Sunday, December 15, 2013


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I think it was important that I indicated the table in the upper right corner of this painting. Otherwise, the plate and scallions would have appeared to be floating. I loved painting all the different greens in the stems and found getting the glossy sheen on the ends of the scallions, equally absorbing.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Orange Roses in Turquoise

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I have a love-hate relationship with painting in natural light. I hate that painting in natural light means painting in ever changing light which of course, is frustrating and confusing and turns up the pressure. However, painting in natural light also means I don't have enough time to get fussy or to over work and over paint the subject. Ultimately, if all goes well, and I get the piece done in natural light, I am left with a painting that reflects decisive value choices, deliberate brush strokes and an overall loose, painterly feeling. In other words, I end up with the kind of painting I want to make. Moral of the story, get out of the shadow box and into the light.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pitcher of Peonies

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I loved the abstracted, sort of frenetic way these peonies, stems and leaves arranged themselves in the pitcher. I say, "arranged themselves," because in truth, that's what happened. No matter how hard I tried to get them to conform and sit neatly in the glass, they just kept falling out in disarray. In the end, the negative space between the blooms and leaves brought a complimentary looseness to the tightly painted turquoise pitcher. This work is on view the Grenning Gallery at until mid-January.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Magnolia Blossom

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Reflection and light and form and color... painting ... the quest to capture the beautiful. 'Magnolia Blossom' is currently on display at The Grenning Gallery, in Sag Harbor, NY until mid-January.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rocks and Reflections

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I started this painting at high tide, but as you can see, by the time I finished it was low. This is a new way to gauge how long I've been out painting!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sunflowers and Blue Bottle and Pears

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This is a painting I did a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to post. Creating a still life in plein aire and alla prima was a double challenge. I had to work quickly. I had to be precise about what I was seeing. I had to really look at the values. I find this all to be very rewarding because my primary purpose as an artist right now is to stay loose and painterly. Plein aire and alla prima sort of force that to happen. When I work this way, not every painting is a keeper. In fact, some are truly bad. The ones that work out, however, are very satisfying to me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Plated Fish

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So, the fish made it through a night in my freezer and was ready for another full day of modeling. It is amazing to me that the same fish, the same plate, the same artist could create two such different paintings only a day apart. Compared with the painting I posted yesterday, this painting is cooler in temperature and more raw in nature. I intended none of it. That's what makes painting so exciting for me; this element of mystery. It is always bigger and stronger than my plans... and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fish and Lemons

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I love painting fish! It is a treat right from the start; heading to the market and making my selection based on the color and shimmer of the scales. Then there's the still life setup; plating the little guy and surrounding him with colorful condiments. Of course, the actually painting process is the ultimate; trying to capture the glistening, soft belly and rendering the eye without making it look like the fish is giving you the "stink eye!" Finally, I think I always form a special little bond with my fish.  This one was gently placed in the freezer when the painting was complete. I am trying to get two days out of him. More of this fish tale in tomorrow's post!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sunflowers in Sunlight

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I love setting up a still life in direct sunlight and then, having a go at it. What a challenge! Perfect, however, for keeping me loose and painterly. Sunflowers are key to this plein aire adventure... they don't wilt in the sun and you usually can get a few days of painting out of one bouquet!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Duck Walk

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I think one of the elements that makes this painting successful, is the element of tension. The ducks are walking, quickly in fact, to get away from the approaching onlooker. As I was painting this I imagined one duck saying to the other, "Keep walking. Don't look back, just keep walking!"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stables at Comfort Farm

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It was another beautiful day at Comfort Farm, in Bridgehampton, New York.  I painted here with my daughter and fellow artist, Edwina Lucas. At one point, we found ourselves surrounded by curious onlookers, with their necks stretched long across the fence to get a better look at what we were doing.  One horse got so close, it almost knocked over Edwina's easel. He then turned his back to us and pushed his rump up against the fence. We really weren't sure how to interpret all this ... could it be he didn't like our paintings? Tough crowd!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Barns on a Clear Day

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This day was particularly clear and gorgeous. The colors of the grass and sky were so bright it was as if they were iridescent. By the time I finished the painting, my eyes were exhausted ... but satisfied!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Comfort Farm

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This big old barn is the crown jewel of Comfort Farm, in Bridgehampton, NY. The barn is massive and an architectural masterpiece. I felt so much peace while painting it; surrounded by the sounds of corn stalks blowing in the breeze and flocks of birds whirling in the air. It was tremendous. I was accompanied on this painting excursion by the very talented Ben Fenske -  a dream come true! I love him and his work. Check it out, here - Grenning Gallery. That's me with Ben below. Some days are simply unforgettable. This was one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Water Works

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I love watching people at the beach. It seems sun, sand, and sea release the little kid in everyone. This painting is about the delight and freedom we feel at the shore.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sugar Sweet Peony

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I have gotten a bit behind on posting my finished paintings this summer. No explanation other than that it is summer! This painting was done back in May, when the peonies were blooming. I painted it in natural light, which, while challenging, is always worth the effort. I like the subtle tension created by the high-end silver service juxtaposed with the simple glass jug. How that peony makes it oh so glamorous!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Noyac Marina

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Here is another from my plein aire landscape workshop with artist Ben Fenske. It happens to be of the marina where I met my husband back in the day when we were kids. Sweet memories, and if I say so myself, a sweet little painting!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lattice Roses

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This is a little painting I did last week in preparation for the plein aire workshop I am taking this week with artist Ben Fenske. Ironically, this painting was not really helpful at all. What I am learning this week about my landscape painting, is that I tend to miss the "big picture," by focusing on a "detail" in the scene. (I not only stop to smell the roses, but I get too close and paint them, too.)  It has been difficult for me to paint with a wide range of vision. I am working on it, and will post more paintings from the workshop in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wainscott Trees

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I am taking a plein aire landscape class with artist Ben Fenske through Sag Harbor Fine Arts Center. Here's today's effort. It was a very hazy day, and I was looking into the sun. So, as Ben pointed out in his demo before we got started, I could expect the sky to be the lightest value in my painting and the vertical planes (the trees) to be in shadow. It was incredibly helpful to be armed with this information before heading out into the field to try and "see" it/ "find" it for myself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

White Peonies and Vase

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First came the lilacs, and then, the peonies! You have to paint peonies swiftly because their blossoms are quick to open and even quicker to drop off.  In fact, I worked on the flowers first and the next day,  when I got back to finishing up the tea cup and silver creamer, all that remained of the peonies was a little heap of soft white petals.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Little Bit of Lilacs

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I have begun a series of 8"x8" studies of all that spring has to offer. My aim is to capture each bloom as I see them and feel them. So I will be painting not so much from a botanical perspective, as from the absolute pleasure I feel when I touch, smell and drown my sensibilities in each flower. I do so wish that blogspot had a "scratch and sniff" widget!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Early Spring Morning, Sag Harbor

This is a recently completed commission of Main Street, Sag Harbor. The challenge here was to get painting before the street filled up with parked cars. That meant getting set up by 6 am. A long run of rainy weather, however, curtailed my plein aire efforts and forced me back into the studio. I finished the painting and delivered it just in time for Father's Day... a favorite town for a favorite dad. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saratoga Spring

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My new gallery, Spa Fine Art  in Saratoga Springs NY, has asked me to feature their local bottled water in some of my still life paintings. Of course, it was its natural mineral springs, once thought to cure all sorts of ailments that first put Saratoga on the map. This wonderful little town still has a few spas which include treatments with the local water, but it is best known today for its horse racing and in summer, as home to New York City Ballet. Most importantly, it is where my wonderful daughter, Edwina, has spent the last four years as a Studio Art Major at Skidmore College. She graduates in just a few weeks and then, watch out art world!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Daffodils with Bottles

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I have a lovely crop of daffodils this year growing outside my front door. I swear that every time I walk by them I can hear them screaming, "paint me, paint me!" They certainly do make very cooperative subjects - heads held high, draped in bedazzling color and compliments to my blue bottles. The only downside to these yellow marvels is their short life span, just about two weeks. I am painting as fast as I can!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Opening Up

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I am making little studies of the blooms on my Easter lily plant. The are a beautiful irony:  delicate, even vulnerable, yet tall and strong. While painting them, their heavenly scent just hangs heavy in the air.  I plan to paint out-of-doors in a few weeks, and hope to paint lots of flowers. My Easter lily is getting me in "shape" for this upcoming plein aire, alla prima challenge.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Demitasse in Blue

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I have certainly worked this still life set-up to death, but I don't care, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Honestly, when I find an arrangement of objects that "works," I think it is a good idea to get as many variations from it as possible. It helps me get a better handle on painting, in this case, the apples, the bottle, the orchids and cup. Overall, I am very satisfied with my "orchid series."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tall Lilies

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Okay, so I figured out how to work a tall Easter lily into a still life set-up. Put it on the floor! I am very happy with this composition and like working on a 12"x 24" panel. The shape forces new and interesting placement especially if worked as a vertical. Okay, so now, before these beautiful lilies fade, I plan to do smaller studies of the blooms themselves.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

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I bought myself a big beautiful lily plant, with hopes to paint it. After many attempts, I just couldn't create a still life arrangement that "spoke" to me. It seemed the plant was just a little too tall to work. So, I clipped off one of the blooms, popped it into one of my favorite glass pitchers and threw in a couple of eggs. White lilies and eggs can only mean one thing ... Happy Easter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Little Demitasse and Orchids

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I found a set of demitasse cups and saucers at a local thrift store. They are so sweet, and just the right size for my shadow box still life setups. I love the little glint of gold along the lip of the cup. So fun to paint.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Orchids with Sugar Bowl and Bottles

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I am so excited to have remembered a painting process that I read about years ago in Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima and just recently saw demonstrated by Daniel Keys in one of his painting videos. The basic idea is to look at the still life, determine the shape and color of an area and then put that color and shape directly onto the canvas. Return to the still life, look again, determine the next color and shape you see and then put that down directly onto the canvas. There is no underpainting, no glazing, no reworking. One precise color, value and shape placed repeatedly on the canvas until the painting is complete. When I DON'T use this method, I often find myself "repainting" the painting several times over which is obviously very inefficient and incredibly frustrating. I am so happy that I was reminded of Schmid's technique by watching Key's video. I am determined not to slip back into my old lazy painting habit of just going round and round on the canvas until it all works.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Orchids and Bottles

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I told you I felt an "orchid series"coming on! This is a new size panel for me, and I love it.  It's lots of fun to set up a still life when you've got a bit of elbow room.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Orchids and Apples

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My grocery store sells small orchid plants. I bought a few the other day. They are perfect for still life. The blooms last quite a long time and the buds open slowly. I think I feel an "orchid series" coming on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hat to Hat Talk

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I worked from a photograph for this painting and for some reason, was having trouble determining the values. I think it was because the sky appeared "bright" in the photo but was actually "darker" than the skin tones and clothing. It was a feature on iPhoto that helped me get some clarity. I used the black and white "effect" to eliminate the color and that helped me...  get the picture!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Holding On

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     This is one of my older pieces. I painted it the summer before my oldest daughter was going off to college.  In fact, this is not actually my daughter and me, but in feeling, it very much is. I remember being aware of the big world that awaited her, so beautiful and so alluring, but so unfamiliar and scary. I recalled all the times that I could hold her steady, help her out and keep her safe simply by extending my hand. I was very aware that the time for letting go was fast approaching. I remember deciding that until it arrived, I was going to enjoy holding on.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kelly's Carnations and Fruit

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I was lucky enough to "win" the centerpiece at my friend Kelly's baby shower. The bouquet of pink carnations came wrapped with pink and blue ribbons. For this still life, I removed the blue ribbon. Yes, it could be that the blue ribbon just didn't work in the composition, or....  it could be that I think she's having a little girl!!  ;)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pink Carnations and Fruit

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I was so happy with my still life setup from yesterday, that I decided to add to it, and go a bit larger. Usually I work pretty small, on 6 x6 inch panels. It was nice to have a little extra "elbow room" today. This is an 8 x 10 inch !

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Little Green Apples with Ribbon

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My focus here was composition and color. Regarding composition, I wanted the ribbon to draw attention up to the apples and then around the rest of the painting.  The pink of the flowers peeking in from above literally brings it full circle. Oh, and the greens... lots of fun making some warm and keeping others cool. Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Green Apple Stacked


I love clean color. I love reflected color. I love color that bounces and moves your eye around the piece.   I love color that captures temperature. I love color that pops and sings. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Little Girl Leder

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This is a recent private commission. I worked from a photograph. For years,  I relied exclusively on photographs, but for the past two years, I have been working from life via still life setups and plein aire painting. It was remarkable to return to the photograph for this commission and feel the changes in the way I now paint. Photographs eliminate atmosphere and space. However, while painting this I found myself painting as if I could see the atmosphere and the space the way I can when observing directly from life. It was as if my mind remembered the way atmosphere and space would interplay with the little girl. I am happy with the result. More importantly, so are her parents!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Orange Slices

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I had so much fun with this one. It amazed me to observe how those oranges literally changed color in response to the colors I put around them in the reflections, the background and the foreground. It only underscores the importance of setting the color, saturation and temperature of the painting's focal point first and then moving on to painting other aspects of the piece in support of those initial choices.  Otherwise, you can just chase your tail!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Green Apple in Blue

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It has been a VERY slow painting start for me this new year, what with Christmas, and house guests, and colds and flu. So, today I HAD TO PAINT. I was like a wild woman dashing around the house trying to put together an interesting still life setup. All that I had in the way of fruit was this one green apple. I had a few decent sprigs left from a week old bouquet of flowers and my trusty blue bottle. I threw in some interesting shadows and reflections, and "wha la!" Happy and satisfied... the creative itch, scratched.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sunburst Through Bottle

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I love when the sun bursts through glass. I love when the sun bursts through anything for that matter. So when it happened that the sun burst through the window just behind the still life I was in the middle of painting, I worked frantically to catch it. I abandoned the idea of the set up in a cool north light as I had been working it, and quickly added in the long blue shadows brought about by the sun. I stroked more yellow into the bottle and the sunlit top of the pears. Then, almost as fast as it came, the sun blast left. In spite of how rapidly I had worked, the painting was not finished. What to do? Like a patient wild game hunter, I decided to lay in wait at the same time the next day. With my paint brush in hand, I was ready when the sudden sunburst returned. It remained just long enough to capture its effect. Ahhh.