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Playing in Wonderland

'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll is my absolute favorite story of all time. In part because I relate my experience as an artist as having parallels to Alice falling down the rabbit hole, though mostly because of the book's connection to my childhood and my grandmother.

My paternal grandmother was everything a grandmother should be - a great baker (especially pie), a wicked card player, a knitter, a lover of Lawrence Welk and Hee-Haw, and the best hugger. She adored my sister and I, and we adored her. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid and I loved her deeply. My oldest daughter is named after her.

I have sporadic memories of my grandmother. A piecemeal patchwork of feelings, smells, sights, and places. Though there is one thing that I remember vividly - laying on the bed pouring over her copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I'm sure that my grandmother read me the story but it's the illustrations that I remember most. I still have that book, published over 125 years ago, with the original Sir John Tenniel's illustrations. I have collected many other editions over the years but my grandmother's 1897 edition is still my favorite and one of my most prized possessions.

Even though my playing in Wonderland started many, many years ago, my Playing in Wonderland series began in December 2019. It started innocently enough. I needed a birthday present for a very dear friend. I had a stack of abstract watercolor paintings laying around. Originally, I was just going to make a card. Then, there was something about one particular piece that made me think of Alice in Wonderland. I quickly sketched Alice and the Caterpillar into the painting and was thrilled with the result.

After that first piece, I fell down the rabbit hole, sort of speak. I was obsessed with pairing my favorite Sir Tenniel's Alice illustrations with my abstract watercolor paintings. It was a sort of dance between the watercolor painting and the illustrations. The fun part was pouring over Sir Tenniel's Alice illustrations until I found the one that perfectly melded into the abstraction or maybe I had to do the illustration first and crafted the abstraction around it. I then took an additional step and paired quotes that I felt fit perfectly with the paintings/illustrations I had created.

I challenged myself to do one illustrated painting a day over winer break. I was quite obsessed and was having so much fun. It was the first time in a long time that I painted for myself. I went until I exhausted all of the ideas I had, which took about 30 days. In the end, I had created twenty-three paintings. Those 23 paintings became my Playing in Wonderland series.

The five pieces in this post and The Dutchess, are now available as prints in the Gallery Shop. I am currently in the process of having all of the Playing in Wonderland paintings digitally scanned. Once that is completed, I will add more to the Gallery Shop. I also have several still originals that are for sale and you can request purchasing them from my portfolio.

You can view the whole series by visiting my portfolio page, clicking the collections dropdown menu, and selecting Playing in Wonderland series.


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