Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lasting Beauty

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The element of painting that I do not pay enough attention to is composition. I know why that is so. It is because I just can't wait to get started painting. I love moving that glorious color all over the place and painstakingly setting up objects slows me down! But, when I DO take the time to compose my still life.... oh what a difference it makes!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Indian Summer Roses

Here in Sag Harbor, NY, we are experiencing an Indian Summer. Putting aside all the ominous implications that may have regarding global warming, it meant that my favorite rose bush just kept pushing out gorgeous blooms right up through November. I did a series of three little paintings, and this is the first of which I am posting. If you look closely, you will see the rose hips mixed right in with new buds and spent flowers. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Scattered Peaches and Stacked Plates

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I have a beautiful milk glass table on my screened in porch and late in the day, the sunlight shines on it in a burst of warmth and brightness. One afternoon this past summer, I scattered peaches across the tabletop just at that time of day and stacked a few white plates as well. Then, the race was on to get the color, the shadows, the reflections ...  the painting done before the sun moved and the magic was over. Painting at such a fast pace manifested a loose, almost abstract painting with thick application of the paint. I like what happened and am curious and excited to paint like this again.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Incoming Tide

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I can't tell a lie. I intended this to be a painting of low tide. In fact, I had checked the tide charts and got down to this little rocky beach in time, (or so I thought,) to capture the rocks and interest of sea grass and shoreline at dead low tide. Mother Nature had other ideas, however, and sent that tide in faster than usual, or so it felt.  Anyway, I was happy to get the sea grass in before it was completely covered with water since I considered it to be a big part of the composition.

Friday, October 2, 2015

View towards Jessup's Neck

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This was one of those days when I was determined to get a painting done. I had gone to The Hampton's Classic earlier in the day, hoping to paint some horses waiting to show. I grew frustrated, however,  not able to find a stable where there was good light and tethered horses. All about me were horses trotting or galloping or jumping. Not one was standing still, so I packed up my paints and headed to the beach. There I was dazzled by the brightness of the day and the bigness of the clouds. I got my painting done. While it is true that clouds can move quickly, they definitely don't move as fast as horses.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Montauk's Finest

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I had so much fun painting these two working fishing boats out on the docks of Montauk, NY.  The air, the light, the water, the boats and the fisherman themselves made it so exciting. I had to work fast not just because of the setting sun, but also because Montauk is a very busy fishing port. Moments, and I mean moments after I finished up this painting, a gigantic fishing vessel pulled right up against the dock I was painting on, completely blocking my view. That day, timing was everything.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sagaponack Farm

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This is the same barn as featured in my last post. However, this is it in early morning light. It continues to astound and at times frustrate me at how dramatically a scene changes as the light changes. The warm glow on the old wooden doors and the cast shadows under the eaves are what drew me to this barn in the first place. By the time I had the sketch done and began to paint, however, the sun had moved behind the barn and I had to stop. The warmth and mood were gone. So, the next morning I went back and there was the barn in the light that initially caught my eye. Only now, there was a tractor parked in front as well - oh, the perils of painting a working farm in plein aire!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tractor at Foster Farm

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Working farms on the end of eastern Long Island are slowly giving way to big showy houses hidden behind high plantings of privet. So when I happened upon this barn, with its tractor standing in plain sight, I was elated. The day was hot, and humid and bright which only made this beautiful turquoise barn even more enticing to me. I spent a wonderful afternoon under a great big shade tree, painting it. Without that big shade tree, though, I do not think I could have lasted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


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This past summer I decided to get out of my studio and go paint in the great outdoors. For this painting, I only went as far as my own backyard. I am not going to lie, this was a struggle. The white extensions of tiny bell shaped flowers seemed to paint themselves but the hosta LEAVES were another story. In general, leaves are difficult, after all, they are green (a tough color for me,)  and without much variation from one to the other. What made matters worse was that in this particular composition, they also took up over half the canvas. I tried painting them in full sun in the morning, but then as the day progressed and they started to fall into shadow, I liked that too. So then I started over and painted them in the shade. I literally chased the light for about three days when I finally surrendered to what it was and decided to "leaf" it alone. In the end, I am happy with this dancing flower bells painting. I am certainly better acquainted with "green" and am much less daunted by leaves in general. Oh, and I'm betting there is another hosta painting in my future ... next summer.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cascade of Yellow Roses

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This was painted in plein aire in my front garden. On the first day of painting, I got in a good sketch and a smattering of color and felt pretty good about my start. After all, a 30"x48" canvas is a very big canvas for me. Later that night, the skies burst open in a downpour of torrential rains and in the morning, my beautiful yellow roses looked a mess. They were drooping and in spots their stems were broken. I don't remember what annoyed me more at the time, the battered rose bush or my now defunct painting sketch. I had been thinking about making this painting since the summer before and I was determined not to let a deluge get in my way. I propped up the broken branches with brooms and rakes from the garage and proceeded with the painting. I was now painting heavy clusters of yellow blooms, cascading downwards in a spiral. It was actually quite beautiful... even more beautiful than the original sketch of perky upright roses. In fact, when my art dealer saw the finished piece, she commented that what made this piece special, was that the roses were facing downward. Of course, this was not my original plan - Fate?, Mother Nature?, Dumb Luck? Something? intervened and the plan got better.  Hmmmm... I find that painting, like life, is funny that way.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pink Peonies in Grey Pot

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The challenge here, was that the wall and the ceramic pot were both the same color. Of course, that is what made the still life setup so beautiful to me, but also what made it so difficult to paint.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

White Peonies in Grey

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Each June presents me with the peony: the flower with which I have a love-hate relationship.  I love the flower - its entrancing fragrance and soft, thin, whisper white petals. I love the idea of painting peonies but frustration seems to set in when I start. I hate frustration. The balled blooms are swift to open and even quicker to drop. Not to mention those delicate petals that curve so elegantly and show off their beautiful white hues - hues which I have so much trouble grasping are not really white.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lilacs in Blue

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I was hesitant to paint these lilacs in this vase because of its turquoise handle and rim. Wasn't sure if the color turquoise would fight the lavender tones of the flowers. Actually, I knew in my gut it was a great color combination, but wondered if I could execute it effectively. Glad I trusted my gut and my abilities because I'm quite satisfied by the outcome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pitchers on White Linen

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Believe it or not, this is the first time I ever painted linen.  I was told by one of my mentors, that linen reflects light much more beautifully than other material. In truth, I was doubtful but I am teachable. So the next time I was at an antique store,  I picked up some old linen napkins. Guess what?! Yup. They glow.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Set for Spring

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I stood very close to the table arrangement as I painted this piece because I had two goals in mind. One was to create a table set with inviting breakfast items placed so as to create rhythmic points of color on the white table cloth. Second, I wanted to capture how a person approaching the table might scan the setting. So initially, it appears that you are looking directly down onto the egg and the grapefruit. You, the viewer, then look up passed and across the orange slices, glass and blue jug and finally through the water pitcher and the glass vase of tulips.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Potato Leek Soup

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I am attempting to "complicate" my compositions. In this case, I chose to add dimension with a dark background and draped white cloths in the foreground. The cutting board extends off the table introducing another space -  one in front of the table. The elements in this still life are at different levels, notice the raised bread and tilted pot of potatoes and the interesting patterns of shadows and reflections. Finally, the colorful subjects are crowded together in the top third of the canvas while the other two thirds remain uncluttered with large shapes and subtle color and value changes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Making Applesauce

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I have been using the internet with sites like Pinterest to look at lots and lots of artwork by a diverse body of artists, young and old, well-known and unknown. It seems I am drawn to a specific style, manner of execution and subject matter over the course of all this work. As a painter myself, I am trying to figure out what it is exactly that makes the paintings I deem "great" or "beautiful," great and beautiful. I have noticed that for one thing, many have very dark backgrounds which is something I would not have thought to do. I tried it here and I like it. I also notice that table lines are often broken up. I did that here, too, with the napkins and mason jars. It worked out nicely, in my humble opinion. It is good to finally be able to "see" what I am seeing.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Long Walk Back

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I find that I am better able to see color and pinpoint value on cloudy, grey days.  Furthermore, and for whatever reason, I am more drawn to painting the mood and mystery of these quiet days than I am to the brightness and glare of sunny ones.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Silverware Study

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This is a little study of the knife and fork I ultimately placed in the painting, 'Pottery and Silver' posted last week. I don't paint silverware very often and find it a bit daunting. Figuring a little practice might help, I put the bigger painting, 'Pottery and Silver,' on "hold" while I made this little study. It holds true again, "practice makes perfect" - or at least less imperfect!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pottery and Silver

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This was painted with north light coming from directly above the still life arrangement and day light coming straight at it. These dual light sources combined with the surfaces of pottery, glass and silver made for a feast of reflections, transparencies and highlights - challenging and fun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cyclamen and Books

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House plants and some good books are staples for surviving the long dark days of winter. I love this little plant that turns up in florists and grocery stores in December. I figured I had better paint it if I wanted to keep it around because for whatever reason, any cyclamen I own doesn't make it to spring.