When I was a kid we didn't keep soft drinks in the house. They were reserved for special occasions and there was none more reliable than a visit to "Nana and Papa" at the Valley Service Station. (My grandparents had retired and my Uncle Phil bought a gas station/general store outside of town for them to run. It was a brilliant move that gave them something to do, was easy work and kept them engaged in the community.) Each visit, Papa would tell us to pick out anything we liked from the pop fridge, which was a big horizontal box with a metal sliding lid on top and a bottle opener on the side. The options seemed endless and included all six brands pictured plus many more. Yes, Soda pop was a big deal back then.
About ten years ago I started noticing old pop bottles at flea markets. Of course the name brands were well represented but the real nostalgia factor came with the brands I had forgotten, names like Nugrape, NEHI, Suncrest, Vess and Grapette. The bottles were still relatively cheap so I started picking them up and eventually had a crate full.
It was just a matter of time before I got around to painting these. This composition was inspired by the wonderful still lifes of Diane Massey Dunbar. She also has a thing about soft drinks and paints everyday things that we take for granted and giving them dignity and beauty. It's like seeing them for the first time. I expected to paint a row of similar bottles and then have the label designs set them apart and was surprised at the different textures in the glass that gives each one it's own personality. I hope to have been able to capture some of that here.
|Glassmates, 9 x 12, oil on hardboard.|