Tuesday, December 13, 2011

more wretched excess

The new Dick Blick catalog arrived yesterday, thick with possibilities. The above is a photo of my first home studio.  Even then I had too many art supplies, and that was two mediums ago.  I had a legitimate excuse to collect the first thousand pastels, the more colors you have the better color range you can achieve.  As I said, the first thousand were warranted.  Not so much the next thousand.  Some day, I may go back to painting with pastels, though I doubt it very much.

My acrylic phase was mercifully brief, though expensive.  Then, I fell hard for oils.  Unlike pastels, oils can be mixed to achieve color range. Theoretically, you can make every color imaginable with 24 basic colors.  Theoretically....  I operate on the pastel mindset of 'the more colors the better.'  I used to surf the internet late at night.  My husband started referring to my horde as 'the midnight oils.'  I don't wear furs, jewelry or Manolo Blaniks, but I see his point.

Did I mention that I have worked in an art store for ten years?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Past Interiors

I saw this painting by Carl Holsoe (19th century Danish painter) online and was blown away.  I have done a few interiors.  Currently, I'm working on one of the Vineyard house.  I have lots of photos of that house.  But Holsoe's piece made me think of my Connecticut home.  We moved in when I was two months old.  I even got married there.  Sadly, the only photographs I have of rooms are full of people.  I love these people but they are blocking architectural details.  Had I known when the house was sold in the mid-nineties, that I would become an artist and want to plunder its riches, I would have taken better photos.  I do have a video of the house which I watched yesterday. Seeing the house again made me desperate to paint it.   I spent hours trying to capture still images from the video.  I was not successful.  The video is old and grainy.  Then again, so am I.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Sisyphus Stairs

I know the title is not grammatically correct.  Probably should be the Sisyphean Stairs.  (For an ex-writer, my grammar is embarrassingly  fuzzy. )  These are the stairs I scrape every summer.  It was far more fun to paint them on canvas.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Looking for Mr. what'shisname

Given that I spend a good chunk of my day trying to remember where I left something, I should be thrilled with the Advent of the Search Engine.  I don't begin to understand how it works, (I'm still trying to understand how atoms  zing around inside solid objects).  Nonetheless, I use the search feature everyday.  Sheer indulgence.  I have a shelf of reference books from when I was a writer. They mock me with their dust.  I've read that you retain more facts  from reading a book than searching online.  I've forgotten where I read that.
The thing is, search engines have no loyalty.  They'll tattle on me and you to anyone who asks.  My blog site has a feature that allows me to see what word searches are directed to my site.  This week:  damien hirst flies, gold leaf, dragons, stair history, and (my favorite) raw chicken.  I'm willing to make a deal with the cyberdevil.  I will go back to using reference books if someone will invent a search machine that will find the really tough stuff, like where I've left  the instructions to the thermostat.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Professional Jealousy

 The other morning, in the slipstream between dreaming and waking, I found my mind was playing Van Morrison's "Professional Jealousy" over and over.  I tend to pay attention to what ever my subconscious offers up at this time of the day.  Sometimes it results in a good painting, other times, a waste of paint.   I work in a building with over 100 artists (should they ever show up at the same time, which, thankfully, is not likely).  Some of them are very successful, even in this lame economy.  Others, not so.  I try (some days more successfully than others), to embrace other artists' good fortune.  One of the successful artists is a good friend.    I can't be jealous because her success defies logic. It's almost unnatural.   She has friends who can't bear to hear of her latest sales, so she doesn't tell them.  Another friend tells me to never let on if you're doing well because people will hate you for it.  This is not a problem I ever expect to experience.  I try to remember what Diane Tesler once told me when I was bitter.  She said it meant that people were buying art and that was something which should make us all happy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Believing is Seeing"

This is a photo of a Teslertown (Kewanna), Indiana storefront.  I wanted to paint it as it has nearly everything I like in subject: peeling paint, odd shapes and most of all, major quirkiness. But the longer I tried to translate it onto canvas, the more I lost my nerve. You see, the cars are not a reflection in the window.  They are actually inside the building.  This raises all sorts of questions, like how did they get in through that  door.  Or, better, why are they in there? 
Which is a roundabout way of getting to the point of this blog.  A book review in Sunday's Washington Post featured Errol Morris' book "Believing is Seeing".  The book is based on his blog in the New York Times.  Quoting the review: "Facts matter in the way that photographs matter: They tell us something but never reveal the whole story.  Photographs edit reality: they conceal even as the reveal....A photograph 'brings time forward, but also compresses it, collapses it into one moment.'  It is a moment that is found in the image but lost to the present.  'Eternally trapped in the present, we are doomed to perpetually walk 'in front' of the past."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seriously, Malawi?

I have been at this blog for a year.  I am not sure how one quantifies a successful blog.  It hasn't sold any paintings or brought in any  revenue, but I do enjoy flexing the writing muscle.  I was a writer for 20 years. When I discovered pastels, I abandoned the written word.  So after ten years of painting, I enjoy writing again.  I made the mistake of looking at my Stats page today.  From it I learned that Google has made liberal use of my images.  People from the Ukraine and Lativia seem very interested. Google's tag line, 'some copyright may attach' is patently useless.  My Traffic map shows that I am big in Malawi.  I have been to Africa, but confess I had to look Malawi up on a map.  I haven't painted any African landscapes.  Close as I came was this piece, Origins, from 2008.  I can't remember if I gave it away or painted over it.  But here's to you, Malawi....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dancing on her Grave

The above photo from the Sixties shows my mother dancing a jig on her newly purchased grave.  Formerly Wampanaog Indian land, it is now home to many non-natives. My mother died a slow, debilitating death that made a mockery of  her zestful life.  I love this picture because it reminds me of the woman she was.  It's sometimes hard to erase the memories of her final 12 years when she was a decidedly different person.   It reminds me of something Cormac McCarthy wrote in All the Pretty Horses: "It was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they are starting out or else they'd have no heart to start at all."   I'm not young but, as I intend to be buried there as well, I hope it doesn't become an Indian casino.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Piece de Resistance

The above mural was painted by Susan Makara and is at the top of the family history staircase (see previous blogs).  This wonderful painting was the result of an offhand remark by my husband to Susan when she was visiting in 2009.  The majority of it was accomplished in twelve hours with house paint.  She returned this summer to finish the details.  The cracks in the stones cover cracks in the wall.
This is surely the best house guest gift ever, and we've had our share.  The worst came from a couple who arrived with two children, left them in my care and went off for 'alone time.' Their gift? Two jars of jelly.  Oh, yum.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Below Stairs

Beneath the family history stairs (see previous blog) is a tiny bathroom that slants all the way to the bottom of the staircase.  The toilet is ancient but sturdy.  As a child, I would sit and study the map of New England that was taped to the underside of the stairs.  The map disappeared years ago.  In the 1990's (before I fancied myself an artist), I tried to paint a beach scene.  Where the map once ruled, there are now big, anatomically incorrect, footprints.  I should correct the images, or at the very least paint a Baedeker open in the nearby sand, but I won't.  They show me how far I've come.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stairway Bares All

My mother, the artist Virginia Packard, didn't limit her painting talents to linen.  The kitchen of the Vineyard house sported  fish swimming around the upper walls.  The joke was that each fish was larger than the next.  Regrettably, those walls were painted over many years ago.  Her family stairway, however, remains in tact. It tells the story of my parents meeting, marrying, honeymooning on Martha's Vineyard, family births, house moves and more.  Each child had a stair.  My eldest brother, Vance, was shown tinkering with cars. Brother Randy played guitar and wandered around Europe. My stair showed me astride my horse.  Then, my brothers' marriages were registered.  Alas, both of those marriages failed.  So there, as far as Mom was concerned,  the story ended.  And so it remained for several years.  Frankly, I was more than a little irked. I, who had graduated, married and had children, was stuck for all time on my horse.   Two years ago, I decided to right history.   The marriage stair was tricky. I considered painting red Xs through the ousted brides. (Yes, I'm known for my tact.) In the end, I added the new brides' names.  And, of course, my darling husband.  The next stair belongs to the grandchildren: Amanda, Kendra, Matt and Ned.   They of course, have lives, spouses and children of their own to add.  But we are fresh out of stairs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Of Lanterns and Dragons

This is the latest in my Asian series.  Called "Of Lanterns and Dragons," it is oil and gold leaf on linen, 34 x 30.  I don't know why I am drawn to Asian objects.  My parents went and brought back many objets d'art.  I would love to visit old Japan (Kyoto).  China is far less enticing since reading Martin Troost's horrifying and hilarious book, "Lost on Planet China."  My brother Vance went to China and had to concoct a 'smog removal' filter to process his images on Photoshop.
"Asian Influences" @ 2008

 This was the first in the series.  It sold and admit, I miss it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Family Secrets

Family members have suggested that I cease and desist from airing family business in this blog.  And for God's sake, don't let the tenants read it. Okay.  But before I go back to less pressing subjects, the above is a photo of the last time (in the 1990's) the kitchen ceiling collapsed from a leaking toilet. 
Hope Irene is kind to us. Our insurance policy has a $20k deduction, and no coverage for wind damage.  Oops,time to cease and desist...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My kingdom for a Plumber

The other side of the bathroom cartoon wall (see previous post) was drawn by another New Yorker cartoonist, Charles Saxon.  Time is of the essence.  This point was driven home earlier this summer when looking for a someone to install a dishwasher.  As I may have mentioned (ad nauseam), it is difficult to get a repair person to come to our little  island which is off of a bigger island.  Long line-ups for short ferry rides make our destination unattractive.  I had begun to believe installers were mythical creatures.  We finally snagged one.  I thanked him heartily and gazed adoringly for the 75 minutes he was in our kitchen.   I felt good about humanity that day.  I offered to pay him on the spot.  He demurred.  Weeks later I understood why.  The bill arrived for $485.  (The dishwasher itself only cost $475.)  We were charged $90 an hour, for labor and travel time. He was there one and a quarter hours.  Three hundred plus was for travel time.
Had I known a regular plumber could have done the job, I would have called the man who has worked on the pipes forever. 
He has the good grace to hide travel time within his bill.  Last week he fixed the leaking bathtub behind the cartoon wall.  I don't know if the kitchen ceiling is collapsing.   Best not to ask.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer House Blues

The above is painting done by the New Yorker cartoonist Whitney Darrow.  It has a place of honor outside a "new" , circa 1970's, bathroom that was added to the old Victorian home on Martha's Vineyard.  My father hoped the second full bath might improve rental opportunities.  (Hard to believe people weren't flocking to rent a seven bedroom house with one-and-a half bathrooms and an outdoor shower.)
 We rent out the house in the summer to cover expenses.  There is a sign directing tenants: "If all else fails, call Cindy"
This summer has been particularly fraught with house woes.   There was the explosion of the mouse population between rentals.  (We had an empty week) The house cleaner sent expressive emails with photos of the 'mouse pup'. The mice revisited while we had new tenants.  They (the tenants) apparently found this unsettling.   I don't know if the mice were bothered.
  Then, a lightning storm blew up the wireless transformer for the house.
  Then, the propane tank for the kitchen stove ran empty as the gas company neglected to fill it in May.
   My phone was ringing every other day.  Not so, the house phone on the Vineyard which did not work at all.  Most people bring cellphones.  They work pretty well at the house, as long as you hang yourself outside a second floor window in the northeast corner of the house.  Some tenants have resorted to calling from a ladder.
   Which brings me to today's woe.  The plumbing for the 'new' bathroom, which hides behind the "It's/ creature" door is leaking.  And apparently dripping with menace through the floor to the ceiling of the pantry.  The tenants who reported this have rented the house before and are not alarmed by legions of mice, mosquitoes and the occasional skunk.  But they did think we would want to know the kitchen ceiling might collapse.  They were wrong.  I don't want to know these things. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I've been quiet for a while.  When I was a writer, I forced myself to write everyday, just for the discipline.  For the first time in years, I'm not painting everyday.  And it's making me nervous.  I can't settle on what to paint.  I have many options.  Perhaps, too many options.  I shift through the photos, hoping something will  compel me to paint.  So far, just a chorus of wannabes.  I sketch and sketch and wallow.  My muse is clearly on vacation.  She'd best be back soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Memory Loss

Sometimes, I picture my brain as a primitive machine: clunky, soldered and bent.  Personal memory loss is bad enough but recently I've suffered the added insult of memory chip loss.  I took dozens of photos of Gay Head (Aquinnah, for the politically correct) that never made it to a file on my computer.  I probably formatted over them thinking I'd already transferred the images.  What I don't understand is the oddly selective power of a Sony Memory Chip. Using a recovery program from internet, I was able to restore images from Africa in 2006, and Provence in 2007. But none from Gay Head last week. I used a different program and the same images from Africa and France appeared, but none from last week.  Are the programs making value judgements about what is worthy, or is it the chip itself?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

home again, home again, jiggedy jig...

Virginia has many advantages over Martha's Vineyard.  Just don't expect me to enumerate them.  This is the view from our front porch on the Vineyard.  It's my favorite spot to have breakfast, lunch and cocktails. I thank my lucky stars that my parents had the foresight to buy this house in 1953.  (It's now jointly owned by my brothers, their spouses, me and my long-suffering husband.  We rent it out in the summer or we'd never be able to afford its upkeep). The weather was so lovely I was even willing to scrape the Sisyphus stairs and porches but this year's work detail was mostly inside.  I didn't paint a lick of art but did a lot of cooking for a rotating cast of friends and family. 

I've come to share my elder brother Vance's view: there has to be some impetus to leave the Vineyard.  For us, it is the kitchen equipment.  It seems to have a life of its own.  Sometimes it vanishes, sometimes it multiplies.  How else to explain a kitchen with only one cake pan, but four instant read thermometers.  A cuisinart with four identical slicing blades but no shredding blades. I clearly remember buying a mixer recently but the only one there was the sad, vintage Black and Decker with mismatched beaters. I get very cranky cooking in this kitchen.  I know I bought cake pans last year, but one of them did a 'runner'. I had to bake my daughter's cake in pie plates.  Cake does not rise in a pie plate.
   So, if I had to give Virginia the advantage, it would be that my utensils stay put.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

My father was an original, but doesn't every little girl think that.  The above image was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt for People Magazine.  When it was published, in the seventies, I was surprised.  Apparently, so was my father.  Eisenstaedt had followed him for a 'day in the life'. It was my father's habit to swim in the buff.  Something I did not know, but now all of America knew.
Looking at the image now, I'm left wishing I had inherited his calves.

Monday, June 13, 2011


This is a portrait of Dozer Packard, a dear dog who died unexpectedly last week.  No doubt, he is romping with all the good boys who go to doggie heaven.  Safe Home, Dozer....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to Be a Burden to your Children

                       "The Librarian of Congress"

The above is one of my many unsold paintings. I am rather fond of it.  Still, it sits in a basement rack with many other paintings I'm fond of.  In ten years of painting, I have been prodigious.  I chalk it up to the excitement of discovering a talent late in life.  Just last year I produced 40 paintings. (I was painting for two shows.) More than half of them are now stacked in my dining room.  In twenty years of writing, I  wrote five novels, a two food reference books and hundreds of recipes.  All of which fit neatly in a several cartons in the basement.  (The wolf spiders seem to enjoy curling up with these.)   I can't help but wonder what will become of the paintings.  I will never be famous or in serious demand.  Reasonable people might suggest I stop painting.

I've donated dozens of paintings to the Art League Patron show over the years. My friends and family's houses are already clotted with my paintings.  I've whited-out many pieces and reused the canvases for new work.  

When my mother died, my brothers and I wanted her few remaining paintings. Spirited words were said.  And when I die, my kids will fight over who gets my paintings.  But neither will want custody.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Proclivity for Raw Poultry ?

People thought it odd that I chose to paint a raw chicken for my food show.  At the time, I had no idea that raw chicken had played a part in an earlier creative endeavor.  I was rereading my novel, The Mother Load.  It was published in 1986. The lead character is a starving actor.  In this scene, she has accepted her first job.  She is to play a chicken at a poultry farmers' convention:  "When the costume arrived, I pulled off the casing and stared dumbly at the contents.  If this was a chicken, where were the feathers?  With horror, I realized my professional debut was to be in the role of a plucked pullet.  The costume was the shape of a six-foot headless chicken. It was coated with a noxious, pale yellow, lumpy polyurethane.  On the breast was a large tag that read, "Lickin' Chicken."  Licking seemed inadvisable.  You certainly wouldn't want to eat it.  There were small eye holes in the breastbone but no air holes.  The costume smelled like a chicken--one that had been left on the counter for several days." 
Of all the things  lurking in my subconscious, I never expected raw chicken to make an appearance. Twice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

When to chuck it...

This is a picture that my brother Randy took in Venice.  It is of the Bridge of Sighs, where the condemned had their last breath of fresh air.  The powers that be in Venice thought it was a swell idea to cover both sides of canal leading to the Bridge of Sighs with enormous faux skies replete with advertising. This cropped image eliminates much of the advertising along the sides of the canal but leaves Julianne Moore on high.  Italy seems to have gone to the dark side. A few years ago, I found a huge banner of a half naked man promoting Sisley clothing hanging over most of the buildings at one end of the Piazza Navonna.  When I took pictures of the Neptune fountain the ad was unavoidable.
I liked the juxtaposition of art and commerce("Roman Gods: Then and Now"). Over 5 feet tall, it took me months and months to paint.
 My brother thought his photo of Venice would be a natural partner to the piece.  I stretched another huge linen canvas and began painting a month and a half ago.  I had a great title: The Bridge of $ighs.

Yesterday, as I was explaining the work in progress to a visitor in Studio 3  I remembered something I learned  as a writer.  Whenever I had a play of words that required research to perfect (this was long before the internet made such quests a snap), the effort expended was an inverse proportion to the likelihood it would be used.  Unless someone had been to Venice, this painting would always require explanation.  So, yesterday, I chucked it, whiting out the piece.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yesterday's news

Boy, when people drop you, they drop you.  Just last month I had 30 people a day reading my blog.  Now, nada.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Party's Over

Sad but true, the party's over.  I took down "Food, Glorious Food" today.  But don't despair, the Torpedo Factory is having its Spring Open House this Friday, May 6. Some of the pieces from the show will be in Studio 3, and I will be offering a 20% discount many paintings. The theme of the Torpedo Factory party is Flora and Fauna.   At Studio 3, it will be Flora, Fauna and Food!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brown du Jour

Have you ever realized how many foods are BROWN? Whole major food groups, Meat, Nuts, Baked Goods and Chocolate. This presented a conundrum.  How could an art show about food ignore brown.  People generally don't respond to the color brown.  (Actually, brown isn't even a color.  As I learned from Lisa Semerad, brown is denatured orange.)  This is "Pain du Jour."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the fascist gourmet

It wasn't until I read the nice piece in Patch.Com (
oldtownalexandria.patch.com) that I realized what an influence my elder brother has had on my career.  I often paint from the photos of his travels (he's been to all 7 continents), but I hadn't understood his influence on my food paintings.  We call him the "Fascist Gourmet", and not always with a smile on our faces.  It is true that when I was young and my Mother (also pictured) made actual bunny footprints on our floor at Easter, my brother Vance countered the Easter Bunny fantasy by sprinkling tabasco sauce on random jelly beans in my basket.  I wonder if there is a statute of limitations on such a vile crime...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

La Dolce Vita

This is another dessert painting currently residing in the Art League closet.  I've always had a fondness for meringues.  When I was a kid, it was the only dessert I was allowed to eat.  Mother apparently thought the absence of fat content made the treat acceptable. (I had weekly weigh-ins with one or both parents in attendance.  I can't blame them, I was a lying sneak.)  Flash forward several decades.  I was in Carrara, Italy with Danni Dawson's workshop on a Sunday.  After we'd visited the marble quarries, we were famished.  We searched in vain for a ristorante.  We passed a Pasticceria with meringues in the window.  They, too, were closed, but a girl can dream.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

life imitates art

Carolyn Packard is not only a great cook and friend, she's a food stylist.  It was her idea to put the clementines and the asparagus on pedestals the night of the show.  The crowd ate every morsel of food she prepared, including the clementines.  The asparagus was spared.  I'm eating it tonight.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

All Hail Good Friends

The above was just one of the fabulous hors d'ouevres served by Carolyn Packard, Janice Stofft and Judy Yavit at the reception for "Food, Glorious Food".  Carolyn worked for weeks with her sister Janice (who flew up from Florida to help) on a menu that included  crab salad with mango and coconut milk  on Plantain chips, pulled pork with orange marmalade in scoops, Beef tenderloin sandwiches with carmelized onions and horseradish creme, tuna tartare on cucumber with black sesame seeds (which looked like watermelon), the above shrimp with individual cocktail sauce, truffles, brigadarios (sp?), and tons of vegetarian dishes. Judy Yavit provided pistachio brittle, pine nut cookies, chocolate meringues and more.  All I had to do was make whoopie pies.  Don't you wish you'd been there?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Edible Reds

Red is hard.  Subtle nuances tend to get lost in red.  The one thing I learned while painting this piece is that the green of the strawberry tops is sneaky.  It's a cool green on one side and a warm green on the other.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yoo hoo!

I'm finally on YouTube! (http://www.youtube.com/theartleague#p/a/u/0/V5mjqDf4_Ws).  I'll be lost in the crowd unless I can shoot pyrotechnic blasts from my nostrils.  Ah well, we peddle on.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Death by Ellipses

I have a great deal of trouble with ellipses, which apparently is why there are so many of them in my paintings.  I first noticed this perversity when I set out to paint these railroad oil cans in 2007.
The grape painting  has ellipses, on top of ellipses on top of elliptical shadows.  It nearly killed me.  I hope it sells.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Food, Glorious Food video

This link will take you to the video of the Art League  show.
The above piece, New Kiss in Town, was bought by a good friend who will be making desserts for the reception.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hidden Treats

The above, "Wretched Excess" looks better in real life.  It is one of the additional show paintings that is tucked away in the Art League closet. In fact, all of my dessert paintings are lounging there.   Hmmm.... Originally, I meant to paint this:
on a gold leaf background.  Proportionally, it didn't look wretchedly excessive enough.  So I turned the canvas horizontally and started anew.  This was a problem piece.  I started over so many times, it's a wonder all the layers of gold leaf, oil paint and glaze didn't crack the stretcher bars.  Worse, of course, was that I had to keep setting up ice cream sundaes as models.  I put on 6 pounds with this piece.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Be Witty, dammit!

Erica Fortwengler, whom I've come to think of as my agent, though she's actually a terrifically talented, beautiful young woman, and not a crone with a heart of stone, told me I had to blog every day my show "Food, Glorious Food" was on exhibit.  "Be witty," she advised.  It reminded me of a time when a writer friend of mine was instructed by her agent to make the novel 25% funnier.  The above piece, A Brace of Onions, did not make the cut.  (Erica can be a cruel mistress.) It is not in the show, but it's hanging in Studio 3 of the Torpedo Factory. Come visit. I'm there Fridays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Three cloves in search of a title

  I like creating titles.  My father, a writer, used to test possible book titles on anyone who came in the house, be they a guest or a repairman.  Often times, when a painting is just a notion in my head, the title will announce itself.  This one is nameless.  And it's crunch time.  Next week it will hang in my the show at the Art League of Alexandria.   Possible titles:  "The Anti-V", "Vampires Beware", "Skins" "Clove Love" and "Russian Antibiotic".  Like I said, I need help...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shanghaied in Singapore

The internet has created a small, twisted world...A few years ago, I received an email from Isabelle V. Lim who lives in Hong Kong.  Ms. Lim, a pastelist, had recognized my artwork from an article in International Artist.  She  attached cell phone images of my work which she had seen on the wall of a seafood restaurant in Singapore.  This surprised me as I was pretty sure they were still in my basement.  My compositions had been lifted and mass produced. The designer  hung them upside down and sideways, either not caring or believing this voided the copyright infringement.  I called Singapore.  They were shocked(!!!!) to learn the images had been bootleggedThe restaurant blamed the designer, who was Australian.  And there the trail ended.  Much to my dismay, no one was publicly caned. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How the hell did I do that?

The above, Asian Influences, is one of my favorite pieces.  It sold a few years ago, so I can't study it directly. I spent long weeks on this piece and when I thought it done, I showed it to Danni Dawson.  I asked what else I should do to it.  She looked at me as if I had shown her a mud pie.  Her advice, "Refine it," led to more long weeks.  I doubt I could paint it again as well.  Visual memory is tricky, especially when the rest of the memory is a sieve.  I would surely be lost without my little green sketchbooks, eight years of  color combinations, techniques, and advice from teachers, friends, books, videos, workshops and whatever I had discovered on my own.  What if there were a fire?  So, I gathered my eight years of notebooks and copied the highlights on to my computer.  I backed it up on a disk and to an external hard drive. All of which would melt in a fire.  So, I emailed a copy to myself so it would always be available. All hail the ethernet!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

which came first?

In my case, Le Poulet, or "Ms Salmonella" as my daughter calls her, was painted first.  I don't know why I have such tender regards for this piece.  The eggs were bought from Kurt Schwarz, an artist who raises chickens.  I suspect he is 'bogarting' the blue eggs for himself.  I can hardly blame him, I'd have hoarded the green ones as well.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't tell my husband

I went to a barn sale yesterday and picked up these industrial pieces.  Someday they will figure in a still life composition.  At least that is my intention.  My husband, who is understandably alarmed at the bizarre colony of 'still life' items swelling the seams of our home, has a hard and fast rule:  Nothing else comes into the house unless something else goes out. But really, what doesn't qualify as a potential still life character? I've used wooden block and tackles, railroad oil cans, vintage windup toys, dessicated Japanese umbrellas, and pharmaceutical posters.  This may explain his fondness for my food still lifes.  At least he can eat those.