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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Know Something More

I Know Something More
Oil on canvas, 16x20

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting



Our house in New York stood on a rise about 30 yards from the western bank of the Neversink River. Most of the time, this was wonderful. We swam and fished in the river, listened to its rolling sound, watched the birds and wildlife that lived along its shores.

But when the river flooded, it was a nightmare. It would come around in front of our house and cut off our access to the road, potentially trapping us there, on what would be an island surrounded by raging river torrents.

We were flooded out many times, and a couple of those times, the flooding was severe. One flood left 60 houses in our neighborhood condemned; we were a federal disaster area. Everything in the basement of our tiny home was destroyed that time. The river opened a crater in our driveway, deposited two feet of silt and sand, and pushed all the small trees over at an angle. Debris was caught in branches higher than my head, and we found dead fish in our yard for months.

I grew afraid of heavy rain. A sound I had once loved, rain falling on leaves, I grew to hate. I came to despise the Weather Channel and everyone on it. I could feel anxiety and even panic grow as the storms strengthened.

And even now, even though we are gone from the house, even though we live nowhere near a river, the fear still courses inside me. This heavy, heavy rain has reawakened anxiety that I thought was gone forever.

On another note, a sunny one, I made this painting last week - it's my third go at these tall trees on the reservoir in Groton, and I think it's not the last. I love the way the setting sun warms the banks, the trunks, the limbs, and how the reflections shimmer in the sunny depth of water.

On the excellent-news front, all three of the paintings I submitted to the all-animal show at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore were accepted. All three! Yippee. I couldn't be happier. I'm going to have the chance to visit an old friend there, and I'm going to stretch things out a little and do some painting on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, one of my favorite places.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little Cat


Little Cat
Oil on canvas, 12x12. Contact Contact Lori at Center Framing and Art (860-233-7804) for price and delivery options

All sorts of good news to report this morning! 

First, the sales of the giant cow paintings have gone through. I think there were spouses involved who had not seen the paintings - but when they saw them, they loved them, and so, yay! And thank you to all who sent good vibes out there into the universe for me. 

Second, at least one piece of mine was accepted into a juried all-animal show at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore! 

The first year I entered juried shows, I got into every one I tried. "Oh, this is easy," I thought. 

Yeah, right. Or as my 8-year-old self would say, "Like fun." 

The second year, I got into none. Not one. I was roundly rejected everywhere. 

I stopped trying for a while. And why not? I was having solo and two-artist shows, I was selling in galleries and on line, and every rejection from a juried show sent me into a spin, much as I tried to ignore it, and though I know (and still do) how absolutely arbitrary the selections are. 

But I've started applying again, and while rejection is still far more of the picture than acceptance, it's not the entire picture. 

And speaking of pictures, here is another in my "is it finished?" series. I got the painting of Audrey Heard's Little Cat to this point and stopped. At first, I thought it was finished as it is. But the response has so far been universally "no." Not finished. People want the rest of the face - and I think I do, too. And perhaps a dark blue background to help make those eyes pop. 

What do you think? 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tiger Cat

Tiger Cat
Oil on canvas, 12x12. Contact Lori at Center Framing and Art (860-233-7804) for price and delivery options

George Carlin once said that when a cat looks at you, it's like he's testing a new set of eyes. This cat really looked like that in the photo I was working from - and I think that "new eyes" thing comes through in this painting, which I really love.

It's been an interesting and exhilarating week or so for me. My silence on the blog and in emails has happened because my old computer finally died. It was a seven-year-old Mac laptop, much loved, much abused, and very very used. It traveled the country with me twice, took me from one career into another, one place to another, one life to another. When it finally kicked, it was slow and creaky and covered with paint, and I felt quite a kinship to it.

So now I have a new laptop, and it is fast and clean and shiny - but probably not for long.

In the interim, I found that six or seven of my paintings at the Wallkill River School Gallery in Montgomery, N.Y., have sold, including two of the giant cow paintings! This news so stunned and amazed me that I was unable to sleep for one night, and barely able to have a conversation about it all with the curator.

I have to tell you all, though, that since that initial discussion, I have received an email through someone else at the gallery asking first if I would finish the bottoms of the paintings (sure) and second, frighteningly, asking this gallery person what the gallery's refund policy is.

I am not going to panic here. The gallery told me the paintings had sold, and I believe they have sold, and am just going to continue to believe that!

I never thought anyone would buy giant paintings of cows in the first place, but I was wrong. Every cow painting I've made has sold; well, one still hasn't, I think, but the rest have. So what does that say about us? I guess people like cows. I know I do.

Think good thoughts for me, and help me will these sales to fruition.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pugster

Pugster
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $250

On Saturday, in beautiful, warm, May-like sunshine, I painted this painting, and one other, while standing in front of Center Framing & Art, the West Hartford gallery that represents me.

It was a glorious day, and West Hartfordites were out in droves, many with their dogs in tow - or vice-versa.

I talked with dozens of people, and dozens more who were interested in having me paint their pooches. Exciting, certainly, and when they show up with their commission checks, I'll really start dancing.

Meantime, the most exciting news in ages is the House of Representatives passing the health-care reform bill. For me, this news hits home, as I've been wrestling with insurance companies for months and months. If there is anything that's going to drive me away from painting and back to corporate America, it is that our health insurance costs more than our mortgage. So today, I applaud! I am sure it's not a perfect bill, but it has to be better than the nothing that we have  now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Know Something About Love

I Know Something About Love
Oil on deep-cradled canvas, 12x36, $200

These days have been a gift of spring, and I have come alive again. I have painted without a care, without a thought, warming in the sun like a turtle on a rock.

I worship in the cathedral of the outdoors, and pray with words as bright as colors, as loud as birds singing on the wind.

Here are some disconnected bits:

I got into the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival! This is very exciting for me, as it is a festival I've seen nearly all my adult life - and never dreamed I'd be accepted.

Also, the Paradise City Festival in Northampton, Mass., is fast approaching, and I received a magazine that the promoters send out. Yikes, the work is fabulous! That festival is May 29-31. I'll let you know more about both when I know more.

"Range Rovers," which many of you received as a blog post just a few days ago, I painted for the February show at the Lighthouse Gallery. I don't know why my posting was delayed for a month. On a similar note, three Christmas cards and a invitation to a January show, all dated Dec. 23 or 23, arrived in the mailbox just last weekend. The postmistress has no idea what could have happened.

Time warp, anyone?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Celebrating 'Celebrations'



 




The opening reception of "Celebrations," the show that Shawn Dell Joyce and I have at the Wallkill River School Gallery drew a lovely crowd, in spite of truly torrential rain. Many folks I'd hoped would attend didn't make it, but many I hadn't expected to see came out and enjoyed themselves.

When you're at my level, there is a tremendous range of work involved when it comes to mounting a show and hosting a reception. Some galleries do all the work, though those are few and far between. At other galleries (Wallkill River School among them), the artist does all the work.
We pay to design, print and mail the postcards, addressing and stamping them ourselves; we make and hang posters; deliver and hang the art; make the title and price tags for the show; make, buy and present the food and drink - and do the clean-up afterwards.
 
It's like putting on a big party and inviting all my friends. It's fun, it's exhausting, it can be expensive - but it's a joy to create an atmosphere of warmth and welcome, where people can meet and talk and relax, and look at the art that I've put heart and soul into creating.

So those of you who come to openings, who brave weather and traffic and all the million things of your lives to attend, thank you. I truly appreciate your presence and the effort that it takes. This most recent opening took more effort than usual, I know, because of the rain. Those of you who couldn't make it, we missed you - and you missed a fun time!

The show is up at the gallery (232 Ward St./Route 17K, Montgomery, N.Y.) until the end of the month. See the Wallkill River School website for directions and information.




In photo at top, Jim Douglas and David Munford are facing the camera. Jim is a gifted framer and artist, who works in Montgomery. David is a wonderful painter who has contributed to the Art for Shelter Animals Project.


 Left, the crowd at our opening. Usually, the two artists mingle their work; Shawn and I decided to hang our art in separate rooms. That worked well, and didn't seem 
to cut down on the viewing. 









Some of my paintings hanging together. This little grouping really worked well, I think. I like the way the colors complement each other.


That's me on the right, with my old friend Taryn Clark. 
We worked together at the Times Herald-Record, and we sure had fun. I miss her every day. 




Here is Shawn Dell Joyce, demonstrating her pastel technique. We each did a demonstration, and it was fun! 







Here's the crowd, watching Shawn.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tuxedo Cat II

Tuxedo Cat II
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting.
  

I am always amazed at what it takes to get a show together.

First, of course, there is the painting. But that's just the start.

I drove to Montgomery, N.Y., last weekend with a vanload of canvases. At the Wallkill River School Gallery, I hauled my art inside and splayed it around the beautiful room where it will hang for the coming weeks.

I hemmed and hawed. I tried this and that. I weighed one piece against another. I talked to Shawn Dell Joyce, hanging her pieces in the next room. We looked at hers, and at mine (we had decided to hang our stuff separately, intead of interspersed) and we made decisions.

In the end, I hung about 20 pieces, and took another 20 home. I will bring a different 20 or so back, dog and cat paintings, mainly, to hang for one weekend in a room on the second floor of the gallery.

Today, the night before the artists' reception (5-7 p.m. at the gallery, 232 Ward St. (Route 17K, Montgomery, NY), I sit in my chilly office/studio and work to tie up a million loose ends. I'm printing cards (commission a painting of your pet!). I'm printing flyers (here's the Art for Shelter Animals Project!). I'm printing photographs of rescue dogs and cats (pet-portrait workshop on Sunday!).

I am remembering to bring business cards, and my framing stuff. I am remembering to load my  animal paintings. I am remembering to bring my share of the reception food, and my paints, and easel, and canvases, and to stop somewhere on the way and get sparkling cider. I have to remember my camera, and then remember to take pictures.

And I have to remember to chill out and have some fun, too. Because in the long run, that's what this is all about, this new life. It's about enjoying the tasks again. It's about loving the work and everything that goes with it. It's about loving the people I meet, and the chance I have to talk with them. It's about challenge and satisfaction and accomplishment, and in the very longest of runs, it is about joy.

And it is, so much, about joy.

Thank you for reading. Thank you, as always, for your support.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuxedo Cat I

Tuxedo Cat I
Oil on canvas, 12x12

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

The friendly gallery owner at Center Framing & Art in West Hartford Center, Conn., has me going on another project. The first one was dogs; this one is cats.

Her idea for the dogs was so successful, artistically and financially, that I readily agreed to paint a whole series of portraits of various breeds and varieties of cats.

This is particularly challenging for me, because cats are so similar in terms of their bone structure. Sure, there are the wedge-headed cats (Siamese, Abyssinian) and the flat-nosed cats (Persians and the like), but mostly, the differences are fairly subtle, except for the markings.

So it's engaging, and I am happy to start. The cat paintings should be in the gallery, at 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center, in the month of April.

Meantime, Shawn Dell Joyce and I hung our show Sunday at the Wallkill River School Gallery in Montgomery, N.Y. The artists' reception is Saturday, from 5-7 p.m. Shawn and I will be demonstrating painting, too, which should be interesting! Emerging artist Denise Aumick has a wonderful collection of abstracts, textiles and more traditional painting, as well. The whole thing looks just great.

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Evolution

Evolution I, II and III
Oil on canvas, 12x48 each

I've had a ball with these paintings these past few days. I have loved making them, and thinking about them. I've gone to sleep with these paintings in my mind and woken up with them still there - but somehow, changed.

Honestly, I can't say what, precisely, has me so fascinated. I do know that the colors are really lovely and rich and luminous. I do know that there is a very cool rhythm to the paintings. I know that they are new, and fresh and different.

I really like the white space. From my first trip, to Wisdom, Montana, I have liked leaving white space in a painting. It forces the viewer to engage with the painting in a very active way. How would that viewer finish the painting? Or would she leave it? What was the painter thinking about when she left the white space? Why is it there, and what might be there instead?

That white space also defines the rest of the piece as art, as something made by a human hand, and it does this in a sure and unwavering way that I like, and a way that draws contrast to our surroundings, too.

I hope you will click on these to see them larger. And even more than that, I hope you will come to the Wallkill River School between March 7 and 31 to see these pieces in person. And if you're available on Saturday, March 13, any time between 5 and 7 p.m., please come to the opening. The Wallkill River School is located at 232 Ward St. (Route 17K), Montgomery, NY. See www.wallkillriverschool.com for directions and more information.

If you are interested in buying one or all three of these pieces, please contact me and we can discuss price.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sonoita Revisited

Sonoita, Arizona
Top painting, 12x36. Bottom painting, 12x48

Here is another in my series of questions about when a piece is finished.

The top painting, I made en plein air, in Sonoita, Arizona, in April. It had been a grand painting day, and this was my fifth piece.

But it was a hot day, too, and windy, and the wind was picking up as the afternoon wore into evening, and I was weary, physically, mentally, artistically. So I this painting reached a point where I liked it, I stopped, happy, sunburned, exhausted.

When I got the painting home, I realized that I liked it as it was - except for the vertical line on the left side of the canvas, where another painting had smudged it. Also, I didn't like the one swipe of blue in the left-hand side of the sky.

But for those problems - which I can, and could, fix - I have always loved this painting as it is, with no more paint on the canvas.

This is the painting, in fact, that first nudged me into wondering just when a painting is finished. There is a quality to this clearly unfinished piece that I find intriguing - even exciting.

I have been looking at it, up here in my studio, for weeks now. And yesterday, I decided to have another go at it, on a larger canvas.

I painted the mountains, and pathways through the grasslands - and when I stopped to look, I realized that, once again, I was taken with this piece as it is.

So what do you think? Does your eye want blue sky and rolling golden hills? Or does your eye like it as it is? Or is there somewhere in between?

Thanks in advance for thinking about this and letting me know. I'll post your answers!

Marching in Montgomery

Marching in Montgomery
Oil on canvas, 12x24
sold
The Wallkill River School occupies the ground floor of the Patchett House, outside the downtown part of the lovely Village of Montgomery, N.Y.

Originally a tavern, the Patchett house stands on the corner of Factory Street and Route 17K, part of the old Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike. The Patchett family, which owned the woolen mill at the end of Factory Street, bought the house late in the 19th century, and lived there until the 1970s.

In 1980, the house was added to the National Historic Register. Later, it fell into disrepair. The Devitt family, whose purchases and renovations are part of the fabric of the Village of Montgomery, bought the home late in the 20th century and brought it back to its glory.

It is in this home, with its 14-foot ceilings and hardwood floors, its 10-foot-high windows and spectacular staircase, where I will be showing my art, starting a week from today, with Shawn Dell Joyce.

Shawn has made a series of paintings to celebrate the Village of Montgomery's bicentennial. And I have plans for a couple, myself.

One of them, I finished yesterday. This painting is from the old photograph on the cover of the Village of Montgomery Bicentennial calendar, which is on sale at the gallery and around the village, for $10. The painting shows the Firemen's Parade, as it makes its way down Ward Street at the turn of the 19th century.

I started with the intention of using only sepia tones, but color overtook me - a little! Come to the show - or come to the reception, Saturday, March 13, from 5-7 p.m. You won't be disappointed.

Early Call for Art on Groton Bank

The Art on Groton Bank committee members met Saturday at the home of Audrey Heard (her back is to you), made plans, set goals and had a pleasant morning.  From left, the committee is Gerry Keeler, Janet Downs, Hali Keeler, Milly Carlson, Judith Winder,  and John McHugh. Hidden between Winder and McHugh is Lana Orphanides.

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I used to shop with my mother at a great store called Hands All Around. It was run by one of my mother's friends, a woman named Audrey Heard. I knew, somehow, that Audrey was a painter, but mostly I knew her as the woman who owned that really cool store with the wonderful clothes. Shopping there was always a treat.

Last year, I met Audrey when I participated in Art on Groton Bank, a one-day outdoor art festival on the grounds of the Bill Library in the City of Groton. I didn't recognize Audrey, though her name rang a bell, faintly, in my memory.

After the show, I received an email from Audrey asking for comments about the way the show was run. I responded, and promptly forgot all about it.

In the fall, I was dropping off art at the South County Art Association and was drawn into the exhibit space by a series of very large, very colorful paintings. They were absolutely brilliant! They relied on color to do all the work - to supply the light, the shadow, the shapes, the rhythm. I was stunned to see that Audrey Heard, the small, older woman I'd met at the show, was the artist. Click here to see her work.

I put her on my mailing list, invited her to my All Animals show at the Lighthouse Gallery, and was pleased as could be when she and her friend Millie arrived at the opening. Afterwards, via an email exhange, I agreed to help out with Art on Groton Bank.

I've met with Audrey a few times now, and am thrilled and honored to be involved (as co-chairman, even!) with the project. It was a fun show, my first venture outdoors, and I like Audrey's ideas about expanding the group's reach, adding another show and a series of salons.

I met with the AOGB group on Saturday, and they are just the nicest people. I'm happy to have found an artist community here, especially one with ideas, verve and a track record.

So - the Art on Groton Bank Show will take place on Saturday, July 17. The website is being updated, and I will let you know when the new information is up. But if you are an artist, please participate! The entry fee is very low - $45, or $40 if you pay ahead. There is no pressure, it's a lovely experience, and it's a show where you can make sales. If you have a tent and all that jazz, that's great - but if you don't, you can set up along the fence that encircles the library grounds, and show and sell your work a la the painters of Paris.

If you are an art lover, please write AOGB down on your calendar now. It's a great place to find art by established and emerging artists, and it's fun and easy.

This year, too, Art on Groton Bank is planning a winter show, Nov. 6 & 7, indoors. Stay tuned for more information! 

Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home Oil on board, 8x16, $125 including shipping sold One of the things I love about the palette knife is direction...