Dear Tina & Friends~
It is interesting to look back at some of my old work and see how drastically my color palette has changed. I just got back from Port Clyde, Maine and spent a night on Monhegan Island while I was there. Monhegan is a quaint little community abundant with artists and alive with color and history (I will share more about my studio visits with the artists in another post). It has been years since this last visit and at the time I was primarily painting landscapes. It feels like a lifetime ago. Although I am still very interested in the landscape I was looking at the island from a very different perspective this time around than I did back then. I had a deeper curiosity and connection to what I was seeing. I remember feeling the history of this magical island but not knowing how to interpret what I was feeling. It took me a long time to understand that I don’t have to have a literal interpretation of what I paint. It comes out in many ways.
I have been working on a little series of whimsical umbrella paintings. They started out as a carved block but I decided after I printed them, I wanted more color and started to hand embellish them, making each one unique. The splashy colored paint and patterns give them the look I was going for. Even though I felt they could stand on their own I experimented further by painting old book pages which I cut up and used for the backgrounds.
This series believe it or not was originally inspired by the tragedy in Japan. Wanting to find hope during such a sorrowful time, I began thinking about the brightly colored umbrellas Japan is known for. After researching their history I was surprised to learn they became popular in the middle of the 18th century as a way to stimulate the local economy after a series of floods. Each umbrella was handcrafted back then and provided a way to supplement the income of the impoverished lower samurai (warrior elite). I found this fascinating!
I have always loved the little umbrellas that came in the Shirley Temples of my youth. It was always a special treat to go to the Chinese Restaurant and allowed to order one. I remember many times being there with my grandparents. I had a special connection to my gram and as I worked on this series SO many memories flooded back to me. Happy times where I learned to just laugh and be myself. She would often say, “let’s laugh for no reason” and we did. I still do! These colorful moments are what I try to translate into my work.
I thought I would share a few pics from Monhegan. Such a MAGICAL place! I would love to know what your favorite places are to visit?
Cheery Smiles, Laura