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
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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