"Grit and guts are the magic. . . .

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

Dogwood Grace . 24 x 30" . oil on linen canvas

Last, but not least - varnished and shipped this week - a gift my client commissioned to commemorate a special time in someone's life.  Sakura cherry blossoms in Japan.  Paintings do make heartfelt gifts and this particular client is loaded up with beautiful ideas and gestures towards those she loves.  Whenever I get the chance to contribute to her largess, I'm honored.

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)

That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer, 
and I did not die.
Surely God
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
the laughter
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,
a love
to which there is no reply?
Love and peace to you all. . .


  1. Beautifully said. And your work is outstanding (as always)!


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