Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marco Polo Again

Marco Polo Again
Oil on canvas, 6x18

The person who commissioned the original painting of Marco Polo loves it, according to the owner of the gallery. But I couldn't let Marco go! So here is another painting of him, and there's one of Bella to come - soon.

I've been painting around the canvases, as a way to exhibit them without necessarily framing them. Here's a view of the side of this one. I really like Marco's ear.

Spring in Benedict Park

Spring in Benedict Park
Oil on canvas, 6x18 on deep-sided canvas

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting
Nancy Reed-Jones (click here to see her website) is an amazing painter, who I met through the Wallkill River School. She works in acrylics, and has the lightest, most delicate touch. Her landscapes glow with soft shadows, tender flowers, gentle hills and skies. For the longest time, I felt like a blundering gorilla when I saw her paintings and thought of my own.

Then she began to buy my work. She was one of my very first collectors, and has more of my paintings than anyone outside of my own family. She said to me one day that she loved my paintings because of the way they made her feel, and she has hung them in her studio where she can see them from her easel.

We had the chance to paint together this past weekend, and while I managed to get a shot of Nancy and the riverbank, I didn't get a picture of her finished painting. But I'll send her a note and see if I can get one.

I really admire Nancy's gentle and careful approach, and while we couldn't have styles that diverge any more than they do, we had a lovely time painting together.

Here is her painting:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Maryland Hill Farm

Maryland Hill Farm
Oil on canvas, 20x32, special online price $350

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

When we bought our house in Carroll County, Md., one of the innumerable papers we had to sign said that we understood that we were moving into a farming region, and that there would be farm smells, farm noises and farm equipment in the area. 
That was 13 or 14 years ago, and enough has changed here that I wonder if buyers still have to sign that document. 
The farms are not all gone, but roads that used to wind past farm after farm after farm now wind through a few farms and a bunch of developments. 
Certainly, people need places to live. But does everyone need a new house? Does everyone need to live outside of the city where they work? In Baltimore, I saw beautiful but abandoned buildings everywhere. With a little money and a fair amount of work (or the opposite) these buildings could be reclaimed. Whole neighborhoods could be reclaimed. And while this would be a form of gentrification, there are enough empty buildings there to mean that the renewal need not ride in on the shoulders of displacement. 
Here in the foothills of the Appalachians, here in these rolling hills, farmers still till the earth. But for how long? 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Harvest Home

Harvest Home
Oil on canvas, 8x24


I taught a palette-knife painting class on Sunday at the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, N.Y. I was a little nervous about it, since I'd never taught one, but it was an absolute delight. 

It was a small class, and everyone had time and space to experiment with the knife, and I had time to make this painting. It's a scene I have painted before, in Harpswell, Maine, and is a scene I am likely to paint again. I love the wheatfield, the brillliant white house nestled in the trees, and the glimpse of lawn you can see right around the house. 

While I was at the school, I met one of the women who bought "Range Rovers," one of the very large cow paintings that sold during my March show there. She was just wonderful, and happy as could be with the painting, and told me the story of how the two big cow paintings sold. 

Gail, who bought "Range Rovers," works at the school on Sundays. From the desk where she sits, she could see the painting, and she really loved it. 

A couple from Manhattan came into the school one Sunday during the show, and Gail, bless her, gave them a tour of the show, which was work by Shawn Dell Joyce and myself. Gail told the woman that she was thinking of buying "Range Rovers." 

The woman, who has a second home in the area and is a big supporter of the school, turned to Gail and said, "If you buy that one, I'll buy the other one." 

And so the deal was struck! Then, just to make things happier for all concerned, the man who was with the woman bought one of my paintings, too. 

The Red Church

The Red Church
Oil on canvas, 16x20

In real life, the red building here is a small white church without a steeple. But the fabulous painter Gene Bove (check out his website) once said to me, "If you're going to have a building, it might as well be red." So, red it was.

Still, I'm not nuts about the painting. Maybe the building should be white (and I'd change the title). But more than that, I think there's too much too-thin green. So when I get back home, I'm going to go back into this painting, and see if I can make it more interesting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission.

Today, I head out with the eventual goal of picking up my paintings from the show in Baltimore.

I was honored to be chosen for the show, but it is a long way to go just to add a line to my resume. I do think it was worth it, since I got good paintings from it, and had the chance to visit with my friend Ellen, but I am not sure I'd do it again.

Still, now I can say I got three pieces in a juried national show. So that's something!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marco Polo

Marco Polo
Oil on canvas, 12x12. Commission

I knew better. Well, I should have known better.

I should have known better, but when we moved here, I got AT&T for phone, cell phone, TV and internet. All of it.

And AT&T, for all of its breaking up and diversifying, is still as abusive as ever. It is still a gigantic corporation that only cares about getting your money, and doesn't care at all about providing customer service, helping you with a problem, offering a solution.

It has taken a tremendous amount of work to get rid of AT&T - and believe me, AT&T knows just how much work it takes. I believe AT&T counts on that. It's taken days of research, days of visiting various other companies and signing up, days of waiting while these companies install their stuff, and now days of work to adjust this or that to make it work.

AT&T's products were pretty good, except for the increasingly slow internet, which led to the impasse that so infuriated me that I took all our business away from the monolith. Megalith. But I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality for a little bit of pleasant, humane treatment.

On another note - painting! How refreshing! - if you want a pet portrait done for Mother's Day, please contact me soon. Mother's Day is May 9!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12. Commission

For those of you who are not nuts about dog paintings, don't worry! Landscapes are coming - but I still have dog commissions to finish, and for that, I am thankful.

This one delights me on all sorts of levels. The lovely woman who commissioned it had me paint it for her mother, as a Mother's Day present. The gesture - and the dog, too - touched my heart. And the woman who commissioned it could not have been more charming or engaging. I liked her from the moment she said hello - last fall! She remembered me and came back to LaSalle Road last Saturday to find me and have me make this painting.

On quite another note... I've often wondered just why one juried-show entry will delight one juror and, apparently, turn the next one off. It's opinion, I know. I know! It's whether the juror slept well, or had the right amount of coffee, or  was simply feeling frumpy and crabby one afternoon. It can be something as ephemeral as that.

But maybe it's something even more ephemeral. For the longest time, it seemed that if I wore a particular pair of earrings while I delivered work or filled out an application, I got in. Then, well, that pair of earrings seemed to be less effective.

I thought for a while that it was my "Wisdom, Montana" T-shirt. If I wore that when I applied - and particularly, if I wore it while I made the painting AND while I applied, I would get in. That wore off, too.

Now, Lori Rembetski, a friend and marvelous sculptor, thinks she has it, and I think she might be right: The key is Greek yogurt. If you have Greek yogurt in the fridge, you'll get into the show. That's her suggestion, and when I think about it, it seems to explain everything....

For those of you in the area of southeastern Connecticut, I have pieces in the Mystic Arts Center show "Long & Lean," and in the Hygienic Gallery show, "Fifth Crossing." The Mystic show's opening reception is Thursday evening, and the show is up through May 22, and is really interesting.

The Hygienic show's opening reception is Saturday, and that show also is up through May 22. I haven't seen the Hygienic show yet, but it promises to be interesting, as most Hygienic events are. The Mystic Arts Center is located on Water Street in Mystic, Conn. (in the parking lot); the Hygienic is on Bank Street in New London, Conn.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12. Commission

Judy Mackey, the painter who helped launch me into palette knife painting, has started a blog called (drum roll....) Palette Knife Painters, and I am part of it, as of today. The blog is in its infancy, but I think it's going to be very interesting.

I had done some painting with the knife, and was using brushes in very knife-like ways when I ran into Judy's work and was simply taken by it. There was one painting in particular that sang to me. I made it into my screen saver and studied it. I pestered Judy with questions. I enlarged every one of her paintings and studied them, the strokes, the colors, the techniques - and I jumped in.

So I owe Judy Mackey a debt of gratitude. Her fine work, her patient answers, her encouragement all helped me find this path that's making me so happy.

And I have to say how much I love this painting of Bella, an Italian greyhound. I met her on LaSalle Road in West Hartford, Conn., a couple weekends ago, while I was painting, and am commissioned to paint her and her compadre, Marco Polo. I couldn't be happier with this painting, and will hate to see it go.

I am experimenting with making some T-shirts with my paintings on them. I will let you know how this works, and if it does, will take some photos and offer them here on the blog.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12.

I've made a number of these minimalist paintings of dogs and cats, and I have to say that I love them all, and this one in particular.

This is Gus, or Auguste Corleone Jacobson, my first dog as an adult. Before we knew about pet stores and puppy mills, before we understood about shelters and rescue groups, Peter and I went to a pet store and he bought Gus for me.

I'd never do that again - but I never regretted it, either. I loved Gus from the moment I saw him. He was as full of life and personality as any dog ever. We brought him home, and he raced around the house, faster and faster, barking at Najim, our Pekingese, and playing, and running and sliding on the floor, and then, all of a sudden, he collapsed, flopped right down, all four legs splayed, and dear God, I thought he was dead.

But no, that was just Gus.

He lived to be 16, and they were 16 fine years. He went fishing and camping and hiking with us in Idaho and Montana and Canada. He helped Najim recover from back surgery, finding a way to play that could engage Najim even during the weeks that he was paralyzed. When Najy was better, he and Gus would fight, on occasion, with a fury of barking and snarling and gnashing of teeth, and never any bloodshed or actual biting. Well, Peter and I were bitten a couple of times, wresting the tiny titans apart.

In Maine, the boys got to peeing around the house, marking territory, so we put them in crates when we couldn't watch them. The crates were side by side, and after a while we realized that they were peeing on each other through the sides of the crates. Nice.

I still miss Gus. He loved to snuggle, loved to ride in the car, loved to go places and meet people. Our rescue bichon, Woodreau, is terrified of everything. He doesn't like any of that stuff. But he is a nice little dog, and I love him dearly, and he desperately needed to be rescued.

But he is no Gus. And really, truly, he shouldn't be.


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

I was the editor of The Westerly Sun when the paper did a story on people who come to the area for the summer, adopt animals and then leave them behind when they, the people, go back home. Can you believe that? It happens a lot.

Danny Hyland, a photographer for the paper and a good friend, came back from the shoot and said he'd gotten great photos but there was one I wasn't allowed to see, because he knew we already had enough animals.

I didn't go looking for it, but stumbled over it while I was looking for something else. It was a photo of a tiny, terrified kitten, hiding in the back corner of the cage.

I brought her home that very afternoon. She was, and is, pretty much feral, though she has made sure inroads towards civility. She did get out one day, soon after we'd gotten her, and we had to trap her to get her back. In the meantime, she got pregnant. Puffy, who I've painted before, is one of Samantha's kittens. The two despise each other.

But Samantha is a pretty cat, and sweet, when you can get close to her. In New York, she pretty much lived in one of our bathrooms, spending her days on the windowsill. Here, she lives in the basement and Peter's study, and ventures into the rest of the house from time to time. She is safe and clean and warm and well fed. And she seems happy, or at least, as happy as she can be.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tilghman Inlet

Tilghman Inlet
Oil on canvas, 16x20

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

On Tilghman Island, there's water everywhere. It defines the land, limits the roadways, edges the back yards. It's home to birds and ducks, egrets and ospreys, fish and crabs, frogs and turtles. Sound skips over its surface, and light touches it and bounces, bringing sky to earth.

At dusk on this evening, while I painted, the twilight glowed pink and cream, and the shadows gathered in the tussocks of grass in the salt marsh. Sky and air grew soft and sweet until light and sensation seemed nearly the same thing.

On an island, when there's peace, it is a peace like no other.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
Oil on canvas, 12x12. Contact Lori at Center Framing & Art, 860-233-7804, for information on price and delivery. 

I am scheduled to paint outdoors on Saturday at Center Framing & Art in West Hartford, Conn.  Because the forecast is for rain in the morning, and clearing in the afternoon, I probably will be painting mostly later in the day. So if you're in the area, stop by! The store is at 56 LaSalle Road. There are good shops and restaurants all around, and it feels like a real downtown, the way downtown used to feel.

I'm starting to look forward to my painting trip this summer. Heather MacLeod, a wonderful artist and truly delightful person, is going to go with me. So far, the plan is to head for the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec and perhaps also to Newfoundland. It does seem that there's no way to get to Newfoundland without going to Nova Scotia, so that might be on the docket, as well.

The inspiration for this trip is Samuel Borenstein, and his wonderful paintings of the Gaspe.  I figure that if I love his paintings so much, and he loved the landscape so much, well, I will love the landscape. Heather is happy to go wherever, so that's the early plan.

Perhaps I will start writing the blog in French for a while?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bert, Watching Winter

Bert, Watching Winter
Oil on canvas, 16x20. Contact Lori at Center Framing & Art, 860-233-7804, for price and delivery information.

Yesterday, I got up early and felt OK. But by 8 a.m., when I was getting ready to go and care for my elderly friends in West Hartford, I was as cold as though it were the dead of winter. By 8:15, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept for a half an hour, then called my friends and said I wouldn't be coming, and proceeded to sleep for about the next 20 hours.

I did get up in the middle of the night, feeling better - though my hips were so sore I could barely stand - and craving a tunafish sandwich.

I made tuna, devoured a sandwich and four extra-strength Tylenol, went back to sleep and slept another eight hours.

Today, I feel like a new girl.

The brain says it's the best part of our corporeal selves, but when the body wants something, it gets it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12. Contact Lori at Center Framing & Art, 860-233-7804, for price and delivery information.

I got some great news yesterday! The Hartford Courant is going to feature one of my paintings on the front cover of iTowns, the paper's weekly entertainment magazine. This is very exciting. It's a nice magazine, and it's appealing and engaging, and so I would guess it's pretty well read. Yay!

I was feeling down about my painting early in the year. Not about the painting itself, though that felt slow, too - but I was down about the business part of this. Nothing was selling, on line or in galleries. Commissions had dried up. I had applied to UConn, to the master of fine arts program, and they'd rejected me. I'd already had a year in which I was turned down for just about every juried show I entered.

Now, I'm on some big upswing. My paintings have started selling again. Commission work is trickling in. I've gotten into shows, and fairs, and now I'm getting some free publicity.

Today, too, I got a note from Susan Miiller, a wonderful painter from New York state, saying she is interested in curating an Art for Shelter Animals Project show or shows. So that's exciting, too!

Meantime, I had the laptop in the kitchen yesterday, and I looked up, and here's what I saw:

Yup, that's our deck. And that's a big mama turkey, standing on the railing.

She stood there for a couple minutes, looking left, looking right, peering all around, then nonchalantly walked down the railing and hopped off at the bottom of the steps.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Oil on canvas, 16x20, $200
My Internet issues continue. Please email me if you would like to buy this painting. 

I painted the bulk of this piece Saturday, on the sidewalk in front of Center Framing & Art in West Hartford Center, Conn.

It was a cold day, and windy, too. I hung my paint bag from my easel (a trick I learned while painting on the wind-swept plain in Wyoming), and still, I had to hold the canvas most of the time. Once, the whole arrangement went over, the first time that's happened. Amos landed face-up, though, as he always did in life.

Peter and I were living in Boise when, unusually for us, we went to the mall one rainy November night. It was the only time we ever went there. We were coming out when we heard a pitiful mewing. We looked under a car, and there was Amos, small and bedraggled and pathetic.

We put him down in our house, and he looked at the two dogs, a Pekingese and a bichon, and walked over to their food bowl and began eating.

In short order, Amos decided that Gus, the bichon, was his mother, and he suckled Gus's chest for about a year, stopping only when he, Amos, clearly a Maine coon cat, had grown pretty much as big as Gus.

I've always believed that Amos thought he was a dog. He was their size. He was as strong as them, and as tough. He went out with them, and came back in with them. He ate with them, asked for treats with them, and responded to "Come!" better than they ever did.

He did climb, when he was young. That was his one feline accomplishment, unless you count sleeping a lot. We would look up, in Idaho and later, in Maine, and there would be Amos, on a branch higher than the house. He stopped climbing one day and Peter and I think that he must have fallen off the roof of the barn in Maine. Or, he might have just decided it wasn't worth the effort.

Amos lived to be 17. He died about 16 months ago, and we buried him in the grove behind our house. He was a good cat, and I miss him still.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lowe's Wharf Cove

Lowe's Wharf Cove
Oil on canvas, 16x20.
I had a breakthrough yesterday, while painting moving water on Tilghman's Island, here in Maryland. It was a breakthrough in painting and a breakthrough in understanding, as well.

For a few months, I've been fascinated with the marbling effect I can get with the palette knife. I load it up with two or three colors, then move it in a repeating pattern (say, up and down), while also moving it along the canvas, say, right to left.

I've been using this technique whenever I can, I like it so much. Yesterday, I tried using it to paint moving water. Here's a detail shot from the painting: 

The technique gave me water, moving water that I really like!

And if that were not enough, it gave me a new understanding of painting. Here's what I realized: This water that I painted, it doesn't really look like water. But it looks enough like water and feels enough like water that, for me, it works as a sort of shorthand, a personal vocabulary, for water.

I think that one reason that my dog and cat paintings are so attractive to people is that dog owners speak the same language. My paintings clearly don't look like photographs, but the shorthand that is in them, the vocabulary, is understood by others who love dogs.

I got to this idea by thinking of the skies of Samuel Borenstein. In many of the paintings I like the best, he paints his skies with vertical strokes. I have usually painted them with angled stokes, but while I was painting yesterday, I thought I'd try vertical strokes, as an experiment, and as a tribute.

But as I painted, I realized that I was not painting in my voice. And this made me think about Borenstein's skies vs. my skies. Neither of us paints sky that looks like "sky" as you'd see in a photograph. And yet, our skies are understood as skies. We have a shorthand for skies, a consistent shorthand, individual, unique, recognizable.

Then I began thinking about other parts of my paintings. I have known all along that nothing in my painting really looks like the thing it is, and that the more I focus on getting the detail "right" - i.e., attempting photographic representation - the worse my painting gets. And why? Because I am trying to use someone else's vocabulary.

I have developed a shorthand for skies, for houses, for trees, for fields, and even for corn. Yesterday, I found a way to speak about moving water. And I found a way to understand what it is that makes a painter unique.

I don't want to speak with anyone else's voice. I don't want to paint like anyone else. I want to discover my own voice, and speak with it - and continue to have the courage and the energy to experiment.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Island Morning

Island Morning
Oil on canvas, 16x20

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting
Tilghman's Island probably hops in the summer, but in April, it's a pretty sleepy place. I pulled up to the Chesapeake Bay on a little dead-end road that ran beside some lovely homes. I set up, and painted for a few hours, and saw only two people.

A woman who works for the Department of Environmental Protection (I think) came by, picking up trash. She was wonderfully helpful about other places to paint.

A man who'd lived on the island all his life came by on a scooter and talked about growing up there. Said he was about 18 before he realized that people pay for crabs; he and his siblings just caught them and brought them home for supper, all through their childhoods.

It's a beautiful place, indeed.

Chasing Memories

Chasing Memories
Oil on canvas, 16x20,

Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting
I left home about 5:30 Tuesday morning. It was dark, but I'd been up for hours, and I was itching to go.

So I finished packing the car, I took the dogs for an early, early walk, and I set off, as excited as I've been in months.

I love a journey. I love getting in the car and going somewhere, even if there's traffic, even if the drive is long, even if the day is sweltering. I love to see things, different thing, different towns, different roadside attractions. I love watching the dawn go from black to navy to gray to pink to orange to white and to blue. I love crossing state lines, and seeing different license plates, different roadsigns, different laws. I love the trees and the foliage and the flowers, the town names and traffic patterns and street signs. I love the rest stops. I love everything about a road trip.

I was aiming on Tuesday for Crisfield, Maryland, which (15 years ago) proclaimed itself, loudly and repeatedly in billboards along the spine of the Eastern Shore, as having the best crabcakes in Maryland.

So I drove through Connecticut, and New York, and New Jersey and Delaware, and finally I was in Maryland, on the Eastern Shore, then nearing Crisfield, and looking for the billboards, and looking, and looking. And looking.

The little town is down at the heels these days. Downtown was deserted, lined with empty stores. Half the houses were for sale. There were no fishing boats at the pier. A high-rise condo stood there, at the end of the pier, and stood empty, waiting for a foreclosure auction.

I stopped at the hotel where Peter and I had stayed, 15 years ago, smuggling in all our dogs and cats. The office door was locked, and a sign told me to knock at Room 8. I did, and was almost back at the car when the door opened and a woman in a nightgown came out.

Well, there were a couple rooms upstairs, but she didn't know which ones. She didn't know if they had the internet. Didn't know how much the room would cost.

I left and drove to St. Michael's, and when I got here, I wished I'd just started out here. The town is charming and busy, the stores and restaurants bustling and shiny and full. Tilghman's Island, where I made this painting, was calm and quiet and sun-soaked and gorgeous to see.

I chased a memory, driving to Crisfield. We'd had a nice day and evening there, so many years ago. We'd delighted in the little town, and felt we were discovering it.

I had good memories of Crisfield, and in spite of everything, I still do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fire District Beach, April

Fire District Beach, April
Oil on deep-cradled canvas, 12x24, $200. Again, I am having computer issues. If you want to buy this painting, please email me at

It felt like summer yesterday. It was actually hot here! And delightful.

I set up on the Fire District Beach and soaked the sun in. The day was calm, the water a beautiful, shiny blue, and people came and went, with kids, with parents, with dogs. It was wonderful.

The recent storms have pushed sand way up on the beach. A bench that usually is at about knee height is now at ankle height. The sand drops off steeply to the water, 20 feet or so from the high-tide line.

I am not crazy about this painting, and really don't know why I went to the Fire District Beach. The scene intrigues me, I guess that's why, but I've never been able to capture whatever it is that pulls me. But I will continue to try. I think that the shape of the canvas might be one of the issues for me, and next time, I am going to take a 16x20.

Tomorrow, I leave for Baltimore to deliver my paintings to the Schuler School of Fine Arts. I'm going to paint on the way, and spend a day or so on the Eastern Shore, painting! I can hardly wait.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Oil on canvas, 12x12. Sold

Last night, in a two-hour Episcopal service, our son-in-law-to-be was baptized, and Peter and I became his godparents.

Jon is in his mid-30s at least. He is a big, strapping guy, and a nice one, too. And he loves Erika, our daughter. Jon was one of two adults being baptized along with one baby and two little boys, one of whom spent the entire service running around the church, making noise.

In spite of this badly behaved little boy, in spite of the fact that the service was interminable and required us to stand for hours (I finally just sat, I was so tired after standing and painting for the entire day, and I don't believe that God cares one way or the other), in spite of all of this, it was a lovely service and I was honored to be asked to be a godmother.

I loved being in church last night. I liked the ceremony, with its incense and its Gregorian-like chanting, and its many candles. I liked hearing the homily, and listening to the choir. I liked singing, and hearing the voices of the congregation raised together in song.

Today, this Easter morning, I feel renewed and revived and yes, a little reborn. The leaves are budding, the grass is turning green, flowers are poking up, and while it is not a perfect morning, it is a good start. And that's all anyone can ask.

Here are a couple photos from yesterday's painting extravaganza.

From left, Larkin (my niece, who is, I believe, picking her nose), my brother Rand, me, and Lizzie and Al, new friends who have spent time with me in West Hartford these past two Saturdays. Behind us, the window is filled with my paintings!

Chinless me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Blue Point Siamese

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

I guess I am a ham, pure and simple. I set up on the sidewalk outside Center Framing and Art in West Hartford, Conn., at 10 a.m., and painted, gabbing and chatting and talking with passersby for five hours today - and I would happily have stayed for a few more hours, but for a commitment for this evening. 

There's really not much that's more fun than painting dogs and cats, on a beautiful, sunny afternoon in an eclectic downtown center while hundreds of people walk along, with dogs and kids and friends in tow. 

It's like downtown the way I remember downtown, vibrant and happening and the center of Saturday's activities. Downtowns haven't been like that for a while, but this one is. People see friends, see folks they haven't see for a while, stroll and window-shop, go out to lunch - it's a downtown full of possibility and engagement and an effusive community spirit.

I plugged in my ipod player, leaned some paintings against the wall of the gallery and got to work. My brother Rand and his daughter Larkin came by, and Rand invited hundreds of his friends, and some of them came by, too, and spent time with all three of us.

And strangers talked to me, watched me paint, asked questions, admired, critiqued. One adorable little girl, Lizzie, helped. She had helped me last week, and I was delighted to see her again, and see the painting courage that had started last week take root and blossom this week. In fact, the painting of the blue-point Siamese at the top of this page was one that Lizzie helped me with last week.

And while I painted, Mike, who works for Lori in the gallery, loaded the front window with my paintings - mostly cats, but a few dogs and one of some wet-looking cows. The window looks great! 

Tonight, my legs are tired, my knees are cranky, but my heart is light and happy - and hammy. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wouldn't You?

Wouldn't You?
Oil on canvas, 12x12

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

I've had a stretch lately where it feels like my life is flying off in a thousand directions and I'm grabbing after it, snatching at the air as wisps and shards mostly slip through my fingers.

Partly, this is because, suddenly, I have a jillion commitments. So part of it is real. Part of it, though, has come because I've abandoned the discipline that acted as the tent pole in the center of this circus.

So I am back to making and posting a painting every day. And that's what I should do. I am a painter, after all, not a housecleaner, cook, gardener, swimmer or student. I am a painter - and a writer - and I have drifted.

Now, the drifting is over. I have cat paintings to paint, and the horizons are calling me.  Next week, after I deliver my painting to the school in Baltimore, I am going to drive out to the Eastern Shore and paint out there for a day or so. And who knows what I will see on my way? Last year at this time, I was just setting out for Arizona. And again, my eyes and heartbeat quicken, and I long to be gone, seeing something new, painting something new, being reborn again.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


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

For me, advancement glides in on the wings of failure. I don't take steps forward by thinking and then doing, but by doing and then thinking. 

And I believe I've always been that way. That's one of the reasons I find computers so wonderful - they let me try out sentences and word orders, and let me change them again and again, without having to erase or use whiteout or go through sheet after sheet after sheet of paper. 

Painting is much the same for me. I make a line or a blob or a shape, I try a color or a stroke or a gesture, and if it doesn't work, I scrape it off or move it around and try it again. Sometimes I have a whole series of things that don't work, ideas or colors or even whole paintings - and I welcome these. I embrace them! To me, they mean that improvement, change, discovery are coming. 

While I'm writing all this beneath this painting, I don't mean to imply that it is a failure. In fact, I like it a lot - though not as much as I liked Sherry Svec's painting of the same cat (her cat), which she did in a pet-painting workshop of mine. 

If any of you are around West Hartford, Conn., on Saturday, stop by Center Framing & Art, 56 LaSalle Road, and say hi. I will be painting on the sidewalk there from about 10 to about 2, and I'd love to see you. 

And take a look at the gallery during the month of April. The window will be full of paintings of cats - by me! 

Thank you for reading.