54: emily gaines demsky

emily gaines demsky

emily lives with her husband and their children in a funny-shaped house at the bottom of a hill. she paints in a spare bedroom while her kids are at school, and she shows her work when she’s not feeling too shy. she sometimes blogs at shining egg, and she records the bits of her days at habit.





on the nightstand:

  • weleda skin food and burt’s bees lip balm.
  • a conch shell found on the beach on new year’s eve day.
  • a small white felted bowl, a gift from a friend.
  • two antique boxes my father found at a flea market years ago.
  • a small stuffed cardinal.
  • mindset, by carol dweck.
  • bird by bird, by anne lamott.
  • the wild braid, by stanley kunitz.
  • (it’s awfully messy, now that i stop to look. must be time for spring cleaning!)


am loving:

  • daylight before seven in the morning, and daylight until six in the evening.
  • my new sewing machine.
  • tulips. and ranunculus.
  • citrus, especially lemons, right now.
  • licorice tea.


how does spring inspire you?

for most of my life, spring was my favorite season. sometimes, it still is.

the return of the light. the breeze. rebirth and new growth and a sense of endless possibility begin to speak to me as soon as the days start to get longer.

i love the smell of springtime — the scent of warm earth that comes through the open windows when the air is still cool?  and the new greens all around — each one by itself is beautiful, but together in the landscape they’re stunning. it won’t be long now!


what’s one item in your spring wardrobe you can’t go without?

i have a hard time transitioning my wardrobe between seasons. i become so comfortable in my “uniform” that it’s hard for me to remember what it is that i like to wear in the next season. this is especially true for me when winter turns to spring — when i’m used to bundling up in sweaters and wool socks, i can’t remember what to wear when the days turn warm.

but the item i most look forward to wearing in the springtime is my red wellies. they’re already waiting by the door for the first rainy day.


what’s your idea of the perfect homemade spring meal?

i tend to like very simple food. and breakfast is my favorite meal. so my perfect homemade spring meal has to be this — eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (and sometimes all three!) — eggs from the farm around the corner, fried and flipped over so that the whites of the eggs are set but the yellows are still a little bit runny, served over asparagus that’s been tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted until the tips are crispy but the stems are still bright green.

my mouth is watering just thinking about it, but it will be a good while before asparagus is available here.


what is your spring theme song this year?

i’m loving the prompt to think about this at the outset of the season — most often that “theme song” emerges for me as the season goes on. i think my theme song for spring this year will be “all this beauty,” by the weepies.


what are three constants in your day?

  1. red shoes
  2. the newspaper
  3. making the bed


tell us about the inspiration behind these photos.

i have been loving all things blur for a long time now. i’ve been especially enjoying blurry photos — i seem to like my pictures better when they’re just out of focus. a few of my flickr friends take the loveliest blurred photos on the road. at dusk or at night (from the passenger seat, i’m sure!). and i began doing the same awhile back. somehow, this blur feels full of light and air to me, and i’ve been wanting to try to capture those feelings in my painting. usually my paintings are heavily textured and thick with paint. but recently, in an effort to find that blur, i’ve begun to try to capture the softer light and focus by using different textures, different medium, and playing with the paint differently. whenever i begin something new in my painting, i start by painting lots of small pieces on paper to try to capture the feeling i’m looking for. often, i fall in love with the freshness of these pieces and it takes me awhile to move on to develop the work more fully.


18 thoughts on “54: emily gaines demsky

  1. These paintings are beautiful. I’d also love to see the small pieces painted on paper, the beginning of Emily’s process. Her description of them is quite lovely. The Wild Braid looks wonderful. I’ve just requested it from my library. And the fried egg + asparagus meal has my mouth watering too. Excellent issue.

  2. i think i might have to have breakfast for dinner!
    everything about this is fantastic. the new work is inspiring and i love reading your words, em. it’s like you’re sitting next to me.
    thanks, s & s!

  3. 1. I too love runny eggs.
    2. Spring is my favorite season – the season of birth and my birth – though my other favorite is August, which is by far the best for vegetables.
    3. I am really enjoying the light in your paintings.
    4. bird by bird is also a favorite.

    cheers. :)

  4. i enjoyed this so much, emily. i love seeing your new work, and hearing your thoughts on blur. happy spring to you!

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