As most of you know I was in a serious car accident over Memorial Day weekend with my husband. This was two and a half months after my sweet mother passed away. Thank you for your patience and kindness. We are fine and moving forward with optimism and much gratitude.
I have been participating in a yearlong on-line class taught by Carla Sonheim from Seattle, WA. The focus is working in a series.
My first series was work I created using my Great Aunt Ruth’s photo album. The photos dated from the 1920s to the 1940s. Many were taken in New Orleans. My hometown.
I set parameters for my images. They would be 18″ x 24″, acrylic over watercolor color field painting, and on paper.
Before I began I tested my new technique on 9″ x 12″ paper.
I enjoyed this layering of acrylic over watercolor, so moved forward in a larger format.
I have just completed my second series which I will show you next time. Be careful out there!
I never thought much about growing up in a pink house in New Orleans. My mom had a great sense of color and style so as a child I never questioned her choices. Everything always looked nice to me.
It still looks nice to me.
One day a friend rode up on his bicycle and said, “You live in a pink house.”
It was as if I had never noticed.
Since that day in 1975, when I was an impressionable teen-ager, I have noticed the color of houses. Now I am an artist so that should come with the territory, but Jimmy’s comment started the process.
I have been out of touch with the world for a few weeks. Leave it to say a loved one needed some special time. This was a time out of my studio, so I started, again, to work on my children’s book.
It begins with a sentence about the main character living in my pink house.
I am once again in the studio so hope to make some progress on this book. I have read it to children over the years and always had a positive response. It is time for me to be my character’s champion and get him out of the drawer and into the world.
Milton’s daylilies are presenting their last blooms today. I have looked at them every morning for the last two weeks. I realized if I didn’t take a portrait of them today it would be too late. Thirty years ago, June 28, my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in New Orleans. As I showed him the city we drove around the lakefront to see one of my childhood homes. Across the street, our neighbors were tending their garden. This was a massive undertaking unto itself. They had also added the grass filled circle at the end of the cul de sac and filled it with daylilies. Milton would go to the new beds and hand pollinate the flowers. Mixing and painting the pollens to achieve an incredible combination of colors. Years later we moved to Colleyville, Texas, a half hour from Dallas where Milton’s daughter and my childhood best friend lived. She arrived one afternoon with a box of daylilies. Her parents had driven up from New Orleans for a visit. Knowing she shared their love of gardening they were bringing her treasure. She was kind enough to share them with us. They grew in front of our house in the baking sun. The colors were amazing. When we moved from Texas to Florida eleven years ago we had to bring along some of Milton’s daylilies. They were our friends. Every year as a little girl I watched my best friend drive off to visit her grandmother in Florida. They would pack up their station wagon, fill it with girls and aunts and cousins and drive off for weeks at a time. I was always so envious of their adventures and envious of the huge family community. Finally living in Florida I asked where did she go? Must have been Fort Lauderdale or Sanibel or another exotic sounding beach. No, it was Sanford. Sanford. Twenty minutes away. I had a studio in Sanford. A gardener’s soul is filled with patience and optimism. You must wait to see the results from what you plant and you wouldn’t plant if you didn’t have hope. What man can do when he patiently plays with God’s creation. Those are Milton’s daylilies.
Even Riley, our garden pig got into the act this weekend. Geaux Saints, Laissez les bonnes temps roulez!, Who Dat…all ushered in the weekend New Orleans and its fans have waited for. Having grown up in New Orleans there is a part of my heart that beats harder when something is said about the Crescent City. I admire the people who stayed, returned or ventured into the city for the first time after Katrina. These were real pioneers. Things were rough, things were dirty, things were depressing, and there was a long way to go to reach a success that outsiders could comprehend. I can only imagine how difficult it was living in New Orleans. The house I grew up in was under 5 feet of water. The present homeowners were heroic and put it back together. 85% of the city was under water. That includes more than what you saw on tv, that includes many more people than you saw on tv. There are lots of people who are putting the city back together and there are a lot more who will continue putting it back together. They are heroes. Our doctor friend has stayed past the point of exhaustion to carry out his oath to do no harm. Leaving the folks in New Orleans without medical care would do harm. He is a hero. The Saints as a team and as individuals are heroes. Tom Benson who kept the team in New Orleans is a hero. New educators who had the vision to build and improve on the poor education system are heroes. People who put their money and muscle into the rebuilding are heroes. New Orleans deserves this win, deserves a pat on the back and encouragement to keep up the heroics that are going to be required to continue the feat of rebuilding a city that took 300 plus years to build and 24 hours to destroy. Geaux Saints, Geaux good people of New Orleans. When the going gets tough the tough get geauxing.
For two very strong and eye opening accounts of life during and immediately following Katrina check out One Dead in theAttic by Chris Rose and Code Blue: A Katrina Physician’s Memoir by Dr. Richard Deichmann. You will have a new perspective on what happened in New Orleans and a new respect for those who endured.
In preparation for a busy day at the studio/gallery I spent the last several days painting small pieces. The thought was, in these economic times why not offer something for all pocketbooks. More birds, a sandhill crane (which are everywhere in our neighborhood. They are accompanied by their children at this time of year.)and some flying people who morphed into floating people were the subject matter. Being from New Orleans I have a soft spot for the place. As seedy, humid, dark, and morose as it is, it is also beautiful, colorful, creative, and warm in its humanity. I know all sides, I lived there. I knew people of all types there, the really good and the really not so good. These little paintings, 5″x7″ on watercolor paper, have finally expressed some of my feelings about Katrina. There is a sad floating loss. The political aspects of this have gotten so out of hand the reality has been totally lost. I have my views, but they would not be popular in the present blame those last guys atmosphere so they will stay in my heart. Because Idid live there. I do know the truth.