Egg Decorating In An Artists’ Home

Easter Eggs

Happy Resurrection Day from Loveland! I’m going to put up this quick little post on behalf of my hubby, Scott Freeman, because he wanted to share our egg decorating tradition with the world this year. Decorating Easter eggs is something we have done since we were both in art school, way back in the 1980s. We blow out the insides of the eggs, through tiny holes, and decorate the shells. We’ve been saving them for all these years, though plenty have broken by now.

1NM fb

Easter Eggs

Rooster egg by Scott

It seems Easter eggs are somewhat out of favor with some branches of Christian believers these days. There are notions about eggs and rabbits linked with false “gods” and such. Scott and I have made a careful study of these topics in past years. We did this partly out of curiosity, and because we just like to know stuff. We also did it because we both have a deep interest in being close to God, and living in a way that pleases Him, as much as we can. We feel that the main way to do this is to love Him and people. However, as artists, we sincerely wish to use our gifts to honor the God for whom we profess to live. Would you like to know what we found out?

Easter Eggs

A couple of eggs I painted

"Jonah" egg, by Scott

“Jonah” egg, by Scott

Easter Eggs

Humpty Dumpty and Cat eggs, by Scott

The most important conclusions we discovered are elaborated in this post (click here) from Scott’s blog, “Art And Life Notes,” which is also a WordPress blog. Suffice it to say that there is ample evidence to conclude that eggs are a part of the holiday not because of any link to any “god” at all, really. It is likely that there were simply an abundance of them to be eaten on Easter, for reasons which I do not fully recall. Some theorize that folks were not eating eggs during the season of Lent, so the eggs piled up. In any case, there is really not a shred of evidence that the traditional use of eggs was about pagan fertility, unless you count a lot of Christians saying that it’s “obvious.”

pug egg, by Scott

pug egg, by Scott

In the meantime, we continue to decorate eggs, and to enjoy doing so. I have posted several photos Scott used in his Facebook post, so you can take a look. If you are into egg decorating, Scott and I would love to see what you’ve been up to, too!

Advertisements

Music, Art, And Worship (My Favorite Stuff!)

worship art

Jorie Henderson leads an evening of worship.

Music is the language of my heart. Nothing can reach me in quite the same way. It transcends words and preconceived ideas. Perhaps that is why music is such an important part of worship. Oh yes, you can worship God without music; it is certainly possible to enjoy music without engaging in worship. But put together music, worship, art, and a bunch of people you love, and it’s surely a taste of heaven.

Drummer Matt Henderson

Drummer Matt Henderson

Last week, my good friends, Jorie and Matt Henderson, brought together all of these elements in a beautiful evening of worship as they recorded music and video for their new music project, “Love Like Fire.” Jorie is a gifted vocalist, song writer, and keyboard player. Her husband, Matt, is a fine drummer and sound engineer. They’ve been working on some new music, and it’s all worship music. They have also enlisted some excellent musicians who are passionate about Jesus to be a part of this project. And, they called me and my artist friend, Sandy Beegle, to do live painting for the recording session.

Matt and Jorie had the auditorium set up to be vibey and cozy, with candles and chairs all facing the center. (But we were not confined to chairs, no sirree!) Our friend and pastor, Diane, was on hand to start us off with a rousing prayer. Later, Miss Aubrey stirred things up with more prayer. Folks were free to praise and worship and groove. Guitarist Dave Beegle added his awesome electric sound to the mix, and Emily Chamberlain (pastor/worship team member) led her song, “Beautiful God,” which I haven’t been able to stop singing ever since.

It’s so delightful to be in the company of people from several generations, coming together for the purpose of worshiping God. I saw young kids dancing and singing, college age guys and girls, grandmas and grandpas, and every age in between. Taking a couple of hours out of our busy lives to enjoy each other and God is something that is hard to find time to do, yet I’m always so glad I’ve done it.

"Throne Room II" - worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Throne Room II” – worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

My painting from that evening is another “throne room” picture, based upon my impressions from the book of Revelation. I tend to revisit these themes numerous times because I do not tire of imagining them, and, I suppose, because I really don’t know what they “should” look like. It’s fun to see what else happens as I paint this theme again and again. While I was working on the emerald rainbow, Sandy was painting an image inspired by the verse about mounting up on eagle’s wings. She is a great painter, and it’s always fun to see what she comes up with!

 

Sandy Beegle's painting

Sandy Beegle’s painting

As soon as I have definite info on how you can find this music, I’ll post it here for y’all.

Sandy and Mollie

Value Added: A Mural For Lake Providence

Meaningful, life-enhancing work is the best kind of work there is. In fact, it’s the only work that interests some of us. Perhaps it’s the only kind of work that yields long term rewards. This is the kind of work I witnessed in Lake Providence, Louisiana earlier this month.

LP friends-scaffold

Lake Providence is small and located in a beautiful spot along the Mississippi River, near Arkansas and Mississippi. Last week, it was sunny and warm, mostly. Spring flowers were everywhere, and if you know me at all, you know this thrilled me! Just before we had arrived, the town had received 6 inches of rain in a single day, and many residential yards and roads were flooded. It did not seem to be much of a problem for anyone, though. No one there has basements, and they seem to be generally prepared for lots of water.

Sunset over Lake Providence

Sunset over Lake Providence

So, why did 20 or so people from Colorado spend a week in Lake Providence creating a huge mural on the side of an old building? Well, it’s a long story, so I’ll just hit a few points in this little post. Bottom line is that we have found some people we love there. These folks have had a sometimes difficult and discouraging history, being identified by Time Magazine as the “poorest place in America” in 1994, and having that label quoted again and again since then. It has also picked up the label “most unequal place in America,” though I’d be hard pressed to single out this town from all the other racially tense communities in the South.

Sometimes people seem satisfied to live with the negative aspects of their lives, but when they are ready to move on, to move toward positive change, they benefit from the support of others. I have many close relatives in the deep South, and am quite familiar with the “issues” that exist there. Yet, what I saw last week gave me renewed hope that some folks are ready to do the hard work of participating in a paradigm shift.

Southern hospitality = food!

Southern hospitality = food!

While working on the mural, we were treated like royalty in Lake Providence. The locals, black and white alike, cheered us on, fed us, showed us the beauty of their town, fed us some more, engaged us in conversation and laughter, and then fed us again! We ate at local restaurants, including a favorite among us called “My Dream Eatery,” which actually catered several meals for us as we worked.

As small as L.P. is, in a way it’s expanding its horizons as the world around it shrinks. Ease of technology and travel has made it possible for a true relationship to develop between some citizens of Loveland, Colorado and this little town far away. The pastor of my church, Jonathan Wiggins, was once employed by Providence Church in L.P., where his father in law, Don Boyett, is pastor.

During the past couple of years, Pastor Wiggins and Pastor Boyett have fostered new friendships between the members of their two churches. Quite a few folks have taken plane rides across the country- in both directions – to further those relationships. But it doesn’t stop there. Other people are reaching out from this pool of friends and including people from other churches and organizations from both Lake Providence and northern Colorado.

LP finished!

“Destiny Words”

The mural is called “Destiny Words.” It was inspired by a project using “value words” by painting positive words on parking spaces in another town, which was followed by a decrease in crime and other positive trends. When Aubrey Grieser, from Colorado and now living in Lake Providence, heard about this project, she arrived at the idea of this mural. The mural speaks words of  positive change and a new identity over the town of Lake Providence. (Aubrey is the director of Love Your Community – The Delta/Lake Providence, which can be found on Facebook.)

LP dance boys 2

But, what’s “in it” for me? Each of the artists and family members went to L.P. on our own time, and our own “dime.” We raised support, and some of you readers helped me do this by purchasing paintings. Some of us have the type of work that does not pay when we are not on the job, so it cost us in this way, also. But the opportunity to be involved in something that can steer history in a positive direction, something we believe God is doing, is worth every cent and every minute. And who can put a price on a friend?

That's me, painting the mural with my good friend, Sandy.

That’s me, painting the mural with my good friend, Sandy.

I have the feeling that this is really just the beginning of what we’ll see in Lake Providence, and in this friendship. A larger group from Resurrection Fellowship will be going to Lake Providence this summer for the second annual dance camp with the kids of L.P.

If you want to read more about the relationship between Loveland and Lake Providence, here’s an article for you (just click here!) Also, here is a website created for the mural, and on-going activity that springs from the project (click here).

LP UR Loved

 

The Stuff Of Childhood: Children’s Book Illustrations

by Arthur Rackham

by Arthur Rackham

Flying carpets, pirate adventures, talking caterpillars becoming butterflies and toys that came to life – many were the hours I dreamed through the pages of books during my childhood. The teachers in my life (several friends & relatives) tell me that they can always tell which students have had books read to them at home. My parents surely read to me, and I still own many of the books I had as a young child. I read these books, and too many more to count, to my children.

by Laura Cornell

by Laura Cornell

But what would these books be without their illustrations? Being a highly visual person, it was the images that enamored me forever. When I see a Jessie Wilcox Smith painting or a Leo Lionni collage, I’m instantly back there again – in my childhood imagination. It was the pictures that left me dreaming of the cloudy land at the top of the beanstalk or the secret life inside the doll’s house.

by Beatrix Potter

by Beatrix Potter

My husband, Scott Freeman, has illustrated two children’s books, and is currently in the process of doing a third book, authored by a woman named Beth El Kurchner. He’s also working on some new books, which he will be authoring himself, in conjunction with a new website he plans to launch June 1. So, all this has me thinking about the topic, and wanting to share with you readers some of the illustrations that have captured my affections both as a child and as a parent.

by Leo Lionni

by Leo Lionni

It’s a good topic to consider with regard to re-purposing, too. After all, stories are re-told; illustrators jump at the chance to depict a classic tale. In our home, we made a study of which re-tellings and re-workings of illustrations were our favorites, and analysed every aspect of difference. Some of Scott’s upcoming works will be adaptations and new editions of classics.

So many noteworthy illustrators have caught our attention through the years that it’s almost unfair to feature particular ones, since so many will unavoidably be left out. Please understand that for each picture I show you here, there are probably a hundred or more I’d love to include.

by Chris VanAllsburg

by Chris VanAllsburg

Portrait Of A Story: The Art Of Frances Power Judd

"Goya's Best Night" by Frances Power Judd

“Goya’s Best Night” by Frances Power Judd

The best artists I know draw me into a story. Even if it’s a conceptual or abstract work, the narrative at work captures my interest. Or not, in which case, the work is uninteresting. Sometimes the story is about the medium or materials; it can even be about the history of the piece itself.

Representational art has not always been in vogue, of course. But as my friend, Fran Judd pointed out, one of the great things about being an artist today is that there is not one prevailing style that is dominating the art scene or the affections of the public. So, while materialism and the minimalism and all of those non-representational “isms” have had their day, we artists are now – finally! – free to express ourselves through any visual style we choose. Even portraits are once again an acceptable expression.

FP0_8012-ZF-2674-04025-1-001-002

That is good for Fran, who began painting after leaving corporate life, a mere 6 years ago. “I love painting people!” says Fran, “but I’ve never painted an actual person.” Looking around her lovely studio, I did not see a single painting, with the exception of the new abstract she recently began, that did not include a person. Each painting is unique in emotional and visual tone and coloration; each character tells a tale. Some are humorous, some dream-like, some haunting.

During November and December of last year, Fran had a show of her paintings at Artworks Studios here in Loveland. The show was a collaborative effort with poet Lynn Kincanon, who wrote poetry in response to Fran’s images. The two women also put together a book with the same title as the show, “Evocation.” The book was facilitated and assembled by local photographer Bob Campagna. The show featured dozens of portraits – all from the imagination of the artist, all painted in acrylic glazes on sandpaper.

Image from "Evocation" by Fran Judd

Image from “Evocation” by Fran Judd

I attended the opening of that show, and reflected that some of the figures reminded me of Marc Chagal, some of Emil Nolde. But mostly, I found the images transcendent, drawing me into some narrative unknown, leaving me to imagine what had happened or would happen.

"One" by Frances Power Judd

“One” by Frances Power Judd

As I talked with Fran in her studio, I could hardly imagine her as anything but a painter. Surrounded by paintings, including a floor canvas in front of the sofa, the whole room was warmed by the faces and colors I saw. Indeed, Fran was educated in art history and did not begin painting at all until she was living in Loveland. Yet painting had always been her desire.

Inspired by (no surprise here!) Gauguin, van Gogh and the Fauves, Fran began her painting career in our little town, where artists inspire and cooperate with one another every day. “I love having a studio here at Artworks. Even though it can be distracting, it’s so nice having these other artists dropping in. They are really supportive. It’s sad; several people will be leaving soon.”

The artist's studio

The artist’s studio

Even with so much going on in the arts here in town, it’s still tough to make it all work. Loveland is not yet a hot spot for art buyers, so we artists have to figure out how to support ourselves. So, while Fran is excited about the direction of her new work, she’s not sure what the details of her creative future will be.

“I really like working bigger,” says Fran of the 4″ x 5″ abstract piece she is working on. “I’m not sure it will stay abstract, but that’s what I’m trying now.” She told me of her desire to be more linear, fluid and loose – more fun, “not so serious.” Then, Fran told me how she got the large canvas, and also another one, the same size.

FP0_8016-ZF-2674-04025-1-001-003

“Early this year, I was in the hospital for a few days. When I got back to my studio, there were these two big canvases, with bows on them. The other artists here had gotten them for me.” She smiled as she recalled the gift that is now a part of her story, that she will use to create another visual story. And so it goes. Thanks for sharing your story, Fran!

photos of Fran Judd taken by Lee Freeman, Freeman Photography

photos of Fran Judd taken by Lee Freeman, Freeman Photography

Love + Light: Happy Valentine’s Day From Loveland

With a name like “Loveland,” you have to expect something to happen on Valentine’s Day. Artists are on every corner in this town, it seems, so naturally, we have some creative ways to celebrate this day. This “conceptual & contemporary art and light event” lands Loveland squarely in the 21st century, in my opinion, and that’s a fine thing. While I do have a deep respect for the history of our town as a world-famous sculpture center, it does my heart good to see young and innovative artists coming in and doing cool new stuff!

The first annual Love+Light show was in 2012.

The first annual Love+Light show was in 2012.

When I first came here, though, there didn’t seem to be much going on to celebrate Valentine’s Day except that there were lots of red hearts around town. The hearts were made in the image of candy ones, with cute stencils like “MWF + SF.” Then there was the re-mailing program, by which non-Lovelanders could have their Valentines stamped at our post office, so that their cards would bare our auspicious name. No big dances, parades, or romantic gathering places, really, ever drew my attention.

This lovely piece was made for the "65 Roses" show by Mary Schaefer Benke

This lovely piece was made for the “65 Roses” show by Mary Schaefer Benke

“Love + Light” (Love and Light) is fairly new on the scene. This year is the third such show, and it happens at the same time Loveland is also hosting a snow sculpture show, and a local gallery does a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis research, in which artists paint roses. “65 Roses for Cystic Fibrosis,” an art show & auction run by my friend Billie Colson, has been raising money for the past several years. So, as a town, we’ve really stepped up our Valentine’s Day art game!

I wanted to show you some images from the Love + Light show because it really is unique and inspired. The artists in the show this year include my friends, Abbie Powers, G.Mark Lewis, Lynn Kincannon and Olivia Lowe. This year, we also have, all the way from Massachusetts, internationally recognized artist Chris Nelson. Nelson has created a site-specific installation.

This giant, breathing fabric piece was created by Abbie R. Powers.

This giant, breathing fabric piece was created by Abbie R. Powers.

It was my hope to publish this post on Valentine’s Day, but, alas, I spent my evening downtown, viewing and participating in the events. It was not as cold as last year, and the fire dancers and hot drinks, provided by Next Door restaurant, helped us warm up a bit. Of course, seeing lots of local artist and art-appreciating friends, and meeting a few new ones helped a lot, too. The show is open this evening for the final time, 6 – 9 p.m. Come on over!

Olivia Lowe and friends made an environment of words and windows for this year's show. Photo by Alana Brake, Lucky Brake Photography

Olivia Lowe and friends made an environment of words and windows for this year’s show. Photo by Alana Brake, Lucky Brake Photography

Just Add Wax – Encaustic

"Blah" - photograph with encaustic by Kimberly Chiaris

“In The Garden” – photograph with encaustic by Kimberly Chiaris

Molten wax is at the heart of one of my favorite techniques. Kimberly Chiaris, my artist photographer friend, employs this process to create some of the most appealing photographs you’d ever want to see! I met up with Kim recently, and she showed me how she makes encaustic photography.

DSCN5635DSCN5636

I had heard that using encaustic can be really smelly. Kim set me straight on this, explaining that she uses bees wax, and never notices a bad smell. She then showed me the damar varnish crystals, electric skillet, and other tools she uses in the process.  “It’s not considered encaustic until the wax is set by heating it a final time after it’s applied,” Kim said.

DSCN5629

She says that she began using this technique partly because it’s a great way to protect her photos without having to use glass & frames. At the same time, the wax helps to diffuse some of the visual edges, creating a softness which reminded her of “Diana” images. For several years, Kim used the small, plastic Diana cameras to shoot black and white photos. I am the proud owner of several of her earlier Diana images, and I especially love the way subjects appear in varied degrees of focus. Encaustic can echo this effect.

DSCN5632

For her recent series of photos, Kim shot pictures in one of her favorite spaces: her flower garden. Using a tilt shift lens, She took close-up images that she enlarged and cut vertically to create a triptych. After applying the first layers of wax, she added bits of gold leaf.

Kimberly Chiaris with one of her photos

Kimberly Chiaris with one of her photos

Kimberly lives in my hometown of Loveland, Colorado. We met over 30 years ago, at the Kansas City Art Institute, and she has been inspiring me and encouraging my creative endeavors ever since.

A Tale Of Two Christmas Paintings

“How long did that take you to paint?” I am often asked this question. Even a painting done in public, during a specified time period, may take more time than it would seem.  I have watched numerous painters working in public who begin the work in their studios, and merely take the work-in-progress with them to the gig and paint a little while there. Usually, the piece is not yet complete when the event is over, so the painting is then taken back to the studio to finish.

painting at x-mas tea

While I do prepare a canvas or board ahead of time, usually with many layers of textured paint, I always aim to finish each piece during the allotted time, so that the audience has the opportunity to see the finished work. Sometimes, someone wants to purchase the finished product, and this usually works out just fine for me. Occasionally, this is not the result. Sometimes, the painting needs just a bit more time. At times, I step back from the picture I have created and see that standing so close has caused me to make an unpleasant drawing error. And, there are times when it’s worse than that.

A couple of weeks ago, I painted for a local holiday gathering. I began with an image of the 3 wise men, situated in a darkened landscape. The famous star was hanging expectantly in the night sky. It was lovely, just the way it was. But the plan was for me to turn the canvas (making it verticle) and then paint the Madonna and Child. I had a good reference and an hour of painting time, so I was optimistic. An hour is longer than I usually have, and I often have just half that amount, so I wasn’t worried.

Those of you who have performed on stage in any capacity know that things happen, things you do not expect, and “the show must go on!” The ladies were late wandering into the room and seating themselves, so the hostess wanted to delay the start of the program. It would be a shame for anyone to miss anything, right? I still wasn’t worried.

With only 45 minutes left to paint,I began. I had trouble pretty much the entire time. I could not seem to get the colors I wanted. The reference was too small, and the details were hard to interpret. Still, I thought I had done okay, and the painting was sold. Half of the money from the sale went to a charitible cause, so I was happy. Until I saw the photo later that day.

"Star of Bethlehem"- painted during service at Resurrection Fellowship by Mollie Walker Freeman

I realized that the drawing was not awesome; I felt terrible about having sold a piece that should have been better executed. I thought about contacting the new owner to see if I could take the painting back and “fix it up.” Yet, this is one of the reasons I charge much less for a painting I do on stage – I spend much less time on it, and it’s not the same kind of piece on which I spend days or weeks. It left me wondering if I should give up live painting altogether…

Fortunately, the season is busy, and I didn’t have time to ponder this too much. I was “back in the saddle” the next  weekend. I had in mind to paint the night scene with the three kings again, but it just didn’t feel right. When the service began, I still didn’t know what I would do. A woman had talked with me just before the service, and had prayed that God would inspire me.

I began with a sort of glowing, round light, as from a street lamp. I was using a technique in which I use pieces of paper, adhering them to the canvas with paint, creating a nice texture. I began to afix triangular pieces, arranging them around the circle of light. It became a large star, and I liked the end result quite a bit. In fact, my husband also liked it, and it became our Christmas card for this year (sort of). We actually decided to make bookmarks to enclose with our annual holiday letters. We were really running short on time, so this was a way of simplifying. And, we thought some people would appreciate something they could use to mark a book.

x-mas letters & bookmarks

Perhaps, in the near future, no one will send paper anything any more. But as long as paper cards are sent at Christmas time, I suppose we two artists will continue to send them. I’m happy that at least one of my Christmas paintings could bring a little cheer. If you are the owner of the other one, just send me a message if the drawing starts to bother you, and we can work something out. I can’t give you a refund, though. The money is already spent.

RePurposing For Christmas Ornaments

Knowing my affection for old dolls, my hubby repaired and repurposed this itty-bitty one for me.

Knowing my affection for old dolls, my hubby repaired and repurposed this itty-bitty one for me.

Our German exchange student, Klara, was with us a few years ago for the holiday season, and she was astounded at American decorations. I don’t think the word “tacky” was in her vocabulary, yet I had the distinct impression that this was her opinion of many of the outdoor decorations in our neighborhood. She would roll her eyes at the large, inflated Santas, Grinches, snowmen, and all of the other silly blow-up versions of Christmas characters. I have to say, I pretty much share her sentiment. But she was no grinch, nor am I.

I made these ornaments back in the 1970's, from school glue and yarn. They don't look great at all unless placed in front of a light. That changes everything.

I made these ornaments back in the 1970’s, from school glue and yarn. They don’t look great at all unless placed in front of a light. That changes everything.

Old newspapers, flour, water & paint became a Nativity set made by my husband.

Old newspapers, flour, water & paint became a Nativity set made by my husband.

In Germany, we saw all sorts of tiny wooden ornaments at the homes of Klara’s grandparents and other people we visited. Some of the things they showed us were traditional figures, and quite old. There’s so much I appreciate about well-crafted holiday decorations, and I suppose I’m a bit nostalgic about some of the not-so-well-crafted items I grew up with – plastic elves with glued-on “realistic” beards, candy-cane striped styrofoam balls set in plastic holly wreaths, and sparkly gold-glitter ribbons. Something really appeals to me in these old decorations, so, clearly I am not exempt from falling for “tacky” ornaments and such.

Tiny clay dancer/bell I made for my ballerina daughter

Tiny clay dancer/bell I made for my ballerina daughter

For this post, I wanted to show you some of the Christmas ornaments that have become my favorites over the years. Scott and I have quite a large collection. In fact, we have so many ornaments that we always have to leave many of them packed because even if we get a pretty large tree, there’s just not room for them all. Most of our hand-made ornaments are re-purposed materials.

A gift for our animal-loving daughter, an old glass ball in a perch for a clay chinchilla (made by Scott Freeman)

A gift for our animal-loving daughter, an old glass ball is now a perch for a clay chinchilla (made by Scott Freeman)

We also display our old stuff differently, year to year. Some antique glass balls and lights may go into a clear glass vase on a shelf; flocked poinsettias may end up on the tree instead of in an arrangement. Some of the really fragile tree ornaments find a new home in the China cabinet. I’m no decorating queen, but I get help from my family members, and it usually turns out nicely.

Small bottles, beads, and hardware are turned into funky angels.

Small bottles, beads, and hardware are turned into funky angels.

Bits of fabric become tiny canvases for painted ornaments.

Bits of fabric become tiny canvases for painted ornaments, which I made for my family.

I enjoy taking a walk through Christmas past via all of these old treasures. I don’t think I’ll ever have need of an inflatable Santa.

Human Beings Are A Fine Subject Matter

The human face is probably depicted more often in art than just about any other subject matter, don’t you think? I haven’t actually counted. But, think of the early drawings of any child. A gigantic face, usually featuring eyes and mouth, sometimes a nose and legs, and /or arms. Hair is optional. Even a 7 or 8 year old will often draw family members and pictures of himself more often than just about anything (except for maybe robots or Spiderman). Although, I once had a 4-year-old son who drew nothing but cellos for months…but that’s another story!

Mother's Day card by Lee Freeman

Mother’s Day card by Lee Freeman

 

"Portrait of Dmitry V. Golitsyn" by George Dawe, circa 1825

“Portrait of Dmitry V. Golitsyn” by George Dawe, circa 1825

The earliest cave paintings and such depict animals and hunters. Early iconic church art usually focuses on Madonna and Child, saints, and Biblical figures. Greek statues of people, often mythical characters, are well-know. Later, portraits were painted of wealthy and powerful people. Following that was a time when some artists took to the portrayal of “ordinary” citizens – soldiers, field workers, family members,etc. Impressionists such as Georges Seurat and Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted people “out and about,” as well as portraits. 20th century and contemporary sculptors from every corner of the world have made bazillions of pieces inspired by humanity. Even abstract expressionists such as Willem de Kooning painted people.

One of the dolls I made

One of the dolls I made

Humans, then, are a natural subject matter for art. When I was growing up, I was never a “girly-girl,” particularly. But strangely, I did love dolls. I collected more dolls as I grew older, and as an adult. I did not play with dolls in the “normal” way, however. I treated them more as aesthetic objects – art, I suppose. Eventually, I made a few dolls. I still have them around my house, and it makes me smile when I see one I especially like. To me, this fascination with dolls is somehow related to humans as artistic subject matter.

"Renee at Rest" by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Renee at Rest” by Mollie Walker Freeman

My husband and I often say, “Life is about relationship.” Relationships with people, messy as they can be, make life what it is, for better or worse. We long for those satisfying connections of companionship, intimacy, and understanding that can seem so illusive. We study our fellow humans to discover if a meaningful connection may be possible, and to discover why someone is charismatic or intriguing. Sometimes we are utterly disappointed by someone who seemed attractive; other times, we are pleasantly surprised to learn of beautiful qualities in a person once discounted as uninteresting. When fun or poignant interactions with others unfold, our lives are brighter and our experience deeper.

Kid art 2bl

Although I am not the most gifted painter of people, they remain one of my favorite subjects, both as a painter, and as an art appreciator. Human nature is a funny and interesting thing.