Art In Bloom in Evansville

The opportunity to design something as a creative exploration (just for fun, not for $$$) rather than commercial endeavor (for a client, to their specifications & budget) is always appealing.

I jumped at the chance to participate in this event at the Evansville Museum. It’s right in my own backyard! I’ve participated in Art In Bloom before & done other exhibits, but this is extra special because it’s local.

A few weeks ago I met Mary Bower, the Chief Curator of the museum. She is lovely & gave me a grand tour, inviting me to choose whatever I wanted. I was like a kid in a candy store! I was able to narrow it down to 5-6 compelling pieces. They were all just things that grabbed my eye…it was so fun to explore all the possibilities.  I couldn’t make a decision so I promised I would email my choice in a few days.

It didn’t take a few days. More like a few hours.

As I drove home across the bridge, the choice became clear.

I couldn’t get her out of my head.

What was her story? What her life look like? Was she a peasant? A farm owner? A mother? A wife? Did she harvest every day?  (I feel like she did; look at the strength of her arms).

What about her sandals? Not very practical for harvesting. But feminine, with a bow.

And the skirt? With the lining? Surely not the fabric of a migrant worker or endentured servant?

The scarf on her head, the bow around her waist. “I work hard. But I am a woman”

Her expression…is she weary? Or completely hacked off? Or just over it & ready to punch the clock & go home?

The hand on her hip….sassy? Annoyed? Let’s get on with it already? Or “I am woman hear me roar”?

And exactly what was she harvesting? That is one mighty rake! Taller than she is. I’m sure it had to be heavy…solid wood, sturdy, without even holding the bounty of the harvest.

You see why I was enchanted by her. So much to explore. So many unanswered questions.

Her feminity in the context of such physical labor seemed to be what impressed me the most. And what more strong, delicate & feminine than a rose? A white rose. Actually 175 white roses, to reflect her blouse & her beauty.

And then….that skirt.

I love textiles. And I’m wild for plaid.

My talented young assistant/intern Trenton Johnson wove the skirt. We enhanced it together with grey wired wool & hypericum berries.

Thank you, Trenton. (Keep your eye on this young man…he’s clever, hard working, smart & talented…only 15 years old!)

So here is my interpretation of our mystery woman.

The artist seems somewhat obscure as well. I googled to see what I could discover about Carlos Stragoaliti, (Italian 1869-1915) and our mystery woman “Girl With Rake at Eventide”

I found very little. What I do know is that this massive painting deserved a massive interpretation, so if you visit, you’ll understand the scale.

Hopefully you will also understand how much I love this painting, Art in Bloom and our Evansville Museum.

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