Sunday, March 27, 2011

Folk art is a family tradition

My artwork is often influenced by folk art. If my work sometimes looks naive or imperfect, you could say it is because I skipped out of my life drawing and painting classes a little too often, because the materials I use are so varied that I'm expert in none, or it could be because it is a family tradition. My paternal grandmother Leona McCafferty was a tole painter and teacher.                                          


Like me, she preferred decorative painting on practical household items rather than fine art, although she did some paintings, such as this wonderful landscape remicient of Grant Wood. 

She went to college in her 50's and taught tole painting classes and weaving for years. Most of the gifts she gave me and my sister throughout the years were amazing things she had decorated including old trunks, tin milk jugs, hat racks, jewelry chests with our names and birthdates on them, and little stools. She taught her impatient little granddaughters her tole painting secrets and tricks. 

Her work has a simple, naive look to it, but it is much harder to achieve than it looks. Often there are deliberate misspellings or family in-jokes on the items (note "faih" below).    

 She made signs and always used the same colors- her beloved red-orange, aqua, rich gold and olive green. She used outlining and dots and decorative swooshes and filigrees. The imperfections were what caused you to adore them.

She was an early upcycler, making this plaque of mushroom caps out of the dried oil paint splotches on her art palette. You never know where you'll find inspiration.

As you can see in my work below, some nuts just don't fall far from the tree. And that's just okay.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sooo glad that the nut didn't fall far from the tree. This blog gave me goosebumps to see how like Leona that you are! I just feel so much better about the world knowing that Leona's special kind of creativity and natural talent goes on. Linda



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