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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Aerial Tabletop Bird's Eye Overhead

Citrus Slices   oil/canvas   11 x 14 x .5

These terms all refer to a viewpoint that is atypical for painting.  Shapes from above become so important.  As do their shadows.  I found that my usual process had to be discarded as harder edges were needed to help avoid visual confusion.  And so, I have gained even more respect for two painters that excel at this presentation:  Cleo Clark Williams from Canton, Ohio and Linda Tompkin from Copley, Ohio.  As my strength does not lie in detail, I felt completed weighed down my this small project.


But, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained....right?

Monday, September 11, 2023

Garden Shed

Garden Shed   oil/canvas   14 x 11 x .5

 This painting of our garden shed is, for better or worse, the image that greets me on an almost daily bases.  In it are tools, pots and potting soil as well as remnants of dried and drying herbs and vines.  It is moody.  It is crooked.  

I am satisfied with this painting, as far as painting from direct observation goes.  

The peeled layers, the cracked glass and the rusty roof provide charm.  This is where scraping and gouging into the work have a direct usefulness.

Don't forget to close the door.  The chipmunks might get in.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Umbrella

Umbrella   oil/canvas   36 x 48

 I really have no idea why some glimpses of life are more appealing than others.  This scene appeared as I walked around a nearby allotment. This kind couple agreed to let me photograph them, although the small girl seemed to be perturbed by my request.  As per my usual, it is the visual that suggests contemplation...and spurred thoughts of umbrellas and their purposes.  I think that we all agree that umbrellas perform the function of protecting us from the elements.  It creates a bit of a boundary... the inside::outside feeling also provided by clothing, cars, homes and fences.  

And so each of us finds our comfort zone in the interior::exterior polar opposition.  

Do you know where your umbrella is?

Monday, August 14, 2023

In Memoriam: Judith B. Carducci

Turnabout - Carducci   watercolor/gouache   13 x 20

Although I have seen her only minimally over the past several years, Judy was a constant throughout a major portion of my life.  We met through our local arts group The Akron Society of Artists.  It was there that we participated in life drawing, critiques, and hosted exhibitions.  Her medium of choice was pastel.  Mine:  watercolor and oil paint.  One very  hot summer, three of us painted from models one evening a week in the upstairs garret room of The Italian American center in Akron.  Judy, Jack Liberman and I comprised our little group.  While we did not always agree artistically, I believe that we had so much in common...mainly a great love and respect for the human face and figure.


This particular portrait of Judy was done in 1999 as a group demonstration for 
The Hudson Society of Artists.  As Judy lived in Hudson, she was a ready volunteer.  Reference photos were shot and the painting was finished later on in my studio.  The painting was exhibited in Watercolor Ohio 2000 sponsored by The Ohio Watercolor Society and was purchased for their permanent collection.

I believe that each artist's personal aesthetic is comprised of all she has viewed and experienced and loved.   So....Judy was and is and will be a part of my work...forever.

Judith B. Carducci.  She was 86.
Jack Liberman  2004

Judy Carducci 2004

Saturday, July 29, 2023

world getting smaller:: hearts growing bigger

Amanda   watercolor   20  x 13.5

Amanda, originally from South Africa, is an artist from my past watercolor session.  She is a sculptor by training.  AND

She has lived all over the globe in countries that have so little for their children to grab onto.....and hers is the hand that reaches out to them.  She is an ESL teacher....English as a second language.  For our session, she chose to pose rather then paint and was pleased to serve as our model.  She is wearing a traditional house dress from one of the countries she visited.

Painting from life involves much spontaneity and quick decision-making.  What a fun process!  I much prefer the energy of the impulsive searching strokes over the smooth plastic-y nature of a work that has been noodled to death.  It is definitely imperfect.  It is definitely wabi sabi. 

These sessions usually last about 1 1/2 hours.  I try to take a photo a few minutes into one of the 20 minute sessions so that I can add a bit of detail at home.

Call me crazy. I LOVE this kind of work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Three Scoops on High

Three Scoops on High   watercolor  mixed   14.25 x 6

 Summer=ice cream.  No doubt.  


...and while we are experiencing a bit of mixed media fun, here is the result.

My idea revolved around realistic and highly textured scoops of varietal ice creams as well as a wrapped waffle cone.  The colors needed to be FUN!  This work was begun as a monoprint.  (see "It's The Berries") After printing, I began my first pass painting directly with paint on top of the monoprint.  I realized that the intense opera pink background, while super fun, completely upstaged the more subdued color palette of the cone.  Woe is me.  

My first corrective pass involved neutralizing the background with green.  No pizzazz.  

Time to take some risks.

As an all-out effort to save my idea, I created a template of tracing paper that was stuck to the top of the cone.  I used an old checkerboard linoleum plate to print on top of the watercolor ground.  As it was so very sharp and so very intense, I used a brush flooded with water to create some areas of mushed-together blandness and, at the same time, allowing some of the original pink to peek through.  Edges were then refined to conjoin the cone with the ground.

I am happy.....it was fun and gave me an adrenaline rush similar to the partaking of the luscious cone itself.  

Thursday, July 6, 2023

It;s The Berries

Raspberry   watercolor   13 x 10.5

 "Raspberry" was such a fun watercolor project!  As I become bored with the repetition and seriousness of more serious projects, I throw in a bit of fun now and then.


This began as a monoprint in watercolor and finished up with the usual brush and paint.  A loose drawing is made and transferred onto a piece of tracing paper.  The reversed tracing paper drawing is put underneath a piece of plexiglass which is the approximate size of the paper.  Paint is applied directly to the plexi.  Paper is then pressed down onto the plexi.  You can use a baron if you want to....it changes the reception of the paint onto the paper a bit and flattens it out.

The painting is then continued as one would do usually, by assessing just what needs to be done.

By starting with the loose chaos of the monoprint, the work often has an energy of its own and a textural quality in direct opposition to the direct application of paint with a brush...this process shakes up the creative problem solving element, which refreshes my  desire.  

I like this painting!

Friday, June 16, 2023

At The Hip

At The Hip   Watercolor   25.5 x 16

 Oh Yes!...a scene that I am very familiar with...dressing up young boys for a formal event...in this case, a wedding.  These young lads...cousins...are ready to attend the wedding of their uncle.  Baseball caps and ties askew are part of the look.


I began with what is a darling photograph, and tried to give it a bit of my own flavor with capitalizing on their joint gesture.  The faces have been underplayed.  The horizontal line of the arms and waistbands of the trousers have been given dominance.  These boys are besties!  Color is kept to a minimum.

I like this work...and it represents much of which I hope to achieve in future paintings.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Brown Eggs

Brown eggs   watercolor   13 x 9.5

 One of my spring rituals is to paint eggs...'tis the season!  

This year I decided to paint brown eggs, which is a bit easier than painting the subtle shading and reflecting that occurs with white ones.  Although the scale of the eggs is a bit larger than in reality, I still enjoy this painting as it is, to me, the quintessential watercolor painting, i.e. the use of savored whites and the splashiness of application.  In order to accomplish this, I have had to let go of perfection by resisting the urges to smooth over brush strokes and to generalize the patterning on the bowl.

Distinct realism is difficult to release.  

I like brush strokes so very much.

Simplification.

I enjoy this work.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Paula is cold

Paula   oil/canvas   12 x 9 x.5

 Each art student took a turn posing on our model stand at the end of the winter session.  We were attired in hats, gloves and scarves.  The directive was simply to "look cold".  

I am pleased with this small painting which was translated from a grayscale printout into color.  My touch was light and somewhat accurate.  This does not always happen.  

I like lively expressive portraits.

P.S. In looking at this photo of the painting, I am surprised at its differences from the actual work.  My new I Phone camera captures all of the strokes.  The painting appears to be much smoother.  I will have to learn to make adjustments.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Don't Forget the Garlic

Garlic Bulb   oil/canvas   12 x 9 x .5

 I am always drawn to the beautiful forms of fruits and vegetables.  Sometimes it seems a bit silly to aggrandize such humble subjects.  Over the years and hundreds of exhibitions under my belt, I believe it is safe to say that there are not all that many paintings of this genre.  There is one that stands out, however....it is Van Gogh's "Red Cabbage and Onions". Recently, a small article caught my eye.  In it, the writer(?) acknowledged the presence of garlic in the work, despite being left out of the title.  

In this small monochromatic (relatively) work, my goal was to share fluidity, transparency and opacity qualities in oil paint.  As a painter in both the oil and watercolor mediums, I enjoy the crossover feel when employing the methods used by each....a hybrid, so to speak.

After all, don't we live in an age of hybrids?  

Monday, March 13, 2023

Outliers

Outliers   oil/canvas   14 x 11 x .5

 We hike a lot.  We also notice trees a lor.  Our favorite walks take place at a reservoir close to our  home.  Trees that are vertical, healthy and upright abound.  Then there are those in the midst of being uprooted and have been caught in the hooks of the verticals, waiting to fall.  Vertical, to us, seems correct...all alive and well.  Horizontals are restful with a lack of energy.  (kind of like falling asleep on the couch at the end of the day)  But those diagonals give us pause....those forms caught in the interim between alive and restful.  So..........these outliers cling to vertical, yet lean towards the fall.  Are these trees leaning into the earth or into the water?  Tension.  And yet they cling.

A bit like us humans.

This painting was referenced by a photo taken on one of our winter outings.  While I do not paint many landscapes, the tension of these trees is undeniable.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Onions and Garlic

Onions and Garlic   oil/canvas   11 x 14 x .5

We cook A LOT at our home.  And so it follows that fruits and vegetables are always available and truly a visual banquet.  I have always loved the richness of these paintings with a darkish background.  And, if you have seen my work over along period of time, you will note that I do not like said subjects as a "mise en scene" scenario.  ( no bowls, napkins, draperies, etc.)  And so, these veggies have been thrust into a bit of a visual conundrum.  They were observed on a lit tabletop but pushed almost into a vertical presentation of my liking.  Vertigo, anyone?  It works for me.

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Value of Onions

Onion   oil/canvas   8 x 8 x 1.5

 The humble onion makes everything more delicious...right?  Who can resist the fragrance of the saute?  This onion was our first class project and was painted from direct observation.  The onion appeared rather bland as the interior value shifts were so very subtle.  And so....I exaggerated the value on the edge of the outer skin to bring down the background dark into the onion itself.  Ahhh....much better.

If working from direct observation, realistically, the observed values are honored.

If considering design, the values can be altered according to the discretion of the artist.  For me, design trumps reality.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Game On

Game On   oil/canvas   18 x 18 x 1.5

Children love games.  Adults love games.  This kind of set up is a common occurrence at our home.  And this composition created an interesting triad to explore.  Moving darks.  Moving lights.  Lots of energy!  


This was an exciting painting to create for me.  

And I am often the observer...best seat in the house!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Carol



Caarol   watercolor   14 x 10

 is a watercolor portrait done in my class.  It was Halloween and masks served both as a  holiday bit of fun, as well as a device to avoid too much detail in the way of likeness.

Although it is a bit messier than my usual, I still like it.  Some of the usual slower deliberation and care were sacrificed for the goal of speed.  I think that this would be my choice over the don-over-several-days of careful painting where details and smoothness of strokes can easily disintegrate into a plastic-like feel.

Sometimes these works are more honest?

Monday, November 14, 2022

Bartlett

Bartlett   watercolor   12.5 x 9

It has been said that many artists like to paint pears as they are reminiscent of the female form.  Plus, to me, they are interesting.  In this case, I had a preconceived notion of the work.... a simple warm dominant work in an analogous color palette.  The cool greenish color was used as a dark tone.  It really did thrill me when applied.  Overall, while I like this work, I miss the drama of a wider range of value.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Art for Art's Sake

Zinnia   oil/canvas   24 x 8

I greatly admire the work of Oscar Wilde.  If I could choose a dinner guest, he certainly would be at the top.  What a wit!

  His brain seems to go to quirky and ultra observant places.  His leanings were toward art for art's sake...each work being unto its self.  I guess that is where my leanings are as well.


Leftover painted over canvas+

Late in the season sole tall zinnia in a pot of shorter companion+

Desire to play...to put something into the given space=

Art for art's sake.

A zinnia memorialized.

Fun quote from Oscar Wilde via the J. Peterman catalogue:

Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the center of the city.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

"S"

"S"   oil/canvas   16 x 12 x .5

is an young, yet established artist who participated in my class. She has an interesting beauty and a confidence in her work and in her person that radiates.


I really like my painting of S. and I do not know exactly why as it is a bit distanced from my usual.  My usual is a smoother and more blended face and hair.  In this case, I chose not to eliminate bits of untouched accidental texture throughout the face and hair.  Why?  Not sure.  But I have trusted my instinctual approach for so long that I am not going to turn away now.  Maybe I am still pushing the envelope?  

Friday, August 26, 2022

A Moment Presents Itself

Removed (E)   oil/canvas   14 x 11 x .5

 Seeing a figurative gesture that sparks my interest is a rare moment.  Arranged figures during life drawing sessions often appear strained and stiff....the pose that the model assumes while on a break is the one that pleases me.


In this case, the young boy plops himself onto the ground for some listening pleasure.  This pose was oh-so-very-difficult in its pretzel-like configuration. It really does play havoc with the elongated nature of the human body that seems to please us so much!  And It was so so very difficult.  The curved spine area behind the head was in and out, in and out...any attempts at a hard line ruined the illusion.  The darkness of the hair needed to be balance with the somewhat dark horizontal line behind the figure....at least that was my solution.

I am pleased....and it came at a cost.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Radishes

 

Radishes   oil/canvas14 x 11
Gotta say....I loved making this painting.  Painting vegetables and fruits gives me the opportunity to paint more freely, weaving darks and lights throughout nature's bounty and chaos.  (After all, there are no likenesses involved).  Cooking has been such a large part of my life (often larger than wished for).  Opportunities to cook creatively in a novel manner abound.  I also relish the opportunity to grant animation and liveliness to that which nourishes.


OK.  So I love painting radishes.  But what have I always done afterwards?  Usually a few have been sliced oh-so-thinly to toss in salads.  The remainder was pitched when they became mush.  Sad.  This time, I decided to think outside of my cooking box....they were roasted with a couple of simple ingredients.  They were unbelievable!  

Try painting radishes.....and try eating them as well!

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...