The summer is here and I have made my way up to New Hampshire where the pace is slower and more peaceful. Seriously, the pace really is slower. With my lead foot on the pedal I have had the humiliating experience of having the NH driver in front of me pull over to let me go by, because I must have been too close on his tail in "Boston Speed Driver" mode. Let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more like an arrogant city slicker and a jackass, than having a local resident feel the need to actually stop on the side of the road, to let the nutcake behind him zoom by.
This year the summer is a little different, since we will be going back and forth much more between Massachusetts and Hebron for most weeks. Usually I try to just settle in and stay put, but family affairs and scheduled surgery for my husband will see us mostly here on weekends.
That being the case, my collecting time up here in the treasure trove known as New Hamshire antique stores will be limited. But I'll try to squeeze a few outings in anyway.
One of the things I have begun seriously collecting is artwork by unknowns. I have found most of what I have up here. Most often I find landscapes, framed, and signed, painted with love, and often 50, 75, even more than 100 years old. The art I buy is pretty inexpensive, but lovely. The paintings I am drawn to were painted by some undiscovered painter, with plenty of talent, if not reputation.
And that is how I came upon the wonderful painting pictured above, although I actually found this one in a consignment shop in MA.
There was something very sepcial about this painting. Hard to put my finger on it, but there was a real talent and hint of whimsy that said "professional." On the back of this watercolor I found a label with this information:
American Watercolor Society Member 1950
TITLE: "Phil's Wharf"
ARTIST: Sandra James
ADDRESS: 554 West 114th Street, NYC
With the magic of Google, I disovered that Sandra James was a children's book illustrator. She seemed to have done a series of books by Alice Turner Curtis, one of these being A LITTLE MAID OF OLD CONNECTICUT, and other similar titles. Another book I found was from 1944, by Eleanor Youmans entitled: MOUNT DELIGHTFUL: THE STORY OF ELLEN EVANS AND HER DOG TAFFY.
On the askart.com web site, I was able to find only one other example of her paintings--a landscape of Central Park.
She was married to another artist by the name of Syd J. Browne.
I am trying to find more books illustrated by Sandra James, and any additional information I can get my hands on. If you are someone who is familiar with her work, her books, or can tell me anything about her, I would so love to hear from you.
This painting speaks to me, and, in a way, I feel that Sandra James is doing the same. I also find strangely pleasant the fact that my husabnd's name is Phil, like the title of the painting.