Curiosities – Day 4 Strada Easel Challenge

"Curiosities" 5x7, oil on panel, © Nelia Harper
“Curiosities” 5×7, oil on panel, © Nelia Harper

Are all artists collectors?  Since I was a little girl, I loved to collect things – especially miniature versions of things.  Perhaps that is why I enjoy painting small?  For Day 4 of the Strada Easel Challenge, I chose to paint a vignette from my collection.

Knowing I had a little more time to paint today, I chose to paint this little fella from my collection of curiosities.  I purchased this little sandstone elephant years (ok decades) ago when I lived in Africa.  It seems to me that it was in Zimbabwe…but…well, it was so long ago, I just don’t remember.

And yet, every time I look at him, I remember being there.  I remember the heat, the markets, matatus (local minibus transportation), the smell of the local fermented brew, bodies packed together, and dust.  I remember stepping off the plane onto the tarmac: the red earth contrasted against the endless sky and tufts of grass.  Visions and moments from late nights, long bus rides, friendships, conversation and adventures flicker across my mind.  The memories are endless.

While I’m painting, I can’t think about those things.  Memories must be pushed aside.  Instead, I focus on light and shadow, the transition of planes and edges.  I think about color, perspective, and brush strokes.  But, it’s all there, in the back of my mind, ready to burst into my conscious mind.  Someday, I’ll go back.

If you want to see all of my pieces created for the challenge (to date), you can head on over to Instagram or Facebook.  And, use the hashtag #stradaeasel to see what others are up to in the Strada Easel Challenge.  You can see Days 1-3 here.

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