I have just spent a week working for my friend, Sonja, shuttling luggage, tents and towels for a Bike Tour, so I didn’t have a chance to paint. I did get to spend some time in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, an area of high hills and coulees, with the Mississippi River running through the middle of it. I also discovered Lanesboro, Minnesota, an absolutely charming town on the Root River. It is the home of a weekly public radio show called Over the Back Fence, which Midwest Scenic Bike Tours had arranged for us to see; the Root River, where we rented kayaks and managed to lose a wedding ring, a watch and a pair of glasses in the course of several capsizes; the Root River Bike Trail; and a wonderful city park with two trout ponds (equipped with melodious fountains to keep the water aerated). There are many fine Bed and Breakfasts and the food at the Riverside is wonderful. I visited the Cornucopia Art Center, where I particularly admired the atmospheric paintings of Adam Reef and the textural photographs of Ron Germundson.
This week I’m going to Eagle River, Wisconsin on vacation. I will not be able to blog, but I WILL BE ABLE TO PAINT! (I’ve just finished packing my paints and equipment.) I’m suffering withdrawal.
This painting, for which my daughter, Iphigeneia and her Morgan mare, Pelee, served as models, was inspired in part by a vintage print and in part by Mary Stewart’s novel, The Ivy Tree. For those of you who have never been addicted to Mary Stewart’s literate and evocative — think Daphne du Maurier — suspense stories, The Ivy Tree tells the story of a young woman impersonating someone she resembles, Annabelle, who is presumed dead. Annabelle abandoned her Yorkshire home eight years previously, after falling traumatically in love with a married neighbor. The Ivy Tree was indeed a trysting tree, but in this case not only a place to meet, but more importantly, to leave messages.
Annabelle was a superlative horsewoman; our heroine refuses to mount one. Annabelle was in love with Adam; our heroine tells him that it’s over and has been since she was eighteen. There is a Roman ruin; there is an inheritance; there is danger; there is a desperate ride in a storm and there is the question of whether our heroine is really the disappeared Annabelle after all.
The Old Trysting Tree II, oil on canvas, 12×12, $200.00 USD
Despite the market wisdom that one shouldn’t blog a painting on a Friday, and because this was the week that my daughter went to France and didn’t have a thing to wear (meaning that I had to spend two days shopping and doing laundry), I am blogging on Friday.
I couldn’t come up with a solitary line of poetry out of my overtaxed brain to describe this “unlikeliest hunting dog”, my Pug, Velvet, with pheasants. The humor is all in the picture and in Velvet’s overt response to the “take”. It was my husband, Matt’s, joke. He took the picture and surprised me with it. I think it makes a wonderful, counter-Field and Stream-culture painting.
The Unlikeliest Hunting Dog, 5×7 on canvas board, Private Collection
I pretty much finished this painting today with the scent of lilacs blooming around the house and wafting in through the screen doors. It’s darkish outside and the air is increasingly humid. Occasionally splatters of rain strike the windows. However, mentally I’ve been junketing with Amelia Peabody in brilliant, hot Egypt. I didn’t initially like Elizabeth Peter’s formidable, Archaeologist heroine because I thought her unbearably conceited and her husband, Emerson, beyond endurance. I’ve become used to them now, as one does to good people one spends time with. Eventually one becomes immune to their more obnoxious idiosyncrasies. I would quite like to meet Amelia now, although I still can’t stomach her husband. (Amelia is blind though. I do so wish she’d dump him for Sethos.) Perhaps this bust is of the lovely, orphaned, rescued and adopted Nefret.
Bust of a Victorian Girl, oil on canvas, 12×16