Thursday, July 23, 2015

Just a little side trip

Earlier this week I was in New York for a bit more than a day and half.
My husband was to be honored with a dinner in town to celebrate his 35th Anniversay with his company.  As artists we all have our rocks, our support systems.
And we all also know that does not mean purely financial.
I have reinvented myself for this artist life three times in my career,
commercial illustrator, teacher and now a fine artist,
and each time he was there encouraging me when I thought this work was done for me.
So it was wonderful to hear so many of his co workers stand and say so many well deserved
wonderful things about him, his work ethic, fairness and leadership.
Congratulations Larry!

The morning of the dinner I had just a few hours to spare to see the city.
Given that the heat index was 105 that day I wisely chose an indoor activity,
jumped in a cab and found myself standing in front of the MET one of the worlds great museums.

I spent the next 5 hours, armed with a headset and a good pair of walking shoes,
exploring both floors from one end to the other.

The exhibit I really wanted to see was that of painter John Singer Sargent with special focus on his portraits.  The stars were all there, Madame X, Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth
Dr. Samuel Jean Pozzi at Home and so many others each dwarfing the room in size and splendor.
Room after room until I turned a corner into a room filled only of his watercolor paintings.
JSS did so much in his time to give the art of watercolor a respectable prescense.
The watercolors of John Singer Sargent gave a majesty to this difficult medium that until then had only been considered useful for sketching and preliminary work.

I took many pictures with my trusty little iPhone, too many to show here, but if you should find yourself with time to spend at this museum, I have a few tips.

The MET opens at 10 am.  I got there at 9:15 on a Tuesday morning, placed myself in a small line (jackpot!) turned around a few minites later to a mass of humanity sprawling down 
the long stairway and onto the curb.

What I learned is that "skip the line" does not mean you walk past all those people waiting outside.
It means once you are in the building you go straight to the advanced ticket desk and go on your way.
And that does save some time.
(I've heard this also depends on who is maning the doors. So you might get lucky)

They will allow you to take pictures throughout the museum
(unless otherwise noted as in special exhibits)
just turn off your flash.

They won't let you in with backpacks or large purses.
You'll have to check them at the coat room.
Also no food or drink from the outside.

A headset will cost you $7 and so worth it.
I taught art history for many years.  
I consider myself pretty well versed in painting and sculpture.
But there's always more to learn and the headset will give you background stories,
references to other works and artists.
And just makes for a more relaxing experience to shut everything out 
except the voice focusing you on the work.

Another reason to go early. Beat the crowds!
When I first walked the gallerys it was quiet with a manageable amount of people.
This is New York after all!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My favorite spot in Seattle

Larry and I always try to take the most advantage of a city we visit by seeing just everything we can.
And this Seattle trip was no exception.

We took an early morning stroll through Pike Place Market, heard the song 
of the fish mongers and made sure we didnt miss the flying fish, 
enjoyed the dazzling assorment of flowers on display,
went down Post Alley and The Gum Wall
(ok the gum wall kind of grossed me out)
and up to the top of the Space Needle
(that's 15 minutes I'll never get back)
Took a cruise around the sound on a rare bright and sunny afternoon (now that was fun!)
And watched my husband, the fisherman's, joy as he taught me all about 
The Ship Locks, and Fish Ladders.

But my absolute favorite spot was the Chihuly Museum and Garden.

If you are not familiar with this man and his art, I know you have seen 
his chandeliers in high end hotels and casinos.  

These beauties lay on a lit glass ceiling.

His paintings for glass ideas are stunning on their own. 

Outside and in the garden.

There are not many occassions when I think my trusty Nikon is just not worthy.
Pictures just do not do this place justice.  
What stunning beauty and given my recent obsession with colored glass, very inspiring.

Please visit this video for background on Dale Chihuly 
and see work in progress by himself  and his team.
And of course your own search of the man and his work will be bountiful.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Show Musings

We very much enjoyed our time in Seattle over the long weekend
for the NWWS Exhibition.
Our first treat Friday night was a private tour of the Daniel Smith Factory and I have to say not at all what I expected!  I imagined a large robotic assembly line.
But instead what we found was a relatively small room with a few machines and only nine workers!
Yes that's it for the world famous Daniel Smith product.  Labels are all put on by hand.
John Smith, one of the founding owners graciously shared his time with explainations
and production demos.

As we entered we were asked to sign their "guestbook".
Can you find my name?

There was also a class explaining the mineral origins of their paints.

So interesting!
They would not allow us to take pictures in their production room 
but please visit their short video on this, you will love it and appreciate you paints all the more.

Now Saturday morning through night was a whorlwind of activity.
I will save that for the next post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I have been excited about this painting from the minute I spied these ornaments 
on my daughter-in-law's table as a Christmas decoration. (Thank you Jenni!)
These are Shiny Brite vintage ornaments popular in the 1950s.
Another thrift store find.
The spheres with all their colors, scratches, reflections are just luscious to work with!

Watercolor, 20" x 24"

When I set this scene up for the photo shoot, I climbed up on my ladder, 
looked down and was thrilled at what I saw.  
All the circular crystal on the blue green pattern and cast shadows 
appeared to swim in front of my eyes!  
It had the feel of the image liquifying in front of me leaving the spheres to bob and float 
on the surface creating ripples as in rain drops on a still lake.
(How's THAT for an overactive imagination! haha)

I tried to keep that effect while working. 
All the background blues unify the piece where otherwise the colored spheres may have 
looked spotty on the page.
All the years I spent as a commercial illustrator always help when I organize a composition.
The dishes almost form a gathered circle adding to the theme.
Also I always like to have the image go off the edges of the page in at least two sides.
It just looks more interesting to me and brings the viewer into the scene.

Also if you looked carefully you will see yours truly reflected in most of the spheres.
That strange black rectangle is me up on my ladder holding my camera up while photographing.

Actually I found the spheres easy and fun to work with but it was the crystal that near drove me mad!
Its all a puzzel as you lay in one section next to the other.

I had some great news last week!
My painting "Summer Harvest" has been juried into the 
Pennsylvania Watercolor Society International Exhibition.
120 paintings were choosen from over 500 entries representing
34 states and 7 countries.
I will receive my Signature Membership status at the awards ceremony in September.
It has been a fabulous show year for me of which I am very grateful.
I know how tough the competition is for these society shows 
and how very many deserving paintings entered.

"Summer Harvest"
Watercolor, 18" x 24"

Next week I am off to Seattle for the NWWS International Exhibition.
I will post the sights on my Facebook Studio page all week.

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Show Time!

"Light Reigns" is all dressed up and ready for its trip to Seattle!
I always send these paintings off with a bit of trepidation.
There are so many unfortunate shipping horror stories out there.
But I've shipped a few large paintings at this point and so far so good.

Here you see the painting ready for packing in a float box.
They are so easy for packing and reusable.
I have three in various sizes and have used all of them mutiple times.

Since "Light Reigns" has a more modern feel to it,  I have chosen a simple
 black frame to set off the coloring and composition.

Larry and I will follow out to Seattle shortly for the opening gala reception.
My painting, along with other selected exhibitors, will show in the 
Washington State Convention Center
July 1 through September 30, 2015.

Because NWWS is celebrating its 75th anniversary they have gone all out and are hosting a day of workshops for the particiapting artists along with a vendor convention.
I have four workshops that weekend, one with Brigit O'Conner, which I am over the moon about!
In fact every time I mention the Artists Convention Larry chuckles a little because of
 how excited I am about it.  
Just the thought of meeting so many other artists in the workshops, touring the Dainel Smith facility and the vendors with all their lovely paints, papers and brushes sets my geeky little artist heart all a flutter!
Larry will be salmon fishing while I'm at the convention and we are looking 
forward to visiting all the Seattle sights.

But for now I'm off to the UPS Store and then back to work!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Working Away!

Just dropping by to share my progress so far.

"Ripples" WIP
Watercolor, 22" x 24"
300 lb Cold Press Arches

I am just entralled with the color I have to work with here.
The glowing, the reflections are all facinating to paint!

I am just starting with the shadow work, which along with the cloth,
 are what I'll work on today before moving onto the large plate.

I now have a working title, "Ripples".
Sounds odd but let me explain.
When I first set this still life up I took a ton of photos as I always do.
When I climbed up on my ladder to get an overhead shot I saw an illusion I wasn't expecting.
As I looked down the glass and shadows looked like a water scene with the 
spheres bobbing and floating on top.  
That along with the blue/green/white striped fabric all added to the feel
of water and that ripple effect as when raindrops fall on still water.

A little out there and maybe I'm the only one who will ever see it that way but I'm going with it!
Of course if I can't pull off the effect in the final painting I may change all that :)

So I'm slowly getting there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I am still working on my sparkley new still life, albeit at a snails pace.
But I am enjoying the subject and the process so no complaints here.

Because my studies are often color saturated it can be challenging to seek out 
the true high and low key areas of the composition.  
To this end, I keep a black and white copy of the set up near by.
This makes it much easier to pick out the highlights and shadows.

The cut crystal bowls are a delicate balance of refracted color from the underlying fabric
and the various twisted planes of the glass.  
But that's exactly why I chose this subject to study.

It may take a while but I do love coming down to my table every morning to have this waiting for me.
I'll finish it…eventually!

In the meantime I have weedy gardens to tame, a shore house to organize and a 
little grandson to get to know.

Meet Henry.
Born May 6, 2015

Have a good Holiday weekend!

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