Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Quiet Street


Home, w/c on hot press paper, 24x18

Looks like a Normal Rockwell setting, right? This quiet street in a small town labeled Paradise by realtors will be active for the next six weeks. Town Council elections are coming up--four candidates for three seats. Local elections can be exciting--letters to the editor will fill the two newspapers and porch conversations will be lively.

Home is where the art is, too. I won a contest by coming up with a title for a signed serigraphy monoprint by Don Michael, Jr. My title? Sylvester got Tweety--I saw yellow feathers and blood. Don't worry, Don--the art will look great inside this 1890's house. The interior was gutted and rebuilt in 2004--totally modern inside. Yin & Yang--outside, a cottage; inside, a loft.

About the painting--the Dali-esque tree (this is about half the trunk) is at the top of my street. I have always loved it but it's dying; tree men have pruned, and huge branches have fallen. I will miss seeing it from my kitchen window; I watch crows sitting on it and, sometimes, vultures check out the neighborhood. I had taken this early Spring photo about five years ago--I set up the shot to block all my neighbors' houses. In the painting I eliminated mail boxes, utility poles, and some driveways. I'm still playing with the watercolor sticks. I had bought hot press paper for drawing and thought "Why not just do a large painting?" Here's why. I'm not a neat painter--I spatter, don't follow any of the lines I sketch, and I need more practice at "lifting."
I say "Whoops" often.

(I actually like this painting better cropped and upside-down.)

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your "win!" I loved your title when I read it. Your w/c painting is wonderful - you captured the dying grandeur of the tree and I like the way it engulfs your house in the distance. Gorgeous design!

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  2. Thanks Kathy--I could see the bird legs in Don's work.

    This wonderful tree engulfs the whole neighborhood. I looked at it earlier today--it's probably 70 to 80 feet tall.

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  3. Hallie- I LOVE this painting you've done! WOW!! It amazes me how quickly you are mastering your watercolors- simply amazing.
    I have always been memorized by scenes like this and yours is stunning. I'm sorry that tree is dying- it is so substantial and important.
    I loved your title for Don's work as well. Your creativity and view of life always shines through.
    And thank you Hallie for being such a generous and supportive artist friend. You don't pull any punches, you tell it like it is- no BS. I like that about you.

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  4. Hi Pam. I wouldn't say I've mastered watercolors; I have learned how to cover some mistakes. It's probably time to stop playing and get back to acrylics or alkyds--maybe even drawing, which has always been what I like best.

    I read someplace that souls may choose to rest for a while as a tree instead of being reborn. I think of this when trees are cut--not a belief, just a sad thought.

    Being your friend is easy.

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  5. This is a wonderful spattering. If had lived in this neighborhood as I child I would have spent MANY an hour in that tree. I like both versions, but I agree that it looks really cool upside down and cropped.

    Your new piece, "Testament", will be dropped in the mail tomorrow morning and should arrive early next week. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for your wonderful title for "Sylvester Got Tweety". Even my 11 year-old daughter who has a soft spot for EVERY animal ever created - real or animated - enjoyed the title once she got over the initial shock. Her first words upon hearing the title were, "Oh, Dad!"; followed closely by a cute giggle...

    -Don

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  6. Hi Don. I like the cropped upside-down one--looks like some kind of ritual going on.

    I look forward to Tweety. I'm with your daughter--King Kong brings tears, and I could barely see to drive home after watching ET (I think I cried for a week).

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  7. this is truly a beautiful painting--I know it already has a name (and a good one) ...if I were to name it (like in Don's contest)--I would call it "Champion"--that is the word that come to my mind.

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  8. Celeste, you're right. This tree is a "Champion." Some have said it's the oldest in the county.

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  9. Hallie, I love the painting. You are right -- very wholesome, small-town scene, and you captured the mood.

    Now, I thought about your upside down tree, which I love. If I didn't know it was an upside down tree, I might think it is roots of a tree and very full of meaning.

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  10. Hi Mary. The first letter to the editor was in today's paper--written by my neighbors across the street; I love being part of the group.

    I might paint just the branches upside down. It's interesting.

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  11. The tree is beautiful, and so well done. There is a pleasant feel to this painting that I like. I also love it cropped and upside-down. Your title to Don's painting is brilliant! In fact, for this painting, the title "Home" is nice, but I really think your post title captures the art better: "A Quiet Street". Very nice.

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  12. Thanks Dan. I think you're right--"A Quiet Street" is probably a better title. Looks can be deceiving, though.

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  13. Hi Hallie, Your tree is magnificent! It's got character; I want to know that tree!

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  14. Peggy--This area was home to the Occoneechees; the tree has probably witnessed things it would like to forget. The ivy and poison ivy around the base make it hard to touch the tree--sad.

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  15. The red roof on your house pulls me right into the painting. The tree is has a sinuous quality. Too bad about the Poison Ivy~~I look at the base of the tree and I feel the rash coming on!

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  16. Hi Indigomar. Baseball-size hail destroyed the 120-year old black tin roof in 2002. It was fun watching craftsmen roll and seam the new one--a lot like sewing. I went with red which now needs re-painting.

    There are leaves of three mixed with English Ivy around the base of the tree.

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  17. That's creative ! the tree made an extremly projection on the painting, very clever

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  18. Thank you, JRonson. The tree is huge.

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