I felt like taking a break from my abstracts to do a still life painting. For several years now, around my Mom’s birthday, I have painted one of her pitchers in her honor. I skipped this year as her birthday was in January, but recently I’ve been clearing out many of her antique items from the estate which we’d kept all these years. I’ve sold some of the silver and have taken boxes of tinware and depression glass over to the Treasure Mart, a local consignment shop. This has gotten me feeling quite sentimental.
I’ve kept her small silver-plated pitcher which does not have much value, but I love the shape. It was down in our dining room and I thought to myself I’m going to do one more pitcher painting in honor of Mom. I also liked the challenge of trying to depict silver. Since we are in the heat of summer, I chose sunflowers. I’ve been thinking and appreciating my three sisters lately and thus I chose four flowers symbolizing the four daughters that Mom had.
It was a fun painting to do and now I’m starting a new painting with the same pitcher next to my cat Tuxie to add to my cat still-life series.
It’s a new year and I’m back to painting. El Sol is new abstract. I started with the large sun in the center and went from there; it’s not my favorite but it’s good to be back in the saddle. There is a certain resistance that sets in as weeks go by without painting, so I’m happy to have started up again. I got the idea to paint the sun after the last painting ,Orbs in Space, when a Facebook friend suggested I paint stars. I decide to start with painting our star that gives us life here on earth. This painting is actually my second attempt as the first one started to look overdone. I do like the second one better, it’s a happy painting with the bright warm colors.
This year is looking brighter. My daughter finally was able to fly to Vancouver for her graduate program at University of British Columbia. After a two-week quarantine, she’s settling in to her new home and is able to see a few of her fellow students that she’s gotten to know online though her classes. She’s texted me some photos of a trail where she jogs, a beautiful wooded trail just minutes from her dorm. We’re happy for her and glad that she’s been able to get back to some sense of normalcy.
With more time to paint now, I have a goal of doing art each day to keep the momentum going. My artist friend and I are going to help each other by texting each other an image of our progress each day. I hope each of you are having a good start to the year and I look forward to seeing your posts.
Here is my new painting titled, Ishtar. While exploring the symbolism of the number 8, I learned that the 8-pointed star represents the ancient Babylonian goddess, Ishtar. I have a vague memory of hearing the word, Ishtar either in a song or poem years ago and loved how the name sounds when spoken which is why I was drawn to learn about her meaning now. Ishtar is associated with the planet Venus; and like Venus, she represents beauty and the fullness of womanhood.
Her association to Venus is why the star has 8 points. The planet Venus in her dance around the sun with earth takes 8 years. Venus’s movement with the sun and earth is in a 1.6 ratio pattern which is the golden mean ratio and one reason why Venus may represent beauty.
I thought that information was interesting and so I was inspired to paint an 8-pointed star. I started with small center circle and then a large cross and next add the diagonal cross and then put in the triangles to complete the star. I added the other elements to take some focus away from the symmetrical focus of the star. It was fun to paint and turned out fairly bright, like a star.
Triangles is my most recent abstract painting. After painting squares and then circles, I thought to myself, “Why not triangles?” Once I painted the large triangle on the center of the page it brought to mind the great pyramids in Egypt so I painted two more. I was painting over the July 4th weekend and started thinking about what I had learned while painting the Lion’s Gate in relation to the Giza Pyramids a few years back.
The ancient Egyptians viewed the star Sirius as the bringer of new life because Sirius was newly visible in the sky at the time of the yearly flooding of the Nile River. They depended on the flooding to fertilize their lands. From July to August, Sirius lines up directly with the pyramids in Giza. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, it follows Orion, the hunter in the constellations and is sometimes called the dog star.
Secret societies, such as the Masons, have used Sirius as the symbol of their directive; to guide, protect and lead those who seek light. Many of the United States founding fathers were Masons, perhaps that’s one reason that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th. As the brightest star in the sky, it represents the highest aspiration to truth and service to others, in short, the best we can be.
In the painting I painted rays from the star streaming down. Certainly right now in the USA, we need all the help we can get. The COVID numbers keep going up here in Georgia. Stay safe everyone and enjoy the dog days of Summer!
Two Pears in the Sunlight is the last of my pear painting touch ups. I loved the bright yellows of the pears and the foreground texture. There is a simple looseness in this early painting that I wanted to keep so I just added the purple stripe and a bit more detail to the background wall.
It’s a bright painting for an early overcast Friday morning. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend ahead!
Sunflower Still Life with Black Cat is a painting that I’ve just completed. I felt like doing a new still life and wanted to use the fish pitcher that my twin sister gave me on our birthday last year. It’s one of her many unique thrift store finds, she’s got a great eye and is always coming home with fun items. She thoughtfully passed it on to me as I like to paint both pitchers and fish. The pitcher usually stays out in the screened in back porch; I brought it in and filled with sunflowers to paint.
I decided to add a black cat to the painting to continue the still lifes with cats series. It’s the fourth one in the series and with the two other cat paintings I now have cat note card six pack for marketing purposes. I’m pleased with the cat, he’s standing for a change which I think works in this painting and it’s also bit humorous that he’s right next to the fish. I had been wanted to paint sunflowers for a while now, as they radiate warmth and happiness. The sunflower papier mache bowls I used to make were always quite popular.
It took a while to balance all the elements but I’m happy with the result. Our daughter is coming home for spring break next week, we’re looking forward to her visit. It’s gotten chilly again today, hopefully it will warm up by next week during her break.
One of my goals for the new year was to begin a daily practice of making art. I’ve started sketching more and I try to have a painting on my easel most of the time. Here is a still life I recently completed, Lemons.
When I first started painting years ago, I painted several pears in this blue bowl. It’s helpful to start a painting from a real scene, you can focus on what you see, how the light effects the colors of the objects. I felt it would be a good exercise to do some still lifes where I could actually see what I am painting.
I chose lemons this time around as lemons are one of my favorite fruits. I use them daily to make marinaded salads and add them to tea. Their bight cheerful yellow color seems to match this time of year when everything is waking up.
It was a fun challenge and I am fairly pleased. In keeping with my goal, I’ve stared sketching a scene for a new painting, another still life.
Lounging Pears is another one of my pear paintings. It’s the most recent one which I painted a few years ago. I was happy with the intense colors and the way the pears relate to each other. Even though it is a still life there is a sense of movement to it.
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Atlanta, clear sky with temperatures forecast to reach the high 60’s. I’m going to advantage of the nice day to get some long overdo gardening done before the next cold front rolls in. I’ve been sketching out some ideas for a new painting which I hope to start today. Inspiration is here with spring in the air! Happy weekend to all.
I’ve been thinking about my pear paintings lately. They take me back to a point in time when I realized that I wanted to paint. Here is that memory. I was meeting a friend for coffee at a cafe, she and I both had our three year old girls in preschool a few days a week. It was a challenging time for me as my dad was in hospice care. Up until that time, no one close to me had died. I had never experienced the grief of losing a loved one before. My friend had lost her first husband and she was very understanding and helpful. I noticed there were framed pear still life watercolors on the walls around us. I had been making papier mache bowls which were very laborious and not selling as well in Atlanta as they had in San Francisco. I thought to myself, I could paint pears and it was at that moment in time that I decided to become a painter. Eventually my daughter went over to middle school and free time opened up. With no more Girl Scout leader or PTA obligations, I began painting every day.
Some of my first paintings were of pears which are pictured above. I love painting pears with their lovely feminine forms and beautiful warm colors. I think beginning painters paint pears because of their easier simple forms and the universal theme of pear still lifes through art history with so many well known pear paintings. Matisse’s pears come to mind. With some of my pear paintings I feel I had beginners luck, perhaps my happiness at more time to pursue my passion showed through.