This Autumn, 2022, I’ve been concentrating on mostly maple leaves with my gourds. This first gourd in this series gave me an opportunity to turn an oops into an aah. A section of three leaves broke off basically at the moment I finished painting the entire piece. At first my plan was to glue it back in place. However, this idea came to me to add it to a different area making it more three dimensional. That idea led to cutting and painting extra leaves which I then added to the base.
Continuing with this idea of taking my gourd sculptures to a new level, I have cut extra leaves on the next three gourds in this series.
The inside of #81 (above) was so lovely, I chose to not paint it.
#83 is tiny by comparison. Cutting, sanding the backs of these leaves (below), and painting them presented quite the challenge:
I have had to stop burning to protect my lungs. This glitch did not stop me for long. I am now painting the gourds, no burning. These particular gourd shapes lend themselves to land and seascapes. When I took this photo I hadn’t realized that the second from the right was incomplete. Unlike the other gourds, these need bases.
I’m calling this one “Summer” because I chose to paint the leaves green instead of using the Autumn colors I love so much. This gourd is about the same height as the leaf gourds, however its diameter is larger, 6″.
I stopped doing artwork when my husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer in April 2018. I couldn’t seem to work in my studio, focusing on him took all my energy and attention. Sixteen months later, August 2019, Bill was gone. And I still couldn’t work, still in shock and deeply mourning.
So, it was not a surprise to me that when I did start working again, almost two years to the day we learned Bill had cancer, my work was very different. You see, what I’ve discovered to be true over these many years as an artist, is that when I am blocked from working for whatever reason, when I return, it’s like the Phoenix rising up.
This first gourd rather took me by surprise. I had the idea, the tools to make it happen (a Proxxon jigsaw, Proxxon grinder, and a Micro Pro by Mastercarver that uses Dremel bits) for drilling the filagree.
I’ve done burning on gourds before, but nothing like this new work.
Three different views of the first gourd I ever worked on. With over twenty-years of Chinese Brush Painting experience and my lifelong love of trees and mountains, I tend to approach new art projects from that place of comfort and knowledge, it’s; what I know the best.
What I am really missing as I continue with this new work, presently working on the fifth gourd, is the excitement Bill used to share with me over my work. There were many times during our 36+ year marriage when he talked about not being able to figure out where my ideas came from. He would watch me work, scratch his head, and ask, ‘how did you come up with that?’, or ‘I just watched you do that and I still can’t figure out how you did it.’