Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Eggs

It took until last week but I finally got my Easter eggs out. They spend most of the year in the basement swathed in layers of tissue paper. I always hold my breath until I get them all out of their boxes hoping that the ones I consider really special are still intact.

Over the years we have dyed eggs at our house using a variety of methods. Naturally some are simply colored from the drug store tablets of dye, but those don't get the special treatment like the ones hand-painted with acrylics or watercolor or dyed using onion skins or pieces of silk fabric.

The three you see in the photo are some that my mother's sister, Eleanor, painted many years ago. These are the eggs that I hope survive from Easter to Easter. The largest is a goose egg. Norie meticulously painted it with a landscape and a fellow paddling a canoe in what looks like pretty rough water. On this large egg the magic of the forest and rocks along the shore are rendered with that sort of realism that only a true artist can capture. To the left is a quieter scene: a swan swiming in a more placid lake. Above them is my favorite: a snow scene with a group of children skating on a frozen pond. Not that one necessarily wants to be reminded of snow at Easter time, but, every few years there is snow outside the window on the day the bunny delivers his chocolate eggs. If there isn't any snow, we can all be glad it is gone.

Norie painted these eggs using model paint and tiny, tiny brushes. They were sealed with a satin varnish after the egg inside dried out. Like the eggs that I paint or dye, they were hard-boiled and then decorated. Gone are the days that I blew the contents out of the egg shell. The resulting shell is just too weak to stand up to being stored year after year. Over the months the cooked egg inside the shell dries out and becomes like a marble that rolls around inside the shell. A word of caution about painting hardboiled eggs with acrylic or something else that will seal off the shell of the egg and prevent the moisture from evaporating from inside the egg: either let the hardboiled egg dry out before you paint it or paint it with a medium that will allow air to pass through the shell until the egg dries out. Some people just paint the raw egg without boiling the egg first. If anyone has experience doing this, tell me how it worked out. I fear an unpleasant mess.

Happy Spring!

1 comment:

journalrat said...

Diane, I love this photo! Coming to your house in each season always has special little perks and when I think of being there this time of year I always see the big BIG overflowing center piece full of eggs in my mind.

I love seeing these hand painted eggs. Especially today, when it has been 56 degrees F and it even seems like we might be getting spring!

I hope you have a great day tomorrow, and that Eric found some chocolate!