As I prepared for my show at the gbc Gallery in Greenfield, I decided to create a little book that told the story of some of my paintings. I love to read about all the interesting elements behind the creation of a work of art. Materials, inspiration, techniques – its all interesting to me. I thought I would share a few of these pages with you. Here is a page about my Favorite Things.
Do you remember the song “These are a Few of My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Well they may not be raindrops on roses but most artists paint their favorite things over and over again. The love affair may go on for years or even a lifetime. I know artists that paint almost nothing but farm country – barns, fields, fence lines, country lanes. Their paintings are consistently beautiful because they have a passion for their subject matter. I am very diverse because I am still such a novice but I do have favorites that I return to again and again. Here are two of them.
Ft. Benjamin Harrison State Park
For 15 years my husband and I have visited Ft Benjamin Harrison as often as possible. For years you would find us walking the trails at 8:30 am every morning of the week. We came to love the park, to appreciate its beauty and to enjoy its silence. I have painted at least seven different scenes at Ft Ben over the last four years (one of them I had to paint four times to get a keeper!) My current show has two new paintings included. The first is a painting of the Gatehouse we see every day and the time of year is the golden, glorious Fall.
The second is a painting of the Black Walnut Plantation at Sunset. The Black Walnut Plantation was planted in 1955 in order to provide wood for gun stocks. I am always fascinated by the military precision of the rows of trees with their straight lines marching strictly forward. I painted it in the crisp, cleanness of winter. The brittle cold and leafless trees allow you to experience the branches gracefully reaching for the sky.
Mark Twain’s Writings
Reading is a lifelong passion. I have been reading every day for longer than I can remember. As soon as I learned to read, I read everything I could get my hands on. Now I get up two hours earlier than my husband so I can have time, solitude and quiet to read each morning. When I heard earlier this year that Mark Twain’s entire unabridged autobiography was to be published in the fall I took time to reread Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I love the humor and the folksy feel of Twain’s writings. And his characters – what can I say? Reading these books led me to consider the personalities of two characters from these writings. Portraits are very time consuming and difficult but in this case, since I did not know the real people behind the characters I could use my imagination.
When my younger brother was growing up my Mother liked to say he was “all boy”, snips and snails and puppy dog tails. He had a shock of dark hair and a gentle face and deep eyes that would melt a mother’s heart. His general look and demeanor inspired my painting of “Ornery Little Cuss”, i.e. Tom Sawyer with his rumpled clothes and sunburned face.
The other character that stimulated my imagination this year was Injun Joe. I saw him as dark, evil and full of malice. I do not know anyone like this so one evening I sat down with my sketchbook and begin working on a drawing with no reference in mind. Feature by feature I thought through my own vision of this closed, malignant personality.