November is one of my favorite times of year because 1) I get to take a week off for Thanksgiving, and I use it to watch lots of T.V., read lots of books, and take lots of naps and 2) it is National Novel Writing Month. I attend meetups to write with the NaNo North Shore group, a wonderful group of people who encourage each other and have fun together. We always hold an event one day each November where we write all day and night (24 hours), eat lots of food, and talk in between writing (another November favorite). I never actually do what I am supposed to do during NaNoWriMo (write a novel that is at least 50,000 words); I usually use the time to work on whatever project has been brewing in my head for a while. This year I have decided to spend the month fleshing out this fictional art colony that has been taking shape in my mind since January. The paintings I have been creating this year have come about because of this fictional place which I have named The Isle of Adelle. I imagine that Adelle, the woman pictured above, founded this special art colony on an island off of the coast of France circa 1920. You will hear more about this special place after I have a chance to fully imagine what it is all about – who the people are, what they do each day, the climate, and so on. I am excited by the idea of building my own world and letting it take shape on paper. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, happy writing!
Esme always had an affinity for birds – feathers, nests, eggs, and birdhouses in particular. Her favorite bird was a hummingbird because of its diminutive size and feisty spirit. She collected all of her avian treasures as a child in a little fort in the back yard, and old garden shed that her parents no longer used. Esme made it cozy with green walls, white bedding, and lots of shelves lined with bird treasures. She put three birdhouses just outside the door, each with different types of bird seed to attract different birds.
Esme’s friends would often come to visit, and there was one visit from her friend Carrie that would prove to be life changing. Carrie accidentally knocked over the contents of one shelf and all the feathers landed in a pile on the floor. Before she could bend down to pick them up, they started floating under Esme’s gaze, surprising them both. They swirled slowly in a circle as if held together by an invisible globe. Esme fell into a sort of trance, and she saw Carrie as an adult performing as a trapeze artist at a circus and loving all aspects of circus life. Carrie gasped because she had never told anyone about her secret daydreams for fear that they would think she was silly, but it thrilled her to think that what her friend said might come true. From that day forward, Esme asked her friends to choose the feathers that spoke to them and then she would make them float, go into a trance, and tell them the most vital parts of their future. Then she would give them a feather to keep as a good luck talisman to ensure that they would always remember their dream and that it would come true.
Over the years, Esme’s abilities grew to the point that she could alter the visions to fit some of the desires expressed by her clients, but only if they were in line with their big dream – their destiny. Over time, she came to be known as the Dream Maker, and was respected and beloved in her community.
This illustration is available on Etsy
Sayuri has always loved hats. She had the good fortune to be born to an exceptional milliner and his wife in a small Japanese village during the early part of the 20th century. Her father learned his craft from his grandparents and he passed along everything he knew to Sayuri, his only child. Her mother functioned as his assistant, helping the customers and managing the hat shop with the utmost care.
Even as a young child, Sayuri wore the finest hats with confidence and finesse. Because of her confidence, she was never teased for wearing hats – instead, they became her signature. Sayuri worked in her parents’ shop when she was not at school, and nothing made her happier. She enjoyed every part of hat making – picking the materials, stitching the hats, displaying them just so to appeal to customers.
Once Sayuri grew up, moved away, and established her own shop, she truly realized the power of her sartorial gifts. For you see, she can take one look at a customer, and know exactly what hat will suit them – the style, colors, and lifestyle. She is able to intuit their personality and preferences without them saying a word. For this reason, she tends to make custom hats. She has some hats on display just for show, but the real magic happens when she creates a hat just for the person who orders it. Each time she sees one of her hats out and about and perched just so on top of her clients’ heads, she smiles to herself and feels satisfied.
This illustration is available on Etsy
I am always inspired by beautiful gardens with impossibly large blooms, and that was my inspiration for this week’s painting. I hope you enjoy this little story about Molly.
As a young girl growing up on a farm, Molly discovered early on that she had a special gift with flowers. Better than a green thumb – more like a golden thumb. See, as soon as Molly places seeds in the ground, flowers begin to grow. Not as fast as what you see in time-lapse videos when everything is moving fast, but within 24 hours, they are in full bloom. It doesn’t matter what the soil is like or the weather, or even if they have received water. They spring up perfect and as a big as they can possibly grow in vibrant colors like cotton candy pink, indigo, and corncob yellow. Molly’s favorite flower is the dahlia – she never gets tired of gazing at its perfection. The townsfolk all know about Molly’s talent, and they flock to her floral shop to buy choice blooms for all sorts of occasions.
Molly has taken up the violin to balance out the ease with which she grows flowers. She really has to work at the violin to get it to sound decent. She squeaks and sqwacks along, breaking bow strings and assaulting the ears of her patient music instructor. It surprises her how happy it makes her to work at something that challenges her. One day, she hopes that playing the violin will come as naturally as growing flowers, and she’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing she worked hard to learn how to play.
Painting available on Etsy
Will moves so fast that anyone watching from the shore would only see a blur when he glides by in his trusty canoe. He canoes early in the morning before others get on the lake so he can go as fast as he chooses to go. He is not interested in competitions; he just enjoys being out on the lake slicing his canoe through the water as dawn breaks just beyond the pine trees. While he is moving, he does not think about anything – he just enjoys the quiet, calming sounds of nature.
About a year ago, I read about Wendy Chidester’s paintings in an art magazine and found out that a gallery in Boston was showing them in person. After seeing the vibrant images in the magazine, I just had to see and experience them in person. I was not disappointed! They were even more captivating in person because you can see the variations in colors and brushstrokes. I was amazed out how inanimate objects could look so alive.
Wendy’s work causes the viewer to pause and linger a little while, to reflect upon simpler times, and most importantly, to smile when positive memories flood one’s consciousness. Even though her paintings are of relics and antiques, they still have a contemporary feel plus a touch of playfulness and whimsy. I certainly felt a little happier when I walked away from the gallery.
After my visit to the gallery, I wanted to know more about Wendy. Wendy actually started her career as a landscape and figurative artist. One rainy afternoon, she ended up painting an antique camera that she borrowed from a local antique shop, and something clicked. She has been painting items from a bygone era ever since. Her goal is to show appreciation and respect for their years for service.
Wendy loves imagining the story behind all of these old things – who they belonged to, where they might have been, or how the person used them. She wants to honor the human ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into making each piece. She finds color fascinating and often uses saturated colors that she adds patina to so she can gracefully show their age.
Wendy usually paints from life, borrowing pieces from antique shops or inheriting old pieces from family and friends. She works out of her studio in Draper, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.
If you are interested in learning more about this artist, please visit http://www.wendychidester.com/
This painting really came about because I wanted to do a piece featuring a Victrola. I am still on the hunt for the perfect one to add to my vintage collection, and I am hoping to score one at the Brimfield Antique Fair that I will be attending in September. I hope you enjoy this little story and the painting:
Lily had a tough week at work. But now, among the hedges, Lily sets up stool in her favorite spot to relax – the one where the birds gather and complement her playing. She does not play a normal instrument – instead she plays a Victrola given to her by her Grandma Esther. This Victrola doesn’t even have a place for records or a needle, for the music comes from within Lily. She simply holds the Victrola close to her body, closes her eyes, and lets what she thinks and feels flow through the Victrola. Lily is partial to jazzy tunes, but sometimes she’ll play classical music. No matter what she chooses, the birds always seem to know and cheerfully accompany her. This is Lily’s definition of a perfect, relaxing afternoon.
This painting is available on Etsy: adellecirca1920.etsy.com
This painting was inspired by the song featured in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN called “Rewrite the Stars”. I wrote the following mini story for this painting:
Rearranging the Stars
Claire woke up with the moon shining on her face. After a night of dancing, she was still dressed in her green gown. Led by the moon, she walked outside barefoot to get a better view of the night sky. Dew was just starting to form on the grass and it caused her feet to make a slight squishing sound. She walked to an open field and started to survey the stars. Claire realized that something did not seem quite right. She closed her eyes and floated toward the stars, letting her intuition guide her to the exact star that needed changing. She realized that this star had been causing the recent bout of clumsiness she had been experiencing in her life. Claire moved it just to the right of the moon so it could benefit from its light and steadiness. Once she finished rearranging the star, she returned to the ground. Claire walked back home and settled into her bed by the window to examine her celestial handiwork. She smiled and fell into a deep sleep knowing that things would be better tomorrow.
I hope you enjoyed this mini story. This painting is available in my Etsy shop adellecirca1920.etsy.com
This painting was inspired by my shameless binge watching of CHARMED. There was an episode where Piper first learned to freeze time, and she was cooking at the time. As I was watching it, this image popped into my head. I also created a little story which conveys my feelings about cooking. I love food. I love the idea of cooking. I even love cookware and utensils. My problem is with the act of cooking. I hope you will get the picture after reading this mini-story.
The Reluctant Chef
The ingredients rested on the counter in pristine condition – homemade pasta, ripe tomatoes, crisp carrots, onions, and basil leaves – all ready to chop, boil, and release heavenly aromas. The chef, Penelope, seemingly ready in her white coat and red scarf, sharpened knives, shiny pots, leans on the counter with her head propped in her hands loathing the process required to make these ingredients edible. She daydreams about how the meal will taste, how her friends and family will applaud and rave about her meal. Then she sighs, and once again she puts the ingredients in the refrigerator, the cooking implements in the cabinets and drawers; then she picks up the phone to dial Luigi’s Italian Kitchen.
This watercolor painting is available in my shop adellecirca1920.etsy.com
I have started creating mini-stories and poems inspired by my paintings. Here is the poem for this painting:
Remembering Roses by Cindy Adelle Richard
A morning walk ripe with dew
shards of light reflecting you
butterflies swirling matching your pace
roses shimmering caressing your face
Nature’s canvas framed just for you
etched in your memory like cellular glue
love in your heart nothing to fear
enjoying the magic we all hold dear.
I hope you enjoyed my little poem. This painting is now available in my Etsy shop as well adellecirca1920.etsy.com