Living on an island, surrounded by sea and salt and rocky beaches hiding all sorts and shapes of old and tumbled bits of sea china, has made its mark on my paintings. I paint stories of romance and abundance and joy–you can see it in the way I love to nestle my birds together on a leafy limb, the way my vines are filled with plenty of red ripe cherries–and I paint with an eye to the past, an eye to age-old imagery and design. So when I head out early each morning to walk the usually grey and misty beaches near home, I keep my head down, intent on finding that one thing that never ceases to thrill and inspire: beach china. The designs on these small pieces of Asian blue and white porcelain, no matter how faded and worn (the more the better), are so beautiful and so compelling, it makes me want to run all the way home and pick up my brush!
Recently I wrote a short piece on how beach china inpires my work for a contest sponsored by DesignSherpa. I was happy that my entry placed in the top 100:
I live by the sea. Each day, rain or shine, I walk on the rock-strewn shore. I love the blue of the water and sky, but I’m on a mission: I’m after treasure. Sea-scrubbed softened shards of beach glass in lavender, azure, light green are magical. But I leave them. It’s the age-old, darkened bits of blue and white Asian porcelain that tell the best stories. A dragon roars, a peony blooms–cast to the sea, back with the waves, now in my hand. I carry the china home. I paint it into my canvases, inspired by pattern, beauty, home.
I’ll leave you with a detail of a painting that I just gave to my daughter. When we can, we walk the beaches together, sharing our finds, marveling at the lovely and old stories each little shard has to tell. We found this beautiful piece one morning: