Sunday, April 4, 2010

Emu Egg and Shells

Thank goodness spring has arrived.  This winter was difficult and I did very little art work aside from my class with Mark Henry.  The snow came and stayed  with a grand total of about 50 inches at the mountain house. After totaling my faithful old 2002 Trailblazer in one of the snows, it seemed that staying put indoors was the best option for me.  Much of my time was spent cleaning out papers I have moved around for the past 10 years, closing my studio in a leased office space, and setting up studio space in each home. 

My February trip to FL to see my darling grandsons ended with all of us sick and my recovery from a respiratory virus that took weeks. 

The one piece of art that took a lot of my energy through this endless winter was a still life of dried hydrangeas in front of venetian blinds.  It could only be painted on sunny days because I wanted to capture the light shining through the blinds.  And the pesky hydrangeas just never looked right, so I put it on hold. 

This past Wednesday evening I drove to the mountain house with the intention of resuming my art work.  The Emu Egg and Shells occupied my afternoons.  My mornings were spent working on The Old Poplar Tree painting that I sold last fall to a dear friend.  At the time she bought it there was one section of the painting that was just not up to par so she allowed me to keep it to work on over the winter.  It is much better at this point.

Now about the Emu Egg and Shell painting.  It is by no means finished.  One way to paint a still life is to begin with a very accurate monochromatic underpainting.  That is what I did on the three afternoons for a total of about nine hours painting time.  It will now dry for a week or so and then I will paint the color.  Hopefully you will see a finished painting by the end of April!

The second day of the new year I read the following quote by Anne Morrow Lindbegh:
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach, one can only collect a few. 

This beautiful quote has become a personal new year's resolution about making choices and to honor it I am painting sea shells.  In the second photo you can see a shelf under the still life set up that is covered with shells from my life time of collecting.  The shells in this painting were  most likely found on St. George Island.  The emu egg was procured by my daughter, Katie, from her friend, Amanda.

Friday, March 5, 2010


This was my final painting for the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday in Gainesville.  I was reading the book by Sue Monk Kidd entitled "Traveling with Pomegranites".  The book explores the mother daughter relationship and I knew as I was painting this that I would most likely give it to my daughter.  The pomegranite slice was fairly difficult and I had to finish it when I returned to NC. 
All three of the walnut ink still lifes were set up on a book shelf in my daughter's living room that caught beautiful light out of a north facing window. 

Snowflake Jug

This was my second effort with walnut ink.  It was also painted during the Thanksgiving holiday at my daughter's house.  The snowflake jug was a gift from her mother-in-law and one of her favorite things.  It is also a very small format and is "float-framed". 

White Pumpkin

In the fall of 2009 I began a serious study of pen and ink under the direction of Mark Henry.  This little fall pumpkin was my first effort.  It is on 5"x6" sized paper and has very little pen work.  I began with a light pencil drawing and then started layering tones of walnut ink with a brush.  The walnut ink was made the year before from walnuts harvested in my back yard.  I painted this in my daughter's living room in Gainesville, Fl., while visiting her at Thanksgiving. 

Blue Jug with Onions and Garlic

This still life was painted during the winter quarter of 2008 at the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas.  It has the same background drapery as the still life of the green jug painted one year latter which was quite an improvement. 

Memory of Lake Lanier

This was painted at a workshop led by Australian artist, Kasey Sealy in September of 2007.  It was an early morning alla prima painting at Lake Summit.  Kasey painted this scene and I set up my easel beside his and just tried to keep up and paint the way he was painting.  Quite the challenge. 
This painting was a wedding gift to one of my daughter's 'best friends' who spent many happy weekends with us at Lake Lanier while the girls were growing up.   

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Green Bottle and Garlic

This painting was completed in June of 2009 at the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas.  My teacher, John Mac Kay let me use the green bottle which he purchased at an antique store in Asheville.  He forbade me to dust it as he loves dusty old bottles.  The goblet is my parent's silver aniversary goblet.  The bowl is a piece of NC pottery that is part of my pottery collection.  It has all of the colors that are in the cloth which is the backdrop for the painting.  The garlic had a strange history: pieces went and new pieces came.  Probably the ones that went found homes in other students' still life paintings or in culinary endeavors in the kitchen.