Tuesday, December 30, 2008


After a December Open Studio, two extra events at which my work was featured & a house full of cookies, sweets & family, I find that my recent artistic output has been limited - mostly food & decorations. A large painting of the Polechetti's pink house at 555 Pine Ave in Lockport is still in progress & has benefited from the extra time for evaluation & reflection.

I think this is the 25th year creating our Christmas cards. At first it was difficult, as we had to convince our little kids to do line drawings of Santa or trees that could be reduced & copied on the technology that was available-copy machines, one step up from a mimeograph. Color copies were next, but we could only choose ONE color! Collages, paint, glitter, photos of artwork, screen prints, individual collages, we did it all as a family each year. 25 years ago boxed envelopes came in two sizes-legal & letter, all in white. Using digital cameras with Photoshop & Adobe InDesign our cards became totally professional, we have several friends who still don't know we send them 'homemade' Christmas cards.

One thing we try to do is make card sending fun, so they often come late. Fine with me. This year is particularly busy, so although all the components are ready, the art is printed & the draft is prepared, cards are still here-for at least a few more days.

Tangled in celebration 8x6, oil 2008 - Schifano Christmas card

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dave's Painting-Niagara Falls Carnegie

This is the original Niagara Falls Carnegie library, commissioned by Dave Young as a gift for his sister, a 'Carnegie Library fan'. Carl worked here for many years & the location of my first Niagara Falls art exhibit when it was the Niagara Arts Council. 
Ever since this was commissioned, I sought other Carnegie libraries in my travels, including a trip to Pittsburgh, home of the Carnegie University & library system. One of the best examples around here is the Art center in North Tonawanda, on Goundry Street. The center entrance has a long walk & it is in a park setting with large green space on the west side.
This was a challenge because the trees & the nearby buildings made it difficult to see the entire Carnegie. Waiting for Fall, leaves fell & the structure appeared. True to my new 'tradition' one of the big trees growing there is not painted, it covered too much architecture. I tried new paints & mediums on this painting, they took forever to dry, but I was able to develop the shadows with layers of glazes in a traditional Renaissance style of application.

Niagara Falls Carnegie, oil 8x10, 2008

Open Studio Show Report

They were absolutely the coldest days of the season so far, every time the door opened the candles quivered in the wind, but it was warm around the fire & in the studio. Friends, neighbors & coworkers came to see the results of three years of painting, & proved that my customers & friends have very good taste in art. Several of the most loved Niagara Falls paintings as well other plein air from the local area went to new homes. Diane Brady found the little  jewel 'Biggest Tree in Buckhorn' on the studio shelf. I learned that a favorite subject, the Falls area, is the first choice of most everyone. At the end of the weekend there are few large Niagara Falls painting prints available. I keep my editions of prints to 10 or less copies so I will have to go & paint some new original pictures, or choose different paintings to put into a print edition.

Thank you to everyone who braved the cold, it was wonderful to hear your comments & answer questions about the art of artmaking. The wet paintings showed artistic process involved, working on large works takes two to three months while the small plein air paintings are much faster to complete. I enjoy having my studio in my home because I can pick up a brush at anytime, & also have the opportunity to bring works in progress into my living area to evaluate & fine tune the elements of art before it is finished.

Call to make arrangements to visit the studio if you were busy, all the work is available onwalls for viewing, there just won't be so many cookies!

Buckhorn's Biggest Tree, oil, 8x10, collection of Diane Brady
Niagara's Morning Mists, pastel 12x18, collection of Barbara & Dick Brzyski
Sunday AM Falls, oil, 16x20, collection of Mary Marcinkowski