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Friday, December 31, 2010

Storm

Storm
Oil on canvas, 36x48
Please contact me for price and delivery information
sold

It's the last night of 2010, and it's been an interesting year.

It has been a year rich in experience and in choices. I've gone from painting full-time to working more than full-time to learning, bit by bit, day by day, how to balance the two.

I've done something I swore I'd never do again - go back into journalism. But it's an entirely new sort of journalism, and barely feels like the same thing.

And while I am enjoying it, it is entirely too easy for me to be sucked in again.

What I want is to paint, to make my living painting. It is that simple and that huge, and I am on my way.

During this year, my faith and spirituality have developed to a point where I feel that I am prepared to continue this quest, and make progress at it, while still making my living in journalism. I must say that my family and my friends are doing all they can to support me in this - and I thank heaven for that support every day.

Each of you who reads this blog is part of this, too. Every eye, every heart, every mind that sees my work adds to my momentum and my success.

So, that is my resolution: To keep painting in the center of my life, in the center of my heart, in the center of all that I do.

Happy new year to all - and thank you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Italian Hilltop Farm


Italian Hilltop Farm
Oil on gessoboard panel, 4x4, $75 framed




OK, continuing the joke, "campo grande, casa poco." That's "big field, little house" in Italian. 

Now that I can fly, I find myself wanting more and more to go to Italy. We have too many dogs, but the promise of Italy is the one good thing that I can see when I look ahead and see the deaths that are certainly coming. 

This winter is the first that Kaja hasn't greeted the first snow - and every snow - by flopping on her back and rolling around. In fact, she stumbled in the snow this morning and needed help to get up. 

But just when I think it is the end for her, she will do something like this: We decided to take her and a couple of the others out for a walk. Where we expected Kaja to turn back, she insisted on continuing. She climbed up a hill and then tramped on down the other side. I had to run to get ahead of her to turn her back toward home, and even then, she stumped purposefully past the turn-off and I had to run ahead of her and turn her again. (She is stone deaf, so there's not calling her). 

So, Italy is something, but I'd rather have my old, stinky, arthritic dog. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ledyard Farm


Ledyard Farm
Oil on canvas panel, 4x6, $75 framed



The first snowfall of the season came the day after Christmas, and it was a humdinger - mostly because of the wind.

On Monday, I was out in it all day, writing stories and freezing my butt off.

Tony Bacewicz, a wonderful photographer who worked for the Hartford Courant for 35 years, is freelancing for Patch, and he was out in it, too, shooting in Ledyard. He took a photo of this farm, and gave me permission to paint it.

I'm doing a large version of it, but did the mini first. It made me laugh a little, as I realized how much it is another in my "Big Field, Little House" series.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maryland Dawn


Maryland Dawn
Oil on gessoboard panel, 5x7, $75, framed


sold
As I write this, the sun is starting to set, and it's spilling over the snow, throwing long blue shadows over the undulating surface of the yard. The wind blew our plastic Adirondack chairs over. Squirrels and bunnies have left tracks in the snow, as have hundreds and hundreds of birds.

I am starting to find a rhythm here, and I think it is working. I've been able to paint for most of the days of the past couple weeks. Not every day, and not for the entire day, but for most of the days, and for enough time to make progress. 

I've begun doing these small pieces, minis, as Lori at Center Framing & Art calls them, and I find they are good for limbering up, and for finding where the problems will arise if I do the painting larger. Also, people like them and buy them. 

I am gearing up for the first show of the year, which for me is in February at the Wallkill River School, with artist and teacher and animal lover Susan Miiller. Save Saturday, Feb. 12, which as far as I know, is the date of our opening. It's going to be an excellent show, with landscapes large and small - and animals galore! 


Into the Dawn

Into the Dawn
Oil on canvas, 30x36
Please email me for price and delivery options

Once, I had a thought about the last car on the highway. In my mind's picture, I drove along at night, stars above, and the miles spinning away beneath my tires, and it was something I wanted, a feeling I craved.

Now, I realize that I was in a dark and lonely place when that picture-thought came to me. At the time, I believed I was OK.

Today, I think I'm driving into the dawn, not alone, but the last of those before me and the first of many to come. We might not see each other, we might not know each other, but we are traveling together on this road, and there is comfort and joy in that for me.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Oil on canvas, 12x48
Please contact me for price and delivery options

On Christmas Eve, I wish you all clear sunlight and a long horizon. I wish you trails and paths that lead to your desires. I wish adventures for the courageous, comfort for the lonely, love for the lost, peace for the sad.

My wish for all of you is that someone will reach out a hand at the time you need it most, and grace will come to you, and you will see the hand and grasp it, and feel the love it holds.

My wish for all of you is that your days in this new year be filled with colors, and with song, and with joy and freedom.

My wish for you is that you know how dearly I appreciate you, and all the heart and soul that each of you has given me, from the day that I began this adventure.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ocoee
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

My dad and stepmother came east from Arizona for Christmas this year, as they always do. They usually come before the holiday, which lets them avoid some of the traveling chaos and also allows them to be back home in Arizona, with their friends, for Christmas itself.

We got together at my brother's house, and it was a different kind of celebration.

It was a brunch, it was alcohol-free, and it involved a minimum number of presents.

So often, the family has just gone overboard with presents. This year, we chose names, and gave one or two gifts, and it felt right.

Christmas will never be the same since my mother died. But it feels like it is starting to become something else, something new, something different, and for that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On the Way to Warwick

On the Way to Warwick
Oil on canvas, 36x48
Please email me for information about price and delivery

What a year this has been! What gifts I have received!

So often, I am on the way to one place, on the way to one destination, when something comes to me, out of the blue - and it is beautiful, or gentle, or thought-provoking - and it was nothing like what I was setting out to do, nothing like the destination I was setting out to find.

This is what happened with this painting. It was a crisp October day, and I was on my way to Warwick. This scene was so beautiful, I nearly drove off the road. I'd have given something precious to be able to paint it in plein air, but the road was narrow, and the shoulder even narrower. A photograph was my only bet.

Back home, I painted in the studio, and much in the way that I'd found this scene I had not been seeking, I found views and colors and resonances in the photograph that I hadn't known were there.

In my mind, that makes it even more of a gift - because it's something I wasn't expecting, wasn't seeking.

I hope that you all stumble on treasures in this new year. I hope that you seek, and that you find - and I hope that on the way, you find something else. Something wonderful that you weren't seeking at all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fiona

Fiona
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

I realized this morning that, while my job as a local editor for Patch is indeed demanding, the fact is that I am still myself, and so I am approaching this job in the obsessive and over-the-top way that I tend to approach anything that engages me.

My usual day starts at 4 a.m. and continues, relatively unabated, until 7 at night, or later. I work seven days a week, so, you can do the math. If my week starts on Sunday, I am usually at 40 hours by mid-day on Tuesday.

Clearly, I have to stop doing this. I have to delegate more. I have to be satisfied earlier. I have to say "enough" at Point X in the day, and either paint or sleep or cook or, honestly, just veg out and do nothing.

So that is my new challenge. I painted yesterday, and I painted today. And I intend to paint tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Meantime, if you want to see what's been taking up all these hours, click here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Paintbrush

Paintbrush
Oil on canvas, 12x12, $350

This summer, while Heather and I were in Canada, we came upon something called an auberge festive.

"Auberge," I knew, meant "inn." And "festive," well, that's pretty self-explanatory. A festive inn? It sounded great.

We drove down a steep driveway and found what looked for all the world like a hippie encampment, right on the edge of the St. Lawrence Seaway. There was a yurt. There was a tiki bar. There was a hot tub. There were treehouse-like cabins built practically into the hillside. There were tied-dyed, tattooed, dredlocked kids by the dozen. And there was music.

Turns out this was a hostel, and it was celebrating its anniversary that very night with a "Woodstock night." All the cabins and beds were filled, but there were places to pitch a tent on the beach, and we were welcome to stay there for a minimal fee, use the communal facilities, join in the celebration.

Honestly, at first, I just thought: No, oh, no.

I didn't feel like staying in a tent, I didn't feel like staying with hippies, I didn't feel like staying with a bunch of 20-year-olds. In fact, the only thing I did feel like was an old, crabby woman who had no sense of adventure. And then I felt terrible about feeling that way.

My knee-jerk reaction could not have been more wrong or more small-minded. The hippie kids drank a lot and smoked a lot of pot, but they were fun and pleasant and happy. The other visitors at the hostel were fascinating and friendly. We cooked a nice dinner, sat on the deck and watched the sun go down on the St. Lawrence, and managed to sleep through the celebration and the bonfire and what, the next morning, looked like it must have been a wild night.

We talked to a group of students traveling from western Canada to work on Habitat-like projects in lieu of working summer jobs. We talked to a woman who had moved from to the hostel from France. We talked to a woman who taught art somewhere, and was staying at the hostel with her boyfriend and another couple - and their dog, Pencil.

In the morning, we thought about spending another night, but in the end, we decided to keep moving, and keep the memory intact. And I decided that no matter how many risks I take, no matter how free I feel or act, I will always have to guard against having a closed mind.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trouble's Double

Trouble's Double
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

When we lived in Maine, there was a really great art-supply store on Main Street in Norway, a couple storefronts away from the Sun-Journal office where I worked.

It was called 100 Acre Wood, and it was a lovely place, run by a pleasant and somewhat ascetic couple whose names I could never remember.

At the time, I didn't paint, though I loved going into the store and looking at the paints and pastels and paper. Another treat was that I'd get to play with Trouble, the couple's Jack Russell terrier.

Let's just say that Trouble was appropriately named. He was more than a handful, luring two of our more peaceful dogs into fights, and causing a ruckuses whenever he could, which was often. He would sleep in his dog bed in the sunny front window of the art supply store, and he would look like a little angel, until anyone did anything that disagreed with him, which could be something as innocent as reaching down to pet him before he was completely awake.

This dog is not Trouble, but he sure looks like he is!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bert

Bert
Oil on canvas. Not for sale

Until today, I have never posted a painting twice. But Bert is gone from our lives, and he deserves the recognition.

I made a few paintings of Bert during his 12 years with Rand and Molly. They were 12 happy years. Twelve years of love, and adoration, and glee, with all parties enriching each other.

Bert was a lumbering, snuffling, happy-go-lucky guy. He snorted and farted and defended his way through life, a gentle guy doing a great job playing  tough guy. At least, that's what it looked like from the outside.

As Bert grew old, he grew very white in the face. He grew very, very deaf. He grew even more dear.

He allowed my brother's and sister in law's daughter, Larkin, into the family and he adored her. He allowed a new puppy, Archie, into the family and at least tolerated him and his puppiness.

Bert loved my brother so deeply it made my heart ache sometimes to see them together.

You were one of a kind, Bert, and I will miss you forever.

Young Bert

Bert, Watching Winter
Archie
Bert the Elder

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buddy

Buddy
Oil on canvas, 12x12
Not for sale

Buddy was a dear old guy, the beloved friend of a beloved friend.

He made his way into her life, and, as the best dogs do, he stayed and enriched it.

Buddy was a happy boy, not too complicated, not too demanding. He was sweet. He pesheled and galumphed (my mother's words for "plodded," but with a little spirit, a little soul).

He pesheled, and leaned and paced - and he loved. He loved with his eyes, with his solid body, with his sturdy presence.

In the end, Buddy got cancer and cancer got Buddy. He lasted much, much longer than anyone thought he would. He had a tumor on his nose, and it got bigger and bigger, but until the very end, Buddy didn't seem to care. When he greeted his people, even with the tumor, he had joy in his eyes and a little lift in his gait.

And when it was his time, he let my friend know, as the best dogs always do.

Buddy was a buddy, and he is deeply missed.

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...