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Spring Flowers Still-life painting

Spring Flowers, oil on copper, 5.5″ x 4.5″

Finally! My March spring flowers still-life painting was a bit late. After we suffered nasty bout of illness in early March, followed by the challenging transition to working-and-schooling from home, we’ve finally figured out my new painting schedule.

Being sick while caring for a 4-year-old was really difficult. My husband and I were both sick for most of March, and we took turns resting while we did our best to keep Isaac fed and out of trouble. I have never been so thankful for the sunshine and spring flowers.

The flowers for this spring flower still-life painting came straight from my backyard garden. I had to include daffodils, since they are the subject of my favorite poem (included below) and one of the first of my flowers to come in bloom. I have always told Isaac that daffodils are his special flower, since they were in bloom when he was born. 

I wanted bold, bright colors to remind me that despite the unsettling news and unknowns in the world, spring is here, just like it is every year. The smaller blooms felt like the perfect companions for the strong and dramatic daffodils. These red and blue flowers come from my red flowering currant and Jack Frost plant. The red-breasted Nuthatch seemed to follow me around as I gathered my bouquet, and I decided he was as thankful for spring as I am. 

The beautiful glass vase in the Seattle Art Museum collection is just the same bold yellow of a daffodil. It looks as if it could have been made by a contemporary Seattle glass artist, but it was was actually made in China sometime the 1700’s! Read below for more information on this piece featured from the SAM collection.

I hope you’re all staying healthy out there. If you feel sick, reach out and don’t be afraid. Despite the isolation, it’s been incredible to see how people have been coming together and supporting each other in unexpected new ways. Thank you to everyone who brought us groceries when were were quarantined, and for all the well wishes. Now if you can, go enjoy the sunshine, the flowers, and your own lovely company! 

Got to my Monthly Miniatures page to see all of the paintings I’ve made for the series. And sign up for my newsletter for a first glimpse of the newest painting and for updates from the studio.

Fluted glass vase in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum

FLUTED VASE

Collection of the Seattle Art Museum (not currently on view)
1736-1795
Chinese
Glass, 6 × 2 1/8 in. (15.2 × 5.4cm), Gift of the Estate of Robert M. Shields
Photo: Elizabeth Mann

From the Seattle Art Museum website:

“This fluted yellow vase inscribed with the Qianlong emperor reign mark characterizes high-quality glassware of the imperial workshop in the Forbidden City during the 18th century.

Although glass was used in China as early as the Western Zhou period (ca. 1046-1771 B.C.), the technology developed slowly and intermittently. It was used primarily in accessories, e.g. beads or imitations of jades. As a medium, it was overshadowed by (and often imitated) porcelains: a 12th century glass dish from the Thomas D. Stimson Collection (47.152) is one such example. To some extent, this current piece was also inspired by a ceramic form (Song-dynasty vases of Ge/Guan ware), although the main catalyst for glass production in the Qing palace came from the Jesuits, who also served as artists and scientists in the court. It was through them that the Qing court re-discovered the beauty of glass. Octagonal, fluted glass vases featuring diverse colors were a common form. This type of vases was first made during the Yongzheng period (1723-35), and became popular – and thicker – during the Qianlong period, when this piece was made. According to the Archives of the Department of Imperial Household, this type of glass was given to high-ranking Tibetan monks. As such, their function extended beyond to serving as imperial playthings.

Robert Shields may have been known as “one of the Grand Old Men in Northwest architecture” (Pacific Northwest Magazine), but it is his enduring passion for art that leaves a lasting legacy at SAM. When Mr Shields passed away in the summer of 2012, he left his entire estate to the Seattle Art Museum, its value to be used in support of the Asian art program.”

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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New Work in Small Works Exhibit at Harris/Harvey Gallery

Come wish me happy birthday at the opening of “Small Works Show”, Thursday, December 5th! The exhibition includes a wide array of subjects, styles and mediums including: painting, photography, printmaking, and mixed media works. I’ll have four painting in the show.

Harris/Harvey Gallery
1915 First Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
Tues – Sat 11:00 am – 6:00 pm; Mon by appointment
206.443.3315
December 5, 2019 – January 4, 2020
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 5, 6 – 8 p.m. 

New Still Life Paintings

I’ll have two still life paintings in the show that have never been exhibited before. One is a painting of raspberries and insects that is part of my Monthly Miniature series form 2019, In Season. You can learn more about this painting on my blog. The other is from an ongoing larger still life series.

I picked dozens of bartlett pears from the garden this year and we hatched painted lady butterflies from a kit my friend gave to my son for his birthday. I choose the a bowl from the Seattle Art Museum collection that I used in a still life earlier this year Brussels Sprouts and Porcelain Bowl . I spent a year making mounts for the porcelain room at the Seattle Art Museum and fell in love with porcelains. This bowl features “three goats (yang) and the Three Friends of the Cold Season (pine, blossoming plum, and bamboo) all carrying a message of renewal appropriate to the beginning of the new year. Winter ends and spring arrives; yin is on the wane and yang is on the rise, heralding the rebirth of nature.” I chose a different goat for this painting.

Rabbits in the Forest

I have two rabbits and have done more than a dozen painting of them. They were the focus for my first Monthly Miniature series and, years after finishing that series, they still find their way into my work. My indoor rabbits moved to an outdoor run last year and my rabbit paintings have likewise gone from interior settings to the wild outdoors.

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Finding inspiration in art history: Adriaen Coorte

For latest painting in my series of Monthly MIniature’s I painted a bowl of brussels sprouts inspired by the works by Adriaen Coorte (ca. 1665 – after 1707).

With each of these paintings, I learn more about the Northern European still life tradition and I was drawn to the simplicity of Adriaen Coorte’s compositions. Because of my classical art training and experience of working at an art museum, I can usually identify the artist or at least the era in which a painting was made. Adriaen Coorte’s paintings are easily identifiable in the genre of Dutch Still Lifes because his paintings are unusually unpretentious. Many painting from the era have extravagant compositions, featuring priceless (at the time) tulips with a riot of color. By contrast, his painting are quiet and incredibly tender.

His painting of a bowl full of strawberries became the inspiration for my painting of brussels sprouts. I chose a bowl from the collection of the Seattle Art Museum, where I work part time, and picked brussels sprouts from my garden (just about the only thing in the garden in February!).

Learn more about my painting, “Brussels Sprouts and Porcelain Bowl” in an earlier blog post and see all of the paintings in the series on the Monthly Miniature gallery page. You can also sign up for my newsletter to see each painting right when they are finished and get the first opportunity to purchase, a day before it goes public on the web site.

Adriaen Coorte, Wild Strawberries in a Wan Li Bowl, Oil on paper, mounted on wood, 11 5/8 x 8 7/8

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Self Portrait – Expecting

The idea for the painting “Self Portrait – Expecting” came back when I was six months pregnant with my son and most of my reference images were gathered at that time. Rabbits were a big part of my childhood and I had two rabbits that lived in my painting studio. My rabbit Eleanor, was a natural addition to the painting. Not only did she sit at my feet while I painted, her species has been seen as a symbol of fertility for more than seven-hundred years.

I didn’t start painting “Self Portrait – Expecting” until my son was two and a half and after a series of miscarriages, I had recently learned that I was pregnant again. Eleanor had passed away since the photos were taken and right in the middle of working the painting, I lost yet another pregnancy, the fourth since my son was born. The act of making this painting was such a bitter sweet experience. The painting is about fertility, yet while making it, I was experiencing so much loss. I think that some of my resolve, the strength that I had to keep up for the sake of my two-year old made its way into my expression which changed throughout the painting process. In the end, the painting has become a reminder for me to be grateful and never give up hope.

This painting is on view at Arcadia Contemporary in the group show “ARC Visions 2019“ through March 2nd 2019.

Arcadia Contemporary
39 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105

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New Monthly Miniature Series: “In Season” Featuring Still-Life Paintings

Happy New Year everyone! I’m celebrating the new year by starting a new Monthly Miniature series. For each month of 2019, I will create a miniature still-life painting in the Dutch Still-Life tradition and I hope you will enjoy following along. As a newsletter subscriber, you’ll be the first to see them, and they will be available for sale as soon as they are announced.

The Historic Still-Life tradition with a modern perspective

Still-life paintings from Northern Europe were at their prime from around 1600 – 1800 and they often feature blossoms, insects and food that could not be found out of hibernation or in season at the same time. They are constructs of seasonal impossibility, pieced together from earlier studies, signifying impermanence and the perception that earthly life is transitory.

In Season pays homage to Northern European still life, while also contrasting modern and past experiences. Expectations have changed; perennial availability is the norm now, and seasonality is hardly acknowledged. In Season features combinations of fruits, flowers and insects that occur together naturally, in appreciation of the beauty of the cyclical and ephemeral.

The first painting of “In Season” features the camellia flower and cave cricket. The camellia is one of few flowers in bloom here in January, and you may also be startled to find a cave cricket in your basement. Most insects are dormant this time of year, but these little creatures are actively scurrying around ready to frighten unsuspecting people in cool dark places.

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Portrait of an American Quarter Horse

Animals hold a special place in our hearts.  If you’re looking for a gift for someone who has everything, a portrait of their dearly loved animal is bound to be something they will cherish. I recently finished this portrait painting of an American Quarter Horse and shipped it off to Tennessee. It was commissioned as a Christmas gift for a much appreciated CEO from her work colleagues.

Layer by Layer

My paintings are created with a traditional fat over lean technique to ensure that they will last for hundreds of years. By using layers and glazing, the paintings have a rich depth that you don’t get with just one layer of paint. Adding more and more oil to each additional layer helps the paintings dry more evenly and they are also much less likely to crack (even after hundreds of years!). Paintings on metal made using this technique still survive in pristine condition from the 1500’s.

 

Thank you to Kady and Trey who helped organized the commission! Go to my Pet Portrait commissions gallery to see more work.

 

From Kady:

She cried when we gave it to her and she was speechless. She loved it!!!!