Monday, November 28, 2011

Late November

"Late November" really is late - it was intended to be my submission for the October monthly challenge - but better late than never!

Here's the inspiration piece:

A Hedgehog in a Landscape, 1643-51, by Giovanna Garzoni.

One of the first women artists to practice the art of still life painting, Giovanna Garzoni pursued her career with intensity. Garzoni's paintings were so well liked that, according to one writer, she could sell her work "for whatever price she wished."

Garzoni's paintings depict plants with their roots and flowers, in the scientific tradition of Ligozzi, but she animates her compositions by adding insects, reptiles, and small fruits and nuts, each casting a faint shadow on the page. These vibrant paintings display a conscious yet subtle balance between scientific realism and decorative effect.

I drew my color palette for this piece from the painting: taupe, bronze, rust, copper - the colors of late fall.

The twisting beadwoven necklace base emulates the coils of the snail shell. The copper clasp shares the shape of the horse chestnuts.

I made the pendent in a winter pottery class a couple years ago, the seed pod shape seemed the perfect focal point for this piece.

Typically, we associate the blazing colors of autumn leaves with fall beauty, but when that showy season passes, the more subtle beauties of late fall remain - a beauty that relies upon texture and form. That's what I feel I've achieved with "Late November" - do you agree?

Available for purchase here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What "Eye" Can See

It's "shoulder" season - the brilliant colors of autumn have passed, but the white snow of winter has not yet arrived - but that doesn't mean there isn't beauty all around us in the seeming drab surroundings of late November.

It takes a different approach, allow your inner "eye" some freedom to roam - you might just be surprised by what might be revealed when all the foliage is stripped away.

First frost:

Brambles, with leaves ready to drop:

Wet pavement, adorned with fallen leaves:

Picked clean:

Forest hieroglyphics:

The snow will be arriving soon, but for now I'm enjoying the spare, pared down appeal of a fairly monochromatic landscape - I hope you do too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Green Lady

"The Green Lady" is my submission for the November Art Bead Scene monthly challenge; here's the inspiration painting:

Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni
by Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927)
Watercolour, gouache and gum arabic, 30.9in × 24.1 in.

The woman is a character from the Italian poet Dante. She was described as a heartless lady dressed in green. In her hand she holds a crystal bowl reflecting the figures of Love and Dante.

The artist, Marie Euphrosyne Spartali, later Stillman , was a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent, arguably the greatest female artist of the movement. During a sixty-year career she produced over one hundred works, contributing regularly to galleries in Great Britain and the United States.

The artist, herself:

She and her two cousins, were known collectively among friends as "the Three Graces", after the Charities of Greek mythology, as all three were noted beauties of Greek heritage.

It was in the house of a Greek businessman, in south London, that Marie and her sister Christine met Whistler and Swinburne for the first time. They were dressed in white with blue ribbon sashes. Swinburne was so overcome that he said of Spartali: "She is so beautiful that I want to sit down and cry". Marie was a tall, imposing figure, and, in her later years, dressed in long flowing black garments with a lace hood, attracting much attention throughout her life.

The subjects of her paintings were typical of the Pre-Raphaelites: female figures; scenes from Shakespeare, Petrarch, Dante and Boccaccio; also Italian landscapes. She exhibited in England and at various galleries in the eastern USA, including the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. A retrospective show of her work took place in the United States in 1982.

My goal was to create a piece that looked as if it might have been worn by the lady in the painting. I started by creating a base grid using right angle weave, which I filled with olivine fire polished glass beads. I transitioned into square stitch to form the clasp, which also incorporates an antique button.

The star of the piece is the amazing pendant, formed of bronze metal clay and a real peridot from Etsy artist Wanda Cardenas at Epiphany of a Dragonfly.

I think the result is worthy of wear by a lovely Pre-Raphaelite lady!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bead Journal Project - April 2011

Playing "catch-up" yet again this year - it's just so hard to accomplish much during the busy season on the Island.

Here's the inspiration image; each month will feature this trillium using a different beading technique.

This time I started by stitching a fabric background:

I used St. Petersburg chain to form Russian leaves for the petals and leaves.

I filled the petals with a a mixture of beads in various sizes and finishes. The leaves were given more of "vein" affect.

The background seemed a bit plain, so I added some freeform embroidery - a mixture of French knots, feather and chain stitch.

While I cannot guarantee to finish by the end of the year, I WILL finish...and I even know how I'd like to display the pieces - anyone know a good metalworker willing to work with a beader?