Playing with Pears

The next verse my friend wants me to paint for her is Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” I considered several options to illustrate this, but decided on the simplicity, elegance, and flexibility of pears. I think there are reasons you see so many pears in still lifes: 1) they have graceful color and texture 2) they have simple lines, yet more interesting and complex than apples 3) they are still highly identifiable, even if your style tends more toward the abstract.

I plan to do a triptych of pears, with the central canvas being a single pear carrying the bulk of the verses’ text. I played around awhile with how I wanted to represent the pears and came up with these three highly unfinished studies in acrylic. I also considered watercolor for a more delicate look, and pastels for something really bold and kind of fauvist, but in the end I stuck with what I am most comfortable with.


Had I chosen this pear, I would have done a background more like a watercolor. I loved the light almost-translucence of the pear, but that makes the background feel too opaque and heavy. That’s just backward.

bold pear

I decided this pear actually detracts from the text I’ll be adding. Definitely not the goal!

Glowing pear

This is the pear of choice. Without too much contrast with the background, the contrast of the text can get the focus it needs. It has color and shape, but it’s strong and contemporary, much as I imagine my friend to be. It’s a style I can have fun with on my other two pear paintings, yet maintain some unity. Plus, I just love how it glows. Surrounded by the fruit of the Spirit, I think it will inspire. Now to translate it onto canvas!

Update: other pears of the triptych here, and here.


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