Dempsey Essick is not a person to feel let down after the summer solstice when the sun sets a little sooner and each day gets a little shorter. For Dempsey, the late summer is a time when geraniums bloom and the Jonathan-Red apples and figs out behind Carolyn Phillips’ and Aunt Sallie Parnell’s houses are ripe.
Carolyn is Aunt Sallie’s daughter and she lives next door to her mother. She introduced Dempsey to the subtle flavor of ripe figs when he was working on his painting, “From Aunt Sallie’s Loom”. Since then, one of his most enjoyable summer past times is to sit on the porch of the old log house that Carolyn and her late husband, Otis, moved to the property. There Dempsey revitalizes his creative spirit with fresh figs while listening to the afternoon song of the mocking birds and wrens and the drone of june-bugs in the nearby bushes.
For “Summer’s Treat,” Dempsey has arranged some of his favorite things on the porch of the Phillips’ log house. In the foreground is a handwoven egg basket filled with Jonathan-Red and Golden Delicious apples from Carolyn’s trees. The enamelware pan just behind the egg basket was a gift from another dear friend, Miss Jane, “Miss Jane’s Wash Day” – 1991. The figs, like the apples, were picked from Carolyn’s bushes. To dominate the scene and provide a color contrast, Dempsey has used an old cut-plug tobacco can as a container for a blooming geranium.
Dempsey Essick’s great talent is his ability to capture the natural sparkle in any object he paints. His paintings are more than just pretty pictures; they are moments in time that stimulate memories in those that view his work. His rendering of the apples and figs in “Summer’s Treat” is without fault and his geranium displays the translucent quality of the actual flower.
The texture evident in the weave of the egg basket as well as the grain of the wood on the porch are the result of hours of very meticulous brushwork which has become an Essick hallmark.
“Summer’s Treat” is an excellent example of Dempsey Essick at his best.