Monday, March 23, 2009

Hand-painted Cards for the American Lady

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.)


  1. I love the one of the women in the paddy fields.

  2. They're all really great cards, I rather like the one on the women in the paddy fields, too. Thanks for these!

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  5. I love the one with the women, too, and also the one with the man making pottery.

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  7. Here's a comment from Anonymous. What a wonderful, small world this internet is! (I deleted it and repasted it here b/c I thought it best not to include an email address. I hope S. Segar doesn't mind...I am thrilled to get this comment!)

    Anonymous said...
    when i was browsing for news paper articles about my father i was surprised to see this sit. thank you Frankie Anon.
    S. Segar

  8. Oh, i loved the one with the two women in the paddy field. This brings back so many memories of my own. I have seen these women in the paddy fields whenever i take a trip on a bus or a train to go from one city to a distant city in India. That painting is closer to reality as the others in the set.

  9. Love to see these cards. It is a pity that Segar does not make any more handpainted cards.All cards are printed. I was able to see the new cards in the web www.segar.8m.net


  10. I love to buy the hand painted cards by Segar.
    somebody likes to sell?