After my Great Aunt Fern passed away and I was clearing out her house, I found a bag marked "Keepsake Cards by Segar." It was full of exquisite notecards painted in the early '80s by a Sri Lankan artist who was a friend of my aunt and uncle. I don't know when she and Uncle Edmond met him; they lived in Sri Lanka in the 60's, when he would have been just a boy. Perhaps they knew his parents. Or maybe they met him during a later visit there.
Once, Aunt Fern showed me a magazine cover featuring a cubist painting by this artist, who at that time worked in a bank. That was the sum total of what I knew about him. But, thanks to the internet (which still seems to me as magical as Merlin's book of spells) I found several articles about the artist. In one, I read the following:
"One of the handful of Sri Lankan artists who is able to make a living entirely from his painting....Segar [would] occasionally make greeting cards for his friends, especially for the American lady who complained that the Sri Lankan cards are copied, western-oriented and do not depict Sri Lanka life at all. His hand-painted cards were so popular that he got the idea to have the outline printed and get his friends and family to hand- colour them."
Reading this made me wonder if the "American lady" in the article was my Aunt Fern. It certainly sounds like something she would say. I can picture her blue eyes twinkling behind cats-eye glasses as she floated out her complaint in that direct, disarmingly gracious Southern drawl. In any case, here are a few charming early works by this internationally known artist. (Click on them for a larger view. The colors of the originals are brighter.)