Fruit Fetish


So we delved into color last night in the still life class. It was really challenging, but fun. So helpful to be in a workshop setting where there’s some guidance about color.

I’m not really happy about the colors here.  I mean, these are not the crayons I would have chosen. But I mixed ‘em so I have to stand by them. It’s okay, I’m learning. 

I need to figure out something about how I’m using my brush strokes. I could see at the end of class that the others had done something different that I liked. My light transitions feel clunky to me. 

Do you like the way the apple in the bottom corner is sneaking up like a shark? Cue the Jaws soundtrack!

Rumor has it that next week we may shift to vegetables!


Photos from a Life : Anna Gaberil (1857-1916)




Anna Gaberil  at 16 (1857-1916)

I found some interesting photos at Antiques at the Barn yesterday. Only bought four of them, all of which included images of this woman. There were a couple of her husband, and one of her two grandchildren, Lucille and Lillian. 

I sat in a very warm little room picking through these photos and some interesting ephemera, like a very small notebook with an accounting of Barn Expenses for 1950. Each time they filled the truck up with gas it cost $1.45. I don’t think the notebook had anything to do with this family, but that sort of thing is interesting to me. 

The information written on the photos is a little confusing. I’m going to just transcribe it here since I know some of my readers are also interested in these things.

On the back of this photo in pencil: “Mother age 16. Born June 8, 1857-died June 17 1916. Anna Gaberil. Took 1873.”  In pen : “My grandmother Lucille and Lil.”



This one is fairly faded and in reality it’s sepia toned, but more details show up in black and white. I’ll bet it’s shortly after they were married, but it’s undated.

Written in pencil: “Mrs. Anna Wilcox, (street address) Modesto, CA. Mother & Father DD. Grandpa 1842-1918 – J.B. Gaberil. Grandma 1857-1916 Anna Gaberil.” And in pen: “Grandfather and grandmother Lucille & LIllian.”

At first I thought that Anna WIlcox was maybe Anna Gaberil’s maiden name, but after transcribing all of these notes, I realize that this image was sent as a postcard to Anna Gaberil’s daughter, Anna Wilcox, at some point.”


Another undated shot, but I think it fits here in the sequence. Wow, she’s been working hard.

On the back in pencil: “Anna Gaberil 1857-1916. Grandmother.”

So maybe Lucille or Lillian wrote the pencil notes.


My favorite of the shots. Anna seems to be thinking about the passage of time in this one. Or maybe that’s just me adding a layer. She’s in her fifties here, since she died just after turning 59.

Love the smiles on Christine and Lucille. 

On the back in blue pen: “Christine is wearing the Waltham watch I have with chain. In a sle of watch, the case isn’t the deal – it’s the works- could be worth up to $300.”

On the back in a different pen: “Christine – Anna Mother” (Anna is written above the word mother, but I think it’s the woman on the right, who would be Anna’s daughter and Christine’s sister, I’m guessing.”

“Grandmother Gaberil – Lillian 5″

“Grandmother Gaberil, Anna Wilcox …. Lillian”

I went to the census record and can’t find Anna Gaberil or her husband James B. Gaberil. The photos are all marked with the imprint of the photography firm Carver in Vandalia, MO, but I’m guessing that someone had these photos mounted there long after they were taken, because I found a reference to the studio opening in 1914. There are some listings for people by the surname Gaberil in Merced County, which is next to Stanislaus County, CA (where Modesto is located.)

There are references to several people by the name Anna Wilcox in California, none listed in Modesto. 

I don’t subscribe to the paid genealogy sites, so if anyone who does is curious, do your best and I’d love to know. The photos were purchased in northeastern Los Angeles County, outside of Lancaster.  I’ll bet that copies exist elsewhere, since it looks like these were made to give to family members. A pioneering genealogist!


Alice in Wanderland


Probably set pieces from a production of Alice in Wonderland, right?  

We didn’t bring these home, but I bought a handful of old photos at the same place, Antiques at the Barn. They are from the life of  a woman who lived from 1857-1916. I’ll scan and post them this week.

Fun wandering around today with LDub in the wake of a Harmonistas Saturday lunch to dinner pajama party rehearsal. Las Weezas and JanGel had to leave early and earlier today, but we had a great time knocking the rust off of our set(s) and exploring some fun new additions

The Key to Everything



Yesterday was Kitty’s birthday! She’s one of my favorite people on this planet. A true adventurer, world traveler, gardening homebody, volunteer, friend, etc. etc. 

She gave me the key to everything. How? I think by teaching me to observe. 

Close observation, when I remember to practice it, leads me to understand what people are saying, what things really look and feel like, and how to make sense of them.


wormKitty observing me through the camera, observing a worm.  I remember that lovely walk in the woods very well, even though I was only seven.

Thanks Kitty!


Three Lemons Walk Into a Bar…


That’s my title and I’m sticking to it.

Last night’s still life class project was working with more than one object in the frame. We also worked on background shading. It’s weird how tense I got during part of the class, not feeling like I knew what to do next and not wanting to mess it up.

But it turns out that oil is pretty forgiving, as Silvina says. You can always go back and rework.

DSC_6385Obviously, another photo of the same piece. I’m not sure which I like better. Well, I put the first one at the top because it shows how the contrasts pop. Silvina pointed out to us how different the paintings look under different lighting.

This shows the moody darkness of the dive bar the lemons walked into. Not sure they’ll get out without being zested within an inch of their lives.

Next week: color!