Annie Sleeping


Curling up with a good book and a friend purring on her stomach, Annie relaxes with crackers in arms reach. A glass of sparkling wine sets the evening after a day listening to people's problem. Wiggling toes every so often to keep the blood flowing, Annie releases the day's tension. One hand plays with the collar on her cat while the other lets the mystery fall flat over chest. Crackling logs in the fire place increase the weight of her eye lids. Rewards of a days end make for a peaceful painting.

Annie shares these little rewards with me as we work together on a painting of an interior, soon Annie is asleep in my studio as I work to capture her for my painting of my own dream evening. I decorate my imaginary living room around Annie sleeping on my model's stand. Lamps in my studio give me the warm light I need to add the warmth I want in my painting. The quiet in the studio is only interrupted by a deep breath Annie takes every now and then and the sound of metal against glass as I swish my brush in mineral spirits in the glass jar at the far end of my palette. Annie stirs a bit but continues to remain pretty close to the pose I am painting.

I scrape my palette and offer Annie a break, her response is to roll away from me and pull her feet up. I reach for my sketchbook and do a quick study of the pose and snap a picture. Another model may end up taking Annie's place for the resting pose. She stretches, ask for the time, then rises to freshen up in the lady's room. Inspecting the painting on her return, she smiles her approval as she resumes the pose. A request for livelier music to keep her awake is about all she wants - then decides against it when I tell her she is now sleeping in my painting. 

They Are All Fond Memories

Fire Flies 14x11 $1200.jpg

A broken doll, marbles in a tin box next to an old pocket knife with it's broken blade begins a story. A broken pocket watch resting next to tiny toy cowboys riding on pinto ponies add to the story being told of a youth long lost. Merit badges, a boy scout flash light, arrowheads - all real - the life most boys know. A broken doll may mean an careless moment or an inquisitive mind. A broken pocket watch, held by one's granddad, may bring that warm feeling one gets from their grandparents. Arrowheads, from trips with Uncle John. They are all fond memories.

Still-lifes are personal stories, even when the still-life is of a bowl of fruit it says who the artist is. Their selection of fruit reveals fruits they like to eat or grow themselves, like tomatoes still on the vine or apple varieties long forgotten.  Objects that spark inspiration usually mean something to an artist. Old tools handed down from dads and granddads, wedding dresses hanging on a wall, all spark artists to pick up a brush to paint. 

For me every painting I do means something to me. "Why else paint?," is my philosophy. If the subjects mean nothing to the artist how does one get through a painting? Artists lose interest in subjects they aren't truly connected to. I never lose interest in paintings I chose to do. Sometimes I need to dream up a connection, like connecting flowers to my mom's love of growing flowers and using only my sister's old dolls in my still-lifes. Placing a mussel shell with lilies and a mantel clock puts my brother with my mom and her dad in one still-life. Dried flowers in an old blue jar puts two wonderful friends together, jar from Jordan and dried flowers from my friend Adrienne.  

I know not all artist work this way but it's how I work and how I read other's work.