Monthly Archives: July 2008

No Frigate Like a Book

I feel certain I will not be introducing a new poem to anyone; this poem by
Emily Dickinson is so famous to bibliophiles. I have decided to post it though, since it expresses this painting perfectly.

I completed this painting yesterday just in time for Gallry Night in Mineral Point (WI) this Saturday. I worked on making the receding edges soft and the illuminated ones sharp. I like particularly the sheen on the fabric of the chair arm and the blend of soft colors in the hands.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul!

— Emily Dickinson

No Frigate Like a Book, Oil on Canvas, 20×24

Posted by Picasa

Cheese Danish and Rose Petals

I finished this painting Saturday instead of last week due to some medical proce- dures I had to have done during my chief painting days. I’m painting from life, so I need natural daylight and can’t work in the evening.
This is one of my favorite plates and the rose petals come from my new Falstaff English Rose, right outside my studio door. How I do love china pieces and white linen for breakfast! They remind me of scenes from All Creatures Great and Small, the television series, where James, Siegfried and Tristan are clinking their tea-cups in their saucers, carving up a piece of good Yorkshire bacon and stuffing crumpets in their mouths before heading out into the brisk air (and a displaced calf bed), and Mrs. Hall bustling around making tart observations.

Cheese Danish and Rose Petals, Oil on Canvas,8×10, Sold

Posted by Picasa

Weather Vane and Cheese Danish

This John Deere Weather Vane is another one of my first tries at plein-air painting. I employed a technique I use all the time in studio painting: I underpainted the trees on the left and the foreground with a fucshia red and let it show through. It enlivens the dark mass of green foliage. This raised-bed garden and vane are located on my Aunt and Uncle Hogan’s farm in Aitkin, Minnesota. It was a hot day and I was out there with my french easle that is always falling apart and has irreplaceable hardware…..Thank goodness for duct tape! I’ve just bought myself a wonderful solution to the problem, Fed-exed to my door. More on that in another blog. All I need now for plein air painting is a head-to-toe mesh bug suit to protect me from deerflies and mosquitoes.

Below is two hours worth of a new painting of an cheese danish in progress. I may add another element to the composition, or simply change the color of the cloth. I wouldn’t mind at all if there were a pattern on the fabric. I love pattern on pattern. It takes a lot to overtax
my eye.

I’ll be away from home and my paintbrushes for the weekend. Can’t wait to get back to the cheese danish and Anna Reading next week.

John Deere Weather Vane, 8×10, oil on canvas, Sold

Detail of Girl Reading (in progress)

I spent a day working on this painting up in Eagle River. It’s a larger work (20×24) and I’m featuring only the part of the painting that is fairly developed. One of my favorite models, my friendAnna, is modeling for me again.

What could she be finding so pleasant to read, I wonder? Something with words that fall one upon one another like rose petals and rasberries and autumn leaves and drops of dew, all gorgeous, all glowing within themselves, and all heaped up…..Something like a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Here’s an example:

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn, Fal-
con, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the
hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, — the achieve of, the mastery of the

Brute beauty and valour and act, of, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

The Windhover
To Christ our Lord
by Gerard Manley Hopkins 1877

Posted by Picasa