Thursday, October 23, 2014

October Morning - and Bonnie's Amazing Art

October Morning
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

Yes, I love autumn! And yes, I love the morning, too. The light is clear, the shadows long, the day just beginning and full of promise. 

But these mornings, the dawn seems to come soooo late. I know most folks hate the shorter days that we get when we set the clocks back. I have to say I love that sunrise is earlier. I'm usually up at 5 or 5:30, but these mornings, in Virginia, the sun doesn't come up until after 7. 

MY NEXT SHOWS are in Texas, yee ha! I'm pretty excited. After the first one, in Houston, I will have most of a week to explore and paint. I'm going to camp at a state park outside of Galveston, and explore Padre Island and all that Texas coastal stuff that I've seen on maps, but never seen in real life. I'll post photos. 

The shows are the Houston Fine Arts Festival,  Nov. 1 and 2, and the Winnsboro Fine Arts Market, Nov. 8 and 9. Fun! 

My friend Bonnielynn Brankey  makes gorgeous paintings (click here to see her Ocean Colors website), and beautiful, luscious hand-painted scarves. If you're starting your Christmas shopping, check out her website and her Etsy store, too!
Above, one of Bon's scarves. Below, one of her paintings! 

Is there an artist or a craftsperson you'd like me to feature on the blog? 
Please drop me a line at 

Dog of the Day

I've showed this photo of a Williamsburg, VA, bichon to our bichon, Woodreau, about 100 times. Woody is STILL scruffy and grimy. Guess he just doesn't know how to take a hint... 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Autumn Morning - and Xmas Already???

Autumn Morning
Oil on canvas, 10x10

I nearly drove off the road about six times, on the way from Cynthia and Kevin's home in northwestern Connecticut to the show a couple weekends ago at Paradise City in Northampton, MA. The autumn colors sang out, brilliant and clear and voice by voice. It was not the full chorus bellowing out "Hallelujiah," to carry out the metaphor, but a small choir singing an airy, complicated, gorgeous contrapuntal song. 

Finally, it was too much for me, and I got out and set up the easel and painted. I hung the little painting wet - and was thrilled when this mother and daughter decided to buy it. The daughter is an artist, and we all were on so much the same wavelength, it was, well, music to my ears. 

Happy buyers

My painting in the landscape

Really??? It's not even Halloween. 

Dog of the Day

Here's Abby, attack dog. She is turning out to be a gentle soul, but I think she'd definitely attack anyone who wanted to mess with Peter or me, or any of the dogs. 

Red Rocks, Joshua Tree Revisited - Part of a Joyful Project

Red Rocks, Joshua Tree
Oil on canvas, 40x60

At a show about a year back, I met a nice couple who loved my work. They were in the midst of renovating a house they'd just bought, and they thought they wanted one of my sunflower paintings in their kitchen. 

We made tentative plans for me to visit and see the kitchen, the house and the colors, but the wacky winter weather, and then my California trip, kept delaying our meeting. Eventually, I was in their area for a show, and I was able to visit, and we all agreed that one of my sunflower paintings would indeed look great in their kitchen. 

They came then to that show, and realized that they also liked the paintings from my California Calling Painting Extravaganza. The one they liked best was one of the ones from Joshua Tree, in California. 

So in the middle of the summer, I set about making paintings for their beautiful, friendly home. I delivered them on Saturday, and I must say, they look fabulous! 

A project like this is wonderful for me on so many levels. It's great to have the sales, for sure. But even more than that is the joy of having my paintings hang in the homes of people who love them enough to buy them, and let them into their daily lives. 

This happens with every sale, but most of the time, I don't get to see it. Most of the time, I only get half the experience. With commissions, I am more involved with the ongoing life of the painting, and with the very personal decisions of content, colors, sizes, even where and how high to hang the pieces. 

I was also honored that my paintings are the first pieces of art Pat and Bill have bought together, and the very first to be hung in their home. 

It's sort of a miracle life I'm living here, and an experience like this one crushes mountains of doubt. It reinforces my belief in the decisions Peter and I have made, and reassures me that I'm on the right path. 

Here's Pat in the living room with the Joshua Tree painting. 

Here's the sunflower painting in their kitchen. 

EARLIER IN THE YEAR, I wrote about the 2014 Paws for Charity Project, an art book and related items that raise money for an animal shelter in Nova Scotia. The project, in which I've participated for a few years now, is run by Sara Harley, who also created the book of my California Calling Painting Extravaganza

Sara has now made some related items for the Paws for Charity Project. For sale on Blurb are coffee table books, e-books, notebooks and 2015 weekly planners. Profits from sales of these items also go to the shelter in Nova Scotia. 

The photographs and paintings of animals in the Paws for Charity Project are just great. I know you'll enjoy them, and I hope you check them out. The items would make great Christmas presents, and all for a good cause.  


I THOUGHT THIS this was funny, a lawn on a truck. I know it happens everywhere, 

but it just seemed so compact, and so perfect, I had to take a photo. 

Dog of the Day

I MET THIS GIRL at the show in Williamsburg. You can just see the edge of the pink bow she had in her hair. She was a sweetie. 

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

In the Barn - and Abby Fits In

In the Barn
Oil on canvas, 30x30

To all of you who came to the Paradise City show this past weekend, and stopped by my booth to say hello, thank you! It was great to see you, and you added greatly to my enjoyment of the show. 

I had a couple nice sales, some to new buyers and others to people who've bought my paintings in the past. The lovely couple below, who now have four of my pieces, said the greatest thing to me. Not only do they love my art, they said, but they're buying more also because they want me to be able to keep painting. How great is that?  

Still, this fall's Paradise City was only a break-even show for me, and so I am considering skipping it next fall, seeing if I can find a more profitable - or closer - way to spend my weekend. 

It wasn't just me, of course. The weather was rainy and cold, the stock market took a big tumble, and while folks were buying, they generally weren't buying two-dimensional art. Jewelry and three-dimensional art were the big sellers of the show. 

I DID A GOOD but pretty frightening thing after the show at Paradise City. I left a big bulk of my supply of paintings at Center Framing and Art in West Hartford Center, CT. 

It was a good move, because Lori, who owns Center Framing and Art, sells lots of my paintings, and she loves them. But it was a frightening move because I have two shows in Texas coming up in early November, and I have to paint like a crazy woman to have enough art to fill my booth! 

But I'm excited about my new paintings, and I am eager to try new things with them - and so it's good, all good. And I do love a challenge. 

SO, THOSE NEXT shows, in Texas. The first is the Houston Fine Arts Festival, Nov. 1-2, at 1500 McKinney St., downtown Houston. The second is the Winnsboro Fine Arts Market, Nov. 7-9, in Winnsboro, which is a couple hours from Dallas. 

I've never done a show in Texas, but I'd think that my big paintings, especially sunflowers and cowscapes, might do very well there. At the very least, it will be an experience! 

Dog of the Day

The Dog of the Day is our new addition, Abby. She is getting along great with the other dogs, and injecting a nice dose of puppy high spirits into the lives of our aging pack. Woodreau, the not-so-white fluffy dog up on the back of the couch, would like to be mean to Abby, and boss her around - but she pretty much just refuses to take him seriously. He lunges and barks and she plays. Abby is proving to be a real gal pal for my dear JoJo, which makes me very happy. Below, Joey and Abbs take a break from a bout of very enthusiastic playing. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Poppies No. 1 - and Cynthia's Great Jewelry

Poppies No. 1
Oil on canvas, 16x16, $450

In a little while, I will head north for the Paradise City Arts Festival, at the Three-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA. This is one of my favorite shows of the whole year, in large part because I am always so awed by the art and incredible craft there.

There will be amazing furniture, luscious handmade clothing, fabulous jewelry, brilliant glassware, great paintings - and always new items that surprise and lure me. The facilities are fun, and set-up is relatively easy. The patrons are smart and well-educated, and often are in buying moods. And as an extra added bonus, there's good music and yummy food. And the festival is three days - Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

If you want a fun outing, please consider seeing the show. There is an admission fee, but you can get discount coupons at the Paradise City Arts website. I'm in Booth 909, in the arena building. I will have my new floral paintings, and some other new, exciting paintings, too! 

ONE OF THE BEST parts of making and selling art is meeting other artists. At one terrible, terrible show, I met Cynthia Battista and her husband Kevin Ireton, and we have become fast friends. Cynthia is an amazing jeweler, whose work has a rough, organic edge that really appeals to me. 

Kevin was the top editor at Fine Woodworking for a long time before he left to be a carpenter. You've seen his talents in that field - he was the one who built the inside of my van. 

And George and Zack, their dogs, have been Dog of the Day many times. 

Aren't these beautiful? 

I'M GEARING UP for my next plein-air painting trip, in winter/spring of the coming year. I'll post details here on the blog first - and I'd love any ideas or input you all might have, about where to go, what to paint, etc. 

Calendars will be on their way soon to everyone who sponsored my California Calling Painting Extravaganza. Meantime, the book showing paintings and writing from that trip is beautiful, and on sale on Blurb. Click here to get a preview, and to find out about different options... 

Dog of the Day
Abby is making herself at home here, and the other dogs, by and large, are accepting her. Abby and Jojo have become the best of friends, spending large parts of their days racing around the yard, chasing each other and barking, then flopping down in the grass, side by side. It's the youngest I've seen Joey in years. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Poppies! - and Some Cool Earrings

Poppies No. 2
Oil on canvas, 16x16, $450 plus shipping

Do any of you remember Peter Max? When I was a kid, I had a jigsaw puzzle of a Peter Max painting of flowers, and I just loved it. I don't remember exactly what it looked like, but I do remember that it made me happy, and it intrigued me. The vibrant colors, the free forms, the dark outlines, these all stuck with me over all these years.

I think that's part of what I am loving so very much about the new paintings I'm doing. The strong colors, the feeling of freedom that I am enjoying while I paint, and the intrigue of leaving those little black rivers of gaps between pieces of the paintings, these are conspiring to make it amazingly fun and exhilarating to make these paintings.

Now to see if other people like them!

I HAD A TERRIBLE show in Williamsburg! There were tons of people there, they seemed to like my paintings, had good things to say, came into the tent - just didn't buy. One painting, $75, was all that sold all weekend! Sheesh.

But I have another chance this coming weekend, at Paradise City, in Northampton, MA. I'll be bringing flowers and flowers and more flowers  - and a new cowscape, too! I'll be in the arena building, in Booth 909, on the side near the food. Please stop in if you're at the show - and consider going to the show if you're in the area! There are discount coupons for admission at the Paradise City website. 

ONE OF THE PAINTERS I met at the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout wore some really great earrings the entire time. I found out the name of the guy who made them - Mark Schieferstein, aka Skrapmonkey.  He lives and works in Asheville, NC, and his stuff is really fun and interesting. My earrings - the ones at the far right in the first photo - were $24. And they're as good in real life as in the photo! You can check out his site, or send him an email, and he'll help you get some great ear decorations. 

Dog of the Day

There were tons of great dogs at the show in Williamsburg, and this girl was one of them. 
She has a little dress on, and was clearly being spoiled rotten by her human. 
The woman looking on in the back clearly didn't approve! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Along the Southern Wall - and Heather and Joe's Maine Art

Along the Southern Wall
oil on canvas, 18x36
Please email me for price and availability

Williamsburg is a surprisingly hopping place! It is not all history and button shoes and old-fashioned dresses, which is the picture I'd more or less had in my mind. 

When I arrived Friday night, I found a huge party going on in Merchants Square, the site of An Occasion for the Arts, the festival I'm in over this weekend. It was the birthday party of the square, and restaurants and bars had set up outside. They were selling food and drink quite briskly. People were dining in the square, and at bistros surrounding it. There was a band playing, and people were dancing!

Saturday morning, a farmer's market was setting up while we were setting up. It was jammed, absolutely jammed. Our festival was jammed, too - and one patron told me that just last weekend, she and her husband had participated in a gallery crawl. Twenty-five bucks bought them a tasting-menu dinner from the area's restaurants, and a view of art in galleries, stores, banks and offices. Coming up are a pottery exhibit, a corn maze, lots of art events, a half-marathon, free cooking classes and more. Who knew? Certainly not me. 

It was amusing to see people dressed to work in Colonial Williamsburg come through the show. People who live in town told me they never quite get used to seeing those folks dressed up and shopping in WalMart. 

MY NEXT SHOW is Paradise City, on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 11-13, at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA. Click here for info, and to print tickets that will give you a discount on admission.  

Paradise City is a fun show, and I always enjoy being there. There will be lots of great art and crafts, tons of stuff to ooh and aah over... and good food, too! 


MY FRIENDS HEATHER Macleod and Joe Keller are selling their art in a flea market store in Bridgton, Maine. I think their stuff is fun and creative and inventive - and I just love the grisly Halloween items.  

Bacon and egg chair

Blender Lamp

Halloween treat

Dog of the Day
These two poodles, Charlie and Max, are therapy dogs, visiting people in hospitals and nursing homes regularly. They were great dogs, on the alert the entire time they sat on the bench.