Sunday, March 02, 2014

March Roars In Gently

It was such a fine, fine, fine day.  Temps in the 70's, sun shining, daffodils blooming all around the yard - I even had a fab lunch of fresh sliced chicken breast on 9 grain bread and strawberry-rhubarb (my favorite) pie for a mid afternoon snack.  I worked hard in the shop with my friend Carol, clearing out in order to make changes for re-opening.

That's a lot of good stuff in one day!  And it got even better tonight, when I got a call from the director of the Sautee-Nacoochee Gallery to let me know my altar piece So Fragile A Fire is the first purchase of a special exhibit at Yonah Mountain Vineyards
So Fragile A Fire - Mixed media: acrylic paint, poplar, Crepe Myrtle wood, feathers, pearl grapevine  tendrils.  Approx. 28 x 14 x 3.

The irony is that this piece had been at another gallery for over two years at a lower price.  When I picked it up, I determined not to undersell these pieces any more.  I spend so much time on them compared to a "normal" painting, and I hate to let them go.  I raised the price considerably, rather hoping this one would not sell so I might keep it.  Lord knows, I need the money, but I think it's important to keep the ones that are most meaningful to me.
Detail of the medallion - feathers, leather, mother of pearl and pearl. 
Detail of painting

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Multiple motif dresser for a client

I used to do a lot of painted furniture - and I still do quite a bit - but I don't often get called to do something this elaborate and colorful.  This style was very popular during the 1990's, but it is relatively expensive due to the length of time involved in constant taping and/or touch up as one color is laid next to or over another.

The client found a pair of these small dresser/side tables made in 1970 and all solid wood, painted white by someone.  The piece was only $159.00!  I had great fun doing this and the client loves it.
I still have to put the top coat on and this little piece is so heavy I'm keeping on the dolly til done. 
Below are a couple of multiple motif style pieces by some well known designers
A Tracy Porter set.

A piece by Mackenzie-Childs

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Back to the 50's, Images and Verse, and a tiny avian.

This picture is bigger than the painting!  It's a 4 x 4  - Singing of Spring (I hope).
On to thrift shop adventuring!!

I am rarely able to pass up the chance to rummage about in the books at a thrift shop or yard sale.  There's just something magical to me about finding a best loved author or a new discovery amongst the tons of Reader's Digests and Harlequin Romance rubble.

Last week I happened to notice the word Poetry on the spine of a shabby book.  Since poetry books of any kind are rare hereabouts, I eagerly pulled it out for a look.  It was a 1954 Public School Library book called the first book of poetry published by Franklin Watts, Inc., with pictures (charming line drawings) by Kathleen Elgin and poems "selected by" Isabel J. Peterson.

I wasn't yet in school in 1954, but I found a few of my favorite childhood poems included along with many unfamiliar poems and authors.  And I found that the illustrator, Kathleen Elgin, was a gifted, versatile and prolific artist working throughout the 1950's and 1960's.

 Here are a few of her drawings:

One of my favorite childhood poems - with a perfect illustration,   

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Butterfly Effect...

 People often ask me where I get my ideas. When I make something, I'm not thinking of any one thing, but rather a myriad of possibilities and meanings.  Of course the work should be attractive.  I mean that quite literally; it should attract the viewer, drawing them in for a closer look.  Varying textures, colors and style of painting contribute to making an interesting and attractive work.

But for me, the work must have meaning on another level.  Often my paintings and assemblages are based upon my interpretations of natural phenomena; science and the weather.  I prefer to think of them as "atmospheric".  I often add quotations to the titles, or inscribe the backs with poems (sometimes my own) and quotations that are clues to what I was thinking.  Sometimes I let the mystery be.  I'm fine with having the viewer interpret a piece any way they wish.

Here a few shots of a commission in progress.  The client wanted a cheerful transition from her kitchen to her study; something that would make her smile.  The guest powder room is off this hall as well, so she wanted something pretty and noticeable. I've based the overall design on the theory of the Butterfly Effect and how it relates to spirals, whirlwinds, chaos and fractals.  Thus, I have had a bit of fun making a swirly faux finish and overdressing it with vining spirals that end in colorful leaves and tendrils.  The client loves birds and butterflies, and several more will be added to symbolize nature at its most ingenious. 
Small decorated hallway.  Can you see the nest?
Some iridescence on vines and leaves...


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Altar Series and going home...

It's been a long year.  Lots of crap - but ending with much happiness, many accomplishments, contentment in creating, the promise of new friends and further adventures with old friends.   I'll be heading off to Southern Illinois next week.  If you see me on the road, I'll be the one doing 50 - 55 mph on the two-lanes whenever possible.  I hate interstates.  I hate crazies flying by me at 75 and 80 - and I hate those giant trucks that box you in or see how close they be to your bumper.  I like to poke along through the small towns and see how others live, the landscape, the sky, the very atmosphere of taking a trip.  It's the journey as much as the destination.  See you all in 2014.

Altar Series:  Birds Watch., mixed media, 29 x 16 x 3.  $450     

This piece is currently showing at the Sautee Nacoochee Center Gallery.  

Yesterday I traded out work that had been at the Tallulah Falls Gallery for some time.  I'd forgotten that one of my altars was there and I am pleased to have it back - for at least a while.  I'm very attached to these works, and thus far they've all sold (which surprises me) so I've not been able to keep one.  I think I'll keep to "So Fragile A Fire".

Inset painting

Detail of feather and pearl emblem/medallion

Friday, January 04, 2013

Watch Birds; Watchbirds

 There used to be a little balloon in certain magazines when I was growing up.  It simply stated: "I'm a little watchbird watching you."  At least that is how I remember it.  I thought it was a sort of private joke. Today, thinking how birds do sit and watch - each other; for predators, for food, for "a signal" that it is time to fly, I remembered that little illustration.  As I watch them back, and paint their images, perhaps I seek to learn the signal too. 
A Gathering In Winter;   acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12   

Wow - The images are wonderful. Now I've found that these were created in the 1940's by Munro Leaf - and were often illustrated to impart morals and proper behavior.

Munro also wrote many children's books, and even collaborated with Dr. Seuss.  He was rather controversial during the war years and is most famous for his book Ferdinand..
Perhaps all those watchbirds crept into my subconscious.  I especially love the one who sits on the tree branch.

Monday, December 31, 2012


This past year has been transitional for me.  Not to say that all years, times, lives, - aren't filled with transition - but often these changes are not so obvious.  Having recovered as much as possible (reaching something called PPD in medical/insurance terminology) I have had to make mental and physical adjustments to what "normal" is for me.

I've always been highly energetic, willing to go to great lengths to achieve goals, working the equivalent of two full time professions in order to have what I wanted and to be what I wanted.  After my injury I found I no longer had the stamina or even the ability to work 14 to 16 hours a day, especially if on my feet.  I was depressed by my body's failure to live up to my wish to be restored to my pre-injury self - and I was dismayed  at trying to cope with the financial strain of being on Workman's Compensation.  (For those who don't know, workman's comp pays 2/3 of whatever salary one received prior to the injury, even if the job was only part time.  One is not allowed to earn other income of any sort without losing the w. comp. claim.)  I'll skip the rest of that nightmare.

The Wind, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 28.  

Who has seen the wind?  Neither you nor I, but when the trees bow down their heads the wind is passing by...
I returned to part time work and began painting again this past summer, and though my knee will never be the same, I am coping well. I heartily enjoyed the holidays for the first time in years and I am back to my old optimistic self.  I have the Democrats of the late 1930' s and early 1940's and FDR to thank. I received my first social security check in November, and though it's not all that much, it bridges the gap between barely making it and having just a bit of discretionary income.  The future's so bright I think I'll wear shades... of red, turquoise, blue, tangerine, chartreuse - every color on earth!

Redwing Sentry - Acrylic on Canvas, 12 x 12.

- Thank you, Roy.  You're the best.

p.s.  HAPPY NEW YEAR - may 2013 be your best year ever...