Linda Lucas Hardy is an American artist specializing in colored pencil painting. I browsed her website and several other links offered on this page and learned about the medium and some of its unique techniques; I became enthralled with its congenial creative problems and the surprising, sometimes astonishing solutions that it thereupon suggests. But in today’s review I would like to focus on Linda Lucas Hardy’s individual accomplishments, particularly in the genre of still life. Though the following interpretation may diverge from the artist’s intended meaning, it still fits with her artistic credo of being an “entertainer at heart,” while capturing the “conflicting forces between light and dark.”
The almost painfully blazing light you see in these fruit arrangements shines, in fact (if I got it correctly), from areas left untouched by the pencil’s tip: it is the pure white of the paper. I mention this particular technical detail because it has an unexpected metaphoric sense in the context that I am about to suggest: these paintings depict holy offerings, concrete religious sacrifices, which, as some rather tedious passages from the Bible state, must be uncorrupted. These pieces indeed show perfect fruit, while the purest light accentuates and compliments their impeccability. The harsh shades add dramatic element — and the said forces mutate allegorically to religious pillars of devil and God, of heaven and hell.
But there is a more practical reason for this viewing: the peaches, pears and plums are placed on surfaces that imply sacrificial connotation. The bas-releifed stone or alabaster resembles an altar and the pattern on the white table-cloth repeats or elaborates the solid design. If it were not for the chiaroscuro, I would be tempted to think more in the direction of a party, or perhaps a decoration of a spacious hall — but there is just too much in the air, too many details (not tedious this time, but mesmerizing and dizzying) that prompt to envision that space as a temple and the fruits as devotional offerings. Okay, maybe I am swayed by current fruit prices — we are on a sabbatical fallow year!
Sacrifices are always a celebration and a public festivity, they connect people and strengthen bonds between them and God as well as between themselves — this is why I think that the artist’s declared entertaining purpose remains relevant, and possibly even more than so. In a way, she orchestrates an event with her pencils — or should I say batons — with each color matching a certain note. And while the main “melodic line” captures the drama, the rest of a painting projects a limpid softness and an evasive sense of mystery. Linda Hardy has first proven the range of possibilities of her medium as nearly unlimited and, second, her own ingenuity in its exploitation.