a little history ...
It all started when my mother painted some gourds to sell at the annual Septemberfest. They were simple one color bowls and birdhouses. Then I saw, charmingly enough, three little ones: a snowman, a santa claus, and a snowgirl. Now, that looked like fun to me.
I decided to paint my own gourds and make them look like a typically costumed Bosque County Norse woman, a popular sight around here at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I painted at least 20 gourds, in the same cartoon-ish style, and sold nearly every one. An interesting thing happened about the 20th gourd. It occurred to me that I liked painting and I realized I could teach myself more than cartooning. That gourd begged to have a little shading, a little blending, a little less black outlining. I gave her a name, Lena. Here she is, shown on the left.
The shape of a gourd almost always calls me to paint a woman, in a big skirt. But the next gourd wanted nothing to do with a Norwegian costume. Instead, a ballroom beauty emerged, and I called her Bergitte. In some ways, she is a failure, for the reason that I learned how not to mix shadows. For Bergitte, I had used black(!) and by doing so, had lost the color. I then learned that more natural colors can be achieved by mixing complementary colors: purple with yellow, blue with orange, and red with green.