Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beach Houses - Finished? Unfinished?

Beach Houses
Oil on canvas, 24x24
Those of you who've been following this blog for a while know that I've long had love affairs with "unfinished" paintings.  Click here to see a landscape that I left "unfinished," and here to see a cat I left "unfinished."

Interestingly, older female artist friends accosted me about both of these paintings, and I argued with them that the pieces were finished, and left them that way. 

This one, "Beach Houses," is the start of a series, I think. My idea is that where there IS paint, it will be heavy - but beyond what is absolutely necessary for the painting, there will be no paint, or just sketchy hints. My thought about this painting was that I would add a blast of swirly, heavy sky, at the horizon behind the houses - but then I got this far and thought that perhaps I should just leave it. 

So what do you think? Like it? Hate it? Think it screams for more paint, more finishing, more sky, more land? Or is it intriguing and inviting and minimal, just as it is? 

(That brings up something that's amused me for years. I was in a bookstore, when they still were plentiful, and saw a whole series of books about simplifying one's life. If the author knew what she was about, wouldn't there have been only one book?) 

Peter says he thinks this painting looks unfinished, and he really hates the blue sketchy lines. He says he'd like them better if they were tan. My friend, the remarkable painter Ronet Noe, says she likes this as it is and is sure someone will love it and buy it. 

Please click the comment box below to let me and other readers know what you think about this painting. I am truly interested. 


Dog of the Day

What a face! I met this dog at the show in Frederick, and knew he was destined to be the Dog of the Day. Want your pet to be the DOD? Click here to send me a jpg!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

All-Day Sunflowers - and tremors about Amagansett

All-Day Sunflowers
Oil on canvas, 24x24

This weekend, I am enjoying being home, and painting with delight and anticipation for the show next weekend in Amagansett, NY. 

It's a show I am honored to be in. The work by other artists looks fantastic - so fantastic that it gives me tremors of fear: Will my paintings measure up? Will they appeal? Will they sell?

After a bout of soul-wrenching terror this morning, I've decided that the answer is YES - and to top it off, I think my paintings have a sense of fun and delight that I don't see in most other paintings.

Does that communicate itself? I think it does. I know it's what I feel when I paint - and I have heard person after person remark about it as they stand in my booth and look around.

That's the very best thing for me. If someone looking at a painting can feel the joy I felt when I was painting, then I've done what I've set out to do - and I am happy, and grateful. And confident!

For more about the show in Amagansett, click here. And if you have friends on Long Island, please suggest that they go!


I lived in Boston for 10 years, and I know how crazy the drivers are there. Maybe it's because of signs like the one above, asserting that you're going both south and north at the same time. 

Dog of the Day

Ah, Eunice. She might not be a dog, but she is the DOD today, enjoying herself on Smokey's bench. She is an old girl, 15 or so, and slowing down - but she has learned to enjoy life. 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpeg to me at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My First Parrot - and Pooch-A-Palooza

 African Gray Parrot
Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

So how DOES one paint a parrot? Well, after dancing around the question for a long time, and being scared about trying, I finally just dove in, deciding to paint a parrot the way I paint everything else.

And this brings up an interesting question: Is it harder to paint some things than others? An artist I respect greatly told me that it was just nonsense to think that way. If you can paint a dog, she said, you can paint anything.

I am not so sure. I can paint a dog, but I can't really paint, say, a Victorian mansion - at least not in any way that looks - to my eyes - like a Victorian mansion, with all that makes it Victorian and lovely.

The issue, at least to me, is one of detail and complexity, and my skill and interest in those aspects of painting. I'm just not interested in finding and taking on the most complicated thing I can paint. To a large degree, I'm interested in finding and taking on the most simple.

In my paintings, I am forever editing things out - windows, porches, chimneys, trees, bushes, telephone poles, collars, backgrounds, roads. I try to paint the simplest part of what is. The core of the thing, not the fancy edges.

Once, I tried to paint a falling-down mill building along a river in Rhode Island. I'd known the building when it was more or less whole, but by the time I painted it, the roof had fallen in, and parts of the building had disintegrated. My painting, to my eyes, was a failure. I painted what I saw - but what I had loved about the building, what had attracted me to it all those years ago, was its wholeness, its proud and simple stance at the very edge of the river. And that was no longer there.

So for me, I guess, at least now, I seek the iconic, the unchanging, the core. And in that regard, painting a parrot is much like painting a dog.

POOCH-A-PALOOZA was fun, but not too profitable. Still, I saw lots of dogs, met lots of dog people, and had lots of time to sit and paint. And sweat.

Here's a shot from the event:


BEFORE THE START of the show, I had the chance to spend time with my friends Cynthia Battista and Kevin Ireton, in New Milford, CT. Cynthia is a fantastic jeweler (click here to see some of her beautiful stuff), and Kevin is a wonderful writer and editor, and an amazing and careful carpenter.

I enlisted Kevin to revamp the van, make it smarter and more solid, and look what he did! All the long, difficult tent pieces go underneath a solid, strong floor, and everything else fits with astonishing ease, leaving me tons more space!

While we worked, one of their dogs, Zack, took a moment to study one of my paintings. Later, he told me how much he liked it, and that he was going to go home and measure his space to see if it would fit.

DURING THE SHOW, I stayed with another wonderful couple, Kathryn and Paul Yamartino, two of the nicest folks I've met on this journey. Kathryn is a talented painter with amazing marketing ideas for artists, and Paul is a great guy and really good cook, and they and their three happy dogs welcomed me for the weekend.

The Dog of the Day is Kaya, who spent a lot of time with me while I was there, including snuggling with me on the first night. She is one of the sweetest dogs ever!

Want your dog to be the Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jilly - & Summer, & a Podcast with Yours Trooly

Oil on canvas, 12x12, commission

The hot afternoon had rolled into dusk, humidity kicking up in its wake. To the east, over the ocean, the solid gray sky had cracked in places, showing blue. But in the field beyond our yard, a line of heavy, tropical rain made its way toward us. 

Peter called me, and we stood in the doorway and watched it head across the field. It approached as a grayish line, looking almost like a living thing - a herd of deer, a flock of geese. The torrents slammed and bounced off the ground, and we could hear it coming, and then in an instant, the rain was pounding on the doorstep, soaking us, soaking everything, and passing then just as fast. 

Summer starts on Friday, but it felt to me that it rolled in with this downpour, sudden, tropical, refreshing. 

ON TUESDAY, I had a fantastic opportunity to do a podcast with Connie Mettler, on Art Fair Insiders, a site that would interest any artist - or fair-goer. Connie had read about the "Tubac and Back" trip, and thought it was an interesting idea. 

She invited me and a wonderful artist named Scott Coleman to talk about our other-than-art-show projects. Among Scott's many ideas and achievements, he did a project that involved painting a cupcake a day (well, six a week) for a year.  They are just fantastic! 


Dogs of the Day

These two were in a little carriage at the Boardwalk show in Virginia Beach. 

Want your pet to be the Dog of the Day? Email a jpg to me at


DOG LOVERS! If you're in New England, please come this weekend to Pooch-A-Palooza in Canton, MA. It promises to be a weekend of dogs, dog-related stuff, dog-related fun, and who knows what else? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Texas Morning - and the Virginia Beach Roller Coaster

Texas Morning
Oil on canvas, 24x36
Please contact me for price and delivery information

The Boardwalk Art Show at Virginia Beach ended up well for me - but it was a real roller coaster. The wind blew hard again on Sunday, so hard that I had to take paintings down, and move large paintings close to the floor - a bizarre look, but necessary. 

Most of all, I am glad it's over! And I'm looking forward to Pooch-A-Palooza, this weekend in Canton, MA. If you're in the area, please come by. And I expect you can bring the dogs, too! 


SOMETIMES I FORGET to talk about why I love the paintings I've made, or why I made them in the first place. It occurred to me that while I told you all that I really love "Reflections,"  I didn't ever say why. 

I've never wanted to be the kind of painter who replicates reality. I like seeing works by painters like that, and I am always amazed by their skill. But I want to make paintings - not photographs.

I have a natural tendency toward realism, but I like to push it towards abstraction. It's fun for me to work abstract bits and pieces into my paintings. Purple cows, blue trees, mosaic skies. 

I have tried and tried to make good abstract paintings - and they have been pretty uniformly terrible. So I love "Reflections" because it is pretty abstract - and also realistic. This painting was a leap for me, and it is a signal that there's something new coming in my work. And for that alone, I love it. 

I also love the painting at the top of this blog. The cows themselves were amazing, the morning was brilliant and hot and clear, and that tree alone was worth the detour from the highway. In this painting, I like the bulk of the cows and the twisty curve of the tree - and that one blue cow in the background, staring. 

How about you? 

Dog of the Day

This Maltese pup is about the cutest dog EVER!!!
Want your pet to be Dog of the Day? Send a jpg to me at! 


                                                        How can you not love this guy?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tilghman Fall - and a Harrowing Show

Tilghman Fall
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Please contact me for price and delivery information

This is a painting I began years ago, on a wonderful painting trip to Maryland. I had gotten about 90 percent through the piece when absolute exhaustion overtook me, and I stopped, knowing where I was going, and figuring I could finish up when I got home. 

Well, I never did. 

A couple weeks ago, I found the painting and finished it. I added some stuff, changed the house, altered the sky, fooled with the light. 

There is a point at which, I realize, I stop trying to make the piece look like whatever it is - a dog, a tree, a landscape - and I shift to making it look like a good painting. This comes at different points in each piece. This time, it came a couple years later. 

THE BOARDWALK ART SHOW has been good - but harrowing. 

Set-up was Wednesday, and it was brutally hot. I know there have been issues with vandalism, so I set up the tent, but didn't put any work in until Thursday morning.

Again, it was hot. Torrid. Blistering. Ninety-seven degrees - and with storms in the forecast. 

At about noon, the organizers sent word around that the show would close early because of the weather. I took all my paintings down, packed them away in the van, and added buckets of sand to my already heavily weighted tent. 

My tent held in the 60-plus-mph wind that tore through the Oceanfront - but 33 others did not. The storm ripped them apart, tumbled them into the ocean, tore them to pieces, and demolished work that artists had left inside. 

Friday, the blow continued, and the tent shook and strained while paintings flapped and slapped and slammed against the walls, and the rugs puffed up in unstoppable waves. 

But today, Saturday, was excellent, in terms of weather, and people and sales. So - yay! And Sunday is another day. 


I DID NOT WIN a prize from the judges in the show, but I still have a chance. If you get this before noon on Sunday, please click here to vote for me for the People's Choice award. It's an honor, and it comes with $1,000, and YES I AM A SHAMELESS HUSSY!!! 

I am in Booth 2423.


 Here's my booth at the show

And here's me, featured in the booklet that people walking the show use to find their way! 

Here's me in ANOTHER new hat

Dog of the Day

For some reason, I seem to think that all the dogs I took photos of were named Oliver. Maybe I am just tired.

This little bichon, Oliver or whatever his name is, was sweet and happy and loving and full of joy and mischief!

Want your dog to be the Dog of the Day? Send me a jpg!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections - and Reflections on Shows, Value and Prices

Reflections, Frederick MD
Oil on canvas, 24x24

I'm pretty excited about the Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach - and a little fearful, too. It's a huge show, the weather can be dramatic, and it's a four-day event, something I've never done. So I have my qualms, but I guess I wouldn't be me without them.

Most of all, I'm excited to have gotten in, and to be a part of such an enormous and well-known event.

If you're in the area, please say hello! I will be in Booth 2423, which is near 24th Street. The show runs from Thursday through Sunday. Thursday hours are noon to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


MY NEXT SHOW is the delightfully named Pooch-A-Palooza, a dog-related event at Prowse Farm in Canton, MA, June 22-23.

If you think you're going, you can get a $3 discount on tickets, by using the code FANDF at

To find out more about the show (it seems like it's going to be great fun!), click here to check out the website.


AND NOW A WORD from our sponsors, i.e., me.

I'm raising my prices, especially on the larger paintings, but generally across the board. I've been told for years now that my prices are too low, and I am finally starting to believe that they are.

This is good news for all of you who already have my paintings! It is a big step on the path to those paintings being worth more than you paid, so yay.

And for those of you who have bought my paintings, those of you who are collectors, those of you who have been with me from the early days, you will still get price breaks when you want to buy paintings from me. You have been the foundation of this house I'm building, and I will be eternally grateful.

As always, if you want a painting, but you don't have the funds, please get in touch with me and we will work out a payment plan.

If anyone out there wants a painting at the current prices, please let me know today! Pet portraits and the 10x10s are staying at their current prices for now...

Dog of the Day

The Dog of the Day is Gemma, who belongs to Ron DesJarlais's other daughter, Kelly. (Click here to check out Cora, who belongs to Ron's daughter Cait). How great that Ron has two daughters who both have dogs!

Want your pet to be Dog of the Day? Email me a jpg!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ellie, Referrals, and ... Would YOU Eat THAT?

Oil on canvas, 12x12

Ooooh, I really love this painting!

I pretty much love all my paintings - but there are the special ones, the ones that grab at my heart - and this is one of them. And, happily for me, the people who bought it love it, too!

With any luck, those nice people will have friends who will want paintings of their dogs. And their friends will have friends... and on and on.


IF YOU HAVE FRIENDS (and I KNOW you do...), please invite them to sign up to get my blog by email or check out my website!

Ask them to like me on Facebook, and follow me on Pinterest! 

Suggest that they go to a show and see my paintings in person. Or suggest that they consider buying one of my pieces for that wall in the living room, or the empty little spot beside the front-hall closet.

Referrals are gold to me! I will thank you with all my heart - and will make sure you get a nice referrer discount the next time you buy a painting from me!


I LIKE TV, I admit it.  I went through an anti-TV phase, and for 10 years, didn't own a set. Now, I enjoy it.

But I wonder about what people who make commercials think we are. I swear, if I ever ate anything that sounded like what Kit-Kat bars or Doritos sound like in commercials, I'd have a mouth full of broken teeth. Where is the joy of chomping into something that sounds like kindling breaking in your mouth?

What commercials drive you crazy? I'd love to know!


 Here's a restaurant sign that made me smile...

Here's a photo my brother sent me, of four of my paintings in Millwright's Restaurant in Simsbury, CT! 


And here's the Dog of the Day - Sienna - with some gorgeous peonies. Sienna lives 
with Melanie, sister of my friend Heather! 

Want your dog to be the Dog of the Day? Send me a jpg! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mt. Airy Farm - and a Funny Dog

Mt. Airy Farm
Oil on canvas, 10x10

My first plein-air cowscape! 

Yes, it's little. 

Yes, the cow is sketchy. 

Yes, the buildings are a little tippy. 

All those things can be dealt with. The fact is, I saw the outdoor cows, I made a decision to paint at least one, and I did it! 

This has been a long-held fright for me, painting a cow (or horse) in plein air. Why? Because they move. (Or mooove, as my little mental word-gamer says). And it always scared me that I might start the painting, and the cow would move away, and then,,, what? 

And to that, I would say: What? So what? Why be scared? 

Well, if we knew why we were scared of dippy, dopey things, we probably wouldn't be scared. 

 Here's my painting in the landscape. Yes, I changed the color of the barn. As my friend and inspiration, Gene Bove, might say - What good is a barn if it's not red?

Dog of the Day

This time, it's a video! Click here to see the fabulous jumping farm dog of Monrovia, MD! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Yellow Field - and Karma and Journaling

 The Yellow Field
Oil on canvas, 10x10, $100

During the blazing hot show in Frederick this weekend, I was thinking about how incredible it is that people buy art from me, and from other living artists.

Every time you do that, you're doing something that 99 percent of the people in the world would never think of doing.

It is such a miracle! You're trusting yourself, your own eyes, your own soul, your own heart, to know that you like a piece of art - and then you take the huge leap of giving me - or another living artist - your hard-earned money and making it possible for us to continue to make art.

Most people never, ever do this. So if you have, congratulate yourself! You are a person among persons, a rarity, a treasure.

My painting in the landscape
On Sunday in Frederick, sales were still slow. Then a woman from the Frederick Arts Council came around, asking for a donation of art for an auction. She was very nice, said I didn't have to donate, was under no obligation, etc. But I decided to donate a piece, even though, at that point, I was losing money on the show. 

Within five minutes of my making the donation, a woman came into the tent and bought the tall sunflowers piece. Moments later, another sale. And later in the day, still another. Karma? 

PART OF THE PROSPERITY COACHING that Joe Skelly is doing with me involves keeping a journal. Joe told me about a journaling retreat that might interest some of you! 

The retreat involves learning the basics of starting and using art materials in your journal, and exploring your creativity to express your soul, your hopes and your dreams.

The retreat is being put on by a couple of men who call themselves the Journal Junkies. They have a blog and have written several books about their journaling ideas.

The retreat takes place June 20-23, at the Embassy Suites Dulles-North in Ashburn, VA, near Dulles Airport. For more info, click here to check out their blog about the retreat. 


I looked up during the show in Frederick and lo and behold, worlds collided. Standing in front of me was my friend Linda Fite. Linda is an amazing artist, a collector of my paintings, and a sponsor of the Tubac trip. And we worked together at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, NY. That was the last place I saw her.  And then, suddenly, there she was in Maryland! She was visiting a friend in West Virginia, and Frederick is not too far from there - and so they came to the show.

And they brought the Dog of the Day!

And here I thought Jojo was at home, guarding Peter, when all the time, she was 
starting her own business in Frederick. 

 Reflections on the creek where the show took place in Frederick. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Following Sea - and a Not-So-Yay Day in Frederick

The Following Sea
Oil on canvas, 30x40

A couple years ago, Peter and I were driving across the Newport bridge, in Rhode Island, and I saw this sunset with the huge ocean and tiny boat.

I came home and painted it, and it was never quite right. But I knew there was something in it, so instead of covering it with another painting, I saved it.

Last week, I pulled it out and worked on it, and managed to find whatever it was that I was missing. Yay!


NOT SO YAY was Saturday in Frederick, at least in terms of sales. But there were tons of nice and friendly people, and lots of folks said they would come back, were thinking of buying this or that... so we shall see.

It was brutally hot again yesterday, and today holds the same promise, with thunderstorms mixed in. So we shall see.

I had fun in spite of the slow sales and broiling heat. It's a pretty place for a show, the ducks were amusing, and I have nice artists on either side.

I do wish people would recognize how hot it is for their dogs, and leave them at home. I saw several dogs on the brink of heat stroke yesterday. Believe me, I love bringing the dogs, but not when it's this hot. Even without everything else, they are barefoot on the burning-hot bricks.


SOME SCENES from the day:

This is the farm where I'm staying

Ducks on the canal that runs through the festival

 Here's the festival before opening on Saturday. There is an odd optical illusion here, isn't there? It looks like the stream is going downhill - but it is not. I guess the wall is going uphill!

Molly, one of the farm dogs, barking at me

Cows on the farm here in Monrovia, MD


Dog of the Day

The dog of the day is Cora, who belongs to Ron DesJarlais's daughter Cait. I worked with Ron decades ago at The Westerly Sun. He is one of the best newsmen and designers I ever met, and a good person who always made me smile. Cora was a rescue from Tennessee - like Archie, yesterday's Dog of the Day!

Want your dog to be the Dog of the Day? Send me a jpg! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Delphiniums - and Hot, Hot, Hot!

Oil on canvas, 12x24
Please contact me for price and delivery options

Whatever else you can say about the life of an itinerant artist, there's one thing that's for sure: It involves a lot of hard labor. And yesterday, I felt it.

The venue in Frederick is pretty - a brick walkway, with a waist-height brick wall, a small slope of green, a secondary brick walkway, and then shops, the same pattern of each side of a small stream. (I'll post a photo tomorrow).

But it was 90 degrees or more as I carted my stuff in, and the sun baked down on the bricks, bounced and cooked and broiled and seared - and as much water as I drank, I couldn't keep up, and eventually stopped sweating, which I know is a sign of dehydration.

So I stopped, sat in the shade, drank even more water, remembered that I am 57, and there are no prizes for setting up quickly. Or even for getting it all done on the first day.

If you're in the area, please come by! The show is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. I'm in Booth 78, near Ben & Jerry's. Click here for more info.


SPENT THE NIGHT in a B&B/family's house, pretty close to Frederick. While I have my issues with B&Bs (like, often, I really just don't want to talk to anyone after a show, no matter how nice they are), this one is OK. It's a farm, with horses and cows, and is beautiful and calming and lovely. Here's the view from my window:

Dog of the Day

It's Archie! He belongs to my brother, sister-in-law and niece, 
and is just as great a dog as he appears to be.