January in Palm Beach

by Lydia Marie Elizabeth in

2019 Desk Calendar Illustrations

The Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach

Lydia Marie Elizabeth watercolor of Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach inspired by Slim Aarons for the 2019 American Road Trip desk calendar.jpg

This collection shows off my dainty balance of attention to architectural detail and a loose delight in dramatic light.

Happy New Year!

I’ve been looking forward to this day since May of 2018. This collection of paintings is by far my very favorite set intended for the desk calendar. The collection is greatly influenced by my own happy travels throughout my home country. As a child I regularly traveled up and down the east coast between my grandparents summer and winter homes with my parents. And then, when I was in Middle school we moved to Texas and made a road trip out of every moment of it throughout the south western states. Eventually my dad worked for a company based in Alaska and we traveled far up north West as well.

I grew up watching old movies, Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn and even John Wayne’s westerns. And as all the women in my family are members of the DAR, I heard constant stories about our American ancestors. It would be a lie to tell you I was fascinated by American history. On the contrary, I found the Colonial museums I was dragged to the dullest of all. I did like the Estate and Plantation tours we began to do as I got older and moved to Virginia. When I was little in New England, my mother read me stories about Vikings, Sacagawea, and the Laura Ingles Wilder books, and when we moved to Virginia I heard stories from the slave plantations- compilations journalists had gathered of stories from the fields and the homes- perhaps the most fascinating to me of all. And eventually in high school I read Edith Wharton’s social commentary novels, and Jack Kerouac’s prose, and Robert Frost’s deep emotion. And then my art education began forming names behind the artists work I admired on the walls; Edward Hopper was the first name I recalled, and eventually John Signer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, and Willard Metcalf.

My husband and I spend the Winter and Spring of 2018 in Florida working and soaking up the sunshine. Below you’ll see the images which inspire this painting for January 2019. The photographic work of Slim Aarons in Palm Beach depicts the place so well, and my own experience of the sunshine in Florida while I was there. Palm Beach is, in a word, perfect. A friend of mine who I met while down there described it as a make believe place. The real world, she mused, was over the bridge on the main land.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was a man known for his embodiment of American extravagance and ability to put it into words, and his description of the main character in This Side of Paradise, “It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.” lingered in my mind as I mused on Palm Beach with fresh and somewhat innocent eyes.

The photograph that hit me to use for this January, is Slim Aarons piece of Donald Leas. The dogs on the car and the bows in their fur. The reminded me of Lulu and the joy of color. Please note the license plate in the final painting. Also thank you, if you voted on the license plate state on instagram- My Connecticut friends won out.

Slim Aarons Photograph Donald Leas in front of the Flaggler Museum in Palm Beach Florida red as research for Lydia Marie Elizabeth  watercolor inspiration
Lydia Marie Elizabeth Flagggler Museum photograph for 2019 American road trip desk calendar research
Slim Aarons photograph The Fullers in Palm Beach used as research for Lydia Marie Elizabeth's watercolor research
Lydia Marie Elizabeth concept sketches for the 2019 American Road Trip Calendar

Casting my mind back over the history of America as I’ve experienced and learned it, it is difficult to summarize the accomplishments and texture without feeling impressed or fascinated. I realize some could think that this calendar in this current political climate is a political statement, but it really isn’t. If anything I see it as artwork and stories that should bring those who have lived and traveled in America together for love of place and shared experience. More than ever before I recognize the brokenness of mankind, and am further convicted of the importance of the command to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. For this reason, my artwork is full of nostalgic sunshine. This collection shows off my dainty balance of attention to architectural detail and a loose delight in dramatic light.

Cheers to a joyful 2019! And thank you SO much for all your support. It’s been such a pleasure painting for you.