Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Elevator Alley

Look carefully and find the source for the title. "3 Kayaks in Elevator Alley" 

Pretty breezy so I hid my palette and paints out of the wind on a pedestrian walkway. The coolest, sweetest kid was mesmerized, I had painted enough that he could see the relationship to the real view. Kids always want to look, but the little ones never last as long as this guy watched, absolutely engrossed. I always wonder what the takeaway is for little people seeing an artist working for the first time. Martha Rogala sent me the photo. It was suggested I paint the photo of him watching me paint, maybe next winter. 

Elevator Alley, Buffalo River painting, kayaks, grain elevators,

Three Kayaks in Elevator Alley, 9x12 oil, c.2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

Do I match my painting?

People passing by said I matched my painting. A friend sent this photo. Now I get it! 

Art installations at OMI in Ghent NY-Oh My!

Palenville and a view of Kaaterskill

Kaaterskill Mountain, of the famous falls, is down the road a piece from our AirBnB. Our hosts told us about the hotel that used to be in view, and the funicular that carried visitors up the mountain. Love learning about history. Seeing the falls, and the treacherous drive there was high on my bucket list. Check that goal off! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

New York State Parks posted our photos!

Painted today at Three Sisters Islands, 

Later I found a post about us (NFPAP) on the Niagara Falls State Park Facebook page. Peg, me, Joan, Liz

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

March 20 on the porch

 This little painting is my Spring Equinox contribution. Hellebores flower buds lay under the snow, starting in December and visible whenever the snow melts. Just a bit of sun and Spring and they perk up. My plant is particularly large and the flowers change colors over the weeks they are blooming. Creamy pink to start, they turn rosy and then a peachy tan. When the Japanese Maple overhead starts to leaf it provides cooling shade and my flowers are upright and beautiful through June. 

Kath Schifano, Lenten Rose, spring flowers
Hellebores-2021 Equinox, 7x5 oil c. K. Schifano

As an aside, as I was sitting on the concrete porch a friendly garden snake joined me in the sun, sunning itself just beyond my feet. After a few minutes it slithered away with an attitude.

Spring springs at the Botanical Gardens

Yesterday was sunny with a bit of afternoon rain and this morning the number of freshly blooming leaf buds on bushes in my yard was staggering. Overnight Spring had encountered the earth and plants had responded. 

I had signed up to paint at the Botanical Gardens and went despite threatening skies and a gloomy forecast. Part of me was excited to be out and painting and the other part looked forward to greeting friends who had been painting indoors since Fall. What a pleasurable day as our vaccinated artists kept their distance without masks outside and caught up friendships.

I didn't have far to go to find a scene, I opened the easel right next to the car and used the opened back trunk and an art umbrella for a few minutes of sprinkles. Although I worked from what I saw, the picture wasn't complete until that evening. I finished in my studio with the still wet palette and added the branches of the red tree and gave the evergreens shape. That tree had attracted me to the scene with the Basilica in the distance. I couldn't get the shapes to lightly draw over the wet paint of other shrubs when the paint was very wet earlier.

I am really satisfied with this one. However, I won't choose a square canvas again, it was the hardest thing to get the right composition into a square., but I do have the perfect frame for it.

Buffalo Botanical Garden, Kath Schifano, gazebo, spring flowers
Buffalo Peace Garden in Spring

 The Peace Garden in Spring 12x12 oil c.2021

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Filling sketchbooks, one story at a time.

Urban Sketching, virtual travel, watercolor and ink

I like to use art supplies and my brain. I don't need to make oil paintings or pastels, I just need to draw to satisfy myself. As a member of Buffalo Urban Sketchers we find ourselves limited by Covid to not being in a lobby or cafeteria to draw. Like the rest of the world, we have started Zooming together and our first Virtual Field Trip was to Acadia National Park in Maine. This is Jordan Park Trail which is familiar to Acadia visitors. I used Google maps to explore the park and choose this site.

artist nutcracker, small painted drawing, Kath Schifano

A little bit of Christmas in my studio inspired this. My big artist nutcracker and a fake tree were joined by a poinsettia and some garland to make me feel festive in a time when no visitors or parties were on my horizon. This is a good candidate for a future Christmas card. 

I have a painting of the poinsettia that I keep fiddling with, changing the direction of light, the background and also the color of the plant and its leaves. There is a pile of paint building up but experimenting is allowed at all times. I don't paint for business, I paint for myself and my soul. The plant continues to thrives on my good studio juju.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Practice for A Midwinter NIght's Draw

This is NOT the Hallwalls painting to be auctioned from Hallwalls in Buffalo at the end of the month but it is the practice painting I did to measure my time. This is a bit smaller and a slightly different view but it sure is similar! Trying the painting in advance helped me prepare for the official film for the event.

I will post the auction painting when the auction opens February 24, until then, all the artist's pictures are out of sight. But this one is available now.

Niagara Falls, pastel waterfall, bottom of the falls
Morning Cataract, 12x16 pastel c. 2021
Here is the final donated painting.

I hope I am informed about the buyer, there were 11 bids on this before closing Sunday night.

Hallwalls MidWinter's Draw

 I was invited to film (on Zoom) a timed 45 minute painting. It is for Hallwalls annual fundraiser. I've attended the drawing rallies the past, an event with lovely food and drinks and dozens of artists working while we watch. After 45 minutes the works are posted for auction and new artists take their places. At the end of the evening the winning bidders take their art home. 

The 2020 summer event was held online and bidders had several days to view videos of artists producing their art and to bid. It allowed for a wider audience than when people had attended the events. This "Winter Night"s Draw" will also be a virtual experience with several days to view online before the bidding ends.  Bidding will be February 24, 7pm and close on February 28 9pm.

I am THRILLED to have been invited and be a part of this annual event.

Here is a smidgen of the my work. It's a good one, bid high.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Reading Alla Prima by Richard Schmid

I found a link to Alla Prima II by Richard Schmid that I could download and read online as a pdf. This book in 3-D is a valued reference and frequently resourced by artists but I didn’t own it. I would like to hold the real book, to investigate the many color reproductions and flip back and forth to the footnotes and resources. Although I usually read library books online, this pdf didn’t change pages easily and is presented as one single long document, not as book pages. It’s a big book to read this way.

The copy I had didn’t have good color reproduction but I was thrilled to read Schmid's philosophy and approach at a time I needed to start thinking deeply about my work. The spontaneity of his brushstrokes are an illusion. Each stroke is planned and purposeful, each value is carefully measured to the adjoining ones. 

Classic cars committed to canvas

Mobil gas station, classic car painting
Nearly finished

My assignment was to use individual color reference photos of two cars, combine them with another image of an old building and make it into a realistic oil painting. What’s involved? Considering the scale of the different items, their angle of view has to match, and shadows and light were corrected and accurate for each part. With help from Carl and photoshop the composition was adjusted and established and I enlarged the plan to a 16x20 canvas. Normally, I paint on the entire canvas at the same time-for example in a landscape, a bit of blue paint from the sky lands in the water and on a flower or a shadow's edge. But these are cars so other than the chrome colors they were separate paintings. I did use touches of their colors throughout but that was a forced practice. There is the merest suggestion of one reflecting color onto the other.

This commission from a 2nd cousin is headed to Georgia. I believe it was Facebook that allowed us to be reunited online after many years. We had several phone conversations about the details of these cars, our mutual relatives and parents and memories of being kids. 

Knowing what is important to a client helps a commission become successful. The convertible was restored by him and had belonged to his parents. I chose a WNY sky on a bright day, using cloud shapes to draw you into the composition and mirror the car angles.  It was a welcome challenge to paint summer light as winter closed in and Covid lockdowns were cancelling our holiday plans. Fortunately for my sanity (painting keeps me sane) it took more than a month, not constantly painting but evaluating, doing research and correcting. This was a first for me, I’m usually attracted to rusty tractors and barn equipment en plein aire. It was a pleasure to do and I’ve enjoyed having it nearby and 'watching the paint dry' before shipping the painting.

Bill Farrington, classic cars, commission art, competition orange
Ready for shipping

"Where's the Key" 16x20 oil c. 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Published in ‘Outdoor Painter’-Again!

An article about various kinds of plein air equipment by artists from all over includes a photo of me with my Guerrilla box, painting in a sunflower field in Sanborn. I am so pleased to be in the company of 'name brand' artists from all over the world in this international art magazine.

My box holds all my equipment as well as the finished wet painting. All I need to add is a tripod and my lunch. I have purchased several different size setups from them and am happy with each one.
 Click the link to see various easels and setups that Plein air painters use. I’m the one in the sunflower field. 🌞

Summer Memories

Perhaps the nicest day since the pandemic began was an opportunity to attend live music by Sharon Bailey and the X-Statics in Youngstown. Just a small, well spread out group, sunshine and great music. 

A value study of the inside of the barn behind a musician.
Ric and Sharon with Bob on drums.
Did I mention it was perfectly lovely there?

 A view from my front row seat. (There was only one row, lined up against a fence, just a few in this audience.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Sing along time

An Ode to Plein Air Painting
(to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

By Casey Cheuvront

Sunshine on water and shadows on rushes,
New RayMar panels and Rosemary brushes,
All of the insights a good workshop brings -

These are a few of my favorite things.

Finding the right trail when GPS fails you;
Hiking in though there's a storm that assails you.
Finding that one view that makes your heart spring -

These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadmium Orange and fresh tubes of yellow,
Chatting with hikers who stop to say "Hello",
How good it feels when your painting just sings -

These are a few of my favorite things.

When the cap sticks,
When the rig falls,
When the weather's bad -
I simply remember my favorite things,

And then I don't feel
so bad!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Finally Paintng at Knox Farm State Park

Knox Farm is a fairly new state park, in East Aurora, New York. This was the Knox family home and farm. That's the family of the original Albright Knox Museum and former owners of the Buffalo Sabres. It was a perfect day to wander before I painted, there were so many directions to face, buildings and fences, paddocks, gardens, and fields. I eventually returned from my walk and chose this view which is near the parking lot and the car. 

My painting has a LOT of sky, actually too much, and I wasn't about to add birds or storm clouds that I dd not see.  However, I was asked if the image could be 'borrowed' for the park's Facebook page and omitting some of the sky to fit the circle worked well. Next time I will spend more time on my planning and hold the canvas horizontal for a scene like this.

It's always an honor to see my work used, one way or another. As I recall, the hills and distance beyond the buildings were part of the attraction to me, it felt like we were closer to the sky. I will go back.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Some really are taller than others, generally around 5-6 feet tall, there is an occasional plant 12 or 15 feet tall. I love how they demand attention. I created a collection of paintings over the years at Sunflowers of Sanborn but this may be the first that includes a group of buildings and the field. Mostly, I like closeup views of flowers in various positions. 

Some Are Taller Than Others, 12x16 pastel

Unity Island

Drive down bumpy Niagara Street towards downtown Buffalo, find the elusive Unity Island entrance, wait your turn for the one way railroad bridge (5mph, please) and there it is. Before I entered the quiet park I knew this would be my view. I was attracted to the water seen under the bridge, and the shore of Canada across the river. These little ink drawings colored in with my travel watercolor set are fun and good for the spirit. I took photos of everyone else to post on the NFPAP blog, Diane took a photo of me.

International Plein Air Painters Worldwide Paintout 2020

Morning Rapids 12x30 oil 

The grounds crew cleared brush and low bushes beyond the paths on the Three Sisters Islands at Niagara Falls State Park. This gave us a wide open view of the Niagara River approaching Goat Island, headed for the precipice, eventually reaching Lake Ontario. Walking there last week I knew I would return for this painting. I decided to do it on the Worldwide Paintout weekend.
Feeling ambitious, I brought a larger gallery framed canvas to 3 Sisters. It had rained hard the previous two days and the rapids were particularly loud. There was a lot of water furiously headed for the falls.  I set up at the edge of the second bridge, leaving room for the occasional tourist and looked to the east. The gates of the Canadian water authority was the only built structure besides the distant communication towers, so this would be perfect. It became a study in soft colors, churning water and a slightly gray sky loaded with clouds. Having an overcast day meant that without strong light the scene would not change much as the day progressed.

Here is the BEFORE picture, with colors on the palette and blank canvas, my view is the far background. Most of my paintings use a limited palette, unlike all the masters and videos demonstrate on their palettes, I don't need or want every color available for every picture. My warm colors are on the left, cool on the right and neutrals in the center. I left out the overhanging branches as well as the two boulders on the right. 


"Twenty Minutes From Everywhere"

 Thrilling! A goal achieved, a significant gallery exhibit of plein air paintings. Two years ago, Carol Case Siracuse invited me and Karen Foegen to organize an exhibit of locations in plein air at Artists Group Gallery. The idea was accepted by Director Donald Siuta and scheduled August 2020. We created a list of places to consider painting together. We wanted the same scene interpreted by three artists. Life intervened for all of us but we managed to paint some places together, and others we visited on our own time. What a great collection of art was made and exhibited!

This year, we became concerned that due to Covid we may not have the show or have to be virtual, using technology. Fortunately, we became the first Gallery show to open and people were thrilled to have a safe place to see art. After 5 months of 'lockdowns' the gallery doors were held open for a no touch entry, touchless sanitizer and no touch temperature taking all insuring safety. 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

A true nocturnal painting

moon painting with oil paints in the night sky

As the seasons change on a particular day, a solstice or equinox, I try to paint outdoors. This nocturne painting has been photographed dozens of times, to capture the crimson glow in the horizon sky as well as the blue of the moonlit evening sky. 'The camera never lies' does not apply here as the camera has not been able to capture the truth for nearly three months. This is a summer equinox painting and it has a gloss on the surface that my paintings do not normally exhibit without varnish. Perhaps working in the dark has mixing color problems? The canvas has a more even blue shade across the top of the sky.

Settled on the porch, facing south, trees blend into the colors of night while the sky glows overhead. Studying the night sky values ahead of time and careful color arrangements on a palette made this a fun challenge. Every month the full moon has a name. June's name is 'Strawberry Moon' the time when the berries are ripe and sweet. All summer we have enjoyed the distant planets in our night skies.

Saturn, Jupiter and Strawberry Moon, oil on panel 9x12 c.2020

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Artists in Masks-an entertainment

This short little film is "Artists in Masks" compiled by Burchfield Penney Art Center. Besides changing  attitudes to our 2020 created art, we have also changed our appearances this year. A collection of selfies and portraits in masks as well as film of Stitch Buffalo artists making masks, it is a sweet statement about NOW. Find me at the end, the only one painting, but also the only one with hands on that mask. That was a super hot day at Reinstein Woods Park. I was alone in the shade of a tree but kept my mask close for the walkers who might want to get near me painting. 

 Artists in Masks

 This is "Artists in Masks" by Burchfield Penney Art Center on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Big thanks to the Burchfield for this project, keeping us all in tune with the times and connected to our museums and history.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

This photograph is close to where I stood for the next picture, my 'downtown painting day'.

With so much to see and interpret, I am amazed how much I did include. This was drawn and painted from the back of my car, I use the open trunk to provide myself some shade.

 Under the Skyway 6x8" pen and watercolor ©2020

Two Trips to the outer Harbor of Buffalo

Paulette Jurek suggested painting at RCR Boatyard this summer. I was overwhelmed on arrival by the expansive vista, boats, buildings, rusted infrastructure to the south, the water on both sides, city skyline and trains. I decided to draw with ink and color in with watercolor on this first visit but planned to return.

'Buffalo Smells Like Cheerios', 8x6 pen and watercolor ©2020

Two days later I came back with pastels to work larger. Here is the initial underpainting, when there are only shapes laid in.
My view, there is a bit of city hall behind the central buttress. I put it into my painting.

Route 5 Meets Buffalo, 12x16 pastel on Pastelbord   ©2020

Monday, August 24, 2020

Adirondack Plein Air Festival

After months of Covid 19 lock down, I was crushed to have my acceptance and first appearance at this prestigious outdoor competition cancelled. However, it was changed to a virtual exhibit, so the artists who could come to the park had three weeks to paint alone and submit their work digitally. With the gracious hospitality of a good friend available, I quarantined before my trip. No way would I want to bring the evil virus to the pristine air of the Adirondack Park. A five hour drive there was liberating after being mostly cooped up since early March. I relished the pine air, clear skies and dramatic mountains. I didn’t see any other painters and we all missed the celebrations, dinners, client parties and seeing each other's Art. But I painted in the mountains and found great joy there. These are my three submissions. 

'Pine Carpet in the High Peaks, (Keene)’ 9x12 pastel. A high altitude view of other mountains. 
‘Adirondack Rocks', 16x12, pastel painted during the heavy rains of hurricane Isias-from a porch
'North of North Creek', 10x20 oil. The water is the Hudson, way up where it starts