Much of my work is influenced by the inner workings of the kitchen, but I'm also very moved by the natural world. Periodically a landscape of personal significance (such as previous works of Italy and the Berkshires) drives me to create a series of works. In this case, the dragonfly spoke to me. I was blessed to live in Sussex County, NJ, for several years where more species of dragonflies make their home than in any other county in the US! I was delighted in my backyard and on hikes by their many colors and dances. Dragonflies are fascinating in their array of hues and their amazing iridescent properties. They are incredibly powerful and agile at the same time, with the ability to fly at speeds of 45 mph, can hover like helicopters and also fly up, down, sideways and in reverse.
These pieces were actually developed from reference photos I took while visiting Dale Chihuly's exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 2006. I began them sometime while living in Newton, NJ, but like so many of my art starts, they were left unfinished due to other projects or family obligations that took over. I'm not one that easily lets go of an idea, especially once it's begun. I feel the urge to resolve it so that I can then let it go. I'm pleased to say after a burst of focus I completed both of them and they are now available for purchase through my online store.
I'll leave you with The Dragonfly, by poet Louise Bogan, 1897-1970, who was considered by many to be one of the most accomplished female poet of the 20th century. Learn more about her through the Poetry Foundation.
The Dragonfly, Louise Bogan
You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans;
To be ceaseless movement,
Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.
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Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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