Monday, September 16, 2019

we are the new contemporary painters- evolve and discover

Learning from the past is something all artists do. Sharing ideas and cross pollinating these ideas between artist groups is what has spurred on movements and discovery in the arts throughout time. Knowing that, we wonder, what can I contribute? What does our time period give to the masses? I think about this all the time, especially when I teach my beautiful high school students (on Saturdays.) They question everything. They want to know why is Joan Mitchell's large color statements as important as George Inness' Tonalist pieces? How can we  talk about Louise Nevelson's huge piece in the American Art Museum and feel it as we do Joseph Cornell's boxes.
Then you go see what the innovative artists of today are making. This summer when I was in NYC  I saw one artist's wild carved, layered sculptural pieces of acrylic paint- he carved the paint!!!!, I was taken by beautifully abstract long photos of the Thames River by....... They stopped me dead in my tracks. One woman made hanging veils of acrylic paint that were translucent and resembled the feeling of laundry hanging between the tenement buildings .....but with a veiled luminescence. People are finding the answers to new all of the time. It's truly exciting... It gives hope.
Then it goes back to questioning myself (and yourself.) Why do I (you) create?
What motivates me (you??
There is no reason to just do what has been done before.
The work I will share now is from my summer. It doesn't truly show my direction...yet. Each day I now spend time experimenting. I am feeling better. Thinking I might be finding a way, not just doing.

Friday, March 15, 2019

subtractive drawings and spider mums

Subtractive drawing is one of my favorite things to do. It helps me visualize feeling rather than thinking. These drawings are from my spider mum series. I am trying to respond to them as explosions of joy rather than any analytical interpretation. Spring is on the way after all.
These drawings are all large - 36x30. One of my galleries is doing a Georgia O'Keeffe tribute and I was asked to contribute. I first went to the National Gallery to look at her work. I don't want to copy it, as no one could do it better. I wanted to get into the essence. To me, Georgia simply made us look deeper at something that was small She made it grand.... that alone forces you to stop and see.
I am also working on some spider mum paintings, but right now the drawings say it best.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dusk Falls and Paul Klee

Good news! What a wonderful surprise when I heard that my painting, Dusk Falls, was accepted into the International Association of Pastel Societies biannual show Pastel World in Albuquerque NM. If I could give one piece of advice to artists... you can't be accepted if you don't apply.

I love to read about other artists, don't you? In my reading I found excerpts from Paul Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook (1925).
Paul Klee interesting tid-bits:
Paul Klee kept sketchbook since he was very young. The museum actually has ten from those days.
He was left-handed.
Another fact I didn't know was that he was the stay at home dad for the first 6 years of his child's life. His wife was a concert pianist and teacher. She traveled widely. He said his domestic duties got in the way of his art.  (imagine that!)
He said that it was in Tunisia that he began to understand and explore color. Here's a brief outline.
Wonderful quote: "Art does not produce the visible but make it visible. "

This is the link to the full article.
I love "Observe a fish tank."

Monday, January 14, 2019


I am certain that my best paintings come from intuition and not from anything in front of me.  This painting was begun a year ago.... then one day I saw it on the floor of my studio, picked it up, and changed it all without any thought at all. Simply responded.
I worry that our commitments can strangle us into creating for a goal rather than allowing our intuitions to rule and respond. So here are some quotes I found to soothe my soul during times of questioning.

*If you persist in ignoring your intuition, you may find yourself stuck in a permanent holding pattern instead of taking the risks that lead to creative growth - Nina Leland
*Intellect confuses intuition. - Piet Mondrian
*The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. - Albert Einstein
*I believe I rely heavily on intuition and depend on an intuitive response from my audience. I am a great believer in intuition, for men and women alike. -Jane Freilicher

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice and New Year

pastel, Winter Solstice

A wondrous poem from Ursula LeGuin's last book So Far so Good
Merry Christmas and a late happy Winter Solstice. Happy New Year too!

Ursula K. Le Guin
In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.

Sunday, December 23, 2018


flash 1, 10x15 about

flash 2, 20x20
Ah, Flash. My sweet kooky Flash was quite a rascal. She did one very remarkable thing long ago, she chose my husband. Flash hated everyone, but me; until one day when this new man came to visit and she promptly sat in his lap. That was the moment when I knew I should take a closer look at this one. Fast forward, Flash and my hubby had a love affair for 20 plus years. During that time I painted her and that painting sold. Many years later my husband said, "I wish we still had that painting." He said that same thing about once a year since. So finally I took the hint. I made a new Flishy Flash fact two of them. he will get to choose. Which one to you like best?

Friday, December 21, 2018

the agile mind

I just finished reading the new Leonardo book written by Walter Isaacson. Loved it! The stories and the insights, I loved it all.This reading dove-tailed (in thought) nicely into the new article in Start-up- The single most important habit nobody taught you. 
What do you think that habit is?
Be flexible. Allow your mind to be elastic and forever be changing. Question and wonder. Realize you don't really know and things change. That was Leonardo.

How do you develop an agile mind?
"The good news is flexible thinking skills can be taught.
For those wishing to tap into elastic thinking, Mlodinow suggests carving out time for daydreaming, talking to people outside your social circle, absorbing great art out of your comfort zone, listening to ideas or concepts you actively disagree with before disregarding them.
Always try to look at everything from more than one angle.
Change the context or your environment and you’ll feel your mind shift.
Take a walk. Take a coffee break.
Exercise offers another great mental boost.
The more you can challenge yourself to be spontaneous and allow for some new experiences, the easier it will be to integrate flexibility into your everyday life!
Mental flexibility is aided by novelty, and that contributes to brain growth and development throughout a lifetime.
The next time you encounter the stress of change, remember that you can adapt to thrive and become indispensable in the ever-changing world.
Remember, flexibility is a choice and with practice, you will be making moves you never thought possible."

This is an artist's mindset. Always looking and questioning. Leonardo would carry paintings with him for years and years, never giving them to the patron who commissioned them. Why? Because he could always learn more and be better. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

color, emotion, risk-taking

Working just on vibration while trying to simplify the landscape so that the vibration in the color is the most important concept. I hope that through thee color vibration I can distill to the emotional content. I have think (at this point in time) that constant risk taking is the way there.
People mistakenly think that art is about nature, or about an artist's feelings about nature. It is instead a path of enlightenment and pleasure, one of many paths, where nature and the artist's feelings are merely raw material. (Wolf Kahn)

Monday, November 26, 2018

the muse and the love and sympathy of a friend

The lake continues to be my muse. It's amazing how quickly her moods have changed during our autumn storms.
I have been reading  An Ideal Country, the wonderful book about Dwight William Tryon's work, I love his subdued tonalist beauties that are well represented in DC's Freer  Gallery of Art. You can check out the treasure trove of images on their website. They own both large oils and smaller, even more beautiful pastels. When you have time go to their site. I leave you with a quote.
Dwight William Tryon described Art as "love and sympathy with some near and homely thing."4

Monday, November 12, 2018

poetry and painting

A beautiful poem, read wonderfully, can be an inspiration for a new version of art.
Just listen to Elizabeth Gilbert read Early Hours and I can guarantee that your mind's eye will see delicious images and feel.
A return to my favorite lake, although the leaves are now floating in the breeze rather than on the trees, beauty is everywhere. Repetition of scene can be your best friend. The scene is internalized and the feeling and the play become more important.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

autumn colors

Autumn is my favorite of all seasons. The colors are like sirens which draw me to the rocks. I want them all but have to always bear in mind that it is through the use of neutrals that the colors begin their songs. Here are a few of my pastels this week. All of these are  morning plein air paintings. In the afternoons they come into the studio with me and we try to work together to create new images simply by allowing them to inspire me rather than to copy them.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Why do you paint that way? (and our influences)

30x40 oil on linen
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art there is an exhibition of Eugene Delacroix's (1798-1863) work. He is not on my top ten list of  favorite painters but still I felt that it is a must see exhibit. After viewing his impressive paintings I began reading more about him.
In my reading, the one quote that struck me was, "A great number of talented artists have never done anything worthwhile because they surrounded themselves with a mass of prejudices, or had prejudices thrust upon them by the fashion of the movement." And that was say in the 1800s! That quote made me think. Why do I choose the way I paint? Why do you choose the way you paint? Is it to conform to an idea of what we should be doing ... studio, plein air, abstract or realism... or is it because it defines YOU, the painter you are and how you think?
This can only bring us to the influence of Instagram and Facebook upon what we do. I compare Instagram and FB to a marvelous chocolate shop... so many good, yummy works. Which do I want? (Or which do I want to be like?) Does it help us to look? Or would we be better off carefully selecting our influences like we do our friends? Choosing to spend time looking through museums or reading a great art book? As you can tell, it's my dilemma too. I give them up and go back (like chocolate.) Do we need to break the spell?
The thought that pops in my head-
Our painting life is precious. Be careful with whom you choose to associate.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

nuggets from the field

I have been very busy painting ever since summer began. My time has been filled with many painting events, painting trips and teaching. I know how fortunate I am to live a life where I can live my passion! And I am grateful every day. One of the many wonders of traveling while painting is meeting new people. I have met some super friends in the field, some people who have challenged my thinking, and some people who are like thinkers. Ignited by conversations I have some personal tips to offer. This is what I think, you make think otherwise, feel free to comment. You may first want to view my facebook page new video   and see what is in my studio at this time. For some reason I can't seem to add it to my post. On the link you will see a video of my last solo show (first) and the my most recent studio view (second). Check it out.
Here are my tips:
* Work consistently. While your work is a passion it is also a job. Schedule regular hours. I have found that on the days I teach I must be in the studio at 4:30 AM in order to get my work done while I am fresh, not dead to the world. That 4:30 shift is also my most productive since my brain is not totally on. I am responding instead of thinking.
* Work on many paintings. Your brain and the painting benefit from time away to process (and with oil-to dry)
*I take walks in between paintings to clear my mind. It's amazing how solutions come while you aren't thinking.
*Your creativity is precious, only trust the opinion of those people you admire.
*Draw, and then draw more. Your drawings are for you and they are better than photos.
On another note I just received notification that one of my paintings was accepted into the IAPS web show that begins on November 1st. I will post again soon, but always feel free to check my facebook artist's page or my instagram feed. I post often in those places since i can do them from my phone. Blogger has still not updated its app.

Monday, September 17, 2018

New work with Silver Lake

Silver Lake in Ocracoke has continued to obsess me. Months of distillation time help me feel rather than see. In the studio I am working with different methods, although all are on thick watercolor paper. The top painting is large, 22x30 and the surface is simply sanded.
This one has the additional layer of art spectrum pastel primer. it is smaller, maybe 8x8.
Each painting has a completely different feel. Do you have a favorite? I know I do.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

back to the field

Certain places compel us to paint. They simply stop us in our tracks when we see the siren calling us to the rocks. You see the poetry of color her words soft and sweet. The fields on Whidbey Island do that for me. Her rhythms and shapes make my heart beat just a little bit stronger. This are all plein air.
Next stop, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

making of a painting

finished painting
step 1

step 2

step 3

step 4

step 5
step 6

Last week I was on the Island of Ocracoke, off the coast of North Carolina. It has a small harbor they call Silver Lake. This small body of water has always obsessed me but this time I arrived in Ocracoke with the simple idea that I would color study it over and over.
I mostly used memory although some have been started by some plain air, like this one. Once I could separate and begin to work the following day I was free from what i saw and eager to simply play with color.

Friday, June 29, 2018

sanibel thoughts

 Maybe because it's summer and I am thinking of the beach.... that's why I have taken out my Sanibel smalls and sketches from my trip this spring. Normally I only work with the places I know inside out. I am going to make an exception since I see Sanibel in my head when I am here in my studio. I am fascinated by the way palm trees have a kind of lace work that my Mid Atlantic trees lack.
More sketches and studies will evolve and I will see where it takes me.

Advice to self:

Follow organic developments.
Veer away from the obvious.
Look to yourself.
Avoid falling into stylistic rote.
Hone your tendencies and allow your flare to show.
Don’t worry about finishing uninteresting things,
but bring promising stuff to completion.
Hang your best work in your studio for a second look.
Make the work you’ve always fantasized about.

Postpone extensive external feedback.

I read something like this once. I wrote it down and adapted in my words. i wish i could remember where I found it so I could give credit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

soul journey

pastel 20x20
As I continue working with the many ideas from Josef Albers, it feels like my eyes have been opened to possibilities I never thought possible. I feel more sensitive to the interaction between adjoining colors. Therefore I decided to add a painted frame. It allows me to do more with less. My favorite locations figure strongly in my new studies. Since when they are the muse there is no unnecessary thinking about making a place- it simply is, without effort. All the effort can go into the color vibration and melting.

 Below please see the before painting... simply not exciting.
Homage to the square glow, Josef Albers
Now more about Josef Albers:

Josef Albers investigation into color was done by using minimal means -paint straight from the tube. He applied it meticulously with a palette knife. His focused selection of colors took him through a journey, a serial investigation into rhythm, mood and spatial movement.