Thursday, April 30, 2009

Texture is my new best friend

(Close up)

Horizon Line 1 - Acrylic on 24" x 36" canvas

I am LOVING my texture mediums! Today I finished this painting and the effect is truly lost in the photograph - you have to be standing in front of it to really enjoy the raw, rich texture. I love this look. Expect more where this came from.....
Available for purchase at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Harry and I had a productive day

A few weeks ago, this beautiful woodpecker got himself stuck in our screened in porch. It's a common phenomenon for local birds as we have two doors wide open all the time that they can fly into and, sometimes, not find their way out of without a little assistance. Last year I cut a trap door in one of the screens for a feathered friend, but this woodpecker wasn't finding it - he bounced along the top edge pecking away, probably wondering what strange part of the world he had found himself in. Finally I cut another slit in the screen along the top of a panel and he found the escape route in no time. Rob and I thought he was so beautiful, we looked him up online and discovered he was a Hairy Woodpecker - naturally, I named him Harry.

So today, while painting in the studio in the backyard, I heard the unmistakable knocking of a woodpecker - could it be, my red headed friend, Harry!?

Why yes! There was Harry - or not - let's just assume it was the same bird. He was so concentrated in his work, he never noticed me sneaking up on him to take his picture. While I'm alone working during the day I chat with the wildlife - the black butterfly that loves the forsythia, the pair of robin lovers that flirt and flutter around the yard, and now, my main man (or lady?), Harry. I love the sounds of the forest. The many bird calls are like a dense symphony. I put words to certain calls today - one bird says "Vick! Vick! Vick! Vick!" like a hyped up fan chanting the name of their favorite rock star. Another exclaims "my tea! my tea! my tea! wait!-wait!-wait!-wait!-wait!... (and as if on second thought) no,,,, no,,,, no" and yet another says "whaaaat?" like it's unsure of itself. At least that's what I hear. This is what's going through my mind working out there... I know, crazy right? Yet somehow this sort of stuff keeps me sane. Go figure.

This painting is coming along. It's a work in progress still and I took this picture just after the sun set so the colors/contrast aren't exactly what they are in real life but you get the general idea. I worked over the whole surface with a unified color and now I need to get back into those circles and develop them the way I see them in my mind (ethereal, glowing orbs). I'm thinking warmer tones will be reintroduced and that will alter how I handle the rest of the piece. The painting is called Leaning and it's part of this new series I've been developing called Relations. The series is an exploration of the many elements of human relationships, expressed in an abstract language. In Leaning, the thick wave of blues represents exactly that - a wave of the blues - arching over, anticipating the downward direction until it is lifted by the light and love of others. The band is broken and pieces of it turn upwards, inspired in light by the help of a loving influence. I'll write more about this series and each piece once they are completed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

painting till the sun goes down

It felt like summer today here in Connecticut. Out and about on the town I heard typical weather talk "hot enough out there for ya?". It's so funny to me how we all complain about the weather for most of the winter and the first day it gets over 80 everyone is saying "hot enough for ya?". I responded with a giddy, "I love it!" because I really do. Flip flops and tank tops - that's how I roll. After I got back from the post office I started painting in the studio and couldn't walk away until the last bits of sunlight faded in the sky.

The other day I got a new batch of canvases from Jerry's Artarama in West Hartford. I absolutely love that store and hope it never ever closes. I wonder how the economy has been treating them... I'm hoping people being inspired to make stuff themselves has kept business steady. I was happy to see a good amount of customers there, so fingers crossed I can rely on that relatively local resource for years to come. The University of Hartford has a fantastic art program and most of the youthful staff are students. I love the energy and camaraderie between us artsy folks. While looking for canvases a sweet older woman with sparkling silver hair was picking out a box canvas and stopped an employee to ask if they had gallery box frames for that size. They didn't but he suggested using heavy duty stretcher bars to create the same effect. She thought he was out of his mind at first saying "but the canvas goes over those" and then he showed her how it would work as a frame and she was so delighted. I had to comment on the great idea as well - I had never thought of that! She and I had a pleasant exchange standing there in the canvas isle.

I also noticed a woman with her husband picking out a frame for a gorgeous original landscape painting, presumably painted by her. I lingered just long enough in that area of the store to gaze in admiration at it. At the counter checking out, I had to hem and haw over my purchases staying within my budget - keep this paint, take out that 16 x 20. I'm over being embarrassed by situations like that. It is what it is. I've got 86 bucks to spend, I'm going to try and get $85.99 worth of supplies. The woman with her frame was waiting on the other corner of the counter watching my transaction with a smile and kind eyes. As I was leaving the store trying to manage two large bags of canvases and three 24 x 36's under my arm, she offered to help hold the door for me. She said something along the lines of "brings me back to my college days" and then said "best of luck to you" as I thanked her for her help. I love that stranger for her spirit, her obvious love of the craft, and most of all, because she thought I was young enough to be a student. ;) Weeks away from my 32nd birthday, it's appreciated!

Today I worked on three canvases for a new series I've been thinking about and sketching for about a month now. With so much build up, it was a little intimidating to get started. Almost immediately I realized that sketched ideas are one thing, these pieces will be flushed out in paint in ways I hadn't expected or predicted - as they should be. The last thing I wanted was for these paintings to be over calculated and planned, and flatly executed. In the picture above (taken with a flash at dusk) you can see some of the textures I've been playing with in this particular piece. Each of the circles was built up with texture medium and then once dry, I caught the edges dry brushing over in yellow and white. I have multiple jars of Golden brand texture mediums I bought years ago when Michael's had a moving sale and it's taken me until now to start to experiment with them. You can kind of see the sort of textures I created with a palette knife and texture medium in the blue/purple foreground. These new paintings are going to be a little different than usual and it's been a positive challenge for me so far. Think outside the box. Don't get too committed to a surface - rough it up, refine it, then rough it up again.

Tomorrow is a new day and I'm looking forward to a fresh re-introduction to these paintings and some experimental abstracts outside of the series using more of that texture medium. I should have some work in progress shots tomorrow night.

layer upon layer


fresh start

we're connected in this

the same enthusiasm for wet on wet
surprises in the gesture
the mediums we select
open to our interpretation and personal touch

the time flies

we'll try to catch it

(these are my words, the youtube clip is something i just discovered that inspired me)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Today

Take Me There - Acrylic on 24" x 24" canvas

This painting had so many lives... I've been working and reworking it since fall 2008. Today most everything in the original got covered over. I'm really happy with this painting. I absolutely need a new camera because my pictures aren't doing this piece justice.

Spring Field - Mixed media on 8" x 8" canvas

Driving through the countryside (to the auto shop to pick up my husband - oh the joy of cars) yesterday, I soaked in this view of a super vibrant field of green. This canvas was prepped with the fabric in a natural position for a landscape. This painting came together rather fast - sometimes it happens like that and you have to acknowledge it and slap your hand away from the brush. When it's done, it's done.

Both paintings are available for purchase at

Friday, April 24, 2009


I am so thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of my Fine Art gallery at These first three paintings are making me so happy. That is my aim - to make art that I really believe in and love.

Somewhere Called Happiness - Mixed media on 8" x 8" box canvas, 2009

Lasting Impression - Mixed media on 8" x 8" box canvas, 2009

Line Between the Past and the Present - Mixed media on 8" x 8" box canvas, 2009

Fine Art Fridays on Twitter

Much easier than blogging about some of my favorite artists on Etsy (and elsewhere), I decided to start doing Fine Art Fridays on Twitter! Today is my first day. This will be a fun, easy to keep up with, weekly tradition.

Follow me on Twitter at

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Landscape Studies - Two Approaches

April in Ellington - Acrylic on 10" x 10" canvas, 2009

Early Spring Treeline - Work In Progress - Acrylic on 8" x 10" canvas, 2009

What a leap between these two paintings, right!? April in Ellington (my hometown) is the first landscape study I began yesterday - I had the vision of a soft, true to life palette and after working more on it today, I think it's finished. It's a good reference for a larger painting that could take more abstract liberties. I am not going to list this painting for sale right now (please let me know directly if you're interesting in buying it at I'm going to hold onto it for a potential show I'm thinking about of local landscapes in our town.

The second painting, Early Spring Treeline, is in a bolder style, more along the lines of where I'm looking to take my landscape work. It requires me breaking away from the subject at some point and just diving into the painting itself, letting it become something else, feeling free and liberal with color. This painting isn't finished, not quite yet, but it's pretty close.

It's supposed to be in the EIGHTIES tomorrow! Yee haw! I'll be out in my studio working on some biggie abstracts. Time to let the paint fly!

Honoring my greatest aspirations... finally

To anyone that has ever asked me for advice regarding pursuing art, the number one advice I offer is to be yourself and shoot for your highest goals, don't let anything stand in your way.

It's about time I took my own advice.
Scratch that. It simply IS time.

In the last few rainy days, along with sketching, thinking, dreaming, photographing and, oh yes how could I forget, all that other life stuff, I've been looking at the works of great artists I admire, reading articles and writings by them, and all in all feeling so inspired and connected to why I love painting so much and what I dream of accomplishing as a PAINTER. Not a business person, an Etsy seller, or any other limiting definition I have been affected by of late. A painter. I feel almost a little ashamed to have become so sucked into the world of Etsy and who's selling what and how and what's their trick and how can I do something like that. Honestly, forget all that. Forget it entirely. Etsy is just a medium like anything else to get my work out there. My focus should have always remained on my work and where it is organically leading me, period.

Lessons learned and all that... good ones for sure, I don't regret a step along my winding (or should I say, mostly spazztastic) journey. Right here and now I just feel like I'm in a new place and I'm thrilled, determined, and a little bit feisty too. :) Today I filled out the bare bones of my new shop In my profile I wrote,

"At this point in my life and career, I am ready for a change. I have been churning out loads of artwork, hungry for what the next and the next painting will teach me. I needed to do this and the energy of my twenties demanded it. Now I find myself slowing down, not feeling like I need to go-go-go as fast as I can, multi tasking at all moments. I don't feel that same drive to keep cranking out art, that urge has faded away and in it's place I desire to make exceptional art that takes as much time as it must. Work that is given higher status than just a lesson. I'll never stop learning but I'm ready to move forward from perceiving myself as a student."

I am so committed to this new change in focus within myself, I honestly don't have any desire to do a thing with livefunky at the moment. It is what it is for the time being. I don't know the direction I'll continue with in that shop (it will continue one way or another) and right now isn't the time to worry about it. I've got loads of inventory there, and I can figure out the future for that shop later.

Right now I just need to PAINT. To really paint, and to love what I'm painting. To believe in what I'm painting.

I started three landscapes today based on the two photos I talked about painting in my last post. Already I feel that I am challenging myself in a new way and I can't wait to get painting again tomorrow.

I'll leave you with a YouTube view of one of my favorite painters, Helen Frankenthaler.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rainy day in the country - Happy Earth Day!

Today I drove around doing some errands with my camera on hand. I've got landscape painting on the brain and wanted to get some shots before the trees bloom. The colors of bare trees in the distance - the blues and purples, soft greys and muted red/pink - are almost more beautiful than a leafy green treeline (at least from my painter's perspective). These shots will give you an idea of where I live and the views that I grew up with and love.

Here's a shot of a tree and shrub nursery farm - there are lots of those around here, in fact I grew up with one across the street from my parent's house (now clear cut with houses). The birds that nest in these dense plots of shrubs are so delightful - that's probably what I miss most about walking around my old stomping grounds. As you walked along the trail they'd flutter up and out then swirl back into their spot all the way down the line. As rural land gets chomped up more and more, I value the land that remains even more. I know the deer, turkeys and coyotes and many other animals and birds certainly do as well.

This is part of Johnny Appleseed orchard that is right down the street from our house.

The orchard (and our house) are up on the hills in the distance in this picture. I like this shot. I'll be basing a painting on this one.

This is a very Wolf Kahn-esque view. I'll be using this for another painting.

As I'm writing this, I'm watching Oprah's Earth Day special. The images of the massive amount of trash in the Pacific ocean are horrifying and I just saw some footage at a dump that is making me think a lot differently about what we throw away and how we can reduce our amount of waste daily. First things first. Plastic bags are a nightmare. Other countries (and San Fran) have outlawed the use of plastic bags at stores. I will admit that though I do deny a bag for purchases I can hold and/or put in my large handbag, and save to reuse or recycle our bags, I have not gotten to the place where I stop getting new ones all together. That has got to stop. I can bring ones we already have over and over to the grocery store until they fall apart and once we've gone through the ones we have, we switch to tote bags - end of story. It's not like they are terribly expensive and it's a shame that I haven't been doing this for years already.

Next on the list, lightbulbs - check - we've already made that switch and we've seen the difference in our electric bill. A worthy, small investment for sure. Making sure lights and appliances are turned off is also so important, as well as unplugging chargers when not in use. We are mostly attentive to these things, but there's room for improvement. It's just a shift of awareness, learning a new way to look at things and be aware of our consumption. Physical things are right in front of your eyes, sometimes it's easy to forget about the generaly invisible resources that give us power, heat, light.

Another way I can be kind to the earth is to STOP buying coffee or tea in anything but my own reusable mug! If I don't have a mug in the car, I don't need it. I'm guilty of this today and I'm looking at this throw away cup with a plastic lid in front of me much more aware of where it will end up then I was yesterday.

As for food, less meat, more veggies. I'm planning on growing some veggies this year and there are great farm stands here that can give me everything else I don't have, fresh and locally grown. I'd like to do more freezing and canning this year as well to supply us with those tasty veggies throughout the fall and winter months.

These are just a few of many positive changes that I can make personally in honor of our mother earth and in recognition of how important it is for all of us to unite in saving her. Have a great day everyone, hug a tree. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dream Painting

This beautiful hyacinth smells so deliciously sweet! The lime green ground cover is one of my favorite plants and the color combination of the two is just electric. I took this picture yesterday - it was a gorgeous sunny day in the high 70's and I was loving life. I woke up this morning after having a vivid dream of painting. I LOOOOOVE painting dreams! I can't wait to paint again. Weekends are family time and today other things popped up so it's onto tomorrow for a full fledged dive into working in the studio. Rar!

Meanwhile I am drooling over one of my favorite painter's, Wolf Kahn's work. I consider myself a student of his work, from afar, and I'm eager to get going with landscapes again. It's time. The only thing I wonder about is if I'll be tempted to return to oils. That's not a horrible thing it's just not something I've considered since I fell in love with acrylics and left oils all together. That would be interesting... we'll see. I think I'll be able to achieve the effects I'm looking for with acrylics and maybe I'll turn to a longer drying time acrylic rather than oil. Yes, that's a strong possibility. I'm rambling... go enjoy some of Kahn's amazing abstract landscapes. (PS - How cool is it that he goes between NYC and Vermont? LOVE IT).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Painting flowers

Spring Forsythia - original acrylic on 8x8 inch box canvas

I've enjoyed painting flowers recently and look forward to do more studies for I'm also interested in working on some landscapes this summer - I'll continue with abstraction always but it's good practice for me to paint from life in my own style. Hope everyone has a great weekend. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I was just looking on Jerry's Artarama for supplies and found these painting contests - just thought I'd share

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrapbooking Paper Downloads

This is the first in my new collection of downloads available in my Etsy shop at They are designed to be printed at home as many times as the buyer wants, cut up, pasted, altered, glued, decoupaged, you name it. I happen to love this card I made this afternoon using my test printout, a blank greeting card and a piece of decorative paper.

I spent the day testing out different approaches, from ink to watercolor to acrylic. I drew and painted so many different leaves today but it was worth it. I've decided that there's no rush - take your time, work on what you are doing until it's exactly as you want it, nothing short of the best. That's not to say I've been putting out half hearted work, but I do tend to be impatient and I'm going to work on that. I was working at the kitchen table today and I actually had the bad 90's song "Don't Rush Me" going through my head. Not a great tune, but a good reminder nonetheless.

So it's official... I recently signed onto Etsy as I'm going to be continuing with livefunky (downloads, printed products, small originals) and my new shop will be focusing on Fine Art originals. Part of the reason why I'm doing this is because I want to continue to experiment with fun, lighthearted projects and keep my serious paintings seperate, grouped together in one place. Let's put it this way - if I were going to a craft show, I'd bring along livefunky prints and originals, if I was applying for a gallery show, I'd be presenting my finest work (soon to be at JessicaTorrant). I have a series idea I've been working on that will be my first paintings to hit JT. Things will continue to evolve through the summer and the divide between the two shops will become ever more apparent.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Original Art Cards on Etsy

Here are some pictures of my new "art cards" I'm selling in my Etsy shop (I couldn't resist including this shot of the forsythia now blooming!). I'm really excited about these cards. It's been a bit overcast the last two days so I'm looking forward to a really sunny day to improve my photographs. I have them packaged with an envelope, a sticker for sealing and a print out with framing instructions in a cello sleeve. I love a sleek, well packaged product! I think these will be a good addition to any summer shows/fairs I do this year. I have been doing a lot of planning and brainstorming for livefunky as well as another idea I've got up my sleeve. I'll explain more as things progress.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rainy Day

Forsythia in Ball jar

Lazy, rainy day today. Very content, calm, quiet... I think I have to paint this photograph.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spring Day

My Meadow 2 - Watercolor and oil pastel
Now available on

It is a beautiful day today - sun shining, warm air - just makes you feel so good inside and out. I've been cleaning house today chipping away at my stock pile of artwork through the years, listing them on eBay. I figure they won't sell themselves sitting in a storage unit. Get it all out there!

Here are some pictures of Spring in my neck of the woods.

A little strawberry plant pops up next to the ground cover I planted last year on the side of the studio. Back in 2000 while living in Dover NH I bought these wild strawberry plants from a farm stand up in the White Mountains region of NH. They came home with me to Dover and flourished in a planter on the porch of our apartment. They came with me to Connecticut when I moved in 2001 and I put them by the bushes in front of the house. The first fall there, my father was helping me rake and he tossed out the contents of the planter out back. He didn't realize they were my strawberry plants in hiding. Anyway, those powerful plants had taken root through the planter and that summer came up strong as ever in front of the house. I transplanted a few to this studio woodsy garden and to be expected, they weathered the winter just fine. I love those plants. Small animals usually get to the tiny red berries, but they remind me of where I've come from and take me back to my days of wandering around beautiful, natural New Hampshire. (Don't get me wrong, this is my home. I love it here, especially right now).

Here is the forcythia ready to burst into brilliant yellow any day now. If you look up in the sky you can see the moon.

In my roadside garden, these mini daffodils are ready to bloom.

Irises thrive here. Their spring shoots tower over the demure daffodils.

My favorite spring bulb! Hyacinth - it's gorgeous purple bloom and the smell is heavenly sweet.

Is your heart on your sleeve?

Fine Tuning the Dream - Acrylic on 9" x 12" canvas panel, 2009
Available at

bits and pieces come together
woven parts of the past, the now
and what is yet to be all come back to me...
the rehash of the replay
all that's been said
is content instead
of critique.
what will be will be (she said)
and looking forward,
i'll fine tune the dream
forever in extremes...
you have my words.

This is where I am going with my art. I cannot hide or pretend or be anything other than what I am and I am an intense softy - or sensitivo as we like to call it around here. I'm a bonafide sensitivo of the highest order. You may picture a softy in demure pink and a cardigan, very polite and shy. I am not that kind of softy. I am a tall and boisterous, full color and bold intensity, heart bouncing off her sleeve into your face sensitivo and it's about time I unabashadly admitted it (as if it's been a secret... that's the funny part). This piece is my first step - just adding this poem with it on Etsy is a big step. I've been working on a special series concept behind the scenes and I want to include poetry into the experience of these paintings. My words, my feelings make me feel vulnerable but this is the direction of honesty I am called towards and I know I need to honor it. Courage must be met with confidence at some point in the journey and right now I MUST continue in confidence rather than courage. Courage inspires a movement, be it personal or public, but it shouldn't be relied on to weather the storm in its entirety. Confidence, however, is ready to take a hit or two and still emerge victorious and ready for more.

Artists, readers, how much do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Tell us about it. Inquiring sensitivos would like to know.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring Has Sprung - Acrylic on 8" x 8" canvas panel.
Available at

Happy April first, fools! No, no, I kid, hopefully no one got pranked too badly today. It's overcast here, getting ready for some April showers, but the gray colors outside are nowhere to be found on my palette today. Plants and gardening are on my mind and I'm ready for some digging in the dirt. It's been a productive week so far for me and my husband. I've been full blast painting and he is getting into a good groove writing. He discovered a nook in our town library that is the perfect, peaceful environment to work, so that's where he is right now. We are both so much happier and healthier when we are working. We've also had a lot of great conversations about process - the particular settings and state of mind, etc. that we both have are different for painting and for writing and it's helped me more deeply understand our individual paths to really flourish doing what we love. As he sticks to a productive routine, it inspires me to keep going, keep pushing, there's always art to be made.

I cannot express how much of a turn around I'm feeling within knowing the winter is behind us. When those first bulbs poke out of the earth something clicks inside me that says - this is it, no turning back now. HELLO SPRING, I'VE MISSED YOU! love, me.