Thursday, April 15, 2010


Easter Sunday
12x12" oil on canvas


First, let me just say..."time flies," whether one is having fun or not. This is in no way to suggest that I am not having fun, quite the contrary in fact. It just struck me that time passes, it seems to me, just as quickly either way. Digressing! "Spring!" is this month's challenge theme, given to us by Jeanne Illenye, the group's newest member and an incredible artist.

Spring, for me, always arrives dressed in a pair of brand new, super high-glossed, patent-leather Mary Janes, worn with the ever-tasteful and appropriate white anklet—little blue flowers adorning the scalloped edges, some kind of pastel colored frilly frock with lots of crinolines sticking out from underneath and banana curls, the result of sitting uncomfortably atop a stack of phone books in the beauty parlor for what seemed like days. The coveted coils, sadly, will later disappear at the slightest hint of moisture in the air.

For some reason Spring has been frozen in time for me. I'm between the ages of 5 and 10 and I'm all dressed up for Easter Sunday.  I loved Easter Sunday as a child. It meant a very special dinner, cooked by my Mom, who was arguably, one of the best to ever darken the doors of a kitchen. We would come downstairs—that morning—to colorfully decorated baskets full of goodies and sweets along with a very loving letter written by our parents. It was all perfect, except that is, for the Easter Sunday church service. I dreaded it more than a trip to the dentist.

Each year, during the Easter service, us “little folk” were called upon to favor the congregation with a selection of some sort. This meant that those of us without so-so singing voices and/or budding musical instrument skills were relegated to standing in front of everyone to recite some inane little Easter/Spring poem. And as usual, the church, to my great horror, will be stuffed to capacity.

Fast forward. It's nearing my turn. The girl, whose thick long braids I coveted with every cell in my body, was nearing the end of her poem. I'm next! Dry mouth, hands shaking, knobby knees—buffed to a blinding shine with baby oil for the occasion—I made the long, lonely, terrifying walk past the choir, the pastor and all his attendants to my spot just to the left of the pulpit.

Swallowing nothing and refusing to look up, I clasped my hands together, tried to clear my throat, opened my mouth and croaked..

What are you lookin at me for?
I didn't come to stay.
I just came to wish you
A Happy Easter Day!

Pinch either side of the dress with thumb and forefinger, slip left foot behind right, bow your head and curtsy. It was over in a heartbeat, which I'm sure everyone could hear.  Four weeks of dread, fear, nervous gas and the hiccups for four sentences.

Why does my painting not reflect my rather detailed description of my own personal Easter Sunday? I have no idea where those snapshots are but I found this incredibly dapper young man in my friend's photo album last year and pinched it!

Spring, as interpreted by the group, is delightful. Enjoy!

Spring Wonder
Oil  4x6”
 ©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

En Plein Air
9x12" oil on panel
© 2010 Robin Cheers

The Lost Ribbon
8x8” oil on canvas
 ©2010 Jeanne Illenye

Oil on canvas, 18x18”
Michael Naples
©2010 Michael Naples

©2010 Vicki Ross
9x12” oil on panel


  1. Suz, Your dapper little man is phenomenal! You are kicking some serious painting butt... The story to go with this is great. Too bad our parents put us through those tortures for their own viewing enjoyment. What were they thinking!?!?

    Thanks for sharing the other paintings, as well. Each is great in its own right. My favorite would have to be Jeanne's "The Lost Ribbon". What a great story she told on that canvas...


  2. Don, hey there! thank you so much! Really what were they thinking. I remember that feeling even today. I agree with you, the paintings from the group are just beautiful. The Lost Ribbon is stunning isn't it?

    Thanks again, my friend, for your kind words.

  3. Please please PLEASE find one of those old photos!!!!! and post it of course. :D

  4. Oh yes, we must see a photo!!! I love that story :)

    Your painting is AMAZING! I love everything about it. His eyes are perfect and you nailed his expression! Beautiful work Suzanne :) :)

  5. Stunning! You captured and expressed so much on the canvas in that beautiful little face.

  6. Beautiful!! You are such an incredible artist! Love your Easter story—find some pictures.

  7. Love all the rich browns in this, surrounded by that clear Robin's Egg (or Easter Egg?) Blue. His expression is so sweet and innocent. I like the way his bottom lip is sucked in. Wonder if he is savoring some remaining Chocolate Bunny or if he is hesitantly waiting for his turn to shine at the church he's attending.

    Waiting on those photos! GREAT story!

  8. I love, love, love your painting. The little man's expression biting his lip, says it all in your story. And the placement of his face in the format of the painting, how the light shines on his face and the shadow shapes created, very nice breakup of space. Did I mention I love it?

  9. My gosh but that little man is quite a handsome fella! Look at the baby face becoming a man...Such a perfect capture of a most poignant time, Suzanne. Your baby oiled knees made me smile and your Easter memories made me wish I had similar. I don't know if I ever owned patent Mary Janes, though I suspect I wanted them. And those ruffly and pretty anklets? I don't think I ever had any of those either. I do remember pretty Easter dresses and Easter bonnets though. And the banana curls? I thought I was the only one who called them that! My mom used to make them by combing our wet hair around her fingers and they usually lasted most of the day for us. I love each of these gorgeous spring paintings you have done too. The lady painting plein aire looks to built as I am and reminded me of me, should I ever gather the chutzpah to paint en plein aire. The flowers you painted are especially beautiful!

  10. Suzanne- Thanks for this painting! I have a great reference photo of two little girls playing Sunday dress-up and one has a hat on and the sun is hitting her face similarly. Seeing how you so richly handled the skin tones up close helps me know how to approach it. Love your Easter story... but I hated all the crinolines! My mother was a seamstress, so you can imagine.

  11. WOW. Suzanne, you are SO good. I don't know whether to be gapingly inspired or just hang up my brushes for good. OUTSTANDING painting.

  12. What a great portrait.
    It is beautiful, outstanding piece.

  13. Fantastic and cute portrait, Suzanne!

    A little boy dressed up for church isn't what came to my mind when I heard the word "spring" and yet after reading your post it made PERFECT sense to me!

    Great job on this!


  14. Great portrait! The skin tones are just beautiful and the expression on his face is so cute! Well done!

  15. Suzanne, don't know what I like better...the story or the painting! You go gurl!

  16. Nice pics, your portrait is just fantastic Suzanne, full of life for a wonderful time of year

  17. Jala, i don't even know where they are, unfortunately. Standing in front of my grandfather's flowered trees with my bro, we were quite the sight! I've often wondered how he got out of doing the poem thing!

    Crystal, i'll keep looking. Thank you so much for your comment! What wonderful words, thank you! I really enjoyed working on him.

    Tonya, Thank you! I am so thrilled by your words.

    Carol, Wow, thank you so very much! I'll keep looking for those snaps.

    Gwen, thank you for your wonderful and generous comments! They mean a lot to me.

    Ariel, thank you, thank you, thank you! Wow!

    AutumnLeaves, thank you so much for sharing your memories, I really enjoyed them. And I'd love to take credit for all of the other paintings but they are all done by other members of the challenge group and I agree with you, they are all gorgeous.

    Pat, thank you for your kind comments! Can't wait to see your Sunday dress up painting.

    rgarriott, oh my! coming from you, those are incredible words indeed. thank you, thank you, thank you. oh, and thank you!

    Irit, thank you so much!

    Dean, thanks for such kind words, I really appreciate them.

    Linda, thank you so very much!

    Vicki, thank you! What a wonderful comment. I so appreciate it and really love what you did as well.

    Sam, thank you so very much!

  18. Suzanne, of all the figure paintings I've loved from blogs... heck, from ANYWHERE... this, I think, is my favorite. I'm with 'R' - it almost makes me want to say... 'What SHE said with her painting'.. and hang up my brushes!

    And I love, love, LOVE the story of you with the crinolines, and the church..... (I hate church at Easter because it's so crowded!)... AND the poem!

    Thanks for posting the group's paintings, they're great! But it will be hard to replace YOUR 'Spring' in my heart... You have got it going on, girl.


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!