Time for Buttering

Merrill Coffin’s “Time for Buttering” invites viewers into a nostalgic tableau, a glimpse into a bygone era where the heart of the home is a warm, worn-keeping room. The scene unfolds against a backdrop of red wallpaper adorned with faded and tearing yellow starbursts, a visual testament to the passage of time.

At the forefront of the composition, a wooden chair emerges, only its top and finial visible, suggesting a sense of invitation and anticipation. The chair’s presence evokes a sense of the human touch, as though someone has momentarily stepped away, leaving the viewer to ponder the purpose of the space.

In the background, a butter churn stands as a silent witness, patiently waiting to be put to work. The churn’s surface reflects the ambient light against a stark white painted wall, emphasizing the contrast between the utilitarian object and the simplicity of its surroundings. The reflection adds a dynamic quality to the composition, as if the churn is ready to come to life with the rhythmic motion of hands at work.

Adjacent to the butter churn, a wooden barrel with two metal rims sits next to a large ball of yarn. The combination of materials suggests a harmonious blend of functionality and craft, echoing the traditions of a time when practicality and creativity coexisted seamlessly.

Beneath these elements, the floor reveals wide wooden planks, worn smooth by the passage of countless footsteps. The left edge of the painting introduces a dark opening, a mysterious opening that hints at the unseen realms beyond the keeping room. This subtle touch adds an element of intrigue, inviting viewers to imagine the hidden spaces and untold stories just beyond the frame.

“Time for Buttering” is a masterful composition that transcends the boundaries of still life, transporting viewers into a world where the tactile details of everyday life become a poetic exploration of time, memory, and the enduring beauty found in the simplicity of the past.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *