Thursday, September 27, 2012

Big Sunflowers

Big Sunflowers

I've spent my time this past week making BIG paintings. There was the Marlin Lane piece, a big painting of an abandoned boat that I'm working on, and then there was the piece you see above - Big Sunflowers (or as I've been thinking of it, Biggie Sunflowers). 

It's really HUGE (I've included a shot of the painting leaning up against my teeny camper, so you can get an idea of how big it is) - and it is a tremendously happy, bright painting. I love the sunflowers themselves, and I love the background, too. 

And a happy note for me - and for a collector, too: The painting has already sold! Yay! 

One of these days, I am going to do a painting that's just the petal-like background painting technique I used here. It will probably be an abstract, and I might do it for the show that's coming up Oct. 12 through Nov. 21 at the Lighthouse Gallery in Groton, CT. 

But this weekend, the Neptune Festival takes place today, Saturday and Sunday in Virginia Beach. I'm pretty psyched about it! Set-up was Thursday and we got to drive on the boardwalk, which was fun. For a variety of reasons, I rented a tent, and while it is not an ideal tent, it has made me set up differently - and I think I like it. I'll post photos over the weekend.

The weather is supposed to be iffy, but I am hoping folks will come out anyways. If you do, please come and say hi. I am in Booth 2304,  near 23rd St. 

Detail from Big Sunflowers

Yikes! That's one Big Painting! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Back on Marlin Lane

Back on Marlin Lane
Oil canvas, 36x48
First of all, there was just a gigantic spider on my lamp out here in my garage studio, so if this posting is a little scattered, please forgive me. This spider was the size of an apple. I caught it and brought it inside (I used a coffee mug to capture it, and it barely fit inside the mug). Then I woke Peter up, though it was only a little after 6. He told me the spider was harmless, and that, in fact, there is a much LARGER one in one of our other outbuildings. EEEEW.

But I looked them up, and they are indeed harmless - just big. They are black and yellow argiope spiders, also called garden spiders, and while this one totally freaked me out, I guess we will still be able to live here, even though I now know that there are spiders this large here.


To more painterly subjects... After looking hard at my booth, and talking with Peter, I decided that one of the things that's missing is Big, Splashy, Juicy paintings. I have one left - but the rest have sold! So I am on a mission, and of course, it's a mission that pleases me.

Here's one of the big pieces, 36x48. It's a larger version of a 10x10 that I made last week. I'm pretty pleased with it, and the feeling that it gives. It's just how our salt marsh looks - minus the mosquitoes.

I will be buying some Big canvases this week - so be prepared for some Big New Stuff!

See what I mean? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Route 50 Field

Route 50 Field
Oil on canvas, 10x10
Please contact me for price and delivery/shipping information

Leesburg started out so well - three 10x10s sold within 30 minutes of the show starting! Whee, I thought! Two more paintings sold during the duration, both small. And while that's sure better than nothing, it was disappointing.

Still, the giant sunflower painting that I'd intended to bring to the show as the centerpiece to my booth sold, and I am counting that as a sale from this show. It would have sold during the show, I am positive.

The show itself was fantastic. The quality of the work was about the best I've seen in any show I've done. And the people were wonderful, too. It was the first year for this show, and I believe that next year, it will be even better.

On the way home, I stopped in a whirling field to paint. I like the movement and the twirl of this piece, and the colors. Autumn is coming, for sure.

Here's my painting in the landscape! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mountain Sunset

Mountain Sunset
Oil on canvas, 30x30
Please contact me for price and shipping/delivery information

The first day of the Paragon show in Leesburg, VA was a good one! This group seems to have its act together. The main streets in town are closed to cars for the event, and the artists caravaned in on Friday evening to set up. The work is really good, as far as I've seen, and we are being treated well by show staff, visitors and businesses.

I made my booth fee on Saturday, and while that's not a lot of sales, it is promising. There was a lot of interest in my work, and a couple times I thought paintings were going to sell. It's so tantalizing, so exciting - and such a let-down, of course, when they arrive at the decision not to buy. Or at least not to buy now.

But I like this show, and who knows what Sunday will bring! If you're in the area, please stop in! Leesburg is a beautiful city, with historic buildings, interesting restaurants and a cool downtown. I'm on South King Street, and I'd love to see you!

Here's my booth in Leesburg, with the morning sun shining in. I'm on South King Street. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

On Marlin Lane

On Marlin Lane
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100
Behind our back yard is a huge cornfield, and just at the edge of that cornfield is a house that's for sale. The house is not much - it could be much, but it would need a lot of work to get it there.

But the land! Twenty-two acres, mostly salt marsh, and about the most beautiful land and landscape you've ever seen.

I got permission from the landowner and from the realtor to go over there and paint, and so, one afternoon this week, I did. The mosquitoes that have been swarming around here since the recent rains must have been swarming around somewhere else that day. They came back just as I was finishing the painting, but for the most part, left me alone during the bulk of my painting.

I love the yellow-green of the salt marsh in this painting, and how the water winds and shines through it.

And yes, when the paint dries, I will pluck out the little stick that's stuck in the top of the painting. It blew in to the paint while I was working at the bottom of the piece! Authenticity!


I am heading into unknown lands today, as I drive to Leesburg, VA, to set up for my first Virginia show. I am excited! I'm told that the area around Leesburg is beautiful, and that the historic part of town, where I will be, is fun and attractive. And so we'll see.

If you're in the area, I will be on South King Street, in Booth 37. Please stop in and say hello! (Or since we are in Virginia, please say Hi y'all!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big Sunflowers

Big Sunflowers
Oil on canvas, 36x48

If my mother — Mary Ann Hook Cooper — were alive, Wednesday would have been her 85th birthday.

She’s been gone for six years now, but she’s with me, every day, every minute. She’s in the blood that runs through me. She’s in my long upper lip and my bad right foot. She’s in my taste for peanut butter, and she’s in my outlook and my optimism. My mother is in my love of color, my sense of adventure and my delight in laughter.

And she’s in my paintings. She is in the courage that it takes to start, and the tenacity it takes to keep going when – inevitably, in every painting – it looks like disaster is looming. 

She is in my love of the landscape and the creatures in it, in my love of color and movement and sense and sensation.

She is at my heart and in my soul, and she is in the heart and the soul of every painting I make.

On your birthday, Mom, I missed you as I miss you every day. And today, more than anything, I celebrate you, and the beautiful, strong life you lived and shared with me.

This painting (one my mother would have loved) is really pretty spectacular - even more in person than in the photo! 

If you want to see it in person, come to the show this weekend in Leesburg, VA. It's from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. I am on South King Street, in Booth 37. Leesburg is apparently a beautiful, historic village in a gorgeous part of Virginia. Y'all. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Salt Marsh Triptych

Salt Marsh Triptych
Oil on three 12x24 canvases

Give me half an entry, and I will shove my foot in the door and talk about my paintings. If I have paint all over me and you ask me if I'm a painter, I will be off and running. 

Last year, when I was staying at the little hotel in town, and unloading a painting of the salt marsh, a man staying at the hotel asked if I was a painter. I showed him the piece, and he loved it, so I gave him my card and told him my story. 

A month or so later, he got in touch with me, wanting a painting of the salt marsh. We settled on a triptych, to be done in the fall. He's coming to town this weekend, and so on Sunday, I began the project.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have two plein-air easels, but I'd left one in Connecticut. So I fixed two of the canvases to the side of the car with my cell-phone gizmos, and put the third on my easel, leaning against the car. What you can't see from the photo is that clamps, like the ones at the bottom, are holding the canvases at the tops, also. 

It was pretty windy, and one of the gizmos was not working right, but eventually, I got it all set up.

It was a lovely sunset, too! The air was clear and blue, with pink clouds and gold near the horizon. The water shone. About a billion gulls had gathered on the mud, and though I didn't paint them in, I liked watching them. There are regular gulls here, and also laughing gulls, and honestly, it's not a misnomer. It sounds like they're laughing!

I finished the painting yesterday, on my studio easel and my plein air easel, and ended the day covered with paint, which I then got all over the car, the garage, Peter and my friend Pat. But I ended the day also with a painting that I absolutely love.

It is Sept. 11, and the early sky promises a blue not unlike the blue of 11 years ago. I say a prayer this morning for the families and the friends of all who perished in the Twin Towers, and hope that they have found their way back into lives that are meaningful and sweet to them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Salt Marsh Sunset

Salt Marsh Sunset
Oil on canvas, 10x10

So I've made 60-some of the 10x10s by now, and while I am loving the project, I'm starting to think about the next one.

I think I'm going to do a series of 6x6 canvases of houses, streets, neighborhoods in Wachapreague. I've really been looking at the way the sun shines in this clear, clear air on the sides and planes of the houses and buildings here, and it is beautiful and intriguing and compelling.

You all know, by now, that I generally don't paint houses, or at least don't paint them exactly, with windows and steps and doors and the things that houses so often have. I doubt that I'll be adding a lot of detail at 6x6, but who knows where this will lead me?

I love the idea of having a project that underlies (underlays?) everything else that I do, kind of like a conveyer belt of creativity that chugs along, independent and yet connected. For me, at least, it's a great way to motivate myself, to experiment, to keep painting, to keep painting fast - and to rise to a challenge.

If anyone wants to join me, either in painting Wachapreague, or in painting your own town, you're more than welcome to. If we get a bunch of painters doing this, we could have a Hometown show in a gallery somewhere... wouldn't that be fun?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Friday Morning Farm

Friday Morning Farm
Oil on canvas, 12x36
Please email me for price and shipping/delivery information

Just down Route 13 from Wachapreague is a town called Painter. I painted in Painter on Friday, and I have to say that I delighted in the very fact of painting in Painter.

People often ask how I found Wachapreague. I have always told them that I was driving up Route 13, and just got tired of being on Route 13, and so I took a right, and five miles down the road, found Wachapreague.

But when I was painting on Friday, it occurred to me that I was probably sort of drifting, driving up Route 13, and that seeing the town sign "Painter" woke me up a little. Woke my brain up. I mean, what painter wouldn't want to live in Painter?

Alas, Painter itself is not that interesting. It does have pretty farms, and some nice houses, but it's no Wachapreague.

Here's my painting, in the landscape. The shadows had shortened noticeably by the time I finished!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Indiana Farm Revisited

Indiana Farm Revisited
Oil on canvas, 6x12

If I listen hard enough, I hear autumn in these hot late-summer breezes. It's a whisper, but a sure one, beckoning, pointing, promising.

I see it in the tips of trees, and here and there, a red leaf fallen on the summer-green lawn.

I smell it in the dryness of the dogwoods and the browning grass beside the highways.

I feel autumn in the twinge of chill in the early-morning air, in the damp line of fog hanging over a day-warmed stream, in the length of the shadows in these too-early afternoons.

So it has happened again. In a blink, summer has turned its back, and fall has headed in to take its place, reminding me - as if I needed it - that time is passing fast. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Near Beckley Furnace

Near Beckley Furnace
Oil on canvas, 10x10

The Meet the Artists show in Olde Mystick Village proved to be a pretty good show for me - far better than the much more ballyhooed Mt. Gretna show or the new show at Butternut Basin.

So maybe there's something to the notion that shows that are IN places - rather than being in places that are away from everything - have better chances of success.

There were tons of people in Olde Mystick Village over Labor Day weekend. An artist who had hoped to move her car closer to the show on Sunday to make loading up easier wasn't able to find a space in the whole parking lot.

People who had come to shop and to browse the stores came to the show to browse and buy. People driving past on I-95 saw the tents and decided to stop in. In my booth were folks from Texas, Chicago, New York City - and a surprising number of people from Philadelphia.

I felt re-energized at this show. First, I'd been able to do some painting beforehand. Second, the weather was beautiful. Third, there were lots and lots and lots of people - and many friends and relatives, too.

So it was fun. And isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Salt Marsh Afternoon

Salt Marsh Afternoon
Oil on canvas, 6X12

Last fall, I took a photo of afternoon shadows lengthening onto the Wachapreague salt marsh on a golden afternoon (the photo is below).

It was one of the moments, one of the scenes, that made me fall in love with the place. And it is something I want to paint, and will paint, over and over. And over.

At the Olde Mystick Village Meet the Artists show, I made a small version of what is destined to be a larger painting. I have a canvas that is 24x72, that I'd been planning to use for this painting. I had been thinking of doing a horizontal painting, but something that a buyer said made me think vertical.

I really like the vertical approach, and how it came out in this very small painting. But what about a painting that's 72 inches high? That's 6 feet. What do you think? Do people have places for a painting that's 6 feet tall, or would I be making an unsalable work? I'd love to hear your opinions.


If you're reading this Monday, you can come to the final day of the Olde Mystick show. It's at the edge of the shopping center near the Steak Loft, and it is a fun and interesting show, with lots of very fine work. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you're there, please stop in to my booth and say hello!