Seven years ago, fascinated with the challenge of being able to paint transparency in oil paint using glazes thinned with linseed oil, I started a series of paintings on 12” x 36” gesso boards with a match that had just been blown out. Painting the stream of smoke wafting up from that match led me to paint a birthday candle, a stick of incense, and a big fat cigar. For the fifth and final panel, I intended to paint a pipe. I googled images of pipes and came across several before I settled on a calabash, the kind of pipe that Sherlock Holmes smoked. Fast forward to last month, when I was going through the photos on my iPad and found the quirky blond smoking that pipe that I had painted for my fifth panel. I’ve been looking at that blond for years and finally thought I’d try to bring her to life. As much as I always enjoy painting portraits—she was a trip! She looks so very 1940’s to me, and with her chin out, pipe in mouth…that’s attitude for you…so Retro is what I’ll call her.
Tag Archives: googled
Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, Wherever You Are
When I thought about doing another smoke painting, I decided to use a pipe as my source for some voluminous smoke and couldn’t help but choose what I and probably everyone thinks of as the pipe Sherlock Holmes smoked for my subject, if only because I love the look of it. It wasn’t until just now, trying to come up with something to post about my painting, Pipe Dreams, that I googled “Sherlock Holmes pipe” and found out that the one I painted is called a calabash and was first used by an actor playing Holmes on the stage. As soon as I saw “calabash,” I could only think of Jimmy Durante (google him, if you’re too young to have heard of him), who said goodnight to Mrs. Calabash after every performance. As mysterious as smoke…