The Sweetness of Winter

When I was a child and our family was still intact, we always got tangerines in our Christmas stockings. Tangerines and oranges are ingrained in my subconscious as the taste of winter. They are also my favorite fruit year around. I tend to go for mandarins these days, though navel oranges are my favorite. I get them in those red mesh bags and I eat one or two everyday with breakfast.

I have a photographer friend who has made some wonderful photographs of that red mesh, abstracting and adding mystery to it. I decided to try to do that with a painting, embedding it in different colors, painting over it, snipping it up into collage pieces, but all I ever made was a mess. Finally, I decided just to paint some mandarins and apply the mesh on top. Closer to realism and fun to create. This the result:

The Sweetness of Winter by Joy Murray, 8×10″, mixed media

It was fun to create a painting that made me smile, after so many that didn’t. And delicious image to start the new year.

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2021 in Paintings

I didn’t get as many paintings done as I would have liked this year, but since I was sick in September and most of October, I still feel like I did enough. I like putting together end of the year lists and collections, because I can look back and see that I actually added to the creative spirit of the world, even if some days and weeks I didn’t get anything done.

We live in a culture that is very production oriented, and I like to make goals and schedules, but often as not, life interferes. The arts and creativity don’t work that way anyway. As I look back over the year and the problems and strife we’ve all had to deal with, it’s amazing anything was created at all. But creatives keep creating, opening our eyes, inspiring us, and reminding us of beauty, individuality, and hope. Creative work is always hopeful, it’s an investment in the future, even it’s only in our own small life. A schedule, a practice, is a good thing, but we have to be flexible when life doesn’t allow us to stay rigidly in our schedule. And part of the creative process is just thinking about things, looking at things, and processing things.

This year, I started out by making gift paintings for the people who support me on Patreon. I was enchanted by moonflowers, so I did a small series of paintings of them.

Moonflowers in Nandina Bush

I did two portraits this year, both of Memphis creatives who have passed away:

Etheridge Knight, Memphis Poet, Teacher and inspiration to generations
Lou Bond, one of the few acoustic musicians recorded by Stax records, 1945-2013

My biggest painting this year, 30×40″, was on our obsession with new devices, our ignorance about cyber-trash, and about conflict metals:

Mandusa

I also painted 3 more pieces for my Look Closer: Disability and Sensuality series:

The Color of Air
Ever After
She Unlocked her Door

So, a good collection for 2021, I think. What do you think?

I feel like I’m growing with each painting. And I so appreciate your support and thank you for following my blog. I have added some of these paintings to my Redbubble print shop (see link below) if you’d like to get cards or copies of them.

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways. 

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

You can subscribe to this blog by email in the link below this post.

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.

Her Secret Colors

I started this painting when the ginkgo trees turned gold. I wanted a simple celebration of yellow leaves and I painted the whole canvas different shades of yellow, then squirted the paint with water to get a kind of feathered textured. I planned to paint in the leaves on top of that, just a rain of ginkgoes and a few maple leaves. I planned a relatively precise representation of the leaves, but the feathery texture I imagined didn’t happen, all the yellows leveled out into each other.

Then I started sketching a woman in the right corner. Precision flew away and everything went intuitive. I followed no particular plan, but I worked with the colors and autumn and ideas about aging.

Leaves have the colors that we see in the fall all summer long, but green is dominant, because the leaves are making chlorophyll. When the days begin to get shorter, they stop making chlorophyll and the green recedes, and the colors of other elements are revealed.

This thought kept me company as I worked on this painting – and all the color and pain and history we carry with us as we age.

Her Secret Colors, by Joy Murray, 20×24″, acrylic on stretched canvas
Her Secret Colors detail
Her Secret Colors, detail

What do you think?

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways. 

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

You can subscribe to this blog by email in the link below this post.

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.

Winter Blooms

Though it’s been a relatively mild autumn, my gardening tendencies have moved indoors. I don’t have a lot of room in my apartment for plants (I’d have more if I didn’t want desks and art tables by the windows), so I have to limit how many plants I grow indoors. Still, even a few plants keep the indoors bright on these darkening days.

My winter cactus is in it’s 3rd year. I know it’s called a Christmas cactus – schlumbergera is the official name, and there are varieties called Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter cactus. Mine is a Whenever It Feels Like it Cactus, known to bloom in midsummer, or send out a flower any old time.

“Schlumbergera is a small genus of cacti with six to nine species found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. These plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats that are generally shady with high humidity, and can be quite different in appearance from their desert-dwelling cousins.” (Wikipedia)

This year, I potted two different ones together, so I have white ones blooming now, with buds starting on pink ones.

I love watching them grow from tiny buds into flowers that get larger and longer, peeling back their petals to reveal the stamen and pistil. They droop down as they grow, so it’s hard to see just how lovely they are when in full bloom.

I’ve made a few sketches of them and a few attempts to paint them. Their structure is a challenge, but I also want to express my delight in them. I finally finished a painting I like:

Winter Blooms by Joy Murray, 8×10″ acrylic on stretched canvas

I hope everyone is keeping safe and warm.

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Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.

This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways. 

If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

You can subscribe to this blog by email in the link below this post.

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.