This is one of a series of paintings that uses landscapes as a way to inject a narrative into a still life. The landscapes were paintings that would hang on the back of the studio wall behind the still life and create a tableau. I did a number of paintings with a fairly minimal background but recently I have begun to wonder if this is the best way to go with these paintings, so, I pulled the varnish off of this one and started painting. I used a few images from the Hudson River School and took bits and pieces in order to construct the painting you see here. As you can see it is quite a difference from the last version. I pulled much of the chroma from the sky and there is nothing minimal about the new background. I am quite happy with the result, enough that I think I might re-visit some other paintings.
The content of the painting has changed from being a study in phoniness to an more allegorical painting but I have little doubt that it works better this way. The foreground and background are more together, thanks to the overlapping shapes, and the viewers eye makes its way around better when looking at the composition than before the changes. Let me know if you agree that this is an improvement or disagree.