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