Wednesday, February 20, 2013


This painting is why I abandoned the “30 paintings in 30 days” challenge.  I appreciated the benefits of trying to complete a painting every day, but I quickly realized that I was not able to keep up with it.  I dare say that trying to do it made me cranky (sorry to my family).  However, in the short amount of time I did hang in there, I jump-started my painting habits, and I did crank out a few smaller pieces of value.  I also experimented a bit and found out that I really enjoy watercolors and gouache.

This painting holds meaning for me that goes back to my childhood. I had started it a few months back, and I very much wanted to finish it.  
"Tanzbühne"       8" x 10"     Oil on Gessobord

“Tanzbühne” is German for “dance stage.”  This word is printed on the box that this cute little music box was packaged in.  My Grandpa Marshall used it to entertain my cousin Kimmy and me when we were little.  He would pull it down from a high shelf, wind it up, carefully clean the glass and the bottoms of the dancers’ bases with a tissue, and turn it on.  We would watch the dancers spin and rotate around the little stage to the music, “Around the World (in 80 days)”.  We were not allowed to touch it, which added to our perceived value of it.  I don’t know what it is worth today, but it’s precious to me.  Here is a video of it in action:

This is a photo of my grandpa, Ralph Marshall (1906-1986). He and Grandma, Frankie Lorene (1914-1998), lived on a little tiny road in Blue Ridge, which is a small town near Shelbyville, IN.  My great grandma (we called her Granny) lived on that road too.  They lived in little houses, among beautiful rural Indiana scenery.


Besides this music box, my memories of Blue Ridge include:

·      Feeding the chickens and getting eggs out of the chicken coop.

·      Seeing the rabbits and holding the baby bunnies.

·      Riding around in a wagon, pulled by my grandpa on his tractor.

·      Seeing his garden.

·      Playing on their see-saw.

·      Spending the night there with my cousin Kimmy.

·      Sitting on Grandpa’s lap with Kimmy, and us giving him kisses on the cheek, as he cried out as if being tortured.

·      Watching hummingbirds fly around the hummingbird feeder, which was just outside the window near Grandpa’s favorite chair.

·      Drinking rootbeer floats.

·      Grandpa taking us kids to the county fair.

·      Grandpa always passing out suckers to us or any child he met.

·      Visiting the neighbors and playing with the kids who lived on that little road.

·      Going fishing.

·      Playing Yahtzee with Mom, Grandma, and Granny.

·      Becoming very upset when Grandpa would tell me that the rabbit I was eating for lunch was the same little bunny I held and bonded with earlier that year.  He always enjoyed getting a rise out of me.  I was not sure then if he was telling the truth or just teasing, but it was probably both.  As an adult, I realize that they were raising their own food, and economical necessity.  They weren’t afraid to process their own livestock either, but I won’t go into that.

If you are still reading this after my trip down memory lane… I also want to share some casual photos I took with my iPhone as the painting progressed.  

My daughter, Alyssa, gave the stuffed bear to me a few years ago.  She said that everyone needs a bear to hug.  In “Tanzbünhe”, I wanted the toys to interact… to see each other, across the generations.