Sunday, November 22, 2015


"Art is never finished, only abandoned." Leonardo da Vinci. (I could have sworn someone else said that, but the internet would have me believe it was Leonardo, so I'm going with it--the internet's always right, surely?) At any rate, I've decided to call this painting abandoned, or, that is, finished. We'll see how I feel about it in the morning. I would dearly like to be done with it, but I left the set up in place, which is never a good sign where actually being finished with something is involved. It's called "Delicious Monster", by the way. Because that's the awesome name of a plant, and although this is in no way a plant, I felt this was a delicious mess of a monstrous thing to try to paint, and I wanted to steal the plant's name and use it for a painting. So there. Also, I apologize for the quality of the photograph--during a bout of apparent madness this summer I hid my tripod from myself and despite tearing up a good portion of the studio, I have yet to find it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank you

A warm thanks to everyone who came out to Waltham Mills Open Studios this year!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Delicious Monster

This piece has been kicking about the studio for months, somewhat neglected, largely because I usually have a Sebbie to be working on as well (still do!) and several other things to boot. But it's my delicious monster--I set up a still life deliberately so full of junk I'd have to change my usual way of painting to approach it. It's ridiculous, and that's why I love it. It's still not finished (blame Sebbie), but it's getting closer. It's taking longer than it should because I was super lazy with the drawing in the beginning and am now playing for my sins by having to fix everything (students, n.b. here you'll find me illustrating what NOT to do, please learn from my frustration). Anyway, that's what's on the easel at the moment, or at least what's on THAT easel.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Figure painting extravaganza

Yikes. Where to start? I spent the last week immersed in figure painting. It was kind of wonderful. The Academy of Realist Art here in Boston hosted a figure painting competition: ten artists from around the country (and Paris, but let's pretend that's part of our country, too--think of all the time we'd save in customs), one model, forty hours of painting over five days, a reception and awards at the end. I was lucky enough to be one of the artists along with Ryan Brown, Kerry Dunn, Joshua Langstaff, Rachel Moseley, Carlo Russo, Camie Isabella Salaz, Shane Wolf, Elizabeth Zanzinger and Emanuela De Musis. It was so very inspiring to paint around these fantastic painters, to learn from their techniques and be inspired by their talents and visions. I couldn't post during the week as the work had to remain anonymous for judging purposes, so I'm posting a series of progress shots as well as my finished piece. In the end, Shane won first place, Camie second, and I am totally honored to have won third.

Finished piece (best picture I have of it at this point):

Day one: 

Day two:

Day three:

Day four:

Day five:

Update: all the finished pieces can be seen here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Let the hilarity ensue!

I know I already posted about this but, I am participating in a figure painting competition next week, here in Boston--that's right, starting tomorrow!  The competition is being hosted by the Academy of Realist Art (112 South Street, Floor 2, Boston MA 02111--n.b. use zip to google map or you'll end up in JP) and parts of it will be open to the public.  There are ten artists from around the country and we will all be painting on the same size canvases, the same model, in the same pose, for 35 hours over the course of a week.  At the end of the week, on Saturday, August 1st from 1-4 there is a reception and awards presented at Sloane Merrill Gallery on Charles Street in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood.  Each day from 1:30 to 2:30 the public is welcome to come in and check out our progress at the Academy.  Here is a link  with all the specifics and anything I left out.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I went to Maine and left my oil paints at home

I love oil paints. There's something about the tactile nature of them that appeals to me. I love the depth of their colors. I love that they take hours or days (or longer...) to dry. I can paint with other paints, even make beautiful things with other paints, but given the option, I will pick oils every time. I love oil paints. But. I don't love traveling with oil paints: they are messy, and heavy, and clumsy, and involve lots of "stuff" to pack, and the TSA in fond of confiscating them. I have a system, of course, because I have traveled with them often, but it's still always a hassle. So I decided to try a new paint (okay, not a new paint, an old paint, but new to me): gouache. In a nut shell, they are opaque watercolors: you get to paint on paper, they wash with water, they dry quickly. They sat in my studio giving me the stink eye for weeks..."You're ignoring us," they said. I ignored them; I had oil paint. But I did think they might be the solution to my travel painting, and I knew the only way I would use them, would practice with them until I was comfortable with them, was if I took them somewhere and left my oil paints at home. So I went to Maine, left my beloved paints at home, and tried out this gouache business. I don't hate them. (I'm queen of the understated compliment.) They are not oils. But. They might make a close second, which is pretty exciting, and totally worth it, then, to travel with a close second that weighs next to nothing and simplifies your travel baggage immensely. So here's a peak into my sketchbook from Maine, gouache and all:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sebbie, of course

Here's a picture of the latest Sebbie painting, The Meeting. The turtle on the right is a toy from my childhood in the 1980s, the tortoise on the left is a newer addition but rather exciting to me because we didn't have toy animals that were quite so life-like (see "turtle" on the right) when I was a kid. I've really enjoyed this painting; it's full of colors I don't usually use, bright yellows, turquoises, oranges, purples, plastic greens, or, at least, colors I don't use in such quantities, and it was an adventure to make them work and be beautiful together despite of their strong personalities. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The National at the Cape Cod Art Association

Delighted to announce that my painting, Haven, has been juried into the Cape Cod Art Association's annual national juried exhibition, The National. The exhibition runs July 16th to August 24th in Barnstable, MA.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sending paintings off to find new homes

I dropped this group of paintings off at Marine Arts Gallery this morning. The gallery's just relocated from Salem to 26 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead where they have a lovely new space; you should stop by and see it, or catch the grand opening celebrations soon to come.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Figure Painting Competition

This July I'm to be one of ten participants in a figure painting competition held by the Academy of Realist Art here in Boston. It's terribly exciting--35 hours of model time, nine talented painters to paint along side for a week, a show at the end (you can read about it here and you can read about the other contestants here), it should be a properly amazing experience. I'll admit I'm a little nervous, though. My wonderful friends keep telling me I'm being silly, that I'm a great painter, and, of course, I love them for it. But I'm still nervous. In my studio I paint by myself. I paint barefoot, with headphones on, and I dance to the music when the mood strikes. I stop for cups of tea, I lay in the middle of the floor when my back hurts, and yoga happens, lots of yoga stretches (standing all day is hard on the body), and no one can see my paintings in their ugly or unfinished stages unless I want them to. Granted, I do less of all that when I have a model, but only slightly less--after all, it's my studio. I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm more nervous about the process than the finished work, which seems a little backwards for a competition in which the finished work is the object. And all of that was a side note, really, to the the sharing of the excitement that is being included in that list of ten. I'm honored to be in such great company. I'm absolutely thrilled; wish me luck.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Working methods

I get asked often (mostly by students) about my working methods: how do you start a painting? How do you set up? Does it look like a mess in the middle stages like mine does? It's easiest to explain in images. I've been taking progress shots of my current piece to show the evolution of the painting, but I realized I'd done the same a few months ago with a different painting and never posted. So here are a lot of pictures, and some answers. First, as I work from life on my still lives, I spend a day or so tinkering with the set up--I'm going to paint it exactly how it looks in front of me, so I want it to be exactly how I want the finished painting to look--it's amazing how long you can spend shifting an object back and forth a fraction of an inch so until you it lines up with the background just so. Then I stretch a canvas to the shape I've decided is best for my composition and I tint the canvas with an imprimatura (essentially a very thinned out layer of paint). Then I draw with charcoal or paint basic shapes plotting where major things go (that'd be the first image, and if you want to be very technical, I use a method called "sight size" while I work). From there I block in big shapes of color, and then work to refine them, getting more and more specific as I go (these will be the many images in the middle that are all nearly the same--it's coming together, slowly, have patience!) I squint at it a lot. And at the very, very end come the tiny little details--like the strings on the puppet, the highlights in his eyes, and the signature. Someday, if I'm feeling clever, I will figure out how to make a stop motion video of the progress shots so you can watch it develop, until then, if you scroll fast enough it's like a flip book (maybe).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On-line exhibits of the season

Delighted to find the following paintings included in this season's on-line exhibitions. Courting Ducklings was a finalist in the American Women Artists' Spring On-Line Juried Show.

And Loss won an Award of Excellence from the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society in their On-Line International Spring Exhibition.