Friday, December 23, 2011

Incredible Edible

Yesterday my students brought in amazing stuff to eat and drink for our Holiday celebration class. Crab quiche, cookies galore, exotic cheeses and dips, champagne, wine, etc. While I was shopping for some treats to bring in too, I saw this lone delectable pastry sitting all by itself on a deli shelf. In typical form, my natural inclination is to paint it rather than eat it. I did a demo on paper, having forgotten to bring a better support to work on. Its almost impossible to do a really bad painting when your subject is so spectacular. Hmmm, maybe more pastry paintings are in my near future...

Incredible Edible
8x8" Acrylic on Paper

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shirley's Bulb

This little bulb in the middle is the real deal, not some recreation of a retro design. It's about 80 years old and belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. It still has the original metal hanging hook on it, which is made of a really sturdy metal - it barely bends - in contrast to the flimsy hooks of today.

When working with Acrylics, there is a sort of built in alarm clock ticking away. They only let you work so long before they gently say, "OK, time to wrap it up now. " That happens after about an hour or so, the paint starts moving different. There are ways around this, such as using products like OPEN paints and mediums, to keep them wet longer. But I actually like this alarm clock function, it pushes me to be more decisive and efficient. If the painting doesn't work by the time my acrylics want to stop, thats OK. I'll opt for a mediocre painting with fresh brushwork and leave it at that. I can always give it to a distant relative as a christmas gift.

Shirley's Bulb
6x6 Acrylic on Board, Price on request

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sports Page

I'm not sure why I automatically named this 'Sports Page', except that growing up in a sports-fanatic family I have this assumption that whenever a guy is riveted to the paper like the one here, he must be checking on the results of a game. One of the great things about the NYC subway is that you catch everyone just being who they are, sequestered in one tiny area, a total cross section of all types. Everyone needs to get somewhere, and the subway one way to do it. It also happens to be great theatre for the lurking artist.
Sports Page
24x36" Oil Price on request

Friday, December 16, 2011

Two More Demos

Here are two demos I did yesterday for two back to back classes I taught. The challenge on the apple demo was getting the correct color of the bright red cloth reflecting up into the green apple, without creating a dull grey, since red and green do neutralize each other out (creating grey). The challenge of the angel statue was doing it fast, without a preliminary sketch first -there was no time, it was the end of class ...just jumping in with paint and big brushes and hoping for the best. TGIF!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winding Road

I loved the dramatic pattern of the winding road and the cypress trees in this countryside setting in Italy, with the late afternoon shadows casting cool stripes over the warm fields.

Winding Road
8x8" Oil on Gessoboard
Price on request

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two Demos

Back from Art Basel, and had to hit the ground running. It was quite a trip. HUGE art fair, and impossible to see the whole thing. I hit the main largest fairs, Art Basel and Art Miami, as well as some of the smaller shows held in hotels. The overall aesthetic was contemporary art, which took me aback for a minute, till I stopped looking for more representational paintings. Once I let go of my personal agenda and opened myself up to what was being presented, I thoroughly loved it, to the point of not being able to sleep at night because my brain kept playing a slideshow of all the amazing work I saw during the day. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to see a LOT of art in one really cool city (South Beach, Miami) . The people watching and nightlife is just as entertaining as the show. Bring your fancy cocktail dresses and heels, gals - anything goes there.

No sooner did I get home than I had to teach two classes back to back. Having been deprived of doing any painting (my own, at least) since I left, I did a quickie demo for each class. When I say quickie, I mean 20 minutes and 45. I don't like to take up student time painting when they are paying for teaching, so I squeeze these in at the very tail end of the class. It felt great to have the paint flowing through my brush again. Ahhh, thats my home sweet home.

8x8" Acrylic on Gessoboard

Tuscan Vineyard and Grove at Dusk
8x8" Acrylic on Gessoboard

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I'm leaving today for Art Basel Miami, to take in the big art fair, as well as co-teach a workshop in Orlando. I did this painting way back in 2006 from a trip I took to Miami Beach. These two gals in front of me were having such a heart felt conversation. It was a deja vu moment, reminding me of how lucky I am to have such great girlfriends in my life, they make all the difference.

18x24" Oil on canvas
Price on Request

Monday, November 28, 2011

Eye Candy

Early November I spent about a week at a trade show booth which featured bowls of taffy intended to entice passersby to stop and chat. Lesson learned: no one can chat intelligibly with taffy in their mouths. Fortunately, they work perfectly as eye candy.

Eye Candy
6x6 Oil on Canvas
Price on Request

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mo, Harry & Curly

Italy shmittaly. Who needs to paint beauty halfway across the world when its screaming like a siren in front of me? Thats exactly what these funky, eccentric little squashes have been thinking, while waiting patiently for me to stop painting Italian vistas long enough to notice them. They are such comical characters, with their corkscrew bonnets and zany striped pajamas. Beauty is everywhere! I'm grateful!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Three Squashes
6x6" Oil on Board
Price on Request

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cortona Village

Cortona is one of the true jewels of the Tuscan “hill towns” and is often called the “City of Art.” Olive groves, vineyards, centuries-old buildings, winding streets, texture and vibrant sunlight... an artist's dream. For those taking the workshop, this will be our home for 7 days, in addition to the other scenic places we will be taking field trips to... Lake Trasimeno, Lucignano & Val di Chiana and more.

8x8" Acrylic on Canvas
Price on Request

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finding Colors

This is another painting of Tuscany, where I will be teaching a workshop next September. The challenge in this piece, as with many landscapes, is to take what is essentially mostly green and find the colors. What made this piece tricky is that by mistake I left all my paints at home and didn't realize it till I got to my studio, all set to work. I was not driving back. So I scrounged up three trusty tubes of paint, (plus white), and managed to coax out all the colors in this piece. There is much to be said for working with a limited palette - cheaper and less schelpping!

Tuscan Vineyard
8x8" Price on Request

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuscan Garden

After a wild two weeks that included a freak snowstorm resulting in an 11 day power outage, a family emergency and a hijacking by my husband to drive with him to an Orlando trade show for the purposes of being his "booth babe" (quite a stretch for a gal my age), I have had no time to paint. Until last night. When I finally made off to my studio and stood before my easel, I found myself in a stupor. 'What was I painting before all this comotion - apples? martinis? shoes? Oh yeah - Italy!' Although this little garden pathway could be anywhere, its a Tuscan countryside scene. I've decided to focus on landscape for a bit, in early preparation for next year's Italy workshop. So many hues - all so uniquely different, adding their voice to the lush natural tapestry.

Tuscan Garden
8x8" Acrylic on Panel

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tuscany Valley

The Tuscan countryside often looks like a patchwork of various greens, dotted with pinks, browns and lavenders. Altho I moved many elements around to create a more defined composition, I think I could have eliminated more of the shapes. Its always a balancing act to capture the character of the landscape, including all its colorful spots of information, and simplifying the scene for more dramatic impact.

Tuscan Valley
Acrylic on Board, 6x6"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Modern Acrylics" by Patti Mollica

Well, here it is... just got my first copy in the mail today. I'm really happy with the reproduction quality and the layout, the publisher did a great job. It can be ordered from Amazon, and you can even peek inside at many of the pages. I actually don't have much to say... its all in the book!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Field and Sky

Landscapes are so forgiving. Transplant that bush and move it 6 feet left, move that mountain, fill out that forest, throw in a few flowering buds and ... ahh, the composition falls right into place. No one knows the artistic sleight of hand that was pulled and no one cares, as long as it pleases the eye.

Field and Sky
6x6" Acrylic on board

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Granny & Friends

Good 'ol Granny - she's always willing to pose for me. In appreciation, I always paint her good side and smooth out the lumps and bumps. Those young plump cherries, so firm and shiny, never need any help.

Granny & Friends
6x6" Acrylic on Board

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eat, Drink, Play!

Yesterday I taught a full day workshop in painting techniques using Golden paints, gels and pastes. It's very rewarding - and fun - to turn artists on to completely new ways of creating artwork which is unrelated to artistic experience or drawing skills. The materials lend themselves to playing, creating, and being mesmerized by texture, sheen, and seeing how color dances with surface and light. Although I'm a representational painter, I often go to my studio and get lost in this world of color and texture magic. This is my "chicken soup for the soul" when I want to throw control to the wind and play with wild abandon. Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist conducting exotic experiments - mixing, pouring, layering, dripping, oozing, scraping, spraying, ... one idea feeding the next. I'm sure my husband would prefer some of this creative energy be directed towards cooking actual meals, like with food. No such luck anytime soon. Sorry honey, my studio is way more fun than the kitchen!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love on the L

The thing I love about New York, which struck me the moment I moved here is the lack of self-consciousness of New Yorkers. They are very comfortable being who they are and doing whatever they do, in any surrounding. I attribute that to the fact that there is rarely a moment when they have the luxury of privacy, so that feeling of worrying about what others will think falls to the wayside quickly, and morphs into 'who cares'. It makes for great people watching, especially in the subways. Take a front row seat and enjoy the daily theatre.

Love on the L
8x8" Oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making the Rounds

These are the types of scenes I love to paint - quiet, unassuming, unremarkable moments that often go by unnoticed. The drama of the light, shadows, shapes, the little spots of colors ... they all add up to make a beautiful impression, a fleeting moment captured.

Making the Rounds
8x8" Oil on Board Price on Request

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NYC Street Corner Scene

In regards to the "Caroline" post, I want to thank everyone who sent such nice emails, some telling similar stories with both happy and unhappy endings. I don't have time to respond to each and every email, but the show of support was heartwarming... thankyou! (BTW, please consider posting your comments and stories by hitting the "comments" button on the blog, rather than by emails to me, so everyone can see them). The bottom line is, trusting your precious work to an unknown gallery owner is taking a big chance. I learned the hard way.

I have a small works show coming up at my gallery in Provincetown and decided to start painting some more city scenes. We sold 3 NYC paintings last month and I'm starting to run low on "inventory". I had a photo of a street corner in Soho that I liked, and a photo of 3 businessmen in Queens that was also nice. Problem was that the corner photo was taken on a sunny day, the photo of men walking was shot on a cloudy day. My challenge was to make the men look like they fit in the corner scene, including the correct lighting conditions. A bit tricky, but here is the outcome.

Shop Talk
Oil on Board, 8x8" Price on Request
Comment? (scroll down to the comment link, next to the envelope icon)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Got a minute for a great story? I've got one!
Way back in 2002 I approached a local frame shop/gallery and asked about having a show of my work, they immediately agreed. Within a few weeks, 50+ of my very best paintings were adorning their walls. The agreement was that the show would be up for about 2 months. One day, I happened to drive into town to do some errands. I normally do all errands in the neighborhood of my studio, which is two towns away, since thats where I go everyday. What made me change course on this particular day is still a mystery. I just happened to be driving by this gallery. As I approached it, I noticed a moving van parked outside its front door. Men were loading in framing equipment, counter displays and... MY paintings! My heart jumped into my throat. I screeched to a stop, parked the car and stormed in, confronting the owner who blandly told me they decided to close their doors and I could gather up my art. I took the list of work that I had given them and checked off each piece to make sure I had the entire inventory and loaded it into my car, having to make several trips. There were no excuses, no apologies, no indication that they had ever planned on telling me that they were closing their doors. Feeling like I had just dodged an enormous missile, I thanked my maker for this serendipitous inkling that led me to pass by that particular location, at that particular moment in time. I schlepped the carload of paintings back to my studio and safely re-shelved them.

Months later I was preparing to hang another show and suddenly noticed that a large oil painting I had planned on displaying was missing. It was a beautiful portrait of my 6 year old neice, Caroline, on a beach, playing in the sand. I looked high and low, and checked every feasible place it could be hiding. It's not so easy to lose a 30x40 oil painting, especially considering I have very little storage area. The painting was virtually gone, and it was one of my favorites! I won't bore you with the details of trying to contact the gallery owner to see if they had snatched the painting back while I was loading my car. I tried for a while, only to find out from credible sources that they have a long list of complaints and grievances filed against them with the police department. These were unscrupulous people, known criminals in fact, with ties to oversized goons who will break your kneecaps with a baseball bat for fun. Alas, I mourned the loss for this beautiful painting and dealt with the realization that I'd never lay eyes on it again.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, a Sunday, 10 years after this incident. My cell phone rings at 9AM. The voice on the other end tells me he is having a garage sale, and has this big painting of a little girl on the beach that has my signature on it. It was given to him as a gift by his brother who picked it up from another garage sale. He has a lady there who wants to buy it, so can I please tell him what's it worth? BIG GULP. Talk about a wake up call.

What ensued was a frantic burst of mental gymnastics, on how to orchestrate this scenario quickly and effectually, like a bank heist - there was no room for fumbling - just get to the painting. Find out where it is. Secure it in whatever way possible. Finagle, flirt, lie, cry, even buy - whatever it takes. Hope like hell the guy doesn't sell it out from under me for a few bucks before I can locate him - and it. Two frantic hours later I had secured the address, and with a wad of cash and a blank check, flew into action. 72.6 miles away, in a suburb of Long Island, sitting in a driveway surrounded by fluffy stuffed animals, garden tools, childrens videos, brick-a-brac, sat MY painting - like a mirage, there it was!

As luck would have it, the "owner" of the painting I never sold, was honest, empathetic and genuinely concerned that it be returned to its rightful owner, even tho he was just offered a pretty penny for it and needed the money for a sticky and expensive legal custody battle. I offered a small token sum of cash as a consolation for his loss, my gain. He accepted. We hugged. I cried. My painting is adorning the wall of my living room, never to be removed again. Big sigh, bigger smile, huge lesson learned, happy ending.

30 x 40" Oil on Canvas Not For Sale!
shown below - the EX-owner with "Caroline" and my dog, Mimi

Friday, September 30, 2011

Malicious Melon Demo

I started teaching a 12 week class yesterday and here is the demo I did to show the big brush, thick paint technique. It never even occurred to me at the time that I just happened to chose the country's most unpopular fruit. It's funny how the news of the day can subconsciously work its way into our work.
Canalopes are cheap and so plentiful now, and their structural shapes make them really fun to paint, if you can temporarily forget the havoc they are wreaking. I think I'll focus on bananas next week.
Canelope Culprit
9x12" Acrylic on canvas

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seeing Double

I've really enjoyed painting this "Martini Series". The tricky thing about capturing these cocktails is that if my stance moves even a fraction of an inch to the left or right, the reflections and colors change completely. Its a bit "crazy making". I start questioning myself, 'didn't I just see a mid-value amber colored spot in the upper left area of the glass ... or was that my imagination? Then I have to reposition myself and start searching for it, or move on and wonder where it went - or if it actually existed. I also have to remind myself what was my reason for painting this particular set up. In this case it was the double image of the olive pimento being reflected up into the top surface. A subtle little gorgeous spot of red to break up the sea of cool colors... its a good enough reason for me. Now... where is that amber spot hiding?

Seeing Double
12x12" Acrylic on Canvas
Price on Request

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Consente di pittura in Italia!

Let's Paint in Italy!
It's not too soon to start planning to attend a fabulous painting trip in Italy for 2012. I will be teaching "Paint the Tuscan Landscape Fast, Loose and Bold" from September 8 - 15, 2012. The focus will be on creative interpretations of the Tuscan landscape (and villages) using color in a fauvist, no-holds-barred manner. We will push color to the max and be audaciously bold! You can work in whatever medium suits your taste - oils, acrylic, pastel, etc.
I will be bringing a suitcase full of Golden Gels, Pastes and Mediums that offer a variety of spectacular surfaces you can prep your canvas or paper with. Why begin your painting with a flat white canvas when you can start with a colorful, dramatic surface that has you inspired from the get-go? The old stucco buildings with peeling paint and exotic fas├žades provide the perfect subject matter for exploring texture with these materials. I will be providing full instruction on how to incorporate the various gels and pastes into your work, if you choose to use them.
As always, there will be plenty of guidance and exercises on getting the values correct and creating a "road map" that will give you the freedom to let your colors sing and your spirits soar. Speaking of spirits, there will be an abundance of wine tasting, chocolate sampling and 5 star Italian culinary dining experiences. The itinerary is chock full of sensory feasts - read all about it here. As an incentive for early sign ups, registering before October 30, will save you $100.
It's going to be a fun-filled painting vacation - I hope you can join me! All levels are welcome.
Ciao for now...

Vernazza Colors
18x24" Acrylic on Canvas (SOLD)

Friday, September 2, 2011

On the Cover

This may fall into the category of shameless self promotion but... if you don't toot your own horn, who will? In today's mail I got a nice surprise - my artwork on the cover of "The Artist", a UK based magazine. I had contributed some images and commentary about working with the new OPEN acrylic paints by Golden Paints, which stay "wet" 10x longer than traditional acrylics. A little fame never hurts... hey - I'll take it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Tall Order

Coping with hurricanes is enough to drive one to drinking. We were spared from disaster, but just barely. The telephone pole in front of our place broke in half, as well as two power lines, keeping us in the dark till today. This is nothing compared to what happened in other areas. Power, straight up - it's good stuff.

A Tall Order
Acrylic on Canvas, 12x12"
Price on Request

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ladies Night Two-fers

Ah, TGIF. Not that my weekends are any different than my hectic work week, but at least the potential is there. Love the idea of kicking back and sipping on a tall, frosty something or other.

Ladies Night Two-fers
Acrylic on Canvas, 12x12"
Price on Request

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moonshine Mama

This one is dedicated to a dear friend. A gourmet cook and frequent party giver, she has been known to slip into the caverns of her basement to brew up her own proprietary butt-kicking concoctions, adding exotic ingredients such as the essence of various aromatic flowers from her garden. She delights in serving her friends all forms of lip-smacking delicacies, always performed in a lavish mid century modern style. This ones for you, Nata. Cheers dahling.

Moonshine Mama
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12"
Price on Request

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Party of Three

Well I guess its obvious that I'd rather paint cocktails than do my taxes. Last year I got audited - not fun. I needed several of these after that ordeal. And the sour IRS agent - now theres someone who could really use a few of these too. They just don't get it - artists just want to have fun!

Party of Three
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12"
Price on request

Monday, August 22, 2011


Every since I finished the book - about three weeks ago, I meant to do a painting that celebrates its completion. Problem was that I was so far behind in planet Earth matters, I found myself overwhelmed with an avalanche late stuff - bills, paperwork, correspondence, etc. There was no celebration to be had quite yet. Since I'm starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, I decided to jump in and start a martini series. I'll truly feel like celebrating when that last way-late monster item gets checked off my list - taxes!

Acrylic on canvas 12x12"
Price on request

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best Gig in Town

On Wednesday nights I host a "Jazz 'n Sketch" event at a local tavern. I hire a model to pose so that the artists have a choice of sketching either her or the band. My husband, a jazz musician, invites the top world class players from NYC. This results in what is undoubtedly is the best gig in town. Is there anything more delightful than sketching, sipping wine, while immersed in 360 degrees of an improvisational swinging symphony?
Pencil sketches

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sweets From My Sweetie

My sweetie often comes home after a music gig with a little gift - last week he brought a box of chocolates. My first reaction is that they are too pretty to eat, but would make a beautiful painting so I put them in the freezer till the time comes. Finally... time to indulge!
Oil on Gessoboard 6x6"
Price on Request

Monday, August 15, 2011

Colorful Collection

Finally, I get to post a painting that is not a class demo. Hopefully this will now be the norm. I was inspired by having the new still life painting box set up, so now I can control the lighting and the angles to my liking. To get back in the swing of daily painting, I pulled out my trusty collection of decades old nail polishes, which got me to thinking... it's about time I treat myself to some new shades!

Colorful Collection
Oil on Board 6x6"
Price on Request

Friday, August 5, 2011

4 Apples (Demos)

Demos in "Color as Value"
Here are some quick demos I did for my class in NYC, showing various ways to interpret the same still life, using different value and color combinations. The point of the lesson is that there are many ways to interpret the values, you can try different combinations and see what you like the best.
4 Apples
12x12" Acrylic on Canvas

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Corner Cafe

It's always challenging to make sense out of a crowd scene from a painting standpoint. All those little faces and figures, all that architecture. I chose this scene for exactly that reason, aiming to keep the lively quality but not get too caught up in small details. Waiter - another martini please!

Corner Cafe
Oil on Panel 5x7"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

White Rose 4

A rose is a rose is a rose... I seem to have roses on the mind lately. They are a great shape to play with, endless opportunities to explore color and structure. This little study was done in a color-spot-by color-spot approach, a technique I was introduced to in the early 90's when I took a 5 day workshop with a colorist who studied with the late great Henry Henche. Since then I have noticed that my favorite painters were either Henche students at one time, or come from that tradition. The spot by spot approach requires that you constantly judge color relationships, by color temperature, value, and saturation or intensity. It also involves a lot of exacting color mixing, which in some ways is better suited to oils, since acrylics dry fast. I've been experimenting with Golden OPEN Acrylics and mediums lately, they dry up to 10 times slower than the regular Heavy Body Acrylics. I may paint more roses with oils just to compare. Regardless of the medium, painting a white rose against a white background is a great way to discover spots of lovely, neutral colors lurking everywhere.

White Rose 4
6x6 Acrylic on Canvas

Monday, July 11, 2011

Orange on Pink

Some workshops are better than others. The workshop I taught this weekend falls clearly in the better to best category. At the top of the list is the wonderful group of gals I worked with - ranging in experience level from total beginners to very advanced art teachers. The commraderie, sharing, humor, and personality mix made this a group from heaven. They were a joy to work with as well as a hoot to hang out with. Altho I'm a taskmaster with the pace and the exercises, there was a good balance between learning and laughing. Add to that perfect weather, stunning seaside location and roomy gallery/studio sponsored by the ultimate hostess with the mostess, it doesn't get much better than this.

Here is a still life painting I did, which demonstrated using a color scheme of dominant analagous warm colors with small hints of complementary cool color as accents. The painting took an hour and was done with one 2" brush - which I rarely (if at all) dipped into water because the colors were so related. There was a lively discussion that followed about how to make subjects glow, which translated into a series of exercises on color harmony and relationships.

I always hand out an evaluation form at the end of each class and one of my questions is "What would have made this workshop better?" No matter how long the class is, whether it be 3 hours or 3 days, the answer is always the same... "more time". That makes me feel good, I'm thinking about new lessons and exercises for a 5 day workshop. The icing on the cake, however, is always the great people I meet and get to know. Thanks gals, f0r such a great weekend.

Pink on Orange
9x12 Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Peachy Rose

We are nearing a finale with the seemingly neverending book project, it has already gone thru its first set of major revisions, (way less text and bigger images) and I expect minor things like punctuation finessing from here on in. I see light at the end of the tunnel!

This weekend I'm teaching a two day workshop called "Fast and Fearless Fruit" on the North Fork of Long Island, way out there in a beautiful town called Greenport. The focus will be on technique and translating value to color, rather than on drawing, using very simple shapes. The best way for me to practice for demo-ing is to paint something with a complex form in 15 minute segments, using big brushes. Roses make a perfect subject for this exercise. I set up a white rose on a white background in my studio and did a slew of quick studies, using various color's one.

Peachy Rose
Acrylic on Canvas 6x6"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blue Wall

OMG - it took me a few moments to dig into the crevices of my brain and remember how to post on my blog . Just thought I'd give it a go to remind myself that I WILL paint daily again, hopefully SOON. I'm finishing up the book, "Modern Acrylics" and its about 95% done. The deadline seems to be a tad looser than I was led to believe, isn't that always the case (the rule of thumb in advertising I learned many moons ago is, "never enough time to do it perfectly, unlimited time for revisions"). We are in the "refining" stage now. My publisher has requested a few more paintings to illustrate some of the points I've made in the text. Thankfully, we are in the home stretch now... the book is due to hit the art stores this fall.
Altho I should be in the studio creating those final paintings, in a weak moment I decided to get out the feather duster and start reviving my blog. My husband just handed me the world's most perfect rose from our garden. It's screaming "PLEASE PAINT ME". In a perfect world I will finish the book paintings and get to this rose while it is bursting with color, fragrance and life.
Blue Wall
8x8" Oil on Panel

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

St. Paddy's Blooms

I'm a little late for St. Paddy's day, but I did have this still life set up around that time, with the green backround, and I painted it but wasn't happy with it. There wasn't enough color with just the yellow tulips and the green. So even tho the flowers are long gone, I went in and added the cherry, which I think gives it a nice little pop of color, to contrast all the green. I basically ended up repainting most of it because its weird to just add one element that is a totally different color. Somehow it changes the game and I had revise most of the the colors so everything played nicely together. Its much better to get the still life elements right to begin with rather than recreate the wheel colorwise after the fact. Next time I'll slow down and analyze my setup better before jumping into the paint.

St. Paddy's Blooms
6x6" oil on canvas

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple Slices

I taught an all day painting workshop yesterday at Pelham Art Center. There were 10 students, who ranged from very advanced to total beginner ( in other words, students who had never painted or drawn before). That is a typical mix and its challenging to teach so much in so little time. I am often very pleasantly surprised when working with the total beginners, their approach is so fresh. I hesitate to say "childlike" because that sounds derogatory, which is not the intention. But there is a pureness to the way they bravely apply paint to canvas - so direct, so uninhibited, such interesting color choices.
My painting demonstration took about 45 minutes. I talk the whole time I'm painting in order to explain everything from how to hold the brush to how to apply the paint, how to mix the colors, how to find and stay with the correct values, how to match colors to values, etc.
The workshop is called "How to paint Fast, Loose and Bold". After the demo its time for a lunch break and then time for the students to paint. My goal is to have them complete 3 paintings in about 4 hours, the first painting is done in 45 minutes, the second in 1/2 hr and the last one in 15 minutes. Its challenging! But I was very impressed with the outcome of the work, and took a picture of their paintings (not all the work is shown). Three paintings down, many more to go... Bravo, everyone!

Apple Slices
8x10" Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, March 25, 2011

Red Macs (Sold)

I'm in the process of writing a book about acrylic painting techniques, and my publisher has decreed a "drop dead" date of May 15 for completion of all text and images. Until then, daily painting/blogging will be taking a back seat. It's becoming clear why the deadline is described in those terms. Besides all the writing, I am creating about 50 paintings to illustrate the many unique and beautiful effects made possible through working with, and incorporating acrylic materials like gels, pastes, mediums and special grounds into your artwork. If you have ever been in an art supply store and seen that imposing wall of acrylic products and thought 'what do you do with that stuff?', you will soon know - assuming I survive the rapidly approaching drop dead date.

Red Macs (Sold)
9x12" Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pretty Party

I finally had a little while to get into the studio yesterday. Since I have not had a chance to paint (traditionally) in several days, I noticed an interesting phenomenon, one that I'm quite familiar with. There is an apprehension that wells up when starting a new painting, if I have not been painting everyday. It goes something like this - 'how do you do this again?,' 'can I paint that?', 'it's so detailed, I'll never get those color/value/shapes to read right', 'i bet this one will be a flop', 'where do i begin?' and on and on.... Just putting that first stroke on the canvas is actually a feat of courage, knowing that all color relationships depend on whats around them, and there is nothing yet to judge by. It's very much like putting the first piece of a 1000 piece puzzle right smack in the middle without any point of reference and knowing that the journey ahead is somewhat daunting.
Does this mental rambling sound familiar? Come to think of it, everytime I do something new in life, in general, some form of this fear raises its ugly head. The good thing about getting older is that it doesn't stop me in my tracks anymore. My favorite saying is "feel the fear and do it anyways" which is also the title of a book I read in the early 90's, which forever changed my relationship to fear. The big revelation from reading the book was ... drum roll... the fear never goes away. (Damn! Thats not what I was hoping) The other revelation was, since the fear never goes away, get comfortable with being uncomfortable - which means you are growing - which is why we are here (in my humble opinion). For me, the best way to deal with fear is to just dive in, head first. Starting a drawing, starting a painting, starting anything that requires you do dig inside and make hundreds of decisions and think on your feet, IS daunting. It is uncomfortable do a painting or drawing that turns out poorly. But the alternative, not doing anything for fear it won't turn out well - is stagnating (for me). So what if its a flop, so what if its hard, so what if I make hundreds of wrong decisions? No doubt I will learn something from the endeavor, but best of all I'll show my old pal fear, who's boss - again.

Pretty Party
6x6" Oil on Gessoboard

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fashion Gal with Cool Pooch

My posting has been less than daily lately... I have been working diligently on commercial assignments. Since January I have been writing a book about Acrylic paints and painting techniques, to be published and distributed in stores in October 2011. It's a very time consuming endeavor - but quite enjoyable as well. Truth be known, I am a bit behind schedule, so the daily painting takes a hit till I get caught up.
I'm also producing a line of posters and prints for a large art publisher / distributor to mass market retail stores like Bed Bath Beyond, Target, Pier 1, etc. One of the series we are working on is "Pet Fashion". This is a digital illustration I completed yesterday, an entirely different style than the Fast, Loose, Bold style I normally paint in. It's art, and it's done daily - so I'm posting it! All in all, there are about 25 paintings, mostly acrylics, a few digital, included in the collection. To see the line of prints and posters, check your local "big box" store this summer...

Fashion Gal with Cool Pooch
Digital Illustration