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.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

For Everything There is a Time

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 below  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!



  1. Your paintings are beautiful!

  2. I can only comment as anonymous - don't know how to do the other ways listed - sorry. But your blog is an inspiration and a joy to me. I should comment more often. I enjoy your posts so much. Take care. Lynn in Illinois

  3. Hi Lynn, thank you! Gremlins live in my computer too, they have a mind of their own for sure. Best wishes, e

  4. Hi Edyth,
    I am so glad to see your blog. I lost touch with you when I left the ebay doll group. I became ill and it has taken me some time to get back online and into the groups. I have been on Facebook for a few years now but this is the first time I have seen your blog. I Love all of your paintings. My one desire in life was to be able to paint or draw. I can do neither and watch helplessly as almost everyone in my family can. I write and that is fulfilling but I can only imagine how fulfilling it must be to envision an idea and see that come to fruition must be. Thank you so much for sharing and I plan to continue reading and enjoying your blog. All the best, Kimmee

  5. Beautiful paintings and so nice to hear how much you enjoy doing them, Edyth. Those candle sticks are fantastic. ...jan

  6. Your talent knows no bounds The paintings are wonderful and to be able to study under such talent is such a great experience too and the rewards are endless Thank You for sharing your paintings

  7. The paintings are lovely. I enjoy all the photos of your collections as I'm newly interested in this style.

  8. Arden are you interested in painting this style or collecting this style of antiques? I was not clear on this. If painting the still lifes is your thing I have collected a lot of good u tube links of demos. Best, e

  9. So glad to know you are doing well and are on to new adventures! Lovely paintings, especially the bluebonnets!!! Painting flowers sounds much better than actually gardening to me today, as I've been out in the gardens for two days straight and now I'm so stiff I can barely move! :0 Fondly, Paula

  10. Hi Paula I have seen pictures of your gardens, lovely! Nice to hear from you dear friend, e

  11. Your paintings look lovely framed. I like the radishes one! :-)

  12. Hello Edyth! I have missed you. I always check your blog for updates and was worried that something had gone amiss. Glad to know that you were doing what you do best: create! Very interesting to see how you set up the still lifes. Beautiful!

  13. Hi Mary, thank you, I am down a bit but not out.. grateful for a beautiful spring here and enjoying my friends and home and sweet little town. e

  14. Edyth, I can understand why you were in love with the candlesticks. What a blessing your husband was able to recreate them in wood.

  15. I always enjoy your posts but don't always comment. Love your paintings. I so admire and "envy" people who can paint. Glad that you are enjoying your hobby. Myself, I am a quilter.

    1. Thank you quilting is lovely too! e

  16. Happy Mother's Day Edyth! I LOVE your paintings~ the one with the beets my favorite~ thinking of you often Dear one! XOXOXOXOX

  17. Thank you Rachael! I am glad you can tell they are beets! Dixie wrote that she liked the one with the radishes so scale was somehow not conveyed. Ha!


Blog Archive