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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Good Harvest - and a Good Couple of Shows


                                  

A Good Harvest
Oil on canvas, 20x20

I never, ever paint still lifes... Until now! 

A friend posted this photo on Facebook, and for reasons I still can't quite explain, I fell in love with it. I started to paint a couple days before I was to leave for the Broad Ripple Art Festival in Indianapolis, and between packing for that show, and Paradise City, and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center show, and to bring pieces to Center Framing and Art in West Hartford Center, I was hard-pressed to finish it. I was so excited about it that I kept slipping out to the studio whenever I had a spare moment. 

I finished it, finally, just last week, during an unplanned one-day stopover at home, in beautiful Wachapreague, between Broad Ripple and Paradise . 

The painting got lots of comments during the Paradise City show in Northampton, MA, this weekend, though it didn't quite sell. But no matter. It looks great in the window at Center Framing and Art! Check it out at 56 LaSalle Road in West Hartford Center, CT. 


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Happy Buyers
                                       


 


THE FABULOUS CITISCAPE painter Teresa Haag O'Neill (check out her website by clicking here,  and her Facebook page, by clicking here) turned me on to the idea of taking photos of buyers with their paintings. I love seeing their happy faces! They made a good show for me, and I am glad to have met them, and grateful for their purchases! 

I had a good show in Indianapolis, too! Here are buyers from that show, and a cool photo of the show grounds, early one morning. 


 


                                                                 


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Dog of the Day


Here's our daughter, Erika, grandson Ashton and new grandcat Potsie, the Dog of the Day. 
Nice calendar in the background, too! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flight - and a Great Dog of the Day

Flight
Oil on canvas, 24x24
sold

Hey, everybody, please send your good thoughts my way this weekend, as I participate in the Broad Ripple Art Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Looks like we might be setting up in the rain on Friday, but I am hoping that the weather people are filled with a little more doom and gloom than is necessary. So maybe we'll be setting up in mud, but not rain, and that's OK. Heck, Woodstock was a success, and I can't think of a muddier festival! 

On a related note, and forgive me if I've related this story already... but... a couple years ago, my dad told me that his father's brother had been a hobo. A real, honest to God, rail-riding hobo. He'd gone all over this country, on trains and on foot, and had traveled to and bummed around Europe, as well. 

When he came home, irregularly and not often, to the family's house in Philadelphia, my great-grandparents wouldn't let him sleep inside. He slept on the porch and, I imagine, ate his meals there. 

He had lots of issues, including alcoholism, and he died young. And no one ever talked about him. I was 56 when I heard about him for the first time. 

But it explained a lot to me. 

Before we were married, Peter lived in the same apartment for 13 years. In the next 20 years, we moved 12 times. Some of these moves were for work - that's the way it is in newspapers, if you want to climb quickly. But some, I admit, were because I was itching to be somewhere else. 

I've promised Peter that I won't instigate a move from Wachapreague, here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. If he wants to move, we will. But I won't start it. 

And I don't have to. This artist's life involves more driving and more traveling than I'd ever imagined. 

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Dog of the Day




This is Bella, AKA Tomato, write Lori Rowe, my dear friend and fellow dog-lover and Red Sox fan. Bell is one of 41 Aussies rescued from a breeder in MO. Bell lived her entire 1 1/2 years in a box. Everything in the world was new for her. She was scared to death of grass and the outdoors and would seek a cement corner to hide in at first ( about a week and a half) now I have a hard time keeping her in the house. She still has a long way to go but seems to learn something everyday! I have had Bella for three weeks and three days (longer now!). She is a full blood toy aussie and is 16 pounds. She is underweight but healthy. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Skunk, Heron, and Coach Joe

Skunk
Oil on canvas, 6x12
Great Blue Heron
Oil on canvas, 6x12
I had another excellent session this week with Joe Skelly, my prosperity coach.

With his typical, blinding insight, he righted me. The ground had been feeling bumpy under my feet, but when Joe helped me rebalance, it seemed welcoming and springy.

I've been stressing about the number of paintings I need to produce - three galleries want sunflower and flower paintings, one gallery wants a cow painting, and I need sunflower and cow paintings for the shows, too.

The sunflower and cow paintings are fun, fun, fun to make - but it takes a while to paint them, several days, usually - and because they're big, and have lots of paint on them, it takes forever for them to dry. So it seems I never have enough.

Joe suggested that I take three days a month, religiously, to paint sunflowers and cows. Every month. That means all the galleries will have as many as they want, and I will, too - and I can stop worrying every day about them.

A related problem that he solved rather easily is that I simply lose track of things. Pretty much, if I can't see it, it tends to not exist. I can write a list in a notebook - and I've gotten very good at this - but more than half the time, when I close the book, the list simply vanishes from my consciousness.

Sometimes, I feel that I am a little damaged in this regard. I have to use clear containers. I am better off with shelves instead of cabinets. I can sort and see and make sense of an immense amount of clutter, but if the stuff is in a box or in a closet or under the bed, and I need it, chances are I will go out and buy it again.

So Joe suggested a big white board. DUH. I can list shows, commissions, sunflower-painting days, etc. Simple. Elegant. Effective.

I'd encourage you to reach out to Coach Joe if you think he could help you. His number is 757-675-6569. He'll do a first consultation for free, and you can see whether it would benefit you to work with him. Meantime, click here to check out his blog, The Parched Iguana.


Here's my drying wall, a couple weeks ago. 

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I HAVE SOME EXCITING shows coming up! A week from today, I'll be in Indianapolis, at the Broad Ripple Art Fair . This is one of the top shows in the country, and it's a feather in my cap to have gotten in. You can never tell about how your work will sell in a show, though, and it is a loooong drive. But I'm going to do it, and see how it goes. 

The following weekend, I'll be in Northampton, MA, at the Paradise City Art Festival. This is a fabulous show, another one with great art and excellent fine craft. There is a gate fee, but if you click here, you can get a coupon for a discount. 

After that show, I deliver my animal and landscape paintings to the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT. The center is a a real treasure, a quiet wonder of a place, with lots of programs, lots of trails, and lots of ways for kids and adults to develop or deepen their relationships with nature. 

It's run by Margaret Jones, a high school classmate of mine, and its current communications director is Elissa Bass, my former boss at Patch.com. It was Elissa who invited me to do the show, and I'm particularly grateful to her, because it got me painting birds - and I'd had no idea how much I would enjoy painting birds! 

The Nature Center is a great place to go, to take the fam, to enjoy a lovely day with family and with nature. 

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Dog of the Day


I ENCOUNTERED THIS dog at the show in Rockville. And yes, that is a rock in her mouth. This is what she does, her humans told me. They take her for a walk, she selects a rock, carries it along with her on the walk, and deposits it in a little pile back at her home. 

Years ago, we had a Dalmatian named Sam, who used to chew rocks. He'd pick one up, gnaw on it, and drop it, covered with dirt and dog saliva, at your feet, so that you'd pick it up and toss it for him. 

One day, we were in a park in Hartford, and Sam showed up with a little paper bag in his mouth. He dropped it at my mother's feet. She opened it - and it was full of rocks. We never, ever figured it out. 

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Pretty, yes? These banks of azaleas are at a hotel down the shore from us. The whole shady front yard is full of them. I think I'm going to go down there today and paint, before they all pass. 



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help Me With a Title? And Woody Is Improving!

Heading for the Barn - or... ???
Oil on canvas, 30x40
sold

I finished this painting on Tuesday, and I just love it. I love the towering clouds, the ripples coming out from the cow in the pond, that feeling of gathering in, before the storm hits. But I'm having trouble coming up with a title, and could really use some help. What do you think would be a good title? 

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OUR LITTLE WOODREAU, I'm happy to say, appears to be responding really well to the antibiotics - and to all your good wishes. He's not in the clear yet, and won't be until the vet tests him again, but he's back to his old self, barking, scampering, annoying our Samoyed... The downward trend had been so gradual that neither Peter nor I had noticed that Wood wasn't really up to par. It is great to see his energy and verve. Thank you for all your good thoughts.  In the photo, Woody is in the front, with his best pal Jojo just waking up in the back. 

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 I HAD A GOOD show in Rockville, MD, this past weekend.  A few paintings sold, show-goers were very supportive, and I have the promise of some commissions. Also, I made some changes to my booth display that are going to benefit me in many ways, if I can find the courage to keep going with them.

Above, my booth as I originally set it up. After sitting and staring at it for most of Saturday, and making no sales,  I edited it, taking out a bunch of paintings. the result, below, is much cleaner and, I think, more inviting. It's psychically difficult to take paintings down, though, because if people can't see them, of course, they can't buy them. But I think that people can't see them if there are so many in the booth. And I might take out one or two more, now that I look at it again.


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WHEE! THAT'S MY painting, on one of the posters advertising the show  
last weekend. This is a huge honor, and I am just thrilled! 
As soon as I found out, I hung the poster in my booth. 

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 Happy buyers, and such nice people, with two of the paintings that sold over the weekend. Their pleasure in my work was wonderful to behold, and I'm happy, knowing these pieces are going to good homes.

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Uh, Dog - well, sort of... - of the Day

Some people bring dogs to the show. I've seen a couple cats, a parrot and two ferrets. But I've never seen a lizard. And this one - a chuckwalla - was in a baby carriage, to boot. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Maryland Farm Revisited - and Good Thoughts for Woody, Please


Maryland Farm, the original

I was surprised when Audrey Hoffmann, of Gallery H in Tubac, suggested that I might try more pieces with dramatic skies. 

My typical approach, I realized, is to paint the bluest of blue skies, the sunniest of sunny days, the best of the joyful weather. I am happy painting for a living, and I suspect that, subconsciously, I seek landscapes that mirror my heart. 
But when Audrey made this suggestion, I realized that I love painting dramatic skies - and that generally, people respond really well to them. 

So I launched an experiment. "Maryland Farm,"  which you see above, is a painting that I really like, but it has not sold in more than a year of shows. I love this piece for its lilting hills, the rich texture of the just-plowed field, the mountains in the background, and the sense of perspective.

Yesterday, I added some big, towering clouds. I made sure that the dramatic sky still worked with the light in the painting, and I had fun painting a storm just rolling in over the land. The finished painting is below. I will take it to a show as soon as it's dry enough, and I'll let you know what happens. 

Maryland Farm Revisited
Oil on canvas, 30x36

SPEAKING OF SHOWS, I will be in Rockville, Maryland this weekend at A-RTS.  It's the second year for this show, and the first year for me. I'm in Booth 218, on East Middle Street, so if you are in the area on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., please stop by! I have exciting new work for sale, including paintings from my California Calling Painting Extravaganza

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Dog of the Day


THIS IS WOODREAU, hiding under a chair two days ago, on a visit to the vet. There might be something terribly wrong with him (cancer, or some other sort of tumor) or he might have a bladder infection. He's on antibiotics, and he seems his old self again, so Peter and I are hoping for the best. Woody and we will gladly take any good thoughts or prayers you want to send our way.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Big Cows - and Riding the Rising Tide of Spring

Big Cows
Oil on canvas, 48x48
sold
 

Another of the unexpected rewards of this life of painting is that I spent a lot of time outdoors. Throughout my decades of working inside office buildings, I thought I had maintained a connection with the natural world - and I had, but now I see how tenuous it was.

These days, I notice when the tips of the winter trees begin to redden with the very first touch of springtime, then turn yellow-green, and then, in what seems like seconds, burst into leaf. I've been out painting in chilly spring mornings when the first summer birds have sun their arrival. The earliest hummingbird landed, bedraggled and hungry, on the feeder outside my studio.

Here, on the Eastern Shore, and south of here, in the Carolinas and Tennessee, the dogwoods have bloomed, shining deep in the forest, and dancing along the edges of the woods. In town, daffodils have come and gone here, except for in the deepest of shadows. Azaleas are in bloom everywhere, ridiculously, piggishly bright, so vivid they seem to suck the light from everything around them.

This morning, I drove in a thin fog to the vet's, bringing a sample from Woodreau, who I hope is not as sick as the vet seems to think he could be. I made my way slowly, along the back roads, and the greening fields seemed to shimmer through the mist. I saw wisteria, hanging in vines in the woods, in front of a long-abandoned house.

The seasons turn in slow procession and these days, they carry me with them.






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Dog of the Day


This is Scout, who lives in Wachapreague, and walks by the house every day with Bill, a friend and fellow Red Sox fan. The dogs think Scout is the best target for barking EVER.