Monday, February 12, 2007


Shortly after I started my small business called “Snowflakes, Custom Designs” in 1997 my sister told me she wanted me to paint something for her. She had acquired this lovely antique lap desk and I was very touched that she would want me to design and paint it for her.

The “desk” was approximately 16 x 10 inches and the top was a perfectly plain piece of wood which was begging for something decorative. It was similar to having a blank canvas and I tried hard to find the perfect design. I have a huge library of Folk Art books and I leafed through them looking for an inspiration. I knew I had found my answer when I came across this sweet picture of two sisters in repose.

The picture was painted in 1854 by Mary Ann Smith and is titled “Portrait of the Tow Sisters”. I loved the colors and the stylistic folk art pose. You can see that it was a perfect match for the desk and it conveyed the feeling that my sister and I have always shared. She is just 14 months older than I am and we are very close.

Most of the designs that I create for furnishings are not direct copies, such as this was, but I felt that I was paying homage to the artist. She had conveyed the devotion of the two sisters in a way that I couldn’t resist.

My sister has a home in Gainesville, Florida and in Brewster on Cape I’m not sure where the little lap desk is now. I don’t know if she ever actually used it or if it was strictly for show. It did give me an idea, however, and I had a local carpenter make me a dozen lap desks patterned after the original one. They proved to be very popular and I custom designed them as requested.

I hope the little antique lap desk will be a constant reminder to my sister of my love and regard for her for more than 73 years.


Blogger Pam said...

Ginnie, your work is wonderful, I love this. I also like the antique lap desk.

My daughters are exactly 14 months apart and like you and your sister, are extremely close.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a great piece! I'm sure that I know someone who would love something like that.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginnie, it's just wonderful

10:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Ginnie,
I'm so behind in my blogging. Life without the Internet at home is a delight, but I miss the daily contact with my blogging friends.

I absolutely love this design. I guess my line-driven style matches the flat quality of the image. What a great idea you had!

I like hearing about your close relationship with your sister. I hope to grow to the age of 71 (I think that's your age) and still be close to mine.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

That is just so stunning and such an apt design, just beautiful :)

4:47 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Ginnie, I am so impressed with your work. That is a lovely lap desk and your sister must treasure it!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Such a beautiful lap desk. What a beautiful love note to your sister.

6:54 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

What a lovely piece.
I love the sophistication in the seeming simplicity of folk art. And the subject choice hits the perfect theme for your sister.

7:06 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

That is absolutely beautiful! You are an amazing artist.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very, very nice Ginnie....

Oh what sheltered lives we live. I don't think I have ever heard of a "lap desk". What a great idea, even if it's who knows how old an idea. LOL

4:35 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

We don't use lap desks now. We use lapTOPS and the warranty will be voided if anyone paints on the surface. I like the old ways better. Beautiful, Ginnie.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day Ginnie...

4:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a stunning piece of work and very personal for your sister.
I'm an only child, so I really envy the great relationship you share with her.
I have no doubt she treasures this lap desk to this day.

5:40 AM  

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