Sunday, December 4, 2016

Playing with light

I think I'm about done with this piece. It was an experiment of sorts, trying to push myself outside of my usual, working with photos (mine) and extrapolating my imagination all over the place. It's painted a lot more loosely than my usual style (you can't quite tell from the photo, because the painting is rather large so it reads more tightly painted than it really is), and I left off a lot of detail work I'd usually get caught up in. It was fun to see how much I could push the color in the moon light--even now, looking at it, I think I could have gotten away with more, but I think it's time to move on. Anyway, more updates soon, most likely involving sharks and foxes (guess which ones Sebbie is playing with?) as those are the current works in progress.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Root to Bloom, take two

It's such an honor to see my name listed in such good company! If you're in the DC area, don't miss the show!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Open studios

It's about that time again. Open studios is almost upon us, and this year I'm doing two at once. I'm not even remotely ready, but I do have plans to fix that before the 4th of November. Come visit.

Monday, October 3, 2016

American Artists Professional League

I'm delighted to share that my piece, "I Tried," has been accepted into the 88th Grand National Exhibition of the American Artists Professional League at the Salmagundi Club in New York. It's the first time I've ever had work show in New York City, and despite everything they say, these days, about the art world no longer centering around New York, there's a little part of me that's totally disproportionately excited about it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Root to Bloom

I'm delighted to share that this little painting of my studio sink has been accepted into Principle Gallery's juried exhibition, Root to Bloom: The Places Artists Call Home, opening November 11th. I started doing studies of the studio because I was thinking of moving, and in thinking of moving I suddenly realized how much I loved where I was. My favorite part of my studio, the part that stops me mid-task to just lust with my eyes, has always been the sunlight showing off, making ordinary things beautiful in the passing.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How (not) to write an artist statement.

Me, sitting down with a cup of coffee, my brain and a computer:

Brain: You can do this.

Me: Right, focus.  Okay, *reading* “please submit a short artists statement (around 150 words)” —haha, they left off the apostrophe.

Brain: Stop being mean.  At least they wrote something.

Me: Yes, okay.  Let’s see…This series of paintings is a series of paintings about… God, that’s awful.  *grabs sticky notes, writes “Try and sound human” and sticks to monitor*  That’s better. The painting is one of many in a series about whimsy…I wonder if politicians have similar post-its stuck all over their houses and offices?  Ha.

Brain: Focus.

Me: Right.  Sebbie and Oma’s Teapot is the most recent painting of paintings of Sebbie…  *stares off into space*  Is devenir how you say “to become” in French?  Or have I bastardized the Italian word, “devenire” by chopping off the e at the end and pretending it’s French?  

Brain: seriously.

Me: No, no, it’s okay, I’ll just look it up quick; it’ll bug me if I don’t check.  *googles*  Devenir.  That’s right.  I think I bastardized the French to make fake Italian actually.  Just look that up quick too.  *more  googling*  Diventare.  Yep, I did.  I’ve been living an English speaking country for too long.  How can I pull off moving back to Europe?


Me: Right.  But do I remember how to conjugate devenir?  
Brain: NO.

Me: Alright. Tanya Harsch is a person with fabulous hair.  Her paintings are images without polkadots

Brain: Try again.

Me:  Fine.  Sebbie and Oma’s Teapot…  Something.  This painting is one of a series of paintings depiction my childhood toy puppet, Sebbie, encountering adventures.  In this piece, he is asking for tea from a teapot styled as a cat.   The teapot has particular sentimental associations for me, as it belonged to my grandmother and I spent many a childhood meal, seated at her table admiring the teapot on its shelf.  I’m out of coffee.  I wonder how many paintings a year I’d have to sell to be able to afford to pay someone to write these things for me? 

Brain: You’re so close, just focus, just get it written, and then you can ignore it until tomorrow when I make you re-read it and proof it.

Me:  A secretary would be nice.

Brain: This is why artists drink.

Me: Oh, shut it.  How many words is that?  *counts*  Sixty three.  Bollocks.  What else do I say?  Let’s see… I paint toys because they bring so much happiness to people.  I started painting them nearly accidentally, bored in the studio one day, and found it to be so much fun.  I thought, “I’ll paint another, maybe a series of three…”  Little did I know, 50 paintings later, I’d still be happily playing with toys.  Does that sound stupid?  

Brain: Shhhh, just keep writing.

Me: I find people often connect to my work because they find a nostalgia in it, a connection to their own childhood.  I don’t even know if that’s true.  Most people just say, “wow, I love your paintings!”

Brain: Then leave it out.
Me: Yes, but word count.  Who invented artist speak, and how do I find them?  

Brain: Why?

Me: I’d like to send them a box of crickets.

Brain:  What?  Wait, never mind, I’m not getting dragged into this, let’s get back on task.

Me: I hear crickets are particularly hard to find and get rid of once they’re in your house, and they make that lovely noise to annoy you.

Brain: *through gritted teeth* ARTIST STATEMENT

Me: You do realize, in this hypothetical argument, I’ve just given my brain its own set of teeth?  Where does it keep them? 

Brain: Shhhh.  Quiet time.

Me: Oh, do I have 150 words already?

Brain: No, of course not, you didn’t have them before, you don’t have them now.  They don’t magically write themselves.

Me: Oh, magic self-writing artist statements, I’d be all over that.

Brain: I give up.

Me: Maybe I’ll just go paint for a little bit, come back to the writing when fresh… Don’t know why these things take me so long.

Brain: *hides under covers.  plays dead*

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

NOAPS on the Cape

Last weekend I participated in a plein air competition on Cape Cod hosted by the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society in conjunction with Addison Art Gallery. I've done a few of these things, you show up with an empty canvas, they stamp the back to show they saw it blank, and you come back in a set amount of time with a finished piece to hang. As a (mostly) studio painter, I spend a good deal of time alone, painting solo, being a hermit, and the part of me that thinks it knows what's good for me always insists I register for these plein air events when they're local--to get out and meet people, pretend to be social. But somehow that never works. It seems to me that most people attend such events either with the intention of slipping off alone to some secret painting spot, or in the company of friends who already know each other and so don't really need to meet anyone new. And so every time I attend, I end up by myself, marginally irritated with the world, and wondering why I thought it was a good idea to leave the studio in the first place. Except, standing in a beautiful place for a few hours really is reward enough. Even with only paint and ticks for company. And I'm never irritated enough to stop myself registering for the next one--my cynicism is endless betrayed by the persistent hope that the next one will be different. There really should be a Society of Plein Air Hermits. I'd be right at home.

Oh, and here's proof I was there ('cause the ticks are dodgy witnesses). Set up in progress, and the end result: 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Plein Air

I've been getting out for more plein air studies than usual this summer. I really consider myself a studio painter, but I do find plein air pushes me in my work in exciting ways. I'm still working in the studio, or course--never fear--I just don't have anything I want to share just yet. But it's coming, stay tuned.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Artist's Magazine

Delighted to share that "The Meeting" was selected as a finalist in the Still Life Category of The Artist's Magazine Annual Competition. Over 5900 entries this year! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Vacation with paint, or, I'm sure I'm doing it wrong.

I just spent a week in Maine, ostensibly on vacation, but as I brought half the studio with me, it was less a vacation in that sense and more me telling myself, "Look! I'm outside, it's a vacation for the studio painter while you practice plein air!" Myself was not convinced. But, of course, I love painting enough I did it anyway. Mostly, I did a bunch of little studies I will be painting over, but I did do two more ambitious pieces, a focus on a single tree (which I always find difficult) and a rocky river bed with falling water (which I've always been too scared to try--I knew it'd be hard. I wasn't wrong.) And it was cicada molting season, so I painted one of them too. So here they are, my paintings, or my work-cation in a nutshell: 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Women Painting Women

I'm delighted to share that I will have a piece in this year's Women Painting Women Exhibition at RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY. My work
will hang beside the works of amazing women artists including Susanne Anan, Donna Bates, Julie Beck, Melinda Borysevicz, Larisa Brechin, Lisa Fricker, Brianna Lee, Shannah Levenson, Hilary McCarthy, Ana Medina, Nadine Robbins, Omalix, Buket Savci, Patricia Schappler, and Elizabeth Zanzinger--I couldn't be more honored to be included in that company. Opening October 8th, don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

American Women Artists

Delighted to share that the piece below, "Sebbie and Oma's Teapot," has been juried into the American Women Artists 2016 National Juried Exhibition & Annual Members Show, hosted by the Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont, September 23 – November 13, 2016.  

Friday, June 24, 2016


I spent last week at the IMC, or Illustration Master Class, in Amherst, MA. It was an amazing, encouraging, inspiring week I'd recommend to anyone looking to go into illustration or narrative visual art. There's a picture below of the piece I worked on there, not quite finished, but nearly. It's an exciting new direction in my work--exactly what I'd hoped the IMC would push me toward. This post is failing, magnificently, to encapsulate the experience, but it was a wonderful, overwhelming, over-saturated experience, and I'm still digesting it. But I wanted to post something before the moment past. So there it is. Perhaps more later.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Adopt a painting

These paintings are looking for the right home. Ideal homes include a bit of blank wall, ample smiles and laughter, and a roof to keep off the rain (while, unlike the Wicked Witch of the West, Sebbie won't melt in rain, the canvas he's painted on just doesn't like it). Paintings make great pets; they're super easy to clean up after. Plus, bonus: unlike other pets, paintings have minimal feeding and grooming requirements. These guys are all currently hanging out at Lotton Gallery in Chicago just waiting for the right adoptive parent to come along--adopt one today!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This one is for the students who say they can't draw.

I have found that a common concern among painting students is their ability to draw. I regularly tell students to keep a sketch book, jot down their ideas when they have them so they will remember and have something to turn to when they're facing a blank canvas. And, more often than not, I see a look of fear at that suggestion. "But I can't draw," they'll say. And, while most of the time, I don't even think that is true, and, while I do think drawing is the foundation of painting and there are real benefits of learning it first, I don't think the ability to draw well is necessary to jot down ideas. 

Now, I can draw well. I studied classical drawing for years. I copied Bargues until I was blue in the face (google Charles Bargue if you don't know what I'm talking about). However. I sketch my painting ideas on sticky notes and in the corners of other sketches. I use scribbles and stick figures. They are ugly as sin. And it doesn't matter--all that matters is that I've captured the idea I want to remember. 

I think the biggest fear students have of drawing ugly drawings is that someone will see them. So I'm sharing mine. 

Here's a Bargue drawing from when I was in school as proof that I at least know which end of the pencil to hold:

And now here are my sketches, followed by the finished paintings they led to:

Now, go out and capture some beautiful ideas in ugly drawings.

Monday, May 9, 2016

But it's so pretty

Sometimes openings are flops. Like when it's unseasonably cold, and raining, and competing with multiple other events, oh, and mothers' day weekend. Okay, so "The Curious Collection" wasn't a complete flop, people came and loved the art, but fewer than we'd hoped. That's, I'm to understand, showbiz. When it's a really wonderfully curated show, though, it breaks your heart a little. Which is why I'm encouraging people to go see it before it wanders off, it's up through the 29th of May! Info here, (but it has Godzilla, which really seems like all the info you'd need.) Monique Rancourt Artisan Gallery is at 289 Moody Street, Waltham. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Upcoming Opening

Come one, come all! May 7th is the opening for The Curious Collection, an exhibition opening in conjunction with the Watch City Steampunk Festival. In the Lincoln Studios Gallery at 289 Moody St, Waltham, MA, it features some of my work as well as that of painter Sarah Leon and glass artist Stephanie Chubbuck. The show will be up all month, but the opening promises to be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On-Line Exhibitions

Delighted to announce I have work the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society On-Line International Spring Show and am a finalist in the American Women Artists On-Line Juried Show.

Find Tango Sebbie at AWA and A Boy and His Chicken at NOAPS.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Upcoming Figure Drawing Workshop

I'm excited to announce I'll be teaching a costumed figure drawing workshop at the New England School of Fine Art in Worcester, Massachusetts. It's a one day workshop the 22nd of May. Come one, come all! It should be a lot of fun. For more info and to register, visit the NESFA website.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I've decided it's done

Although I reserve the right to change my mind without notice. Now these guys just need names.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Just keep painting

Some days, you just don't feel like you can paint. You feel like you should pack up shop and become an accountant, or a banker, or something else, anything else. I've been in one of those slumps. And before you mistake this as an attempted fishing for compliments, let me just say: all artists feel this way sometimes. Even the greats, the inarguable geniuses of the group. So I'm hardly immune. I've been here before, I know one gets over it. And the answer is always the same: just keep painting.

So here are a few more interior studies. Bonus of living in a factory converted to artist spaces: interesting architecture. 

And here's what's really on the easel: my new puppets, in progress, nearly finished, just some touch ups and strings needed.

And lest you think for even one crazy moment I've abandoned him: Sebbie, my darling, also in progress.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Devil's in the details.

A few more. It's the little things that makes a home.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A few more studies

 I should have finished Sebbie and friends to share soon, but in the mean time, a few more little studies.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Studio light

I've been contemplating moving--a move that would require me to leave my studio I love so much. It's rather contemplating in the abstract: nothing's for sure, I may still be exactly where I am now in five years. And while I certainly won't be leaving tomorrow, thinking about the separation has caused me to look at the parts of the studio I love with new eyes. And so in the pauses of the day I have been contemplating interiors, in the form of little 8x8" studies. So here are two: one studio kitchen, and one entry. It's all about the light.