June by Violet Oakley / oil, charcoal, graphite on board

This was the cover of

This was the cover of “Everybody’s Magazine” in 1902.

It’s at The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk VA. They have a really great show of American Impressionists. It’s worth the drive from Richmond!  The show is titled “The Artist’s Garden”.

One thing I love about the Chrysler Museum besides the great art exhibits is that it’s FREE! Free parking! Free entry to the art! YEA!!

The show is a real inspiration! Now I want to paint like an Impressionist! But not a contemporary Impressionist, because these old dead artists beat out the live ones!  It’s too much writing for me to go into all the painting technique I observed in this show, but I think I can do it! I’ll post more pix from the show soon.

Today was a good day to go to Norfolk. The show ends Sept. 4. If you’re interested, you should probably go this week, because traffic will be worse next week. (end of Summer and Labor Day traffic jams coming to your tunnel soon!)

I’m giving you this one 1st because I want Shelby to see it. She’s a fan of Violet Oakley.


Art In A Magnificent Setting…

Mystery of V Oakley

The Mystery of Violet Oakley – Collage

I have always loved visiting the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg. It has it all: sweeping exterior staircases, incredible marble sculptures, murals beyond compare, and Commonwealth, resting atop the dome, a gilded fourteen foot six-inch statue I had the pleasure of seeing at ground level after restoration.

This is why I am so excited, and honoured, to be included in the Fifth Annual Daily Painters of Pennsylvania Group Exhibition taking place in the East Wing Rotunda for the month of July 2014.

The Daily Painters is Blog devoted to artists living in Pennsylvania. The diversity and standard of work is magnificent. I love visiting the Blog because it takes me back to my Art School days where we were able to view work in progress, and careers in transition, in an encouraging environment.

For the exhibition we each submitted three works. I chose The Mystery of Violet Oakley as one of my pieces. The Pre-Raphaelite influenced work of Violet Oakley is no stranger to us living in the Harrisburg area.  Forty-three murals grace the walls of the Capitol. Violet was the first woman artist to receive a commission of such magnitude in the United States. Her extraordinary talent and life inspired my collage.

As one of the Red Rose Girls, Violet shared her life with Jessie Willcox Smith and Elizabeth Shippen Green. Living together encouraged a climate of extreme creativity and speculation on the true nature of the arrangement, a mystery that would never be fully solved.

The substrate for my collage is canvas. In addition to the photo of Violet, I used handmade and art paper, ribbon, joss paper, a letter written by Violet, and a pressed rose petal.

Although we Daily Painters don’t physically live together, we do share a home base on the Blog. And like the Red Rose Girls, it is an enlightening and nurturing place to be.

A Violet & Red Roses…

Mystery of Violet Oakley

I have always loved the work of Violet Oakley. The drawing is superb. Strong. Accurate. The paintings inspired.

We are lucky to be able to see her work at the Pennsylvania State Capitol building in Harrisburg. The forty-three murals are majestic.

Violet had an extraordinary life. A book by Alice A. Carter, The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love, explores the shared lives of Jessie Willcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green, and Violet first at the Red Rose Inn and later with Henrietta Cozens at Cogslea near Philadelphia. It is an excellent read.

Playwright Cindy Dlugolecki’s sensitive portrayal of Violet’s life is explored through her work  Violet Oakley Unveiled which I had the pleasure of seeing several times.

Did the Red Rose Girls, as they were known, have a Boston Marriage? No one will ever know for sure. But their living arrangement did foster a climate of extreme creativity…each woman following the call of her Muse.

Our assignment at The Art Center’s Collage Class I was a part of was to create a “woven” collage. We were to use paper and objects and weave them together as you would a carpet.

It is a conventional piece. The substrate is  canvas. In addition to the photo of Violet, I used handmade paper, art paper, ribbon, joss paper,  a letter written by Violet,  and pressed rose petals.

The lives of the Red Rose Girls were woven together through the love of art and each other. Violet’s life and work inspired me to create my own tapestry.