Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Water's Edge", Watch Rock Preserve, Old Lyme, CT, IRISH TRAVEL JOURNAL artist's workshop

6"x6"x1" oil on archival cradled panel
For more information, or to purchase, click here.

I am really enjoying the process of these paintings - starting with a watercolor sketch on location, and basing an oil painting on these, using intuition, memory and the color sketch. 

This is such great fun, and I find that I'm able to record a lot of 'usable' information visually. Not only do I get to enjoy the sketch journal, but I enjoy them a second time when I use them for the basis of an oil painting. 

If you like this idea, you should consider joining me this September in Ireland! I am leading & teaching an IRISH TRAVEL JOURNAL workshop. We'll be based on Valentia Island, with Barbara Mastaglio's Art on the Ring of Kerry (Ireland) Plein Air Artist's Retreat. I've been there many times now....8? 9? or 10? after a while, who's counting- I'm welcomed like a local, and you will be, too! Barbara lives there when she's not in the U.S. and we are able to see and experience some incredible things! Mark your calendar for September 11-18th, 2016. The website will be updated soon will this year's information: In the mean time, enjoy the scenery!


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

December Gold, Old Lyme, Watch Rock Preserve, CT

6"x8" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

I've embarked on a fun series of paintings along the Connecticut River. They'll be part of a show this summer in Old Lyme, CT.  Back in November, when it started getting chilly, I started taking my sketch-book all around with me, and sought out places along the river. A friend of mine directed me to Watch Rock Preserve, and I have to admit, I've fallen in love with the all seasons.  Carrying my sketchbook along became pretty efficient for me, and I decided to paint in oils from these sketches and memory.  My oil paintings aren't a "botanical review" by any means, but an interpretation of the brilliance and exuberance I feel from the good energy of the river!

Here's a view of the quick sketch from my sketch-book:
I know a lot of artists really resist painting on location, and paint only from photos. While photos can be an 'okay' memory jogger, there's nothing like capturing 'color notes' on location, while the 'exciting thing' is staring you in the face! Hearing the birds, smelling the brine of the water at low tide, watch the water sparkle as the sun burns through mist...all those things stay with you when you take part in just sitting ...slowing down...and observing. Your heart rate slows, your breathing steadies, ahh....nature therapy is the best prescription for any thing that ails you!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

And the decorations are coming down....

Starting with the angel, and the ribbons, then the glass icicles, gold glass balls, and all the pretty little things...they will all get stored away for another year! Between all the family, fun and festivities...I stretched out the making of these 2 pages over several days! Yes, it's in a Stillman & Birn Zeta series sketchbook. I'm usually quite fond of a textured paper, but this is smooth, and I'm finding that I'm enjoying this type of paper as well.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ascension - Memory is one of the Most Beautiful Realities of the Soul

"Memory is one of the most beautiful realities of the soul." - John O'Donohue (from Anam Cara)
Monday a week ago, (at the end of December), it was so warm here in Connecticut, another gorgeous balmy day (ok in the mid 40s not bad for a New England winter). I was determined to get as many sketches in as I could before cold weather came. My phone rang on the way out to the painting site. Then I got a text....and another phone call. My friend's son had passed away the day before. He's just a year younger than my own daughters. My heart felt like I had a brick on my chest. 

I was determined to sit and paint...and capture the sky-scape that I had come to paint. My intention is to paint this quite large, in oils on canvas. My thoughts were on my friend, my brush went on automatic. That beautiful sky....his new home....but here on earth, our hearts deeply crushed. 

Over the many years that I have painted, there are always some that are a struggle, others that fall off the brush in ease, some that fill your heart when you see them, some you remember every bit about the day at the moment you painted the scene. I will always remember this one. 

It's difficult to start the year with such a post. This weekend, we celebrate the life of this young man. It will be a hard day. Yet my heart is hopeful that we will bring some comfort to this family. There will likely be a lot of friends attending, grieving with the family. 

I've been reading "Anum Cara - A Book of Celtic Wisdom" by John O'Donohue, and found this quote really resonating with me, "I like to imagine that death is about rebirth. The soul is now free in a new world where there is no more separation or shadow or tears." 
I'd like to share a reading by Mr. O'Donohue, reading his poem Beannacht - A Blessing for the New Year (it's lovely to hear that Irish lilt in his voice, but the poem is exquisite). 

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Calendars for 2016 - "Remains of the Day" - Favorites of the Year

Time....we all have the same amount. Some times we waste it, we all spend it, we'd like a bit more of it...and lots/most of us try to plan it.  Hence, the calendar. 

Especially in December, it's easy to feel a bit frayed at the edges with all the "busy-to-do-ness" of the month. 

Take a deep breath, remind yourself it's okay to say "No" to some things. 

Turn it around and remind yourself of the blessing of having 'bounteous' things to do, so much that you could actually refuse some of it .....and then find a way to do just that, there are some things that just don't need your presence to be there, but it's sure nice to know we're not lonely, not lacking for engaging opportunities. 

And if you do find yourself in a lonely spot...well, this is the month perhaps to say, "Yes, I will".  Find a volunteer opportunity, say yes to the party invite, or the open door of a church or community organization. There are a lot of ways to become more engaged in your community if that is what you are seeking.  

My wish for you is to feel loved, not just this 'holiday season', but always. 

Well, here it is, the annual favorite...with everyone's favorites! The basic way of marking time, planning your days, fitting in what's important to YOU, dear friend! 

Here's the pics - so you'll know what you'll be seeing as you go through next year! They are available on my website, still at $20 + $4.95 shipping.

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Monday, November 30, 2015

New England Letters - a subscription service for you, through Etsy!

"Words are as beautiful as wild horses, and sometimes as difficult to corral." - Ted Berkman

For more information about New England letters, and to subscribe, click here.
Do you miss the "good old days" when we actually wrote 'real' letters? Remember the way we held on to them, how good that felt?...and special ones we'd tuck away in a drawer to read again and again. And if by chance, you had a really creative friend - maybe you'd have the good fortune to get an 'illustrated' letter once in a while. Did that ever happen in your life? Did you ever dream of it? Something that's small, perhaps inconsequential....but perhaps not. It might be the juicy note you'd want to save...maybe even frame because it's just that pretty!  

Well, I don't think I'd call these "juicy" by today's standards...just "newsy stuff from home"....meaning of course - my home - here in New England. Each month I've painted a scene from my travels around town, and around all of New England.  On top of the painting, I write the news of the month - in the form of a YOU or to any dear friend you'd like to have receive it!  So in that way - it's personalized for the recipient. Each month, I paint a new scene with the current happenings, and mail it to my subscribers!  What a nice gift for yourself, to be able to go to the mailbox, and once a month receive an illustrated letter from a dear friend (me!).  You may have someone else in mind, someone who needs a bright spot in their day - maybe an elderly parent,  dear friend or special neighbor.  If you choose this as a gift for someone else, I tuck a note in their first illustrated letter explaining that it's from you...and that you chose them to receive it each month as a gift from you.  

Sometimes there will be other delightful ephemera tucked away in your envelope with your letter. Just because, it's fun!

And yes, I AM an oil painter, but one who likes a bit of watercolor sketch-book keeping as well! 
 Here's the September letter in progress! Just another beautiful day in Mystic, CT!

and same with October, a little view from Clyde's Cider Mill here in Mystic. 
November's news was from further afield, up in the Acadia National Park, Maine!
As you go through this Advent season leading up to Christmas, it seems there is always such a rush, and it can be so frustrating to allow ourselves to be caught up in the frenzy. I am frequently reminding myself to 'slow-down'; take care of that I can help take care of others and enjoy this celebration of the birth of Jesus (and yes, all the things that go along with this). Part of that taking care is keeping things as simple as I can make order to be able to enjoy as much as I can. 
Breathe in slowly and fully...and release it ...allowing the extraneous to leave your body...and only the calm to remain. I'd love to hear from you - let's share how we get through the holiday season, and keep ourselves, calm and happy....and remember the reason for the season. 



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Thursday, October 29, 2015

End of Summer Paintings, Blues, Deux, and Transitions

30"x24"x1.5" oil on gallery wrapped canvas
To purchase "Delphinium Blues", or for more information, click here.  
The colors in my summer garden are long past now, but I'm just getting around to sharing the new of what I made of it! First - a whopping bundle of thank-yous to my hubby (my personal garden guru) who had the good foresight to try delphiniums one more time! We usually manage to kill them off, pronto. But this time, their survival mechanism kicked in, so that they could actually look great in the yard for a while AND get to be in a painting! 

16"x20" x1" oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas
For more information, or to purchase "Deux, S'il Vous Plait" , click here.  
 Summer in New England is rather delightful. My back deck is always beckoning, hydrangeas have been spectacular this year! The good thing is, there are always plenty to cut for another painting!
Like this one:
 30"x24"x1.5" Oil on deep gallery wrapped canvas. 
For more information or to purchase "Transitions", click here. 
If you haven't guessed it by now, or you are new to my blog, you know that I love painting flowers from life. This batch is nearing the end of the summer season, and funny thing, all these came from the same bush! Sort of symbolic, I reasoned. We all go through our seasons in life. "Transitions" really resonated with me, as we've been through some of life's big transitions this year, among them; travel, a funeral, a wedding, and some new work changes my hubby is taking on. This painting really is my heart-felt favorite of the year. 

But then, there are small pieces that I do love, too!
10"x10"x1" oil on cradled birch panel
For more information, or to purchase "Deep Blue and Copper" click here.  
Some of the last hydrangeas of our summer garden are in this bouquet, before an early frost got to them. They are just one of my favorite garden flowers - I'd miss them like crazy if we didn't have them! So I paint them, so that we can all enjoy them year round. I do hope one of these resonates with you, too!   

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