Thursday, December 12, 2019

Everything old is new again

Looking around our "new" house (circa 1725) I realize that many of my art treasures actually look like they belong here. This is kind of helpful as we try to settle in. Because after 42 years, 4 daughters, 7 grandkids, 5 dogs and countless friends who helped instill fond memories in our first old house this new old house might have felt rather empty.
Our new old house in Andover, MA

It's actually anything but empty. Although we decluttered and de-collected for the move, we've still got "stuff". Some of what came with us probably confounded the movers - like old barn boards with peeling paint that I bubble-wrapped because just-the-right-amount-of-paint was curling away from the wood. I'm not sure if it's the design effect of peeling paint or the sense of history that intrigues me, but those boards made the move. I like old stuff.

Functional objects have meaning and purpose to rely on but old, vintage objects have stories and personalities that sustain their value. Maybe that explains why an old Bavarian teapot got together with a Shawnee-era pig planter to form a relationship. And Blind Date was born.

pig pottery, german teapot
©2018 Dorothy Lorenze, Blind Date
These things make me smile even when the memories aren't technically "mine."

But, there are plenty of things around here that hold memories of ours. Like the giant crockery jug by the fireplace. It collects change that grandkids have counted and coin-rolled for us, keeping a roll of coins for themselves. I'm hoping that's a fun memory for them.

In fact this photo of our new home is full of memories already. My first sculpture, an old man sitting on a bench, was greeted and kissed by our one year old grandson this week. The sculpture is not exactly a Michelangelo, but I remember it as an early attempt at realism and apparently my grandson thinks so too. On the mantel are some vintage Santas as well as a small oil painting of ornaments that hung on my parent's childhood Christmas trees. Just some of the things making this new house feel like home.

vintage christmas ornaments,mercury glass ornaments,
©2014 Dorothy Lorenze, Christmas Keepsake 1943
I have managed to paint a little since we moved, but I was working on a Christmas gift so it can't show it yet. Instead, here is a glimpse into my studio which is nearly unpacked and somewhat organized. (If the video is not live here - never tried to upload a video to my blog - you can take a look at it on Instagram at @dorothylorenzefineart or on my Facebook page Dorothy Lorenze Fine Art here.)

Holiday traditions are a big deal. And while they are special, fulfilling them can be overwhelming. My advice: keep the ones that feed your soul, ditch the ones that don't, and borrow the ones that feed your belly (full disclosure: I make latkes in December). I'm learning, during this life transition, that traditions are a warm thing to wrap yourself in, a reminder of your personal story. Traditions invite nostalgia, which as I've written before, is more about reaching for belonging than loss or wistfulness. It's looking inward, not backward.

That's what painting does for me. I enjoy the challenge of rendering realism - it definitely feeds my soul. And the vintage items that are my subjects tend to develop relationships that add some meaning - whether touching or humorous! This painting of shaving brushes really is about families, their similarities and differences, but clearly, all of the same tribe. It's called Family Resemblance, naturally. This painting and Vintage Barber Brushes can be seen at Mark Twain Library in Redding, CT through this week.
vintage shaving brushes, badger brush
©2019 Dorothy Lorenze, Family Resemblance
Also on view at Whistler House Museum is my cheeky painting Chick Please. That show goes through January 25th in Lowell, MA.
diner scene, classic 1950s diner, ceramic bird, vintage coffee pot
©2018 Dorothy Lorenze, Chick Please, 11 x 14"

The objects we surround ourselves with matter. I hope you follow your heart in creating the space you live in. Make it personal, not just trendy. I'm grateful that my appreciation of the past and the vintage objects that relate to it help me find deeper meaning and connection to the present.

As we put this crazy year behind us, I wish you all warm connections this holiday season, with an abundance of peace, joy, love, laughter and deliciousness!

Thank you, once again, for joining me on my art adventure. Happy Holidays!

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