Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still waiting for these orchids to bloom

Now that winter is official with the solstice, I am thinking about the Botanical Gardens in South Buffalo. Last winter I was able to go only twice to the weekly Thursday paint outs. Both times, I spent more time walking around admiring the gardens & new layouts than I did painting.

This is a branch of Cymbidium or Dendrobium orchids, before opening. There were plenty of fantastic open examples, but I had hoped to come back in a week to see these blossoms open & paint a pair of pictures. It began as a plein air, but I continued to work on it in the studio for several long sessions, the depth represents the distance I feel from the Botanical Garden when I cannot go back to paint regularly. The closed blooms symbolize a promise of something special.
This is an expressive & dramatic painting in my studio, I feel fortunate to be able to paint like this.

Not Orchids Yet, oil 11x14, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Open House at Earl Brydges Library in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Public Library held an open house on December 5th, cookies from Howes, punch & several local artsy people showed their work, including me. I chose a small table for my prints & cards right next to the tree so I could rearrange the ornaments for them.
I'm showing a print to Fran Volpe & Joe Carosella as their Aunt Helen-a dedicated Library Volunteer-checks out Niagara Falls paintings.
I've been busy with shows like this, calendar orders, mailing artwork, now I am going to slow down & figure out how this photo got into my folder!
I have prints & cards for sale in the library gift shop which specializes in images of Niagara Falls including wonderful historic black & white photos from the Dunlop collection. It is always a treat to go & see the volunteers who work to keep the shop full & the displays changing. I am confident it should be named the best North End gift shop for variety & history. The library building is impressive as well!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hyde Park Golf Course Niagara Falls

Last year I was given a cart ride-with my plein air easel-out onto the golf course in Hyde Park, Niagara Falls. There were no golfers as it was late in the season & chilly, but the maintenance men-who gave me the ride-checked up on my progress several times.
This is a par three, the tee is off to the right past the little bridge. The painting stood drying in the studio for a long time, unsigned, & unfinished, because I had not chosen where to put the flag & hole on the green. The trees painted by the green were too wet & thick to draw the flagpole straight outdoors. By the time I decided on the left front, I had forgotten whether it was on the black or the red course. If I had played this course one time then I would have known the answer. Of course, painting on the golf course is more fun than chasing a ball. Well, I do know a bit about golf, the players, rules, but I do like to paint best!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Outdoor paintings in Fall

Fall started out cold & rainy, but most of the leaves stayed up to change color slow enough to paint them. These two paintings were blessed moments in the 'church of nature' on completely different days. Laurene Buckley's backyard on Lake Ontario was cold & threatening, but a warm lunch by the fire was promised. It's so nice to paint with friends, I stood on a huge flat rock-with my french easel-nestled against the cliff as critters climbed around the crevices. The biggest chipmunk I ever saw.....fat orange tail......Marian Granfield painted up above & missed all the nutty action.

The second painting is in Buckhorn. I keep trying to capture my favorite tree, but it is sinking into the marsh & didn't have the majesty it deserves on this day, so I looked East to the woods. Love my own juicy brushwork here!

Fall paintings give me the opportunity to use colors we don't see much during the rest of the year. What a wonderful November! Two solid weeks of sunshine.

West from Old Lake Road, 10x14 oil, 2009
Buckhorn Meadow Creek in Fall, oil 11x14, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

IPAP paintings slide show


The link above is for the International Plein Air Painters website. It is a great place for me-I have made friends & connections with artists around the world & our message board contains workshops, news & comments about artist issues. Jacq Baldini, the IPAP 'leader' has posted a series of paintings by members; it runs on the front page of the website, starting with the green & black logo. It's a great representation of plein air artists, around the world, including my 'Dam Leaves in Elma' oil painting. Enjoy! If you go to the website, you won't need to click anything, it loads itself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 21 invitation

On Saturday, November 21 I will have an art open house from 11:00 am until 5:30 pm at my Grand Island studio. It has been exciting getting ready as I will have artwork displayed by subject-boats & lighthouses, fruits & flowers, local landscape and Niagara Falls.

Because the 2010 calendar features 12 new Niagara Falls paintings, I painted plein air in the park often over the past year & have a variety of oil & pastel Falls area paintings that will be shown for the first time. I'm looking forward to seeing them together myself.

In addition, I have new beautifully matted prints in two sizes & the 2010 calendars. I invite you & your friends to see my new paintings & perhaps get an idea for yourself or a gift for a special event in the future. All original art is discounted 20% in the studio and, of course, it is all 'Made In the USA'.

If you would like to come but are busy on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the studio is always open by appointment. Please share this invitation with others who may be interested in seeing the new paintings.
Contact- ks@kschifano.com

Solo in Youngstown, 9.5 x 12.5, pastel 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whirlpool State Park Rapids

Standing up on the hill at Whirlpool State Park, looking up-river (which is south around here, the Niagara flows north) I painted this in a flash. It was a spectacular September Thursday morning & I had 90 minutes to waste/kill/wait. I raced over to meet other NFPAP painters in the park & concentrated on the rapids as the water rounds the bend before the whirlpool. 

I should have 90 spare minutes & a small prepared canvas on sunny warm days more often!

Whirlpool Rapids, oil 4x6 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Buffalo's Old First Ward & Grain Elevators

shadows of ELevator Alley pastel Kath Schifano Kathy PaintingLast May, Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters came to this site-grain elevators in south Buffalo, the Old First Ward. It was windy, cold, & unworldly for a May day. We returned to paint again in September-what a difference! Warm, no wind, relaxed. There is very little growing to change the view here, so the compositions were similar but with the sun a bit lower in the sky. Layers of unused industrial buildings create strong geometrics, while the sun quickly changes the shapes of shadows.

 It's called 'elevator alley', & the Buffalo tugboats are moored to the left of this scene. I have painted them with pastel as well. To the right is the river leading to the Ohio Street bridge and another massive collection of grain elevators-a subject for another day. Sharon Fundalinski & Peggy Walker have painted this scene many times with & without me & scheduled this paintout for us.
Shadows of Elevator Alley 9.5x12.5 pastel 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Buckhorn State Park

This 'bit of Buckhorn' was also judged into the Erie County Family Justice Center auction. I accidently arrived at Riverwood on a lovely Fall Monday afternoon last year.....during their weekly church service. Visiting Mary was out of the question then, so I hi-tailed it up the street for my own Church of the Woods meditation. The light was glorious, the yellows and oranges flickered, & leaves silently fluttered around me. Having art supplies in the car at all times has emotional & spiritual benefits. Went back to have our visit, refreshed & renewed, with a fresh wet painting in the car.
Buckhorn State Park is a never ending source for my painting.

As Good As Church, oil 14x11 2008

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness Month-October

This moody little oil depicts Navy Island in the Niagara River with the Robert Moses Parkway shoreline of Niagara Falls in the distance. It was rainy, foggy & chilly on the northwest corner of Grand Island, a pocket park call 'Eagle Overlook'. I painted it plein air from inside my car with the window open, the dampness crept into my bones as gulls & seabirds flew into the water & floated by. It was even grayer as I began, but the fog lifted so I could see fuzzy outlines in the distance. Despite the gloomy description it was a peaceful & lovely experience.

The Family Justice Center of Erie County and Artspace Buffalo invited artists to participate in an art auction for the benefit of the Family Justice Center of Erie County. The auction will be held during "A New stART" on October 22nd, 2009 and as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This painting, & two others I entered were juried into the Family Justice Center's annual auction. See all the auction images at their website for A New StArtClick here to view the artwork! You can also get tickets to the event, it was a lovely affair last year, great restaurant treats & wines from around the area - the art was beautifully displayed & lit for the auction. It's at Asbury Hall, formerly The Church, on Delaware Ave. & is a wonderful reuse of an elegant building, with great acoustics.

Gulls & Niagara Fog, oil, 11x14 2007

Saturday, September 26, 2009

16th Street in Niagara Falls painting - a portrait

Niagara Falls pastel Kath Schifano Kathy PaintingPainted from a grand old home on 16th in Niagara Falls, as well as old & new photo references, this house portrait includes details that no longer exist-the awnings, trees, windowboxes & flowers. No longer in the family,  the portrait was commissioned by Nardene Bradt as a gift to her family who grew up in a traditional blended household, aunts & uncles, cousins & grandparents in the same house.

I intended this to be all pastel, but various details of window lights, trims & brick were too small for fat pastel pigments. I chose to underpaint it with Golden fluid acrylics, a rich flexible paint that would preserve the Wallis pastel paper surface. Pastels were used on top of the dried color, allowing the hard edges & details to remain while capturing the rich qualities of pastels as well. I have used the two media together before & have always been happy with the result.

Memories of 16th Street, 16x16 fluid acrylics & pastel 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

This post is for Jim Sheusi

Art Alive is an Albright Knox activity in June, featuring individuals or groups acting out famous artworks. 'Girl With A Pearl Earring', the famous artwork by Vermeer suited my former student, Jenna Miller, perfectly. We used a painted telephone booth box with a gold frame hanging in the doorway. Her top was a cut off graduation gown, the pj pants, striped socks & sneakers were her adaption to the scene & gathered a lot of laughs.

This picture is the invitation announcement that was used the following year for the same event. The designer grayed the scene to emphasize Jenna's face in the frame-she was a clone of the original 'Girl with a Pearl Earring.'


oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.  (46.5 x 40 cm.)
Mauritshuis, The Hague

Postcard image, Jenna Miller at AKAG, 2004

Music is Art, Albright Knox 9-12-09

My first movie! Always interested in the 'view' of the moment, I have photographed, painted & drawn countless scenes. In the midst of a lovely festival afternoon displaying my work & painting the scene (it's in progress on my easel) during the Worldwide Paint-out weekend, I realized I could use my camera to record the sounds & sights I was enjoying. I'm just a film newbie, but turn up the sound to watch my first attempt! Now I will go read the directions for my camera!

This 47 second clip of our 'Music is Art' experience is on the lawn of the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. The traveling band gave us a personal concert; added to the five stages of bands, performances & continuous music, kids activities, fire jugglers, robots & food of the 12 hour day of spectacular weather, it was a wonderful experience for everybody.

A fundraiser for the non-profit 'Music is Art' organization, the day featured a raffle of donated artwork by the 30 selected artists. Carl & I had packed the car & were enjoying a performance in the evening when the winners were posted. A couple had claimed their prize and were talking about it in front of us on the lawn when I realized they were holding my picture of the 'China Lighthouse' at the Buffalo Harbor.... I was so pleased to meet the winners of my lighthouse picture, they were as pleased as I was to have been the winners!.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Plein Air in Buffalo

I've been painting more than I have been posting here-this pastel shows the view between two older homes on Pearl Street in Buffalo, the path leads to a 'Buffalo in Bloom' garden. It was completed last month during a flurry of pastel paintings. I had decided that it would be easier to paint pastels & pile them up in my studio than to find more room for wet oil paintings that need to sit out to dry for 3 months. Of course the pile of pastels never got themselves into my camera in a timely manner. 'Out of sight, out of mind'. Pastels are beginning to get the respect they deserve, there is no difference in quality of one media over the other. As an oil painter & pastelist, I love slipping back & forth between media, learning & improving as I go.

A Pearl on Pearl, pastel 16x12 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Niagara Falls Paintings Calendar

I had released the 2010 calendar for the Lewiston Arts Festival, and it has begun to show up in a few local shops. This year features 12 new paintings of Niagara Falls, as requested by many friends & customers. It was difficult to put together as I just like to paint-not 'paint to make a calendar'. It required some new layouts & interpretations of the paintings so that it was not 12 pages of blue water, waves & blue sky. I also had to make a few extra painting forays to the Falls in some very cold weather! Only two are studio paintings, so it is nearly all plein air art. 

As usual, the 2010 calendar is for sale in the gift shop of the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University as well as The Book Corner in Niagara Falls. It will be also be sold at the Niagara Falls' Earl Brydges Library gift shop soon as well as the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. That should make them available to everyone around WNY!
 Contact me soon to purchase gifts early through www.kschifano.com, the price is only $12. You can also click on the blog icon for an envelope below 'comments' to contact me. {people who receive my regular posts sent to their phone/inbox will have to access www.blogspot.kschifano.com to leave a comment}

Friday, September 4, 2009

Next Saturday 9/12

'The Music is Art Festival' is next Saturday on the grounds of the Albright Knox Art Gallery. I will be one of the 50 selected artists/presenters in the tents. Be there-& find me to say hi! The music is always amazing, it goes from 10 am til late & in the evening all the stars show up, even if it is too dark for the artists.
This is one of those Robby Takac [of GooGooDolls] events that are always fun for everyone. I'll have prints & 2010 calendars, some originals, but I will also be painting there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Albright Knox Art Gallery Issue 2 pub.

Sorting through magazines, I discovered my own painting published in the Albright Knox Art Gallery's quarterly magazine AKNOW. This photo was taken at the opening of the Collector's Gallery Area Artist show last year. My close view of an orange tulip called 'Not Letting it Go' is on the easel. It was kept at the museum for a year & was displayed near the gift shop and also rented for a few months by a corporate client.

Sadly, the regional artists collection is ending soon due to economic woes. I call it a classic 'trickle down economy' effect. I have been proud to be selected to have work at the Albright Knox every year since I was first invited to participate.

We all need to continue to support local arts as they struggle to get beyond budget deficits and dwindling corporate support. This year, I will move my own membership to a higher tier as I appreciate & use the museum so often.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plein Air at Erie County Fair

A plein Air competition on the hottest day of the summer!? I found a shady bench under a tree & worked with pastels to capture the feeling of variety & excitement at the fair.

On the right is the Time Warner Roadrunner-he has the goofiest face, but I may be the only person who spent any time looking at it-there was so much going on all around me. On the back side of my tree was "Mr.Guess", hawking for customers ALL DAY. He was very accurate guessing both weights & ages for $3 a pop. He had to be within two years or two pounds & didn't lose very often. Winners went home with a blow up Mr. Sponge-Bob.

It was a long way from my spot back to the car to mat my picture & then cross the fairgrounds to submit my entry. I returned my painting to the judges at the very last minute-none would be accepted after 4pm - and found a sink to wash up & a traditional lemonade to rehydrate. It wasn't long before the winners were posted & my painting had a big yellow ribbon-third place. What more could I ask for, I spent a hot summer day in the midst of crowds of happy people enjoying 'America's Fair' and also won a prize ribbon and cash for my art.

'Guess your weight, age or birthday', pastel, 12x15 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fundraisers & vegetables

This painting will be presented to Canisius College & Art Dialogue Gallery for their joint gala fund-raiser auction next May. It was painted at the Saturday art event at Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Buffalo. I worked near the open doors to get natural light, but, lo & behold, there were no tomatoes....so this is a very rare example of a painting made from my photograph. I really do prefer plein air and real objects! I tended to look around the side of the photo to 'see more' & get the edges. Good thing it was a great picture to start with.  

This year my tomatoes aren't worth even a photograph-leggy stems, little tomatoes, brown leaves. It's been a weird summer for weather-too much rain & gray in June & July.
Karpeles Museum Tomatoes, oil 11x14 2009

Lewiston's Frontier House

I do like to have a photo of each my artwork owners, & have a lovely collection of photographs of 'satisfied art collectors' with their new paintings.

Jill mentioned Bradley took her picture looking at her new painting on her wall-she sent it to me-so, of course, I had to use it! This is the MOST UNIQUE one in my collection.

And it does look nice, too.
Lewiston's Frontier House, 1824, oil 16x20 2008 photo by California photographer Bradley Smith

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not Just Rain

Lewiston Art Festival is an annual juried fine arts show that has recently featured RAIN each year. This year, it was a monsoon. These pictures are from Erie County, south of our location.

I had a live connection to weather radar & it seemed that the narrowest part of the storm was headed our way. No problem there, Carl said 'It'll rain in 15 minutes' & I said, 'No, probably in five'. At that moment a bucket of water landed on me, my book, chair, etc & we jumped into the tent with our gear. Three walls were already safe & down, the fourth was clipped open. Several strangers-and friends- joined us as torrential rain beat on us, the roof & the tree over our heads. As the wind kicked up, Carl unclipped the fourth wall & we were zipped inside, velcroing all corners & battening hatches. We could hear the storm results in other tents & it did not sound good.

Oops, my internet connection went down, so I had no idea where we were in this storm. All the things on the floor had to be lifted, the table was soaked, prints cards & calendars were wet, and plenty of frames were also sprinkled. Fortunately the towel was large enough to salvage these things.

Nardene Bradt, at the back of the tent mentioned she was glad to be wearing jellies & we all realized that the water was rising, it eventually came halfway into the tent from the curb, Carl's shoes & socks never did dry. Richard Bradt is a lifeguard so we had some security. There was also a a small dog-shaking like a blender-a stroller & assorted others. Dollie, Carolyn & Jason Mallo were with us for awhile & we had a visit from Laurene Buckley as well.

Everything was just peachy until the storm really hit us-I thought it should be over by then-the local power was out, with amazing wind-we all grabbed tent parts- blowing rain, and simultaneous thunder & lightning. It was just scary, until it was mentioned that we were actually under a tree, in a metal frame tent-standing in serious water. Then it was REALLY scary.

Half hour later, it stopped although the thunder continued for an hour. Many artists had a great deal of damage & half of them packed & left. I didn't relish trying to pack the wet tent & decided to let the breeze dry us out a little. 

Then the sun came out-the public returned-& it became a regular festival day, except that it had been downright weird while it was storming.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's a world wide web

This map is in my sidebar on the right so you can click to see where in the world my blog is read. I have had it here for just a few months & am still waiting for my first red dot from China. Apparently Sarah Palin is a fan, because there's a dot in Alaska, too. 

If you would like to share this blog with your overseas or out of town friends, just send them the link. You can drag & drop it into a note. It is ridiculous how happy I get to collect more countries!

Update for the Art Fest Sat & Sun

Lewiston Art Festival is this weekend-August 8&9- & I am looking forward to seeing a lot more people in the sunshine. My new tent location is near the front of the 'Orange Cat' Coffeeshop, on the corner of Center & 7th Streets. The festival has changed its layout this year, Center street will be closed from 8th to 4th & all the tents will face into the street. There will still be music & food & more! This is the only outdoor weekend show I participate in as my work shows best on walls rather than tents.

My calendars are fresh from the printer & there will be a few new matted prints as well, for hostess gifts & friends. This year, I selected 12 Niagara Falls paintings to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of the Niagara Falls State Park.

I plan to display a new interesting assortment of small original oils in a variety of frames for all decors. These original artworks are spectacular gifts for occasions like weddings & anniversaries & many people are starting to plan for the holidays as well.  Another new display will include a variety of oil & pastel artworks with backing boards or mats if needed that are ready for your own frame. If you are shopping locally, remember, all my work is Made in USA!
Composition With Ice, oil 10x14 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lewiston Art Festival August 8 & 9

Preparing for the Lewiston Art Fest- my new tent location will be in front of the Orange Cat Coffee Co, right near the corner of 7th Street on Center Street. Although I will miss my comfy park lawn site, the new Festival setup should be exciting. The entire area of tents will be closed to traffic, & everyone will be between 4th & 8th Streets on Center.

I plan to have my calendars available then, my fingers are crossed! The ink may be wet & I may be up late Friday night packaging them, but the all 'Niagara Falls' edition went to the printer for proofs last week.  Having included 3 or 4 Falls paintings every year, it was a a challenge to have 12 'excellent' paintings completed without using the old ones. You may be a little surprised at some of the new layout effects we are trying.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Comparing Paintings

Once upon a time, I said I didn't like to paint bridges. Since then , I learned to love them, especially these little bridges we find to cross creeks and streams.  These pictures show two of my 2009 paintings, the framed one was done in Florida, the other is at Allegany State Park, & they were painted 5 months apart on location. I was surprised to see the similarities, but also was amazed to remember the differences-the fire ants vs. the flies, the scorching sun vs. the rain that ended the painting session.
Both paintings were wonderful experiences, the process of plein air can not be matched in a studio. There is no substitute for real life.

The Red Bridge oil, 11x14 2009
Redhouse Bridge to the Playground pastel, 9x12 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Satisfied customers

Monica & Mike White came here on Sunday & left with their completed portrait. It had been drying for long enough to have a light coat of varnish-it's now archival enough for the first hundred years or so. Their New Jersey home (in the painting) is currently listed for sale, & the painting will hang in Wellsville, at their new address.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rainbow Bridge from Whirlpool

Easy to find in older digital files because they were arranged by date, I can post this original pastel composition from 2006 to compare to this year's. 

The softer afternoon light has less contrast & shadows are bluer in the water here. The 'Niagara Towers' building is still in Niagara Falls, as are several others visible from the park. I originally put this in because it is home to Martha Schifano. Several other buildings are visible, but this is a good example of 'artist's license' -- leave out what you don't need/want.

Whirlpool Bridge View pastel, 18x12, 2006

Painting the same scene 3 years later

This is water rushing through the gorge after cascading down Niagara Falls, it is called the lower river, but still too rocky & rough for boats yet. If you have looked around my studio, then you may have seen a similar painting behind the door. Several years ago, as a new plein air painter, I went to Whirlpool State Park, leaned on the gorge rail & completed an afternoon view of the bridge and lower rapids. The Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters, hosted by painter Carol Mathewson of Youngstown met at the park this month, so I chose the same composition. 

Comparing the two paintings, it is not evident that they were painted a few years apart, instead, it becomes obvious that they were done at different times of the day. This is a morning painting, while the other was made in the afternoon, reversing all the lights & shadows!

The difference that I notice is I can now attack a composition, lay in local colors confidently & block in shapes to start faster. This is definitely a result of practical experience, many days have been lost to changing light & capricious weather. The 2nd difference is the view-lots of vines & shrubs have grown into the public  viewing area. I  admit to having pulled aside several yards of Virginia Creeper in order to see the gorge-and I was standing along the viewing rail.

 Whirlpool Bridge from Whirlpool pastel 18x12

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grand Island Happenings

I joined our Grand Island Chamber of Commerce this year, & also exhibited with their 'Grand Island Happenings' showcase event, which included 'KidBiz', Jim Sharpe's brainchild for GI youth. There were games, artists, food vendors & services in KidBiz-all by youngsters. Quite impressive. 

Over on the 'old people's' side of the park, there were opportunities for eating as well as three rows of tents representing GI businesses, including mine. We left the walls off & had lots of fresh air & visitors. I participated in this exhibit two years ago & had a nice day then. That was the first time with a new tent, but we are very efficient & fast now.

American Falls painting-the wettest

10,000 cubic feet a second at the American Falls? This Niagara oil was painted in Fall, but I have certainly taken my time to re-photograph it. As you look at water right after the brink of the American Falls, you see that there are areas where the water hits rocks on the way down, creating new cascades.

I chose to re-publish this picture to celebrate summer. It was painted on a summer-like day, which hasn't happened often this year. Mid July, & I thought about wearing socks with my jeans today. What's wrong with that? Well, I usually put my jeans away for a few months to wear shorts & bare feet.

It was bright enough to take pictures this morning-& not windy, so I think the final two paintings can be laid out for the 2010 calendar. I had shot them a few times before, but the late day light is too warm, & the early day was too blue! I'd rather have them right in the camera than adjust colors afterwards for printing. I really miss the camera, umbrellas & strobe set-up for taking photos I once had in my Niagara Falls High School classroom. But that's all.
Steps of Niagara, oil 16x20, 2008

Friday, July 3, 2009

Father Louis Hennepin, O.F.M.

There is a great boulder north of the Rainbow bridge. It has a bronze marker stating that Father Louis Hennepin probably stood near in 1679 to view the Falls. He was supposedly the first European to see the cataracts & artists have recorded paintings of him standing in various places, but never there. It is a mile or so to the Horseshoe Falls  from that big rock, as the seagulls fly-if they flew straight.
It happens to be the place I set up my easel & selected this tiny corner of my panoramic view. It is the edge of the Canadian Table Rock section, the mist was not filling the gorge  much, so I had a great view & a lovely morning in the park. Remember, this was a mile distant, so my eyes had a great workout!
'Father Hennepin Stood Here' 9.5 x 15.5, pastel 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pure serendipity day

Everyone in our neighborhood decided to yard sale the same weekend, so I carted out the odds & ends I had been saving on purpose. After the initial flurry of checking arrangements & price tags on the driveway on Saturday, I set up an easel & painted part of the porch from under my sun umbrella. I was totally into the picture, but people kept handing me money instead of walking off with the goodies. After two days, I packed my car with leftovers & donated them to the Hiawatha Manor in Niagara Falls, NY. When I returned, I collected some more useful things & put them away for the next yard sale event.

 This was the ultimate multi-tasking experience, because I was able to clean under the basement stairs & some of the garage, chat with neighbors, paint my pansies & clematis before the blooms were done & also spend a lovely Saturday out front.
NoEarlybirds, pastel 11.5 x 15.5  2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

The pleasures of weather

It seems like it has been a while since I posted, but I have finished 30 paintings this year-& four of them in just two intense days this month, by camping at Allegeny State Park with several NFPAP friends. This painting was completed on a scheduled paintout in late April. The view is in Sanborn looking out towards Lake Ontario. A lovely day, Spring greens were in the fields, buds were opening & birds were searching for nesting spaces. 

Preparing for painting, & recovering afterwards, takes more time than even I imagine, so it has been a while since I photographed my new work. Of course, the weather has been rainy or windy whenever I find the time-& when it was nice out, I painted! The best photographs of my artwork happens on the perfectly still days outdoors, with filtered light. I do miss the control of the studio I had before, umbrellas, strobes & a synch button, but I don't miss anything else about it.
On the Ridge at Lower Mountain Road, 10x20, oil, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Outdoors can become studio work

The angular trees & shallow water are two of my favorite painting subjects at Burchfield Art & Nature Center. I was the Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters  host there last month, but was distracted by a variety of impending responsibilities when it came time to choose a subject. I knew that the open paths & misty morning distance would make great subjects, but they weren't fitting into my temporary  melancholia. I settled close to a big patch of daffs & drew until I became intrigued by this composition & started to paint it. However, the mood prevailed & I transported a dull unfinished plein air in the car while I ran errands & completed tasks. The next week, I reviewed the sad drying painting & pulled it onto my easel in the studio. Fresh eyes saw potential & I reworked the flowers, enlarging the petals, adding distance & additional flowers & stems until I was satisfied. It took a lot longer than I expected & nothing of the original plein air remains-except the memory.  It would have been easy to overwork it.
Our spring was pretty, that day was lovely, & these are the only daffodils still around. The moral of the story is that it isn't always easy to paint, even when I want to. Lucky me, this moody nonsense rarely happens.
Late Yellow Daffodils, oil 14x11 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

2010 calendar planning

UPS safely delivered a double-boxed cardboard order Saturday-the new empty calendar cases for 2010. Planning next year's calendar, I had finally decided to create a 12 month 'Niagara Falls' series, which is a bit harder than I thought, since I had already selected at least 4 Falls paintings-the best ones-for each of my previous four calendars. Keeping with my plan to feature only new work, I am boggled by a variety of selection  conditions. 
1), horizontal images work best with the calendar. 
2), who wants 12 pages of blue water? 
3), not every painting qualifies; I'd be the first to say that not every composition is up to a 30 day analysis by my public. 
4), all the images need to be finished & selected for layout by the end of this month!  
5), I was a cold weather chicken this winter & did not venture out much to paint the ice & snow mounds en plein aire at Niagara.
This painting will be one of the spring images, it was made on one of those sunny early Spring days when people come flocking to the walking paths to wish away winter. Still cold along the water, the buds had started on some bushes.
Dance on the Rapids oil, 11x14 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Buffalo Botanical Garden painting

Painted on site at the Botanical Gardens, '746 Orchids in a Box' was named because after I started painting, I realized that the flowers were actually miniature orchids. I started to estimate the number of flowers by counting bunches, the result happened to be an auspicious # for me. Anyway, Fran Volpe owns this painting now; after selecting several paintings to find the perfect picture for her remodel, this worked out for all the people involved!

746 Orchids in a Box, oil on masonite, 12x18 2007

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WKBW AM Buffalo show & Quaker Bonnet Eatery Day!!

On Friday morning, WKBW television morning show host Linda Pellegrino & I spoke at length on various artistic topics-styles, art training, my work & calendar, plein air, etc. Then the live film  segment started! She was particularly easy to talk with but what was left to discuss? Filming a television segment live was new to me, but it was also easy as she was interested & well prepared. I may eventually have a digital copy to post here, it was about ten minutes long, but seemed quick at the time. My feet haven't touched the floor yet as I started the day on television & artwise, it continued until my evening artist reception at Quaker Bonnet Eatery. It wasn't crowded, but there were different people attending at all times for the entire evening. Some even went out with a package of  famous Buffalo chips-the ultimate coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate. Carl & I had lots of conversations with old friends & new viewers. Liz Kolken prepared wonderful [& beautiful] platters of snacks as well as wine & beer, & the weather was quite perfect as well. The month of May has been spectacular so far!
AM Buffalo television studio #2,  5-8-09

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Houston Texas, noon & dogs

Finally-A finished and almost dry picture! Now I should plan a visit to varnish it in place.

This is a commissioned house portrait for Stephanie & Brian Smith of Houston. Working on it, I realized that the dogs are the real subject here. They are as sweet as can be & have no pretensions about the fact that they are very special dogs & live in a lovely home.

Bevo & Bonzo's Texas Ranch oil 14x18 2009

If you did not get the email...

Friday May 8--Please join me! From 5 to 7 in the evening-early enough to go out for dinner or catch a movie.

My newest solo exhibit is 'Around & About the Bright Side' in Buffalo!

 Start Mother's Day weekend at my Artist Reception Friday May 8 from 5-7pm
Liz promises nibbles, coffee & tea for us as well as a cash bar if you want to party.
The show will remain until May 31 2009

Quaker Bonnet Eatery
175 Allen Street [two doors from Elmwood Avenue}

Am Buffalo, channel 7 ABC, has also invited me to appear on Friday morning between 10am & 11. It was inspired by the picture of me painting the Horseshoe Falls on the cover of 'Forever Young' magazine-May issue. It is in Wegman's & Rite Aid this month.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Blog? I am crazy!

CLICK HERE for My Page - plein air artists

I just signed onto a new blog-for plein air artists. It was relatively easy, & uploading images was simple. It was especially nice to see my own pictures flash by as all the current images on the site roll by the welcome page. Obviously, I have absolutely no time to keep up with this ......so we'll see if I am up to the challenge. Several national artists that I correspond with occasionally are there as well.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some days are really special!

Forever Young Magazine

Click the link to read the May issue article by Anthony Chabala about my plein air. It started from a press release sent to Buffalo Spree about the upcoming show. It was referred to Forever Young Magazine & between interview questions & my website he developed this article.
Just one correction---the exhibit will be up all month! Join me at the artist's reception on Friday May 8, 5-7 pm. Quaker Bonnet is on Allen Street between Elmwood & Delaware.

What is more amazing is that they chose my picture for the cover! This is from their website, as I have not seen it on paper yet.

Albright Knox Area Artist Exhibit

Today this studio painting was selected for 2009 Area Artist Exhibit at the Albright Knox. It seemed like a long time from the application process announcement until the final decision. Previously, this show was juried by invitation. Artists brought their work-maximum two-to the Museum for jurying, and received a phone call about works selected or declined. This year required a green online entry; less gas & time, but by applying a bit earlier, it seemed a long wait. There will be a reception May 15th with the exhibiting artists. It's an honor to be selected & the work at the show is an area artist who's who  to me. I'm pleased to be included!
5 Apples & the Light,  oil 22x28  2008

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Monica

It doesn't snow much in central New Jersey, but this house portrait documents the 2009 snow forever.  Not dry enough to travel this week, but here it is, finished.

Shirley said 'White house' oil 11x14 2009

Not quite Mutt & Jeff

The dogs have landed. Now whose tongue hangs out on which side, & what kind of ears belong on the left?  My photo has a glare-from the white van reflection on the glass. Do I need to go back there & check or what? (I know they will still be in this position) I think shorty is done. Picture is almost finished but still very wet.
I'm fishing for comments!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Days

freezing painting, Kathy Schifano, Sharon FundalinskiPlein Air season is officially ON! Too cold to stand in the wind blowing over still frozen Lake Erie, I set my French Easel in the windbreak created by the car & gained extra space. Hats with earflaps, cozy scarf & SIX layers plus an apron made it possible to paint in 'Elevator Alley', South Buffalo. Sharon Fundalinski had settled into a chair behind a breakwall to paint the same scene from a different vantage point, but it was time for lunch in this picture. It was so cold that the oils were like glue on the palette, only 40 degrees, but the wind was, well, just plain cold.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Studio nights

Late & quiet nights find me listening to music & working on this house portrait-some of the earlier parts are starting to dry, so I can layer details-window sashes, shading, brickwork. Robin went over & took two more photos for me, one of the soffit, another of the peaks. Most everything will be covered by the majestic pine & leaves, but, as in life, the building will stand strong behind & between the branches. Mostly I want the door to dry a little so I can put in the dogs!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Texas portrait in progress

Although I have my own daily progress records [such an ed. term!] for many studio paintings, I rarely post them. You can click on the subject 'artist process' or 'rose' on the right side to see one. There is a round painting of a rose, published last year here, but since this is such a 'long distance' portrait I have decided to publish it as it evolves. These represent two sittings, the light seems different because  there is daylight on the second photo. No matter how true spectrum my bulbs are, the camera is not fooled & warms the images. Yes, it is a peachy sort of background. Love that Texas sunlight.
Still working the title-Return to Green Castle?, Robin's view? Two Patient Buddies?[no!] The Smith castle/residence/home? Titles write themselves, this one is to be determined.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Facebook reflection

I had been asked why I was not on Facebook many times, so I finally broke down & made a page. My friends list is expanding quickly, as Facebook intends, & each new contact or old friend is precious to me. The world seems to be huddled around keyboards, twittering & commenting, which actually keeps us in touch. It's a thrill to see photos of old friends on other pages, & even better when someone finds me.

Made me realize that some of you get this blog as single posts when I put them up. So I am asking a favor. 

On a real computer, not blackberrys & ipods, go to my [this] complete blog & check it out. Click on a post & make a comment if you want. I just posted a visitor map here, & am interested in seeing a few red dots! Actually, I also want you to see all my images together--is this an art blog, or an on line journal? This blog has no automatic ties to others, so it is anonymous unless I make an effort to share it. 
So, part 2, send someone else to see my blog as well! It's free & will make me happy to see a few red dots happen in some new places!
What's the address? www.kschifano.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Return to Texas

Fascinated by the Bottlebrush tree, I had to go back to Texas to see it in full bloom this year.

Well, no, actually we went to visit Robin, Jeremy & the Houston Museum of Art [great Afghanistan treasures show], and I used their front door sidelights as a frame & tried the annual Bottlebrush painting from a chair indoors. I was only a few feet away, but it was seen through the glass.
Next, I sat out on the back deck bench & caught shadows of light on the path & fence. I was in full shade myself & just relished the heat as the day warmed up. Little lizards watched from the ferns nearby. Unfortunately, I had to place my palette on the left side & reach over myself. Every time I do that I say 'never again!'-it is a workout for my right shoulder so I tend to paint the bristles dry.
Spring Geranium 11x14 oil 2009
Bottlebrush 2009 7x5