Thursday, January 26, 2017


After Fall exhibitions come down and collections of paintings are delivered to holiday gift shows, I like to take a break from creating paintings, clean and organize the entire studio, prepare surfaces for new work. Then I leave the studio and take up residence in my kitchen as the baker lady.

Cookies. The ultimate creative endeavor for the homebound. I enjoy the change of seasons out my spacious windows, but as the browns turn to grays in the woods the colors of dough, sprinkles and frosting light up my artistic side.

It's been a few weeks and several large home projects are complete, visiting has slowed down and it is time to return to the studio for a few bigger projects before sunshine and balmy weather calls me outside again. I have been itching to paint but have continued to draw. As soon as I uncover my table from a messy gluing project the paint and pastels will fly.
These is last year's photo but I made most of these again this year, doubling up on the chocolate ones and making the cuccidatis larger. That's it until next December. The creative season of dessert is over.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Something I re-learned in 2016

green and yellow, tree painting
Pastel. My original favorite medium beckoned me to stop using oil paints for a while. Although framing a pastel painting is more difficult (sealing the surface, making perfectly cut mats with spacers, using glass in the frame while still handling a fairly fragile powder media) the colors and reaction of the pastels to the surface is so exciting. The easy part is covering a fresh new pastel with glassine and adding it to the pile, no drying time is necessary.

After a weekend workshop in NYC with Nancie King Mertz I was energized and inspired to get back out with my plein air pastels. Early Fall beauty at the Tifft Nature Preserve with my Niagara Frontier Plain Air Painters friends made it easy to find good compositions. Choosing just one view to paint was hard, but the yellow tree leaning into the lazy creek became my subject. The fall sun was low and trees in the park were tall.  It was more about the brilliant yellow leaves in nature than the sun or shadows.

Autumn Glitter, 12.5x9.5, pastel. c. 2016 K. Schifano

Start with excellent photos

custom painting, schifano

Niagara Falls home, stone front house, kschifano

This series shows the progress of this recently delivered commission. I made several trips there in various weather and lighting conditions to get good reference photos. Facing north, it was a challenge to show their beautiful home through the trees but also in good light. It is entirely more detailed than I had planned to paint it, but the colors of the stone facade, various textured surfaces, interesting window treatments and a curved, railed porch were so interesting that I just got carried away.

Looking at the picture here, on a computer screen, it looks like a photo, but the full size painting is definitely painted and shows textures and strokes of my brush throughout. Dan and Jenna and their families were all surprised and pleased with this thoughtful gift from his parents.

On The Rivershore, 16x20 oil on canvas. c. 2016 K. Schifano