Just like riding a bike

It has been a while since I last showed my work.  Life got in the way of doing what I loved, and it took a toll.  I am so thankful to have been able to step back and take some time to remember the things I love and what makes me happy.  Painting makes me happy.  Nature makes me happy.  Thank you to Land of a Thousand Hills for letting me get back on the bike and share my work.

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Skull and Bones

I remember painting a skull in high school and being proud of how it turned out.  I still have the piece and although it is not good by any measure of talent that I am aware of, it did teach me something.  I learned that I love odd things, odd art, and not the traditional "beautiful images".  I collect odd things.  I have little bones I have found while out hiking, dead insects behind glass, egg cases that were washed up on the beach, and seed pods, oothecas, all the odd and beautiful items of nature.

The trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History has proven to be a source of inspiration for my latest works.  I loved the shadows, the bones, the washed out color and austere look of the displays.  I love everything in a row, lines of the same item over and over.  Squared off images.

 Finished Wren Exhibit

Finished Wren Exhibit

 The photograph that I took that inspired the painting.  I changed the yellow tones to blue and altered some areas to be more appealing to my eye.

The photograph that I took that inspired the painting.  I changed the yellow tones to blue and altered some areas to be more appealing to my eye.

 Cropped shot of the piece

Cropped shot of the piece

Painting the Barred Forest Falcon skeleton was a challenge.  I have never done more than a skull before and there were so many moving parts and shadows.  I used creative license in some areas to push the shadow or highlight, but overall I am proud of how this one turned out.  Lets hope in 20 years I am not looking back and wondering what I was thinking.

 Work in progress.  Darks and lights going in and blocking out the image

Work in progress.  Darks and lights going in and blocking out the image

 Finished Barred Forest Falcon and Kestels

Finished Barred Forest Falcon and Kestels

 Detail

Detail

Museums an Unending Source of Inspiration

Museums provide me with such joy and can spark inspiration in so many ways.  This weekend was about reconnecting to ART, knowledge, and getting the creative juices flowing.  Massachusetts is home to so many special places to expand your mind and to make you see things in a different light.  We explored Salem's amazing public art and the Peabody Essex Museum which was running a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit highlighting her clothing and personal style.  Seeing how she styled her outward appearance as well as her art was fascinating.

We also made a trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  I remember visiting here for a class field trip (many, many years ago). Although many of the rooms were still the same, I still got that feeling of excitement walking around the corner, of the anticipation and hope of what hidden gem we will find.  It should be no shock that cabinet of curiosities have been an inspiration in my work, and something I enjoy greatly.  The articulated skeletons, the variety of taxidermy, AMAZING glass botanical examples are all worth the trip.

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Glass flowers in the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  Mountain Laurel and a beautiful example of artistic craftsmanship.

Monarch and the Milkweed

June 2-30 2013 My solo exhibit: Plants and Animals of the Connecticut River Valley.  An
Exploration of Native and Non-native Species from Canada to Connecticut was showing at GFDC in Turners Falls, MA.  I loved all the research and exploration that went into these works. I tried to show the beauty in the native plants and animals and the consequences of the non-natives.

This piece explores the various stages of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)  and the importance of milkweed in their reproduction.  Monarchs lay their eggs on the milkweed plant, and the caterpillars survive on the plant until they are ready to form their cocoons. Most this is what ultimately gives monarch butterflies their unpleasant taste.  Monarch and Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are both native to New England and can be commonly found. 

 

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