Little Red Hen is my new painting. Years ago, when I made papier mache bowls, one of my most popular motifs was my chicken bowl. Since then, however, I had not felt like doing a chicken painting until now. A few of my Facebook friends have chickens in their yards, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their fun and sometimes humorous photos of their hens and chicks. So, with my new idea of painting images of folk tales, The Little Red Hen came to mind.
I remember the story from childhood and when my daughter was a preschooler, we had puppets illustrating the story. I loved the story of the little hen working diligently over time even though none of her friends are willing to help her and finally she has the yummy baked bread. I made the painting childlike using lots of bright colors, it was somewhat challenging I wanted it to be more abstract then it turned out.
I feel that this year I’ve been a bit like the little red hen, working diligently doing a painting each week and then writing about it here on the blog. I’m also stepping up on the marketing with sharing it on my Twitter feed and my Facebook pages and finally sharing on a new Instagram account. This work is paying off, I’ve been able to push myself in new ways with my painting and am hoping that will eventually bring some extra income in.
Woman with Red Winged Blackbird is my new painting of the week. It’s actually a redo of a painting I did in 2015. While painting my mom in the canoe a few weeks ago, I realized that over time, I’ve gotten a little better at faces; so, I pulled out this older painting and ended up redoing most of it. I feel like her face works a bit better. I then decided to change the crow and make him a red winged blackbird. I took a bit of artistic license as you don’t usually see them at birdbaths. Their habitat is in fields close to water. I used to see them all the time when I was a park ranger leading tours on trails through the marshes.
I’ve admired the works of the Pre-Raphaelite painters of Victorian England who rebelled from the style at the time by painting women with long flowing hair using rich, vivid colors in natural settings. I remember seeing some of their paintings at the Tate Gallery in London back in my early 20’s and being moved by the large size and richness of colors. This painting is a nod to that style.
Philodendron in the Window is one of my earlier paintings. I’ve always loved it for the colors and because it reminds me of Mom. With spring in full force here in Atlanta I’ve been doing a lot of gardening. My wonderful neighbor helped me by tilling up a 30 foot long patch of grass along our picket fence. I’ve planted flowers and lots of veggies and am mulching heavily since they say it’s going to be a dry summer. Unlike my Mom I was I never into gardening even though my degree is in landscape architecture. Since we’ve been settled in our home for a while the little gardening I’ve done each spring is starting to add up. So here I am after eight years here with a vegetable garden in our front yard.
When my twin sister and I went off to separate colleges, we had different school breaks. On a break early in my freshmen year, Mom showed me how to make cuttings of house plants for potting later to take to my dorm room. That’s when I noticed she had lots of glass jars with various shaped leaves gracing the window sills in the kitchen and sun room. Mom said she enjoyed the years my twin and I came home at different times because she got to know us as individuals better. Now that I have a teen daughter I understand my mom’s comments. Teenagers are very much into their own world as it should be. It’s later they begin to notice more about their home experience. Wherever I’ve lived I always have plant cuttings in jars on the window sills, such as the one in this panting. Happy Mother’s day to all mothers and the gifts they pass down.
Last week was a very happy time in our extended family. My niece gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She’s the first baby of this new generation, my daughter is no longer the youngest. Even though my niece lives on the West Coast; when she went into labor we all felt very connected through text messages, emails, and FB status updates my sister sent from the moment my niece went into labor to the joy of her baby being born. I’m also very happy for my sister and her husband, the new grandparents, who say they are “over the moon” with joy. I’m addicted to looking at all the cute photos that arrive on FB and email. One great thing about our times is that we can stay to connected to loved ones thanks to technology.
A while back I told my sister that I would do a painting for my niece for her baby. She emailed me that my niece was decorating the nursery with the Beatrice Potter’s Peter Rabbit theme. Such a sweet idea, my family had the whole set of Beatrice Potter books with the little baby blue book shelf which we all loved. I thought to myself that I really didn’t want to copy Beatrice Potter’s lovely illustrations, no way to top her. For Christmas I sent my niece a small print of my lamb painting. After the baby came I felt inspired to do a new little bunny painting in the same style of my lambs. It’s been very fun to be back to painting and for such a happy event. So this painting is for you – little Stratton Mary and for your mom and dad! I hope it will serve as a nice memory of what a special time your birth was and how we all were so happy when you arrived!
At last, spring is in full force here in Atlanta. The flowers are blooming and the tree leaves are out with their lovely light green color so striking against the bright blue sky. I have been spending the past week working in our yard; starting to tame all the overgrowth. Even though I have a degree in landscape architecture, I’ve never been much of a gardener. A few years ago we put in some large flower beds and planted a few smaller flowering and evergreen trees that now are helping to define our yard; but with no attention, the English ivy, poison ivy and blackberry brambles had taken over. I’m learning the lesson that with care early in the season, when the ground is moist and mosquitoes not out yet, gardening can actually be kind of fun. I’m planting perennials where the weeds were along with mulch hoping to encourage a lovely, easily maintained garden.
I painted Blue Bird in Spring last spring. It was fun to paint, I tried to make it look like an old vintage postcard symbolizing spring. On my walks I often see bluebirds flying about. The bluebird symbolizes joy. When I was young the bluebirds had disappeared. People began to make an effort to bring them back by putting up bird houses in their yards and meadows. The bluebirds returned; it’s encouraging to realize how resilient nature is. I painted this bluebird to remind me of how joyful and resilient life can be!