Still Life With Oranges

Painting of oranges in a desert landscape

In a dramatic desert landscape, navel oranges form a whimsical pyramid on an African birthing stool. The stool is supported by seven carved figures. Sway-backed and big-bellied, they stand in a circle, back-to-back, nearly collapsing under the weight of the oranges piled on their heads. How many oranges are there? Fifteen? Twenty? They are enormous, larger than the stoic heads of the seven pregnant women.

What if one of the women left the circle? What if she said, No, I can’t. I won’t? But these women have no choice. They are wooden figures, carved from a single round trunk.

This painting loosely inspired one of the poems in my collection, Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters. Titled, “Still Life With Oranges,” the poem explores the process of creating, and then revising. “Mother said every navel orange has another orange inside…”


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Every navel orange has another orange inside.

Painting @ Louise Craven Hourrigan


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