Beauty And The Brooch: This series is inspired by my youth.
Growing up, I spent the occasional bit of time at my Grandma Audrey’s house. She always had pink lemonade and everyone of her candy dishes was filled with Brach’s neapolitan caramels or red and white peppermints (reserved for Grandpa only). After a few trips to the candy bowls, I’d start scavenging about her house. Fueled by a sugar high, I’d find myself exploring the treasures and trinkets filling her “junk drawers.” By the time I finished, my hands would be filthy, smelling of pennies. She’d have one look at my hands and order me to wash them immediately—in Palmolive, of course.
Grandma Audrey had cases upon cases of costume jewelry, and the most amazing thing was, she’d allow me to play with all of it! Old perfume bottles from the 1800′s, countless strands of pearls, gold chains, diamond chokers and an entire suitcase full of the most ornate rhinestone encrusted clip on earrings, all paired with a matching brooch. All of this was well organized and placed in plastic baggies. As long as I promised to be careful, and put them back in their original place, the world was my oyster. And it was. I would don as many fake-diamond, gold, and pearl necklaces that my neck could manage. I’d cover each finger with the most massive cocktail rings I could find. Liberace would have been jealous. Every brooch she had would be arranged in a pattern on the floor. I would stand back, open the shutters and watch them shimmer in the mid-afternoon light. It was truly magical. After I’d had my fix, one-by-one, carefully, I would place them back in the suitcases.
Lately, when I’m in need of inspiration, I find myself walking through junk shops and antique stores. There is this great place down the street from me with numerous bins filled with broken jewelry, antique eye-glasses, brooches and other trinkets. When I first stumbled across this shop and saw the bins filled with piles of shimmering stuff, I teared up. It reminded me of those afternoons at Grandma Audrey’s, where I would spend hours creating beautiful little worlds made of diamonds and pearls with celery-green shag carpet as the backdrop. I found the most glorious beetle brooch in those bins. Aside from the clasp, it was still intact—and had the most perfect tarnish which caused the beetle’s blue rhinestone belly to illuminate.
After I purchased the beetle brooch I just stared at it in awe. I studied every facet and detail and that’s when I realized how wonderful it would be to paint something so beautiful. When I got home, I set the beetle brooch down and realized how dirty my hands were. They were covered in pure treasure residue. When I went to the sink to wash them, I raised them up and my hands smelled like pennies.
There are more “Beauty And The Brooch” paintings in the works. Enjoy!