florals and Figures, Surprise, Oh My!


When I decided to tackle this little 10" x 10" square floral, I wondered about the switch from figures to florals. It seemed that I was on a roll with the figures these last few days, and the switch seemed odd. But I went with the hunch that it would be ok to switch mid-stream. Why not? But I was not expected to uncover a figure. And once I gave in to its presence in the painting, things started to fall into place.

I think the figure gives the painting a story. We can look at this painting simply as an old still life painting that has been uncovered on a wall, chipped and faded, a remnant of the past. Or we can look at the flowers in the vase and the figure in the background as symbols – players – in a narrative. The figure stands in the back, looking at the flowers.  And I began immediately to weave allegorical stories about their relationship to one another.  Daydreaming is what we do on Sundays.  

A Sunday Painting

"Company" stands as a reminder of the leisurely "do nothing" "work not" Sundays of yesteryear, when we would easily enjoy the company of family and friends, relaxing after a week of work and chores and business.  


  1. I am.. speechless Jim. I am staring... and just lost in thought. Memories. Past now gone. The figure stands a witness. I really love what is going on in the vessel. aged, cracked...ready to crumble?

  2. I am so pleased that this painting speaks to you, and grateful that you have taken the time to express it so eloquently.