Day after day, the relentless call came to me “Look over here, create !” I was possessed by the early morning scene that stretched across the eastern sky each day on my walk and the earlier I went out, the more beautiful it became. The yellows and oranges were bursting as the fog gently hovered just above the damp ground on each cool mid-spring morning. After a few days I succumbed to the call.
I had a piece of board in the studio that I had hand primed with a burgundy pastel primer and had been waiting for the right time to put into use. I spent about 5 days working on this pastel painting, but four days out of the five I had truly decided in the middle of the night to fold it up and just throw it away. “Just be done-give it up, throw it away!” the night voices would tell me. But my heart spoke another song, the same song it spoke when the scene called my name, so I persevered.
And on the last day, as the scene then became the painting, it spoke again, this time in silence. I added the final touches and walked away.
There she was, on her pedestal in that beautiful old cemetery. She was so mournful and so beautiful at the same time with her wreath in hand and I was so compelled to paint her. She had no name attached as a monument to the loved one that she represented. She just knelt there, outside the chapel forever mourning the one she had lost.
“Prayerful Thoughts”, isn’t that the silent attitude that is evoked when we grace the entrance to a cemetery? It is the peaceful reverence for those that have gone on to the unseen place that we know truly exists. It is the knowing that the other side is real because we all love and have known so many that have gone on before us. And love will never ever die, because it continues to live on in us for those that have gone on before. We also know that we too must go on and one day we will, it is a fact.
She is painted in oil on an 18″ x 20″ linen canvas, so fitting for what she represents. And she still brings a sense of peace, even as she mourns on my studio wall.
I hope that I have not alarmed you with my sense of bereavement, it’s just that old cemeteries and old statues bring that out in me, and they are beautiful.
Winter has taken a toll, even on my thoughts and attitude and I think it is time for spring to arrive. It is time for my “prayerful thoughts” to be centered on the resurrection of Christ, the most important event that is celebrated in all of time. My next blog post will be more on that cheerful note! In the meantime, Christ died even for you, take Him at His word, He will never fail you.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Here are Anne’s geraniums, and you might ask, who is Anne? You know… Anne (the Anne with an e) Shirley, of “Anne of Green Gables” fame. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie (preferably the movie made in 1985), how could you not have fallen in love with it? Our entire family did just that and we have watched it over and over and over again on our original and antiquated VCR tapes. We’re enraptured with emotion every time Anne and Matthew take the buggy ride to Green Gables through “White Way Delight” and have shed a tear every time Matthew dies. And oh, the music……!
I have visited the Green Gables home on Prince Edward Island in Canada two times. Most recently the summer of 2017 with my daughter and three oldest granddaughters. We drove up through rural Maine and into rural Canada for quite some time, then onto the island via the giant 8 mile long bridge across the Northumberland Strait. The original 1996 trip had no bridge, you had to swim…jk….we took a car ferry to the island. 🙂
If you aren’t familiar with the story, author Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote the Anne Of Green Gables novel in 1908. In real life, Green Gables was the home of her cousins where she spent much of her childhood. In the book it is portrayed as the home of middle age siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Anne was an orphan who was adopted by Matthew and Marilla, who thought they were getting a boy, and the story begins on that note.
So we took a lovely tour of Green Gables. Walking through the historical house, there on the kitchen windowsill stood the two pots of geraniums, most likely just as Anne had left them. The sun had cast itself through the window onto the cheerful bright red flowers. Those flowers paired with the brilliant spring green leaves made them appear as thin florescent tissue paper, simply happy to be who they were created to be in all their beauty.
I chose oil paints as my medium to paint the living bouquet in the window. My favorite part to paint was the reflective light of the sun shining on the right side of the window and the windowsill. I truly didn’t see it when I started the painting, how exciting it was to find the reflection as I painted and studied the photo! It was nice to reconnect with the feelings I had when I originally saw the flowers at Green Gables that day. I enjoy the challenge of recreating an event, a time or a place, an experience that evokes meaning to me. This connection materializes memories that make me thankful to be able to share the gift that I have and therefore hopefully create a sense of joy to the viewer.
I wonder if Anne would have named the painting “Anne’s Geraniums”, I doubt it. She probably would have called it “Glorious Light Of Splendor” or “Stained Glass Sunshine”, something a little more dramatic. I simply wanted this painting to remind me of my time on the island with my girls and all of the interesting and unique Anne experiences we had that week in July, the summer of 2017.
There are more Prince Edward Island paintings to come, some in pastel, some in oils. We also made a stop at Acadia National Park on the way home, many oceans are waiting to be painted! I am willing to part with this painting, as attached as I am. I paint because I want to, I also paint to make the viewer happy. Contact me if you are interested in letting this painting make you, or someone you love, happy!
Through My Garden Gate was the gift of time to myself on my birthday in August, 2017. I put everything aside for a couple of hours that day to paint outside (plein-air) in oils for the gift. Stepping outside my back door, I grabbed my palette, brushes, a palette knife and paints, set up my easel and began to paint, looking through my garden gate where an old Hydrangea bush grows. The bugs were atrocious, I believe there could be some embedded in the painting. I did not finish it that day.
A few years ago, my daughter had a stack of things to take to Goodwill and a book called “The Voice Of Creation” by Thomas Kincade was part of the stack. I have a little bookshelf in my studio and this book was to become part the collection for my library. Interestingly, this book does not contain the usual pretty “light in the window” paintings that Kincade is known for, but it contains beautiful natural landscapes he had painted “plein-air”. They were painted very loosely with much paint texture and you could also see the grid like texture of the canvas from underneath. This is what caught my eye and I wanted to paint my garden gate like that. Waiting for the perfect day to paint, I had previously prepared a Masonite panel for this purpose by flipping it on the wrong side and painting gesso over the rough grid like wrong side. This would be what I painted on and that roughness was the challenge I was looking for.
I finished the painting in my studio this past February, 2018 using a photo I had taken on my birthday. The reflection of light and texture shines on the photo of my painting but you get the idea. It is framed and hangs in my studio…and as you can see, it is for sale.
It was a morning late last summer when fog had wrapped itself around my world in mysterious silence . I had to take my camera this special morning, there wouldn’t be too many more like this for awhile. So I saddled up the dog (I tell her that when we are going on a walk) with her halter and there we went, down to the dip in the road. I stopped, snapped this picture and then continued in the morning silence beyond.
Notice the softness of the picture. I knew this painting would be perfect for pastels. I worked my very soft pastels on a toned blue/gray board with very little texture. You have to be careful about the layering of pastels when there is no texture, but I wanted the viewer to get a grasp of the atmosphere that I experienced that morning.
And then there are the cows, peaceful cows that have a tendency to walk into my pictures. I couldn’t be more blessed.
It’s sort of like that blank canvas or piece of drawing paper and you tell yourself “Ok, let’s go, you can do this…just do it!” That’s what I felt like several days ago when I set out to write a blog in order to share my collection of paintings and drawings with anyone willing to stop, look and listen. Do you know how many times I have trashed blog startups due brain freeze and being downright frightened to put this out there? I’m sure you can relate. Also, trying to maneuver around and edit a website is another joy, I’d rather be painting!
But I’ll keep these posts simple, just the way we all like it…
It began at 7 a.m. on clear Sunday morning, late summer 2017, a few days after my art friend Lorri Davis had visited. (She always inspires me. We sit for hours usually outside, have lunch and talk art.) Inspired, I decided to set out on a short trek from home with my easel, drawing board, pastels and paper in hand. I walked down to a little dip in the road where a beautiful little valley lies with all kinds of brush, a few trees and wild things growing all about. Occasionally the cows come roaming through which they did that morning! But cows are for another painting on another day. Anyway, it was a perfect morning to be outside. I spent about an hour there, the sun was waking up the day and all of the shadows and light had changed, it was time to go home. I finished “Late Summer Sunrise” in the studio a couple of weeks later. It was so much fun to create that I decided to frame it and enter it into the Middletown Arts Center Area Artist juried art competition last fall. It won 3rd place in the drawing division!