Blue, Silver and Gold

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and

Hey Sweet Lifers! The first of this year I was scrolling through my social feed, and a painting struck my eye. It was done by an artist who I have admired, am friends with and something about it spoke immediately to me. Something that can be interpreted as a feeling that it must be mine.

These feelings happen to me occasionally, and usually, I can brush them aside, especially if it’s a wonderfully formed plant that I don’t yet have but immediately fall madly in love with . . . or a piece of jewelry. (Remember that amethyst bracelet in North Carolina that was waiting for me for years until I finally bought it last May!) This painting had my attention from first glance, and several things about it were striking to me. For one, I do not buy other people’s art. Not to come across as wildly arrogant, but I am an artist. I attended Savannah College of Art and Design as a Fine Art Painting and Interior Design major, and over the years when I have seen something that I like, I would make a mental note of it and then make my own version of it for my home.

Secondly, the painting is a still life. I have never been drawn to a still life in my life – except for this still life! I love Matisse and Degas; these were the guys of inspiration to much of my work. Big bright colors that made me feel happy, or intricate brushstrokes that made me feel like the horses and ballerinas had come to life. Lastly, it was as if she had painted it specifically for me. It so resonated with me and where I am in my journey in my earthly life that it felt commissioned! I knew instantly that it was supposed to be mine.

Charlotte Wharton’s “Blue, Silver and Gold”

Thankfully I did not wait long before contacting Charlotte Wharton. We got on the phone and had a little chat about her story and mine and became closer friends instantly. This is the way with artists, of course. She had used the set-up she painted as a lesson for her art class she was teaching. Charlotte’s work is usually more “flowy” to me. She paints beautiful scenes with boats and flowers and recently of her neighbor’s bright tree in a sea of winter. She is well renowned in the gallery world and has work all over New York City and around the country. What is most striking is Charlotte’s use of the metallic. I have rarely seen such a perfect portrayal of silver and gold. Her talented eye and hand in this painting is just, well, perfection. I did not think I would be able to afford “Blue, Silver and Gold,” and I knew I would never try to replicate such a marvelous work either!

For me the scarf is the stole of a priest’s gown – the soft colors of Easter and spring. The way it is draped reminds me of my own journey into seminary. The vessels represent the sacred: a vase for the Holy Water, a silver pitcher for the Blood of Christ, a box to hold the wafers representing the Body of our Lord.

The balls of gold have landed as they were reflections of each other. They are almost identical but not the same; they are dependent on each other and yet exist in this earthly life as separate. They represent my mother and myself. While the one in the foreground is carefully watching, the other is reflected in both the vessels that carry the embodiment of Christ. The one reflected is where I am in my journey; the one watching is my mother’s consistent ever-watching as I have walked through life a part of her yet separated from her. This painting evokes strong emotions in me, and when I explained this to Charlotte, she was moved.

“Blue, Silver and Gold” hangs in one of my favorite places, my library. It oddly matches my couch as if Charlotte painted it specifically for me, which of course, subconsciously, she did. That’s the most wonderful thing about finding one’s treasures. When we create something, it has to find its forever home, and once the right person has been connected to it, that is something very special indeed.

Take care of you, and stay “sweet!”