Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dressed for the Fest

"Festive Fowl"  12x16" Acrylic  Click to View
As we find ourselves in the tail end (sorry, couldn't help myself) of 2013, I hope this finds everyone in a place of cheerful optimism in welcoming in the new year. Myself, I'm grateful to be on this journey of being an artist, and all the new avenues of learning and discovering it constantly serves up. At times it is a frustrating, daunting and downright exacerbating path, but as every artist knows, there is often an unexpected breakthrough just around the bend that sustains the passion to keep pushing the envelope. Thankfully, this path is never boring; new discoveries abound as quickly as we open ourselves to them. Wishing you all happy endings and inspired new beginnings. Cheers!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ruminating Rooster

"Ruminating Rooster"  12x16"  Acrylic  Click to View
As the proud "mom" to 3 lovely chickens  (as well as an array of other critters), I can tell you they are full of charming personality and nuanced moods, can you tell?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ranting Rooster

"Ranting Rooster" 12x16 Acrylic  Click to View

I decided to get out my big brushes and have some fun. I ended up with a series of 4 roosters.
Happy holidays to all - Hope your new year is something to crow about!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Precious Metals

"Precious Metals"  8x10"  Acrylic on Canvas  Click to Bid

I have brave gals in my friday morning class - whatever I put in front of them, they just dig their heels in and paint. Despite a little bit of whining (this is too hard!) they always come out with flying colors and great paintings. I have to admit, this one actually was pretty challenging, considering all the shimmery metallic reflections to deal with. I decided to set up an easel and share their pain. All I know for certain is that as challenging as this was to paint, the true pain is in strapping them on and trying to walk. Seeing this painting has revived my husbands attempts to get me to wear them again.  Fat chance!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

J Train Blues

J Train Blues  Oil  8x10" Click to view

How to create a (potential) flop:  Wait till the painting is done and then realize there is no focal point. Then decide what image would make a good focal point, and realize you don't have it. Then look for that exact specific image, at the correct angle, and realize you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Then spend a bunch of time to create the specific image without decent reference and try to figure out what it would look like, and what size it should be, and what the lighting would be, and hope like hell it looks like it works in the scene. Prepare to cry in your beer...
Lesson learned...I got myself in a pickle, then luckily managed to get out. It was a lotta work.

Next time: think first, plan a little, nail down the focal point, finish the painting, and then ... drink the beer

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Un-Nude Ascending a Staircase

Blonde Ascending a Staircase  8x10"  Oil on Gessoboard
Most people don't think of subway stations as being particularly colorful. This one in Queens would prove them wrong...gotta love those pastel hues.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chelsea Hipster

Chelsea Hipster  6x6" Oil  Click to Bid
This scene is 25th and 10th, the heart of the gallery district in Chelsea, where everyone looks at art... and their phones.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Converse Low Tops

"Converse Low Tops"  6x6" Oil  Click to Buy
While most people are engaging in typical holiday activities, I have finally eeked some time to paint!

About 10 minutes into this painting I thought, gee, didn't do a very good job of lighting this - the subject matter is almost entirely in shadow, with no clear definition of the light/shadow areas, other than the cast shadow. Oh well ... stop yer snivelling and make it work (my favorite mantra to myself).  I decided to pull out the oils for a change of pace. I have a lovely stash of Williamsburg Oil paints that have been collecting dust since August, last used during my plein air NYC city gig.

Oils and acrylics, such very different exotic and wonderous animals. I don't think I will ever be able to choose which one I love better. I'm thankful for that too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

...On the Road Again

"Willie"  18x24" Pastel 
like Willie, I've been on the road a lot, since about mid-September. Between teaching gigs, doing DVD's, lectures, trade shows, and even a grammar school reunion, I've been here there and many places in-between. Now I'm ready to head homeward and get back to daily painting. Even weekly will do.

Posted here is an illustration I did in the early 80's for RCA Records, "Willie Nelson's Greatest Hits" album cover. I don't think Willie would mind my dredging him up as a blog post to suffice till I can create something new. Looking forward to home sweet home... er... studio sweet studio so I can start pushing paint around again... I miss it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sleeping on the Job

"One Slacker"  6x6"  Acrylic  Click to Buy
Looks like the rest of the crew is poised and ready for action. Everyone except this one slacker, who is clearly down for the count. There's one in every crowd...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cleaning Crew

"Cleaning Crew"   6x6"  Acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to buy
Uh-oh, I'm at it again, snagging the cleaning products in my studio building. Hope no one needed the Dr. Bronner's handwash, Murphy's Oil Soap or the water mister tonight...they will just have to forgive this artist who could not resist their alluring colors.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Autumn Colors

"Autumn Colors"  11x14" Acrylic on Stretched Canvas  Click to Buy
Who isn't inspired by the spectacular colors of a crisp autumn day?
 In New York, this is the most beautiful time of the year!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Rose is a Rose (is a Rose)

"A Rose is a Rose"  8x8"  Acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to buy
Pink roses are my favorite. But I also can't resist those elegant creamy white roses. Then again red roses are so sumptuous. Nevermind... they are all magnificent!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fields of Gold

Fields of Gold, 8x10", acrylic Click to Buy
A painting from Tuscany, one of the most beautiful places in the world...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Painting Demos, again

Red Petals  8x10"  Acrylic

I've been practicing demo paintings for an upcoming video shoot... landscapes, tuscany scenes, still life, etc. Here is a little flower painting ... still trying to decide what subjects would be best for the demos. Yikes, getting filmed...its a bit scary!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Painting Demos

It has been a busy summer - with very little time to post - or paint! Mostly I have been teaching painting and "painterly collage" classes, and teaching workshops in monoprinting, how to create textural, layered surfaces using acrylics, and image transfer techniques, amongst others. 

Yesterday and today I made up for lost time - I did 9 paintings as practice exercises for my upcoming video shoot in Ohio. I will be teaching a little bit of everything in these 3 videos - designing with values, color theory, and fast, loose painting.  Posted here are some exercises I will demo for the "translating values to color" segment. 

Now that summer is coming to a close I am ready for it to start. Tomorrow I'll be taking off for a few days to go camping and canoeing in the Adirondacks and the weather is supposed to be perfect... I can't wait! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zig Zag Thru Midtown (again)

Zig Zag Thru Midtown II,  Acrylic  14x14"  Click to buy 
Have you ever finished a painting and then said to yourself - ' It works, but it's not what I was aiming for'.  That happens to me often enough, and it usually means I want the painting to have a looser, more abstract quality about it.  

Often before I start a painting, I will sketch it out in charcoal to get the basic drawing and proportions accurate. This is how I started the painting in my previous post from July 3. The only problem with this approach is that it can feel like I'm just "filling-in-the-lines", working in a coloring-book manner, which can feel constricting.  For this painting I decided to just jump in head first with paint, without working out the drawing first, and gradually "sculpt out" the shapes and whatever detail was necessary. This approach, to me, is much more engaging, and feels less mechanical. It forces me to work out the drawing while I'm painting, without the security of a safety net. It also makes me "react"more, stroke by stroke, to continually make choices about the balance of shapes and overall design. 

As I look at both paintings side by side, I'm not sure there is an obvious difference that I started them in completely different manners. But as the artist, my experience working on each was so different. I was more creatively engaged in the second one, and felt much freer in every way, including more freedom in color choices. 

In the end, for me, its about keeping the experience imaginative, fresh and somewhat unpredictable.  Which means experimentation and going outside my comfort zone... I suppose that translates into a higher liklihood of more pieces that "fail"... but how can one grow or have breakthroughs if they are not experimenting and taking risks? In other words, that old saying comes to mind... no pain, no gain.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Zig Zag thru Midtown NYC

Zig Zag thru Midtown  14x14" Acrylic  Click to buy
So where was I before I left for Indiana? ... oh yeah - Bikers in NYC. Here's another on that theme...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Commissioned Portraits

"Charlotte"  Charcoal on Paper

A trip back to memory lane in the 70's, doing 10 minute portraits at a booth in a Syracuse mall, one after the other, all day long ... I don't do many commissioned portraits anymore, but I made an exception for this one. Cute as a button, right?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Traffic Patterns

"Traffic Patterns" 14x14" Acrylic  

Anyone who has been to New York City knows that the performance provided by these bike messengers rivals any broadway show entertainment - and it's free! They are amazingly agile and graceful as they weave in and out of a blur of racing traffic, a real sight to behold.

I'm leaving for Indiana to teach a "How to Paint Fast, Loose and Bold" workshop - and looking forward to seeing that part of the country. Be back early next week to continue indulging my biker fascination...I'm really having fun with these guys!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Opposing Forces in NYC

"Opposing Forces"  14x14" Acrylic

In NYC, anything goes. So why not teal streets?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Howard Street Grunge

Howard Street Grunge  9x9" Acrylic
Playing around with shapes and colors... This was painted from an old photo of a Soho building which I took back in the days when there was actually grunge in that neighborhood. It is long gone!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Northbound on 10th II

Northbound on 10th (II)  18x24" Acrylic  Buy Now
This is the same subject I painted yesterday, just playing around with new colors and exploring other methods. Normally I start out with a rough drawing but in this case I just started out with big colored shapes and then honed in gradually. The painting went from totally abstract to fairly representational.  
I was actually aiming for more abstract depiction but no one was in the studio to take my brush away, so I kept breaking up the shapes and turning them into recognizable things. I like it, even tho I had something else in mind. Maybe next time. 

The piece is 18x24", here's a detail. I may cut it up and crop it like this...

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Northbound on 10th"  18x24" Acrylic  Buy Now
Summertime is here and it's time to ... paint the city! I have an upcoming show at Simie Maryles Gallery in  Provincetown starting Labor Day weekend and there is no better time than now to start creating new work. The gallery is known for its New York City artwork, so that will be my main painting focus this summer. 

My goal on this piece was just loosen up and play with color, do some abstraction, create movement, simplify, etc.  It's the type of image I'd like to play with many more times, and keep experimenting, trying new things each time. I may do that - or not. In our garden the roses, foxglove, cosmos and begonias are in full bloom and begging to be painted.  Hmmm, decisions, decisions. What's that I said about focus?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Orange and Cherry Reflections

"Orange and Cherry Reflections"  8x8" Acrylic  Click to bid

This still life was set up for my Wednesday morning painting class, specifically to learn about dealing with the interesting reflections cast on a shiny metallic surface.  After class ended, I just had to jump in and paint it myself. 

A new summer session of 8 classes is beginning soon, and we are switching to Thursday mornings for painting, and Thursday afternoons for "Painterly Collage".  Below is a sample of the type of project that incorporates collage, acrylic gels, pastes and mediums, stamping, spraying and more. Working in a mixed media style is big fun, and I for one can't wait for class to begin. There is something very freeing about layering and mixed media, its a completely different approach than working only with paint and brushes. If you are local (NYC / Hudson River Valley), come join us!

"Heading Downtown"  18x24"  Mixed Media (SOLD)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Two Pears

Barbara's Pears  6x6"  acrylic  (SOLD)
Finally back from traveling and spending some time with my folks. The Syracuse workshop went great although we all wished it were longer. We have already begun planning a 5 day workshop in spring 2014 to cover more ground - namely color theory and color schemes.
Here is one of the demo paintings I did. I set up a simple still life and composed two value studies, using black, grey and white values to illustrate a big point about seeing values - namely that there are many ways to translate an image into a simple value structure. It's up to the artist to simplify and push the values one way or another to make the painting work. In otherwords, the artist is the designer, not the transcriber. I often push students to do more than one value study, to determine which ones work best, and to get them into the habit of doing what works - rather than copying what's there. (IMHO) designing the overall value structure is key to strong compositions!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tulips and Cherries

Tulips and Cherries  Acrylic, 6x6"

This is a painting of the still life I set up for my Wednesday morning class. After the students left I decided to paint it myself. 
Today I'm leaving for about a week, to teach a workshop in Syracuse NY, my hometown. I'm looking forward to the workshop, as well as spending some time with my family!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New York City Impressions 2

City Impressions  2  Acrylic on WC Paper  14x14"
Another piece for the show... the view is from Soho looking North. I like working on paper, but when the time comes, I am not going to enjoy all the framing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New York City Impressions

City Impressions 1  Acrylic on WC Paper 10x10"
I'm creating a lot of new work for my upcoming show in Provincetown at Simie Maryles Gallery. It starts on Labor Day weekend in September and will be up for a month. The entire show will be a collection of urban landscapes based on NYC. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Only the Good Die Young

A Few Good 'Maters   Acrylic on Gessoboard  8x8"  $150  Buy Now  
Every artist knows that at a certain point you stop looking at your subject altogether, and just start giving the painting what it needs.  At that certain point, apparently, the far left tomato rolled off my table and landed near my right foot. Needless to say, the little guy got squished mercilessly, after posing so patiently. Well, life ain't fair. At least he was immortalized in paint -- a better fate than most tomatoes get!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The (dreaded) self-portrait

Self Portrait  Acrylic on Gessoboard, 8x10"

Egad, I have not done a self portrait since college. I mean really, who wants to stare at themselves for hours on end... it is not for the faint of heart. But alas, I couldn't avoid it any longer. I am in the home stretch of completing my third book, which is all step-by-step demos of various subjects and issues that painters encounter, such as painting glass and reflections, creating depth with color temperature, layering in glazes, experimenting with color, etc etc.  I've finished nine topics, and the very last one, which I have been avoiding like the plague was... you guessed it, the self-portrait. With my deadline closing in and my excuses running thin, I took a deep breath and faced it - er, me. It wasn't as painful as I expected (isn't that usually the case?) and I may even attempt a few more, now that I've gotten over the hump. One nice benefit of painting with the big brushes in a looser style -- I don't pay much attention to fine detail or, (ahem) lines and wrinkles.  When I squint to see the big shapes and the values, they all drop away so nicely!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dos Daffodils

 Dos Daffodils,  Acrylic on Gessoboard  8x10"  Click to Bid
I'm just getting settled back in after my trip to North Carolina and then immediately following, a quickie snowboarding trip to Vermont to enjoy the last vestiges of winter.
With Daffodils blooming everywhere, I set up a still life for my Wednesday morning class.  When class ended and everyone left, I had to indulge myself and paint them too. Good-bye Winter, hello Spring!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Paint Fast, Loose and Bold" Workshop in Cary, NC

Fruit Gang 8x8" Acrylic on Gessoboard  (SOLD)
Pink Rose 8x6"  Acrylic on Canvas  Click to Bid

Just returned from Cary, NC where I taught a 3 day "How to Paint Fast, Loose and Bold" workshop. We covered a lot of ground! Here is a quick summary...

I spent the first day teaching and drilling in, the value of values, and how to be a designer of shapes, rather than a transcriber of what is there. In fact, I spent so much time on this topic that I was worried everyone was going to get bored. But the feedback I got from everyone afterwards was overwhelmingly a big 'thank you' for taking so much time to demonstrate over and over, how to create and "design" a strong value foundation. I loved hearing "I finally get it!!"

Next we did exercises in translating values to colors, interpreting greytones into wild and beautiful colors - departing completely from reality.

Then we practiced how to work with very large brushes. The fruit and flower demos were done using 2" brushes on small canvases - 8x8" and 6x8". I showed what to look for when buying a large brush and how to hold and maneuver it to get smaller shapes and fine lines. I often use just one large brush to do an entire painting.

After a 1 hour rose demo, in which I stated upfront that my goal was to edit out everything but the most important detail, I did a 25-stroke rose painting, using the 2" brush, and then had everyone do the same. The purpose of that exercise is learning brushwork and editing skills. Later in the day I did a quick demo on edges and transitioning from one color/value to the next - geared especially to the acrylic painters. Oil painters can easily blend by dragging their paint from one value to the next. Because acrylics dry so fast, transitioning methods are important to learn. 

We also worked FAST -- 15 minute paintings!  As is usually the case, the paintings whipped out in 15 minutes were actually better and bolder than the "longer" 45 minute paintings.  It's always fun to see the look on everyone's faces when they realize just how much they can accomplish in so short a time, once they have the important fundamentals in place.

One of the best parts of the workshop was the lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant, planned by my awesome hostess-with-the-mostest, Monica Linares. Getting to know everyone better, in a social setting is the icing on the cake, and always makes me wish the workshop were a few days longer. Just as we are all becoming friends, we are then saying goodbyes. I pointed out that its not too early to start thinking about re-connecting in Italy for my "Let's paint Tuscany Fast, Loose and Bold".  

Here's a picture of the group, at work and at play.  I sure hope our paths cross again, as hanging out with painters is always, in my book, the best!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Orange Juice and Strawberries

OJ and Strawberries  8x10"  Acrylic on panel

Although I painted this in acrylics, it was better suited for oils. Today the temperature went up over 80 degrees and my studio was preeetttty hot. Acrylics dry more quickly when the conditions are hot and dry. I don't have my AC hooked up yet so the minute the paint went down it dried. I normally have a bit more leeway.  Maybe its time to crack out the oils, for a nice seasonal change of pace...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

To the Triboro - SOLD!

"To the Triboro"  44x43"  Acrylic on Canvas
Just got the news from my gallery in NY - SOLD.  Now I want to start painting larger again! And to think I just got a gig to paint 10 - yes TEN,  4"x4" paintings... anyone out there got a magnifying glass I could borrow?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Seductive Surfaces Workshop

Here are a few techniques from the 2 day "Seductive Surfaces" workshop I taught recently in Syracuse, NY. The participants did such beautiful work, I had a hard time choosing from all of their samples.  During the workshop we covered about 15 different acrylic techniques, which involved using a wide array of gels, pastes, mediums and paints.  

The butterflies were a lesson in how to use interference (and iridescent) paints to simulate the opalescent, shimmery effects found in nature. The center image shows a resist technique using polymer medium as a drawing tool, combined with acrylic fluid washes. The example at the right shows a combination of two techniques, sgraffito and glazing.  There is never enough time to cover all the techniques that are possible, because there are endless combinations that can be layered one over the other, to create new variations. Collaging with Skins, Image Transfers, Scumbling effects over Fiber paste, Sgraffito with Heavy Gels, washes over Acrylic Ground for Pastels, Sculptural texture with Light Molding Paste, layering with Glass Bead, feathering with OPEN paints... these are just the tip of the iceberg. 

However, we covered plenty. Most artists don't realize the creative doorways that burst open when they start combining various acrylic grounds and mediums, regardless of whether they are abstract or representational painters. One student mumbled as he was walking out the door - " my head is so full, I can't even talk." I think (hope) he meant that in a good way. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Skinny Lady

"Skinny Lady", Acrylic

I've been prepping all week for my 3 day Seductive Surfaces Workshop in Syracuse, NY. I will be showing artists how to use gels, pastes and mediums in their artwork, to get very creative effects and exotic textures that can't be achieve with paint alone.  I created about 16 demo boards of various techniques to demonstrate.

A "skin" is another word for a dried acrylic film of paint, paste or gel. Often I look down at my palette while I'm working on a painting and think "my palette is more exciting than my painting!" So I let it dry completely, then peel it up and use it in bits and pieces, sometimes as bits of collage in paintings, I've even glued it to earrings to spice them up. My husband walked into my studio and I pointed at one of the demo boards that had a big multi-colored skin glued on, and he suggested it would be cooler if I turned it into "something". So I took the middle area and turned it into a woman's face. Vouila! Instant fashionable lady with matching hat and jacket. Skins - they're cool!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Oops, someone pointed out to me that the link to the students' work didn't work... the link to click on is "Students Work 3-10-13" which is underneath the "Color Theory" book image, on the right hand side of this page...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Workshop Weekend

Pink Rose 1, 6x6" (45 minute demo) Acrylic (Click to Bid)

Pink Rose 2 (15 Minute Demo)  8x10" Acrylic  (Click to Bid)

This weekend I taught a 2 day "How to paint fast, loose and bold" workshop at my studio. In order to live up to what I am promising in the name, a certain amount of discomfort is involved. The workshop starts out pleasant enough, but I gradually keep turning up the heat, so to speak, with exercises that push everyone further and further out of their comfort zone. Towards the end of the workshop their brushes have grown larger while their time allowance per painting has shrunk exasperatingly small. It doesn't feel fair to inflict this torture on them, watching from the safety of the sidelines, so I jump in too, and we all feel the pain together. Such fun, eh? 

The ah-ha moment comes when they look in disbelief at the paintings they have created in a timeframe that previously seemed un-doable. In my experience the only way to grow, in painting or in life, is to push the envelope and reach for things that seem too hard. What makes a great workshop, from my standpoint? Seeing  the transition from doubt to confidence that happens when painters realize they "have what it takes" to reach their goals. Especially in those whom have not painted in many years, and leave inspired and enthusiastic. It is very rewarding, and a true win-win, as I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. 

Posted on a another page are some of their paintings, many created in 15 minutes! (See the link "Students Work 3-10-13" on the right, under the "Color Theory" book. BTW, in case it's not obvious, the goal of painting fast is not to break speed records, but to cure "detailitis". Or in other words, learn how to edit out unnecessary detail. Oddly enough, it's much easier to paint every detail we see, than to simply.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite sayings, " Life begins at the end of your comfort zone".  

Upcoming Workshops:
Paint Fast, Loose and Bold in Tuscany (Expect plenty of red wine, italian feasts and chocolate ... you will feel no pain here).  Sign up before March 30 and save $125.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Demos, Demos and more...

Rose, 6x6" acrylic on Gessoboard  Click to bid

Demo city. I have been doing lots of demos. In January I was asked to write another book (to be published in fall 2013) and it will be comprised entirely of step-by-step painting demonstrations to illustrate various lessons. It has kept me very busy painting, but obviously, not blogging. I don't think the publisher would appreciate my posting the paintings before the book is published, so my daily blogging content is limited for this reason. 

Above is a rose demo painted during a recent workshop I taught. It was done on 6x6" panel, with a 2" brush. Students often don't see how it's possible to paint with such a large brush on such a small panel, until the actual demo. I do this as an example of an exercise that helps to loosen us up. As painters, we can tend towards tightening up over time, resulting in work that looks stiff and tired. Losing a bit of "control" can help get the painterly quality back in our work.

The workshop name is "How to Paint Fast, Loose and Bold". I will be teaching this in Cary, North Carolina, April 14 - 16.  If you want to expand your horizons further, join me in Tuscany for a full week of painting plein air July 17-24. I'm told that registrants before March 30 get a $125 discount.  Painting, wine, day trips, chocolate tasting parties... o la la!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beat the Light NYC

Beat the Light NYC,  18x24" Acrylic
I've got NYC bikers on the brain lately. It's amazing how an upcoming show can squeeze paintings out of an artist in record time.  I had to create and frame this for an upcoming show that has a deadline of today, 5PM. Deadlines... the bain of my existence and the whip-cracker of my "to do" list.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Midtown Messengers

Midtown Messengers, 18x24" Acrylic on Paper 
I'm working on a series of NYC paintings in a larger format. This summer I have a show coming up at my gallery in Provincetown, Simie Maryles Gallery, and I've decided to create a new series of work. I had a blast painting this one - hope it shows. It seemed to paint itself... my job was to not to "get in it's way" by thinking too much. This is actually 18x24" but I cropped off the top of the chrysler building for the post, because it made the image so small you couldn't see much. I will attach a few details, which make me realize that there are several paintings within this painting. I suppose that summarizes why I love New York. Everywhere you set your sights is a painting waiting to happen!