The studio has been a whirlwind lately! I’ve ignored summer’s tempting call to run outside and garden and beachcomb and bicycle because, quite honestly, the colors and canvases in the studio have been the main focus. Pinks and blues, reds and cream–irresistible to me. I am so happy to be holding brush in hand and working as I have for these past months for my show opening August 3 at Museo Gallery on Whidbey Island.
Whidbey Island, for those who don’t know about it, is northwest of Seattle, two ferries away from the island where I live.
I’ve loved Whidbey Island all my life, it always feels like home. My grandparents lived in this beautiful spot and one of the most vivid and happiest memories of childhood are the little snippets in my mind from visiting them: the long drive on the shaded graveled path under the towering firs and cedars (my brother and I would always struggle to be the first one out of the car–“I win!”), the sweet scent of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries basking in the sun, the huge rose garden my grandfather loved so much (he was actually a “tester” gardener for Jackson and Perkins’ new roses!), the garter snakes I used to catch (and release) in the woods, and of course, Churchill’s old candy store where we’d go for Pixie Sticks and plastic bottles filled with syrup, yum!
I tasted my first salmon at my grandparents’ home (he loved to cook!) in the woods on Whidbey Island. I remember being so delighted and surprised it was pink! (My favorite color!)
So, it’s always such a wonderful homecoming to come back to Whidbey and show my work in Langley at Museo. This will be my third show at this beautiful gallery (thank you owner and gallerist Sandra Jarvis) and one of many group shows that I’ve had the honor to be included in since 2009.
For this new collection of work, I’ve been very inspired by the dear memory of the old (and new) big perfumed roses my PawPaw nutured in such abundance in the sunny back fields behind their home. I’m also remembering my love of Paris with her embrace of the colors that I love the most (back to pink, blue, cream, red) and for the first time, I’ve added gold leaf to some of my paintings on plaster as a nod to the wondrous old French mansions, cathedrals and castles that are adorned floor to ceiling (and ceilings too!) with this bright ray of golden gleaming happy sunshine.
Birds and butterflies wing their way through my canvases and (new!) 36 x 48″ wooden panels.
In my new series of five 40×16 canvases, the influence of 17th and 18th century chinoiserie abounds–deep greens, purples and oranges. Think age-old Japanese block prints, little lacquer boxes, kimonos. (Decades ago, my father brought my mother a beautiful deep green silk embroidered kimono long jacket from his many trips abroad and it never ceases to inspire my work.) Ukiyo-e “the art of floating” –enjoying the beauty of the present moment/Hiroshige art inspires with pattern and color.
I continue to be excited by the generous and very kind artists whose work I know and admire. We recently hopped a ferry from our island to Seattle to enjoy the gorgeous encaustic work by Seattle artist Joyce Gehl. Her botanical work and colors are breathtaking. I also love the geometric colors and vibrant patterns on plaster of Bainbridge Island artist Gregg Robinson.
Will Pope’s whimsical and narrative paintings of animals and more on color-infused plaster are just fantastic.
So even while I just adore Klimt, Chagall, Matisse, Bonnard, and the most amazing Paule Marrot (she loved pink!), it’s always nice to see the new paths and directions of artists painting in the here and now.
So, here’s a little sneak peek of the new collection I call “Narratives”: tales of color, love, relationships, of old, generations, history, PawPaw’s rose garden, Paris, chinoiserie.
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