Sunday, December 27, 2015

Orchids at the winter display

Unfinished 10 days ago, I added a bit of color to the wall and played with soft and hard edges when the pace of the Christmas holidays finally slowed. It didn't take long so I wonder why I waited, I want art work completed rather soon. This pastel painting nearly finished itself because there was so little to do when I returned to the studio. 

Brighter Than White Orchids, pastel 9x12 ©2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

YYC, Summer's ending

How do you get 30 foot sailboats out of the water? 

With real big straps,  a hoist and this hook. The Youngstown Yacht Club is one of my favorite spots to paint, the people are all happy, they are glad to see us and there is something to capture in every direction. 

With a bit of whimsy, I turned away from the water to see this HUGE ball and hook gently swinging from a crane. I knew it would be in use soon and painted quickly. The weight of it pulled the cable roll tighter; as I worked my model slipped from an overhead view to almost eye level. In the background is the building Babs Damesimo lived in years ago, back when when we were both other people.

Ball and Hook 12x6 oil on gessoboard

The Carnegie in North Tonawanda

A long time center for art, home of many great exhibits, as well as kids and adult classes is reviving itself. After being vacant, and missed by many, a recent fundraiser gave the new board and supporters a great start to reviving this jewel of a building.

Several months ago, artists were asked to contribute 5x7 images to be sold for $20. At the evening event the volunteers came from all the facets of art, besides artists I saw gallery owners, collectors, business people , printers and students all working to ensure the Carnegie's success.Over 300 pieces were donated, unsigned, and hundreds of shoppers showed up for first choice on the huge wall of images. Holding #52, I watched as our first choices were taken off the wall, but not concerned because so many wonderful artworks remained to choose from. The pace became a little frantic and Cindi O'Mara was my 'runner' volunteer when my number came up. I came home with a little jewel of a collage by Joyce Hill as well as a stained glass apple composition (apples, I love) by May Beth Lee. Both pieces are joining our western New York artists collection.

The Niagara Gazette posted this photo of Cindi handing me the collage. Notice the people, the entire building had a crowd as dense as this. Good Luck Carnegie Art Center, we missed you!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back to the Botanical Gardens

The orchids are stunning at the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. Plein air painters have moved indoors for the winter and the changes at the gardens are mind boggling. Two greenhouses are closed for their renovations, completely sealed for lead abatement and replacement of the glass in the domes.

The decorations for Christmas are everywhere, little snowglobes are ready for wish-making, the giant train set is tooteling, ribbons, lights and snowflakes hanging and brightening every corner. This orchid, identified only by a number and no name, beckoned me. I had pastels but started my painting with black sharpie underpainting to intensify some of the dark areas. On the way home I was tempted to stop at Hyatt's to buy new intense colors but I'll have to consult my charts and pastel drawers for some elusive shades, then open my wallet.

It was a treat to be out with pastels, the oil tubes have been my steady companions this year. As I was working on this my brain was considering how it would be different if I had brushes and canvas instead. I wasn't working as close as the photo shows, I put the picture into the display to use the camera, my seat was in the greenhouse aisle.
Not yet titled, unfinished in the photo.
(In progress)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

And the winner is....

Sheila, the winner of the painting with Kath
  I do few public events that are not gallery exhibits each year. Three times I was at events where I heard many lovely comments about this painting. Clients in the studio all hoped to win it. It was my 'gift' to customers, for every sale their name was entered into a drawing which was held after the Knox Mansion Holiday showcase. Sheila Petrocy Green is the new owner of 'Botanical Garden Gifts', a 16x12 pastel under glass. 

The Buffalo Botanical Garden has an amazing floral display and any seat in the greenhouses includes a 360 degree view of holiday splendor. From a bench I could see beyond the tower of poinsettias and was attracted to their huge Christmas tree, blazing with giant golden globes and mini white lights, surrounded by extravagant wrapped gifts. Most of this painting was completed at the Garden, I later spent studio time working the golden ornaments and the wrapped packages.

I was so pleased to have Sheila, a jewelry artist, win the painting. She was genuinely thrilled to take it home to her family. Her website is, check it out!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Painting in Cuba!

I'm going to paint in Cuba!

I was young when the Cuba blockade started and wondered if families would go hungry and what would happen when people needed things, I worried the kids would not have games and toys. I continued to be interested in the politics and events and now I am finally going there. I will soak up the culture and energy of Cuba as I paint, morning, afternoon and evening.

A bit of my letter from the publisher of Plein Air magazine, Eric Rhoads:

"We'll be among the first to paint the beautiful and interesting people and scenery of Cuba as they are today, before the big-city developers come in and turn the island into a modern tourism capital."

I was an original 'Adirondack School Painter' when the first Publisher's Invitational was formed and I was fortunate to be an attendee for 3 summers and stop in at the 4th. They were rich experiences in the Adirondack mountains dedicated to painting sites familiar to the Hudson River School of Painters. I know that this Cuba trip is an opportunity to capture the flavor of old Cuba and experience the friendly people and dramatic architecture. My 'Painting for Preservation' experiences will be enhanced by this trip. (but I won't miss the cold and windy Saturday mornings in Buffalo when we painted out to bring public attention to neglected historic and endangered buildings) 

I hope my work there will have an impact on the need to preserve old Cuba, to glorify and celebrate the past rather than raze tired but lovely buildings to establish modern hotel chains and restaurants. I am prepared to turn my clock back 50 years.