Autumn is the time when nights are cool, the grain fields are golden and the limbs of the fruit trees bend almost to the ground under the weight of apples, peaches, and pears. It is part of the yearly cycle that guarantees food through the long days of winter.
To celebrate nature’s bounty, Dempsey Essick has created three paintings which depict baskets of apples, peaches, and pears, all fully ripened, juicy and freshly picked. The paintings are a matched set and, in a significant break with traditional print offerings, each set is numbered and issued as a single unit.
For his baskets, Dempsey chose and antique egg basket that belongs to his wife, Shelley, for the peaches. For the pears, he selected a basket of Margaret Hedrick’s. Margaret’s basket features an unusual node on the handle which fits under the rim and prevents the handle from being pulled out. The apple basket is a twill woven pattern designed and made by Joyce Tetter.
Collectors of Essick’s work know that his subjects will be rendered with absolute fidelity to the originals. In “Bonny Baskets” (Bonny: Scottish for beautiful) they will not be disappointed. Each splint and stave has had as much attention as the perfectly toned and shaped fruit. The viewer might even get the illusion that she can detect the smell of peaches or hear insects buzzing around the pears.
Framed together, “Bonny Baskets” form a stunning triptych. Framed individually, they offer some creative possibilities for a room or rooms. In either case, the prints are a worthy addition to Dempsey Essick’s body of work.