Paintings in Oil

 

 

Posted on 07/03/2018 at 11:00am

My recent trip to Peru was enlightening in so many ways. My innate fear of such a remote area
of the world was indeed overcome. Could intense sunlight and inherited DNA be what makes these Andean people have such a talent with color? Their abilities are everywhere, even in the poorest villages. Colorful fabrics woven on primitive looms by native women sitting outdoors on the ground and working throughout the highlands expressed so much beauty in such an arid, high desert environment. Skills of intricate designs in weaving by using natural dyes and yarns have been passed down for centuries at this extreme elevation of 12,000 ft.

 

 

The children wear their mother’s colorful handiwork. Woven one-of-kind hats with colorful pompoms attached, bright ponchos, leggings, and sweaters, that are mostly made from the wool of the Alpaca an animal that also makes this high desert their home. They can also sometimes be seen wearing special hats and sweaters made just for them.

When death comes, local people wrap their loved ones for burial in their finest cloth, the culmination of a life of connection with textiles. From an infant’s first breath to her last, beautiful textiles provide not only warmth, love and consolation but also a tangible sacred knowledge that they connect to a strong tradition of proud people stretching back for centuries.

 

 

 

In the smallest villages, round beautiful faces smile easily, and the women wear a variety of strange hats, some tall, some rather flat but highly decorated, and all were very different. I wondered if wearing them was dependent upon the village or life status, Many of the indigenous Andean women wear a very thick layer of skirts, up to 10 at a time. I was told that when the one underneath gets dirty, she removes and cleans it, and puts it on top of the others. They simply squat to urinate, no need looking for a bathroom. I was amazed when native women told me that when babies are born in her village in the Highlands of Peru, they are not allowed to see the sun for the first 5 months of life. She asked me if I would like to see her baby, and she untied the knot at her neck and nestled inside at the bottom of the colorful wrap on her back was her comfortable sleeping infant. She told me the child was almost 5 months old and will be allowed to be exposed to the sunlight in another week or so. The sunlight in the highlands is unbelievably bright. There is very little shade, and although it was the beginning of their winter when we were there, the sun was very hot during the day but the air was low humidity, comfortable and cool, it would warm to about 60 degrees, and at night the temperature was in the 30’s.

The city of Cusco is a bustling village steeped in history that goes back further than the Inca and sadly polluted with old buses spewing toxic gases as they roar up and down the steep, remote mountainous area in this city of about 500,000 residents. Religion is an emotional, deeply sacred thing to them. Although they are Catholic they still hold ancient pagan-like manifestations with idols and rituals from times long before the Spanish arrived. Arriving during one of their most important festivals, I watched as parades of bands, and many types of floats with towering, very heavy decorated religious manikins and dressed-up statues were carried through the streets by rows of men in colorful dress shirts, swaying back in forth in a dancing motion and sweating profusely as they walked in unison for hours around the plaza.

Painting in the highlands was a challenge but I managed to paint two Plein air

“Plein Cusco” Oil on Linen 10″x10″

paintings while there. One day when most of the streets were closed for the festival, I unfolded my stool on a street where not too many people were walking and set up to do a painting. I worked quickly, as I always do, trying to ignore the crowd that began to form around me. It was the most people I have ever had surrounding me while I worked. I glanced around once or twice to smile at them and they would smile wide and nod affirmatively, most of them staying to watch me the entire time I painted. Their kind encouragement kept me going and gave me an incredible rush of excitement.

 

Another plein air painting was completed on the street from the entrance to the hotel I was staying. A native woman was setting up her daily meal to be served to passerby’s in a doorway on a busy Cusco street. I was amazed when a crowd soon formed to purchase and eat her meal while standing near her. Within an hour, her food buckets were empty and she was done for the day. I was lucky to capture her. A moment in time, in a changing world.

 

“Everyday Plein Cusco” Oil on Linen 10″x10″

 

 


 

Posted on 11/30/2017 at 4:00pm

Dear Artist friends, This story is for you, I know that you too have stories about when you decided to be an artist. This is mine. Both my father and my mother painted. Once they painted the same orchid from their wedding bouquet, and those amazingly beautiful but quite different oil paintings still hang in my Dad’s home. Five children caused their lives to take a different path. My cousin told me not long ago, that he remembered something my father said when I was still a little child after he asked me a dreaded question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I said, “An artist!” He hollered back, very mad at me, “No! You can not be an artist!”
It did not work. I became an artist. As an early artistic genius, it was very difficult to push back the fear of failure after being told that I was a failure from the beginning by my educators and my father. Undiagnosed attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, as well as being left-handed did not help.
I studied the master’s paintings from art books and copied paintings to imitate their strokes in my early years. Composition and perspective came easy in my own work. Color-mixing was a no-brainer. Where to go with my prolific ability was, and still is, an ongoing challenge.

Then: Art-Shows, Museums, Art-Fairs, Fine Art Auctions, Competitions, and brick and mortar Art Galleries.

Now: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Artwork Archive, American Artwork, and many more new ones every day.

I have done them all and still work hard every day just trying to keep up with it all. I think I now understand why my Dad was angry and afraid for me. ‘Artist’ is something you become, and then you are for a lifetime, there was no turning back and I think he understood more than me the sacrifices I would need to make.

As an artist, I wonder if you too have had the insecurities I have had of wondering if you have chosen this career, or if it chose you. Hang in there. It can be one of the very best, hardest, but most rewarding jobs out there.

 

“Dusk in Venice”  Oil on Linen  2017 18″x30″

 


 

Posted on 06/22/2017 at 2:44pm

Steamboat Lake 10″x10″ Plein Air

Rocky Mountain High 8″x10″ Plein Air

Valley Cottonwoods 6″x12″ Plein Air

The Aspens 8″x10″

My Home 10″x10″

Never Leave Me 6″x12″ Plein Air

 

 

 

 


 

Posted on 06/22/2017 at 2:06pm

I now see the beauty and variety of Colorado’s harshest landscape. In early spring when the snow is quickly melting, high in the Rocky Mountains there is wild, fragile-tundra where only the most rugged of plants grow, and animals who live there have a tenacity that is unbelievable. I painted in my rental car. The wind was blowing up to 70 miles an hour and it felt as though it was going to lift and carry me off. I worked an hour or so on this painting as the car was buffeted, shook, and bounced up and down as the bully-wind roared outside.

Wind blowing and rocking the car!

 

“The Colorado Rockies” Oil on Linen, Plein Air, 8″x10″

 

 

 

 


 

Posted on 06/17/2017 at 4:18pm

Milkweed Blooming

A single butterfly with faded, worn-looking wings fluttered in front of me as I took my morning nature walk on a cool, misty-morning early this spring. I watched as it landed on one of the newly emerging 4 inch tall, thick, young shoots of milkweed plants beginning to grow. Looking closely I was shocked to see it was a Monarch Butterfly, but there was no bright, orange-golden glow that glistens in the sun on the velvety surface that I had always noticed on their delicate wings. It had somehow faded to a dull, cloudy, almost colorless shade of grey.

I watched mesmerized for several minutes after I recognized what she was, another creature that is facing undeniable changes in their environment. Shocked at her sad-looking condition, I stood quietly as she ignored my presence and fluttered directly to one of the small newly emerging milkweed plants, lighted upon one of its perfectly formed, blueish-green, thick leaves for a few brief seconds, then continued to another freshly emerging plant just like it, ignoring all the other spring weeds and grasses growing everywhere alongside the path where I was walking. She was going from one to the next of the small, non-blooming young milkweed plants. I was mesmerized.

What was she doing? Why was this faded, old-looking Monarch Butterfly going to each one of these very young plants and just touching each of them? The next day I walked back to the wild garden I have created once again on an acre of land by mowing narrow paths through portions of it, and there she was again, the only butterfly anywhere around doing the exact same thing she was doing the day before. I could only guess what she was doing, but it seemed very necessary to her.

Will she be carrying location information to her species, that there are healthy, wild, milkweed plants growing here? The next day on my return to the garden, she was no longer there, and I have not seen another Monarch Butterfly in the past few months since that early spring day. Summer is already heating up in Tennessee. The milkweed plants growing in my yard that the old Monarch Butterfly carefully touched, are now several feet tall and starting to get their lush fragrant blooms. I wonder if those sturdy young shoots could feel her delicate legs touching each of them as they were beginning to grow. Now, I am here painting these wonderful plants and I can feel their power as they stand tall next to me.

I look forward to seeing all the beautiful, delicate young butterflies as they flutter past me going through my wild garden of native plants later this summer. I realize the wildlife in our world is so threatened by our ignorance. I have heard that milkweed is very important to the life-cycle of Monarch Butterflies. We mow thousands of acres into lawns, to create perfect carpets of green. We spray and pull the weeds that will continue to limit nature’s diversity, and these wonderful living creations have all but disappeared from much of the landscape. I did not plant these milkweed plants. They simply started growing when I stopped mowing part of the yard. I hope she went to tell other Monarch Butterflies that these healthy plants are growing here, and I wish I could tell her, “I will always let the milkweed plants grow for you and your species.”

“Milkweed” 10″x10″ Oil on linen Copyright 2017

 


 

Posted on 09/30/2016 at 12:50pm
Sharon Rusch Shaver

Sharon Rusch Shaver

We talked all summer about taking out our small skiff for an evening ride just before the sunset, but it seems like we always have too much to do these days. Our old ’77 Ford truck, loaded with the little boat called the “Andrea Dory” and all the things we thought we needed, was waiting patiently on the hillside.

Old ’77 Ford Truck and the Andrea Dory

Never caring much for fast, noisy boats on open water, we have always enjoyed a leisurely ride on calm rivers and creeks with nothing but a battery-powered trolling motor to propel us silently along. One day we looked at each other and at that little boat and knew that it was finally a perfect evening to go.

The truck ride to the boat entry is located a short drive down a beautiful, tree-lined road, one of the very few still standing tall in this area of middle Tennessee. Our guiding mascot at the front of the boat watching intently was my sweet little Maltese, Sunshine, who was very alert and excited as we pushed off from the shore. Motoring slowly under a low bridge brought us into the shallow, glistening, calm creek waters where rarely anyone ventures. The trees gently bending over the waters edge created soothing reflections, giving us a welcome embrace. I brought my small paint box and set up quickly once we arrived in the best area where Dan the Man wanted to cast his fishing line. The evening sun was casting a brilliant glow on the rock wall created by eons of storm waters in this shallow creek in Middle Tennessee. Moments passed by, but with the stillness and floating silence, time seemed to slow down.

I painted quickly that last fading bit of sunlight with colors so brilliant.

A strong healthy catfish was caught and released.

A Great Blue Heron flew by looking for its night perch.

Our little mascot fell asleep.

There are only so many moments in our lives that we want to remember and hold on to. This is one of mine. The paintings I do of these creeks in Tennessee are near and dear to me. I will always cherish these gifts of the nature spirits. There is no way to capture all of my favorite experiences on canvas and with my words, but for a reason that I am not so sure about, I will always continue to try.

 

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Posted on 04/08/2014 at 12:28pm
Textiles in Avignon  30

Textiles in Avignon 30″x24″ Oil on Canvas 2014

 

“Bluebells” 16″x20″ Oil on Canvas Plein Air 2014

 

“With Trumpets of Gold” 30″x24″ Oil on Linen 2014

 

“The IN Crowd” 24″x30″ Oil on Canvas 2014

 

“Hilton Head Marsh” 16″x20″ Oil on Canvas 2014


 

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