Friday, December 31, 2010

Busted Flat

A couple of weeks ago lots of people, (including myself) were 'busted flat in Baton Rouge waitin' fer a plane', or more specifically, in the New Orleans Airport due to cancelled flights because of snow flurries in Atlanta (snow in Atlanta? and people are denying unusual global weather patterns?) Everyone was freaking out because they were SO inconvenienced. But not this gal - she had the right idea .... make the best of whatever life hands you. And this artist did the same - sketch and take photos of people just being people. I was presented a perfect opportunity to stop and take in the "now" because I had a wonderful few hours to stop, be in the moment, and see life just being itself.
Busted Flat
Acrylic on Canvas, 6x6"


I used to wear these type of sneakers as a kid. Now they aren't called sneakers anymore, and they look like something out of the future with all kinds of crazy designs, embellishments and odd looking rubber sculptured heels. Found this pair in a thrift store in exactly my size - I'll take em!
Acrylic on Canvas 6x6" $100

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shirley's Christmas Ornament

The green bulb on the left is a vintage ornament that belonged to my mother when she was a child. The metal hanger must be authentic too, because it is so sturdy and feels like metal rather than tinfoil. You can buy bulbs that are recreations of the originals, but there is a glitzy look and feel to them that you don't see in the real thing. I realize I could spend the entire new year just painting these bright, cheerful Christmas ornaments, such eye candy!
Shirley's Christmas Ornament
Acrylic on Canvas 6x6 $100

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cup o' Cherries

I wanted to do a "Christmassy" color schemed painting - ok so blue is not green, but... close enough. We are getting our white Christmas today - on the 26th ... close enough, I'll take it... hoping everyone's new year is like a bowl of cherries ... or at least a cup!

Cup O' Cherries
Acrylic on Canvas Panel 6x6" $100

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Red Apple

Busted flat in Baton Rouge (or close)...8 hours in the Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport - whew! Its been a very long day due to bad weather in the NY area. But the good news is it gave me the opportunity to take some cool photos while waiting... of airplanes at interesting angles, the guys in the brightly colored vests that transport the luggage, other travelers like me who had mega hours on their hands and nowhere to go. Even with all that time, I can always find some way to be busy. We artists can always find some new artistic challenge in any given situation - like our work is never done, theres always a new scene catching our interest that we have to capture in one medium or another - isn't that so? Does anyone else feel the same?
Speaking of rouge, I don't think I'll ever tire of painting brilliant red apples - simple shapes but those vibrant reds and oranges, who can resist?
Rouge Pomme
Oil on Canvas 6x6"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lime Slices

One of the topics we spent a lot of time talking about in the workshop was every artists dilemma (or at least one of them) which is marketing. Consistency counts with blogging, and posting regularly is key. Sometimes its impossible to do a painting every day, and in those events one should post something from their inventory. That being said, since I'm "on the road" and I don't think my hotel mgr. would appreciate my pulling out the paints and turps do a new piece (altho I have done that before) here is a painting I did this summer. I'll be spending the day today kicking around in New Orleans - my second favorite city. Bourbon and voodo and crawfish oh my! Returning to NY tomorrow.
Lime Slices
Acrylic on panel 12x12"

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Tis the season

I was certainly launched into the holiday spirit this past week, traveling to New Orleans for a painting workshop, and getting a big dose of North Pole weather temperatures. If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Carol Marine workshop, go for it. (That in itself is a challenge, considering her workshops fill up 18 months in advance.) She's the real deal, an excellent teacher, very talented and equally sweet. There is something about taking workshops that catapults me into new places of experimentation. I was working in oils this time around, getting re-familiarized with their unique traits. A very different experience from acrylics, but wonderful just the same.
Christmas ornaments
6"x6" oil on panel $100

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ice Cream Cones

Why paint Ice Cream Cones in the winter? Because they are reeeeally fun to paint. And why stop at one with so many flavors/colors to play with? I became obsessed with soft serve ice cream cones this summer - those lovely folds of luscious creamy calories. But being the purist that I am, I had no interest in consuming them, only painting them.
This is a great exercise I give to my students - keep painting the same thing over and over till you know it so well you can do it with your eyes closed (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating there). The first one is usually kind of stiff, because you are feeling your way around it, as you paint it successively you SHOULD (ahem) get loose and confident. And by the time you get to the 4th - or the 14th, you know your subject so well you can paint it with ease, in very few, expressive strokes. The goal is to enjoy the journey and see where it takes you...

Soft Serve Ice Cream Cones
Acrylic on Canvas 9x12" $200.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Blue Cup

Funny thing about this cup - it was white when I bought it but then I painted the outside blue so it would be more interesting to paint - specifically a color that came directly out of the tube - "Baby Blue" or some name like that. While painting this I kept trying to get the right color - Thalo Blue and Cerrulean? Cerrulean and Ultramarine? Thalo and a tinge of Lemon Yellow? Maybe a smidge of Thalo Green in there too? All of the above mixed together? Well by the time I finished the painting, and struggling to get just the right blue it hit me like a brick on the head. Like duh. Why didn't I just pull the tube color and use the real thing? I fear the answer... I only learn things the hard way. Somewhere along the line I must have adopted the philosophy no pain no gain. If anyone wants the recipe for "Baby Blue," I've got it.

Blue Cup
Acrylic on Canvas 6x6" $100.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Grapes and a Strawberry

I did this last night at my class at Pelham Arts Center. 'Twas my last class for the Fall season. I worked with such nice students, who did really fabulous work and made me feel happy to be sharing whatever I know about painting. Its great to give back, and especially great to guide people on a journey of discovering their own creativity. I find it interesting how harshly everyone judges their own work, including myself. We all seem to be comparing ourselves to some standard in our minds of what our work should look like, when what really matters is that we have the courage to face that blank white canvas and put down our authentic reaction to what we see. Everytime we do a painting - or even a stroke - it's a good idea to pat ourselves on the back - just for doing it! A painting a day is one of the best ways I know of to not only progress as a painter, but to move forward in life in general. My all time favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt "Do one thing everyday that scares you." Facing a blank white canvas everyday will do it.

Grapes and a Strawberry
Acrylic on Canvas 8x10"
For more information or to purchase contact

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


How did life get so busy? Its a good thing I paint fast, seems like the only time I get to indulge is in between teaching gigs and planet earth responsibilites. Which is barely enough time to set up a still life and pull out the paints. I had set up this little still life set up yesterday for my students, and by the time class is over and we've scrutinized the colors, the shapes, the values, and everything else possible, I "know" the subject so well I'm ready to paint it myself. But as life often has it, I don't have the luxury of even an hour to sink my teeth into it, usually there is something else nipping at my schedule that requires immediate attention. That was the case yesterday, and by the time I got to focus on it, it was 11 PM. By midnight I was done, tired in a good way, and feeling that nice warm glow of finally having fed my ravenous painting appetite. Next order of importance, feed my growling stomach - cap the paint, heat the oven, pop a Sam Adams, and sink my teeth into a nice hot pizza.

6x6" Acrylic on Canvas
For more information or to purchase, contact:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Red Wine

Theres nothing like a whirlwind of sales to put wind in my sails. And no better way to celebrate than a bottle of good red wine. Or even cheap red wine. Frankly, anything with alcohol content will do. I sold 9 paintings today to two art lovers visiting from Germany and Switzerland. They rented a car and drove up from NYC, navigating to my impossible-to-find studio, charminly located across from a horse stables and a chicken coop. By the time they got within earshot of my place, Kermit the rooster who is notable for his incessant crowing (aren't they only supposed to do that in the morning) provided them with perfect-pitch audio GPS. Thanks Kermit - I couldn't have done it without you. Now could you keep it down till my next studio visit?
9x12 Acrylic on Canvas
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blue Bottle

A pretty setup from my Rye class, simple but old blue bottle that had a beautiful glow about it, and a juicy red apple. The pistachio green cloth really provided a nice complementary contrast with the red hues of the apple.

The challenge when trying to capture a beautiful light effect is less about recording exactly what you see - once you learn certain painting skills any "technician" can do that - and much more about creating the effect of the light, the magic. This involves a whole host of other considerations - pushing, pulling and manipulating warms against cools, lights against darks, neutrals against saturated hues, soft edges, hard edges, simplification vs detail, etc etc. Its a game of pulling out your bag of tricks and using everything in that bag in the right proportions to coax out the magic of the light. And when you finally achieve that glow - what a treat ... just in time for halloween!

Blue Bottle SOLD
Acrylic on Canvas 8x10

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Girl on the Beach

This is a painting I did recently on the shore of Long Island, in a pretty town called Greenport. It was windy, cloudy, sunny, cloudy again, etc, making the changing light effect difficult to capture. There is nothing like painting en plein air, fast - on the spot, to get your focus sharpened and your reflexes in high gear. No time to think - just paint!

Girl on the Beach
Oil on canvas, 9x12
For information or to purchase, contact

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lemon Slices

Yesterday was a painting marathon. I setup this still life for one of my students and painted along with them, painting from whatever angle I could find. I always let the students get the "good view" and I take whatever is left, but that in itself is a great lesson for me. As artists, we are often faced with less than ideal settings and situations and we have to find ways to "make it work" one way or another. If the composition doesn't work or the lighting is bad or the angles are awkward or the subject gets up and leaves, what can we do to fix it? The good news is that we have permission - aka artistic license - to do whatever it takes to make the painting work. Having a deep bag of artistic tricks, learned from dealing with many imperfect situations helps. In otherwords, learning how to best make lemonade from lemons. The other two paintings were done after class, where I could arrange the slices however I chose, stand wherever I wanted to get a good view. Interestingly enough, I like the first one the best, where I had to work dilligently from my big bag of tricks.
Lemon Slices 1,2, and 3
6x6" Acrylic on Canvas
For information or to purchase, contact

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Salsa Shoes

Ok, I don't know if these are latin shoes or not but thats how my husband describes them. I can't imagine trying to dance in them but I recently heard that some women broke the Guiness Book of World records by running a marathon in stilletos to raise money for breast cancer research (without breaking their ankles in the process).With that in mind, it's entirely possible to dance in them.
So enough of painting shoes in lieu of wearing them, I'm starting to feel like a poser. I courageously wore these "Latin" numbers last night, to a swanky restaurant. Now I see why women in stilletos hang tightly on to their men - its less about romance than stability. Besides towering over my husband, who normally towers over me, I had to think twice about drinking that second cosmopolitan. Tipping over face first would definitely add drama but not in the intended way. I made it home without incident, delighted to slip into my cozy fuzzy pink bunny slippers.

Salsa Shoes
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12
For more information or to purchase, contact Simie Maryles Gallery at:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pink Platforms

Crutches, anyone? My days of wearing these lovely accidents waiting to happen are over - at least for 3 more seasons. I got thru summer with no broken bones, now I can safely and gratefully pack them into storage oblivion. I've decided they are easier to paint than to walk in, but fashion never was about logic. Goodbye pink platforms, make room for the pink suede boots!

Pink Platforms
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12"
For more information or to purchase contact:

btw, I took step by step demo photos of the painting evolving in stages, which took about 2 hours total, if you would like to see them, let me know and I'll upload the images to my website under "demos"

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cotton Candy High Heels

This was a still life that one of my students set up in class today. I pulled out my paints and decided to join them, setting up my easel wherever I could squeeze in. I couldn't be picky about views, had to take whatever I got. The composition was interesting - one shoe in a complete profile, the other in extreme foreshortening. It worked out OK, I think! One of the things we talked about in class is that shoes are deceptively challengin to paint, because if the shoe is not drawn properly and in proportion, it will look really wrong - especially if its a high heel. Women know shoes, the way guys know cars (OK, thats a generalization, but...). And they can spot in a split second if the proportions or angles are off. Its best to get the drawing correct before jumping head first into the thick, soupy paint or ... mudpie city!

Cotton Candy Slingbacks
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12

For information or to purchase, contact

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coffee and Dunkin Donuts

Calories, anyone?

Coffee and Donuts
Acrylic on Canvas 12x12"

For information or to purchase, contact

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boat Painting

Painting boats en plein air, its tricky. The boats move, the light changes, there is always distractions from curious bystanders who are fascinated and want to chat, the schlepping, the bugs, I always forget my visor and sunblock. So many things to deal with, so little time to work with before the light pattern has changed completely, about 3 hours tops. However all these factors put together make for a painting that communicates a bold, immediate reaction to your subject matter which is hard to simulate in a controlled studio setting. Your color, values and drawing decisions have to be quickly calculated and ruthlessly executed - no time to waver. Get it right - now - and move on quickly.
I discovered a marina in Rye, New York yesterday at about 3:45. After getting permission to paint there, parking, setting up my easel, putting out the colors, brushes, doing a quick sketch etc, I was ready to roll at about 4:30. Minus about 1/2 hour of chat time with some local boat owners who kindly offered me beer, water, and a sunset boatride, the painting was done at 6 PM. Just in time to enjoy that sunset cruise - which departed about 10 minutes prior ... next time!

Rye Marina SOLD
12x12 Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yellow Rose

A rose is a rose is a rose...
that elegant simplicity of a rose in bloom is so alluring. Yet is there anything more challenging to paint? The tendancy is to paint every single petal, accounting for the layers and layers of lush fullness that makes the rose so voluptuous. However in approaching it that way, one can quickly find themselves on a slippery slope of painting every petal and eliminating all the "magic" that struck us upon first glimpse. This is one of the many challenges of painting such an exquisite, complex, masterfully designed form. Implying the complexity but painting the simplicity and the drama ... not so easy.
My husband bought me a dozen yellow roses for my recent birthday. One of them stood out as being so "perfect" in its structure and design, so "architectural", that I decided to bring it to class and have my students paint it. What added to the challenge was that it was set against a very light backround, with little contrast to "fall back on". When everyone left, I pulled out the paints and went at it too.

Yellow Rose Acrylic on Board 10x10
If you are interested in purchasing, contact me at:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Strappy Shoes

Strappy shoes - can you ever have enough of them? Patent leather pumps, rhinestone bejeweled sandals, chunky platforms, slinky mules, leather studded spikes ... they're easy on the eyes, tough on the feet, and so delightful to paint!

"Strap Happy" Acrylic on Canvas 12x12" SOLD

Friday, September 17, 2010

Party Shoes

Shoes are so really fun to paint! The white shoe was last worn on June 30, 2001, the day I got married. Seems a shame that I haven't had an opportunity to wear it since, but being a more predisposed to wearing black than white, it just doesn't get much action. That strappy shoe makes a perfect painting subject however, so at least it is now immortalized, with extremely fond memories, whether it gets worn or not.

Wedding Bells 12x12" Acrylic on canvas SOLD

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet Stuff

Here's a painting I started last night at 9:30 and finished at 10:45. I went out and bought all kinds of sweet things to paint, so stay tuned for a slew of paintings of desserts, ice cream, candy, cookies and all the stuff we love to eat, drink - and look at too! This is my first in the "Sweet Stuff" series. I took photos from start to finish to show the step by step progression, I'll be uploading them and posting to my website "demos" page.

"Sweet Stuff" Acrylic on Canvas, 12x12"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pink Purse

Here's a quickie piece I did the other night did for my series of "Girl Stuff" paintings. At 10 pm, my first available free time of the day, I grabbed all my purses, dragged them into the studio, and honed the composition down to just 3 favs. I've had this pink purse for.... 10 years at least? but NEVER used it - I carry too much stuff for this size purse. However, it was just SO cute, I had to have it. Somehow I must have known when I bought it that it was too pretty to pass up - even if it's true fate was simply to paint.

Pink Purse 12x12 Acrylic on Canvas SOLD

Monday, August 2, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

2 maters (some say 2 mahhters)

A recent trend for those of us who paint every day is to post our daily work and sell either off the blog or post on ebay to auction. Guess its time to wrap my brain around ebay. Until then, I'll be posting here. I'm still new at "blogging" - so much to learn, always!

Here is a painting I did last night, of some beautiful tomatoes that were too pretty to eat. However now that they have been immortalized, they will end up in tonight's salad.

This is named "2 maters", 9x12 Acrylic on Board

Friday, March 19, 2010

Color as Value Lesson

I find that the place most students get stuck is translating color into value. Finding the right colors and values is all about viewing your subject matter as values in relationship to each other. One aspect of the still life will appear as one value, if you are looking at it in isolation, but the trick is to look at everything in relationship to each other, according to their values. Students often try to determine the value of any given part of the setup, but if they are looking at it in isolation, their values will be off. Its about seeing all values in the context of the entire setup - NOT in isolated pieces.

Here is an example of the setup we had in class today at Rye Arts Center - as well as my quick value (charcoal) sketch (approx. 3"x2") and my acrylic painting, done in about 20 minutes, on 9x12 paper/board. I pushed the values, somewhat, making the background the darkest value and assigning the items in the still life a light value and 2 shades of grey. While I worked on the painting, I taped the value sketch in front of me to make sure that I'm staying on target. This value sketch is my "road map". If I am satisfied with the values I established in the sketch, I will stick with them thru the painting, regardless of the variations in the actual setup.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Student's Work

One of the things I'm a real stickler for, in my own work and as a teacher, is getting the values right. I'm not concerned with getting the exact colors, because the type of painting I teach is not about photo realism. I encourage my students to explore and take lots of artistic license with color - with one stipulation - the color has to match the value. Before they start painting, my students all do a value sketch, in charcoal. This serves as their roadmap to how they have translated the subject into 3 or 4 values. Whenever there is a question as to why something is not working, we look at the value sketch and its usually apparent. Most often, when there is a problem, it is because they have strayed from the value sketch, and re-interpreted the colors, switching values.

I wanted to post a painting that one of my beginner students did a couple of weeks ago. This is a perfect example of working within the values, determined by the charcoal sketch, and working intuitively with colors. A perfect example of, "if the values are correct, the painting will work regardless of color". Bravo, Susan - well done!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

American Express buys extended license for Patti Mollica's NYC paintings

2010 is turning out to be a great year. American Express commissioned me to create two of my distinctive New York City images for use as decals indicating American Express’s acceptance at establishments throughout the U.S. Amex has been so pleased with the finished work, they licensed extended rights for a full menu of other uses. So keep your eyes open for my New York paintings on billboards, collateral, ads…who knows where!

Recent News: Patti Mollica featured in March 2010 "Artist's Magazine"

I was honored to be a finalist in the Landscape category of the 2009 Artist's Magazine Annual Competition, and was selected for their "Competition Spotlight" feature article. The landscape category included natural and urban landscapes, as well as interiors. I will post a jpg of the article for anyone who is interested in reading the story.