Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~ Edyth O'Neill

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

For Everything There is a Season

Where  have I been?  Enjoying a spring time full of painting since I cannot garden much now.  A few pot plants is about all I can manage.  I have the opportunity for an on-going art workshop with a gifted teacher named Carla Sanchez who has studied with artist David Leffel for ten years now.  Google "images" for his paintings to see what makes him a renowned artist.  Google hers to see how beautifully she paints her own thing also.
The type of classic chiaroscuro still life I am studying is usually a technique for painting a piece of oriental porcelain or two with fruit and flowers and a branch of eucalyptus  on a damask or oriental rug background.   I am doing that sort of thing in class work to learn the method which David Leffel has painstakingly documented as approximating the early style of Rembrandt and other old masters.   Leffel is my age exactly and has taught for decades passing on the golden brush of knowledge as so many artist do. His method has had tremendous influence on this genre in our time. And now Carla offers that golden brush to a few dozen of us in the Texas hill country.  Paul Strisik, who lived on my beloved Cape Ann for over forty years also painted this type of classic still life, with the expected oriental themes. Below are three of my class  pieces.
 The silver bowl was great fun to do as were the brown eggs!  The cloth is an oriental rug fragment or a similar fabric.


 What I want to do is to use these formal techniques to paint informal works of my own design featuring Jackie's pottery and other antiques in our collection with fruit or veggies and perhaps a sprig of bittersweet,  shown on homespun fabrics or coverlets or oriental rugs.   These paintings are my own style and my own things and I am excited about this and hope I can complete a fair number of them!  So far three are finished.  I have two more in the works.  This is a different way to enjoy  our antiques and Jack would be pleased I am sure.  I do not need to search out more things or own more as I am out of space and beyond much more collecting.  I enjoy just living with what we put together and painting some of them is a joy.  As collectors know each piece has a personal story for me, where  we found it and what we learned about it and so on.

The still life to be painted is set up in a shadow box. It takes more space than I have in the little library so I am using an area of Jackie's front room. 

These large ones are heavy and hard for me to frame.  A friend tells the story of how her 90 year old mother had a load of soil delivered and dumped in her front yard.  She said "Mama you can't spread this out by yourself!"  The reply was "Yes but I can with this little bucket."    That is me on this framing. I measure some and set a few screws pushing down as hard as I can and then go sit a spell and sip iced tea and begin again on a few more steps.   I have a nice little electric drill, I should try it but am leery of pushing through the frame moldings.   Cheryl will come help me hang these in the kitchen near a cupboard of redware. 

Gertie K. around the corner from my house always has a magnificent field of bluebonnets each spring.  I asked and was given a bucket full to paint.  The flo blue sugar bowl was given to me years back by Jack's father.  John senior, (for Jackie was a John also) lived to be 99 and never lost his love of hunting antiques throughout his long life.  His interests were broader than ours as he knew fine oriental and European things to a degree also. Jack's parents lived in the rich old city of Chicago for many years.   They haunted the estate sales and auctions there and also in Louisville.  They were dealers with a small shop for a time, and part time dealers always.  Jack liked best our New England things and the accessories which might have been imported early-on to use there.  Think of Canton ware and some pewter, foreign but still correct.
  John found this sugar bowl at a local thrift shop about two years before he passed on.  The bowl is set on butternut checked linen homespun.  I tried the bluebonnets  in several containers and on several fabrics.

I need several pieces of oriental rugs and had only two here, and dear friend Jeanie responded with a wonderful package today! I have just opened it.  Glorious. Thank you Jeanie!   See below for two she sent.

The red one below is a bag face used on a gate leg table in my entry now.
The small faun colored rug is used on a nice stretcher base tavern table.  Visible in this picture is a pair of candlesticks my sweetheart made of wood on his lathe when we were reluctant to pay for similar pewter ones purported to be 17th century Holland Dutch.  Many are, perhaps many are not.  Edyth, who enjoys your comments and loves to know someone is out there!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jackie's Redware

Jack loved his early American pottery.  We brought back uncounted pieces of it from Pennsylvania and New England in more than 25 years of trips north to buy for our shop. We kept a great deal of it to live with and love.  He would hold a piece out to me and say "Hold it here, you can feel where the potter's hands were."  Furniture, paintings, early iron and especially pewter were all things he studied and enjoyed, but the pottery he loved. Every piece of it calls his name to me.
I have only parted with one piece of his pottery since he left us three years ago, a small rare cup he would have wanted that friend to have. I believe most of the rest of the pottery is just where he left it, stoneware and redware.
 On top  of a highboy in Jack"s room are two very large black glazed redware jugs from Pennsylvania next to a rarely found stoneware jug from Charlestown (MA) and so marked. 
Somewhere I have a photo of Jack with the largest one of these in his arms the day he found it in a big flea/antique market in Pennsylvania. He was so happy with this one.  They are glazed a deep brown black that iridizes to purple in places. I believe this is manganese.  Some one out there who knows correct me or verify this for us all.
 Like many people do, I have several small pieces of redware wired for lamps.

 Three large storage jars from Pennsylvania are high on a ledge.
This beautiful red milk pan is perfectly set off on a tea towel Penny S wove. I treasure every thread of her weaving! 

Jack's last piece of woodwork was a shelf to go in the kitchen over the sink. When it was done he selected and placed these pieces on it and I have never moved them, just dusted around them.

Also in the kitchen is the cupboard that was once part of our kitchen cabinetry in our red cape. Some nice pieces are here as well as in a corner  cupboard on the sun porch. The redware is all over the house really. This is not all.

The large red cream pot with manganese splotches is typical of Connecticut.

This cream pot stands almost a foot tall and is redder than the camera caught, a rich dark red with the casual glaze that tells us it was everyday ware not greatly important to the potter.   The milk pan in front  has a yellow glaze with a touch of green tint, likely from Maine.

I am enjoying learning to paint some of the pottery.

This small study is in preparation for a larger painting next week.

PS has anyone found two papier mache boy dolls offered for sale on the doll blog?  Thank you for the purchase of the bronze vase and the Quimper eggs. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Greiners especially

They are some of the first dolls I wanted, 60 years ago. It was many years before I had one, now I have a number and love them all.  Several of my friends share this interest in Greiners and other papier maches, here are a few from a friend's wonderful collection.

Lovely blue eyes and blue shoes. German mache

Rare fine Voit glass eyed German mache

Classic Greiner

Glass eyed likely Voit, very large doll

Tiny china with a bun

Sweet china group

German mache

Classic Greiner

Unusual variation of hair on a nice Greiner. See comb marks in double row on the side.

Voit and Greiner, both fine.

Rare example of the Greiner with black stamp Patent Head  on the back, not a paper label  I have one like her and love her. I hope you have enjoyed this visit with my friend's doll family.  e

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