The Art Docents of Los Gatos hosted a fabulous High Tea fundraiser at my home and studio yesterday. This dynamic group (that brings art to our public school) keep themselves well informed by taking in all kinds of exhibitions, documentaries and artist talks. I was absolutely delighted when they approached me with the idea of throwing a catered High Tea here, using the very antique teacups that I use in my Birds and Teacup paintings. The idea was brilliant and I jumped at the opportunity to share my work with such an informed audience! Such a nice way to support this organization which does really valuable work with our children.
Karen and Elizabeth thoughtfully paired freshly cut flowers with the vintage cups!
The table-scapes looked beautiful, each setting uniquely individual.
The High Tea was sold out and as the catered food was plated and the tea prepared I gave a guided tour through my studio to the assembled quests.
In the studio I spoke of my series, Critical Masses – stories of us and them, relating the stories behind the work, my process and inspiration.
Here I described how the red dots on the vintage mother of pearl fishing lures are meant to imitate a wound and signifying easy prey to hungry fish. These lures served as my models for Lure, and led to the red dot in the middle of the painting.
I was also able to share the story behind End of Spring and how it came to be the cover art for Christy Ann Conlin’s new novel, The Memento.
In the house we talked about my Birds and Teacup Series and discussed how they were inspired by the desire to create synchronistic moments where the image on the antique porcelain is reiterated in the bouquet made for the cup. The unlikely introduction of a wild bird into the setting serves to further increase the magic, presenting a puzzle for the brain to figure out.
Sharing one of my all time favorite teacups – an eggshell thin, hand painted Japanese piece from the 1800’s. The painting of the flower, butterflies and and basket design is so finely skilled that it really should be in a museum somewhere! I forgot to tell how I’d used this cup in a dramatic photo shoot with a live black widow. (Birds won’t co-operate in these shoots and have to be shot separately an imported into my teacup arrangements through photoshop but the spiders will model for a while).
I gave a peek into what’s behind my Florilegia series (quite literally) – a generally illuminating and playful take on the Victorian meaning of flowers thorough mixed media assemblage paintings inset with antique Magic Lantern Slides.
The dining room served as my portrait gallery where I had many of my People In My Neighborhood series on display. I spoke of the intimacy that the direct gaze establishes in our often impersonal public life and how it turns out that our community is rife with models!
We had just a few more moments to talk about portraits I’ve done of my children, using moments from their life as the spring board for art.
Meanwhile everything in the kitchen, (pomegranate, pear and field green salad, savory finger sandwiches and tempting sweets) was ready to be served…
…oh yes, and lots of tea!
Sue Ward making magic in the kitchen!
So happy to see guests enjoying themselves.
We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, better company or a more perfect tea!
Thanking our guests for coming as they depart.
High Tea wrap up in the shade.
View from the hammock – post tea.
Last of the clean up crew – xo!
Thanks to everyone at the Art Docents who worked so hard to make this event such a success, with a special shout out to Elizabeth Greer, Sue Ward, Sue Nystrom Walsh and Karen Harlan.
Thanks to my collectors, Marie Hetherington and Shanna Desai for allowing me to borrow back pieces for this special event.
Thanks as well to artist Holly Van Hart for the lion’s share of these photos!
Finally, thanks to everyone who came and helped to make this such memorable day!