August 08, 2023
This week in Houston, Texas it has been unbearably hot. A friend joked on Instagram that opening her front door felt like opening the oven door to check on her cornbread. I love that sentiment, as I am a southern woman and cook.
Speaking of yummy, cornbread, one of the bright spots in Houston this time of year is an event called Houston Restaurant Weeks. This event includes hundreds of restaurants that offer curated, custom menus specifically for the event. The menus are typically three courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Also, many restaurants do offer cocktail and wine flights. It is the largest fundraising event for the largest food pantry in America. Oh my… is it ever a delicious and fun time to be in Houston, Texas.
My husband and I contributed by visiting three very lovely restaurants: Bluedorn, Travelers Table and Eugene’s Gulf Coast Kitchen. What more can I do, I was wondering? Truly, it would be a delight to visit all of the restaurants, but alas impossible.
If you’ve not scrutinized an oyster shell closely, I encourage you to do so. The outside texture is a thick crust of lovely mineral and sea salt. It resembles a coarse, beautiful, striped rock. Flipped over, the inside is very smooth, pearly and luminous. When it is wet, tilt it from side to side. You will be mesmerized by the rainbow-pearly casting across its interior. Alas, this is where pearls are found. The contrast between the two sides is a surprising juxtaposition.
As I slowly rocked the shell to and fro, appreciating the undulating pearly cast, it occurred to me that this would be a lovely subject to study. A study means that I will try to work through how to create the texture, striation and layering of the outside but then try to capture a pearly and moving rainbow phenomenon on the inside.
In the artist’s way, I put my head down to microfocus on the subject. I start by “mapping” the basic shapes, characteristics and tones. Followed by many layers of carefully layered pigment. As each successive layer went on, the shell became more intuitive… where to ad the spots, the dips, the curves - and the many-many-many tiny lines that contributed to the shelving of layers comprising the oyster shell.
There is a phenomenon I experience when painting. I call the it the “Jekyll Hyde moment.” I reference this in more detail in my quote colorful Junebug post. This is when I go into sort of a trance and start glazing my assumed finished piece with bright washes of jewel tones. This is quite rewarding, if done successfully. This step enabled me to achieve the pearly magnificence of the oyster shell. Ironically, in my work area was an impressive abalone shell filled with sea glass, delicate sea stars and various beach find treasures. The abalone shell informed all of the luminous color decisions when finishing the oyster.
Quite honestly, in almost every painting, I believe God places before me some type of inspiration that makes a piece quite unique. As an example, I finished a pet portrait for a friend: a precious bulldog with big, beautiful eyes. While taking a break, I looked down at the floor and noticed a rainbow had been cast across the floor by way of a prism hanging in my window. I looked back at the paining and observed the rainbow was now over the face of the bulldog. WOW, I finished the painting by reflecting the rainbow into the pup’s eyes. I received a call a few months later. The elder bulldog had died. The rainbow in his eyes had meant so much much to my friend every time he looked at it.
I am very happy to donate a portion of my proceeds from the sale of these prints to the Houston Restaurant Weeks fundraiser
These prints will be perfect in your kitchen, cocktail space or curiosity niche. I can guarantee you that I smiled 100% of the time spent creating these pieces!
joie de vivre’
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