Monday, December 7, 2009


For lack of a better title, I'm calling this entry December. Many happenings this month, the Bangor Art Society's Holiday Auction on the 5th, a meeting for the Bangor Downtown Arts Collaborative and then on the 16th I am flying to Santa Barbara to spend the Holidays with my daughter and her family. My husband and I will then be driving to Arizona and New Mexico to do a little sightseeing. We will be gone until the middle of January and I am looking forward to the time away.
I have been spending so much time at my studio these past few years, don't get me wrong, I love being here, but I need some time away for awhile. I need to get centered and get my feet firmly planted back on the ground. This trip will be a nice change.
The painting here is the painting I put in the auction for the art society. I painted it a number of years ago and changed things in it a couple of times. At one point I actually brought the whole scene in closer to have a stronger focal point. I've changed the color of the sky a number of times as well as the color of the house. I'm glad someone bought it. I'm sure it will now have a good home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Downtown Bangor Art Walk tomorrow night

All the artists in my building are busy getting ready for the art walk. We clean our studios, hang new work, trip over debris in the hall. We have a lot of fun getting ready, but it is also a lot of work. I know, now that we have the art walk four times a year, my studio will get cleaned at least that many times. I still find myself resorting to a childhood trick, though, whenever I was made to clean my room, the closet door would get opened, and any bit of clutter would get stashed away. What is unfortunate for me now is just when I have found the everything that I stashed away, it's time to start all over again.
This is a painting I worked quite awhile ago. Originally it looked like the one on the bottom, but after studying it for an extended period of time, I decided that I wanted the foliage to be warmer. I like the second version better.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Fast Approaching

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays-- the mystery, the festivity, the costumes and sometimes the weather. This year we, here, at 9 Central Street are having a Halloween Party for friends and friends of friends. Since I was the one who wanted it, I am doing most of the planning and decorating and having so much fun in the process. The pumpkins I bought at Walmart - $4.00 per, and they are big - are being transformed into spooky looking entities and with the new l.e.d. candles, fire hazards are not and issue anymore . The building we are in is quite old and eerie without doing anything to it, so with a little tweeking here and there we should be able to create an environment that would give even the die-hard halloween fan the heebie-jeebies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where Does the Inspiration Come From?

The question, which is so subjective and broad in scope, is, none the less, a question that most artists ponder for a considerable amount of time. On the other hand, one of our greatest fears is, " what if the inspirations stops?" So fearsome a thought, I won't go there, but rather will try to answer where inspiration comes from for me. Other artist's work is one of my greatest inspirations, whether they are living, contemporary artists or great masters who are no longer here. One young, compared to me, painter I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago, and have been following his career since is Colin Page. I read his blog regularly and feel akin to many of his thoughts about painting and being a painter. His work is phenomonal and my gut tells me he will be a great American artist before is career is through.

Something else that inspires me a lot is how some artists are able to take the very mundane and make beautiful paintings out of it, something I strive for and hope to be able to do with ease some day. In my painting, You're In, You're Out, I painted an interior scene based on the kitchen of the Red House on Monhegan Island, and as always with interiors, I was having a hard time making a statement in the painting. After much ado, I got the idea to put my dog and husband in the scene, and voila, it solved the problem! An inspired thought, for sure.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Thoughts

Keeping a journal has always been something I wanted to do but never did--for whatever reason, I don't truly know. This blog is the closest I've come to it and I realize that new technology has made it much easier for one to correspond with friends, or anyone for that matter. Being able to upload images is just an added plus to this whole process. A friend of mine, an avid journal keeper and painter used to glue photographs of her work, or places of interest, into her journal, adding a new and interesting dimension to journaling.
With that said, I now want to update a photo of an unfinished painting, posted earlier, that I intended to work on in these ensuing weeks. When I originally started this painting, I set up the still life for a student and decided to paint along with her to more or less walk her through the painting. At the outset, because of the complexity of the print, I decided to simplify the tablecloth for my student. After she finished her painting, which came out very nice, and I began to complete mine, I decided to remain truer to the print of the tablecloth, and I must admit, it is a lot more challenging then I expected it to be. I do enjoy working out the problems, though, and feel it will be worth it when I am finished. I still have some details to resolve on the left side of the cloth, but the right side is falling into place nicely. There is a lot more work to do, overall, but it should turn into a nice painting when done.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Do I Paint

As I lay in bed last night, not able to sleep, I thought about painting and about my process in particular. It is one thing to be able to paint, but to verbalize why or how is completely different. When I teach my students I try to get them to pay attention to value and also to notice relationships between shapes in a given space. But last night I began to think about what I think or feel when I paint and what I realized is that I try to define the essence of the object or scene I am painting; for instance when painting glass, what constitutes its essence. It is reflective yet transparent, solid yet liquid, smooth. What about a tree? I remember reading an anecdote, when I was taking a Tai Chi Class, about a Buddhist Master who was visiting a certain monastery and when the Senior Monk met with him in the court yard, it was noted that they sat for a very long time without saying anything at all. Finally, the Master was heard to say to the Monk, "They call that a tree." The anecdote has spoken often to me as a painter. I try to understand what the Monks were witnessing and begin to understand the essence of what makes a tree a tree. It is not just the physicality of the tree, but how the wind rustles the leaves and how the light flutters through them picking up color from the sky in some places and casting shadows in other places. How the birds flit from branch to branch and how the bark of the tree is alive with insects. If you touch the bark, sometimes pieces will come off in your hand and it is so rough. If you can think of an object from this perspective, it will then become possible to paint.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working out the kinks

I just made a few adjustments to my blog and I'm sure that there will be more as I learn to navigate this system. In a few minutes I am going to start painting, it has been calling to me all day and I have been busy with other things. Got to get to work.

Here is a painting I did a few years ago and I'm pretty sure I sold it, if I didn't it means I painted over it because I haven't seen it for a while. Sometimes I'll paint over pieces because I can't seem to work out the problems of the painting. I think I want to try to paint this again, I like the view and it would be interesting to see how I would interpret it a second time. My style is constantly evolving so I know some things would look very different. I will post the painting when I finish it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finishing Work

Two views of my studio, where I do almost all of my painting.

Finishing Work

another unfinished painting I will be working on

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finishing Work

Today is the day I can begin to finish paintings I've had hanging around my studio all summer, and some even longer. I am through with the summer art festivals and I just finished a commission that was picked up Friday, so now my time is my own. Having unfinished paintings around my studio gives me something to look forward to and also allows me to study the paintings and decide what I want to do to them to make them say what I want them to. Studio painting is so different from plein air or alla prima. Feeling that I have time to make decisions about the piece is something I really enjoy. You can compare it to writing in the sense that alla prima is like journal writing-quick impressions with very little planning, and building a painting over time is more like writing a novel. You write and edit, write and edit and edit and change. I really appreciate that process. I know some artists say that the quick, alla prima style gives the work a special quality, but I don't see it. I am inspired by any artists processes, but I also respect the decisions individual artist make about their unique processes. I love it, just love it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This painting was actually painted a few years ago but there was always something I did not like about it. Recently, I took out the texture of the shake shingles and more or less flattened the surface of the image to excentuate the design elements. I think it works so much better now.

Monhegan Boat Houses with Boats - Oil on Canvas

Bangor Downtown Arts Collabortive

A lot of preparation is being done for the next Art Walk in Downtown Bangor. My gallery will be open and Central Street Yoga is allowing the Bangor Art Society to use their space to preview some of the work for the Bangor Art Society Annual Holiday Auction. This is being done in the hopes of raising awareness of the auction and also to let art enthusiasts see a sampling of what will be available the night of the Auction. I have not decided what I am submitting but I want it to be a nice piece. Artists should go into the process of donating work to auctions with the notion that it is a donation to raise money for the organization. I hope it is successful this year.
Bangor Centinel - Oil on Canvas
Friar's Bakehouse - Oil on Canvas

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Manana Island from Fish Beach

One of my newest paintings, done in August for my Exhibit at the Camden Library in September and then at The John Rohman Gallery at Eastern Maine Community College in November and December. Since I take photos and work from them in my studio, I am able to get vantage points that one would not usually get from viewing with the naked eye. In this painting, I zoomed way in on the Island, but was still able to include rocks from the jetty on Fish Beach. Since this is not plein air, I changed the sky color and lighting on the rocks many times until I was able to get the shadows and light areas to contrast the way I wanted them to. After changing the values on the rocks a number of times, I finally mixed a glaze of French Ultramarine with some Cad Orange and painted the rocks again to get the value I was looking for.
Manana Island from Fish Beach - Oil on Canvas