Monday, August 18, 2014

A New Painting And Some News

I have a new painting to show you but first I wanted to let you guys know that my landscape, Abingdon Square Park, has been chosen to be part of the landscape show at the Huntington (Long Island) Arts Council.  I'm so excited to be included in this show.  The show will be hanging from September 3-28, 2014.

Now on to the new painting.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was painting a small set  of peonies since the beginning of the summer.  It started one day when I was on my way to the studio.  I saw a man at a farmers market with some peonies so I bought a couple, stuck them in a vase and went to work.  I had no idea that I would end up doing three different bouquets in two different studios before it was finally finished!

This was the original set up.  Not very exciting, I know.  But my main goal was just to get the peonies on the canvas and worry about the rest later.

Even though I am lucky enough to have air conditioning in my studio, peonies do not last very long.  I bought another bouquet, but of course they were different from the first, so I ended up changing the painting to the new flowers.

I was painting in a friends studio and there was a seller with some great peonies nearby, so I salvaged what I could from the first bouquet and then added the new flowers.  Unfortunately, they lasted less time than the first bouquet, so I replaced them yet again.

Back in my studio, I worked on the flowers and refined the vase as well.  The vase was a bit tricky because of the rectangular shape, but after a few tries I got the shape and color that I wanted.

At this point I thought it was done, but you know me.  I was looking at the painting in my studio and realized that a few things needed some improvement.  There needed to be a little more light on the vase and the middle flower needed to be much lighter.

This is the finished painting.  Don't mind that dry patch on the right.  As soon as the painting is fully dried (about six weeks),  I will varnish it and the color will be uniform.

I'm in the middle of another peony painting right now.  I'll have it up as soon as it's finished, but you know me.  It could be awhile!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More Painting In The Comune di Assisi

As I said in this post, upon our first visit to the Comune di Assisi, we fell in love and ended up spending all of our painting time there.  The little square is so beautiful, and the people so artist friendly, that we had no desire to go anyplace else.

I took a ton of photos of the Comune, but I was so into my painting that I did not document those very well!  Not good for an art blogger, but I will show you what photos I do have.

I worked on this painting over two mornings.

This is a little trattoria opposite from the fountain.  I simply turned my easel around while standing in the same spot under the pharmacy awning. The sun was very bright and the awning and umbrella were such fun to paint.

But I have to tell you, eating in the trattoria was even better than painting it!  The restaurant was closed on most of the days we were there, but one afternoon they opened up and we quickly made a reservation.   The lunch I had there was one of the best meals I've ever eaten in my life.
I just had a farro/veggie soup and some roasted veggies and potatoes, but it was absolutely delicious.  We were all set to go back the next day, but they never opened up again while we were there.

I also spent one day painting the Chiesa Nuova church.  I did not go in the church, but there is a small cell in there where St. Francis was locked up by his father so he would not give up his wealth to follow God.   There are many churches in Assisi, but this one seemed to attract the most visitors.  Across the alley way from the church was a tunnel made of heavy stone, and it was so nice and cool in there that I spent the whole day painting inside it.

As you can see from the photos, the sky was changing throughout the day.  When I got there in the morning, it looked like it was ready to pour, then the sun started coming out, and then it was beautiful. Things can change very quickly while painting outdoors so you have to be ready for anything.

This is my one day painting of the church.  I had intended to go back to that spot and work on it some more, but it didn't happen.

School and religious groups gathered in front of the church every day and the courtyard was always quite busy.  I was glad I was able to paint in my little tunnel.

On the other side of the church was another fantastic trattoria.  They had the best farro estivo (farro and beans) that I've ever tasted.  Can you tell I'm missing the food?

Sitting outside to eat was the perfect break from painting.

This is the cover of the menu.  I love how they change what they serve based on the season.

I have some other paintings from the trip to show you, but I'm going to put them in a separate post.  Have a great Sunday everybody!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Paintings

Hello All,

I'm dropping in to let everybody know that some new paintings have been added to the drop down menus.  The stars aligned and I was able to varnish and photograph over the last few days.

Hope you like them!

Ariel, 16x20, oil

Pink Hydrangeas, 11x14, oil

Dahlias In A Ginger Jar, 16x12, oil

Copper Pot With Oranges, 12x16, oil

Lupines In A Blue and White Vase, 16x20, oil

Let me know what you guys think.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new paintings.  As always, thanks for reading!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Painting in the Comune di Assisi

Before I left for Italy, I had all sorts of grand plans for traveling around and taking day trips.  I planned to visit Florence and Siena and the other hill towns.  But a funny thing happened on the third day of the trip.  We went up to the Comune di Assisi to paint and we all promptly fell in love with the little square.  The Comune, as it is known, is the main square of Assisi.  It is a gathering place for residents of Assisi as well as visitors and tourists.  To me, the Comune is Union Square meets East Hampton.  There are lots of lovely little shops and cafes and even a gallery or two, but there is also a vibrant street life that I just loved.

My first day in the square I decided to paint the fountain.  The Fontana dei Tre Leoni, or fountain of the three lions, has been there since the 16th century and is absolutely beautiful.  It is also used as a frequent photo op for visitors to the square.  I set up under the awning of the farmacia and got to work.  As a side note, every cafe and store owner was happy to have us set up near them.  I loved how the local people were so supportive of artists.  We could use a little more of that in New York.

Anyway,  I worked on this painting over two mornings, from about 10am to 1:15pm at which time the light changed and it was time for lunch.

This was the view I had from under the pharmacy awning.  You can see the three lions in the main pool of the fountain.  All three had water coming out of their mouths.

This is a close up from the other side.  If you look to the middle right of the photo, that is where I was standing.

This is the finished painting.  It is really just a quick plein aire painting that may someday be turned into a larger finished work, but it will always be a beautiful reminder of the fun I had in the Comune painting and people watching.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Inspired By Italy: My Painting Adventure In Assisi

Hello Everybody!!  I'm so glad to be back.  I hope all of you are enjoying the summer.  I just returned from a visit to Assisi, Italy.  I was there on a painting trip with my teacher, Gregg Kreutz, and some other students.  To say I had a great time would be a major understatement.  We painted every day with the exception of the day we arrived.

Assisi is one of the hill towns of central Italy and is best known as the birth place of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy.

Upon arriving I went exploring around town.  This is down the hill from the hotel where I stayed.  Assisi is one of Italy's hill towns.  Going down is fine, but sometimes you need a cab for the way back up!

As I continued walking under the arch, I came upon this scene.  There was a little observation area that looked out over these beautiful fields.  It seemed that no matter where I looked there was something beautiful.

The next morning it was painting time.  Our hotel has a terrace that is as big as my apartment so we set up out there for the first painting day.

This is the view I was looking at when I began painting.  I had never painted roof tops before, but it went surprisingly well.

Here is my start.  I blocked in everything and then began painting the sky.  In a landscape painting, the sky is the background, so I always start with that first.

I then moved on to the houses.  The roof tops had the most light on them, so that took awhile to complete, but it just meant putting multiple coats of paint on the canvas until the painting looked the way I wanted it to.

This is the finished painting.  I was happy to complete a painting on the first day, especially one with so much perspective.

To cap off the evening, the hotel set up a huge screen to show the World Cup finale.  A few of us watched it along with the hotel employees.

So that caps off my first two days in bella Italia.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad I was able to paint there and explore the lovely town of Assisi.  I have many more pictures to show you, so I will have a few more posts with paintings and pictures of the city.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hi Everyone,

I hope all of you are enjoying the summer.  I've been very busy painting and working on my updating project.  This weekend I finished two more paintings.

I originally began work on this painting last October.  I painted it on and off but after letting it sit for a few months, I realized it needed something more before I could call it done.

This was the original set up.  The finished painting bears no resemblance to this.  Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to document the process, so I'll just show you the finished painting.

The Purple Flowers, 12x16, oil

Everything on the canvas has been done for months with the exception of the flowers.  I knew I wanted to add something to the top half of the painting, and when I was wandering around the farmers market this past Saturday, I spotted these gorgeous purple stems and knew they would do the trick.

Next, I finally finished this still life that I have been working on for years.  Yes, I originally painted this about five years ago, but as I gained more knowledge I realized that it needed some work.  Even after I repainted it I was still not happy.  I just couldn't get the green bottle the way I wanted it.

This was the first re-do, but I was just not happy with the bottle.  The light green just did not work for me.  I let the painting sit for awhile, then luckily I happened upon a great dark green bottle.  You know me, I painted the old one right out and now the painting is finally finished.

The Genie Bottle, 16x20, oil

I am so happy with both of these paintings now.  Some paintings just flow off of your brush, but others take time and I've learned that there is nothing wrong with that.  When the right elements showed up, everything clicked into place.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Still Life Redux

I've finished a few paintings over the last couple of weeks, but I'm going to write about this one first.

Do you remember this set up?  I think I began this back in February or March.  I thought it was going to be very easy to do, but as it turned out, this painting was just the opposite.

This was the original block in.  I worked on the painting for a few weeks, but it never really came together.  Add in models coming and going and flowers starting to appear at the markets and it got pushed to the sidelines for awhile.

I did work on it a bit in between other projects.  After I realized that the shape of my vase was wrong, things went a bit more smoothly, but there were still issues.  The most difficult: the white cloth.  If you look at the photo of the still life set up, the cloth was beautifully draped, but I just could not get those folds to look the way I wanted them to.  After several weeks of trying, I decided it was time to move the cloth so that it was easier to paint.  It was still a battle as the cloth looked like it was flowing as it hung off the shelf, but after many coats of paint I finally got it.

I was finally happy with the vase and the cloth, but I felt the painting was still missing something.  I decided to add another spray of leaves behind the orange slice on the right.  A still life should be set up as a triangle so the eye moves from one side of the painting to the other and I felt there was a bit of a gap on the right hand side.

This is the finished painting.  A long haul to be sure, but definitely worth it.  I'm very glad to have this painting done and I'm so happy I did not give up on it.