Thoughts on painted ladies were running through my head over the last several weeks. For those of you who have never been to San Francisco you may not know what I am referring to. The painted ladies are bright colored Victorian and Edwardian homes usually painted in three colors. The term was made famous by the book of the same name written by Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in 1978. I happened to be living in San Francisco at that time and visited many neighborhoods with homes restored to their previous elegance. I even lived in several Victorians in San Francisco. Since then the term has also been used to describe groups of colorful Victorian homes in other American cities such as Baltimore, St. Louis Missouri, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Cape May in New Jersey.
I've been thinking of the painted ladies in terms of garden cottages or shrines I want to build. I envisioned bright colorful buildings, cheerful, somewhat ornate, with lots of architectural embellishments. I'm a lover of nature but also of architecture and I appreciate many different styles from rustic to modern and everything in between. Cracker houses, dog trots, cottages, mountain cabins, mid century modern homes, prairie styles, Gothic, adobe and more rattle around in my brain. I thought about vine covered buildings like the photo below I took of an abandoned building I saw here in Florida.
If you're new to this blog you may not remember my lavender gift shop I designed and had built, shown below. The shop later evolved into my clay studio.
I still have a hard time seeing this photo, I miss my previous studio, but mostly I miss my gardens and my flowers ever so much. Due to a back injury and other circumstances beyond our control, like the economy and other things, we sold our lavender farm in California and moved to Florida.
Above is a photo of Gary and I in front of one of the perennial garden beds at our lavender farm. And here's some hollyhocks and a bird house in the herb garden there.
Some things are so hard to let go. I wonder if Gary feels the loss as much as I do. I know he misses working on his tractor and having the barn as his man cave. Perhaps if I build a few garden cottages and bird houses in clay I can work through my loss. Anyway I digress, or do I? No, I don't, it's all part of my work.
Years ago I did India ink drawings of architecture, (wish I had some of those drawings) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so it's only natural my love of architecture and my past life, gardens, travels, experiences, and art will influence my present work. As my thoughts rambled along like they often do, the idea of the painted ladies began to coalesce in my mind. I knew I could make pieces which would emulate the painted ladies I saw in San Francisco so many years ago. But before I could act on that thought, the word painted lady conjured up several more images in my mind. Images of painted lady butterflies came to mind.
Modern Woman, Robert Maestas
I wanted to get my ideas and concepts in print today to help organize myself. These ideas, concepts and my feelings will overlap, blend, evolve, and eventually translate into numerous sketches, and then into new pieces in my ceramic art. Thanks for reading, for being supportive, and for taking the time to comment here on my blog.