Paintings of St. Maarten and Anguilla

Hi everyone and happy New Year! Sorry to have been absent so long. In October I was unexpectedly recruited into a part-time job (nonprofit development, my old stomping grounds) and have been careful to preserve my writing time when I’m not at work.

In the meantime, I’ve still been cooking and crafting, though a little more slowly perhaps.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a family trip to St. Maarten and Anguilla and wanted to share some iPad paintings I created while there. I had more time to paint on St. Maarten, so most of them (except the first one) are from there.

Hope you enjoy!

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Hot Air Balloons Painting

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This was a commissioned piece—-I thought you might like to see its evolution. The couple wanted a painting for their baby’s nursery that would grow with their daughter—i.e. not be too babyish when she grows older. They were totally open to me choosing the subject matter, but I wanted a little direction. The room is varying shades of aqua, so I started with color and asked them for photos of blue things from their recent trip to Turkey.

When I saw photos of the balloons in the blue sky over the mountains, I was hooked. The balloons were whimsical and colorful enough to be child-friendly and at the same time specific to a particular moment. I’m hoping the painting will remind them of a special day on their trip.

This is another of those projects that has been coming together for several months.

Here is the initial underpainting:

Painting

Next layers:

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And the final layer, which is the first image in this post.

In other news, really enjoyed Lake Bell’s film In a World, now available on Netflix. And currently reading The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Very fun read.

Hand Painted Floral Trunk

Painted Trunk

I’ve been meaning to share this for ages and keep forgetting. I had the loveliest sense of deja-vu when I laid eyes on this trunk last summer at my friend’s house. At first I thought—cool trunk!—and then I laughed. Years ago I’d painted the flowers on it as a gift to my friend and had forgotten all about it.

I can’t remember why exactly, but while I was painting the flowers, I decided to add decoupage, including stamps from that year. Boy do they seem old now (37 cent lick-’em kind!!), but I like the way they give the piece a date and a context.

Floral Trunk

If you’re interested in seeing some more of my artwork, click here or here.

Currently reading: Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. Very funny epistolary novel about the academic life.

Also still plugging away at revisions. Beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Paintings of Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire

Winnepesaukee Painting

I did these while spending a week with the family at Lake Winnepesaukee in July. I used my Sensu brush/ stylist (except on the last one, where I used my fingers—you can totally tell) with the Artrage app on my iPad.

Winnepesaukee Artwork

I loved watching the water and sky at different times of day and in different weather. The colors changed so dramatically in a short space of time.

Lake Winnepesaukee Painting

Which one is your favorite?

For more of my iPad artwork, click here, here, and here. Anybody have any experience with making fine prints of your digital work? I’d love to know what worked for you.

Winnepesaukee Painting

Copyright 2013 Emily Smith Pearce

Big Girl’s Room and Patchwork Duvet

The Cuppa Cuppa patchwork is finished, and we rearranged a few things in my daughter’s room to coordinate.

The elephant painting is one of three animal paintings that I made for her nursery before she was born. She’s now seven and still loves it, which makes me so happy, of course. And very glad I didn’t paint a mural on the wall, since she was born two moves ago.

The stuffed elephant was designed and hand-sewn by my dear friend Minnemie when my girl was a newborn. So glad that he’s still loved as well.

The sweet pajama cat (you stuff him with your pjs) was made by my mom from the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor.

The matryoshka doll wall decals are from local shop Enna (the seller, Anne Wendtlandt, also has an etsy shop from which she ships internationally).

And lastly, the Tooth Fairy pillow was mine, made by our neighbor back in the day. Love the 70’s Holly Hobby vibe.

I’m really glad I convinced my girl to tone down the pink in the patchwork scheme. All the sudden she’s feeling like a “big girl” and not as interested in pink and purple princesses, so thankfully she still likes the patchwork now that it’s finished.

If you want to know more about the making of this patchwork, here are posts about the beginning, middle, and almost-finished stages. It’s constructed with improvisational piecing using self-dyed, commercial, and recycled fabrics, inspired by this quilt by Malka Dubrawsky.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It’s always a bit strange overseas, since no one celebrates it here. On Sunday Advent season begins, though, and Christmas markets have opened, which are a big deal here and lots of fun. Happy weekend!

Lady Madonna, Baby at Your Breast

 

Madonna del’latte, Ambrogio Lorenzetti c. 1330
 

I really enjoyed the museums in Siena in part because they were small enough to manage with children, and not so packed. But the best part was their troves of early Renaissance art. I like the early stuff because it’s not so all-fired perfect like the late Renaissance art. During the early period, artists had figured out a few things about perspective, but they hadn’t yet cracked the whole code. 

The art from the early period also seems brighter and more colorful than the later Renaissance. I find myself relating to it because it’s more like what I’d want to create myself. Perfection in artwork doesn’t really interest me that much, probably because I’m living after the invention of photography. So the beautiful but imperfect early Renaissance paintings (as well as pre-Renaissance works) have an almost modern feel to me.

Disclaimer: this isn’t an all that scholarly perspective, so bear that in mind.

St. Bernardino Preaching, by Sano di Pietro (above)—This scene takes place in the same Piazza del Campo from my previous post. I couldn’t find a better image of it, but in real life the colors are much brighter. The building behind St. Bernardino is the color of papaya flesh. 

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(detail from The Siege of the Castle of Montemassi, by Simone Martini)

The image above is just a tiny bit of a beautiful and famous painting. You can see the artist has made an attempt to show the dimensionality of the castle, but it’s still a bit flat, with an almost cubist feeling. I love it.

Our favorite pieces in the museum were the nursing Madonnas. I had never seen anything like them and was so moved by their tenderness. Whoever thought of Mary breastfeeding Jesus? Evidently plenty of artists have, but I hadn’t. I found the images so intimate, so human. So different from some other Madonnas where she’s looking away from baby Jesus, holding him like she’s not sure whose kid this is but would someone please take him?

Evidently there are a lot of these lactating Madonnas from 14th century Tuscany. According to Wikipedia,  they were “something of a visual revolution for the theology of the time, compared to the Queen of Heaven depictions.”

Madonna del latte, Paolo di Giovanni Fei

“During the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, a decree against nudity was issued, and the use of the Madonna Lactans iconography began to fade away.”

Sigh. At least they didn’t burn them.

The coolest thing about seeing these paintings was how much my small children responded to them. I think the idea of baby Jesus being so like themselves, so like other babies they know, excited them.

The images above came from wikipedia and wikimedia. They are in the public domain, and the paintings themselves all reside in Siena.

p.s. My post about Pisa was featured on Freshly Pressed (the wordpress front page roundup) this week, so this little blog got a lot of new traffic. Welcome, new subscribers!

Several Moves Ago

Emily Smith Pearce Copyright 2000

Emily Smith Pearce Copyright 2000

Moves feel like such milestones, and I tend to segment my memories by them, maybe because I’ve moved a lot in my adult life. 

I found these old paintings in my attic, and they took me back, way back. I painted them when I was living in what I fondly call my “bachelorette apartment” in Boston, MA. The place had its issues, to put it mildly, but it was a good time in my life. I did a series of paintings of nearly every room in the apartment. Most of the crazy furniture we got off the street. 

Sadly, I didn’t have enough foresight to spend more on my materials. These two were painted on discarded foam core. Note to self: even when low on funds, use quality materials. My current home is now almost completely empty and echo-y.  I kind of like it this way except for the fact that I can’t find anything.

 

Native Flowers

I finished this painting a few weeks ago. It was a commissioned piece. The client requested flowers and suggested a color palette. Here’s what I came up with:

 

 

copyright 2009 Emily Smith Pearce

I guess because I’ve become so interested in gardening, it seemed important to me that the flowers be in-the-ground native plants (or hybrids of natives) that could actually co-exist together here in North Carolina. Without lots of extra watering. High standards, I know, for 2-D plants. I used butterfly weed (the orange), rose verbena (the lower pink flowers) and coreopsis, the small pink flowers in the upper area. All of these plants grow on the hill behind my house, though my coreopsis is actually yellow (it can be pink, however).

Here’s a view of what the painting looked like at the beginning:

a little further along:

mid-way through the process: