Sunday, April 29, 2012

St. Mark's Invitational Art Show-April 27-May 30

From April 27 through May 30 you will have another opportunity to be introduced to some wonderful Albuquerque artists.  Drop by 431 Richmond NE, to see the rest of their paintings.  Call 262-2484 for the hours the Sacred Arts gallery is open.

Six members of St. Mark's have artworks hanging in the current show.  Over the next few weeks, I will be talking with each artist in more depth and sharing their thoughts with you.  In the mean while, here is a little preview of their work.

Pat Catlett

Heather Gaume

Allen Lowery

Audrey Minard

Anne Yeager

Marge Ussery 
 Sorry about the light reflections on this work.  Will ask if I can take this watercolor out of its frame and re-take the photo when I interview Marge.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Locale Influence On An Artist's Work-Steve Fuller

Today, I am going to talk a little (or a lot, depending) about what influences an artist's perceptions of his/her world.  For me, the colors and the brilliant light of the desert southwest make me interested in lights and shadows, rocks, water (an always welcome respite from the sun) and skies.  Although I have done some portraiture and flowers, I tend to gravitate to landscapes.

Recently I received an email from a blogging friend, Steve Fuller, asking if I had ever seen his post about some of his artwork with a link to it.  Taking a look was such a delight.  He has given me permission to use some of his images of his work in this post.   Steve lives on the East Coast and blogs about the renovation of his 1842 Greek Revival Cottage at An Urban Cottage.  He is interested in gardening as well as renovations so it is no surprise that he paints flowers. 

Steve's Water Color of Daisies
What I like about this painting is the negative spaces that Steve has created between the petals of the flowers.

In this still life, Steve has organized the painting in strong abstract shapes that still clearly suggest the subjects of sunflowers, fruit and a bottle.  I love the use of blue for the shadows.   

Below is one of my sunflower paintings.  It is much more representational than Steve's and although interested in shapes and negative spaces as well, I was more intrigued by reflected light on the glass holding the paint brushes and scissors in this piece which I did from life (no photo, although one would be helpful as the painting is not completed) in my living room when we lived in Santa Fe.  
Sunflowers by Heather Gaume
And sailboats. Not a surprise that sailboats are non-existent in my work (except on a recent trip to Belize I rarely even see a sailboat unless it is on a trailer being hauled to lake somewhere else.) 

More likely in New Mexico artists' work you would find an adobe building or a cow skull.
Skull and flower by Georgia O'Keeffe

Steve sees sailboats all the time and so he paints them. Below he has organized the scene to change the focus and improve the design of this piece from his reference photograph...
Steve's Reference Photo
Steve's Painting
to this lovely, lyrical, and misty harbor scene.  Notice the things left out of the composition.  Don't you think he chose wisely?  Steve's use of white, rather than dark roofs helps keep this painting from feeling top heavy.  Do you like the yellow sky that is only slightly darker than the foreground?  I think it is brilliant.

River Jewels by Heather Gaume
Similar palette to Steve's painting.  Not as abstract, but certainly not realistic.  I did take a reference photo for this painting, but I cannot find it to show to you.  The colors in life were much more harsh in the mid afternoon sun which cast great shadows on the ledge path leading up the hillside.

Landscape by Steve Fuller
 In this painting by Steve, he has changed the shape of the blue background to make the painting more interesting than his original sketch.  He uses the strong blue to make the foreground stand out.
Landscape by Heather Gaume
In this painting, I changed the direction of the river bed to make it meander through the painting from left to right to increase the diagonals in this piece.
When I teach classes, I encourage students to change what they see, leave some things out, or add something that is not in their original sketch.

Be sure to visit Steve's blog, An Urban Cottage.  His most recent post is about Fritz Bultman, a member of a group of artists, "The Irascibles" who painted in the 1950's.  Fritz was a student of  Hans Hofmann who is said to be the father of Abstract Expressionism.  From Steve's post, you will get a little taste of history, a great photo of Provincetown, and a pretty hot picture of Fritz's wife, Jeanne.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pretty Is As Pretty Does-Dancing through the years

I was a homely little baby. Black eyes, black hair, kind of scrawny and covered with downy black hair when born.  My worried father asked the doctor if I was "a throw-back" to a prehistoric time.

As I grew I was bow legged and enamored with all things "cowboy"...

and yet my former model mother, who was stunning, 

and my very stylish paternal grandmother

were determined to turn my sister and me into a beauties in spite of the also constant admonition, "pretty is as pretty does".  My hair was tortured into huge bows.  Mother rubbed my legs and gently pulled them to make them straight (maybe a bit too much as I am now somewhat knock-kneed.) 

Never giving up, when I was older my mother sent my sister and me to ballet lessons, because my sister loved to dance, and to make me graceful.   As toddlers in Tulsa, Oklahoma we were sent off to learn to be like Maria Tallchief, Oklahoma's first prima ballerina.  All little girls in Oklahoma wanted to be like her.
Maria Tallchief
I don't remember this except for going to the store to purchase little black ballet slippers.

 My earliest memory of actual dancing was later in Morocco.  Rosalind and I took lessons with all the little French girls.  Because they went to school on Saturday, they had a midweek day off and the lessons were held on that day.  We would arrive hot, tired, and hungry from school to dance with rested, feed, and happy little French ballerinas.  I tried.  I was a fairly athletic child, but could never quite get the beat.  Rosalind got the steps the very first time, always.  While I felt a bit like a elephant in a tutu.

For years we took ballet lessons and I never got any better at it.  Recitals were a torture!  As Rosalind reminded me in the comments on a previous post, Maestro Novikoff  in Tacoma, WA dance classes, was terrifying with his carved wooden walking stick.  With it, he would whack the back of the legs of any young dancer  who did not have the proper turnout at the barre.  Although I did love the costumes.  One that I remember was sort of a gypsy/Russian peasant costume with rows of ribbons around the skirt and ribbon crowns with ribbons streaming down the back.  Robin, my best friend in Tacoma, and Rosalind and I all had them and wore them frequently afterwards for our "plays."
Me, in the center trying to pretend I'm anywhere else, and my friend, Robin, looking perfectly comfortable on the far right.

When we moved to St. Louis, my Mother somehow thought I might be better at modern dance.  Again, great costume, horrible performance.

My daddy's mother was delighted with her beautiful daughter-in-law, but less enchanted with her granddaughters, tom-boy me and slightly plump Rosalind.  Still, she continued to try.  Permanent waves in our very straight hair, new outfits every season. Because of my grandmother,  Rosalind and I always had the nicest dresses.  Blue for her, because of her red hair, and pink for me, because of my black hair.  Perversely, we both always wished for the other dress! Mama worked on our posture and deportment.  Frequently her sentences began with "young ladies don't...." or "young ladies always...."

Finally sometime during high school, grandmother got her wish and I was briefly beautiful.  No longer wearing thick glasses, but brand new contacts and with everyone ironing their hair to make it straight, just like mine, I turned into a swan. 
Still wearing boots, though.
Somewhat startled but secretly a little pleased at the attention, I began to find that "outside pretty" was very heady stuff and forgot the "inside pretty" part.  I became interested in clothes, boys and dances.  

All young ladies and gentlemen in Hobbs, New Mexico where we lived at this time, attended "The Assembly" which was a ballroom dance once a month with lessons on how to do the steps.  The boys were forced to dance and the girls were forced to graciously have their toes trampled.  Much to my surprise, I found that, if the boy could dance, I could too!

Looking back, I am not too happy with the young lady I became; vain, self-centered and none to nice to the boys who were interested in me.  Fortunately this narcissism did not last too very long.  Just a year out of college, I regained my balance.  When I had my own daughters, I tried not to place so much emphasis on their looks and a lot more on their accomplishments.  It turns out that all three of them are beautiful, inside and out!

When you talk with young girls, you might ask them about what interests them, what they are good at doing, what they might want to accomplish in their lives.  Only then might you want to say, " oh, and that is a very pretty dress you are wearing" or "you have such pretty eyes."  We all enjoy compliments about how we look, but I intend to make "pretty on the inside" a priority with the young women I work with and with my grandchildren. I quite agree with this quote from one of my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling...

How about you? Are you pretty on the inside? Do you put too much or too little emphasis on looks?

And just for are my granddaughters, who like costumes too, in the coon skin hats I bought for them and the vests and trousers that Rosalind (who actually likes to sew) made for them for their "dress up box."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

Which would you choose...

Modern and graphic?

Floral and somewhat traditional?

Graphic and traditional?
To re-cover this stool...

Which will sit on this rug...

Or would you choose something altogether different? 

Recently I share another project that I suggested to my daughter, Brittany.  After spending a year and a half on the interior of her new home, she was ready to tackle the outside. I thought the most pressing landscape issue was this walkway...
 Narrow, uneven pathway did not give a good first impression of her otherwise lovely large yard.  I hated the gate!  Here is what Brittany did with this space, re-using the paving stones and building a gate with a door she got at Habitat for Humanity's Restore.  When the plants get a little larger, this will be like entering an oasis.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Love the Antique Roadshow, A Ghost Story?

In the last post we looked at some furniture that has been in the family for a long time.  Today we will examine a story that has been repeated through the years.  Is it true or is it fiction?  My mom was always able to make a good story better, however, I am not sure she would make up something like this:

Chest of Drawers  These very useful pieces of furniture seem to change locations the most depending on how well they fit the space or style of the ever so many rooms of our often-moving family.
Photo courtesy of Camille, The Vintique Object

My father's dresser became the star in this little story  For a few weeks after his death, the top drawer would be open in the morning and a pair of his socks would be on the floor.  Mom felt like Daddy was trying to reassure her that he was still around looking out for her.  When she moved back to New Mexico it became my husband's, then on to my daughter's house, where a new father keeps his socks in it.  No ghostly appearances any more.

 This dresser was in my grandparent's guest room.  I lived with them when I was a senior in high school because my parents moved to Atlanta and could not bear to make me start a new school in the middle of my senior year.  I loved this dresser because it has a secret hiding place where I kept all my most precious things.  It was the one piece that I wanted from my grandparent's estate even though it's more ornate Victorian style is not my favorite period, for some reason, it appeals to me.

 It was almost sold at auction by the personal representative who handled my grandmother's estate. He thought selling everything and dividing the money would be the simplest solution.  All grandmother's heirs hired an attorney to stop the sale and save a good deal of our family heritage.  This dresser now lives in our master bedroom.  It had useful candle stands on either side of the mirror which broke off in every single one of our many moves through the years.  I finally gave up having them repaired and strategically place a lamp on one side and the flowers on the other to hide the broken pieces.  

Speaking of my grandmother, that is a portrait hanging to the top and left of the dresser that I did of her from a very faded tin type photo.  Her hair had all been cut off when she had scarlet fever.  It temporarily grew back in darker that her natural striking red.

Reminder:  I am looking for stories and photos of your family treasures (i.e. not necessarily valuable but precious to you none the less.)  Please email a story with photo to

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Antique Road Show - What Famous Person Slept Here?

Well, I must confess that as far as we know, nobody famous has slept in any of the beds I am going to show you in this post.  We don't really know the provenance of most of them.  Both my mother's family and my dad's family bought and sold antiques. My mother continued that tradition...once refusing to sell this desk she had purchased to re-sell after the potential buyer shared that she planned to paint it and my sister said, "oh no, that would ruin it."  Fifty years later it is still in the family, now owned by my niece who has everyone's permission to paint it if she wishes. (And we support Camille's decision to paint the twin beds coming up....)

Would you paint this piece?

To and fro and back again.

Beds:  My sister (not famous, except in the family for her legendary memory) slept in this bed after my parents moved from Hobbs, NM to Atlanta, GA.  Mama gave it to Rosalind when she moved to Albuquerque and into a one bedroom apartment and used the sleigh beds (in the photo below) so that she could have friends spend the night. Years later when my Mom moved from a one bed room apartment to a two bedroom one in her retirement community, Mom asked for it backNow that Mom is in Healthcare, it has returned to Rosalind's second bedroom.

These twin antique sleigh beds that my mother purchased in St. Louis at an estate sale (someone famous could have slept here before we owned them) and my sister and I slept in as a young girls, are now in California, newly painted by my daughter for her three-year-old twin's room.  At some point, I imagine the beds will be passed on to their children. Or perhaps to nieces and nephews.

$5.00 bed
This is my sister's bed.  It has a wonderful story. When my grandmother and her two sisters were young adult women, they went camping.  On the way home they noticed this bed frame leaning up against a tree in a farmer's yard.  They stopped and asked what he was going to do with it.  He said he was throwing it away, so they asked if they could buy it.  He said, "Well, you can just have it."  When they returned with the spanking new buckboard and their prosperous dentist father to help load the bed, he changed his mind and asked for five dollars!  Which they paid.  You will notice in the lower right of the pictures, the holes for the pegs to hold the ropes that would have supported a feather mattress.

My grandmother Rose's bed was passed on to my Uncle Bob and then to me.  I converted it into a queen size.  You can hardly tell that the mattress extends about 3 inches beyond the bed rails on either side supported by an iron kit that I purchased at a local mattress company.

I did buy a special mattress that is less deep than the current styles, so that you do not need a ladder to climb into the bed!  I am wondering if beds were so tall back then to take advantage of the fact that heat rises?  So the nearer the ceiling, the warmer you would be in the days before insulation and thermal windows when homes were heated by fireplaces and wood stoves?

Reminder:  Do you own something that is precious because it has been passed around or down in your family?  Post a comment below by clicking on the pencil or send an email to  Would love to see a photo as well.  Would like permission to post something about your story, but will honor requests to keep it private if you prefer.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Love the Antique Road Show - What Famous Person set a cocktail down here?

Another family story is about a library table cut down to coffee table height.

Could Anna Pavlova have stood next to this table at a cocktail party?

My sister moved this coffee table to her house, after Uncle Ben was admitted to healthcare at the end of his life.  Before Uncle Ben moved to New Mexico and brought it with him, it had belonged to Uncle Bob, who purchased it from a friend, Elizabeth Vickers who owned a high end antiques shop. 

Family stories have it that it originally belonged to Pavlova's dance partner, Laurent Novikoff and that Elizabeth bought it from a friend of his after his death in New York.  We have no idea if this provenance could be proved since there are no written records.  The table was originally a library table that was cut down to make a coffee table and we don't think the legs are original to the piece.  Regardless of its origins, isn't it handsome?  
Photo via The Vintique Object
Detail of carving

Pavlova and Novikoff were pretty handsome as well.
Laurent Novikoff (1888-1956) graduated from Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet School in 1906. He danced alternatively between Diaghilev (1909 and 1919-1921) and Pavlova's company (1911-1914 and 1921-1928). Novikoff was ballet master at the Chicago Opera from 1919-1933, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1941-1945.

Perhaps I will make a Pavlova sometime this week in honor of our possible connection to the famous ballerina.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.[2]
The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. (source, Wikipedia)
Want to make one too?  Here is a recipe...

Reminder:  I am looking for stories and photos of your family treasures (i.e. not necessarily valuable but precious to you none the less.)  Please email your story with photo to

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Love the Antique Road Show-Part One

Oh how I love the Antique Road Show.  I love the hopes and the often times barely concealed greed glee when a piece turns out to be valuable beyond anyone's expectations.  But mostly I love the stories that go along with the pieces brought in with such pride.  I absolutely love it when someone says, "Well, no, I wouldn't ever consider selling it."  (Okay, my secret hoarder does rear its ugly head from time to time.)  Hush, girls, I do sometimes part with things.

In my family, we trade things.  Within the family that is.  Little things like the suitcase, full of silver trays, that moves from house to house depending on who is hosting a party, the hundred champagne glasses (all but a few at each person's house) kept conveniently in a box for transport, and big things like Tables, Beds, and Dressers. 

Tables.  This little table was made in 1846 out of cherry from an orchard on the family farm by my great-great-great uncle.  He gave it to Sarah Ellen Heatherly, his niece and my great-great grandmother.  She gave it to her granddaughter Ellen Heatherly Trax in 1926.  When great aunt Ellen died, it went to her sister, my great-aunt Mary Heatherly who was a maiden lady.  Great aunt Mary gave it to me in l974 when I had my first daughter and named her Heather Camille.  Although we call her Camille, as the daughter who carries part of the Heatherly name, she will inherit this piece next. The provenance is recorded on the bottom and sides of one of the drawers of this piece of our family history.

A writing desk: that once lived in my bachelor uncle's house.  There it served as an entry table which held the telephone, a beautiful antique green globed brass lamp, and was the command center of my uncle's day.  He read the morning paper there, smoked his first and last cigarette of the day, and telephoned his friends to plan dinner parties and make reservations for dinners out.  After Uncle Bob's death, it was one of the many pieces of furniture, china, lamps, etc. that his brother, Ben, shipped out to Rosalind, Russell and me when Ben, and his wife, Clara, closed the house they had shared with Bob, and moved into a retirement community in Easton, Md.

It was for a time, also an entry table in my Albuquerque house before we moved it to Santa Fe.  I have to admit that I was bit taken aback by my Mother's insistence that I also hang the artwork that Bob had used over it.  I refused.  No shrines for me!  Although my uncle had impeccable taste, it was very masculine. The painting was hung elsewhere.  The heavy glass ashtray was donated and the table, well polished with lemon oil to rid it of the smoke smell, became truly least for awhile.  It has moved three times more as we changed houses.
Now a dressing table in the master bath

If we ever get around to installing the jetted tub specified by the architect, it will move again, maybe to one of daughters' homes or maybe just somewhere else in mine.

Tomorrow, read about what famous person may have set a cocktail down on a library table.

I would love to hear about some of your family, paintings, china, toys, etc. that have a story that goes with them.  There really isn't much room in the comments box and I would love to have a picture of your treasure with the story, so if you feel moved to write something, please email it to me at  If you would rather I did not write about it or post the photo, please let me know that as well, otherwise you might see it at a future date.

Monday, April 9, 2012

It was a busy Easter.

This year we did not have a huge family dinner at my house.  Our mothers are getting too frail to come to our house, so we took Easter to them at their retirement community.  Consequently the decor was much simpler and easier to transport.  Here is the table from last year. This year it was paper plates and cups, plastic utensils and paper napkins. 

This simpler decor was because I was very busy during Holy Week, making banners at the "Walk Through Holy Week" deanery wide event for families hosted this year by St. Chad's,

Preschool banners

attending some incredible services at St. Mark's including the very well done Stations of the Cross tableau by the Junior High Group (no photos since this was a service), stuffing several hundred (OK, I confess to counting things and there were 417) plastic eggs for the Resurrection Party which included an Easter Egg Hunt,
The living room was a mess for a couple of days before all the eggs were stuffed.
Robin tells an Easter Story while the eggs were hidden by the Rite-13 class.

The youngest are given a head start.
Parents all contributed eggs as well, so none of the children were disappointed...
Eggs Everywhere

The hunt is ended but no one wants to go back inside on this lovely Easter day even though the party continues in the Parish Hall...
With a cake
Checking out the loot.
A Bevy of Beauties
No eggs found, but happy to share some stories.
Turquoise seems the color of choice this year for frocks.

and lastly I have been doing some initial work on the Celebrity luncheon, "April in Paris" scheduled for next Thursday. 

For the "April in Paris" luncheon, I am using black and pink for the decorations. Here is a sneak peek.
Inspiration mock-up on my sewing table.
We will be doing six tables.  The church has black tablecloths that I will layer with the pink material (in the photo above) cut  into squares and the the napkin sized squares of black and white on top of that.  The centerpieces will be pink carnations in small boxes wrapped with black and white striped paper with a fluer de lis (imaged downloaded from the internet) glued on each side.  Quite some time ago, I purchased pink and white polka dot favor boxes for a baby shower that I ended up not using, so will use them for this event filled with Easter candy.  Still to do:  make the labels for the favor boxes, spray the iron Fluer de lis and the tabletop Eiffel towers black to match the rest of the decor, purchase the flowers, purchase the ingredients for the luncheon, and cook.

Speaking of cooking, here is the recipe for the Asparagus and Cheese Tart that I  found at My Little Bungalow  Claudia has wonderful photos and great tips so you may wish to click straight over there for more detailed instructions.
Ingredients to make one tart:
3/4 lb. thin to medium-sized asparagus, tough stalk ends snapped off
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Course salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed 30 to 40 minutes at room temperature)
1/2 package Boursin cheese, garlic and fine herb flavor
1/2 cup grated gouda cheese
1 egg, beaten with a touch of water to make an egg wash
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
2) In a bowl, toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
3) Dust a large piece of parchment paper lightly with flour; unfold the thawed puff pastry onto the parchment, and dust pastry lightly with flour. Carefully roll out the pastry into a rectangle, roughly 10" x 15" or 11" x 14" (mine was about 11" x 12" which worked perfectly). Transfer pastry to a baking sheet. Using a paring knife, score a line around the perimeter of the pastry, about 1" in from edge, to create a border (do not cut all the way through). Using a fork, prick the dough all over within the border; this part will remain flat during baking while the border puffs up.
4) Crumble the Boursin cheese within the border, then sprinkle the gouda on top.
5)  Arrange asparagus in a single layer evenly over the cheese. Lightly brush tart border with egg wash.
6) Bake tart until asparagus is tender and pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool briefly before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Recipe originally from the April issue of House and Home.

I took this to a party Saturday evening and folks were fighting over it.  I promised the folks there to post the recipe, so here it is.  Thanks Claudia.