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 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!


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