I’m working on a couple of watercolor commissions of Big Horn Sheep from the area near Anza Borrego – part of the Sonoran Desert between the Salton Sea and Calsbad, California. (Borrego is Spanish for Sheep.) I’ve never seen one in person, but I’m totally intrigued. My client has seen them approach the lawns of residentail areas (she took the pic below) and I think I’d be thrilled to see such a strange & beautiful animal strolling around my home. I grew up in rural New England, and we had all sorts of wild life in the yard – depending on the season. (It was always fun to go into the silent winter woods after a storm, pretending to be Daniel Boon & Co, whiling away hours, fantasizing about who might be the occupants of criss-crossed and myriad tracks in the snow.)
After I add a background in pencil, I’ll start using watercolor in light washes and transparent glazes. I’ll post the results soon.
If you’re interested in winning some watercolor paper, a book on painting still life, and 14 tubes of watercolor, visit Thursday’s post and leave a comment.
Anna Rice Cooke spent her early years as an unspoiled missionary child in Hawaii. By the time she was sixty four, she was a wealthy widow surrounded by doting family. Ten years later, she was to found the Honolulu Academy of Arts, but at sixty four, Anna Rice Cooke was being described by some of her worried children as distracted and disinterested. As one relative later wrote, she was “a lonely old widow” beginning to feel life held little more for her. Her beautiful craftsman-style house on Beretania Street (now the Honolulu Academy), across from the greenery of Thomas Square, was described as an old wooden firetrap, crammed with “parlor pieces” rearranged and fussed about by a doddering night watchman who served dubiously as security. Often appearances are deceptive, and so it was with Alice Rice Cooke. Among her “parlor pieces”, as so modestly described, were splendid examples of Japanese and Chinese antiquities, European furniture from the time of Louis XIV on, jades, and artworks and architectural pieces from many civilizations. Little failed to interest her. Mrs. Cooke was both a voracious acquisitor and canny collector, with an excellent eye. In her old wooden firetrap she gave receptions and art shows that attracted the socially ambitious as well as the old family elites of Honolulu.
Charles W. Bartlett arrived in Honolulu with his wife Kate in 1917. They were introduced to Anna Rice Cooke by British artist & printmaker Elizabeth Keith. Right away, Charles’ list of local clients grew long & distinguished, led by Mrs. Cooke who bought the painting Benares for $1,250 in 1918. Supposedly vague and vulnerable, this lonely old widow was already toying with the shrewd idea of endowing an institution whose educational program would revolve around the emotive power of fine art from around the world.
~The Art & Times of Charles Bartlett by Richard Miles