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.

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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!

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3 Favorite Painters

It’s so tough to choose only 3! There are SO many painters out there in the big world, and to tell the truth, most of them don’t really turn my head. Yet, it’s not easy to pin-point what, exactly, does get my attention. A color, a brushstroke, a feeling of light or expression – what is it?

Emil Nolde - watercolor

Emil Nolde – watercolor

Over the years, several painters have come to be my favorites. The first one to capture my artistic heart was Gauguin. I think it was the figures and playful use of color that I noticed. In college, I was enamored of Monet, like so many art students. But he never really garnered my appreciation until I saw the Waterlily paintings (2 of them, at least) in person. I was awestruck! This was partly because I had been trying to paint landscapes that year, and it was just so darned difficult to get what I wanted! But Monet – well, what can I say? The marks looked so careless, and somehow, an image emerged. And a lovely image, too.

Wolf Kahn landscape

Wolf Kahn landscape

Years after I finally finished art school, I found Wolf Kahn. I fell in love with his pastels, a medium I never expected to like so much. Kahn had a way of working from life, infusing his own vision and color sense, and making the whole seem

Wolf Kahn

Wolf Kahn

plausible, but more fun. His landscapes always seemed to be enfolding me in a brilliant mist. And, he seemed the perfect editor. For really the first time, I sought to emulate another artist (Kahn) in some way. Well. it may not seem at all obvious just how this artist influenced my work. I simply know that I was looking at his pictures and thinking about them for years as I worked.

More recently, I have taken a closer look at the works of Gustav Klimt. Famous for “The Kiss,” Klimt used many haunting figures and plenty of gold leaf and patterns, as well as his very own stylized perspective. His images seem narrative, yet not in an obvious fashion. I began to borrow some elements for my own paintings, deciding that some of his devices would work well for communicating the spiritual themes that come up in my own work. Besides, I’m attracted to the swirls, patterns, and sparkles.

"Hygieia" Gustav Klimt

“Hygieia” Gustav Klimt

 

"Tree of Life" Gustav Klimt

“Tree of Life” Gustav Klimt

Last, we come to Nolde. Though I studied his work briefly, and liked some of what I saw, going to Germany and seeing his studio and garden changed my life! The watercolors I saw were luscious – you cannot possibly feel the impact from the photos. I purchased a book of his “Unpainted Pictures.” I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at them. His life story, what I have heard of it anyway, is also fascinating.

Nolde seascape, watercolor

Nolde seascape, watercolor

So, I will end with that for today. I hope to interview a couple of my artist neighbors in the coming weeks, both of whom use re-purposed materials extensively. Can’t wait to visit them!

“What’s Your Style?”

Have you ever been asked this question? As as artist, I am often asked what my painting style is, or to somehow categorize what I do. Or, many times, someone will do it for me. A surprising number of people have said to me, “Your style is very impressionistic.”

I’m honestly not sure how to describe what I do in terms of style. One thing is sure: it has changed over the years. I loved abstract paintings even as a teenager, but I did not even pursue a painting major at first. I chose a ceramics major. Clay, kilns, all-night parties (with food!) while a raku or gas firing happened – all of this appealed to me. But I kept making flat things and painting on them, and never did well in that department. At the suggestion of a professor, I changed my major to painting.

Mollie Walker Freeman - Self Portrait from the 1980s

Mollie Walker Freeman – Self Portrait from the 1980s

Once in the department, I became familiar with the materials, even as a “style” eluded me. Some students seemed so confident! Their paintings were bold and sure, yet usually unimpressive to me. It seemed as though there were a lot of grey and black paintings in the department. Most of what I saw struck me about the same way my used palette did: a little bit interesting, if accidental. That’s not to say there were no good painters at the Kansas City Art Institute. ┬áJust no one I really wanted to emulate at the time. I couldn’t figure out what I was after, exactly.

Wilbur Niewald, my illustrious painting professor

Wilbur Niewald, my illustrious painting professor

I found it ironic, in view of my inclination toward abstract painting, that I ended up with the professor who was most know for “realistic” painting: Wilbur Niewald. What I came to understand was that abstract painting is a whole lot better when the painter has a visual understanding of whatever is being represented, or visually referenced. Wilbur was not really a “realist,” but more of a “representational” painter. His pictures included figures, still lifes, landscapes and cityscapes, mostly. He, more than any other single person, taught me how to see. Really seeing makes a better painter, whatever the “style.”

Wilbur often painted the Kansas City skyline. This is one of his paintings.

Wilbur often painted the Kansas City skyline. This is one of his paintings.

I finished my painting degree when I had 2 small children at home, and I was pretty fully consumed with raising them and the 3 more children I went on to have. Ten years later, I picked up my brushes again. Guess what? My painting had changed again, even though I had not been painting at all.

"Called" Oil on canvas, by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Called” Oil on canvas, by Mollie Walker Freeman

 

As I have continued to paint, my interests have shifted, and my physical approach my materials has evolved. How else could I end up using re-purposed house paint almost exclusively? I do love oils, but there’s just something about house paint. I love the way it loads up a brush, the way it drips, the different effects of the various finishes.

"Monarchy" a portrait of Dali in re-purposed house paint

“Monarchy” a portrait of Dali in re-purposed house paint, by Mollie Walker Freeman

So what is my style? You tell me. In the art world, we sometimes say or write a whole lot of words that say essentially nothing. I usually will say that my style is “contemporary,” which means very little. Maybe I’m associating my painting style with dance, in which “contemporary” combines some of the best elements from ballet, jazz, and other techniques with elements that are altogether new, often inspired by contemporary music. That works for me.