Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Here is my newest painting. Another in the Paradise Lost theme. Alas, I have too many ideas in my head and am too slow a painter.  From a vintage copy of Utopia I decided on this composition instead. I wanted to use this old Victorian copy of Paradise Lost I had found along with the earlier 19th century copy I had. I have experimented here with two light sources, one from above and one from a lone candle. As with the first Paradise Lost I did a few months back this one has a great deal of meaning for me. Concentrating more on the choices we make in life rather on the choices all ready made for us. I look forward to more on this theme but for now I am back to my "Ladies in Waiting " series with a slew of Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco bottles I have found over the past year. Also in the sketch phase are works for another series on Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Happy Painting to all!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Paradise Lost

What inspires a painting?
In my case it is usually an old bit of antiquity. A pretty bottle that reflects the light, a hand made piece of 19th century lace or in the case of my newest painting an absolutely gorgeous 1800's copy of "Paradise Lost".

This small leather bound beauty started the entire ball rolling and it was uncanny how items in this still life just fell in my lap. These are the paintings I most enjoy working on. Some compositions are just really hard to put together and some just seem to build themselves. After finding this book I found another beautiful, and while a more vague title, equally as powerful a read "Encyclopedia of Facts" by Edwin Paxton Hood printed in 1846. This amazing study of Philosophy and Christianity in regards to attainable world peace absolutely fell at my feet a day after I found Paradise Lost. It was a sign to me and since I am a very passionate political activist in a world that seems at times to have gone astray, it was a message I wanted to say in my newest work.

I felt it necessary to re-read again Paradise Lost as well as discover for the first time Edwin Hood's book so that their expressions would somehow make an impression on this work. Paradise lost is a classic and always has been one of my favorite epic poems. From this tiny book came a marble copy of Michelangelo's "Eve, Creation Night" another love of mine as well as old tapestries and a 19th century tea towel. I just had it in my mind that I would use Dahlias in this painting which I later found out were sometimes called in antiquity "Les Etoiles de Diable" (Stars of the Devil) I had to order them special from our local florist. All came about in a matter of a week and as this painting built itself I also had photos sitting on my computer of a recent visitor to my barn who posed for me reluctantly as I shooed him gently into the woods. The dangerous Copperhead Snake is seldom a welcome sight here but he was so beautiful I had to use him in this painting. He was perfect. So in the end I just felt like this composition created itself and I was merely the person behind the brush. As a miniature artist an 18" by 24" is a giant sea of a canvas but it really was an easy paint for me. It took about 230 hours to complete and I never got bored of it once. Paintings that come together like this rarely happen so it was very enjoyable for me. It has a few layers of meaning, some obvious and others much more subtle.

I believe a message in a painting can hide behind an obvious. Obviously this work narrates the fall of Eden. The choice made to walk away from paradise. But what about the choices today? The sacrifices we have made as a country and personally yet we still walk away from Eden. Do we not still make bad choices repeatedly, over and over and over again. Bad choices in governance, bad choices personally, bad choices for our environment. Even with the weight of guilt we just can not seem to grasp those good choices, accept the truths of the world. We prefer to wrap our world in material beauty, weighing us down, and hiding behind a good story to defer blame to one who originally made that bad decision, too weak to take responsibility for it ourselves.

I can't wait to start the next painting as a beautiful 100 year old copy of Utopia fell into my lap today :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This is my new miniature gouache entitled "Old Jug & Antique Lace" 4" x 4.5" It is the first in a series that explores my love of old textiles. This painting was sold before the opening along with two other of my miniature works at the Seaside Gallery's International Exhibit of Miniature fine art in Nags Head North Carolina. This show opens May 3rd.
I also just acquired an amazing 19th century hand-made lace runner. It will round out the series as possibly a small work.
I am actually working on two series at this moment. I want to thank my Brother Robert for the inspiration for the second series. He is quite the connoisseur of fine scotch so this series will be dedicated to him and his wonderful support to me as an artist. He has an amazing eye and I always know that I can ask him to critique my work and I will receive thoughtful and honest criticism. This is so valuable to an artist as we become a bit blind to our own work in our studios.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I am back from my week long trip to Charleston, SC. As usual I fall more in love with this city with each visit. My three day gallery tour was amazing and I met so many wonderful artists and gallery owners. One day was just spent exploring the city. My mother and brother took my little boy to the Battle ship park and I was left to explore. The exquisite details of this lovely city are mind boggling, specially if you are an artist with a detailed mind. There are endless hidden treasures to be discovered around each corner. A secret garden or classical piece of cornice or wrought iron , a lovely old tree or an historical building erected before America was indeed America. I was able to fully appreciate this city's beauty on this visit, a cherished time for me.
I still have dreams of 82 Queen restaurant. Wonderful food and service. If I was not a full time artist I think I would love to be a chef. They serve inspiring creations of southern classics. Their She-Crab soup is certainly my Kryptonite. My recreation of this ambrosia is near complete in my kitchen.....I may be able to life now.

I can not wait to visit again. I always have the excuse of saying "It is for my work" :)



Thursday, March 13, 2014

I finished this miniature gouache today. I am naming it "Peace".
There is a cool story behind this painting. I live near a very large cattle ranch and I noticed a new calf was born as I drove my son to school in the morning one spring day last year. He was snow white and in the early morning sun he shown like a beacon in the field. He seemed very happy to be photographed and just looked at me with those gorgeous big eyes. I noticed that the small weeds that were near where he lay projected the shadow of a perfect cross up along his midsection. It was truly a beautiful sight. I knew I had to paint him. "Peace" is my version of the Lion and the Lamb....Ozark style.
Happy Painting!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gallery One Masterworks in Miniature show opened last night.
It will be a great show!

Yikes I have a blog!

Who has time for a blog as an artist? Well we shall see. Everyone else has a blog :) So let's dip the toe in the cyber pool and see what happens.