My interest in gemstones was sparked during a trip to see The Hope Diamond when it was introduced into the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in 1958. My Mother bravely packed her station wagon with Brownie Scouts, and we joined the mobs who lined up to see it. We snaked through the museum through the Hall of Gems, which was filled with what appears in bodice-ripper fiction as “dripping with pearls.” Inspiring and breathtaking.
But ever-so-slightly disappointing. It was billed to the public and to my tiny 8-year-old brain as the largest blue diamond in captivity. Not knowing that the key word was blue, I expected to find a diamond the size of a softball. To my immense disappointment, it appeared to be the size of a quarter.
I missed the career off-ramp to “gemstone cutter,” and now that I’m hewing to my 65th birthday vow of avoiding activities requiring safety equipment or liability waivers, there will be no glass cutting, tile cutting, bungee jumping, and now, no gemstone cutting.
Whimsical wildlife documentarian paints gemstones
It is well within the purview of the Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian to paint gemstones and to apply a 2019 version of Painstaking Exuberance. I have paintbrushes, and I am not afraid to use them.
Multiple advantages of painting whimsical gemstones:
No insurance penalty for using dangerous equipment: paint brushes, even the tiniest, are not lethal unless you are in obscure parts of mystery fiction.
No need to consider the Laws of Physics: I never took physics, so I can plead ignorance.
No need to consider colors that might not exist in nature: in my experience as an artist, nature’s color limitations are highly over-rated.
No need to be limited by cost or size: a real five-pound amethyst crystal would be outside my art supply budget, it would pain my arthritic hands, and diamonds and rubies are out of the question.
No fear of making a costly mistake: the ever-real possibility of dropping and breaking a valuable stone was always a deal breaker.
“Obsession” is such a dark word. How, then, should I describe my habit of finding a new design and then working on it until I’m either exhausted, or another idea comes to replace it? Working on Conversations Connections pieces has absorbed a lot of time lately. I’m not close to being finished experimenting and exploring this design which reflects connections — human and technological.
Examples at Artists’ Market
Come and see several examples of Conversations Connections at Artists’ Market, the Northstar Watermedia Society’s All-Original Watercolor Show, at the Fine Arts Building at the MN State Fairgrounds, May 29 and 30.
In the beginning
I began to make the underlying pencil drawing during the first day of 2015 Art-a-Whirl, and finished it last night. My original plan was to use just green paint to fill in the tiny squares and rectangles, but somehow yellow and blue crept in.
After working with a Micron .05 black pen on the last piece, I decided to look for a pen with a finer line. I’d hoped for a 005 Davy’s Gray Micron Pen, but it isn’t available. Experimenting with Golden High Flow Transparent Gray with a new triple-zero brush was interesting, but the effect wasn’t quite right. At Dick Blick, I found the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen (extra-small) in black and it worked. I’m still on the hunt for a very fine tipped gray pen.
I can create a Conversations Connection for you in any size and color scheme. I can work on paper (in my studio) or create a mural on your wall. Use the contact form below and we can start our own Conversation.