Monday, March 2, 2015

Sunday Paintings

Starting in the Victorian era, the leisure of Sundays encouraged amateur painters to celebrate life's simple pleasures in careful strokes of dazzling color on everything from canvas to cardboard. After all, what could be more romantic than painting landscapes on the beach? Or catching the play of light on a child's hair? Wherever a sketch was too brief or a camera insufficient,  the moment was ripe for a Sunday painting. Today, collectors are drawn to these oil landscapes, portraits, and still-life paintings. – Cottage Style Spring/Summer 2004

I have a small but treasured collection of Sunday paintings, and portraits are my favorites. I forage for these paintings on instinct, buying from the heart - for the sheer love of art. Unlike gallery fare, which is vetted, these paintings allow me the chance to make my own discoveries of artistic potential while digging among dusty thrift stores and bargain shops.
 


Displaying these orphaned treasures in my home is a matter of personal expression and comfort. Guests to our home invariably ask about the portraits, often assuming they are family members. Explaining my passion for these painted portraits and the artists who created them, I hope to extend a genuine welcome. If I would treasure a complete stranger, surely I will treasure you.  

I like to think that, as the focus of someone's art, these are people worth spending time with. – Tom Lawless

What I love most about the paintings is the texture . . . the brush strokes, the occasional small tear or worn area, the rough edges of unframed canvas, the gentle swirl of colors blending.

On the gray days of February, I spent time taking photos of roses, another of natures most resplendent examples of texture. Against a dark background with glimmers of light, the roses seemed the perfect compliment to my painted ladies. 



This art was clearly made for pleasure, just as I embrace photography for the joy of it.

Less-than-perfect is easy to live with - in art and in life.  And a leisurely Sunday of making art is a gift.

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen today for Texture Tuesday.  Thank you Kim, for your beautiful presets that formed the basis for editing my photos today.

29 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Donna for sharing these gorgeous paintings with us! They are true works of art! How lucky you are to own and being able to admire everyday these lovely portraits! I understand so easily your love for these portraits made years ago by unknown painters as I love them too though they are too much unaffordable for me... Your portraits were made by amateur painters and yet these painters were so talented, so skilled as to say a lot of things about the people they painted... we can guess, or at least imagine some aspects of those ladies' personality through their posture, their eyes, the inclination of their head, their their hair cut, the jewels they wear and their clothes, so brillantly rendered... there's so much to look at and to learn...
    The magic of photography is that you could associate your own photographic pictures with the portraits... and the result is a pair of fabulous dyptich! Each of your pictures matches amazingly each portrait with its appropriate colors, its characterisitc mood.... I have to say that I have a weakness for the last dyptich... I love the faded pink of the lady's dress and of your roses, I like the sweetness and the gentleness which radiates from her lovely face... Another great and fantastic post Donna!

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    1. Odile, I think of you strolling the streets of your neighborhood, taking such beautifully textured photographs. And, I will look for similar view here in Virginia. In the meantime, the texture of these painted portraits - I just love so much - I had to share. Thank you always for your kind comments and the lovely way you see the best in us all!

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  2. fabulous pairing! I am really liking these portraits. These will make fabulous cards with the stitching : )

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    1. Cathy, You are right! I was thinking these photographs will make beautiful and unique cards to send and share. Speaking of fabulous pairings - all I can think about is the tea time photos from your blog post today - tea and treats! I can't wait till 3pm!

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  3. How beautifully you've matched the tone and texture of the roses to the ladies' dresses, Donna. You've got a great eye for colour should you ever decide to mix some pigment and do a spot of Sunday painting yourself. Your portraits are charming. I share your love of paintings of unknown sitters. I've collected a few myself over the years and often spend an idle moment wondering about their stories. Ah, if only they could chat to me from beyond their frames ... I love how you link your love of these unknown sitters to the guarantee of a warm welcome in your home: that's a truly heart-warming connection. All the best, Bonny

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    1. Hi Bonny, Well, my painted ladies are no match for the portraits on your post for today! The rich history of the Tudors, the beautiful portrait of Queen Elizabeth, and the hilarious story you share - my art history lesson - thank you! Surely, these ladies are not royalty, but I'm sure their stories are equally rich.

      Thank you for finding the best in my work and always encouraging me!

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  4. I love the way your photographs complement those paintings so well, the colours and tones are gorgeous.

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    1. I used the roses to bring out the tones of the portraits in the same way you used the yellow daisies to compliment the beautiful vintage plate you found. Looks like we are on the same page today. So nice to meet a new friend!

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  5. Don't you wonder who these lovely ladies were and what their lives were like? Your rose photos are so lovely and make for lovely diptychs!

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    1. Yes, Roxanne, I do wonder about these ladies. In all of my versions of their stories, these ladies are gracious and warm and wise. Just as with your image today of the little branches in simple glass vase, these pictures are much deeper than they first appear.

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  6. Something I didn't know about you and your collection of portraits and I loved your quote about visitors in your home asking and you saying it is a welcome to you. So much love in your heart it just wants to come out to these portraits, loving displayed.

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    1. Barb, One of the things I love most about blogging is the way it permits friendships to unfold - one layer at a time. We get to know one another. Love your best of February images and the sweet pictures of your granddaughter, too!

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  7. I'm one of those lucky people who have seen your gorgeous collection of paintings. The woman in pearls and the ashes-of-roses dress is my favorite (and the dog). We've both wondered why photographs and scrapbooks and paintings wind up in thrift shops. How can people get rid of a painting? A scrapbook? Even if the provenance is unknown, they shouldn't be cast off.

    My husband's grandfather was a Sunday painter in the nineteenth century. I have three of his paintings, two in their original "composition" frames. But the one I love the most was painted on a piece of wood. I like to think he couldn't afford a canvas and simply had to paint anyway.

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    1. There are so many treasures in your home, each of them reflecting your history, your stories, and your sense of place. I admire your devotion to the goodness and richness of each life (be that person or animal). That painting on the piece of wood - I love it, too - much as I love the notes from children that were written on napkins or the backs of old envelopes. When we need to create . . . we will.

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  8. OK, these are absolutely fabulous! Each portrait is definitely a work of art which would take me a year if I ever did get it done. I love the collage including your flowers - so beautiful.

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    1. Barb, Your decaying tulips against the dark backgrounds, so artfully arranged, are paintings with light - so like my Sunday paintings. It's wonderful that we can create with what we are given. . . each maker an artist.

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  9. I love these, Donna! Your pairings are perfection! And this: "If I would treasure a complete stranger, surely I will treasure you." I love your heart. Have a blessed week!

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    1. June, Thank you always for your encouragement and for finding the best in me. I am so sad to learn of your father's passing. . . and reassured that your faith will sustain you. Your favorite photo for February is so beautiful, and your new blog is a lovely tribute to your father. Thanks to our blogs, we are not strangers, but friends, indeed.

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  10. Oh wow, the red rose against the black background…..stunning!

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn. Love your vintage postcard today with the ironstone pitcher and white carnations. Simply soft and lovely.

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  11. These portraits are gorgeous, Donna, wonderful treasures !
    Love the combination with your photos ... the pretty rose in bright red and the pale roses,
    oh my ...stunning !
    Thanks for your lovely comment on my Flickr stream :-)
    Have a nice week,
    Sylvia

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    1. Sylvia, Your photostream and blog are one of my favorite places to visit. You never fail to inspire me -and your style is one that I admire so much. I could recognize one of your picture anywhere - your style is so genuinely you. I think I'd like to know the person behind those images - are you as open and honest and lovely as your pictures? I think the answer must be YES!

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  12. dear me.... these are stunning.... so beautiful Donna....combined with the dramatic stills... just breath taking.....

    always so inspired when I stop by.... sending you lots of love today. xo

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    1. Your latest images with the teacup and lemon against the dark backdrop were my inspiration for the rose pictures. I wanted something more dramatic to go along with my painted portraits and your new presets were just the ticket. Still can't believe how blessed I am to have you in my life. . .

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  13. Beautiful. Your rose photographs go so well with the paintings. Wonderful.

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  14. I loved learning about Sunday paintings - thank you for that bit of knowledge and insight...and then your pairings of the roses with each one...breathtaking...a perfect combination...

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  15. These are beautiful. Visiting from Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.

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