Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tall Bouquet - and Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips

I loved making this painting! The colors truly delighted me, and I like the transparency of the vase. And the dots, of course.

I started with these dots in another vertical painting, "Calla Bouquet," as a way of filling in some of the black, in a graceful and fun way. And then I started enjoying the pattern of the dots, and how they shifted things from solid to less-than-solid. Also, it's fun to make them!

This painting is available, at Center Framing and Art, 56 LaSalle Road, West Hartford Center, CT.


I'M GEARING UP for two shows in Connecticut in August. The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival is Aug. 8-9, and the SoNo (South Norwalk) Art Festival is Aug. 17-18. Both shows are 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. In Mystic, I'll be at the corner of Willow and Main, across from the post office. I don't know yet where I'll be in SoNo, but I'll will let you all know as soon as I do!

The Dog of the Day today is Smokey, our dear chow-sharpei, and one of the sweetest dogs on the planet. He has had arthritis for a while now, but in the past week or so, he's also developed a real weakness in his right hind leg. We had company last week, and Smokey had a very active couple of days; the weakness appeared soon afterwards. So we're hoping that he strained himself, and we're keeping him quiet, and he does seem to be improving.

One issue that won't go away is how slippery our floors are, and what trouble this causes him. We've gotten some extra rugs and mats, and those are helping, but I also ordered some foam caps that fit over dogs' toenails and are designed to help them get purchase on slippery floors.

They're called Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips, and I think they're worth trying. (There's a great story behind this invention; click here to read it). 

I ordered a set of mediums - and got an email from the company saying that after seeing Smokey's breed mix and weight, they were giving me a set of large toe grips, for free, because they think the larges might fit him better.

Now that's customer service!

A Final Thought

"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you:
 I am here to live out loud."

- Emile Zola

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunny Summer Days

On Miscou Island
Oil on canvas, 12x24

It's a delight when I open my email or answer my phone and there's someone there, wanting a painting. It was an extra special delight when I got an email from Tracee, wanting to know if my painting of Miscou Island, New Brunswick, was still available. 

It was not, but I told her I'd be happy to make one for her that captured the same scene as the first one, and she was delighted. The painting was to be a gift, and Miscou Island had special meaning for her entire family, as her grandmother had lived there as a young girl. 

In June 2010, I went to the Atlantic Provinces of Canada with Heather MacLeod (you can see some of her work by clicking here). We barely knew each other when we left , but we had a grand time, saw amazing and beautiful places, made a lot of paintings, and laughed until our sides hurt. 

Painting Miscou Island again brought back all that delight, and all that sense of discovery and exploration. And it made me want to go back! 

The painting below was another commission from a supporter who loved the original painting that I made, as part of a six-piece commission. He wanted the beach ball to have the colors of the Rainbow Flag, and I loved that idea. I painted it a couple days after the Supreme Court made marriage legal for everyone, and I felt like the painting itself was a celebration. 

Can you tell that I like making commissions? I do! 

Andrew's Beach
Oil on canvas, 10x10


THE 101 DOGS PROJECT is progressing, inch by inch, as I work through some of the details. I'm glad to hear that people are interested! 

The full sponsorship price, the one that gets you a painting and cool stuff (or a painting and a donation to a pet-related charity of your choice) is going to be somewhere between $350 and $400. 

There will be lower-priced sponsorships, and payment plans, too, so if you want a painting of your dog, and you want to be a part of the project, I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen. 

Happy Buyer's Dogs of the Day

Above, Daisy, who Pearlene says is a gentle, loving dog. Doesn't that show in her face? Below, Pearlene with "Does the Night Forget?" in her Ohio home. 

And here's Olive, Pearlene's other dog. I think Olive runs the show! 

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

A Final Thought

"I dream of painting, and then I paint my dream." 

-Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, July 24, 2015

Molly - and a New Project!

oil on canvas, 12x12

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of dogs. That's probably putting it mildly. We have five dogs, and at one time, had seven. I'd live in the middle of 200 acres and have 40 dogs if it were possible. Our dogs enrich our lives, Peter's and mine. They make us laugh, they comfort us, they wait for us with loyalty and hope. They are great company, excellent nurses, and good friends no matter what. 

I love painting dogs, too. I've often said that if I could make a living just painting dogs, and doing the occasional show, I would. 
So I'm going to give it a try. In 2016, in place of a sponsored art trip, I'm embarking on a project to paint 101 dogs. I'm still working out the details, but the thumbnail sketch is that it's going to involve 101 portraits, a book and/or a poster of all the paintings (what's your preference?), a variety of items created from the paintings - and a serious donation to the Eastern Shore ASPCA, nearby in Onley, VA. 
As the project rolls out, I'm going to ask for your help in spreading the word. The first step is to get 101 people who want portraits of their dogs. (No cats or birds or hamsters in this one...) So please start thinking of folks who would be interested. 

And stay tuned for details. I'll bring them to you as soon as I set them. 


The sign above is in Wickford, RI. So, really. How can a dead end also be a loop? 

The sign below is outside Doughty's Market, on Route 13, just up the road. The first one (Tina Custis, pay your bill) appeared a few weeks ago, and it must be working, because there have been at least a half-dozen names up there. I bet they get in there as fast as their legs can carry them, just to get their name off the sign! 

Dog of the Day 
I met this French bulldog pup at the show in Richmond, I believe. 
By the time he got to my booth, he was one tired little puppy. 

A Final Thought

"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless." 

- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

George - and Good Times in Ann Arbor

Oil on canvas, 20x20, sold

In my summer of experiments, the Summer Art Festival in Ann Arbor was one of the biggies. 

It's one of the top shows in the country, and also one of the largest, if not THE largest. It's actually four shows that take place at the same time in roughly the same part of Ann Arbor. It's big, sprawling, long, difficult to do and comprehend - and wonderful. 

I set out on Monday, after a nice show in Wickford, RI, and headed for Michigan. I had to be there by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, my allotted set-up time. 

I got there early, and was allowed to set up early, which was good, since a series of downpours soaked me and also halted progress several times. I had a bad case of nerves on the way to the show, but sweating, getting soaked and setting up the tent was all so familiar, it eased me.                                                                                                                                                               The show started on Wednesday, and ran through Saturday. It was 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, except for Saturday, when it closed at 6 p.m. So that's a long show. A long, long, long show. But it gives people time to walk the whole thing, and time to go after work, and time to see and consider and then return. It works, but my goodness, it's exhausting, especially if you're in the tent alone. 

I had some great sales, and met some really wonderful people. I felt honored that they liked and bought my paintings, and were welcoming and supportive. 

AT ONE POINT, late on one of the days, I was feeling tired and a little grumpy. I was focusing on something on one of the walls, when a male voice said, "Well, I don't like anything in this tent!" 
"Then get out of my booth," I said, mostly laughing, but a little cranky, too. 
Then I turned around and saw Barb Cuson, and then recognized her husband, Ted, the snarky fair-goer. It was so great! 

I met the Cusons in Arizona, where they bought a painting from me. They've collected several more, and I had the good fortune to be hired by their daughter to give a workshop to Barb, who is a good palette-knife painter, intent on improving. 

They have a home in Michigan, a couple hours from the show, and came to see it, and to say hello. They made my day! 

Dog of the Day
I met this little puppy at the show in Richmond, VA. He was as sweet as could be - and deaf! His foster mom said he was learning hand signals very well. 

A Final Thought

"A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places." 

- Paul Gardner

Robin's Field - and Heading to CT

Robin's Field
Oil on canvas, 16x16

I found plein air painter Robin Weiss a few years ago, just as I was starting to paint seriously. I loved his work, signed up to get his blog, and studied each painting to learn what he was doing.

Over the years, we've gotten to be internet friends. He likes some of my paintings, and I continue to admire and be inspired by his.

A recent painting of his intrigued me. I liked the painting, and I loved the landscape. I wrote and asked if he would mind if I painted it, and was pleased when he said it was no problem. So here's the painting I made, as different from his as could be. But what fun! And one of my favorite collectors bought it at the Wickford Art Festival, so just great stuff all around.

I'LL BE IN Connecticut for two shows in August! The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Mystic, CT,  is Aug. 8-9. I'll be at the corner of Willow and Main, on the east side of the river, across the street from the post office. The show is Saturday, 10-6, and Sunday, 10-5. 

The following weekend, I'll be in SoNo Arts, in South Norwalk, CT. That show is also Saturday, 10-6 and Sunday, 10-5. Don't know where my booth is yet...

My friend, the fabulous jeweler Cynthia Battista, will be in both shows, too! So make sure you stop by her booth, as well as mine. In Mystic, I know she will be nearby, in the pet store parking lot at the corner of Willow and Main. SoNo, who knows? I'll keep you posted. 

Dog of the Day
Got to love this beautiful Belgian shepherd, I saw at the show in Richmond, VA, earlier in the year. What a gorgeous dog! 

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

A Final Thought

"A great artist is always before his time or behind it." 
- George Moore

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Does the Night Forget?

I'm always happy, happy as can be, when a big sunflower painting sells.

I'm happy for the sale, and I am happy for the buyer, and most of all, I'm happy because I get to make another, and know it will have a home with me, at least until the next show.

This sunflower painting delighted me. I love that it is vertical, a change for me. I love that the background continues white with its hints of yellow and green and tan, nearly to the bottom, where it picks up earth tones. I've never had the courage to do this before, continue the white the entire way. I've never had the courage to add stems, either, and I think I like them, the stems and leaves.

So it was a welcome opportunity, painting this piece. I like the pink flowers in it, and the shading, and the many surprising colors hidden here and there. All these things bring the flowers to life for me - and, I hope, for you.

You can see this painting this weekend at the Wickford Art Show, in Wickford, RI. The show is on, 10-6 today and 10-5 on Sunday.  I'll be in Booth 79, on Elam Street (there's a map on the website). Hope to see you there!

FOR THE PAST few years, my friend Candy and I have been trading photos of the sky, nearly every day. She can be in Connecticut when I'm in Texas, or Morocco when I'm in New Jersey, and we are - of course - under the same sky. Sharing the photos has become a touchstone for me.

Sometimes, though, the sky is just blah. Think solid blue, or solid gray. So we take photos of other things. Here's one I call "Odd Man Out."

Dog of the Day
Cute! They were at the show in Richmond, back in May. 

A Final Thought 

THE TITLE OF this painting comes from a Carl Sandburg poem, "Nights Nothings Again." The poem is long, so I won't copy it all over, but you can click here to read it.
Here are a few short verses:

Is there a tired head
the night has not fed and rested
and kept on its neck and shoulders?

Is there a wish
of man to woman
and woman to man
the night has not written
and signed its name under?

Does the night forget
as a woman forgets?
and remember
as a woman remembers?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jo,Meg, Beth, Amy - and the Best Parade

Jo, Meg, Beth, Amy
Oil on canvas, 36x60
After a month on the road through the midwest, and two back-to-back weekend trips to New England, I stayed home in Wachapreague, and I mean stayed. When I drove up the Wachapreague Road on Thursday to head to Rhode Island for this weekend's show - the Wickford Art Festival, in Wickford, RI - I realized I hadn't left our tiny town for about 10 days. Wow.

During those 10 days, I painted like a fiend! I love this brand-new cowscape, a big one at 36x60! Love the expressions on the cows' faces, and I really like the little collection of buildings in the saddle of the hill. The texture is great, too - and you can see it in real life this weekend, from 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday.

Wickford is an adorable coastal village, and this show is probably the best in RI. It's all fine art, so don't expect to find jewelry or pottery or clothes - though there's plenty of all three in the excellent shops in town.

I'll be on Elam Street, Booth 79, so please stop by and say hello!

WHILE I WAS hanging around, painting in Wachapreague, I took a break to watch the July 4 parade (about 7 minutes long - perfect!) and the amazing fireworks (about 30 minutes long, and amazing!) Here are photos from both events:

Dog of the Day
The Dogs of the Day got to be in the parade! 

A Final Thought

"As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; 
each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward." 

- Vincent Van Gogh

Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Burger, Berry and Pie - and a Way to Get Prints

I have no prints in my tent at shows.                                                                                                                                                To my mind, the surface of my paintings is so important to the character and impact of the painting that prints are sort of self-defeating. Also, I've never seen prints with the depth of color that my paintings have.  I always have $100 paintings that are 10 inches by 10 inches. In most shows, these paintings are less expensive than many people's prints - and they are original art.                                                                                                         But still, I recognize that many people can't spend $100 on art. So I'm trying some things. I made a series of 4-inch by 4-inch paintings that I priced at $40. They have all sold, and that's good - but they are surprisingly time-consuming to make, and I haven't kept up with the sales. I think I need to spend a chunk of the winter painting these, so that I have 200 or more when I start the shows in the spring. I've seen a few artists who have small, matted originals that they've painted on paper, or on canvas paper, and I'm going to try some of these. I am also going to try some prints on aluminum. I will lose the surface texture, yes, but I will get a tremendous depth of color.                                                                                                                      And finally, you can buy prints, notecards and a whole bunch of other stuff on my page on Fine Art America  (you can just click on the underlined phrase, but also, here's the address: 

Do you have any ideas for me? I'm open to hearing everything! 

MY NEXT SHOW is in Wickford, RI, July 11-12 (that's next weekend). The Wickford show is a wonderful event. It's all fine art, so it's a different sort of show, and attracts a different group of artists. I'll be on Elam Street, one of the small side streets. 

Wickford is an adorable little town, and while the art show might not be the very best time to visit the shops and restaurants, you can still get a good idea of this lovely New England spot. 

Dog of the Day
What a cute dog this was! I met him at the Norwalk Arts Festival, during one of the non-rainy moments. I met some nice folks, and did sell a painting, but the rotten weather really had a big impact on the show. Bummer.

 I did get my picture in the paper, though!  (click here to see

A Final Thought

"Do not fear mistakes - there are none."
                  - Miles Davis