Tuesday 30 September 2008

Errand day - sold

We always have those days; I did business stuff, shopping and the like until I finally found several hours to paint. I finished the late day Little Compton picture - the painting is 11X14.

Monday 29 September 2008


Since it was raining hard this morning I worked inside on the picture I posted on the 20th........it has finally cleared (sort of) here and remains warm. I will be outside first thing. The garden is definitely on it last legs, many of the remaining flowers and squash seem like they are rotting. I have been listening to the ecomomic news today and it is putting me on edge but I am so glad that congress turned down the enormous heist Bush had counted on. Another Block Island post today, a 10" square and another view from the yard of the place we stayed.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Back from Block Island

I have returned home from a week (Mon - Fri) of painting on Block Island. The "retreat" was hosted by the East Side Art Center in Providence, RI. and we had a wonderful time. We were supposed to leave on the ferry on Friday but had to stay until Saturday since the ferry was canceled on Friday due to bad weather. I met some terrific artists I didn't know and enjoyed the company of those I already did. It was nice to be free of routine distractions and know that all you had to do was paint. I will be posting paintings from the trip as the week progresses. The next two weeks are intensely busy for me anyway with a trip to NY next weekend and then a big wedding the next. I'll have to be very busy this week to keep on track before the rush starts, my daughter has already informed me she is assisting me with clothes for the wedding - too bad jeans won't do. This picture is small (8" square) and done from the yard of the place we stayed. I am finding the small format easier with practice - I am seeing it's advantages in the ability to work quickly and the way it forces one to distill the composition into it's basic elements.

Saturday 20 September 2008

working from the inside

Yesterday was pretty much a washout since I had lots of pain in my mouth. Today, I am 100%, yippee! I began this picture (11X14) iearly today and most likely will finish it before bedtime. The days are definitely growing shorter and I knew I wouldn't be able to get a decent photo later so I decided to post an "in progress" tonight. The edges are not firmed up yet since I am working from the center planes of sections and attempting to get that little color vibration that occurs when masses meet. The architecture is where I have to resist my natural inclination to "draw" the outsides of each form. So far so good. I am nearly ready to leave for Block Island on Monday and am getting more excited by the moment......looks like the weather will be sunny but chilly. I just ruined my last presentable white t-shirt but no one will care since all of us will probably have paint covered clothes.

Thursday 18 September 2008

Kitty portrait

The dental procedure is over and I did have a good morning prior to spending 3 hours in the chair. I finished the picture of my Yakov so I am posting it - it's 10" square. Since my verbal skills are not up to par at the moment, I will sign off now, certain that I will feel 100% by tomorrow morning.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Some weeks just need to be over!

Today I spent most of my morning at the dentist's office and am now feeling a bit better due to pain medication. I am working but am posting a portrait study since I have not finished anything today and am too spaced out to worry about it. This portrait is 12" square and I liked the feeling of it despite (maybe because of) the sketchiness. I have to go back for more torture tomorrow afternoon but hope the antibiotics and vicodan will lead to a productive morning. I am leaving for Block Island with a group of friends and artists on Monday for a very welcome "mini-retreat" and cannot wait.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

westport today

I left as early as I could this morning since the construction guys were setting up and noisy before 7am. I have been fascinated by dark water recently so this scene attracted me. It was quite peaceful and soothing and I feel mostly normal today - no tears. I came home for lunch to deafening noise and dirt everywhere so I went to do some errands and vote until they were gone. This picture is 10" square.

Monday 15 September 2008

outdoors again

I had to get out of the house today so I went to Seapowet, just to do a study since I am still not quite myself. It was hot and windy and nearly deserted. I will work on the kitty-portrait later. This picture is 8X10." They are installing new gas lines on my street and it is so loud that I can't hear myself think, thank goodness it's almost quiting time. They will be directly in front of my house tomorrow so I will definitely be away to paint.

Sunday 14 September 2008

art and music

I had lots to do this morning so I didn't begin this picture of Yakov until I got home from the shower when it was getting dim and very foggy. I never tire of the fog, the way the world seems soft and different. I was better today as far as the sadness went, the music that made me desperate two days ago filled me with appreciation today. I have tons of it saved on my computer and play it on "shuffle" so it surprises me - all of the Putamayo stuff, Joni Mitchell, Tupac, Iron & Wine, lots of Spanish stuff and so on. I was thrilled at how happy beginning this picture made me. I am posting it in the underpainting stage because it is interesting to see and because I am too tired to go any further tonight. I have never before painted a picture of an animal - this is from a photo of Y. sitting in pans on the stove. It was impossible to take a picture due to the lack of light but I did capture the sense of her. Pain and sadness are quite exhausting and I feel blessed to have the ability to process the world through art. In a world that seems to value art and music less and less I am grateful for them, more than I could ever have understood only a few years ago.

Saturday 13 September 2008

crying and accepting

I am posting a 10" square picture that I began the day Yakov disappeared.........the day that I was so busy and didn't pat her head when I left. Yesterday was bad - all the sadness that I had held somewhat at bay when my mother died on July 1 combined with the sadness of the certainty of Yakov being gone and I turned into a crying mess. Last night I was unable to do anything except watch episodes of "Lost" on my laptop (I brought it into bed with me!). Today is somewhat better, acceptance seems to be arriving......the grocery store was tough though (not buying cat food). I have stretched a canvas specifically to paint her and hope to begin in the morning although I have to go to a bridal shower in the afternoon. This pickle picture seemed way too cheerful when I sort-of finished it this morning but I am posting it anyway because I do like the pickles despite the plate being sketchy.

Friday 12 September 2008

Yakov, I miss you

My cat is missing.............yesterday was such a blur of appointments and things I had to do. When I left the house around 3:30 after only having about an hour and a half to paint between things I had to do, she was on the front porch. When I got home at nine, I couldn't find her anywhere. She's still not home and it's nearly two and I know she's gone. Poor old girl was still happy despite the fact that she was nearly 19 and had hyperthyroidism and had become nearly totally deaf and blind. So, I am posting a picture of her today (one from a few Christmases ago when she was still a little chubby) - I can't paint because there are way too many tears in my eyes to see clearly. That and the fact that I keep going to the porch to see if she's there. Godspeed old girl, you will remain forever in my heart.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Quick post

Just a better photo of the still life that I finished this morning..............began another but don't have time to play with the camera - off to figure group!

Tuesday 9 September 2008


The light is quite beautiful at the moment but not too wonderful for taking pictures. Today, I worked on the still life I began yesterday afternoon - it's 10" square. The photos were all a bit blurry because the shutter had to stay open for at least one second due to the lack of light. We had an enormous thunderstorm and I swear the temperature has dropped at least 20 degrees since this morning. For so many years I thought still lifes were kind of boring but I have really begun to enjoy them as an exercise and because I am not dependent on the conditions outdoors.......I love painting people even more but my current budget doesn't allow me to pay models so I have to rely on our group thing if I wish to paint from life. Anyway, I am trying to expand my knowledge of color-mixing and setting up a still life is a great way to accomplish this. The small eggplants and winter squash from my garden were perfect for my desire to paint purple/violet..........I added some husk tomatoes from the farmer's market and placed them on a ripped up cardboard box and voila! I have been swatting Yakov (my cat) away from the still life all day.......I have bought her off with some shrimp. I will finish this tomorrow morning since it's as dark as a cave at the moment.

Monday 8 September 2008

What a weekend!

Well, even though I have not been posting for a couple of days, I have been busy. I finished the sunflowers and then took a photo of that as well as a photo of another picture. The photos are not great because we had no light for several days - Hanna came in with heavy rain and wind which made taking pictures near impossible. I went out to western mass to meet my dad on Friday and then both of my kids were home for the weekend for my birthday. We went out to eat a couple of times and just had a good time. Today I went out to paint and forgot to bring a jar of paint thinner (I had cleaned my painting backpack, silly me).......I used a palette knife and made some progress with some ideas but was not happy with the eventual outcome and was so filthy I couldn't stand it any more and came home and began an eggplant still life. I will NOT forget solvent again. So, I will post a couple of dark pictures and hope for a brighter post tomorrow.

Thursday 4 September 2008

day 2

Well, I didn't quite finish this..........I was in slow motion for at least half of the day but felt better this afternoon and worked through until now. It is pretty interesting to see the changes.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

a beginning

I decided to stay in today and begin a larger painting of some sunflowers from my garden. Partially because my allergies were awful and I decided to not tempt fate by breathing in tons of pollen and mostly because I realized that the sunflowers would be gone soon. Who can NOT paint at least one sunflower painting every summer. I used to grow many different colors but was so used to them reseeding every year and taking over everything else that I decided to reduce their number this year and allow the perennials and vegetables some space. I yanked out tons of them and must have left only the yellow ones by accident, they are still wonderful and now the other plants are happy. This picture is all roughed in and I am connecting and refining the shapes, toning down some of the yellows and altering the areas to enhance the composition. I find that taking a photo and getting some distance from the picture as a visual statement allows me to see flaws and then correct them when I return. Anyway the process is interesting. Now my nose is running like a faucet and I fear I may be getting a cold - off to bed for me to try to nip it in the bud and finish this tomorrow.

Tuesday 2 September 2008

summer's end

I went out to Seapowet today and had a lovely day........there was a real glow about the air and some of the leaves were less of an intense green. The meadow was high with wildflowers and there were few people. I did meet another painter and had a chat, she wasn't painting but had her camera. I used another one of the linen canvases and I like it as much outdoors as I did inside. This one is 10X12.

Monday 1 September 2008

Labor Day

I worked all day on another still life, I am really enjoying the colors. Today I decided to take a different approach and not do an initial drawing using linear methods but rather establish the forms and relationships of the forms to one another using directional shapes in various values. I began to see the entire set up differently and feel that the relationships make more visual sense - it was much quicker than struggling to make sure all the lines were correct and the individual shapes flowed together more convincingly. Last night I stretched a bunch of smaller canvases using linen - I love this surface! So, on Labor day, I worked all day and couldn't think of anything I would rather do. Just goes to show that when you are doing what you are meant to do, it is your life and not work at all. After years spent working as a union member/correction officer (I retired exactly a year ago), I appreciate Labor day more than most other holidays and feel a great amount of gratitude for the chance to "labor" at something that gives me such a feeling of joy. To all of those that are still laboring at something that doesn't fit - take the plunge as soon as you can, it's worth every financial sacrifice.