Limning, to portray words with paint, is an archaic art form attributed to the 11th century European illuminators, learned monks and scribes, as well as the 17th and 18th century New England Folk Artists. Early American portrait limners worked in a two dimensional style, not the more formal manner of the academic artist, emphasizing those features which most strongly expressed character, aiming at realism, therefore achieving striking impact.
Denise paints on antique and historic wood panels from New England houses, ships and furniture, lovingly used in everyday life. Each panel is catalogued on the reverse side so that the history is recorded and the article does not go unlamented. The original patina is retained, but the panel takes on a new life form to provide present and future generations with joyful exuberance and enthusiasm. Musical instruments of the past – silenced forever when broken, sing again with pure voices visually. The angel’s wings shimmer with particles of amethyst, emerald, and mica. Guild and Instant Ancestor Portraits are likenesses of those you cherish in period costume, depicting profession, expression, or just a grand escape to a more gracious and flamboyant era. Commissions are painted from a photo on your heirloom panel or one from the Limner’s vast collection of stilled stringed instruments and antique wood.
Wood is eternal, expanding and contracting seasonally, having a character entirely it’s own. Manufactured paints such as oils, acrylics and casein do not withstand the porosity changes in wood. Sweet milk, curds and sour milk are the base for Denise’s paints. The varnishes, applied hot, consist of bees wax, gum copal, various oils and preservatives. Ancient color recipes of the 11th century include her lapis lazuli blue, frankincense yellow and grapevine inks. All colors are therefore triumphant in their brilliance and reflect a spirit of pageantry shining with inner light.
The sheer pleasures of simplicity, directness, liveliness, humor and candor are employed to enliven, enhance and glorify forgotten artifacts of the past with color and rhythmic patterns of light.