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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Sand + Water

S and K   oil on canvas   30 x 40 x 1.4

 Spending a week at the shore with dear ones alters one's perspective!  Beach life is indeed a bit of altered reality.  People play with reckless abandon...sand filters into your swimwear, your hair and your ears.  Castles are created and then abandoned to the tide....creativity and energy and time spent with the realization that nothing built is permanent.  Waves surfed send you speedily to the shore.  Heavier waves send you tumbling as you recognize the greater, much greater, power of the sea.  Marine life is appreciated without being caged.  Imperfect shells are collected as treasures.  Momentary sunsets grace our lives.  It mirrors a wabi sabi existence:  

Nothing lasts

Nothing is finished

Nothing is perfect

Wow....heavy duty.  I am hoping that this notion filters into me and into my forthcoming work.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Saying Goodbye

 

Luther   watercolor   13 x 9.5

Eleanor...a sketch 
Within the past year, both my mother-in-law 
Eleanor and my father-in-law Lu have passed away.  She was 94; he 97.  All of my memories of them are activated by the many sketches made of them over the years at our visits.  "Luther" (right), is a recent watercolor done from a sketch made a decade earlier.  

I love my sketchbook diaries as they represent me to the fullest:  the searching; the finding; the visits; the moods and a bit of experimentation.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Bill B.

 

Bill B.   oil/canvas   14 x 11
This is an oil portrait of Bill B. done as a demonstration for the Hudson Society of Artists.


Painting done as a demonstration for a group comes with its inherent issues:  no preparation; poor lighting; the inevitable turning of the body during the pose; and, most importantly, for me, is my nervousness.  It is difficult to paint and talk at the same time.  Keeping the interest level high with several breaks weights heavily.

This is the result.  

Monday, May 9, 2022

Snow Mountain

Snow Mountain   oil/canvas   16 x 20

 ...just three months ago

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Hidden Symmetry - Another Lost Landmark (and the difference between a simile and metaphor)

Hidden Symmetry   oil/canvas   48 x 24 x 1.5

Oh-so-many years ago when passing down our main county road, I constantly marveled at this charming spire.  There were two on the rooftop of the dilapidated barn, one at each end.  I continually made mental notes to photograph them before gravity had its way.  


Eventually I did and two paintings resulted. From the time I was a child, certain objects had an animation to me...perhaps the result of too many Disney movies...Fantasia to be exact.  It is almost as if we are witness to the struggle of this spire's attempts at staying erect.  As time marches on, and being a woman of a certain age, I see myself in this struggle and view this architectural detail as a human version of myself.  Simile.

Both spires were removed weeks after photos were taken.  The spires remained on the ground for years, I believe.  They are no longer.

For inquiries about this work, please contact Hudson Fine Art and Framing.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

FIRE!!!!!!!

Heartland   oil/canvas   30 x 48 x .5

Dussel farm's barn burned to the ground a week ago.  I was painting that afternoon in my studio.  Breaking my solitude was a rash of sirens that carried on for what seemed to be hours.  It wasn't until the next day that we realized their source.  We were saddened for the Dussel family and for our community, a township that was once rural and now being overtaken with housing developments and commercial properties.  I have painted this barn many times....this last one, "Heartland" makes it the focal point.  


I painted the beautiful rolling hills where Walmart now reigns.

I painted the spires on an aging barn....spires that were removed a few months later for safety reasons, I believe.

While viewing my own work in retrospect, I usually take note of how my process has evolved.  But an event like this brings to mind an historical viewpoint that I have never really consider....subjects of paintings that no longer exist...rolling hills, spires, people and, yes, barns.  Time marches on.

Heartland can be seen at Gallery C  in Raleigh.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Winter Rick

Winter Rick   oil/canvas   14 x 11 x .5

 There are many paintings of mon mari in my archives....and even more drawings.  I feel that I know his face better than my own.  I quickly snapped some photos of him as he descended the porch steps one wintry morning.  And this result is perhaps my favorite of him.  It is Rick through and through.  Everything sings of him:  the style of hat and how he wears it; his shallow cheek bones; the tilt of his glasses;  the cut of his beard; the style of his clothing.  As one would guess, the eye area was the most difficult to paint and the one carrying most of the weight of "likeness" in this pose.


So let it be a lesson to me, to you.  A successful portrait does not necessarily rely on two symmetrical eyes, a nose and a mouth.  Broad shapes tell the story as well.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Marketplace

Marketplace   oil/canvas   20 x 16 x .5
There are many facets of my life, too many really.  At the top of the list these days, I am a PAINTER and I am a COOK.  Sooo...the market is a place where, for me, visual pleasures preside.  The colors and textures are widely varied, and the imagined flavors boundless.  We are lucky to be exposed to so much variety these days!  

I am pleased with the way this painting turned out - four quadrants of varying textures and colors keep the chaos away.  For me, the metal shelving adds design relief.  Maybe it's just my secondary career calling, but I want to reach my hand right in!
 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Landscapes?

Freshly Shoveled Driveway   oil   11 x 14

Landscapes are my least favorite subjects, I'm afraid.  While I look out at the fresh environment, I am certainly taken with its beauty, but have no need whatsoever to replicate.  Interior::exterior.  Interiors, taken figuratively, are what move me.  

The artists in my classes always list landscape as one of their subject choices, so I comply.  In order to capture my interest, there simply must be a very personal reason to spend the effort.  In this case, a 22"  snowfall gave me just cause.  There were no snowplows for hire.  Two painting problems resulted.  Both were so very exciting.  One involved the play of the warm light against the cools of the shadows, temperatures, and the sky.  Cool dominant playing with warm.  the second involved the interesting topography of the lay of the snow:  harder vertical snowbanks and softer ones.  Shadows that helped to explain all of that.  Yes, I  feel tied into this picture.

And....I feel very very tired.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Patterning

Pot From Lebanon   oil/canvas   11 x 14 x .5
I love patterning and spent some time earlier on designing wrapping paper.  I love fabrics, and all paper products, a guilty pleasure when thinking about environmental waste and unnecessary spending.

And, for some reason, I am always stimulated when some of these patterned pieces end up in a painting.....one person's art being featured in another's.  What could be better than pairing a hard, smooth and shiny object with a backdrop of leafy pattern?

In this instance, an antique familial vintage pot from Lebanon County, PA and a wallpaper that has graced our bedroom wall for 35 years.,,it is quite humorous that, while I have changed just about everything in every room in the house, that wallpaper has remained.  Lessons learned and relearned:  study of the multitudinous whites on walls and surfaces, as well as the reflective qualities of the shiny black surface.

 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Doodle Do

Doodle Do   watercolor   20.5 x 12

Chickens and roosters are exciting creatures to paint and push me to recognize the intelligence of all living things.  Their presence recalls simpler earlier times....pastoral, if you will, where the chickens we experienced were not just presented in plastic wrap.  Simple.  Real.  Perhaps this is why there is a concurrent movement of free-range poultry to suburban and city lots where collecting your own fresh eggs is desirable.  

What's not to like?

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Up The Street

Up The Street   watercolor   12 x 20
When I was a kid, we lived on a road with many many post-war Cape Cod style houses.  Many houses.  Many kids.  Telling your mom that you were going "up the street" was acceptable, and even encouraged.  Up the street has a different significance now...up the street is a ways away...and the houses are all different...

...which has nothing at all to do with my difficulties in achieving a good house painting....one where the strong two-point perspective lines take over the painting, subduing the creativity.  In this watercolor, I tried not to be so very precious, so very perfect, giving in to the funky wabi sabi feel of this old house.  Porch is crooked.  Windows on a tilt.  I found myself trying to quiet my notion of right-on draftspersonship.  For the most part, I am pleased....and it does carry the feel of an autumn day in the country....which was my goal.

...
 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Finery

Finery   oil/canvas   18 x 18 x 1.5
Group gestures are among my favorite subjects to paint.  I love the multitudinous relationships and the spaces and counter spaces that provide visual rhythm and excitement!

This painting was conceived by an old family photo of 5 sisters (of 9) that was for years displayed on a shelf at the home of my husband's parents.....it had always caught my eye.

I am assuming that this particular photo was from a wedding photo and guessing that the bride was Aunt Bella, who is in the middle wearing white.  Hats were a fashion necessity.  

Destroying is part of my artistic process.  I have the feeling that, in wiping about passages, including faces, results in a bigger picture where the individual likenesses are less important than the overall feeling of the group.  I happen to love this work.  It was exciting to paint. In addition, it was worked on a square canvas, which I have always found to be difficult.

I will challenge myself to paint in a square format more often!
 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Un certain je ne sais quoi

Apple Series   watercolor   14 x 10

Painting is an unrelenting task of constant decision-making...for me a combination of honoring the subject, great design and my own personal aesthetic.  The more freedom you yearn for, the more difficult the task, I think.  Sometimes, the parts are all individually accomplished as best as you can, yet the results do not move or stimulate as intended.


In this case the composition,  of two apples in varying degrees of slice, makes my heart sing.  This is how I want to paint....it has everything that I try to express in terms of paint quality.

It has that rare quality of a certain je ne sais quoi....a certain something.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Curiositas

Curiositas   oil/canvas   36 x 48 x 1.5

 Curiosit√†  was a precept important to  Leonardo da Vinci and can be defined  as “an insatiable curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.” How very wonderful!


My art process involves a high degree of intuition....I never question the selection of subject matter or the recipe of "the putting on of the paint" whose origins lie deep within me.  That only causes a problem when I am forced to produce work that is forced upon me, such as a class project or a commission.  In those cases, I promise to do my best, but find that there is an emotional link that is lacking.  Too bad!

This painting had its origins in an old vacation photo featuring our own three sons and the sons of our dearest friends.  We had rented a spot along the bay side of the Atlantic.  I no longer recall the reason for this lineup....there was something quite interesting that lay beyond.  I am so drawn to painting lines and groupings of figures...somehow I cherish the relationships that occur between the people themselves as well as the artistic ones that tie the vertical shapes together...with an opposing horizontal feel.  This is a bit, for me, like a weaving...and the weaving together of these dear ones is exactly up my alley.  The image was simplified but the power of the image has been retained for me.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Things Get Messy

Things Get Messy   oil/canvas   14 x 11
And...speaking of masks...So often, for many people,  it seems that the notion of "portrait" means a smiling face and pleasant demeanor...conjuring up all of those photography portrait studio pics we all grew up with.  A painted portrait is so very different to me...a relaxed countenance that will hold up for hours while the artist does the work.  I crave honesty above all....

For the past couple of years (during the covid outbreak), it has been more and more difficult to keep up the smiling mask.  Our family has been blessed in so many ways and lucky in many ways, to be certain.  And still, the overall atmosphere of doom and the multitudinous ways we have been forced to adapt have taken a toll.  So many more things to consider and so many more hoops to jump through.  This self-portrait was painted from a reference selfie shot in my studio with the help of a strong light source.  The weariness and the stress are evident and, to me, tell the story of this point of time far more accurately than the many mask-wearing self-portraits that have been shown in many exhibitions.  

This is what is underneath the mask.
 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Masks

Mask   oil/canvas   14 x 11

 are frequently seen and worn this time of year.  Putting on a different face allows us to transform ourselves into something we are not....oh the psychology of it all!


Irregardless, the study of masks of all kinds has propelled and interested artists forever.  At one time, I knew an artist who pursued her master's degree creating a collection of masks.  The study of the sculptural qualities (form) of the mask allows beginning artists to note the undulations of light and shadow that define subtle or sharp changes of planes, preparing us for the study of the human head.  Although we are tempted to begin such a study by describing the ornamentation, we must hold off on the fun of it all.  The FORM of the thing is most important...its subtle shifts greet and recede from the light not only describing its formation, but the material from which it was made as well.  Mask before calligraphic brushstrokes.  The folds of the skirt before the plaid.  The hanging of the curtains before the flowers.  And the fold of the tablecloth before the checks.

The description of this mask was quite fun, actually.  When the background shift seemed way too abrupt for the intricacy of the mask, I applied a tone-on-tone pattern with the lid from a paint tube....that satisfied me.  

Monday, September 27, 2021

Sandbox

Sandbox   oil/canvas   11 x 14
There is nothing quite like sitting in a hole dug out of sand at the beach...secure, yet grimy, as the small particles eek their way into suits, ears and hair.  A truly memorable childhood experience!  As we morph into adulthood, we choose more comfortable seating...beach chairs and towels to soften the experience.  This painting is indeed about sitting in that hole and, if we are lucky, doing so alongside a companion.  

And so, while I relished the painting of these children, I kept my eye on that unifying hole...a shadow that unifies both figures.  The challenge here, for me, was the use of strong and diverse values that do not really occur at the shore, as the light is so pervasive.  A glazing of transparent Indian Yellow over the dark shadows allows for the illusion of light entering into the sandy depths.  I am satisfied.  
 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Midsommar 2

Midsommar 2  oil/canvas   20 x 16 x 1.5

My natural rhythms ebb and flow with the light of the seasons.  Our granddaughter was our guest this year during the summer solstice and she is definitely a symbol of the increase of summer's light and energy.  The reference photos were shot spontaneously as I crafted a headdress for her from weedy blooms that had appeared in the garden.  She is a natural poser with a bit of theatrics involved in all endeavors.  I actually had no idea that the image would evolve into a painting until I looked back at the photos taken during her visit.  Here in northeast Ohio, we enjoy and celebrate the turning of the seasons with joy as the light, and the season, affect our daily routines, our cooking and our bedtimes!  It was a welcome surprise.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Spoons and Oatmeal

Spoons and Oatmeal   oil on canvas   14 x 11 x .56
Our kitchen is well used and well loved.  There is something cooking all the time.  Although neither of us professes to LOVE to cook, we do love to cook simply delicious meals from healthy ingredients for both ourselves and our dear ones.  Oatmeal is a frequent breakfast selection.  Artistic compositions abound in the kitchen....what with all of those interesting tools...strainers, shredders, scales, spoons and the like.  While preparing for this work, I took a variety of photos for possible paintings.  I decided to do this one now as the bouncing summer light was so very appealing.  I am satisfied.  
 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle   oil/canvas   14 x 11

is a quiet beauty.  Our challenge in class was to pair an organic feature with an architectural element.  Although floral paintings are quite "nice", they do not convey much to me emotionally...I would sooner see the flowers themselves.  I do, however, see them as an excellent subject source for painters learning to hone their skills as they are so very complicated.  This lowly honeysuckle vine is on the mend after having been removed from its trough earlier in the season for patio repairs.  They really are nothing special to look at...their power is in their fragrance I think.  Pairing this vine with its trellis surround thrilled me design-wise but, oh, was it ever complicated!(many many relationships, the lighter values where subjects become mush, and the right amount of realism to convey the subject naturally)

I am surprised by how much I enjoy this small painting. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Lemons - Lesson in Scale

I am always up for painting lemons!  I love the flavor, the color and the appearance.....I guess they are a bit of a comfort fruit for me.  Sometime last year, I had an "aha" moment regarding scale.  As a longtime portrait and figurative painter, I seemed to have an innate sense about the human proportion and disliked the shapes that appeared too large, too monstrous.  (Likewise, and even more so, I disliked all objects that seemed just too small, even if well painted.)I think that this predisposition carried over into all subject matter.  Most of my still life works featured objects that were either life-sized or slightly smaller...and from a frontal viewpoint.  That seemed correct to me.  And, yet, I always admired dynamic larger works and those that featured objects from a bird's eye viewpoint.  And so I grew.....and came to challenge my notion of scale.  This time around, I took on a work that features lemons, both larger than life-size and from an aerial view.  I think that the white tray functions as a background or negative space.  The result, to me, was a simpler more dynamic work.  I pushed several of my former limitations here and I am thrilled!  Growth and evolution is part of the artistic process.  It is exciting to venture out and to grow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Heath and Apples - Objects as Art

Heath and Apples oil/canvas 11 x 14 x .5 It is so very aesthetically pleasing to be surrounded by useful household objects that you consider to be beautiful. Such is the case of our salad bowl from Heath Ceramics in San Francisco. I am inspired by the smooth solid surfaces and the clean lines. A beautiful salad or arrangement of fruit in such a bowl can rival a beautiful painting on many levels in my opinion. In this case I placed similarly colored apples in the bowl and surrounded it with both a planter and a fern. The first rendition honored many more lifelike details. On subsequent passes through the work, detail was subdued. I can only say that what resulted pleased me.....at that time. This is not to say that I will embrace it more in a month or in a year....that remains to be seen. What I am noticing, to be sure, in the continued simplification of forms that is occuring with each work....I have no set formula, no set process....strokes are layered over randomly in subsequent passes until I am pleased. My process ressembles a state of semi-anarchy.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Picture Perfect? - May on Howe Road

May - Howe Road watercolor 19.5 x 13 ...and I am so not into picture perfect. If ever there was a painting that did not represent who I am as an artist, this is it. Done as a painting class landscape challenge, it represents the dichotomy of painting for class instruction versus painting for myself. This is a difficult situation. While there are seasoned artists in my classes who understand my processes and my desires to alter reality, there are also "newbies" who are just learning to put brush to paper or canvas. Most of the time, I can bridge this gap within. But this time not so much. I have never enjoyed sweet landscapes....blue sky, green trees and red barns. Oh, I so prefer the expressionism of Wolf Kahn! Watercolor portraits with strands of hair that look like wet noodles grate on my nerves. Romantic oil paintings, done in this real time, that seem to glorify the past (barefooted young maidens fetching water from the well while wearing peasant blouses and headscarves) make me tense. And so....this angst....urging me onwards to grow as an artist. A paradigm shift. I am ready.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Honey Bee

Honey Bee   watercolor   14 x 10

 

Summer just cannot be summer without bees. While no bee expert, I have my own notions about a few kinds of bees: giant bumble bees who drunkenly float through the air a bit out of control; the borer bees who make holes in my fence; the pesky yellow jackets who aggressively invade picnics and barbeques late summer. And then there are the honey bees whose yummy product we purchase to cover our biscuits and sweeten our world. Their complex communities have been the subject of many articles and studies of late along with cut-open view of their hives and bamboo shelters for rent in gardens. Oh yeah, our sons were each wounded each summer by a mistep in our clover-covered yard. But the bees were forgiven. They did not mean to sting. After all, they were being stepped on! A few years back, we noticed fewer and fewer bees and an absence of clover in the yard. I continued to scout out articles offering suggestions as to their demise which included: viruses and bacteria; cellphone interference in the air mixing directional signals; the fickle changes of nature; and, of course, yard pesticides that offer "weed free" lawns at the expense of well water, insects and animals. Eventually I gave up the search. Well....I am so pleased this year. To counterbalance the abominable weather changes affecting our population has been the return of clover and honey bees to our yard. They are......welcome guests. This painting offers a blown-up view of the honey bee. Its increased size offers more intimacy as well as larger shapes for creative color mingling. I am pleased....with the painting....and with their return.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Yellow J - The Grass Always Being Greener

Painting portraits is something I love to do.  In this case, I shot the reference photo myself at a family celebration.  I worked hard on this work, searching and searching for the perfect likeness....and, I think it arrived at that.  Some days, strokes were applied one by one throughout the day....there was almost a bit of fear.  At this point, I was yearning for a real-life situation...a hurried, spontaneous work that contains a bit (or several bits) of truth while not always 100% accurate.  My goals are many, but having an energetic overall feel is of the utmost importance.  No pieces/parts. To arrive quickly is often a fresh breath of air...the strokes contain energy and resolve, as opposed to timidity....and, yet, as always, I am yearning for the place in-between....maybe this is impossible?

I must try to accept the fact that not quite arriving is what drives artistic excellence...




Thursday, June 3, 2021

Tulip Pair

Tulip Pair watercolor 12.5 x 9 I have always thought flowers to be among the most complex of subjects. Their forms are very complex, their forms quite articulated and the relationships....well....more than abundant. The poetic stature of tulips is so interesting to me, as their blooms rise above the leaves. I photographed two on my daily walk. Their colors were adapted to a better design and, I think, the relationship between the two was augmented. A bit of animism on my part. And...the simplicity which I have come to embrace is, I think, apparent. While flowers are not my favorite of subjects, I am pleased.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Unattached - and less is more

Unattached watercolor 9.5 x 13.5 Like so many people I have read about, I have been enormously taken with the notion of minimalism during the pandemic. Oh....I was already there, but to a lesser degree. At our house, we have been gradually reducing the collections of a lifetime: too many clothing items, too many dishes and casseroles (but I might need it sometime), too many garden pots and way too many tchotchkes. My work has aligned itself with the evolution of my belongings. I need less. For most of my artistic career, I have struggled with the notion of too many objects in the picture plane....chairs painted in, then painted out: still life paintings first painted as I see them, then gradually reduced to a couple of important relationships; shadows, interesting as they may be, were almost always eliminated. I am noticing the minimalism, more than ever, in my work. For me, the objects in the work become an interplay of subject (the tomatoes) and the ground (background). I am thrilled when these two notions interact in a series of rhythms. For the first time ever, I saw the reduction of my personal aesthetic needs reflected in this work. I was earlier satisfied. Done is done. But never say never....I have included a shadow in this one. Do I enjoy it? Not particularly.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Croc

Croc watercolor 12.5 x 9 The first session of our watercolor class leaves me stumped. What to paint? Artists are not prepared with subjects. None of us wants to be intimidated as we face the polar whiteness of the page. Teacher(me) is weary of carrying extra luggage such as bags of apples and seashells. So.................each of us took off a shoe and painted the evening away. And...there is always more to learn from such a humble subject than one would expect. The position of the shoe can either be iconic or problematic....as we typically envision s shoe drawing from the side, showing its elevation and length. The shoe is usually composed of larger more passive areas as well as detail, such as eyelets and lacing. Everyone is prepared. Wear on the shoe makes for intimacy and personality. What's not to like? I love my Crocs! They happen to be the most comfortable shoes I own....and my feet are hard to please. I hope to own and wear them forever as I have found out that they are not environmentally friendly. Pity. They were such fun to paint.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ina Garten Would Not Be Pleased

Coffee All Around oil/canvas 11 x 14 x .5 Ina Garten would not be pleased. During this pandemic, I, like many others, have taken to reading cooking hints, blogs and recipes that come to my phone...often in lieu of "real news". And, I must say, I enjoy them! One of Ina's best articles, I think, had to do with one of her first dinner parties where she prepared omelettes (?) for her guests, keeping her in the kitchen during the entire evening. Afterwards, she realized that in order to enjoy the evening, she needed to plan ahead. Preparing all of the entrees well in advance allows her greater freedom during these events, in addition to enjoying the foods. Well....as a painter, I, too, understand the necessity of planning ahead for a given painting. Sketching for many reasons(to understand the nature of the subject; to plan for a more exciting composition; and to plan values of the entire work ((including the "background"))) allows for less floundering with paint and fewer brushstrokes, leading to a much fresher work. And, whenever I skip this important step, mostly due to lack of time, I flounder and am forced to decision-make on the surface. Guilty as charged. After several iterations in the background values, and the skipping around wipe-outs while trying to alternate hard and soft edges to my satisfaction, I was finally pleased. Wouldn't it have been easier to spend extra time on the sketches, giving me a road map to follow? Lesson learned. Again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ritual

Ritual oil/canvas 30 x 24 2 1.5 The scenery is beautiful but quickly forgotten. The faces of those cutting the trees meld into one. And, each year, the tree is the best ever. The ritual of the "bringing in of the tree" is the thing. The evergreen (EVER GREEN) presence in the midst of the cold and dark season is so welcome. As per my usual process, background pieces were painted in then painted over...roof lines, piles of snow, and fences. What remained, I think, is the essence of the ritual. Joyful blue. Ever-green. And, of course, whites, both cool and warm. I am pleased.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The News: A Wiggly Tooth

The News: A Wiggly Tooth oil/canvas 14 x 11 x .5 This painting is the second of two painted from Facetime photos of our granddaughter. The joy, the unbridled enthusiasm of a seven-year-old cannot be equalled! It saddens me to think of how tainted we have become...how our notion of "news" shared with a friend becomes overblown and always, semmingly, escalating to our culture's notion of importance. I long for this simple joy...and I am grateful of her sharing.

Monday, March 15, 2021

S Has News

S Has News oil/canvas 14 x 11 x .5 A facetime call from an enthusiastic 7-year-old granddaughter is a superb gift anytime....during the virus lockdown, it is a lifeline. Our prescious dear one called one day with news....I was all ears....and all eyes, as I snapped several facetime photos from which to paint!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Patchwork Mitten

oil/canvas 14 x 11 x .5 The subject for our class challenge was "feeling cold". Painting a mitten made by a dear friend of recycled woolen sweaters became a project dear to me. The challenges were many...painting a single mitten? ...and being able to suggest the kind of fabrics and textures involved without painting stitch by stitch...and to create balance within the picture plane without a given setting, or background. It took many passes...creating and destroying. This is my final solution. It has a feeling of whimsy, which is not really within my cache of emotional responses. I am happy. Why not paint a single mitten? If Wayne Thibaud can paint candied apples, cupcake and gumball machines, why can't I find the beauty and charm in such a simple subject?

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Totem

Totem oil/canvas 16 x 12 x .5 Like many grandparents, we have been sorely missing our dear ones during the pandemic. Technology saves the day with Facetime! Our children have been terrific about keeping in touch. We find ourselves caressing the screen as if to touch them. I have been snapping shots of them during these conversations, at first just to grace my computer and phone screens. My work had been uninspired since the beginning of the lock-down and I found myself lethargic....when, in the past, there were more subjects presenting themselves to my brain than I had time to paint. So.................I decided to paint a series of portraits taken during Facetime chats. The lighting is poor....and the pose is conversational rather than relaxed. "Totem" is the first of these. It is also inspired by the wonderful totem photos that my partner takes....this involves taking beautiful landscape or lakeside reflective photos and rotating them 90 degrees to convey a Rorschach-like image, sometimes scary but always interesting. My goal here was to let the images melt into the totem-like-effect, allowing a bit of freedom in the interpretation. This is very difficult when the subjects are your dear ones. And so, perhaps I was a bit timid in this portrayal, but I am happy.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Snow, Shovels and Leonardo DaVinci

February oil/canvas 16x12x.5 Snow Shovels are common winter accessories here in northeast Ohio. This small painting was a class challenge, the challenge being a painting inspired by 1) cold 2) containing two elements 3) the study of relationships...one element to the other. So.......the relationship between the blade of the shovel and the small mound of snow in front is the result of the challenge. Relationships are everything. It was indeed Leonardo DaVinci who said, "Realize that everything connects to everything else".

Monday, February 15, 2021

Recalling Pinehurst

Recalling Pinehurst oil/canvas 8 x 8 x .5 Our travels have been punctuated with lovely fragrances! Hikes along the California coastline were abundant with sages and wild grasses. The lush, moist air in Virginia held onto scents that filled us up spiritually. And....North Carolina.....ah....the pine scents that rush up to you as you exit your car.....that first trip to Pinehurst will be tucked into my olfactory memory forever. I adore these giant cones from the longleaf pines...in fact, I revere them. We collected the cones on hikes every year and displayed them during the holiday season. We also pitched them into flower beds to make them more interesting. I consider these cones to be objets d'art.....simple yet complex, enduring and appreciated in so many ways.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Recycling and P. R. Miller

OIL/CANVAS 20 X 16 X 1.5 P.R. Miller haslong been a fixture in the Akron, Ohio art scene. He is, admittedly, eccentric and calls himself The Grizzled Wizard. And he is quite a character. Many years ago, he posed for our local art group for, I believe, three sessions...that was 2007. Recently, I unearthed this painting from my archives. While I still enjoyed the likeness, the pose and the painterly quality, I was highly disturbed by the background. Texture, texture, too much texture everywhere! So....taking brush to hand, I gave the background a new sparse look. While I am happy with the improvement, it is definitely not the way I would approach the subject at this moment in 2021. And, yet.....I cannot help but think that this newer treatment is appropriate for P.R. Miller, the ultimate and foresightful recycler!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Iron Pot on Plaid

oil/canvas 8 x 8 x .75 As a painter who works both in oil and watercolor, I have worked my way into a seasonal rhythm that satisfies my needs...oil in winter and summer; and watercolor in spring and fall. Both processes take up lots of space in my small studio, and, with clean up and several ongoing projects, the chaos is just too time consuming to pursue both simultaneously. That said, this small painting is my personal introduction into oil painting season. There is always a bit of trepidation involved....like the beginning of each and every painting, only magnified by the change of mediums. Keep it simple. Get the feel. Stretch your boundaries. Handle the brush with softness. Channel the viscosity. Many things to keep in mind. The subject became the water-filled iron pot that sits atop our wood stove, its purpose to re-humidify the air. Checkered napkin left from a holiday dinner that never happened. Originally, I had stuck a pine branch through the handle. That was painted out... just like the minimalization trend that has infused my brain, I am, these days, bothered by too many pieces-parts in the subject matter. Besides, I like the negative space inside of the handle. Having more "background" space allows for greater creativity in the painting process and a more restful feeling, something, I believe, we are all craving these days. At the very end, I impulsively used a bottle cap immersed in paint to print some circles on top. That might have been a mistake, but the next day I was pleased with the result. That act satisfied my wabi-sabi need for chaos in a subject that can easily, for me, dissolve into too much sweetness. I am satisfied and ready to move on.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Sheds

Sheds watercolor 12 x 12 In our neck of the woods, (used-to-be-rural-but-is-now-semi-rural) sheds are a commonality....everyone seems to have at least one. What's not to like about them? They exude charm without a drop of pretentiousness. They provide storage and ambience to country living on larger properties where they just seem to fit. I watched a few episodes of "Grand Designs" with Kevin McCloud, having been recommended by another artist. In one episode that takes place in Wales, I think, the builder has been inspired by the sheds that dotted his childhood landscapes. The sheds in my painting were viewed in October from hiking trail that abutted a private property. Autumn, of course, provides an automatic color palette when painting from life. Design was more of a concern as one of the sheds needed a dominance. Flow was also a deliberate consideration as I strove to keep a unified whole rather than two separate halves.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Monumental

conte crayon on paper...36 x 22 Giving birth to a child is a most monumental life-changing experience one can have. It was for me, over 40 years ago....and it was, for sure, a most wished-and-wanted-for event. Some things never change. For our three sons and three amazing daughters-in-law, it is even more so...given the careers of the parents, and the challenges that they face on the work front, along with those faced at home. I believe that they want what I wanted....to raise children in a happy and safe environment as well as to meet their own personal goals. Definitely monumental. The standing pose of the most recent birth experience emphasizes this notion of monumental. The drawing is a simple one done in conte crayon on paper. I was in awe during the making of it. And I am in awe of their efforts, so much larger than my own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Mogadore Reservoir

Mogadore Reservoir watercolor 21 x 13.5 is our local retreat into nature. We have hiked its trails, kayaked the waters, observed the wildlife, photographed its wonders and collected its rosehips for the past 40 years. It is dear to us. Every now and again, I paint landscape. While not my favorite subject, I give it my all. Perhaps the vastness of all of that organic substance is too confusing for me. I dislike using masking fluid, as well as painted individual leaves. In short, many watercolor landscapes have far too much hard edge for my liking. My process is a more overall chaotic treatment siphoned into a bit of detail. I liken it to an accordion as it expands and retracts. So...my work was cut out for me. All efforts at producing the texture of leaves in the foreground ran amuk in the darkness of the shadows....and the itty-bitty-ness of it all bothered my aesthetic. A few leaves, the hangers-on, were painted in quick strokes. The overall feel is exactly the way I feel as we enter the autumn woods, however.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

My Porch

My Porch watercolor 20 x 12 Autumn is such a naturally beautiful time of year....and my heart quickens as I approach the side door of our farmhouse. Pumpkins are stunning to me....large and round and ORANGE. This work was painted from reference photos shot at a time of day where the sun played with the objects on the porch. And, yet, there is a sinister quality to this time of year with shortening days and the falling of leaves. No one did pumpkins more soulfully than Andrew Wyeth, in my opinion. The climate of his work is positively haunting. My watercolor style, too, is a bit heavier than some....perhaps that is because I am also an oil painter. I also take "heavier" watercolors more seriously....they have, to me, a more thoughtful, more layered quality that packs a punch that can be read from a distance. (Sometimes, I wish to be a lighter painter, but, I am not). The shadow area in this work was ever so important with a few hues underneath the final dark blue-green wash. The support beam on the porch is not upright and suggests, to me, my approach up the stairs. And, of course, it follows that my notion of life, in general, is more complex, more serious, weightier. And, so.....this is my porch.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Essential Lotto

Essential Lotto...ARtGraf graphite block on paper...30 x 16 Ideas come in fits and spurts. During my many walks each week doing a loop around the central area of our small township, I took note of the people going in and out the door of Circle K.....and caused me to wonder just what was essential enough to dawn and mask and shop at a convenience store....gas? made-to-go sandwiches and hotdogs? and, yes....LOTTO. A dream of winnings that might be the way out for many folks of the apathy and distress that seem to hover over this period in time. So....surrepticiously, I shot many photos of these customers as they entered and departed. The plan was to create a series of figurative works describing what each of these individuals considered to be essential. The woman in this work was not young....it took her many minutes to unfold from her car and conduct her business. The door itself was not easy for her to maneuver. Several minutes later, she emerged with a long string of lotto tickets. Ah...THE DREAM. I am quite happy with this work. I hope she scratches off a winning number. I wish her hope.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Yellow Sofa

The Yellow Sofa ArtGraf graphite block 36 x 29

Our mornings begin with reading. The simple shapes and backlighting of this scene were too much to pass up. Photo references were shot and I relished the opportunity to experiment more with ArtGraf graphite blocks. This medium is DENSE...and then some. My previous attempts were far too dark, far too opaque and I yearned for more of a continuum from softly rendered to opaque and dense. I find that these are unlike any other drawing mediums...adding water makes them even more dense. It really did take a while to find my footing....and some semblance of a comfort zone. While most mediums thin out and become more transparent with the addition of water, these graphite blocks are the exception. I quickly became more judicious about crossing the surface with a wide brush loaded with water. This work was done on 140# hot press watercolor paper. I like the final result, which has a bit of everything, yet reads boldly from a distance. I am not sure that I would use this medium on a subject with a softer inclination. And, typically, true to me, I seem to yearn for that which I do not have.....my next work will be a more softly rendered one using softer drawing tools.....conte crayon, charcoal or pastel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Hole in Rodanthe

 

A Hole in Rodanthe   watercolor   29 x 20 
It was November...a short trip to the Outer Banks where we stayed in a little house to soak up the wildness that this part of the country offered to us.  It was so momentous to me as our youngest son met up with us there...many beach-combing hikes, many great meals, some entertaining card games.  And THE WIND...OH, THE WIND.  

The ocean had offered up twigs, branches, and many many conch shells, each showing the wear of the tides.  It was impossible not to feel amazingly primitive...so opposed to the sequestered lives we live daily.  

In this work, my challenge was to merge the figure with the seaside.  While working, I was able to relive the experience.

I am satisfied.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Gal from Maine

Gal from Maine   watercolor/cold wax/wood cradle    11 x 14 x .75
                           



When our son's family comes to visit, they bring along their two delightful Maine Coon cats.  These felines are gentle giants...fluffy, snuggly and easy to get along with.  One of their endearing quirks is that they love to drink from bathroom sink faucets and cozy up in the bathroom sinks....lucky for us that we have two side-by-side sinks to accommodate them!


The greatest challenge in rendering animals is to get the feel of the fur without getting too detailed, as detail takes away from the coat as a whole.  These cats have a tortoise appearance, with many layers of color rolled into one.  I began with some warm washes and tried to sublimate the fur to the form of the animal.  Cooler and neutral layers were placed on top.  Initially, I started to put in the actual spigot and handles, but that was much too much detail for my liking.  They disappeared into the dark background.

I like the feel of this work.  I also like the placement of the whites, which were toned down a bit at the end.

Most of all, I love these cats!