There is a juried show of small works at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA, with the subject being the egg. Initially I wasn’t particularly intrigued by drawing an egg, although I liked the idea of tackling the incredible surface of the shell. There are probably hundreds of entries, so I have no idea if my piece will be accepted, but I didn’t really enter anticipating acceptance. Rather, I saw it as motivation for making another picture, and with a deadline. My inspiration came from a beautiful della Robbia-style egg cup that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Isabel Finley Bell. I say it is della Robbia-style because the flowers are raised and on a base of iridescent white and blue. I’m sure Luca della Robbia was not into egg cups (although you never know) but my Granny’s cup reminds me of his style.
I decided, the week after Christmas – the one week of the year when I don’t have to do anything and when I try to take the time for myself after the onslaught of the many have-tos of the season – that I would do a pastel per week. I am way, way, way too slow to do a drawing/painting a day as many people do. (A pastel that covers the entire page is called a painting but I still feel it odd to name pastel pieces that way.) So I thought one per week would be doable. So I started a painting of a bizarre set of Russian nesting dolls that accidentally came my way, but I just couldn’t get it to a point where I was happy with it. I kept trying to decide whether to keep working on it or abandon it. This took a lot longer than a week.
Then along came Valentine’s day. (So, yes, it was more than a month on the damned dolls.) So I thought I’d make a pastel for Isabel. A break from the dolls and an opportunity for something upbeat and fun. I thought it would take me 2-4 hours. It took a lot longer, of course – what did I expect from my egregiously slow self.