Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Oil 6 x 8

Several weeks ago I posted a painting of this hill when
there was still a little bit of snow on the ground.
I decided to paint it this morning with all of the soft
greens, peaches and reds of springs. This is one of my
favorite times of the year, when the trees are just starting
to bud out, and the colors are not so intense.

If you would like to see more of my work,
please feel free to visit my website. Thank you.

My Chair for the Cumberland County Historical Society's Great CHAIRity Event

The Cumberland County Historical Society's Great
CHAIRity Event is a year-long fundraiser that has been running
in conjunction with the 2010 CCHS exhibit 'Sitting
Pretty: Painted Plank Bottom Chairs of Cumberland
County' and the forthcoming book 'Painted Plank Bottom
Chairs and Chairmakers of South Central Pennsylvania
1800-1880' by Merri Lou Schaumann.

During the year, chairs were painted by local artists. The finished
chairs will be shown at various locations in the county to promote
the auction, the sponsors, the artists and the exhibit.

The Great CHAIRity event culminates in an elegant catered
picnic and auction, held at the Two Mile House on May 15, 2010,
from 5 P.M to 8 P.M. Guests can bid on chairs from the
'Painted Plank' sponsorship level.

My thanks to my sponsors, Dave and Ginny Rahal, and to Linda Witmer, Executive Director of CCHS and whose book 'Changing Images, The Art & Artists of the Carlsile Indian Industrial School' gave me much inspiration.

For my entry, I chose to design my chair based on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School,
which was founded in 1879 By Richard Henry Pratt. I wanted my design to incorporate elements of the Indian children, their artwork, their journey to the school from their native lands, and their transformation while at the school. Some came to the school, and because of illness never left the school. Others, like the amazing athlete Jim Thorpe, went on to achieve world-wide fame.
Their story is fascinating, and to learn more you can go to the Cumberland County Historical Society's Web Site.

Below is a picture of my finished chair.

The detail of the seat of the chair (found below) contains the following elements:

  • Most of the Indian children were transported to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School by train.

  • The images of the young Indian on the top left shows the young man in ceremonial dress, and then on the top right he appears in 'civilized' clothing. These two elements of the chair represent the transformation of the Indian child once they were integrated into the school environment, and were based on the famous photographs of Tom Torlino, Navaho.

  • The hub of the seat is a picture of one of the buildings on the campus of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. If my research has served me correctly, it is the Instruction Building.

  • The image on lower left of the seat is of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School graveyard, where many students were buried. Sadness comes from viewing the headstones marked 'Unknown', and one has to wonder who these children were, and who were there ancestors.

  • The image on the lower right is of Jim Thorpe, one of the most notable students of the Indian School, and who was named All-American while attending the school.

  • The Image in the lower bottom of the seat is a reproduction of one of my favorite ledger drawings done by Taylor Ealey, a Zuni Pueblo student. I was so attracted to the bright yellow color of the horse, his prancing pose and visible hoof prints, and his beautiful ceremonial blanket and adornments.

This is a detail of the top front splat of the chair, and reproduces a drawing done by Alvin Good Boy, Sioux. This was probably the most challenging aspect of the chair because I wanted to be true to his original design, and attempted to recreate in paints the look and feel of a colored pencil drawing.

Below is a detail of the middle front splat of the chair, and reproduces a typical pattern used by the Lakota Sioux for creating a beaded belt. The yellow bands of this pattern are also repeated on the bottom rungs of the chair.

The top back splat of the chair is painted with a traditional
'Medicine Wheel'.
I painted the middle back splat with two bluebirds. The bluebird was
a design often used by the Indian children in their ledger drawings.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Oil 8 x 8
Entry for 'Palm Sunday to Ressurection' Exhibit
Art & Soul Gallery
900 Market St., Lemoyne, PA 17043

This is a piece that I currently have in the 'Palm Sunday to
Ressurection' exhibit at the Art & Soul Gallery in
Lemoyne, PA. When I read about the plans for this
exhibit, a picture immediately came into my mind.
I placed the crown of thorns on the canvas so that it
created the letter 'C' for Christ, and I arranged the
crucifixion nails for 'INRI' in a cross shaped format.
This is a very different subject matter for me, and I
really enjoyed working on it.

If you would like to see more of my work, please visit
my website. Thank you.

Monday, March 22, 2010


'Peach Trees on the Hill'
Oil 11 x 14

I was looking through my photographs, and when my
photographs of peach trees came up, I knew what to
work on.
I am happy because this is the closest I have gotten
to recreating the airy, light quality of the blossoms.
This is still in progress - I already see some
tweaks that I would like to make, but overall I am pleased
with my work today.

If you would like to see more of my work, please
visit my website. Thank you.

Friday, March 12, 2010


'Last Days of Winter'
Oil 6 x 6

This has been a tough week; a tougher day. We
celebrated my mother-in-law's 85th birthday last
Saturday, and the next day she developed a serious
case of bronchitis that sent her to the hospital. She
was only in the hospital a day when she fell and broke
her hip. Now she is in intensive care, and we are
praying that she will be strong enough to overcome
all the complications that have resulted from this
After a day spent at the hospital, I came home emotionally
depleted. I was sitting looking out the window of the spare
bedroom I use as my 'in-house' studio, and I was thinking
what a gloomy ugly day it was...then I saw that little strip
of snow on the top of the golden hill, and the russet color of the oak
leaves that have clung to the trees even with the incredibly high
winds we have had this winter. And hope entered my
heart again. I picked up my brushes and did this little
painting very quickly. It felt good to create something when
I felt like there was nothing left in me to give.
And I remembered to thank God again for this gift.

If you would like to see more of my work, please check out
my website. Thank you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Oil 8 x 8

Last Summer, my grandson was so excited because
he found a nest in the woods behind his house that
'would just be perfect for you to paint, Grandma'.
I had to agree, and have been waiting for the
opportunity to pull it into one of my paintings.
I am curious as to what bird would build this
tiny nest - it's opening is only 2" at the widest part.
Anyone out there know?
Obviously something other than a bird decided
to lay it's 'egg' in the nest this time!

If you would like to see more of my work,
please check out my website. Thank you.


Related Posts with Thumbnails