Friday, January 17, 2020

Concord Art Member Juried show

There were 86 pieces of artworks,all paintings and sculpture, accepted into the CAA Member Juried Show.   My plein air painting, Winter Pond Series 2, was one of the pieces selected for the show.  Six artists were singled out by jurors, Emily Eveleth and Penn Young, and given special recognition with monetary awards at last night's reception... and I was one of them.

Jurors' statement regarding my painting: "We admired the subtlety in composition, tones and values. So too, the certainty in the paint application.  The scene is wonderfully observed and the scene beautifully cropped.  We liked that the brushwork was loose and free, yet done with control."

I couldn't describe my painting process better than those written words. Thank you.

Here are the four paintings I painted separately last winter at Maudsley State Park.  Enduring cold toes are worth beautiful paintings. This winter, I am waiting for the perfect winter storm, so I can get out and engage with the elements.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Return to the honey bees

On a cool autumn day I painted at a residence homestead in Lexington, MA which kept chickens and honey bees. Hmmm, just a thought...chicken fingers and honey dipping sauce...could be a good combo for lunch.

Thinking back and reminiscing, my husband and I maintained a five acre homestead a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay in southern rural Maryland. We began our intro husbandry with a small flock of chickens and three hives and our first vegetable garden. Keeping an apiary was a captivating as well as delicious hobby. Learning about the native trees and their bloom times was much needed practical knowledge for keeping the hives active and healthy.  Although I do not keep bees now, each spring I still search along the roadside for the blooming of locust trees...such delicious honey.

Here is a very early block print, 1981, the beginning of my block printing journey, entitled The Apiary.

Once again, 2015, while my husband was being treated for uveal cancer, I took an interest in producing linoleum block prints of bees and flowers.

Below is the en plein air painting of the bee hives in Lexington. and no I didn't have chicken fingers and honey for lunch but the home made veggie soup hit the spot.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Old growth pine trees.

There have been lots of warm, sunny days in September and October for outdoor painting except on Thursdays when our group is scheduled to paint. On these particular days of the week, the weather could be very windy or rainy or both as one when a Nor'easter blew in.

At last, a few beautiful autumn days opened up for us painters.

Below is a painting of scrub pines growing in the grass covered undulating dunes of Salisbury Beach State Reservation. The multiple grouping of individuals although stunted in growth had pendulous-like arms reaching about in the sunny spaces. These boughs were tatted with hundreds of pine cones.  I did not paint the cones (how tedious would that be) only admired the decorative nature of the growths and the potential of another generation within the familial setting.

After the Nor'easter blew through for a few days, a bunch of us headed to Newburyport's Maudsley State Park to paint what was left of the area's autumn color.   After wandering about, I located a group of young fir trees back lit on a white-washed outbuilding.   Evergreen was the color I selected to paint on this fall day.

A few minutes after starting to paint, a park ranger came along to divert my attention to the mature stand of  Douglas firs to my left. Yes I said, I did notice the broken boughs littering the ground around me and one of the 100 plus foot elders leaning onto the others with its roots uplifted from the ground. Dangerous area, perhaps but I really like the Christmas tree lot for my painting subject matter, I said. The park ranger explained the small specimens were not for future holiday culling but to replace the old growth stand which have been toppling over one by one every year.

Monday, October 28, 2019

My Heart will be forever broken

My son, Jeremy, was an adamant fisherman who loved the water and all the finny fins which swam in its fluidity. 

When he was seven years old, he explained to a scuba diver who had re-surfaced from a dive on the Gloucester shoreline, about the eye migration of the flounder the diver had in his catch bag. During its life cycle the newly hatched fish  had one eye on each side of his head like all other fish and then as an adult  2 eyes on one side of his head eye traveled to the other side.  "That is amazing", said the diver. 

Jeremy was a talented photographer too. Below is a grouping of fish he had caught one evening, arranged in a circle at the beach.  Virginia Beach is where he lived. He was a Navy guy, honorably discharged after 9 years of service. He would send me numerous pictures like these and I would delight in seeing the wide variety of creatures he caught.  Shockingly I realized from these photos what a bounty of creatures swam along side me when I took a dip in the ocean: Puffer Fish, skates, sharks, dog fish, croakers, spots, etc.

Yes he went to the beach to fish. It is what he loved to do.  But this year the oceans edge became his solemn retreat.  A place where he found great comfort in the rhythms of the tides, the beauty of a sunset and the abundance of life while enduring oral surgeries and chemotherapy sessions to treat his Stage 4 tongue cancer.

Jeremy Josef passed away from the disease on May 8th at the age of 38. He admirably fought like a voracious fish at the end of his hook, line and sinker.

I love you and miss you so very, very much.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A winter's reprieve

A thirty pound backpack filled with painting gear, ice cleats strapped to my boots, I am outside.  The latest polar vortex of minus 20 degrees has finally been diminished by a warm front. No longer hunkered down in my tiny house, but in Nature's open air arena at Maudslay State Park.  It was 48 degrees outside. Warm.  I inhaled deeply, my lungs open freely and began my painter's walk from the parking lot.

I made my way down the sledding hill, rounding at the base to a partially melted pond. A brilliant sun cast elongated shadows on icy patches of left over snow on the wooded hillside: A plank was positioned over a burbling snow melt stream to an icy path that divided the pond into two parts.  There I stood, eyeing both sides of the pond. 

I painted the left side where I spied animal prints dimpling the snow bank. 

Is that a woodpecker's rat-a-tat I hear in the distance? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Western Ho!

I visited the west/southwest USA on two occasions this month.   First, by re-visiting the art of Georgia O'Keefe and second, my first trip to Utah and Salt Lake City.

For the annual Methuen Festival of Trees Western Avenue Studio artist volunteers created handmade tree ornaments  inspired by the art of Georgia O'Keefe.   O'Keefe's painting, Cow Skull and Calico Roses, inspired me to constructed ornaments of miniature paper sculpture cow skulls. Not wanting to stop, I made small adobe houses using self hardening clay over mat board cube constructions and wood dowels for timbers. I also made a couple dozen tissue paper poppies for fill ins.

Later in the month I flew to Utah visiting the Beehive state for the first time. I love to visit with my long time artist friend,Terry, who is a recent transplant from Annapolis, Maryland. There was plenty of dry and sunny weather for a range of activities such as English high tea at the opulent Grand America Hotel in SLC, a tour of Temple Square with Mormon missionaries, consuming delicious hamburgers at the iconic Ruth's Diner and a ramble through winter inspired botanic gardens with a side trip to the collection of gigantic dinosaur bones at the Natural History museum. 

Unfortunately, the nemesis in this largely inhabited valley, created by the Wasatch Mountain Front, is its poor air quality: a soupy mix of air pollution caused by ozone in summer and particulate matter in winter. The smog is most notable when looking down into the valley from a mountain vantage point.

So what's next to visit? Hopping into the Tundra truck for a long drive, we headed into the hinterlands to see The Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson constructed in 1970  in the waters of Great Salt Lake. Utah has experience years of drought and the Great Salt Lake has shrunk in size due to evaporation. The land installation, constructed with local basalt rocks, now sits high and dry on the lake's sandy bed surrounded by glistening colonies of salt crystals with the shore line miles away.

Because of the project's environmental uniqueness, the state of Utah name The Spiral Jetty an official art work site and so it has claimed its fame along side with the area's important ancient rock art, pictographs and petroglyphs. The Spiral Jetty is truly unique in form and conception.

I created my own pictograph in the sands along side the Jetty.

And now I sit, looking out my office window at New England's early snow showers and at a forecast of blustery temps on Thanksgiving.

Be Thankful.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Chautauqua Institute in New York's Southern Tier

The Forgotten: History and Memory in the 21st Century, August 12-19

In this 50th anniversary year of his assassination the Institute honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What have we forgotten about the messages taught by Dr. King in the 1960s? What did we fail to learn about race in America, at our own peril? Why do current day Americans love to quote from the “early King” and “I Have a Dream,” but steer away from Dr. King’s later understandings about the intersection of race, war and poverty? Let us remember, at this time in our history, in order that we might truly begin to live his dream.  

Every morning I went to services where The Reverend Irene Monroe delivered challenging homilies. She is an ordained minister and motivational speaker who speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible. She does a weekly Monday segment, now a podcast called “All Revved Up!” on WGBH (89.7 FM), a Boston member station of National Public Radio (NPR). She is also a weekly Friday commentator on New England Channel NEWS (NECN), and is the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, the Guided Walking Tour of Beacon Hill: Boston’s Black Women Abolitionists.

I listened to daily lectures at the Amphitheater and Hall of Philosophy: 

David Grann, known for his immersive reporting, is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, a true crime tale that unravels one of the most sinister crimes and racial injustices in American history. Killers of the Flower Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction. 

Dr. Peniel E. Joseph joined the University of Texas at Austin as Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy in the Fall of 2015.   He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy, and civil rights, and has authored award-winning books, Waiting ‘til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.

Beverly J. Warren, President, Kent State University. The shooting deaths of four Kent State University students in a 1970 Vietnam War protest inflicted wounds that remain raw today. The flash point event challenged Kent State to act as a steward of history without dwelling in the past, and move into the future transformed by the lessons of that fateful day. Kent State University Beverly Warren shares the story of her institution's journey from remembrance to renewal.

Abby Smith Rumsey is a writer and historian focusing on the creation, preservation, and use of the cultural record in all media. Her most recent work is When We are No More: How Digital Memory Will Shape Our Future.

Rev, Jesse Jackson with Joan Brown Campbell, in conversation moderated by Bishop Gene Robinson.  The Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is one of the foremost civil rights, religious and political figures of our time. For nearly 50 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for peace, civil rights, empowerment, gender equality, and economic and social justice the world over. 
Joan Brown Campbell is a devoted activist for peace and social justice, Campbell’s commitment was crafted during her life-changing work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and was deepened in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu referred to her as “a woman of courage and compassion.” 

An evening of music across cultures with Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi.

Academy Award-winning director François Girard’s 1998 film, The Red Violin, celebrates its 20th anniversary with violinist Joshua Bell performed live with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. The evening is ultimately about passion, love, art and renewal.performing live with orchestras on a select anniversary tour.

ABBA in concert ends the week's entertainment singing iconic hits like “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S,” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes All,” “Waterloo,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme,”and “Dancing Queen.” Many were dancing and singing in the aisles.

  •  a four day workshop of hand AFRICAN DRUMMING.
  • Got plowed over by a bicycle.
  • Went to the movies to see Chloé Zhao’s, The Rider.
  • walked 11,000 steps each day
  • created lots of watercolor sketches of an amazing intellectual and cultural community along NY's Chautauqua Lake.