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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Glorious spring here.

Our neighbor has a lovely collection of Iris in bloom right now. Cheryl has painted some of them with pastels.

Flowers are everywhere. My own dooryard is lovely.
Above is the back yard.

Patio viewed from the back.

I have five of these pretty old shutters, not sure what to do with them yet.

By the front door. Mexican Oregano is about to put on an extravagant display.

View of patio from the front.
When Jan B and my Jackie were both in their final year of life, Jan and Bill brought us a straggly young Little Gem Magnolia plant which Jan had intended to plant and never got in the ground. I did finally get it in the ground that fall and then the next May after it had come out pretty well, a devastating  hail storm just tore it to pieces leaving only a forlorn stalk.  Anyone else would have surely yanked it out and started over.   But I could not and instead said soft things to it and brought extra water and acid fertilizer to encourage it. It is four feet tall three years later, and has the sweetest blooms.  Now I want to make a painting of some.  
My brother wrote:  "Lovely story about the rescued magnolia. I could imagine a series of watercolors telling the story of "the little magnolia that could." From uncertain beginnings to devastating experiences onward to health, happiness, and strength through love and nurturing, which allows it to provide beauty and joyful scents." 
I am trying to set up a still life with a huge pewter pitcher and some blooms from the little tree.  The tree/bush is so small I do not want to cut it much. Cheryl is horrified that I would take any little branches off! The English ale jug or pitcher is an incredible piece. We shall see what I manage to do or if I manage to do anything.  This jug is one of the first pieces we acquired when we began to collect seriously, it was from the collection of Elizabeth Lees in Ft Worth.

I love the worn old oriental rugs and the feeling they impart to a room full of early furniture. From paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries, we know that the rugs were many times used as table coverings, and not as often on the floor.  The rugs I have bought over the years in sales and flea markets are mostly mid 19th century and later. 
 In handling one there is always a fine dust on my hands no matter how many times I have gently shaken it or washed it outside on the drive way.  (Never vacuum one.)  Always the fine dust is there if it is real and old and hand-woven.  I said to Jackie one time that I thought this is just a residue of desert sand and camel dung for years and years before the rugs were sold to dealers for export.  He laughed big and said these rugs were made for sale and never saw a tent or a camel!  
 I am not so sure about that in the case of the small pieces that were bag faces.  A long woven piece was folded in half to make a bag for nomadic families to carry possessions on their animals. One half of the piece was never to show and was plain tabby weave or perhaps kilim weave.  The half intended to show was the face of the bag, a lovely little rugglet.  Today I have just opened a second package from friend Jeanie who has sent me some as backgrounds for my still life paintings. They are thrilling to me!  Thank you Jean!  Here are the beautiful little bag faces she sent this time:

They will enhance paintings I hope to do in the coming months. Can you see the shape we quilters know as Ohio Star imbedded in the design?  Folk art world around echoes the same themes.    e 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Gonic New Hampshire redware

These six pieces are likely from Gonic NH.  The green and copper colored glaze is much loved by collectors.
Jackie loved the pitchers!

The high colored pitcher in the center is one I have painted.

Here is a beautiful mid size jug.. yes that is a large cookie cutter!

Gorgeous little jug in strong condition.

Above pieces are from our O'Neill collection.   The nice five inch jug below was sold by Skinners some time ago.  Not ours, shown just for color. It is most like our brightest pitcher.
Above link is a good article on this pottery and the families that produced it, a glimpse into Early America.  Caution you must not have the hyphen in the link.    e

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Painting Still life with Redware pottery

Like most of my artist friends I paint some landscapes. Many of us paint in plein air and that is a great sport. Some efforts we leave as is and some we use as studies for larger studio paintings.  I am not good at it but I enjoy it and have a foolish amount of gear for outdoor painting.  I have slightly better luck making a start on a painting on site to get the color and mood right then finishing it later in the studio.  Coastal New England is my favorite place to paint and I am far from there!  My Cape Ann landscape paintings are a journal of a very happy time. 

Fredericksburg is known for its vineyards and wineries and also for its art scene.   This past weekend there were four artists demonstrations to watch, I made it to two of them and treasure these opportunities. John Hanna has been a favorite painter of mine for the thirty six years I have been privileged to know him and enjoy his work. He painted for my art club, Die Kunstler which I translate as "the painters" in German.  On Saturday Sara Winters painted at Whistle Pik Gallery. She is a gifted artist with two lively little boys doing serious painting while a young wife and mother.  See Sara and two of her paintings in the gallery below.

But I am swimming against the tide a while and painting still life instead of landscapes. Here are two of mine below:
This one is set up on a little oriental rug fragment from Jeanie.

The redware pitcher was probably made in New Hampshire from the color of the glaze.

Wild flowers are magnificent this year and my favorites are the fire wheels or indian blankets.  Finding vintage frames for these pieces is a challenge, but it helps them blend in with other things in the house. I am on a search for these!  e

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