Library Balcony Gallery
About the Artist-Samantha Long
Fruit is not for eating. Fruit is for painting—obviously! How anyone can mildly masticate a mouthful of miraculous fruity masterpiece is mind-boggling! How can you not walk through the produce section in the grocery store without seeing hundreds of subjects to paint? And so, it is my mission in life to convince us all: fruits are friends, not food! Working in pastel, a medium that is as pure pigment as a person can get, I strive to capture the essence of light as it passes over edible treasures. Since each pastel stick is essentially tiny light-reflecting crystals of color bound together with the bare minimum amount of binder, it handles the job marvelously. Rather than smudge with my fingers, which crushes these delicate crystals, I opt for the sticks to blend themselves together with each new calculated stroke. Boldness and spontaneity are the order of the day. With each new painting I experiment sharpening an edge there, losing an edge there, trying to find just the right balance to create an aesthetically compelling image. Each painting is a battleground of pushing and pulling shapes. How much information is necessary to tell the viewer it’s an apple, rather than a lemon or a pear? How far can you push the color before it surpasses the realms of believability? How do you make an object look round, while at the same time vibrate with juxtaposed colors? These questions keep me coming back time and time again to that fruit the doctors swear by, the exquisite apple. So, the next time you pick up an orange, remember, you might be devouring a beautiful painting.
As a child I began my career as a scientist, as a landscaper, and as a fashion designer. I perfected the Stuffed Animal Diagram, complete with to-scale frontal, side and back views in full color with appropriate labels. I developed and drew the ideal landscape: sky with sun, mountains, then hills, meadow full of flowers, and then a lake or stream at the bottom. I wrote and illustrated a book of dress designs, each fashion ending with the words, “wear this, and be popular!” But it wasn’t until high school that I found my true calling in life: the pastel. After winning several school awards and being named a Sterling Scholar Finalist for the state, I entered Brigham Young University to study art with my trusty pastels in tow. After being told again and again that pastels were not a ‘serious medium,’ I reluctantly put them aside to work in respectable media like acrylic, oils, and charcoal. After graduating, I threw caution to the wind and pulled out… my pastels! Not only that, I embraced my infatuation with garden fruits and veggies, and my pastels and I have been devouring them ever since! Now I can be found in the grocery store, deliberating over whether the lemons or limes are prettier this week; teaching my love of art to others in my private lessons program; and building frames to house my ‘eternally wet’ pastel creations.