Monday, June 25, 2012

latest heirloom painting

I'm finally able to post about my latest heirloom painting. This one was a gift for my nephew Jimmy's wedding in June. His lovely Lauren has been a fan of my artwork for awhile, so naturally I think she is a woman with sophisticated taste! 

Each cup belonged to one of their grandmothers. To add a personal touch for Jimmy, the cap is the same as the one my Dad wore that Jimmy liked to wear as a boy. And, my added touch is the depression glass sugar bowl which is like one my grandmother had (Jimmy's great-grandmother, although he wouldn't have known).

So, there are lots of cousins getting married these days and it's nice to be able to incorporate family memorabilia in a wedding gift painting. But they live in Georgia and I'm in New York so it took some effort. 

First I asked Jimmy's mom to ask Lauren's mom for a family teacup for the composition. It arrived quickly and I was ready. Until I realized that a boy is probably not going to care about teacups. So the cap was added since Jimmy liked my dad's. But the original could not be found. So I went shopping. Found a cap!

How to compose lady's teacups and a mans cap? Needed a chair with posts to hang it on. A friend with many antique chairs had the perfect one: beautiful wood ladderback... with arms!

Next, I moved all the living room furniture to get this set up on a table by the window. Perfect! Except the chair arms didn't fit under the table so the table had to be propped up on books. Twice.

All set, cups on the table, cap on the chair, paint on the palette, pandora playing: ready! 
Not quite. It just didn't seem right for the cups to be empty. So I made coffee... and tea. 
(and maybe had a snack).

Finally it all came together and I really liked the composition, the light through the window and the reflection of white china on the milky coffee. So, I was feeling pretty good about the steps that went into creating this special, authentic painting. Patting myself on the back. Such a conscientious artist am I!!!

Then I read a book about the painter Ernest Meissonier and the formal Paris salon period as the Impressionists were struggling to come into their own. Needless to say, they were all pretty darn serious about their work. But Meissonier was the embodiment of authenticity and perfectionism. For example, to paint scenes with realistic galloping horses (before stop action photography was invented) he had an actual train track built on his property so he could keep pace with the horses and sketch them in action! 

This explains why I paint "still life"!

I think I'm a serious painter anyway. No galloping horses, but Lauren and Jimmy are happy.

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