Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspiration Times Two

"Stonecutters," © Donald M, Leet, 2013. Click to enlarge to full screen. You have to see the incredible detail in this drawing!

M Y   C O L L E C T I O N — This AWESOME graphite/pencil drawing was recently sent to me. Well, honestly, a nicely matted print was sent to me by the artist. The original is winning awards in the art shows Don submits it to! Don first contacted me last year after I published a few ancient photographs of my family's quarry workers. Don's family diverged from our local "Leete" family eons ago, moving to Michigan so long ago they spell the family name without the final "e," and told me he'd like to do a drawing based on one of the photos. We emailed back and forth a bit, he asked about modern day Leete's Island, and what I knew about the past. Then just a few weeks ago he let me know he was done. The drawing was finding critical success and would I like to see it? This was mailed to me just a short time later and I can't wait to have it put in one of my antique frames. One of my great-great grandfathers owned the quarry, which among many famous sites furnished much of the pale pink granite for the base of the Statue of Liberty, and my great-grandfather on the other side is actually in this drawing. He was a sculptor at the quarry and is the lower right sitting with the cap and coat jauntily thrown over his shoulders.

A big "Thank You" to Don. Your work inspires me as much as that old photo inspired you. The artistic spirit goes 'round and 'round!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Found Paintings!

"Rockport, Maine," painted from a "picture card" as it says on the back of the cardboard that hid them from view.

No ID is on this winter farmyard scene. I have other similar farmyard paintings and most have a pond in the foreground. Even a charcoal drawing my aunt did at age 8-9 has a similar theme. I'm not really sure if it was a real farm, perhaps a local scene, or if it was a generic farm scene.

Two Watercolors Hidden in Frame for Decades
Earlier this week I needed a quick diversion so I decided to go up to the attic and peruse my belongings. I do this quite often! This time I asked the spirits that live up there to help me find something new and interesting I hadn't seen before, or hadn't seen in a very long time anyway! Before long, I was carting down a couple of old painting frames I thought I could use for some prints. As I took the cardboard backing off of one that looked "plain" from the front, I found these two watercolors! I have no idea who hid them or why they were turned around backwards not able to be seen. There is a name on the one of the Rockport, Maine scene, a name I've never heard of. I Google it and came up with nothing, either. All I can think of is that perhaps my aunt Hoohoo got them from a friend and put them away for safe keeping eventually forgetting about them. I've had these frames since the mid 1980s and they were in Hoohoo's attic before that. It's hard to believe I can still find new things in my collection and be surprised by my long-gone relatives. My friend Jane, the owner of the gallery that showed my work for well over a year but is now closed, says these are folk art in nature. I just can't believe how well-preserved they are. They look like they were painted yesterday. I'll get them framed as soon as I can afford to and give them a new lease on life!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading Between the Lines

Reading Between the Lines—This piece is created on four salvaged antique clapboards. The images are based on photographs my grandmother shot in the 1920s and some digital photographs of some of my vintage books. The woman in the black and white shot is sitting outside during a warm summer day reading a newspaper. On one hand, it's just a very ordinary thing. On the other hand, it says so much about the time and their friendship. The little girl is from a series of city photos from when my grandmother lived in New Haven as a young bride during her first marriage. There is a look in her eyes that just fascinates me. I wish I knew who she was. The vintage clapboards themselves were sanded and cleaned, but I left quite a bit of the original paint layers and based my own painted stripes on the colors I found on the wood.  This piece is 24 inches X 15 inches, paint, paper and polyurethane.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Upbeats Needed

I need to listen to something that makes me smile. This is a live version of Randy Crawford and The Crusaders live version of their disco anthem, Street Life.

Eyes on the Past

"Eyes on the Past," 2008, 15 inches x 35 inches on three pine boards. This piece utilizes images from the World War One period, including postcards, a gas mask usage folder, and images of family members from that era. The pine boards were painted and polyurethaned both below and above the imagery, in the layered technique I use in all of my pieces. 

Detail of "Eyes on the Past."

Detail of "Eyes on the Past."

Detail of "Eyes on the Past."

Detail of "Eyes on the Past."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

WinterColour: Vintage Glassware in the Sun

With today's almost 30 inch bright white snowfall, the light in the apartment seemed twice as much as usual. It's normally brighter in the winter than summer because the trees are bare, but with all that flat white light outside, the ambient sunlight was super bright. All of my vintage glass vases were gleaming with the sun so I took my trusty little camera and held it right up next to the vases on the shelves in the western window. I love the bright and pure colors that I captured. It's less than 10 degrees outside, another side effect of all that bright white snow, all the heat is reflected back up into the air instead of warming the ground.

Enjoy these early February colors from post-Blizzard Charlotte PInk Gardens!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Winter Monotones

We've been having very gray days lately with small snowfalls and fog. It hasn't been particularly cold, although we've had a couple of weeks with nighttime temperatures in the single digits, but overall it has been another mild winter. Above, the small lake by the condos near Pink Gardens on a foggy day.

This particularly foggy day left me alone on the boardwalk with this great blue heron standing on the frozen lake. 

A recent snowfall left behind a small amount of very "clingy" snow, perfect for snowballs and snowmen, but with less than an inch of snow, they would have been teeny tiny snow creations.

 The other side of this small lake is barely visible in this midday fog.

There are sculptures all over the downtown area of Madison. These are next to the supermarket and balance the glacier-era boulder precariously perched on the granite ledge behind them.

Having fun with a recent snowfall.

 The frozen lake on frigid day. Overall thought, it has been a mild winter.

Vintage grates found buried on Pink Garden's acreage. I'm a sucker for any "natural" stripes and patterns created by snow.

Our vegetable garden's Hummingbird Gate hasn't been opened since Fall. Our "Peace Bench" and square granite "flowerstand" on the side in the background hasn't seen any activity either.

 Late afternoon's long shadows as I trudge my way home from my daily walk.

One of the Victorian cast-iron planters enjoying its winter respite with pine boughs and red-berried Barberry stalks.

A natural "room" in the brambles is almost a perfect half-cone in shape and volume about 10 feet wide and 15 feet tall.

The vegetable garden's deer-fencing mesh on top of the regular fencing takes on an almost gossamer appearance with a recent sticky snowfall.

An arrangement of vintage iron train hardware and planter lie under a dusting of snow.

My tomato cages lined up waiting patiently for next Spring.

Chicken wire, deer fence mesh, dead morning glory vines, and tomato cages all add texture to this snowy photo.