Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter gift show at NACC

The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center winter gallery exhibit is titled 'Fire and Ice'. I have two paintings there but this is my display earlier in the day when the NACC was open to the public for a holiday show and sale on tables. I brought some mini paintings, the 2015 calendars and an assortment of small framed plein air canvases. It was a fun day and interesting to hear comments about the smaller works and to meet other artists with their work.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Snovember cancellation

 Not sure where there is a road open but the amount of snow on this car is a small indication of how much there is in the storm center. I assume this is in an area that is not the hardest hit.
A photo in the newspaper showed this marquee with a snow pile on top that is taller than the sign height. I like the message they added here.

This weekend was supposed to be my major end of year event, replacing the "Open Studio" I hosted for the past five years. Unfortunately most snow records were broken this week as the Southtowns of Buffalo were inundated with snowfall amounts measured in feet with numbers like 5-6 feet in the worst areas. Since the Holiday Art Festival was scheduled in the lovely Knox Mansion in East Aurora in the midst of the snowbelt it has been rescheduled to Spring. With the amounts of snow there- a whole year's worth in two days-some may still be melting in the lots then.

Obviously these are not my photos, we had about 3 inches on Grand Island, the photos are from the internet.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Using a penny for emphasis

Kathy Schifano, Niagara artist, Niagara souvenir

Mini paintings take a bit of effort and concentration, as well as a good collection of exquisite small brushes. I wish I had more small frames, but it is probably better that I do not; these are 'testing the wrist' paintings. I waited longer than I wanted to start to paint after my wrist surgery and the small brushes require more control and a firmer grip than I expected, so this was an uncomfortable series to complete. Nevertheless, I love them!

The penny in the center indicates how small they are. The first Horseshoe falls is the largest, at 2.5" by 3.5", all four with frames can fit in one hand easily. These will be coming to the Holiday Art Festival at the Knox mansion in East Aurora the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Two of these are from a set Annette Baumgarden gave to me years ago, I had another one painted, but they are so small I ruined it by drilling the hardware right through to the front. I have searched the internet and have not found a place that sells small frames, unless I count the wholesale lots with a minimum order of 500 pieces.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ending one Season, Starting Another

The Autumn leaves are still brilliant and there are more paint days ahead but an end of season art show for one of my groups will open November 1 in Lockport at the new Lock Side Art Center.

My friends in Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters had scheduled paintouts at various locations, 7 or 8 every month since Spring. We hope for a good turnout to see the paintings that members choose from these sites to display at this exhibition. Although I painted the same number of pictures as usual this year, they were concentrated in three separate adventures, trips to the ocean in Delaware in June, the Zhang and Wooley workshop mid-summer and another late summer ocean week in Long Beach. In between I worked fairly small and skipped many dates to rest my wrist. In mid September I had wrist surgery and am thrilled at the improvement I feel, although I have not attempted more than a few touchups with paint yet. Some tiny studies, about 2x2 and 2x3 tested my small brush skills and took longer than I expected.

Not back to a regular painting schedule yet, I look forward to the opportunity to work with pastels again and I am considering some still life experiments this winter. It remains to be seen!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

P4P doesn't always work

painting for preservation, Buffalo street painting, Kathy Schifano

The original expansive Delaware Court structure had a lovely curved facade; Painting for Preservation artists had gathered there on a brilliant Fall Saturday to bring attention to the fact that the Chippewa Street businesses and stores were moving out to demolish the classic building and replace it with a monster huge structure. 

At a quick stop at Spot Coffee exactly a year later I see the new building is in progress. Fortunately the architect preserved the curved facade, it will be interesting to see how it is finished and how it effects the area as time goes on.  I am glad I had an opportunity to capture the original building, spend some time with it and paint a dignified portrait.

Delaware Court, oil, 10x12, 2013

Saturday, October 11, 2014

This is the sitting room at the Knox Mansion

The sitting room of the Knox family is at the top of the main staircase. I think it was the master bedroom as the bath has the original pencil marks of the growing family's heights marked on the molding and now preserved with acrylic. The house is mostly empty, with a full pro kitchen it is used for special events.

November 21, 22, 23 the Friends of Knox Farm State Park present the Holiday Art Festival in the main house. I have been invited to present my art there; Monica will be sharing the room with me and another textile artist. This photo shows 'my side' and an exit door. Let the plans begin!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Buffalo History Museum is good to their artists.

I am writing about donating again. Artists are constantly asked to donate work for fundraisers. Who asks a handyman, lawn service or plumber for donations? We are the first to be asked to contribute to our community and sometimes works are purchased by bids that are lower than the price of the frames we send them counting time, materials or skills.

It is fairly easy to contribute a painting to groups I truly believe in and also somewhere that appreciates it with a 'free' membership, a ticket to an event or some profit sharing from the sale of my art. Some venues collect more donations than they need and barely acknowledge the artist, making repeat donations rare.

Last year, The Buffalo History Museum asked for a donation and I gave them a painting of their gardens. In return, I was sent a ticket to the event which turned out to be a lovely evening even though I barely knew a person in the three large rooms. I did get to see most of the museum and sample many lovely foods as well that evening. The best part was seeing four different people silently bidding up the price on my picture.

On their donee's paperwork, the museum asks if you want to donate all of the proceeds or make a 60/40 split with the museum. Talk about fair! This is what artists need, an opportunity to make a bit back on their own investment. More groups should try this and they will see the quality of the art they have go way up.

This year, I am sending two paintings for their November 6 'Paint the Town' fundraiser, a lovely little one of the Japanese gardens that I painted at the Cherry Blossom festival and another of Ruth's Garden in Artpark, framed in a thick and luscious golden plein air frame. Believing in the mission of the Buffalo History Museum, I hope they make a bundle.

Rain in the Japanese Garden, 5x7 oil on

Off the Boardwalk in Long Beach

For the past two years, I have been told that I should paint on or near the boardwalk in Long Beach. Finally, I went, to the exact spot I was told to go, which was by the fancy new and expensive hotel. It was fairly quiet there when I started, but as the tide went out more people were set up in all directions, tanning, reading, scrolling on their phones and partying with scrumptious picnic baskets. It got fairly crowded and full of rented chaise lounges and blue umbrellas from the hotel.

I was the only one standing around, long sleeves, long paints, wide brimmed hat, flimsy white umbrella hoisted high like a flag and the interesting thing is...I was invisible. No one spoke to me or stopped to look, or apologized for walking in front of me (that normally happens a lot). The hoi polloi did have exquisite bathing suits, matching towels and sandals, spray on tans, perfect hair and skin, nipped tucked, plucked and primped like models. The one mile between my normal painting spot and this one could have been a hundred as it was another world altogether. This 12x16 oil came out perfect, so I'm glad I went!

'Near the Boardwalk', 12x16 oil on board

Monday, September 8, 2014

'You Are There' a P4P art exhibit

Eight plein air ocean paintings based on the Ohio Street Jetty are displayed at Artists Space Gallery on Main Street in Buffalo as part of the Painting for Preservation group. The title of the exhibit is "You Are There". Without a written explanation, I hope you would feel the power of water and weather, the changes around an ocean barrier and the mood of an ocean.

Sara Zak invited a group of the P4P painters and photographers to show, but the focus was not our preservation paintings, rather, work of our own choice that illustrated the theme. Looking at the work, I was intrigued by the powerful images displayed. 

They are shown here grouped within an architectural plaque on the entrance wall, but by the time the final show was hung they were moved a bit further down the wall, into a wider format. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Sand Painting' 9x12 oil on birch with plenty of authentic beach sand in the paint.

Back to Long Beach, Long Island. This is the jetty directly to the East of Ohio Street and the first time I strayed from my usual rocks. It attracted me because the ocean had piled the sand so high on one side while it was deeply carved on the west. Later in the week a hurricane was out at sea, causing the surf at high tide to push this particular sand right over the rocks, making it more even on each side. The pleasures of plein air: documenting change.

Setting up, preparing my palette and unpacking my supplies proved to be the source of the title, a fresh palette of paint (and probably more paint than I usually use as I was planning two) acts like a frisbee when buffeted by the wind. Not bungeed down yet, the wood palette landed fairly sideways in the sand. Sounds safe? No. Enough sand had been carried in the air and kicked up that the paints were fairly tan. I used it anyway after scraping some of the worst lumps and gained a painting with an awful lot of texture. My main brush took a beating as well, pushing around the paint wore out a fair number of precious hairs, leaving me with a ferrule full and a brush partly worn.

Sand Painting, 9x12 oil on birch board

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Impact Artists Gallery features 3 solo shows.

The month of August is mine. At least at Impact Artist's Gallery it is partly mine. The first long wall, shown above, around the corner and then another wall and you will see all my favorite flowers, vegetables and various botanicals. Along with Paulette Jurek and Joan Hambleton we have filled the gallery with our three person show titled "Empower".

'Fourth Friday at Trimain' was our artist reception with the standard table of brownies, cheeses, wonderful dips and pita which kept several people in the gallery for longer than usual, it was a classic hot August evening, but I just felt cool, finally seeing these particular pieces displayed together. Lots sent their regrets as it was a big night for events in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, but I was still pleased to have had visitors coming in steadily for the entire time of the reception. Lucky for me, Bobbie, Chris and Sandi, along with one of her roommates also were there and they got to visit the Buffalo Artist Studios area as well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

2015 Art Calendars-All Niagara images

2015 Calendars are printed, sorted and packaged into cases and refills, and nothing has changed except the beautiful images. This year, all the represented paintings are of Niagara Falls and the river. I have had requests for this for several years, but by the time it was printed half of the paintings are gone.

You can email me, phone or click the links on my webpage, same prices as ever. Click Here!

Check, cash, credit card, paypal or bitcoin, they are $12 in person, $10 for a refill. By mail and online I collect a bit more for postage and packaging ($15 and 11), but all prices include sales tax. Purchase several calendars by mail and the price goes down, 5 for $65 includes postage and taxes.

The theme is Niagara Falls, and although there is a lot of water, there is still a variety of colors, scenes and locations in the park.

Plein air sand

Kath Schifano, Long Beach painting
Late in the day, families pack up, as beach blankets and umbrellas are set up for the day and used from morning to sunset. These late afternoon umbrellas attracted me as their vibrant colors contrasted with the slightly overcast sky.  There are a series of spots near the center which are sand from the day of the painting. I could easily brush them off, but they are too authentic! Pure plein air with proof!

Beach Sentries 11x14 oil on panel

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Youngstown Yacht Club

 A photo from last week's 'Art on the River' evening. If I can't be outdoors at the Youngstown Yacht Club on a warm summer evening, paint anyway.

This annual event is on the Thursday before the Lewiston Art Festival, a good warm up for me. I bring a few items to show and sell and my freshly minted calendars, but it is a rehearsal for the list of things one needs as a business person...charge card materials, packaging papers and bags, receipt book, pens, business cards and flyers, notebook, iPad, clips, wire, tools, tape, water bottle, sign.....
Thanks to Beverly and Donna for the invitation to show and for the photo!

Friday, August 8, 2014

3rd and Niagara, Niagara Falls Painting story

Kath Schifano, painting downtown, Kathy pink hat
I found a photograph of myself on the 'Niagara Painters' website, we were painting this morning in downtown Niagara Falls.
A young lady from Boznia Herzegovina came by to chat, she was practicing her English, and asked me why I chose the 3rd Street scene. I said I liked the street because I used to live right there ----> on the painting.
She answered, 'I live right there.' She's upstairs from the old Sheusi Brothers furniture store, I lived in the cottage behind, but I knew about the apartments, the Murphy beds, built in cabinets and elegant woodwork. I wonder if, after 30 years, many of them in neglect, some of the elegance remains? For her sake, I hope so.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kenan biennial 'Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit'

Kathy Schifano, horseshoe Falls, Niagara artist  Last summer my wrist and hand overdosed with pastels. In fact, I damaged tendons by having three summer residencies where I painted all day, even painting nocturnes. Actually it was 2 1/2 residencies, the third was not completed due to overuse of my gripping thumb. How the lovely colors and sensual marks of my loved pastel sets could become so difficult is still hard to understand. 

By Fall, I began wearing a brace and figured out novel ways to handle a paintbrush as well as a palette knife, but the pastels stayed in storage while I worked carefully with oils. Eventually, I was wearing the brace 20-22 hours a day, and not improving much, visiting hand specialists who administered different shots (some worked for a while) and various tests for carpel tunnel and other injuries.

After several months I retrieved a pastel commission from storage and slowly completed the late winter gorge scene. Such joy to commune with my colors! After delivering it, I needed to do this new pastel painting for myself. Views of the curve of Niagara Falls always intrigue me, individual boulders and favorite islands have been repeated in plein air yearly in paint and pastel. I just needed to be a pastel artist again.

I usually complete a large work in about a week's worth of studio painting, but this took more than two months. I paced the use of my hands, experimenting with working left handed, always aware that I didn't want more pain, but enjoying the pastels, the sound of mark making and richness of pigment and texture. I loved the process and the painting and entered it into the Kenan biennial 'Niagara Frontier Art Exhibit', one of my favorite local shows. 

Accepted, this work of ...what, a year?....hangs proudly in the Kenan dining room, right near a digital collage by Carl Schifano until August 29.

Horseshoe Racing, 22x28 pastel 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

The big vista

Everyone driving down Lewiston Hill looks at the scene out over the lake and the rolling landscape from the escarpment to the shore, mostly farms and fields. On clear days the city of Toronto stands like a beacon in the distance, more than 35 miles as the crow flies. This Spring day, I painted in Ann's backyard, on top of the escarpment, as I looked, the spires and buildings of the city appeared as the morning mist lifted.

view of Toronto, Schifano, plein air
Toronto Haze, 9x12 oil

Artists Group Gallery

The edge of Goat Island at Niagara Falls separates the water that goes over the two falls from the Niagara River. The rapids become quite tumultuous at this spot, the speed of the water increases and splashes on the rocks and ledges. An earlier post this year showed this being painted from the front seat of my car at the end of a long cold winter. 

I donated the painting to Artists Group Gallery for the summer fundraiser, an evening with delightful food and drinks, some surprises and the opportunity to purchase small artworks at $100. 

It's July 24th in the evening, tickets available from the gallery, 885-2251

Schifano, water painting, plein air, Niagara artist
Rapids Start 6x6 oil, c. K. Schifano

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hurricane Arthur painting

Arthur painting, Niagara artist, Schifano

A long planned vacation and family get together in Delaware was an opportunity to paint at the beach...right off the balcony of our apartment as this painting happens to be. The beach is actually deeper than this and the water does not come so high, but this was from a storm that had hit the Outer Banks and was visible as it careened out to sea.

"Arthur" was painted the morning of the first US hurricane of 2014. The waves were picking up and eventually crashed onto the beach, halfway to our apartment. It was thrilling, but hard to paint a moment as the light changed so quickly in the storm. 

'Arthur', 9x21 oil

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Saturday night, be at the NACC for the opening reception, 6:30-9. My painting, top left was selected for the postcard. This is an annual juried show, the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center has an open house, presentations, openings, and lots more.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 Summer Solstice

 As each season changes, we remark on the day but I try to be a painter on the solstice and equinox as a way to acknowledge the change. As a teacher I tried to remember to bring 'eggs' to balance; whether it was a hoax or not, it worked until the table shook.

This was painted on Carl's birthday, we both packed up paint kits and headed to Beaver Island State Park. I felt this one was finished, but Carl was still painting, so I used a 5x7 and painted his portrait under the umbrella. It is now a special painting and I am glad I tried that second one. I titled it 'Birthday Suit'.

This is an oil which is lighter and brighter than this picture, it is under a shade umbrella for the photo. Amazing skies today. 

Beaver Island Solstice, 9x12 oil

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beyond the Barrel 2014

The annual NACC summer show, 'Beyond the Barrel' always seemed to be a show that would not have Falls images (BEYOND the barrel, get it?). Of course, there were always falls images somewhere in the show, it is only a dozen blocks from the great cataracts. I decided last year to put in an abstract consisting of the water crashing into a boulder at the precipice and it was received well, so this year I am showing that boulder from the back side. I know the location well because I usually site the rock for a landmark when I paint the Horseshoe Falls water.
Kathy Schifano, plein air Niagara, oil paint commission
Another Surprise on the Path, 16x20 oil, c. K. Schifano
 Both of my entries are plein air but they are totally different in size, color, subject, location and even application. A painting trip last month to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the juried Camp Hill Plein Air event was different for me as it was a new location, hilly and summery, with unknown streets and buildings to navigate. There are several bridges spanning the Susquehanna River, one of them has an exit to 'City Island', home to a baseball stadium, vintage train ride, beach, ice cream stand, miniature golf and more. From an empty parking lot I saw the brilliant colors of these stored mini buildings, probably used for cotton candy and roasted nut sales in summer. They were gathered on a small hilltop while a massive Sycamore tree raised up from the ground level close to the lot. The humor of little houses, big tree struck me and I spent a pleasant afternoon painting the scene.

City Island painting, Schifano, Sycamore tree
Put the Little House Behind the Big Tree, 16x12 oil, c. K. Schifano
It seemed like millions of birds were chattering in the thick bushes behind me, but I just listened. When the painting was nearly finished, I leaned back on my car to contemplate the scene and my painting. At that moment, a pair of orange Orioles flew to my feet, my dark sneakers had bright green laces and pink trim. Orioles like oranges and other fruit, I guess they were tempted by the colors but nearly surprised me off balance. Every painting has its own story and special memories.

The show will be up for the summer, the opening is on Saturday, June 21 6:30-9, with awards given that night. Open to the public.

Guerrilla Painter 9x12 LapTop box

An NFPAP paintout at Gateway Park in Tonawanda was a great opportunity to just sit in the park where I often stroll, to admire the view and boats and on the weekends, listen to live music. A Thursday morning, the water was empty of boats and there were few visitors as the weather report was not very promising although it was quite nice while we painted and had lunch. 

My new paintbox from Judson Art Outfitters is keeping me in the 9x12 size range which is a pretty good discipline for me, the pictures all dry and cure on the same mid size rack in my studio. You can see how the painting fits inside the lid, under my palette are tubes and brushes. With my lap or a tripod I can paint anywhere comfortably. Two wet paintings can fit, back to back. I tape white nonabsorbent palette paper to the wood mixing area, most artists mix their paints on the panel, for some reason I never got into it. I can pull the used paint mixes out easily; several pages are taped on top of one another. It is just so portable and convenient!

I have yet to discover a way to connect my umbrella safely to my new light weight setup, a good breeze would take the whole setup away. Seated, I can fit under it but I also like to stand to paint. I have a choice of a 'Shade Buddy' tall umbrella and a small flexible one to attach to the box, using what I have now is helping me decide the next step.

Guerrilla Painter laptop, 9x12 paintbox
Walking Bridge at Long Homestead, unfinished oil painting

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Emily Carr

Emily Carr is a 19th century artist, an explorer, fearless and brave, willing to undergo extreme discomfort, ravenous bugs, slithering and biting things to document the totems of native people of the northwest as well as the landscape of towering trees, majestic mountains and streams. She was driven to capture expression with her paintbrush, finding a compliment in being labeled a Fauve.  Her work is a historical document of ancestor poles that were sold, ruined or stolen. She is considered an honorary member of the Group of Seven in Canadian art history.

This scene from the East side of Tuscarora State Park was painted with Emily Carr in mind. I hoped to show respect for our mature evergreens and the meadows of wetlands in rich and loose color, painted with a brisk wind at my back and a serious chill in the day.

plein air, Tuscarora Park, Schifano NFPAP
Channeling Emily Carr, oil on board 14x11

 The book The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland is an embellished novel of her life as a painter, her travels into the Northwest and into Alaska in search of carved totems to draw and paint. The week after I painted this, I drove to Pennsylvania to paint and listened to the book on CD. Totally inspiring, but coincidental that I had just completed this painting.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Influenced by Wolf Kahn

A few years ago, I appeared on a channel 7 morning show and in the interview I was asked which artists were my favorites. I flubbed the answer, since any names that would answer that question changes regularly, and also was not something I thought much about, I like so many artists equally. If I had been asked who influenced my artwork, I would have a completely different list. John Singer Sargeant, all of the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Robert Henri, maybe Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Hawthorne and many of my painter friends including my husband.

Recently, I was asked by Carl Judson to reconsider Wolf Kahn as a 'favorite'. My main interaction with Kahn's work was presenting a workshop/paintout based on his visit and artwork created in Niagara Falls for his Castellani Art Museum show. Loving the Falls as I do, I objected to his severe abstraction and garish colors, simplifying views and places I know so well.

I thought about this challenge and when Judson and I went there to paint, I eliminated details, heightened colors and broke the landscape into color fields. The huge plateau of snow and dramatic shadow, along with the shapes of mist, water and background made the composition appear to be composed of just a few puzzle pieces, hard edged and flat. I like it. I proceeded to make a second painting from the same vantage point including more information. I might have painted more on it, but the light was changing; by mid afternoon, the gorge fills with light and the shadows you see here are gone.

  Channeling Wolf Kahn, 14x11 oil on board
Early Spring at the Shoe, 8x12 oil on canvas

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saturday Quick Draw, Camp Hill

A 'Quick Draw' involves starting, completing and turning in a framed painting in a limited time frame. In Camp Hill we had two hours, this is on a 9x12 panel that I chose because I had a single mid size frame left and it was not too big a surface for the time allotted. I went to a lovely garden within a block of the display area and shared this view with 4 other artists, but only one had a picture that was remotely similar to this. I was tempted to offer a trade with her but lost that opportunity as she had two hungry little ones with her.

After a long gray winter, these huge mounds of azaleas are so attractive to me. I cannot comprehend how one chooses to paint a winning scene, so I just pick what I like. There were many beautiful and distinctive homes in the Quick Paint area but after several days of working I knew my wrist was not going to continue to correctly make the straight lines that I would need for architectural perspective. Alas, the garden fence is perfectly straight!

24th & Walnut, Harrisburg. 9x12 oil on birch panel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Harrisburg, PA, The Camp Hill Plein Air Competition

It was a little overcast but his was fun to paint, in a lovely neighborhood park. So many people had suggested I visit this pristine groomed park that I headed there with my paints. When I began the painting the air and water were still, fortunately I had recorded the reflections on the calm water to start. The small evergreens in every corner of this park are trimmed into perfect boxes, later in the week visitors to the art show recognized the location seeing these distinctive bushes. Now that the painting is in my studio I may choose to paint them out as I prefer a softer look and this isn't familiar to anyone but residents of Harrisburg. I may change the title to something like Azalea Reflectons as well, it was the bright contrast that attracted me to choose the scene between two trees.

Unfortunately, it was 'cut the grass' day in the neighborhood, commercial lawn maintenance in the park, as well as at the homes directly behind me shot cinders, grass, bugs and plain old dirt onto my wet paint, all unintentionally. I can say that the workers made an effort to avoid blowing anything in my direction, imagine if they had not! Dirt in the paint is a true sign of a plein air painting, some collectors even look for this evidence; most is removable after the sticky paint hardens a little
close up of grit on my canvas

 'Reflections of Italian Lake' 12x16 oil.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg.

When I sat on the west side of the Susquehanna River to paint the Harrisburg skyline with the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, I considered using the field of dandelion 'wishes' as foreground. After sketching my plan, I realized that the buildings would be dwarfed by the grasses and left them out. The buildings are barely visible in the distance here, but photographs lie. From this vantage point I could see each rooftop clearly.
This was my first use of a new 9x12 laptop box, it is only 2.5 pounds, so I lost 3 pounds by 'downgrading' from my French Resistance and I noticed the difference in how things fit, both in my backpack and in the box, it has a built in palette. I love how everything works for me with this box. My precious French Half easel may never see sunshine again.

I was there for the Camp Hill Plein Air Event, a week of painting central Pennsylvania culminating in a show, prizes and a quick paint competition on the weekend. I had applied for entry a few months earlier, was accepted and was able to stay with Laurene Buckley, and we both had a wonderful week.

A Capitol View, 12x16 oil on birch panel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

VIsiting with the original Guerrilla Painter

A few months ago, I ordered a new paint box from Judson's Art Outfitters in Colorado. Poking around their website I discovered that Carl Judson would pass nearby; I took a chance and invited him to stay with us and paint with the NIagara Frontier Plein Air Painters. A few emails back and forth and we set up an evening salon with my group, he gently presented some history and his philosophy and listened carefully to comments and art stories. All evening a series of about 100 images rotated on the tv screen, providing a visual panorama of plein air.
Kath Schifano, NIagara artist, French Resistance

Painting the Falls, on the days when the ice is roaring down the river from Lake Erie has a special quality. Spending that day with Carl Judson added to the 'special' as we set up with our backs to the American Falls and could see the 'shoe between the trees before leaves filled in the view. Ice at the base of the Horseshoe was halfway up, about 90 feet deep, and another 5-6 feet deep on the fenced off lookout areas near the spray.
 Carl attracted a steady group of observers of the water falls and our paintings.
 This pile of equipment represents enough for two artists to sit, paint and eat lunch. The economy of space of the Guerilla Painter supplies has lightened my load considerably. When I started to paint out years ago, I could barely manage my own bulky set up even with a set of wheels, these two boxes were easy to carry with two chairs up the hill and through the fields without thinking about weight or bulk.

 Carl Judson and I in front of his mobile art shop [and traveling apartment], before leaving the area in Wilson. We had painted the Trillium walk in the morning, he was headed for Rochester Art Supply, one of our favorite artist road trips, followed by Canandaigua and Ithaca.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Buffalo Botanical Gardens Waterfall

'The Palm Room' is the central domed rotunda at the gardens; through the years we have watched various palms reach the 60-70? foot high ceiling. Some have been replaced, others trimmed, but every time I enter that beautiful space, even when it is for consecutive weeks of painting, the room is different. Flowers are moved around for seasons, lemons grow from white buds, displays are rearranged. This winter, a new feature is a lovely waterfall near the center, a peaceful moment right where people converge from four directions.

The first is a photograph of the site, followed by an underpainting and then a picture of the nearly completed painting.

A week later, daffodils, hyacinth and majestic tulips surrounded and covered the rocks, making this little painting a true moment of that particular time.

Tinkling Waters, oil 7x5 c. 2014
plein air art

Kath Schifano, greenhouse painting, waterfall art

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Baehre Swamp in Amherst

Kathy Schifano, Margaret Louise Park, Plein Air
Add caption
Call it Great Baehre Swamp or Margaret Louise Park, this was a great place to officially start the plein air club season. We came early last year also, but the geese had paired, green was everywhere and frogs were sunning. It was eerily quiet this time, except for a single pair of geese practicing their water landings and the regular walkers getting exercise, the day was gray.

I chose a spot at the beginning of the raised wood walkway, intrigued by the amount of ice that remained in the pond.  I am sure it was merely an inch or so, melting furiously to make way for sun and reflections.

Once I got going this painting went quickly, as it is quite small. I am sure that the buds on the trees in the distance expanded during the time I was painting. A day or two later and there will be green here, the ice will be gone.

Interesting -I searched the former name 'Margaret Louise Park' to create a link and one of my paintings from a previous year here came up first in Google images.

Spring Melt, oil on canvas panel, 6x6

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Snow

Kath Schifano, Grand Island painting, Spring snow
I planned to paint outdoors, but the weather report was gloomy. Waking to white stuff falling isn't high on my list in April. There was not much snow and it melted quickly as the ground had warmed already. Snow only remained on the tops of the evergreens and on horizontal branches. I took a photo out the back, ate, and realized I should paint from indoors. Carpe diem.

 The woods glowed silver with iced mist. My new birch panels were ready to go, three coats of gesso and sanded. As I prepared to paint, it warmed outside and the scene changed, snow melted and large drips from tree branches kept the surface of standing water flickering. Now that I have tried it this birch painting surface is my new favorite.

I painted our garden rock wall far to the left of the big pine in this photograph, but I included this photo to show the magical effect of icing in the wetlands and snow on our half grown evergreens.

April Snow, oil on birch panel, 8x10

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sharing an International Plein Air Painters post

 This works for me. Returning from painting outdoors, as I tired as I may be from lugging equipment, climbing, getting buggy and bit, I still have joy filling my soul. Painting where wildlife accepts my presence and acts naturally, and I can hear ferns uncurl, plants pushing up dried leaves, birds hopping, well, nothing is better for my self.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New plein air frames

I usually order my frames custom sized from a wholesale frame company, but I couldn't resist these plein air frames and birch panels from Blick, all on sale and delivered to my door. Now I am ready for the Camp Hill Plein Air week. I am expected to paint on location, and return several finished paintings, framed and wired for the awards judge and display for the public exhibition.

For two days I gessoed the panels, with white on the 'back' and two coats of clear on the front. They may need a third coat and a light sanding, but this gesso brush hand is on hiatus for a while.

Often people ask how long a painting takes...does the answer include all this prep time, the travel, packing materials and the sketches? Or is the real answer 30 years?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Car Painting

painting in the car, Goat Island, Schifano

rapid start, Kathy Schifano, Niagara River painting
Too chilly to paint outside, this view of Goat Island from the parkway was a comfortable afternoon paint 'in'. You can see Goat Island and where the river splits to tumble down the two falls at Niagara.

 Sitting in my car, the new Guerilla Painter French Resistance Box works perfectly from the front seat. With my french easel, I need to paint out the back deck, protected from the wind, but not quite as comfortable or warm. I may never go back to it again.

'Rapid Split' 6x6 oil from the front seat