Saturday, March 9, 2013

Enchanted Forest at the Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore's Druid Hill Park

"King of Enchanted Forest" oil on canvas (24" x 18")
This year's show at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens is inspired by the historic  Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City where "the fairy tale continues happily ever after" according to the web site.  The show will surround fanciful characters from the nursery rhymes and fairy tales with thousands of tulips, daffodils and more. Working in collaboration with my friend Martha Clark and her Clark's Elioak Farm, current home to many of the original Enchanted Forest's collection of buildings and characters, this year's display will bring back memories of whales, kings, castles and more.

It seems now is the time to write about my beloved Enchanted Forest and my paintings the papier-mâché fairyland inspired. I have been invited to be a part of the celebration and spring fund raiser for this hidden treasure of Baltimore. Prints and paintings of my Enchanted Forest series will be on exhibition for show and sale from March 22 until April 7, 2013.

I'll be at the celebration on Friday, March 22 from 6 - 8 p.m. with my artwork. Hope you can join us for this magical evening inside one of Baltimore's most important landmarks located in Druid Hill Park.
Meanwhile I want to share with everyone here my series of eight paintings and stories of Enchanted Forest.

"Dragon Serenade" oil on canvas (18" x 24") 2002
Papier-mâché storybook characters, designed by the late Howard Adler, virtually came to life with the aid of mechanical devices, voice recordings and a big dose of imagination. I met Mr. Adler one day in 1988 while I was painting my papier-mâché artwork in a store window. He was kind and had a great sense of humor. For me it was like meeting a movie star. I was indeed star struck that day.

"The King's Behind" oil on board (20" x 30") 2002
Hoping to entice motorists on Route 40 West, cheerful gingerbread men accompanied the  king of the Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City, MD

"Gingerbread Cottage" oil on board (18" x 24") 2002
Many birthdays, including my seventh, were celebrated in the gingerbread house adorned with bright red cherries and dollops of pink marshmallow.  After a treat of  celebratory ice cream and cake, children slid outdoors through the glowing witches’ oven to join Hansel and Gretel.

"Cinderella's Mice" oil on canvas (18" x 24") 2003
This pumpkin ride came along after my childhood.  Cinderella might have approved of passengers riding the on the backs of the mice.  It appears that they probably rode past Snow White’s cottage at some point, too.  One wonders how these two fairy tale divas would have gotten along if they had crossed paths.

"Mother Goose Ride" oil on board (18" x 24") 2003

The rides were not necessary for me during my visits. There was so much fantasizing to be done on foot that I had no need to ride.  But I saw lots of happy families riding in the Mother Goose train in my day. They did not seem to notice that her engine had a loud, unmuffled putt-putt noise.  It did not seem like a sound a goose would ever make. I wanted her to quack, instead.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel" oil on canvas (24" x 18" 2002
 Visitors entered the castle where poor Rapunzel, perched in her turret, was following the witches’ instructions to let down her hair. She stayed out there in all kinds of weather, too. Her braids were sun bleached towards the end of her time.

"Phoning Rapunzel" oil on canvas (16" x 12") 2005
This was the last painting I did in the series. It features my friend Chris Anne from first grade and her brother Kevin in the 1950's. She is speaking to Rapunzel from the phone booth. You just have to adore the crown Chris Anne is wearing. The Three Bears' House is in the background.