Saturday, January 14, 2017

"Here Comes The Sun"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Before I started on my 11th painting for the upcoming show, I knew I needed a warm up - choosing one of my personal favorites in the Art Institute of Chicago, Jules Breton's The Song of the Lark.

Breton was a French realist painter, born in 1827.  During his childhood, his father tended land for a rich landowner and this subject matter of his native region was prevalent throughout his painting career. 

The Song of the Lark made news a couple of years ago, in an interview by Bill Murray in the Huffington Post, where he recounted his first experience on a stage, which did not go well.  Murray headed towards Lake Michigan thinking 'If I'm going to die, I might as well go over toward the lake and float a bit."  Before he made it to the lake, he stopped in at the Art Institute of Chicago and saw Breton's painting and he thought "Well there's a girl who doesn't have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun's coming up anyway and she's got another chance at it.  So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up."

'Any form of art is a form of power. It has impact, it can affect change - it can not only move us, it makes us move.'   ~  Ossie Davis

Please click here to the auction pageAuction ends January 24th, 9 pm ET.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

An Honor

A little while back I was asked, by Dr. Gary Schallert, a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble, if I would be willing to contribute one of my painting images for the cover of their CD Of Our New Day Begun.  I painted Emanuel AME at Dawn in June of 2015, a few days after the tragic shootings occurred in Charleston, a way to mend a broken heart I suppose. 

Mr. Schallert explained the title song was written by Omar Thomas "to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston."  Mr. Thomas goes on to say "My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards bothe the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him. I realized the the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of the line - embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims' families."

I am honored to be a part of this project and thank Dr. Schallert for including me.

Music and art do soothe the soul.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

"High Over Pennsylvania"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I was quite hypnotized last night watching one of my favorite TV programs - Aerial America, on the Smithsonian Channel.  I saw hundreds of paintings in my head - patterns and patchworks of colors and shapes - I just wish I could cruise over land like a bird.  With a camera.  Aerials get me so excited for someone afraid of heights.

Between the hours-long paintings I'm working on for an upcoming show, I am in need of letting loose, with no worries of details, no sketching, just swirling the oils around.  So with great inspiration from my favorite program, I hope to continue this series for a while and hope you enjoy the view.

This bird's-eye perspective is over the farmlands of Pennsylvania.  

This painting will be my last of 2016 - my 89th painting this year. 

~ and a Happy New Year to you.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays

Wishing you and yours
Peace & Love

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2017 Mini Wall Calendars!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Flower Girls"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I've imposed some much-needed, happy, cheerful acts on myself lately.  Baking cookies, Crock-Pot stew, the Muppets Christmas Carol and painting this colorful, soul-enriching piece featuring Diego Rivera's Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita

A couple of things I need to mention here - you don't see much progress on my blog because I'm working on paintings for a solo show held in early March.  It kills me not to reveal them as I go.

And... for those who've asked?  I have a calendar not quite ready, I know it's late in the year, but it's coming and I'll shout from the mountain top when it is.

Now for the artist Diego Rivera.  Born in 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico - a large, colorful, overbearing, talented painter best known for his depictions of the working class and native Mexicans.  At the age of 35, through a government program, he painted a series of murals in public buildings about the country's people and its history, some controversial and all very powerful.

Rivera was a lady's man, married twice before marrying the artist Frida Kahlo who was 20 years younger - both known for their interest in radical politics and Marxism.  They fought often and divorced and remarried in 1940 - Kahlo died in 1954 and Rivera married again, to his art dealer.  He died several years later from cancer and heart failure in 1957.

Rivera's Flower Festival was painted in 1931 depicting a flower festival held on Good Friday in Santa Anita, included in a solo exhibition at MoMA the same year.  

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Positives and Negatives"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

From inside the National Gallery of Art in DC, a woman viewing one of Franz Kline's powerful abstracts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Light Waves"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

Today is Giving Tuesday and I am participating in my own way - donating 75% of the final sale of this painting to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home here in Atlanta.  This hospice operates solely on private donations and cared for my dad.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Ode To Autumn"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

One of the many masterpieces in our National Gallery of Art in DC is Winslow Homer's Autumn.  It will take your breath away.  It's casual and approachable.  Homer's rich reds, bronzes, greys, greens and golds are as stunning as the fall leaves that surround us during these few weeks. Ode to autumn.

Winslow Homer is an American treasure, born 1836 in Boston - a printmaker, painter, illustrator.  A little-known fact - at the age of 25 he was sent to the front lines of the Civil War to sketch battle scenes, camp life, commanders - all of which were published in Harper's magazine. Those sketches were later formed into realized paintings when Homer returned home.

Homer then turned his attenton to more nostalgic scenes of childhood and family - then to postwar subjects of Reconstruction and depictions of African American life after emancipation.   The most familiar paintings of Winslow Homer are his landscapes and seascapes - done is his later years when he moved to Prouts Neck, Maine.  It has been said Homer led an isolated life as an old man but continued to paint vigorously, hinting a turn to more abstract and expressive art.  He died at the young age of 74.

Speaking of American treasures....

I watched President Obama's ceremony today, awarding 21 Medal of Freedom recipients who all are truly outstanding humanitarians who've made positive, progressive, compassionate, brilliant contributions of our country.  I will miss President Obama for his grace and thoughtfulness and reminding me what's important and good about us.  Take some time and watch the ceremony in its full version here.

~ Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"The Hill"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

There is so much I'd like to express.

But this is my painting blog. 

Art does soothe the soul when it's needed most.

I've just returned from a trip to visit family and spent an afternoon soothing my soul in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.  As I crossed Constitution Avenue on my walk back to the car from the museum, I stopped to admire our newly-renovated, unscaffolded Capitol Building.  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"I See a Pattern Here"

12 x 12"
oil on panel

I usually don't talk to anyone in the museums but I told this woman I loved her shirt.  I said it was a work of art itself.  She seemed delighted to hear that.

I've also mentioned in prior posts that I'm not a great fan of abstract expressionism, a movement that came along in the 1940-1950's.  But there is something that stops me in my tracks when I see a Franz Kline or Robert Motherwell painting - I suppose it's the patterns.  Like this woman's shirt.  

Franz Kline was born in 1910 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - a town we hear a lot of during this Presidential campaign.  It was a small, coal-mining community, now the state's 13th largest city.  I've been there - as a little girl, my dad would take my family for a Saturday drive seeking out one of several authentic Italian delis for lunch in Wilkes-Barre.

Back to Kline ...  as a young man, he was sent to an academy in Philadelphia, studied at Boston University then a school of fine art in London, returned to the U.S. working as a designer in New York City.  It was there he developed as an artist, gaining recognition.

His style came about using simplified forms based on locomotives, landscapes, large mechanical shapes from his coal-mining hometown.  You can see that.  His friendships with like-minded artists such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock influenced his direction of abstract expressionism - direct and spontaneous brushstrokes which defined him as both an action painter and a minimalist.

Kline tended to avoid defining his art or offering explanations of what his 'message' was, which shows in his titles like his painting you see in my painting - Painting, 1952 which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.

Friday, November 4, 2016

"Woman To Woman"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

Ahhhh.  Nothing quite as exquisite as a Vermeer painting.  The artist Jan Vermeer was born in the Netherlands in 1632, one of the most highly regarded Dutch artists of his time and all time.

There are scant records of Vermeer's start as an artist, but experts draw a straight line of influence to Rembrandt and Caravaggio.  Many of his masterpieces are about domestic scenes, depictions of women doing chores around the house - the notable and famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring portrayed a young woman who worked in his household.

Jan Vermeer suffered financially in his old age, due to the Dutch economy tanking after being invaded by France in 1672.  He was deeply indebted by the time of his death in 1675, only then becoming more world-renowned and leaving approximately 36 paintings that are hung in prominent museums around the world including the gem you see in my painting titled Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Monday, October 31, 2016

"Day Game"

10 x 8"
oil on panel

A happy dog with her toys on the beach of Hilton Head Island.

Please click here for a larger view.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Give Me a W"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

My homage to Rockwell and our World Series - a young Chicago Cubs fan viewing Norman Rockwell's The Dugout.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Cleared For Takeoff"

8 x 6"
oil on panel

Speaking of the beach...

A friendly gull I met last week.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Value Analysis"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

I started this new study yesterday morning.  The painting the young woman is looking up at is one of my favorites by Norman Rockwell titled Girl in a Mirror.

I was listening to Michelle Obama's inspirational speech as I was painting.  Here is a portion that stuck with me...

"What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations?"

You can read Michelle Obama's speech in full here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"A Way Of Life"

6 x 8"
oil on panel

When I began listing works of art I'd like to feature portraying the American Spirit, I remembered this exquisite painting in Crystal Bridges titled The Indian and the Lily by George de Forest Brush, done in 1887.  It's one of the many pieces in the museum that knocked my socks off.  It is so intimate in size, so beautifully painted, so tender, a glimpse of a moment in the life of a Native American Indian.

A little bit about the artist, George de Forest Brush - born in Tennessee, raised in Brooklyn and Darien, Connecticut, he trained in New York then later in Paris under the brilliant artist Jean-Leon Gerome.  Gerome is one of my personal favorites and I can use the same descriptions of his work - intimate, exquisite, precise realism, glimpses into personal lives.  The influence of Gerome is so very evident in Brush's paintings.

After Brush returned to America and in 1882, he ventured west with his brother and found his subject, America's native people.  For more than a year he lived among the Arapahoe and Shoshone in Wyoming and the Crow in Montana - creating paintings and etchings of Indians 'far removed from the reality of contempory Indian life'.  Brush chose to depict the Indians in a 'timeless environment undisturbed by the advent of the modern'.  He resented the rapid industrial revolution and how it negatively affected the Native Americans, instead he desired to portray them in their way of life and their connection to the natural world.

An article I found tied Brush's painting to the story of Narcissus, the perils of seeking an unattainable perfection and the novel Imensee, a story of a man reaching out for a perfect water lily but nearly drowns when he falls into the pond, getting tangled in the roots of this perfect flower.  He climbs out of the water, looks back at the water lily floating calmly - a metaphor for the struggle of the Indian tribes maintaining their way of life in a complicated, progressing world.

You should take time to look at more of Brush's amazing paintings.  They offer peace and tenderness in these days of anxiety and unrest.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I'll tell you a couple of things you don't know about me.

I love major league baseball.  We watch nearly every Braves game and we're bummed the season is ending this weekend.  We often watch late night LA Dodgers games for the pleasure of listening to Vin Scully announce the play-by-plays.  And sadly, that simple pleasure is coming to an end.  So a salute to Vin Scully, who's retiring after 67 seasons as the Voice of the Dodgers.  You'll be so missed.  On a happy note, the Chicago Cubs may very well be in the World Series and I'm rooting for them to go all the way.  Truth is, no other sports do a thing for me.  Just baseball.

Another thing you don't know about me - I failed Art History in college.  Two different classes as a matter of fact.  So now, I'm not only atoning for that, I'm avid about it.  The older I get, the more I grasp history and how art connects to it, to us.  You're never too old to learn.

Which brings me to my new project.  I'm mapping out the work for an upcoming solo show in the spring.  My recent visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art got me thinking about our American history - how art reflected the times, the movements, the struggles, the politics, everyday life.  

That notion evolved along with the summer of this Presidential election.  What's happened to me is I'm feeling defensive more and more about what kind of country we want, what we aspire to.  Do we embrace the past lessons and have we learned from them?  Do we want to move forward, progress as people, as a nation?  Do we accept our differences and find a way to live in harmony?  Are we proud of how we got here, our ancestors who many were immigrants?  Don't we want to be proud of our melting pot?  Do we want to be respected and show respect to one another?

That has brought me to an idea, a theme - something in the vein of American Pride or Spirit.  When I think in those terms, the best artworks I know come to mind.  I have a true passion for American art - you may have picked up on that.  Hopper, Rockwell, Thomas H Benton, Wyeth to name a few - depictions of who we are as Americans.  What we've accomplished thru thick and thin.  

So that's where I'm heading with my idea and I'd like you to be involved.  Be my focus group.  Offer ideas of iconic works of art that convey that American spirit.  I'll be working on small studies as I go - give me feedback.  Poopoo it if you want, give me a thumb's up if you want.  It all means something to me.

Now - a little bit about my new painting, which features Portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumball, which hangs in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  John Trumbull was an artist during the American Revolutionary War, famous for his historical paintings - his Declaration of Independence is on the back side of the 2-dollar bill.

Trumball painted Hamilton's portrait in 1792, one of many made of Hamilton and considered the 'greatest known portrait' of one of our Founding Fathers.  

And a Happy October to you ~ 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Big Shoes to Fill"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

I first saw Jamie Wyeth's Portrait of John F. Kennedy in person in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC - the painting now hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in their permanent collection.  It is exquisite.

Jamie Wyeth was 20 years old when he was approached by the Kennedy family to paint a posthumous portrait in 1965.  Wyeth spent the next two years creating preparatory drawings, joining senators Robert and Edward Kennedy on their campaign trails to pick up on shared family traits and mannerisms.  

There are brilliant nuances in Wyeth's portrait - one eye is directed to the viewer, the other slightly looking into the distance - his clenched fist in front of his mouth, a gesture Jacqueline Kennedy considered 'strikingly accurate'.  It was said Robert Kennedy wasn't fond of the portrait, who felt 'his brother's disconcerted look was a painful reminder of his uncertainty during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs invasion'.  In the end, the official White House portrait went to another artist, Gardner Cox.

Wyeth's portrait has hung in the JFK Library, was reproduced on an Ireland postage stamp and for a time hung in the Washington DC home of Vice President Joe Biden.  Biden 'always appreciated how President Kennedy's concentrated gaze demonstrates the difficult decisions world leaders face.'

Please click here for a larger view.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Three's a Crowd"

8 x 10"
oil on panel

Imagine yourself in coastal Maine, around 1911, one of the privileged few who spends the summer days watching boats races, dressed in fine, elegant clothes - enjoying the prosperous times without a care in the world.  Those were the images painted over and again by the American artist Frank Weston Benson.  One of those,  Summer Day hangs in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In 1901, Benson resided in Salem, began renting and later purchased Wooster Farm, one of the enormous homes built for the upper class who summered with friends and family and servants on North Haven Island, Maine.  Summer Day depicts Benson's two younger daughters although he originally included his oldest daughter, Eleanor, but later removed her - according to several curators - to simplify the composition and open up the horizon of the glimmering light of the sea.

It is speculated Eleanor, who just returned home for the summer after graduating college had been introduced to and espoused to liberal views known as 'parlor pink' - a derogatory term to mean one has leftist or socialist sympathies.  Pink meaning a lighter shade of red, thus a lighter form of communism.  Mr. Benson was not happy.  Removing her from the painting may have been his way of separating Eleanor from his younger, 'untainted' daughters. 

Please click here for a larger view.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Vanity Fare"

10 x 10"
oil on panel

Featured in my new painting is Pablo Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror, painted in 1932.  There are few paintings of the 20th century that have been analyized, interpreted, reanalyized as much as this work of art.  Really, just Google 'analysis of Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror' and you'll get over 8,000 articles.

My observation, women are very drawn to it.  It represents vanity, self-image - what we see when we look in the mirror.  That's the easy interpretation.  Then it gets complicated.  

The model for Picasso was his young mistress Marie-Therese Walter, whom he painted numerous times.  Her real self on the left is brightly colored, beautiful, firm breasts, possibly pregnant while her reflection in the mirror is painted roughly, darker colors, her body more contorted, aged.  Some say it's her confronting her mortality, her future, her fate.  Some say it represents the anxiety of the times, rumors of wars, the world economy, fear and instability - the suppressed, real feelings deep down in one's heart.  In the daytime, we're vital and presenting beauty and confidence and at night we're fractured and anxious, fearing our fate. Sound familiar?

I don't usually analyize art.  I react - with pleasure due to the composition, colors, skill of the artist, etc, or the opposite of all those things.  Part of me always considers Picasso's renderings of women to be an example of the man himself - admiring youth and beauty, some say misogynistic and/or chauvinistic, hypersexual.  At least that's what people tell me.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.

Friday, September 16, 2016

"World Domination"

12 x 14"
oil on panel

I just finished this new painting.  Yikes.  It took almost an entire week but I was determined to conquer it (pun intended).  It features one of the most famous paintings of Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps - one of five versions painted by the French artist Jacques-Louis David in the years 1800-1805.  

Initially commissioned by the King of Spain, this first version depicts Napoleon, in the spring of 1800, leading his army across the Alps, through the Great St. Bernard Pass to conquer Italy and take the territory seized by the Austrians.  Although everyone doubted he could cross the Alps in the first place, especially in the spring - with great audacity, he shocked everyone and did it - truth was, the weather was quite nice and he actually rode on a mule, not the triumphant horse as David depicted.  Truly propaganda.

I could keep going with the fascinating history of this portrait and it's five different versions commissioned by various rulers - not to mention the details of Napoleon's uniform and all his accessories - but it's a lot, so read up on it if you're interested.

I will include a bit about the artist David, who painted one of my favorites The Death of Marat.  David became a great supporter of the French Revolution and admired Napoleon and when he first met him, he was enamored with Napoleon's face, sketching him when he was able, turning out to be important studies for future commissions - and after Napoleon crossed the St. Bernard Pass, it was requested that David portray him 'calm upon a fiery steed' rather than a mule, and David complied - making him the official court painter of the regime.   He went on to paint the extraordinary Coronation of Napoleon, which included the choir of Notre Dame as fill-ins and Pope Pius VII, who blessed David for the masterpiece.

It gets complicated after all the revolutionaries, including David, ordered 'off with their heads' of Louis VXI and VXII.  When the new king Louis XVIII took over, he granted David amnesty and the position of his court painter, but David refused and fled to Brussels, continued to paint and teach and became wildly popular and rather wealthy until - one night as he was leaving the theater, he was hit by a carraige and died in 1925.  As shown in Les Miserables, you gotta watch out for those carraiges.

My painting will be included in the upcoming group show Lions + Tigers + Bears opening at the Vendue Hotel in Charleston on October 20th.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.

Friday, September 9, 2016


8 x 6"
oil on panel

Happy Friday.

Before I post the link to this new painting going on auction tonight, I have a cool story to tell you.  

Yesterday I received an email from a woman asking about a painting I had done back in 2013.  I replied it had sold way back. She asked for a print. I replied I don't make prints.

She then told me the subject, a bungalow I spotted in Nebraska, on our road trip from San Francisco back to Atlanta, was her family's home.  

In disbelief, I asked her for the street address so I could compare it to my original photo - then with Google street view, I found the house, compared it to my photo and damn, if it wasn't the house!  In this big country, in all of the millions of houses in all of the small towns, I painted her house.  It still blows my mind.  

The number one question I'm asked is 'does anyone recognize themselves in your paintings?'  And to this day, in twelve years of doing over a couple of thousand paintings, it hasn't happened yet.  But someone out there, hundreds of miles away, recognized their house.  Absolutely freaking amazing.

Okay - back to my new painting.

A woman resting on a bench in the Art Institute of Chicago, with her Hopper gift bag full of souvenirs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Fried Fish"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

I got my Hopper on today.

What was once a neighborhood restaurant around East Atlanta.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Across The Street"

9 x 12"
oil on panel

And a happy Sunday to you.

On my list of personal favorite painters, Edward Hopper is in the top 5.  When I am lucky enough to stand in front of one of Hopper's paintings in a museum, I always sigh.  I stay for a while.  I'm always in awe.  There's a connection with me - his choices of subjects - stately homes in New England, urban scenes, sunlight's angles on windows and sidewalks, quiet, lonely, still scenes of city streetscapes, maybe just one person in the painting or nobody.  Delicious colors.  

Which brings me to one of my all-time favorite Hopper's 'Early Sunday Morning', which hangs in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City - one of more than three thousand works bequeathed to the museum by Hopper's wife in 1968.  The 1930 painting is, Hopper said, 'almost a literal translation of Seventh Avenue' - reduced to bare essentials.  Each individual window gives hint to the different people in each unit, and although Hopper originally included one lone figure in a window, he removed it, deciding it wasn't needed to convey anything more.  It is quintessential 20th century American realism.

Edward Hopper was born in Upper Nyack, New York in 1882 -  his parents encouraged his art, kept him stocked with materials, illustrated books, instructional guides, and in his teens, he was creating watercolors, oils, charcoals and pen-and-inks.  He went on to the New York School of Art and Design - became an illustrator which he came to hate, traveled to Europe several times, ended up back in New York reluctantly returning to advertising and illustration.

Hopper experienced long periods of inertia, not knowing what to paint - in a funk so to speak.  At one point, he turned to etching, producing over 70 pieces of urban scenes of New York and Europe.  They are notably the beginnings of his painting subjects down the road - solitary figures, interiors of the theater, nautical scenes, etc.  He and his wife worked in the theater, creating backdrops for plays - and I always thought 'Early Sunday Morning' felt like one of those backdrops - as if you were across the street from this typical row of businesses and upper floor apartments.

One of my favorite quotes from Edward Hopper - 'Maybe I am not very human - what I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house'.  I can dig that.  I often feel the same.

Please click here for a larger view and purchase/contact information.