A Blues Story

September 30, 2009

One Cig
One Cigarette in the Ashtray

My husband is a fan of the blues. We’d been to hear k.d. lang singing Patsy Cline tunes while I was working on a series of blues paintings. This three part painting was inspired by one of her cigarette songs.  Cigarettes and depression seem to go hand in hand in blues tunes.

Following is poem inspired by this painting. Feel free to submit your own.

One Cigarette in the Ashtray

Late at night
I comfort a friend
by love abandoned.

We light two cigarettes.

Drinks and stories shared
in smokey haze

coerce my heart into
a lover’s daze.

two cigarettes in the ashtray
turn to three.

Old love appears
and begs to stay.
I witness metamorphosis
as the heartsick is steered
from sad to gay.

Transformation complete,
a look of thanks
and they’re gone.
I sit alone__
sipping coffee, bittersweet,

one cigarette in the ashtray.

by Nancy Marshall

Or a second version:

One Cigarette in the Ashtray

Late, I comfort one abandoned by love.

Our depressions match hand in glove.

Stories shared in smoky haze

Hearts drift into a lovers’ daze.

But the old love appears, begs to stay,

sits that cigarette in the ashtray.

Metamorphosis witnessed, the lovers agree

to try again for harmony.

A smile, a thanks, a brief goodbye,

I sip my coffee and stare outside.

The Circus

July 27, 2009

Acrobat and Clown Acrobats and Clown

After a night at the circus I returned to the studio and set a still life up on the circus poster. Besides playing around with objects, I decided to layer pictures. The black and white photos of a friend were in easy reach, so I added them. Turns out she has an aversion to clowns…ummmm??..”of all the gin joints.”

Blue Bowl with Pearls

June 17, 2009

Blue Bowl with Pearls
Blue Bowl with Pearls

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 9″ x 12″
  • In the collection of DJ

My kitchen window sill is lined with colored glass bottles. I like colored glass, and pearls, and stripes. It’s a painting!

New Orleans Dining

June 6, 2009

Big Easy Dining

Tribute to Paul Prudhomme

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 12″ x 9″
  • In the collection of DJ

As part of a New Orleans cooking class, I visited the office and warehouse of Chef Paul Prudhomme. A giant of a man who charmed us with his stories of growing up in Louisiana. Our visit was interrupted several times by a person bearing a silver tray covered with a white linen napkin. Chef Prudhomme paused in his storytelling, sampled the food, commented on what it needed, then returned his attention to us. The warehouse was filled with wooden barrels full of seasonings. The smells were exquisite. There was no chemistry lab here, just Chef Prudhomme’s palate. I showed him my work and he told me “how fortunate I was to see beauty in what so many others take as mundane in life.” I am lucky and it’s nice to be reminded occasionally.

Coffee & Cards by Candlelight

Another painting using the flowered tapestry. The tapestry is more muted and there is greater value contrast than you see in Coffee and Biscotti.

Coffee and Biscotti

June 1, 2009

Coffee and Biscotti

  • Watercolor
  • 12″ x 36″
  • In the collection of CB/CW

This is the first of two watercolor still lifes that have a flowered tapestry as a background. This piece doesn’t have the strong light source that I use in many of my paintings. Color and pattern create the interest. Friendship is the theme.

Winds of Time

June 1, 2009

Winds of Time

This painting is about memories of a life lived with tragedy, love, loss, joy, art, birth, death, friendship; all events that happen during our lifetimes.  And then there’s NOW.  Once, I met a man who wore a watch that didn’t give a time, it only said “NOW.” The photos represent events of the past, while the still life images brings you back to the present.

And then there’s you viewing this image right NOW. It’s worth examining how we experience the moment consciously and unconsciously.


May 29, 2009


My decision to use a limited palette on this painting led me to use a couple of black and white photographs, both of people I admire; my father as a handsome young sailor and the opera singer, Leontine Price. This painting was the first of a series with photos inserted into the still life. Heroes? To me they are. A singer, despite being born in 1928 in the segregated south, who achieves international success in her career. A young man born one of 10 children in rural Missouri, taught his children patient observation, culinary curiosity, self confidence and so much more, which makes him my hero. The war? He would never talk about it.

To My Queen

May 3, 2009


To My Queen

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 36″
  • In the collection of N/AM

Occasionally verses and poems are written by myself, family and friends, inspired by a particular painting. You are welcome to submit yours.

This poem is about a loving relationship and being imperfectly perfect.

To My Queen
True love is an energy
But there is nothing constant about it.
It ebbs and flows between two distinct individuals
Each doing their damnedest to provide what the other needs.
But who’s perfect?
So when Rob gave me T.R. Reed’s “Cleo & Abdul” sculpture
For our wedding anniversary
He signed it, “To My Queen
From your semi-obedient servant.”
He’s perfect.

by Nancy Marshall

Tribute Painting

April 26, 2009

Artists' Tribute

Artists' Tribute

  • 12″ x 16″
  • Oil on Canvas
  • In the collection of JC

In 1971 I painted a tribute to my then boyfriend, now husband, Rob, on his 24th birthday.  A number of my paintings since are tribute pieces, illustrating  memorable times, people, place and/or things.

In Artists’ Tribute I set up an “in the moment” still life, a kind of altar of tribute. Belle Johnson’s “Three Sisters” is in the foreground. She was a hometown photographer of my grandmother’s generation.  Georgia O’Keefe, Suzanne Valadon, Janet Fish, blues singers, all are paid tribute to in this oil on canvas. The blue bowl, pearls, cards, marbles, oranges and even stripes make an initial appearance in this painting.  This studio painting was done in the early 90s.

Question: Does anyone know whose work is the middle painting in the background?  Likely, late 19th century.