Girl in green cap

There is something quite satisfying about being able to write about the artists that I like on this blog. Especially because most the artists that I like usually get little to no media attention and are often unknown to the general public. Everyone knows about the Degas, the Picassos and the Warhols and while their art has undoubtedly earned its place in the lime light, I like to think there is plenty more wonderful art to discover hidden in the shadows.

The other day, flipping through (the “shadows” of) a wonderful library book I found on the Harlem Renaissance, I came across a beautiful painting by an artist called Laura Wheeler Waring – a wonderful yet little known African-American artist. The painting is of a gorgeous young lady in a black dress and a dramatic white puffy blouse, her neck adorned with a heavy green bead necklace.

girl in green cap (1943)
Girl in green cap (1943)

I love how soft the painting is, the gentle strokes the artists used and the muted colours that surround the sitter. I couldn’t find out anything about the pretty sitter but there is something about her that I find really appealing. It could be the air of nonchalance about her. But can you imagine being nonchalant about having my portrait painted? I certainly wouldn’t be!

On closer inspection, I noticed the furrow in her brow. Perhaps it’s not “nonchalance” she is emitting but dejection or melancholy. She looks tired and, if you imagine what her life as an African American woman in 1940s America must have been like, you can certainly understand why.

Whatever mood she was in while this painting was being made, whether nonchalant or melancholy, she also exudes a grace and peace that I felt immediately drawn to. I googled Laura Wheeler Waring and I seem to get the same feeling from many of her paintings – calm, grace, peace, tainted by a slight melancholy air.

I can’t quite put my finger on what is so appealing but I really like them and I hope you do, too.

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