Monday, December 31, 2018

An Abstract New Years Eve

A new year will soon be here and it gives me pause to reflect. What can I let go of that no longer serves me? What can I reach for that once seemed impossible? Who will I keep close? What lessons and experiences are out there for all of us? Love more, accept myself and others and really live each day in gratitude are a few of my resolutions for 2019.
I will be promoting my memoir Into the Light and talking about that process here. As I navigate into unknown waters I feel a little like this abstract painting- emotional, fully present and with a sense of anticipation. Lots of freedom and flexibility to interpret meaning and value. 
I want to thank all of my friends and family, art patrons, followers and readers of my blog, FB art page, and Instagram for a wonderful year. I appreciate your looking and all of your comments. What a wonderful way to make this huge world intimate; I'm so grateful to be a part of it. Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cyclamen Revisited and Waiting

This holiday season seems to be about waiting. My memoir, Into the Light,  is close to being available, but not quite, so I wait for that. My son is coming from San Francisco for a visit, but he's not here yet. I shop, bake, clean, decorate, and prepare for the season of parties, visits and upcoming plans, but today lies unencumbered before me. A cold morning walk woke me to the nature of waiting; to find peace in the wait. Whatever will unfold, will do so in its' own time- I'm not able to make it happen. I've let go of trying to force things on my timetable. The universe, in its infinite wisdom, will guide me. I'm grateful for my faith.
I hope you find those precious moments of peace in your day, today. xox

Friday, December 7, 2018


Painted from direct observation with my colors. I considered using the colors as I saw then, but changed my mind. Maybe next time! I love the structure of this plant, and the drama created by the strong value contrasts. Someone said on Instagram that it is "restrained and sculptural", and I really loved to hear that. Comments are always welcomed!
8x8 oil on panel.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

My really big news!

A project that's been decades in the making is within days of completion and the feelings of satisfaction and excitement are growing! 
My memoir of redemption and forgiveness which spans generations is a journey I invite you to join me on. The path of a painter is now also the path of a writer-  another part of who I am. 
My story may surprise you, and it might shock you, but it's written from the heart with the intent that my experiences will give hope that no matter what our pasts may hold, someone may be touched, helped and healed.
As I was.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Inspired by the beach...again!

Another day, another gull. What has me excited is the possibility of exploring on a larger format the abstract shapes of the water, the shoreline and the sand as patterns are formed with each incoming wave. 

Loved working within the range of beach colors. Soothing, calming and always a source of inspiration.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Painting in Series- Gull 4

I'm having so much fun with these little seabirds and it reinforces what I've learned about painting in series- that each painting becomes a springboard for the next. In a sense, this is a relief, I don't have to rack my brain about what to paint when I allow it to evolve naturally. For example, painting a reflection one day may lead me to a deeper exploration of that reflection with the next painting.  Of course, it isn't always possible, or practical- but I'm experimenting and just letting it go where it wants!
I'm including a photo from the beach at Hilton Head, where we go each day with Cooper. He loves to chase the birds, so my photo references are never close enough to get any detail. I read from another painter to use cat food to get the gulls to come close. That wouldn't work as long as Cooper is with me, but it's an idea I'd like to try!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Two More from the Shore

I am really enjoying the chance to play with the abstract shapes in the water and in the reflections. Although I am working from photos, I am interested in losing detail in favor of obtaining a closer relationship with the vast space of the ocean and the birds along the shore. These are on linen, 6x6.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Gull 1

Working on a series, small in size, six to start. I set these parameters for myself as a discipline, for too often, I hate to admit, I can get off track with my art. I want to paint so many things, which is great, but I think it's good to rein it in every now and then. So here we are- these are all 6x6, oil on stretched linen. I am enjoying the abstract nature of the seashore, reflections, movement in the water, and of course, the classic form of the lowly seagull!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Working out an idea

 This post is about my process; an idea that I started with in my last post. I did my block- in with cadmium red and a light pink, then wondered if I could keep it to just two values as I went along through the painting process. This is layer four, which gives you an idea of how challenging this has been.

Here's a grey-scale of the painting to show that my two value plan hasn't been entirely achieved. So now to decide if I need to lighten my darkest dark to come more to a mid-range or the other way around. In any event, I'm traveling and this painting is on my easel at home til I return. People use an i-Pad to work out these questions me Old School. Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Art School Notebook 3

After a back injury, unable to golf or walk any distance, I found myself in an art supply store in 2000. I was visiting Santa Barbara and couldn't do any of the things I normally loved to do. I picked up some oil pastels, and proceeded to paint a sad interpretation of my hotels beautiful courtyard. My best efforts couldn't release the image I had in my mind's eye. I was baffled, but excited.
Back in Rhode Island I found a drawing class at the Community Center where I lived in Jamestown. It was taught by a wonderful patient man, Jim Filkins, and that restarted my journey into the formal study of art, after a hiatus of many years. I told myself it wasn't too late.
From a sketchbook dated 2/06/01:
We worked in graphite and one of the exercises was this:
Set up a series of shapes, make some overlap and some transparent. Make it look like there are layers in the way you lay down the graphite.
We had learned to make a 1-9 value scale and now we were learning that darker values recede. Rendering those values could create an illusion and that would be an important skill to acquire when we did landscapes. We learned some basic principles of landscape too; higher contrast in the foreground denotes its' closeness to the viewer. A blurred and softened horizon indicates the distance. 
For this exercise, it was not about perspective; but gaining experience with flat shapes and design.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Less is More

I am going to try something new with this painting. It's a beginning, a cadmium red toned canvas with the lights painted in pale pink. I posted it on Instagram and one friend, a painter, said; "It's finished!" That gave me an idea. How can I add more paint, lots of layers of paint, but retain the image that I started with- which is a Notan? Notan is a Japanese word that means "light-dark balance,"and can be achieved by value masses of light and dark within a composition. Instead of five or even three values, we reduce the values to two. Light and dark. What could be more simple?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Art School Notebook 2

Contrast of extension, where 2 colors appear to be the same color. An exercise in learning to see what color does when it is placed next to other colors. Spring semester 2004, at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

A little plein air study in gouache painted on a sunny day in July 2003.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Plein Air to Studio

 A street in Newport that I drive by all the time. The storefronts are very attractive, but I'm attracted to the light in the alley as well as the shadows on the back wall.
Here's the block in. It took a while, as I wanted to get the focal point in the right position . The canvas was toned with cadmium red light which served as my middle ground. I added the darks, then the lights.
Back in the studio, I went bold with yellow for the light. I began to add a pink sky, by then it was time to call it a night.

I wasn't in love with the yellow, so I changed it all to pink. I know I could have played with color in Photoshop, but I liked the layering aspect of working a little slower and having time to look and get my gut reaction before taking the next step.

I saw that the pink was overpowering, also that the building on the right had too much emphasis. I balanced it by adding a lot of neutrals to the right side and also finding more middle values on the left side. I want my viewer to go down that alley!
I'm not sure this is done, so I will let it sit for a while. I've already started a larger painting based on the left side of this one. I will show you more in my next post.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Art School Notebook 1

Thought I would share some pearls from the notebooks when I was formally studying art.
All the color swatches were paper painted with gouache first and then cut into squares for the exercises.
The page heading was the 7 color contrasts: Value, Hue, Intensity, Temperature, Simultaneous contrast, Extension, and Complementary.
The exercise shown here is one color appearing to be two different colors and is based on the work of Josef Albers and his book Interaction of Color. The main teaching is that the identity depends on its situation, the amount, placement and shape of the color. The color sandwiched between the yellow appears so much darker. If you have trouble seeing that, squint!
Notebook: 3/05/04

This study in gouache was done plein air in St Augustine, FL. 2003

Friday, September 7, 2018

Art League of RI Exhibition

Here are the two paintings I'll be showing at the 18th Annual Elected Artists of the Art League of Rhode Island exhibition. I'm very honored to be in such great company- check out the website and you'll see what I mean. The exhibition will be at the Jamestown Arts Center, a town I lived in for eighteen years. The opening reception will be Thursday, September 20th from 6-8pm. Exhibition: September 20- October 20, 2018

Titled Boats & Dinghies, this oil painting is 16x20, and gave me a
chance to explore the range of neutral grays offset by clear color. Chroma is intensified when it's next to a neutral.

Titled Working Boats, I wanted to focus more on shape and color than on any specific boats or part of a boat. Tied up at the dock, when the tide was low, I was drawn by the shapes made by the pilings, and the hulls of the background boats. Also 16x20, oil.
Both of these are studio paintings, with multiple layers of paint, which is a departure from my usual "paint it all in one session" approach. This let me slow down and experience the process in a way I find very satisfying.

Friday, August 31, 2018

We're having a heat wave

When our plein air group met to paint at a lovely estate in Newport, steamy showers rained us out. I went back alone later in the week, on another exceptionally hot day. I stood with my back to a little gardener's cottage, looking at the water garden.

I had walked for a while around this large property, but without an umbrella, I couldn't see painting and baking in the sun. At least here, I had shade from the building.
This gorgeous building is a greenhouse, studio and rooftop deck that looks out over the ocean.

My surface was toned with acrylic cadmium orange,good for my mid range value, which struck me as perfect for the intense heat of the day. I worked with thin oil paint to lay down my composition, keeping shapes abstract.
We're in Maine now and the painting sits in the studio. I want to go in and make a few changes when I get home. 12x24.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mystic Museum of Art

So thrilled that my painting Summer Table was accepted into the 62nd Regional Exhibition at The Mystic Museum of Art. This painting is 16x20 and was painted from direct observation, objects set up on my dining room table. Honored to be hung among such great company, in a beautiful setting, in downtown Mystic, CT. The exhibit will run through Sept 22, 2018, so there's still time to see it. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

$Highest bid for a good cause$

Here in Newport, RI we all look forward to Wet Paint at the The Newport Art Museum. It's a big fundraising event which culminates in a live auction and brings artists and the community together in the best possible way. This year was its' 25th anniversary and we remembered the wonderful man who started the whole thing off, Richard Grosvenor.
There was a heavy downpour Saturday morning as I drove over to the museum to check-in  and and get my panel stamped with the  official Wet Paint stamp. I was trying to figure out where I would paint, knowing that I wanted to be under some kind of cover.
Keep it simple- I said to myself.
I chose a spot on the museum grounds looking towards Bellevue Ave. The wide avenue where so many of the Newport Mansions are located. I had put a layer of cadmium red on the 12x24" panel, which would serve as my middle value, and help expedite my composition layout. 
Not the most inspiring day as of and on showers made their appearance.

The artist at work. And loving every moment of it.

Here's the finished painting. My dog Cooper was home alone, and I wanted to get back to him. Home by noon.

Thrilled to learn the next day that my painted was headed "under the tent" for the live auction. #9 out of only 20 chosen from over 500 works of art.
The auction was really exciting,led by Rupert Nesbitt and auctioneer Robbie Gordy from Christie's NYC, as my painting was the high bid of the day going for $3800. The arts are alive and well in Newport, RI.
                                 See ya next year, Wet Paint!

Friday, August 10, 2018

My friends know I love flowers

The first time my friend Susan came to dinner she brought me a bunch of sunflowers, which of course I later painted. Last week she came over, again for dinner, and again with flowers, with a token sunflower in remembrance of that first dinner. 
She's thoughtful like that, and that's a quality I hope for myself with my friends. Remembering what they like. How they take their coffee. What's been going on in their lives. I'm feeling very grateful  for the close connection I feel with the women and men in my life today.
The next day I took the flowers out back, where I found a spot of shade, and found myself obsessed with the Queen Anne's Lace. Considered nothing more than a weed by many, I marveled at its' structure and divine color. This is oil on panel, 11x14.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Plein Air Beavertail

I was happy to get a chance to paint some of the buildings at Beavertail lighthouse on the neighboring island of Jamestown. This is quintessential Rhode Island and has been my home for the last four decades. My kids grew up on Jamestown, with all the advantages of small town and island living- bike riding to school, no need to lock the doors, plenty of open space to explore, lasting memories and friendships. And so I gathered with friends, my plein air pals from around the state and we each interpreted that summer day in our own way. Feeling so grateful for my island home.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Has Instagram replaced Blogging? What's the rush!

Has anyone else noticed that Instagram is the first place we show our new work? Straight from an I phone image and another click shares it to FB! I was, at one time enthralled with this blog, but more and more go to the other places to see and post art.
However, there isn't the room or atmosphere for a lengthy share about how the painting was completed in a morning, what the challenges were (bugs), what attracted you to paint (those reflections) and the details of the painting. (oil on linen, 10x10).
This was painted at the historic home of Gilbert Stuart in Saunderstown, RI, not far from where I live. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018


While in Texas this winter, I got a chance to see the new installation of AUSTIN by Ellsworth Kelly. He gifted the design concept for this monumental work to the Blanton Museum and even though it was a cloudy day when I visited, the space was very moving and eerily like a chapel. In the museum were extensive paintings, drawings and plans for the installation which were incredibly fascinating. If you go to Austin, it's part of the permanent exhibit and not to be missed. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Blue Stripes & Vase

A modernist approach to an interior in this limited palette oil painting. I flattened the shapes so that the outside landscape doesn't recede. This is the view from the sliders to the courtyard and I really simplified the shapes to further flatten the space. Look for where I used lost edges! Those are exciting areas for me!
If I were painting plein air and wanted to show atmospheric perspective I would use different techniques.