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Signed American Oil Landscape Painting Father's Day
June 10, 2014 - 8:08 pm
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed American Oil Landscape Painting Father

OIL PAINTING CAPTURES QUIET FATHER'S DAY MOMENT

 

A painter never knows just what or who will be the impetus for the next work...

So is the case here.  In the late 90s a few months prior to closing my last little store - studio - gallery, during a stroll through a new local riverwalk park, a father and son were seen seemingly enjoying their one on one time together.  They were walking along the river, the boy scampering about attempting to climb the big rocks, while his father held on to him.  Then they sat, as if the father was sharing some sage advice or perhaps answering a multitude of questions that children are known to ask.

There was plenty to see, sketch and photograph that beautiful day.  A young high school age couple was seen equally enjoying the new park stealing a snuggle here and there, as he so gallantly lifted the young lady up unto a tree branch.  Many people were enjoying that day, myself included.  Still, it was the father and son moments that tugged at my painter's sensibilities.  It appeared to me as if they were trying to make the most of the afternoon together.  

I must have mentioned that I planned to paint scenes of the park and its visitors someday, because a few months later a call came in inquiring about the possibility of viewing the painting when finished.   The name and number were lost, the store - studio - gallery was closed and painting it was placed on hold until recently.

I hope you enjoy the results by this self taught painter...  Happy Father's Day,

Mimi

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form. June 10, 2014



Signed American Oil O/C Winter Landscape Painting
March 12, 2014 - 3:55 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed American Oil O/C Winter Landscape PaintingAT LAST THE MONK MAKES AN APPEARANCE AT THE ADDISON

Signed American Oil O/C Winter Landscape Painting  (<<< please click here to see it framed)

See Tonalist exhibit ending 1/4/15 update below...

Exactly a year to the date, this agoraphobic winter germaphobe made another attempt to visit with the elusive:  The Monk  (1873) on exhibit at The Addison Gallery of American Art on the grounds of nearby Phillips Academy Andover.

This time it was not a gloomy New England day (see blog below dated March 8, 2013), but a glorious, sunny, balmy 48 degree day that brought New Englanders out in droves, some in bermuda shorts and eating ice cream no less, during a momentary reprieve from the multi feet snow days we have endured this winter.

Unable to wait and feast my eyes, after years of waiting to view the aforementioned George Inness's moody painting...the "Whistler - An American in London" exhibit downstairs was skipped for later viewing.  The Monk was waiting!  

The trip upstairs seemed to take forever.  After the elevator doors opened, standing there in the hall, The Monk could be seen holding court on the far back wall.  While standing there taking in the view from afar, it was as if Etta James suddenly strolled into my chochlea and began belting out: "At Last..."!   Not being fully familiar with the lyrics, it was the first two words and the last few that made sense to me.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Allen, what a parting gift you left us all.  While this was a thoroughly joyful visit, I was sorry to hear that he is no longer the Director at The Addison.  What a loss for MA.  He is now the VP at New York City's Historical Society Museum.  Lucky NYC!  

I was extremely fortunate to have sat in on a lecture of his two years ago, which "transported" me to the art lecture halls and gave me "a taste of what could have been", had a BFA been the choice instead of becoming a registered nurse so long ago.  Although there are no regrets, as the natural sciences continue to hold my interest, an art degree program might have been a kinder way for me to pursue the business of art instead of the daily struggle of attempting to teach myself about painting...

BACK TO THE MONK:  This painting is the reason the American painters of the 19th century became known to me.  Without the benefit of a formal art education, the content of my self-learned body of art knowledge was woefully thin.  After reading about this painter, his works, and those of his American predecessors and contemporaries, my quest was to learn more about our American painters.  I have been "in love" with them since, foresaking all Europeans except for a handful of Romantics.

Although The Addison has owned The Monk since 1956, this is probably the first time in many years that he has been on exhibit for this length of time.  Alas, although it was known to me that he was upstairs since September, my infrequent outings just made it impossible until this last week-end.  Worth the wait.

This is a large oil painting that exudes emotion and is all "seelenvoll" in its depiction of a mysterious lone figure in a white robe amidst a dark green foreground that encompasses almost two thirds of the canvas.  The dark umbrella shape trees, at the Italian Villa shown, seem to stand guard just in front of the fabulously warm, yellow, hopeful distance.  Some could say, 'it is so darrrk'.  Yes...but wait...beyond, the light awaits...

This juxataposition with the four other "light and dark" paintings on the same wall is spellbinding.  Again, thank you Dr. Allen and curators.

To the left hangs another Inness tonalist painting titled The Coming Storm 1879, delicious warm greens, yellows and browns.  Immediately to the left of it hangs the large Washington Allston's Italian Landscape (1805).  This too depicting large dark green trees set instead against a dazzling display of white clouds and blue sky.  Ohhh and then to the immediate right of the somber Monk, hangs the jubilant Alvan Fisher's Covered Wagons in the Rockies (1837) with the sublime peachy sky, the perfect balance as if yes, there is still something out there.  To the right of that Alex Helwig Wyant's Landscape (1880).

What a bountiful balance of light and not so light, all assembled there to enlighten the visitor.  On the wall to the left of those five fabulous paintings, thankfully Homer's The West Wind (1891) remains with the whitest white surf set against the dark dunes surrounding the waiting lady with the billowing skirt.  It was all about "The light" in that gallery.  While in another gallery R A Blakelock's (there is a sad tale) Sunsent Evening Silence (1892) for more light against darkness, as could be found in his paintings and personal life.

This exhibit also includes fabulous large Thayers (another sad fellow whose bio moves me), including works by Bellows, Benton, Bierstadt, Chase, Church, Copley, Durand (one of his works positively moved me to tears while on display in Salem MA a few years back), a couple of Eakins, Heade, more Homers (I admire his time spent painting), a couple of Hoppers, to name just a few.  There is also a collection of ARTFUL POSES on the same floor.  All belonging to this fine gallery of American art that we here in MA are so lucky to find in our own backyard.

After standing for as long as I could while staring at "The Light" paintings, then promising myself to return before this exhibit ends next month, a trip downstairs to view nearby Lowell's own son Whistler was in order.

On the wall you can read the following: "AN AMERICAN IN LONDON: WHISTLER AND THE THAMES was organised by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, and the Freer Gallery of Art /Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Through generous support provided by Edward P Bass (Phillips class of 1963) on his 50th reunion, in honor of Brian T Allen (by the Bass Foundation); Thomas C Foley (Class of 1971) and Leslie Fahrenkopf Foley; Leslie G Callahan III (Class 1968) and Barbara Keenan Callahan; David Carter (Class of 1941) and Louise Carter; The David L Older Fund, the Keamy Family Foundation; The Lunder Foundation and others". 

We thank them all for their generosity in bringing such art exhibits to the Merrimack Valley, as if to our own backyard.

The house of his birth still stands as a museum in nearby Lowell MA.  I must say that he pretty much clicked his heels, left MA and never looked back, living most of his life in England where he went broke after suing Ruskin the critic who did not speak well of Whistler's work.  Aaah those pesky critics.  ...those who can, do, those who can't, criticize...?  This bit of gossip, however, is not included in the info shared by The Addison.

There is however a copy of a letter Whistler wrote to someone describing a painting he was finishing, which was giving him trouble while attempting to paint his golden haired mistress (one of a few).  Many, many lines ended in an exclamation point!  That ole boy liked those "!!!"  There is so much to see and enjoy, so go visit and make new memories.

ABOUT THIS BACKYARD PAINTING:  A year ago, while disappointed in not finding the aforementioned tonalist ...(please read blog  below Mar 8, 2013), I painted Fallen Birches, a colorful attempt to console myself...  

Two months ago while visiting an elderly lady whose house was being prepared for sale, a visit to her backyard became my muse for this painting.  It was in the single digits not counting wind chill with two feet of backyard snow, therefore notes, photos, & sketches were made from a higher window.  Using a very limited palette of three, this warm and cool toned winter backyard woods scene is of that freezing cold cloudy day: when suddenly the sun, as it was making a fleeting appearance under the cloud cover, shot a few golden - russet rays onto the mid section of some trees for a short minute at most.  It soon got quite dark.  Then the last visitors could be seen...a cardinal and a pair of doves taking their last bite before the roost...

After viewing The Monk, I was able to continue working on this painting... 

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  March 8, 2014

...and yes, I went to see "him" one more time before the exhibit ended.

 

Winter - Dec 2014 TONALIST UPDATE:  Hurry, as this Addison Gallery of Amercian Art exhibit ends Jan 4, 2015...

There is a fabulous, fabulous Tonalist exhibit which includes The MONK.   More Inness works, a Blakelock, an Alex Wyant, some Twachtmans and several limited palette oils by Dwight Tyron who painted in South Dartmouth MA for 40 summers, which can be viewed at The Addison.  This all thanks to the new director, Judith F. Dolkart along with curators Keith Kauppila and Susan Faxon.   What a brilliant start for Ms. Dolkart as new director!  

The Addison Gallery of American Art exhibit: Dwight Tryon and American Tonalism, curated by the independent scholar Keith Kaupplia, is an eye opener for those of us without an iota of an art education.  I am sorry that I missed his lecture this past September.  

To read about this painter, his art and those who brought his work to us, please visit: http://www.phillipian.net/articles/2014/09/18/new-addison-exhibition-studies-serenity-and-simplicity  to learn more about the passion it takes in bringing important American paintings to enlighten those of us who may have never otherwise had such an opportunity to experience.    

No question that my love affair continues with Inness, my first tonalist, but Stilly Night - 1917 by Tryon was a small vision to behold!  Here Tryon indulged in some red "greenery"; and oh that glow that warms the viewer from across the gallery!   Although the Tryons are on loan for just a short while, The Addison's permanent collection is always a comforting friend to visit again and again...

 

Exhibition History of the oil featured above:  The original oil snow landscape painting titled: Backyard Winter Glow, was shown at the  North Shore Arts Association Gallery Exhibit I  and can now be viewed by visiting www.mimideeartwer.com and searching # : 1242270.

All text content is original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form - December 1, 2014



Signed American Oil Hommage Ala Palette de M. Gauguin
December 25, 2013 - 1:49 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed American Oil Hommage Ala Palette de M. GauguinI NEVER WENT TO TAHITI

 

Starting at around her mid to late teens a young woman was often heard to say, "I am afraid that my headstone will read, I Never Went to Tahiti".

Well, that is certainly not the case with M. Paul Gauguin, as he made two trips to Tahiti, his second when he left France for the last time in July 1895, dying at his island paradise alone on May 8, 1903.

During one of my coveted infrequent outings, while attempting to enjoy viewing various paintings at a gallery, one rep's voice was heard describing a painting, "... a cute one with all the crisp lines like an illustration..."  This from a young female who had just "done her walk of shame" certainly not demonstrating any crisp lines in her apparel.

Hearing her remarks caused a few questions to cross my mind.  How much could she possibly know about art history?  Still pondering...another thought came to me, "why...I have Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogs older than her."  My mental Qs continued...does she even paint?  No...her hands did not appear to have ever held a paint brush and judging from her askew 28 hour old eye make up, apparently more recently, not even a make up brush.  Tsk.  Tsk.

It was time to study a bit of art through the ages.  Bottecelli, Leonardo, Ingres, Bingham, Hopper, Okeeffe, Parrish, Wyeth to name just a few have been known to indulge in an occasional crisp line or two.  These painters were no slouches neither then nor now.

Monsieur Gauguin certainly laid down some crisp lines, at least after he left France and away from his fellow French painters of the late 19th century.  The Tahitian ladies in his later work even demonstrate black "cloisonne outlines".  

Yes, styles come and go.  The "painterly thing" can so often get out of control and then may be frequently overrated.  So what is wrong with a few crisp lines I ask.  Perhaps from time to time they may contribute to the comfort of that painter when often the only control to be had is at the end of a paint brush.

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  Dec 25, 2013



Signed American Oil O/C Landscape Painting Road
November 29, 2013 - 2:16 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed American Oil O/C Landscape Painting RoadREMEMBERING A WESTERN WHITEOUT WILDERNESS ON NM 53 - ALONE

Signed American Oil O/C Landscape Painting Road  

This has the makings of another 'when I was younger and fearless' account, made more poignant now that I am often afraid of my own shadow.

It is said that during his second European visit Marsden Hartley lamented, 'the farther away I travel from the New Mexico mountains the more they elude me...' or something along that vein.  This before he handily captured Dogtown Cape Ann depictions on numerous canvases without being tormented so.  Was this because this neck of the woods up East is less challenging to paint than that vastness out West?

Would that this had been the scene as in this painting when I found myself driving alone on NM 53 at or near 35* 2' N 108* 21' W, during a most treacherous, white knuckle drive that November night so long ago.

That devilish drive comes to mind on this November night without a single snowflake in sight here in New England, as New Mexico just got walloped with wild whiteout conditions that can occur as early as October and as late as May.  The images conjure up as if it were just yesterday.  

Starting out in the area where Billy the Kid is rumored to have died in hiding of old age, what should have been a 50 minute drive to Grants, turned into a 5 hour drive.  There were no villages nor towns along the way.  White all around me... nothing... nothing else... but darkness against all that maddening white.  Not a single street nor road light to break the dark night.  There on NM 53, visibility came to a screeching halt at hood's end, as the enormous fluffy snowflake clusters raced horizontally across into the windshield, mesmerizing me into an almost spellbound trance while I struggled to keep my wits about me and my car on that narrow desolate often windy road.

Panic was present and my temples pulsed knowing that the nearest telephone was 20 miles away.  No cell phone at my side.  Although a family member owned a Motorola mobile ala Miami Vice, I had to wait until the 80s to own my first mobile phone.  That night, there were no radio waves way out there in the darkness to keep me company.  

I was alone.

In my car was a camera loaded with what would be pictures of the Southeastern quadrant of the Northwestern quadrant of New Mexico.  Pictures that were meant to assist in what were to be hopefully, future paintings depicting the magnificent mountains of New Mexico.

The fastest speed possible was 10 - 15 MPH, slipping this way and that as I stared ahead whispering, 'five more miles... five more miles... five more miles'... knowing full well that it was more like 40 miles which included crossing the Continental Divide and attempting the wild curvy road up ahead around the Bandera Crater and Ice Caves.  Yes... that part of the road that many named...Dead Man's Curve.  Indeed it seemed so, especially that night in such a powerful snowstorm!

Not another single soul in sight the entire time.  I was alone.

Approaching and inching my way on Dead Man's Curve around the Ice Caves, I glanced nervously to the left of the road at the invisible nearby stretch of Zuni Mountains where Mike Todd crashed his plane, The Lucky Liz,  just over two decades before.  No consolation there.  I was determined to keep the car on the road.  I was not going to die there alone.  I was going to paint New Mexico someday.  Nov 28, 2013

GEMSTONES BANDERA CRATER & ICE CAVES:  

Simply said most gemstones, precious and otherwise, are formed deep in the ground by extreme heat and pressure, yet often found on the surface after being expelled by volcanic forces or natural disruptions.  At the Bandera Crater and Ice Caves area, kids of all ages may just find amethysts, emeralds (while some red beryl in at least two mountain areas in the state), sapphires, topaz, obsidian, fossils and other natural stones to delight rockhounds of all ages.  Nowadays, bags of sand can be purchased so that kids can do some sluicing and just maybe bring a gem home to mom.

New Mexico, with its numerous ancient volcanic activity areas, can provide the rockhound plenty of opportunities to find gemstones of all types and colors to delight the jewelry collector in all of us.  

If hiking and a little spelunking makes the perfect holiday, then the area mentioned here could be just the ticket.  There have been some tourist friendly improvements made since my last visit, when all this non-outdoorsy girl could manage was a quick visit to the minty green cool ice cave and crater area, during a perfect summer day and not during the harrowing drive mentioned above!   December 1, 2013

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and many not be reproduced in any form.  Dec 1, 2013

EXHIBITION HISTORY:  This original oil painting titled Road Out West and another oil titled Out West II  were shown at the Reading Art Association 2014 Spring Art Exhibit and can now be viewed by going to www.mimideeartwear.com and searching #: 1183868.



Signed Oil O/C American Painting Magnolia Tree
September 5, 2013 - 7:44 pm
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed Oil O/C American Painting Magnolia TreeLIFE INTERRUPTS LIFE

Signed Oil O/C American Painting Magnolia Tree  (<<<please click here to see new frame)

Just when you think that Spring is taking you on to a fine Summer.  Smack!  Snap! Crack!  Those are the sounds of breaking bones. 

In the Spring you can't miss it.  The magnificent magnolia in Methuen's Memorial Park, is just glorious as its blossoms burst out beckoning to be noticed, warning the passerby that the blossoms will soon be gone - just as in life - and that one may wait a long year to enjoy its majesty once again.  Alas, no painting could "do it justice."

This magnolia is in The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Park in Methuen MA, an 1888 gift of Charles H. Tenney, who along with Nevins and Searles, "the three fathers of Methuen", built multitudes of monuments, "castles" and stone buildings during the turn of the last century that give this town its flavor.  Nearby stood the George Washington Monument by sculptor Thomas Ball commissioned by the eccentric Edward Francis Searles.  

In later years, with the Hopkins millions, he built for himself one heavily walled "castle" here and another one up the street in Salem, NH named for his family name.  

After his humble beginnings, the story goes that he did not relish living his life as a mill worker in any of the many mills that were built in town.  So, as a young man in the 1800s off went Searles to New York City to be an antiques dealer and designer.  During the course of his job, he met and later married the very rich much older widow Mary Frances Sherwood Hopkins of railroad fame.  She hired him to interior design her "Barrington cottage" in Western MA.  

Mrs Hopkins had the railroad money and he had the penchant for interesting decor, the perfect combination to fill the little mansion with some fine furnishings.  She proposed and he accepted.  How could he not?   

Together with her money they built and built.  At one time their property extended from here in Methuen across the state line up to North Salem, NH.  After a short four year marriage without issue, her death was fraught with whodunnits.  The widower later left the Hopkins millions to his unmarried "secretary", Arthur Walker.  Those grey stone walls can still be seen about on both sides of the state line.  

The George Washington statue was sold to make room for a building, a decision this town must still surely regret, and now stands far away in Forest Lawn Cemetery in CA.  How Searles turns in his nearby grave!   Seen in the background is the First Congregational Church which boasts a fine expansive stain glass window by John LaFarge.  It was rebuilt in the 19th century, still  with a cornerstone dated 1689.  There, across the street,  you will find the magnificent magnolia which for some may possibly remain a beacon to a better day.

Creative license was taken by not including telephone poles, sidewalks, crosswalks, parking signs, a fire hydrant, a cannon, headstone, etc. allowing more nature and stonework.

NEXT ART EXHIBIT:  This original oil along with other oils will be shown for 3 short days at the Reading Art Association Spring Art Sale and Exhibit May 1 - May 3, 2015.  For more info please visit: www.ReadingArt.org or www.mimideeartwear.com and click the Show Schedule link at mid left of any catalog page.  Do not miss this one!

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  September 2013



Signed Oil O/C Landscape Painting, 3, Bluebonnets
May 17, 2013 - 11:32 pm
New Century : Paintings

Signed Oil O/C Landscape Painting, 3, BluebonnetsMISSING LUPINUS TEXENSIS IN NEW ENGLAND

What is the point of painting if one is not to indulge one's imagination from time to time, I ask.  

The mad race commences in mid March.  Well...as much as a race can be when accompanied by a cane, not age but a missing right ACL, to the snow covered bulb garden anxiously awaiting the oh so short-lived appearance of the "Purple Gem" Dutch Iris Reticulata, a native of the Caucasus Mountains.  It produces a top heavy bloom that is larger than the plant stem.  Of over 1000 bulbs I planted over a decade ago, this teenie "good news early bird" can make many a winter weary heart sing!  

So bravely and in such a cheeky manner, pushing and straining its tiny 4 - 6" stature through the snow at or around Saint Patrick's Day, often beating the neighboring Early Snow Glories (chionodoxa forbesii) and Early Snow Drops (galanthus woronowii) and even before The Giant Crocus, followed by the perky Blue Grape Hyacinth (muscari armeniacum).  Aaaah those sweet little muscari...that when I squint my eyes...I pretend they are teenie tiny Lupinus Texensis... my beloved Texas bluebonnets!

Doting over a half dozen Phalaenopsis indoors during the winter, tides one over until the Iris Reticulata arrives in the March New England garden, followed by a multitude of other colorful bulbs, including the sea of sweet Lilly of the Valley and later the oh so expressive Arum Italicum.  Dicentra dancing in the breeze, the Vinca Minor under the Azaleas and Anemones everywhere.  Wood Hyacinths too and here come five Peonies with all those pesky ants, followed by a multitude of still more colorful lilles.  Still...every spring, after all these years...my heart yearns for the sight of Texas bluebonnets!

Waving my brushes, as if Merlin, wishing millions of bluebonnets to appear, to march no matter how unlikely to my doorstep...

Flowers: They have been seen in paintings and jewelry as symbols since humans began to express themselves.  That is after the documenting of game on cave walls became the passing rave and yesterday's fad.   Then womanhood began to decorate!   You but have to search: flower.  Flowers everywhere!  Here at Trocadero 3683 items will appear.  The Victorians and their language of flowers...books have been written on the subject.  Button collectors can tell you about them too.

Now to the generic iris - not my sweet reticulata- the artist Philip Hermojenes Calderon, an English painter of French birth, painted an iris in his 1856 and third work Broken Vows as he patterned the painting symbolic styles of the Preraphaelite artists.  An ancient belief is that the iris delivers a warning to be marked, as it was named for the messenger of Olympus.  It also punctuates images of hushed grief for girls led into the hereafter.  It is also the Fleur - de - Lis emblem of France.  As time goes on, other meanings may be attached to it.

Oh those orchids...who but Heade could paint an orchid?  Remember the Antiques Road Show episode of the lady who found one in her Boston area home?  A family member of mine knew her to be quite happy with that find!  Orchids are everywhere these days, in pots and on canvas.  Painting orchids my way, has been a joy as well.

No sense in competing with, nor trying to imitate Mother Nature...enter the camera...when I can paint it just the way I like it.

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  May 2013



Signed Mini Oil Landscape Painting 4 Beach Boat Birches
April 18, 2013 - 9:29 pm
New Century : Paintings

Signed Mini Oil Landscape Painting 4 Beach Boat BirchesTO PAINT OR NOT TO PAINT ON CANVAS BOARD

The interesting outcome about being self learned, is that one may often miss key experiences along the way.

My first two self learned oil paintings were completed on what were for me ambitious 19 3/4" X 15 5/8" size wooden panels that I prepared with coats of gesso.  Why not...wood is good yes?  The next several were painted on stretched canvases of varying sizes.

After moving on from wooden panels to stretched canvas, all was going fine... then an art critic or appraiser on some show was heard to say that painting on canvasboard was a "no no"!  Horrors!  Why, they were only for students to dabble.  If this is so, has this sentiment caused or will it encourage art dealers to refrain from using "canvas board" in describing their inventory?  Will they state "board" generically to avoid the negative?  Will one ever know what kind of board was used?  It seems, not all boards are created equally.

Confusion arises...have not many decades old canvasboard paintings been priced and sold for thousands?  The appraiser continued with,  'canvas board paintings were undesirable and serious art collectors would steer away from them.'   Really?

Well... ladies and gents... Not quite aspiring to be a contrarian nor wishing to miss out on that joyful experience of applying oils onto humble canvasboards, several were ordered and I began to paint on them with such a passion, that the results went from larger oils on wood and stretched canvas to many small CBs!  Still... wishing to provide archival results for the collector, they have since been mounted on the highest quality non-warping archival hardboard panels.  Check that off the list...there...tis done!

While painting on those firmer CB surfaces, it was rediscovered that they, like wooden panels, still offers the painter a safer support to pursue, and that making one's own surfaces by cutting and laying or mounting canvas onto archival non warping hardboards can give some painters the preferred safer-feeling less yielding surface.  Still enjoying the give and take of some stretched canvases, 100% Belgian linen on archival nonwarping hardboard has become my newest fave.

A bit of history:  Long before the 19th century landscape painters had pre-made tubes of paint for their en plein air work,  they made use of the more portable watercolor sketches for color reference notes that they would then bring back to their studios, before attempting the larger oil paintings.  Once commercial tubed pigments became available and they could paint their oils outdoors, watercolors almost went out of fashion for them.  It is for this reason, that for years their watercolors were not valued nor considered completed paintings and would often fetch less at auctions and galleries.  Of course, it is known that watercolors can be a difficult medium for some and that they can sell in the thousands of dollars.  Good for WCs!  They too have earned their bona fide place in the art world.

Coming back to the present, after having painted acrylics and watercolors which were too comfortable for me, the more demanding oils are still my fave.  While not having a choice attempting to paint alone and without instruction, this can produce maddening lacrimal events...oh yes...enough to chop off one's ponytail in utter frustration; there is still a certain, delicious, languid feel of the oil between the surface and the brush...

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  April 2013



Antique Canio Metal Picture Button PARIS A P & Cie
April 18, 2013 - 7:48 pm
Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Brass

Antique Canio Metal Picture Button PARIS A P & CieWHAT CAME FIRST THE FASTENER OR THE WEAPON?

What are one of the oldest most antique items to collect?

We come upon Adam and Eve who are just seen tip-toeing, looking side to side, darting from behind one bush to another trying to hide.  They have just been kicked out of paradise with only a fig leaf to their names and no way to keep it on!

What would you say is one of the most antique items that man had to make first?  A fastener for the fig leaf or a weapon to bring down game?

Fellas, the answer is quite obvious.  You just know Miss Eve batted her eyelashes and began something like this, "Adam darlin', please make me something really cute to keep this on.  I can not be seen traipsing around in this old thing falling off around my ankles.  I'll be the laughing stock!  Make me something really stylish, pleeeeeze.  Besides, look at you...you need to protect yourself from those nasty brambles!"  Yikes!

He may have tried to counter with something like, 'First things first Eve, I have to kill something to eat'.  She would bat them again, argue and cajole with, 'Who needs food?  I gotta hide these hips...does this make me look fat?'

Please, stay with me and indulge my daily daydreaming:  The Design House of Adam was born!

A Bit of History:  Buttons or fasteners have been made for various purposes these last 4600 years as they have been found at bronze age sites in Europe and Asia.  The earliest ones were most likely made from bones and old clam shells and although the first may have been used as seals, their ornamental value was to follow into the Renaissance Era.

Every possible material has been used to make buttons: most shells, pearls, ivory, horsehair, coconut, papier mache, gutta percha, gems, glass, cut steel, metals both precious and otherwise, woods, ceramics, fabric, all manner of synthetic or man made materials such as bakelite, lucite, celluloid, cinnabar; they were painted, enameled, stamped, engraved, pressed, hammered and the never ending list goes on.

As with jewelry, they too were made by artisans who employed the same jewelry making techniques to embellish and to demonstrate self expression.  Makers looked to the visual arts for inspiration which included those used in the making of sculpture, ceramics, metalworking, painting, weaving, filigree, intaglio, passemeterie, miniature portraits, Satsuma ware, to name so few.  It would take a book to explain...  Oh wait...someone else has already done so.  The BBB!

All images and text content solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  April 2013



Signed Oil Linen Painting Landscape Birches Lake Boat
March 8, 2013 - 3:07 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed Oil Linen Painting Landscape Birches Lake BoatMILDLY AGORAPHOBIC AUTODIDACT MISSES "THE MONK" --- AGAIN

Signed Oil Linen Painting Landscape Birches Lake Boat  (Please click here to see updated results)

The cold wet gloomy New England winter day could not keep this near recluse away from a "date" with The Monk, the object of my first love affair with one of the 19th century American landscape painters.  

Because of that painting, the Americans, the tonalists and the Hudson River Valley landscape painters became alive to me.   Sadly, not having had a formal art education, silly me I thought the 19th century belonged solely to the well celebrated European painters.   Who knew?

Even the best of days can be filled with anxious moments for someone who does not relish venturing out, but this was really special...worth tackling a few phobias...finally a long awaited feast for my eyes. He was due to be on display only for a few more days, not to be seen again until who knows when!  

Only my favorite fiber art - by moi - ensemble, careful maquillage, leopard print cane ...to assist with my right missing ACL... and a hat would do.  You'd think I was having tea with the Queen. It was time to muster up the most energy possible to visit the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Andover Academy.  

This little gem of a museum of American Art, which owns thousands of works, is a delicious cozy place to visit and view at one time or another works by Eakins, Copley, Homer, Church, Bierstadt, Durand, Bellows, Calder, Nagy, Cassatt, Cropsey, Whistler, Marin, Sloan, Heade, O'Keeffe, Dove, Hartley, La Farge, Hopper, Sargent, Thayer and Stella, to name just a few.  

At long last George Inness's moody tonalist landscape was mine to see.   Aaah...the mystery and "the why" to discover...

There is nothing American about the painting, in fact it is set in Italy and painted during Inness's second visit to Europe, but it was painted by an American.  That is what most matters to me.  Feeling just plain giddy, I could not wait to get up to The Addison's home collection where he has been displayed, depending on tours, since he was acquired in 1956. Then a tall gentleman with a British accent approached us and said, 'I am sorry but The Monk is not here...'.  

What...but the website said so and the museum's brochure said so.  I whispered excitedly,  'Oh no...not again!   Where is he...is he out on loan again?'   He carefully added, 'well he is here, just not here on display'.   Imagine, a grown woman feeling like a disappointed kid again, wondering when will I want to get out again?  My disheartened look was evident.  It was time to regain some composure already... with a sigh...followed by a quick smile and...'well then, I shall drown my sorrows in a cup of hot tea!'

As it turned out, it was a cup of hot cocoa and a deadly heavenly doughnut that did the trick.

Later, still sorry that viewing the elusive painting was not to be, the paint brushes danced with the oils on my palette producing this WIP, a place to ponder, to visit, to hope and wonder when...when.  Colorful, some solace, and a complete contradiction of the moody tonalist capture in The Monk.  Until we finally meet...

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  March 2013

EXHIBITION HISTORY:  This and two other oil on linen paintings were exhibited at the Reading Art Assn 2013 Fall Show and Sale and can now be viewed by going to www.mimideeartwear.com and searching: #1191173 to see it framed with changes.



Signed Oil OC Painting Casa Grande Vermejo Park NM
February 16, 2013 - 2:55 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed Oil OC Painting Casa Grande Vermejo Park NMTHE JOCULAR BONE HAS GONE MISSING - - - AGAIN

Nothing like a couple of weeks of blizzard prognosticating migraines to throw the jocular bone out of joint.   A few years ago I mentioned to a therapist friend how I preferred to avoid people unless my perky, peppy, funny self was at its best.  Why expose them to less?  

She asked, 'why do you always have the need to make others laugh'?   The reply was mumbling something about it being a good question for a therapist...  Besides, when my store was still open, my clients depended on leaving happier than when they arrived!

As a child, besides drawing bejeweled evening gowns, I liked cubes, boxes and houses, leading a teacher to wonder, 'ahhh a future architect perhaps'?   Some houses appeared in my dreams, and on paper but not even with the proverbial stick people that kids are known to draw.  Kinda odd since the company of others was very enjoyable and a shy child I was not!  Hmmm...no people with the houses...there's another one for analysis...

This house:   This is a partial view of Casa Grande from an arch of the Casa Minor, or the other way around, located at Vermejo Park Ranch Raton, NM.  If memory serves me correctly, during one of my stays at Casa Minor, I was told that these grand old homes did not have built in kitchens in order to avoid a repeat of a fire that had destroyed one of the mansions.   All guests dined in a separate main dining hall building.  Improvements, renovations, and new buildings have since been erected to modernize them and make current guests more comfortable, as the rates now show it!

The living room at the then - not available for public view -  Casa Grande was quite "grande".  Leggy  for a 5' 3" gal, I pace measured the Persian rug in the center of the large room and remember it to be 20 - 24 paces, which would make it ~ 60 - 75 feet?  There were still at least 6 to 10 feet around the "grande" rug.  Many, many sofas and ivory color wooden chairs upholstered in an ivory golden striped silken fabric could be found among the huge marble based floor lamps.  In the center of one of the living room's sitting areas you would find a large square blue ottoman with several ivory, blue and russet pillows piled in the center of it.  This ottoman could have comfortably accommodated several seated people.

The Casa Grande was not "rented out to paying guests", but available only for the Pennzoil executives' personal use.  I have photos of the old bath tubs that were fitted with sterling or heavily silver plated handles.

One of the earlier Vermejo Ranch owners was a William Bartlett who was said to have cornered the wheat market in the late 1890s.  Will have to find my notes on the buying and selling history to continue.

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.   February 2013



Signed Studio Sterling Bracelet Cuff Purple Goldstone
January 27, 2013 - 5:12 am
Artists : Jewelry

Signed Studio Sterling Bracelet Cuff Purple Goldstone

MONK'S MAYHEM MAKES GOLDSTONE ART GLASS

Okay so no monk was harmed in the making of this signed studio sterling cuff bracelet, but it has been said that an accident resulted in the making of aventurine glass or goldstone in Venice during the 17th century.

Rumor has it that a monk carrying a container of copper shavings, stumbled forward casting the copper shavings onto a vat of molten glass while working in a Venice factory.  My imagination conjures up that maybe the poor fellow had interned at a wine making factory earlier that day, then later while moonlighting at a glass factory, he was feeling the glow... he began to dance...he lost his footing.  oops

Lucky for antique jewelry lovers, the man made copper color aventurine art glass stones were cut, faceted and used early in the 19th century as a glittery base for Venetian micromosaic flower jewelry, made as only the Italians did and still make.  The Victorians loved this sparkly glass in their personal adornments as well as in buttons, cufflinks, fobs, etc.  The best and oldest display a deeply saturated sparkly effect.

The original was copper color, but now one can enjoy blue, purple and even green "goldstone".   Although a guarded secret, as to the process, it is said that copper is used to make the coppery color glass, cobalt to make the blue, manganese for the purple and chromium oxides to make the green ones.  The purple glass when used for Russian made pieces is often called purpurine.

All yummy and real sparkly.  Some more than others.  Why is that?  As the molten glass crystallizes and hardens, the center of the mass or batch has the most sparkles, while the outer portions less so and may even have unattractive veins.  Horrors!  It is broken up and "cut" or made into beads, sash pins, bracelets, figurines, and even remelted to make canes for glass bead makers.

Now...when this fabulous sparkly art glass meets signed studio sterling metalwork, well... you get magic...

To view antique jewelry or buttons (some Paris back) please search: goldstone.  Then view often each and every image, as there may be multiple items per listing, added weekly.  The best and oldest from 1830s show a deeply saturated sparkler effect.   

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.   January 2013



Signed Oil O/C Painting Landscape In Bison Enclosure
January 18, 2013 - 6:31 am
Fine Art : Paintings : Oil : N. America : American

Signed Oil O/C Painting Landscape In Bison EnclosureWHY DANCE WITH WOLVES WHEN YOU CAN ROAM WITH BUFFALO

Kevin may have danced with wolves, however I roamed with buffalo - but not in the buff - at Vermejo Park Ranch in Raton NM.  Take your boots off, pour yourself a tall one, cause this could be a long one.

Half a lifetime ago, younger and fearless, I convinced a Pennzoil Co. VP, who was then this ranch's operations officer, to allow me entrance into the multi acre enclosure so that I could pose with the buffalo.   The 12 foot or so tall fence post enclosure, which housed about 27 bison, just would not look good in my photos!

He was nervous and looking paler than pale as he unlocked the gate, but what could he do?  I was a repeat paying guest, which at that time was a paltry $150 single per night, these days more than thrice that since the media mogul current owner has had to update the retreat ranch's accomodations.  The anxious short wait ended when a thunderous sound was heard and a cloud of dust began to form miles away as far as the eye could see.   The closer they got...the louder the hoofs...the paler the VP got.   Poor guy!  

There they were, "mammoth" bison, the big bull always placing himself between me and the cows.  Like a 5' 3" female could harm them!  When it looked like my guide could have a myocardial infarction, I put him out of his misery and asked, 'okay, did you get any good pictures?'   That herd probably consisted of the great, grand sires of bison served today at a famous grill owned by a media mogul and current owner of the ranch.

VERMEJO PARK RANCH located in Northeast Colfax County, New Mexico is more than half the size of Rhode Island.  At one time it had well over 1.4 million acres made up in part of an 1840s Spanish/Mexican land grant which through marriage to the orginal grant's co-recepient's daughter, ended up in the hands of Lucien B Maxwell, thus changing the name to the Maxwell Land Grant while adding significantly to its acreage.  The original, slightly smaller acreage had been named the Miranda Beaubien Land Grant.  Marriages, wars and later interesting ownerships helped shape this magnificent ranch's history.

Lucien Maxwell's daughter Paulita was known to have "kept company" with Billy the Kid, a charming orphaned rogue fluent in Spanish, and a friend of her brother Pedro Maxwell, who in turn was not quite his "friend" and may have been the one who told Sheriff Pat Garett where to find The Kid.

When Pennzoil Co owned it and the ranch was up for sale for about $70 Million, I had the distinct pleasure of being allowed access to the Casa Grande, to take notes and pictures, knowing somehow that one day paintings and musings would result from my visits.  Since the late 1990s, the Casa Grande has been a private residence of Mr. Ted Turner when he acquired the splendid nature retreat.  Twenty years later one can only imagine how much he paid Pennzoil Co for the ranch!  Tis late, shall continue at a later time or on another blog about this ranch...

PS: I couldn't resist, please enter my imagination repository:  Don't the three bison on the left look like they are discussing, 'shall we squash her like a bug, or do think she's going to feed us?'   A straggler, 'what's going on...is the food here yet?'   While the one leaving on the right as if saying, 'move along...nothing to see here...'

Please keep in mind that there are not many bison roaming here in New England, leaving me to memory, poorly taken instamatic produced photos and quick sketches for reference.  PS, the hair reeeally looked like that and was often mistaken for a wig!  How dare they?!

That shirt is the only western shirt worn by moi and it took me more than 8 hours to finish pearl snap buttons and all, using a Vogue pattern no less!  No Simplicity pattern for this gal!

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned  by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  January 2013



Vintage Signed Peruzzi Sterling Silver Bracelet Ring
December 30, 2012 - 4:20 am
Vintage Arts : Decorative Art : Jewelry

Vintage Signed Peruzzi Sterling Silver Bracelet RingPERUZZI PARENTI CINI SILVERSMITHS BOSTON BOUND

Sing with me please: 

Don't know much about Peruzzi his-toe-ree

Can't tell you much about Cini his-toe-ree

Know even less about Parenti his-toe-ree....

Get the picture?  Even after years of collecting and selling dozens of the above named silversmiths' fabulous silver jewelry, sometimes I feel as if less is known or at least have become more befuddled the more I read about or try to research their history and work.  However, more often than not, I can quickly identify one or the other correctly.  They are all known to have left Italy in the 20s and 30s and settled in Boston where they produced their fabulous silver work.  It is only by holding and examining their work, or that erroneously attributed to them, does one hope to expand our wealth of knowledge, so the search continues.

PERUZZI:  Gino M., opened and operated the Peruzzi Jewel Shop - 252 Boylston St. - Boston, MA - Tel: KEN -2822 somewhere around the early 30's, then was said to have sold his business to Aldo Fioravanti in 1945, who then closed up shop in the early 80s.  

The demi parure shown here was selected because it is the least likely to resemble his work most familiar to us, looking more like Hobe as in the multi layer rose buds, yet it is simply stamped: PERUZZI while the ring is stamped: HANDMADE STERLING.  That just adds to the confusion when one considers that there have been hundreds of erroneous comments on the net by vendors who say 'he moved his shop from Florence to Boston'.  Rubbish!  The other Peruzzi branch, if even related at all, had been merrily making fab 800 silver work as well for several generations up into this century in Florence. More on them later.  Some vendors, to add to the confusion, even indiscriminately used the first name of one man and used it with the last name of the other!  

Back to Gino.  His sterling pieces were sometimes theatrical with renaissance, mythology infused motifs (but so were Cini's and Parenti's in Boston, oh no more confusion), dragons, putti, horses, crosses, works with pierced jadeite and interesting custom pieces. They are often marked: PERUZZI BOSTON or on a triangle shape mark with his last name and what looks like a Fleur de Lis.  Hmmm.  Isn't the Fleur de Lis on the Florence made boxes....?  Some of his work resembled some of the Florence work, so maybe there was a familial influence...

The bracelet ring set pictured here has little of what is seen on his other pieces.  Except maybe the big leaf seen on other work by same and the ribboned bow which has been seen on 800 Florence work and on USA Parenti work.  This is one of the most labor intensive work of all the several dozen pieces examined by this set of eyes.  Why, each station has approximately 50 applied pieces.  Five stations, not counting the links, plus the ring is starting to look like more than 300 applied pieces in all!  Seen are the Hobe-like small double layer flowers with a ball center.  Could this have been made after he sold to Fioravanti?  Is the later work looking more like Hobe?  Was there a cross over in styling?  With a Peruzzi in Boston, the others in Florence, Cini and Parenti in Boston all working in similar fashion, can you see how confusion can arise, or is it just me?  Then throw in a little Hobe-like accents and one may have the making of a life long study in futility.  

A collector at www.mimideeartwear.com has shared that he and his bride had their rings "made there in Boston" in the 50s and he added that Cini, (oh no more confusion because Cini moved to California in 1957 and made jewelry there with several different marks - I preferring his earliest Boston shield mark), 'moved his shop next door to the Peruzzi shop' and competed agressively with him and his designs or the new owner's perhaps.  Fortunately for the collector, that may explain why both have produced big, wild, unusual pieces.  Some of the same motifs show up on both and for that matter on Parenti's work.  Whew...more on them later, I hope.  Will continue this at a later date and more infomation may be added as more is discovered.

In the meantime, you are invited to examine all 3 silversmiths' works, to view, to collect the available pieces and to study those which have already been collected by clicking the link just above this image that reads:  Vintage Arts: Decorative Art:  Jewelry or by going to www.mimideeartwear.com, clicking past the homepage to first catalog page, look to mid left and click: Vintage Arts: Decorative Art.

All images and text content which is original are solely owned by MImi Dee.  December 30, 2012



Sterling Cut Steel Antique Button Necklace Earring Set
December 25, 2012 - 5:43 am
Popular Collectibles

Sterling Cut Steel Antique Button Necklace Earring SetCUT STEEL JEWELRY AND BUTTONS THEN AND NOW

Steel has been around since the flood, well maybe not quite, but had it been so, you know Mrs. N would have said, "Noah darlin' put down those ducks, and don't forget to pack my 2 pair of steel earrings!"

Steel jewelry has been found to have been made as early as the 1500s.  During the Mid Georgian Period, it celebrated great popularity because that highly polished, faceted work was made to mirror, pardon the pun, the reflection of diamonds, although not as sparkly. It is for this reason that Victorians deemed it more acceptable for daytime wear.  Its collectible popularity continues today.  The current low-cost mass production, as precious metals' prices continue to rise, allows little imagination and exclusivity in design.

Both England and France contributed perhaps the finest examples.  Not all of it is equal and neither are all antique steel buttons created equally.  One has to but look at books or visit an antiques mall like Trocadero and search "cut steel"  to study simply sublime examples of this early to late Victorian highly coveted jewelry.  The currently, mass-produced necklaces and earrings, not so much.  Just as with those magnet reactive "gems" of old, the same expertise, time and care was taken to produce these buttons.

Buttons:  They too, followed the same popular production periods, for are they not ornaments as well?  They of course, carry the dual purpose of form and function.  How to date:  The earliest cut steel rivets had 15 facets, later 12 (as in the case here) and later still into the 20th century with factory methods making the push, the rivets no longer had to be individually cut and polished but stamped out in sheets!  Horrors!  Still some fine work continued.

Through the ages buttons have been made in any shape, from any material possible and with as many motifs as the mind allows.  That is the beauty and popularity of button collecting.   Besides other materials, there is so much to choose as cut steel was riveted through pearl, horn, wood, glass, brass, more steel, well you get the picture. You can collect them, hoard them, place them on cards, compete at conventions, wear them on clothing, have them made into jewelry; here this purist leaves them intact.  Back full circle to my earlier pieces...

Show them off as personal adornments or remove them from their modern sterling silver or golden frames and put them back on cards. Guilt free wear!  Somewhere along the line I took the button hippocratic oath.  Listen carefully... out there somewhere...sighs of relief can be heard from NBS conservation devotees!

PS: Hopefully in the coming months several hundred pieces, that have never seen the internet light of day as they were boxed for decades, will be made available and shared with new and seasoned collectors.

All images design content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  December 2012.



Vintage Signed GS George Steere Brass Dragon Sash Pin
December 20, 2012 - 1:31 am
Estate Jewelry : Other Metals

Vintage Signed GS George Steere Brass Dragon Sash Pin

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS AND MORE OF SAME:  Vintage Signed GS George Steere Brass Dragon Sash Pin

 

LOOKING FOR A GEORGE STEERE LUCKY DRAGON

You know how it goes, you collect and collect, finding pieces that may not be familiar to you, but you know there is just something special about them that you feel someone else will notice too. Getting bleary eyed after hours of research, year after year, is par for the course.

Sometimes you may be "one of the learned first few who list or publish" the discovered maker, or you come in at the waning stage of the collecting cycle.  Waning collection cycle or not, this signed Art Nouveau dragon sash is a smash!

Although little is known about him, his brass sash ornament pin brooch pieces are highly coveted and collectible, particulary those with the earliest maker's mark of GS on an applied brass lozenge.  Later pieces are stamped GNS.  Later still stamped directly on the piece itself as GNS&Co.  While not all his pieces are marked, some are found and collected unsigned, then some with red & green art glass stones, may just be marked: G.  

His favored figural motifs are green eyed dragons, chimera, serpents, griffins, lizards, bats, birds and lions, often "holding up stones", in Egyptian and flowy Art Nouveau foliate lines. All idolized during that short lived design period we all know and love as the Art Nouveau or Beaux Arts Style period. The real special pieces demonstrate his expert management in mixing his applied motifs by fusing the Nouveau critters with Arts & Crafts hammered surfaces then onto the Deco Era. Look for his curled corners or as they are known in the button collecting world, the coveted "handkerchief corners".

He seemed to like amber color glass, although amethyst color and others were used as well.  However, the red and green EOD foil-embedded stones are simply delish and not often seen! The red and green cabochons were frit laced end of the day glass and are now appreciated as true art glass stones.

According to Rainwater, et al, his name was George Nathaniel Steere and his mark was G.N.S. & Co.  He operated George N. Steere & Company in Providence, RI from 1909 until 1911, at which time he closed out said business and joined the Payton & Kelley Company as its secretary and manager.  In 1917, The Jewelers Circular Weekly has him alive and vacationing with his family.

While he may have been rediscovered by avid collectors a few years ago, tis time to commence the tertiary collecting cycle today!

Except for the Rainwater & Jewelers Circular Weekly info, all the original text composition and images are solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  December 20, 2012.

 


Antique Victorian Picture Button Ruffle Hand Supper
December 18, 2012 - 6:37 am
Popular Collectibles : Specialty : Sewing : Buttons

Vintage Picture Button Lillian Russel Statue of Liberty

CLICK  HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND MORE OF SAME:  Vintage Picture Button Lillian Russel Statue of Liberty  (ALL 6 ARE AT AUCTION TILL 1/25/15 - CLICK TO BID)

THE FIRST TIME I FELL IN LOVE WITH VICTORIAN PICTURE BUTTONS

I practically tossed my credit card at the proprieter and said, "Look mister, my husband is waiting in the car in this heat.   He will walk in any minute and I won't be able to explain this $500 purchase for a bunch of old buttons!  Please hurry!"   Quietly I slinked into the car seat with my small box of treasures, when my husband with a weak wink said, "you left me again without a bowl of water....."

We had been on our way back from Wolfboro, NH, this long before the start of my reclusive life, when we stopped at an antique store.  There my love of Victorian picture buttons began.  Two and half hour drive back in near silence, never repeated by this verbose lady, marveling at the detail.  Even though learning to sew my doll clothes before entering first grade, I had never seen such wonders.  Who made these detailed buttons and why?

This was pre widely used internet era and pre online auction sites.   Libraries had nothing and antique stores locally could not help.  Months went by, still nothing. Finally on the day we were due to fly to the Bahamas, I heard that some button convention was being held in New Hampshire.  I kissed my patient husband and said, "darlin', I'll be back before the plane leaves, I promise".  Off I went with my cards to find out what I could.  

Imagine my shock to find 1000s and 1000s of antique buttons being judged on cards.  Vendors selling antique buttons for $1000 each or more!  What?  Where was I?  Looking at my watch frequently, I begged someone to tell me more. Enter The National Button Society and the BBB, every button collector's bible.  I collected, collected and collected some more.   Oh, I forgot, yes I got back in time to make the plane.  All the while on vacation, wishing I already had my BBB to study while roasting on the beach without my bowl of water...

Update: The antique button titled: Last Supper above -which seems to be handpainted - is listed as part of item(s) #1005268 - where you will find 6 assorted buttons titled as:" Madonna & Child"; "Evangeline"; "Statue of Liberty"; "Lillian Russell"; "Last Supper" and "Victorian Ruffle Hand".

PS:  Hopefully, in the coming months, several hundred pieces that have never seen the internet light of day as they were boxed for decades, will be made available and shared with new and seasoned collectors. 

All images and the original text are solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form. December 18, 2013.

ALL 6 BUTTONS ARE UP FOR AUCTION TILL 1/25/15 - CLICK, BID AND MAKE THESE YOURS TODAY!



Victorian Inspired Festoon Necklace Alexandrite Glass 2
December 17, 2012 - 12:37 am
Gifts & Home Decor : Jewelry and Accessories

Victorian Inspired Festoon Necklace Alexandrite Glass 2

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS AND MORE OF SAME:  Victorian Inspired Festoon Necklace Alexandrite Glass 2

 

COLOR CHANGE STONES IF NOT REAL BE THEY GLASS

Who wouldn't give their eye teeth for dichroic or color change alexandrite, sapphire or garnet jewelry?  After parting with them, there is a less expensive choice that does not require a painful laugh fest at the dentist.

Since 1927 there has been a color change alexandrite glass that transitions from a yummy pinkish lavender to a dusty blue, depending on its exposure to artificial or natural light. The chemical compound added to make such a glass is Neodymium Oxide (Nd2O3) and was first used by Leo Moser in 1927.

Enter the fact that Southeastern Massachusettes and the bordering Rhode Island area combined, was once known as the "jewelry capital of the world".  Beginning with the first colonial silver buckle and button making business starting in the late 1700s on through its history as the leader of costume jewelry manufacturing and plating through the late 1980s.  

Where else did jewelry making flourish?  While the finer metal jewelry making for the most part began in Philadelphia and New York in the early 1800s, the bulk of costume jewelry manufacturing began and was concentrated just an hour away. One needs only to study Rainwater to learn that here too the silver and gold manufacturing market succeeded in producing fine work, with some of same companies still in operation after these many generations.  Up until a few years ago, flashy, diamond encrusted Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup rings were still being made in this manufacturing rich area.

What with this 200 year history of production, a mere 64 miles from here, is it any wonder that antiquing in the Northeast is the place to be?

Should the creative bug bite, one can still find antique or vintage stampings ready for custom plating, vintage beads, and findings to self express and create a one of a kind jewelry piece to make available for the collecting public.  These fab stampings (please view # 975731) can be sent to plating companies often owned and operated by the same families for 100 or so years.  The tradition continues...

For different examples of color change Swavofski crystal and alexandrite art glass please view by searching:  579873; 1074827: 1179360 

All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form.  December 17, 2012.



Signed Studio Sterling Silver Ring Metalwork Sculpture
November 30, 2012 - 1:44 am
Artists : Jewelry : Rings

Signed Studio Sterling Silver Ring Metalwork Sculpture

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS AND MORE OF SAME:  Signed Studio Sterling Silver Ring Metalwork Sculpture

 

IS THERE A SECRET WITHIN THIS SIGNED STUDIO RING?

 

Years back while exhibiting a similar piece, a five year old future Neurosurgeon was heard to remark, 'look mother, a brain ring!'

When one approaches a studio piece that is meant to not look at all like a commercial jewelry store item, it can be  fun following the will of the hand of the metal artist and usually that of the wire, as the latter is known to often have a will of its own. 

An approximate six foot length of 14 gauge sterling silver was used to form this "brain" dome ring sculpture, from one continuous piece, starting at one shoulder and ending at the other.

Now for the little secret.  Fine art collectors know that painters are known to hide symbols in their paintings, this one does, why not hide a little something inside this ring too?  What's the secret?

An embedded Moonstone!  The dreamy milky white changes to blue flashes, as in this case, are known as adularescence.  This Orthoclase Feldspar, a 6-6.5% on Moh's scale, is the good luck stone especially for lovers. During uncertian times, is it not best to make up with and find comfort in the presence of those who love us?  It is said to give one the ability to foretell our lover's future, as legend tells it, it must be placed in the mouth while the moon is full to achieve this wondrous feat.  It is then when it will be most powerful for you!

If someone catches you placing this moonstone ring in your mouth during full moon next, look at them and say, "whaaat, you don't do this?"

All Images, design, concept, content, text solely owned by Mimi Dee.  November 30, 2012



Signed Studio Sterling Sculpture Handwrought Pendant
November 29, 2012 - 7:23 pm
Artists : Jewelry : Necklaces

Signed Studio Sterling Sculpture Handwrought Pendant

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WHEN IS STUDIO JEWELRY NOT STUDIO JEWELRY?

A word about using the word studio to describe, in this case, this piece of jewelry. The correct usage is to be applied when the artist herself or himself created the entire piece from beginning to end by hand.  Making multiples or the high percentage use of premade or prefabricated metals and beads would make it a collage and not a studio piece.  Note here, if all the gemstone beads were to be removed, it would still stand alone as a scluptural, wearable piece of sterling silver jewelry.

The word "studio" should be retired from usage when the items are being made with mostly pre made materials, by the 1000s and/or by others for the designer.

Once this has come to pass, they have advanced to having their product be classified as designer jewelry. When artists must employ others to make or finish their designs, they have become designers. Let them be proud, let them own the new title of designer and rejoice. They have arrived. It is time to graduate and retire the "studio artist" word from their descriptions.

Designers please return that word to remain where it originated and that is at the original studio artist's bench.

This two piece sculptural necklace has taken me several years to complete. Why? Anyone who paints will tell you that they have dozens, in my case a few hundred, of paintings in progress lying about in their studio. So it is with many of my creative endeavors, be they paintings, jewelry, wearable textiles, etc...many years in progress.

When I owned my third and last store-gallery-studio, my clients were surprised at the accumulation of works in progress as they ventured into my artist's den. Back to this 2 piece necklace. Being completely self taught, errr, self learned, this was completely hand fabricated by me a few years ago and was never made available to collectors until now. This is runway material and has substantial heft, yet a very comfortable fit. If you are shy and dislike attention when you enter a room, this original may not be for you.

Finally, looking through my many years' accumulation of gemstones, I succumbed to my colorist's need to add color by "sewing or weaving" 90 vibrant lush gorgeous 4mm dark pink red faceted garnets and 20 peridots with thin gauge sterling. Others erroneously use the word "fine" to mean thin gauge, but "fine silver" should be used only to mean 99% or pure silver.

This piece reminds one of a lush red round fruit, yes? ...and so now I'm a child again and I can still see the pomegranate, fig and mulberry trees growing in our backyard...

For decades, I have been using wiremetal or thread to secure adornments such as antique buttons, beads, etc onto my collectible works. Actually as a child, it was bones and pebbles - how Flintstone - that I metalwired, sewed or wove in place on to my jewelry and clothing. Even now I wince remembering when once a month my mother would invite our lady neighbors over for sweet tea and to view not my work, but "what odd stuff this child makes" before tossing out my treasures as she rightfully exercised her neatnik "warden like" position in our home. She is no longer with us and if she could see the "unneatnikness" that I joyfully embrace, she would surely wring her hands in horror!

You see... This is why in the past my work was described in the 3rd person. Now you get War and Peace.

All images, design, concept, content, text solely owned by Mimi Dee.  November 29, 2012