Saturday, November 15, 2014

Autumn on the Eastern Shore - and How I Love Living Here

Autumn on the Eastern Shore
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

Texas treated me well, indeed. I had two good shows, met really nice, really friendly people, and saw beautiful sights all over the state. 

But when I drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and onto the Eastern Shore, I found myself letting out a whoop and holler of sheer, unadulterated joy. It wasn't only that I was heading home, to my husband and our dogs and our house and our friends, but that all of that was in this place that so delights and moves me. 

Time and again, I drive onto the Eastern Shore and I am simply filled with gratitude that after living in all these places over all these years, Peter and I found our home. I've loved places where we've lived, but I have never felt so centered or so delightfully settled. 

I took the photo below as I was driving that last stretch on my way home from Texas. I thought about stopping to paint, but I really wanted just to get home, to hug Peter, pet the dogs, and stop driving. 

Much of the draw is our home, and our friends, the people, and Wachapreague itself. But I love the Eastern Shore as a painter, too. Partly, I think, I'm attracted to the simplicity of the landscape. Even more, though, is the light. With the Atlantic on one side, the Chesapeake Bay on the other, and virtually no air pollution at all, the light has a roundness, a golden color, and, often, a sort of brilliant, thin pink that warms everything it touches. 

Above, the photo of the sorghum field I painted. 
Below, three pix of the Eastern Shore I took on
Friday evening. 

Dog of the Day


Abby, Smokey and Woody having a good howl. You can hear Jojo howling in the other room. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Longhorn No. 5 - and Claude, I Feel Your Pain

Longhorn No. 5
Oil on canvas, 15x60
Please click here to email me for price and availability

Today (Friday) is the set-up day for the Winnsboro Fine Arts Market, here in Winnsboro, Texas. It looks like a cute little town, with some interesting shops and restaurants, some pretty houses and a surprising number of banks. 

I'm in eastern Texas, and it doesn't really look like my idea of Texas at all. All along my route, I saw lots of trees, lots of water, some hills, and lots of cows and horses. It was a lovely drive from Houston to Winnsboro. 

These horses were as interested in me as I was in them, I think! 

THE HOUSTON MUSEUM of Fine Arts is showing an exhibit of some of Claude Monet's paintings of the Seine, and I was thrilled to be able to see it. 

It was not a big exhibit, but it was really wonderful. Monet painted the Seine again and again and again, in all sorts of weather and all sorts of light. I've seen many of these paintings before, but not since I began painting, so it was extra special to see them, and to understand, a little at least, what he was doing, what colors he was using, how he was making the paintings work. 

I've read biographical stuff about Monet, but got a book at the museum and I'm reading about his life again. Before his success, he struggled mightily, and was rejected again and again by the people who juried the major shows of Monet's day. That sure made me feel better! 

Above, one of the paintings from the exhibit. Below, me in a tunnel under the museum. I met a lovely woman there who looked at me and asked if I was a painter. We chatted for a while, and she told me to use the tunnel to get to the other building, and she was there, taking photos as I walked through this tunnel / light painting. Isn't it fun? It changes color every few moments. Very cool! 

And here's me in a hat, at a big cowboy boot store!

AND HERE IS... well, what the HECK is this? It is a little building with, what???? Monster arms coming out of each window? I drove by three time and STILL couldn't quite figure it out. But what a riot!  

Dog of the Day

Met him and his brother at the Houston Fine Arts Festival. They were both rescues, and this one had scrapped with another dog at the shelter and lost part of his ear. And then, that gnawed ear began to stick up! This was one of the happiest, looniest dogs I've met. Always ready for action! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blue Mountains - and Shar Art Supply

Blue Mountains
oil on black canvas, 12x36

I feel happy and lucky tonight. My flower paintings were a hit here in Houston. Between the show and one online sale, three of my new pieces have sold. Yay! 

The sales are not only great because they are sales, but also because it means that people like these new paintings. I am so excited about them, I can hardly wait to paint more - but just because I love them, that doesn't mean that other people love them, or at least love them enough to spend their hard-earned money on them. 

The Houston show told me that yes, people are willing, even happy, to spend their money on these new paintings. It's absolutely thrilling. Thrilling. 


HOUSTON IS AN interesting city, and surprising. It's vibrant, bustling, and bursting with ethnic and cultural variety. Driving down one street, you could see a Mongolian restaurant, followed by a Spanish-language law firm, a Japanese optician, an Indian-Asian fusion restaurant, a taqueria, a Vietnamese grocery and an Outback steakhouse. And the city goes on and on and on like that. 

People told me that there is no single majority population, in terms of ethnicity. There seems to be a large and very out gay population; the mayor, I'm told, is a lesbian. Buildings are going up all over downtown, and I saw no empty storefronts. Some empty lots, but not that gap-toothed patchy emptiness we've become accustomed to in the east. 

The show was in a very cool solar- and green-energy park, Discovery Park, which was right across the street from Minute Maid park, where the Houston Astros play. At another edge of the park was the Houston Convention Center, where the largest quilting convention in the US was taking place. All day, both days of the show, quilters came and saw art - and they were from all over the world. 

It's a happening place! 

ANOTHER HAPPENING PLACE is Shar's Art Supply in Galveston Island. I had made a reservation to camp at Galveston Island State Park, and I was hoping to paint there, as well. One of my Houston buyers commissioned a painting from me, 15x60 inches, and I knew I would have time to paint it - but there was rain in the forecast, and so I needed space. I searched on line for studio space that I could rent for a day or two, and on Facebook, found Shar Art Supply in Galveston.

I reached out, and Shar contacted me, and the next day, in Galveston, I found the space, and it was great! Sharonmatthew Bushloughran rented it about a year ago, after her job in the hospitality industry was eliminated. Getting another job in the same area, she said, would be just going down the same road. So she found space in a big, old building, and with the help of friends and other artists, made it beautiful and welcoming. 

Artists rent space from her, she sells art supplies and art, she gives classes, and she entertains whatever else and whoever else walks in the door. 

I felt at home instantly. Shar was great. I met Jorge and Susie, who both work with wood and wood-burning, and Kareem, who is a painter, making mainly large, thought-provoking, exciting pieces. Shar paints with watercolors, and also makes very cool signs. 

I painted all afternoon, got my commission nearly done (though I redid a lot of it this morning), and had a great time talking with the artists and hanging out. I felt wonderful spiritual energy in Shar's place, and I felt welcomed and appreciated. Next time I come through Texas, I'm going to take a day to have fun in Galveston with these fine people. 

If you'd take a moment to like Shar Art Supply on Facebook, that would be great. And if you're in Galveston, make sure to stop in. 

Here's Shar, above, and Jorge, below.

 Here's Kareem, above, and Susie, below. Can't you just tell how fun 
it would be to spend time with these folks, in this space? 

MY CALIFORNIA CALLING calendars are ready to go! You can find them by clicking here.  They're 2015 calendars, with 12 paintings from my California Calling painting trip. Each calendar is $12.99, plus shipping... So it's a good present for yourself, or for anyone you'd like to delight. 

Sponsors, you are all getting calendars - they should be at your doorstep in a couple weeks! 

Dog of the Day

THE DOG OF THE DAY is the boat-tailed grackle of Galveston Island State Park. These birds are raucous, loud, energetic, insistent - and shameless. They have a series of bizarre calls, that run from something that sounds like a car alarm to something that sounds like sticks breaking. They are pirates, going so far as to get inside my van, looking for food. At the table, they pounded my bag of Rice Chex until they broke through. And then, they walked all over my painting! No harm done, but still, sheesh. 

Yes, they were rude, but my oh my, they made me laugh. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Zinnias - and Patch (the Cat, Not the Website)

Oil on black canvas, 48x48

I felt pretty good when, after the Paradise City Arts Festival, I left half a dozen paintings with Lori at Center Framing and Art in West Hartford Center, CT. Lori was so excited about my paintings, especially the new ones -  In the Barn, Poppies No. 1 and Rouge Bouquet - that I was excited to leave them with her. 

But then I got home and wondered what I had done. I pushed the wonder, worry and fear aside, and started to paint. And I love the paintings I've made. I can't wait to see them hanging all together in my tent.

This one, Zinnias, is the largest - 48x48 - and it is a true show-stopper. The painting is large, the flowers are large, the impact is large - doesn't it seem perfect for Texas?  

Dog of the Day

It's Patch! And while it's a little hard to tell from this photo, Patch has one green eye and one blue eye. He is a funny, funny cat - and amusing to me, since I used to work for Patch. 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Shall Find You - and a New Neighbor?

I Shall Find You
Oil on black canvas, 12x36

I love a tall, skinny painting! Verticals are more unusual, and while a huge vertical can be tough to hang, a small one works pretty much anywhere. 

The colors in this one, the dark green foliage at the bottom, the stained-glass feeling at the top, the little blurb of orange and pink at the bottom, and the willowy feeling of the tall flowers, these are all things that make me like this one. 

Here's the poem from which I took the title. The poem is "Idyll," by Siegfried Sassoon:  

IN the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.
Not from the past you’ll come, but from that deep         5
Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:
And I shall know the sense of life re-born
From dreams into the mystery of morn
Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there
Till that calm song is done, at last we’ll share  10
The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are
Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn’s one star.

Dog of the Day

I'm pretty sure his name is Nick, and I'm pretty sure he's going to move into the little blue house next door. His human, Margot, has put an offer on Dulcie's house, and if the inspection and all the other house stuff goes well, we will have neighbors. Yay! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bouquet - and the Smartest Dog

Oil on black canvas, 16x16

I post my paintings fairly regularly on the Zest of Orange, a blog started by Middletown, NY, Times Herald-Record staffers whose jobs had been eliminated. The coterie of contributors has changed, but the blog chugs along with good writing and thinking, art and cartoons, and I'm always happy to be a part of it. 

Jeff Page, another contributor, wrote to tell me how much he liked my October Morning painting, and it got me thinking about the past few months. I've been in a period of vague dissatisfaction with my painting since about the middle of the summer.  

I'm at a point in my painting life where I recognize this feeling as a presage of a breakthrough, and so I've been riding it. I know you all have been reading and watching the evolution here, and I am beginning to feel that I'm finding my way in this new phase. This painting is one of the touchstones, I think. 

This new phase often involves the black canvas showing through. It seems to involve brighter colors, fewer strokes, and, within the boundaries of these stained-glass-like shapes I'm ingraining into the paintings, a new sort of freedom and looseness in the strokes. 

At least that's what it seems to me! 

I am really, really excited about these new paintings, and I am so hoping that other people will like them, love them, buy them, and delight in them as I do. 

I'VE LONG BEEN bothered by perfume and perfumey scents. They make my sinuses swell, give me headaches, make me sneeze and upset my stomach. For years, I could barely make it down the laundry-soap aisle in the grocery store. Being around teenage boys, who have a weird propensity for wearing gallons of super-smelly Axe, was torment. When I was the top dog in newsrooms, I set down strict rules against the wearing of scents. Otherwise, I griped and moaned and begged people to not wear perfume and cologne. 

I've grown out of much of my sensitivity, though someone doused in particular perfumes or cologne s can still cause me pain. So I was mystified when I came home one day and found my husband in the back hallway, smelling of cologne. 

We tried to figure it out, but couldn't. He wasn't using any new shampoo or deodorant. We were still using the same laundry soap. He hadn't been anywhere where he would have come into contact with anyone swimming in cologne. 

A week or so later, Peter figured it out. The trash bags we use are suddenly, stupidly, perfumed. I can't tell you how much I object to this. First of all, it's just plain stupid, at least in my opinion. It certainly doesn't kill the smell of rotting trash, just mixes it with the smell of perfume. It gives me a headache, makes my sinuses swell, and when I put a new trash bag in, it gets all over my hands. 

I wish manufacturers would just Cut This Out! 

Dog of the Day 

WE SHARE OUR home with five dogs. One is a hunting dog with a great nose. Two are total food hounds. A couple of them are so smart, it's scary. And four of them can see and hear. 

Zoe, a lhasa apso, is the oldest of the five. She's the smallest of the five. She is mostly deaf and nearly totally blind. 

And clearly, she is the smartest of the whole bunch. 

Peter had left the empty dog food bag in the back hallway. It had been there all day. After supper, he called to me, and pointed into the back hall. And there, next to the wire rack with the smelly trash bags, was Zoe, with just her hind end sticking out of the bag. She licked out the entire inside, scarfed up whatever crumbs were left, and had herself a great time. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Poppies No. 5 - and Driving on the Shore

Poppies No. 5
Oil on canvas, 30x30

While there's a part of me that does get tired of driving long distances to shows, most of me - I do admit! - kind of loves it. 

Every journey is an adventure, even if it involves going to a place I've been before. There's always something new to see, something interesting to ponder, something fresh that I might like to paint. And even though I've complained about driving through Texas, driving TO Texas seems different. 

I've never been to Houston, never seen Galveston and Padre Island and that whole south-coastal part of the state. I'm going to camp in the van at a state park down there for the week between the shows, and I'm really looking forward to it. 

And honestly, I'm looking forward to the whole experience, driving south, and then heading west. Who knows what I will see? It will be an adventure for sure. 

ONE OF THE THINGS I enjoy, driving around the Eastern Shore, is seeing the HUGE pieces of farm equipment that are also driving around the Eastern Shore. They are really something, these machines. 

Dog of the Day

He's a new dog in town, and I think his name is Sweetiepie. 
He's a very hairy poodle, who was absolutely frantic to say hello.