New work

Land of the Wild Passion Flower

Land of the Wild Passion Flower

Sometimes multiple interests come together in a single painting.  Such was the case with this piece which combines my interest in nature, art, and native American history.  Phew!  All in one little roughly 9×9 watercolor.

butterfly on a passion flower
Depending on Beauty

The image is of a gulf fritillary that has a unique relationship with this flower, commonly referred to as the Passion Flower.  Both are beautiful creations in themselves, but what is so interesting is that this little butterfly MUST lay its eggs on this particular plant because that is all their fussy  little caterpillars will eat!  This is just like the relationship that monarchs have to milkweed.  My practical side says, how inefficient, how unwise to be so dependent on a single food source.  Could it be that these butterflies need beauty in their lives too??

And there is more to this story. The Cherokee who used to inhabit the very land I live on here in southeast TN called the fruit of the Passion Flower “u-wa-ga” and the area around the river where it grew was called “u-wa-go-hi,” which means “where the passion fruits grow.”  To English speaking folks this sounded like “o-co-ee” and so the river became the Ocoee River and the land nearby was called Ocoee, which is where I live.  So I live in the Land of the Passion Flower!  There is so much in this story that I love, so I had to paint it and I finally did. I have painted the flower several times but this is the grist time I have included the fritillary as well.  Purchase information can be found in the Birds, Butterflies, and Beasts gallery or in the Blossoms and Blooms gallery.

Solar Flare

abstract sunrise or sunsetOn a weekend following a number of days doing relatively non-creative tasks, my insides demanded some play time.  A very energizing exercise for me is to do one of my woven paintings.  To do this, I generally paint two paintings, often on yupo, that have some similar elements in color and/or line.  After painting and letting them dry well, I slice them in opposite directions  and then weave them back together.  The fun part is that I never quite know what the finished piece will look like.  This is one of those surprises.  It could remind the viewer of a spectacular sunrise or sunset,  thus the title “Solar Flare.”  The image itself is 10×14 and it is matted and framed to 16×19.  You can see more woven watercolors here.

Morning Moments. the story behind the exhibit

Moonrise“Morning Moments: the Story behind the exhibit”

Well over a year ago I started preparing for another hometown exhibit, painting images of a variety of subjects in a number of my favorite styles, some detailed and planned; others, loose and spontaneous.

Then 2020 happened.  The show went on hold.  Life itself went on hold.  I continued painting but something different started happening.  I found myself drawn to small pockets of time on small pieces of paper, usually in the morning before the noise of the news cycle got in the way and with a fresh abandon, perhaps freed from exhibition expectations.  I started thinking of these painting times as “morning moments,” not necessarily because of the time of day but because I was fully awake, alert, and aware of gentle stirrings that seemed to bypass my brain.  The small simple paintings became heart-filled responses to an anxious sleepless night, a line of poetry, the song of a bird, or the whisper of the wind.  What was common to all was an absence of thinking and planning.

The results of those morning moments are collectively some of the purest and most honest paintings I have ever done — simple, spontaneous, and highly personal.  When the opportunity came about recently to revisit an exhibition time at Glass Growers Gallery, I knew that I wanted to share them.  My hope, my prayer, is that they will communicate between my heart and your heart and that they will stir something in you and bring you some of the peace they brought me as I painted them.

I am grateful to Debby Vahanian and Glass Growers Gallery for giving me this opportunity to share these paintings with you, to have this “heart to heart” conversation.  In my nearly 40 years of painting and exhibiting this may be the most unique exhibit I have ever had. Thank you for joining with me on this journey.

This exhibit is now over.

 

Marie Spaeder Haas

August 1 – September 8, 2020

Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. 5th St., Erie PA

gallery hours:  11-3 Tuesday through Saturday; Monday by appointment (814-453-3758)

 

The darkness of the morning news

painting of a dark landscape
Embracing the Darkness

“Embracing the Darkness”

I’ve been working small during these days turned to months of the pandemic.  I work fast too without analyzing or questioning the strokes that find their way to the paper.  Some times it takes days or longer for me to understand what my hand has revealed.  That was the case with this painting.  It came after a particularly dark and depressing morning news.  We have a lot of those lately.  I felt rather down with it all, with thoughts like “why art?”  “why bother?” creeping into my thinking.  This morning I looked at it again and the words of Wendell Berry came to mind….”In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, I walk the rocky hillside sowing clover.”  A friend reminded me that clover nourishes the soil.  Ah, yes, I said.  And art nourishes the soul.

To see more about this piece and others, go to the Morning Reflections Gallery