Sunday, February 5, 2017
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Give the best of you.
It's said the greatest joy in life is giving, and as we go through this holiday season and close out the end of 2016, we will all (hopefully) realize the simple truth of it.
I'm thinking of the myriad ways we give during our everyday life - letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store, smiling at a stranger who looks as if they may need a bright moment, letting someone in while stuck in a long traffic line, taking soup to a sick neighbor, saying a simple thank-you with meaning, making eye contact with the people who serve you. And if you feel you have nothing to give, then just remember you always have love to give.
Giving the best of me is part and parcel of what I attempt to incorporate into my work, especially commission work. When someone has put their faith in me to bring about a desired outcome it's the only path to pursue in my opinion. These last couple of months I've been working on three commission pieces that are gifts for Christmas - two landscapes and a still life that included a beloved pet. Of course, the very origin of these commissions is love, that powerful, wonderful source of everything! So it begins with love, is painted with love and given with love. You can't go wrong with that. . .
|Koa's Dream . 12 x 12 . oil on panel|
Koa kitty fast asleep up on a shelf in peaceful security and his handsomeness, amongst the chotchkies of his humans' home. Now by chotchkies, I don't mean worthless knick knacks - each of these items most likely has great sentimental value. It's how we make a home, isn't it? With "things" that make us remember or feel.
Koa has been singularly interesting since day one - his tail was run over and it doesn't work like most kitty's tails! But nevermind, he doesn't let it interfere! An inspiring example of stoicism. AND he's been totally lost before - causing much anguish and concern before being found again. Phew! No, like most pets in our lives, never a dull moment. Commissioned by a daughter for the parents of this well-loved kitty - caught in a moment of sweet innocence. Joy!
Thursday, November 17, 2016
|Charlotte . 14 x 11" . oil on linen covered panel|
I've been working of late on some commissions that can't be revealed or posted about yet - starting way ahead of Christmas gives a painter some breathing room, especially when portraits are involved, or anything of an intricacy for that matter!
I'm breaking the silence today to feature my latest portrait of a young girl living way over on the other side of the country! When I first saw her photographs, sent by her grandmother, I was instantly captivated by her old soul. I always ask people to give me their impressions or thoughts of the commission subject as it makes all the difference in the world when attempting to capture a spirit and likeness. Her grandmother is eloquent in expression and writing - she knew exactly what to convey about her beautiful eleven-year-old granddaughter! That's an artist's dream when not able to paint in the flesh, so to speak.
I find people really love the more modern thought of a casual portrait. Yes, you can still see many traditional portraits (think seated in a formal setting with clothing the subject may never wear again, large bows in girl's hair, etc.) but like everything, taste changes. The younger generations are desiring something more casual - smaller, yet intimate enough to capture your gaze immediately.
Who can resist those golden, chocolate eyes? Her old-world, Mona Lisa smile? It's always interesting to me how some portraits absolutely seem to fall into place immediately - this was one of them. When that happens you feel especially grateful, and it gives the whole process a rather mystical air.
After painting Charlotte, I zinged immediately to a still life/pet combination commission, then on to two landscapes of Maine - commissioned to remind the receiver of his favorite place to vacation. Although I overheard him say he put 1200 miles on the car over a two week period while there recently. Just shows how the meaning of vacation is different for everyone!
Hmm. . .I'm thinking good book, outside, warm breeze, sun, quiet, island maybe, long walks.
Hope your Thanksgiving is peaceful and loving - I imagine nearly all can agree it's one of the nicest of holidays and we are all probably ready for a reset this year. Maybe it will begin Thanksgiving when we are reminded of our blessings as we gaze upon family and friends.
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definition of ourselves (and others).
~ from Prayer of Thanksgiving - Vienna Cobb Anderson, with a little addition by me!
Monday, August 1, 2016
|Dunes . 8 x 10 . oil on linen canvas|
Available in my Etsy shop
Yeah, I know summer has it's typical HOT August month to go, but the light is changing here (already!) in North Carolina. I did a couple of small, quick paintings this past month thinking of summer and the beach, and wanted to post them before leaves begin to fall!
Having lived 50 miles from the beach for so many years, then actually across the street from the beach - well, I can honestly vouch for my beach cred. A friend recently moved TO the beach - I LEFT all traces of beach and moved back to the seasons. In truth, we all have our centers of gravity, and I've about decided mine is firmly with the earth - I say "about" because the minute I walk a beach at sunset I become an instant liar.
What's important (I'm thinking out loud now) is that we seek out that which nourishes our very being, our soul - hence, the flocking to the beach in the summer, the love of the mountains in the fall, the silent drift of snow in winter. The natural world is our gentle mother, our gate keeper, calling out to the beating of our battered hearts and minds. Sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon is a beyond words experience, resoundingly spiritual. If we could bottle it. . .Well, you get my point. Maybe that's why paintings of landscape dominate galleries and buyer's minds. How fortunate that we have beautiful memories of escape to the natural world.
|Anna Maria Sunset . 8 x 10 . oil on linen canvas|
Available in my Etsy shop
Hope your summer has been and will continue to be peachy, with trips planned to the natural world to round this season out.
I have a couple of commissions ahead of me at the moment and won't be able to share them with you until they are received and permission is granted. Please feel free to contact me if you are thinking of a commission for this Christmas - now is the time to begin the process!
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
ingredients to your success." ~ Irwin Greenberg
I'm in wholehearted agreement with Mr. Greenberg, as weathering the cycles of art interest/demand can be daunting! If you've painted for a while, you are very keen on what I'm talking about, and have adjusted to the ebb and flow - in fact, I think it may be one of the most important aspects of making art that should be shared with those who are just starting out! It does take grit and guts. . .
When we head into summer it's only right that much needed vacations, family reunions, wonderful weddings, happy graduations (need I say more?) are first on the priority list. If left wondering where your next commission might come from, get busy! This is the time to double down on the chores that make your art life tick. Freshen your sites, organize your computer files, update your lists, clean out your supply cabinet, re-arrange your studio - all the while fitting in time to paint, paint, paint.
You can paint strictly from the heart when painting for yourself, and if you do quite a bit of commission work that's an important way to get back to finding out what moves you.
I've been doing all of the above these last couple of weeks and life seems lighter. I'm astounded at what builds up in the name of clutter - especially in my computer files! I've backed up, cleaned out, categorized, created new folders - whew, it feels good.
Meanwhile, for the much needed painting, I decided to paint magnolia blossoms as 'tis the season. I placed blooms in my favorite bowl and painted from life. At the end of the first day I had to photograph it for further sessions - you may know magnolia blossoms (sadly) don't last long! Their creamy color and texture plus the fantastic familiar fragrance speaks to many of us. It's the top note in Estee Lauder's Beautiful Love perfume - if you Google "magnolia scents in perfumes" you'll find a whole host of suggestions.
|Southern Magnolia . 12 x 16" . oil on linen canvas with painted 1.5" edge|
~ Available ~
Finding I had only one 36 x 12" canvas left, I went for creating a new dog portrait. I've painted a few dogs over the years, but really wanted to say something different:
|Tyrone . 36 x 12" . oil on linen canvas|
Tyrone lived in St. Augustine, FL., and was much beloved - yes, he's no longer walking this earth. A goof ball and sweetheart who lived amongst 20-somethings and knew all their secrets! He seemed to have part Australian Shepherd and Black Lab in him. . .his paint job was uniquely pure Tyrone and I believe stories are still circulating in St. Aug about this pooch.
Freshly varnished this week and available:
|Summer at the River . 11 x 14" . oil on linen canvas|
Remembering Japan . 8 x 8" . oil on RayMar panel
On a very personal note the last few weeks have been extremely emotional due to the tragedy in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub. I lived, worked in the medical field and painted in Orlando for thirty-three years and was deeply involved with the community, serving on boards while loving and caring about my city. I watched it grow from 1972 on. . .raised my daughter there and still consider it my hometown even though it's not my birthplace. I did my best growing up in Orlando.
I learned that one is very personally affected when something like this happens in a place you remember with love. My neighbors included the Mayor and others actively involved in the City Beautiful - I saw the pain etched on their faces. My heart still aches for my friends, those who knew a young person who lost his life, some who lived very near to Pulse - their neighborhood. It changes everything and the black cloud lingers. You wonder how life can go on when such a thing has happened, and yet we know it does. I am so sorry for the tragic loss of the many young people just starting out - the ripples of pain and guilt and sorrow will roll out through their friends, family and community. . .and they will not be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to all.
Mary Oliver's Poem "Heavy"
(from grappling with grief at the death of her beloved partner of over forty years)
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
I went closer,
and I did not die.
had His hand in this,
as well as friends,
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,
was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions)
"It's not the weight you carry
but how you carry it - -
books, bricks, grief - -
it's all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not
put it down."
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
also troubled - -
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
to which there is no reply?
Love and peace to you all. . .