Friday, December 20, 2013

Audubon Sanctuary

Close to Paradise   16x20 oil

Near home the Audubon Sanctuary in Norfolk, MA provides a beautiful setting year round for plein air painting. The water, boardwalks and foliage are spectacular in all seasons and the wildlife is abundant. During the fall I went walking with a friend and came upon a pair of swans who had moved into the habitat. I knew from national seashore tours that swans are very territorial and drive out other birds. The swans were the only birds visible that day. The bright green duckweed provided a stunning diagonal leading back to the dense  grove of trees ablaze with color. The wind rippling across the water in the distance provided a bold cobalt blue accent to the dark water and a perfect backdrop for the swans. The blue/orange harmony brought a unity  and contrast to the scene that seemed to tie it up in one beautiful package-all it needed was to be painted. The layering of the water, reflections and duckweed floating on the surface had to be done over a number of sessions, but the time was well worth it to get the special effects I wanted. I hope you like it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Music Court at Bird Park

The music court at Bird Park is a painting spot I've enjoyed over the years from many different perspectives. I first painted it back in 1980 during a concert. I was working in watercolor and trying to capture the many people and the varied activites that took place as families enjoyed music and a day's outing with balloons and picnics and pets. Since there's been Shakespeare in the Park and many other concerts, but recently my paintings are just about the architecture itself. In this one I was interested in the play of light as it danced across the open areas of the structure. The play of light and shadow creates patterns  that seem to dance and have a rhythm all their own. The painting is 6"X12" to accentuate the length of the music court as it stretches out along the pathway at the edge of the large field. The warmth of the sunlight is dramatized by the vibrant red tree being directly hit by the sunlight.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bird Park beckons once again!

While working on another painting at the opposite end of the park, I decided to take a break. I walked through the park to enjoy the great fall weather and the park's beauty when I came across this little girl who was captivated by the migrating geese that had just landed. I was hooked when I saw her classic "sandbox squat". The concrete bench and distant bridge are included to give the painting a sense of place. Focusing on strong sunlit areas,  meandering edges and bright green patterns reflecting in the water lead the viewer to the young girl communing with the lone goose at the edge. The red of the girl's shirt repeats in the trees, reflections and turning grasses  to hint at autumn's arrival.

Masterpiece Masquerade

The Art Gallery and Studio at Patriot Place in Foxboro, MA hosted a "Masterpiece Masquerade" this month. Artists from 5 area art associations were invited to create a painting based on a famous favorite artist, but to give it a "twist" of some kind. My love affair with water and Monet made this choice appealing for me. I call it "Frog's Dilemma". In recreating Monet's painting, I realized the more spontaneous and abstracted the work is, the more difficult it is to re-create. In the end , it was a lot of fun working the many layers and glazing between some to create a watery effect. I loved using the frog that visits our fountain on the patio as a model for the "twist".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunlit Pears

On Friday I went to Jonathan Fairbanks for our first painting session in several months. He arrived with an armload of fruits, vegetables and some wild weeds, plopped them on a table and said, "What are you planning to paint today?" I looked at the bounty before me and instantly made up my mind. Instead of a park bench I had planned on, I selected 3 pears and a weed and found a sunny window. I arranged the purple cloth and then the pears and weeds until I got a composition I liked and felt I could complete in a couple hours before the sun completely disappeared from that window. I enjoy the challenge of working quickly and spontaneously. I always like the freshness of the painting and the honest quality it imparts. I decided to simplify the scene outside the window giving just  enough information for the viewer to get what was going on and stay focused on the pears. In the end I was pleased with my choice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another early morning walk...another painting opportunity

"Pres du Lac"  16x20  oil

While vacationing in Provence in 2008, I woke up while my 7 travel companions were still sleeping. The villa we rented was called "Pres du Lac", which means "near the lake". There was no lake visible in any direction. From the villa's name,  I knew there must be one somewhere nearby, so I decided my early morning mission was to find the lake. I walked for about an hour deep into woods on a long dirt road and eventually came to this hill just as the sun was rising over "les Alpilles'. The landscape was instantly illuminated and it was a very spiritual moment. Moments later, I found the lake on the other side of the hill. The scene is forever in my memory and one of these days I will paint that lake. It was incredibly beautiful. The locals were very upset to learn an "outsider" had found their hidden gem. Their secret is safe with me. I did bring the others that evening and we left it prisitne as we found it. We may have enjoyed some good wine there on a few evenings watching the sun set over the lake. After returning home, I painted this scene while it was fresh in my mind. However, I never finished it until this week. My early start left me with all the information I needed about the scene, but 5 years ago I was transitioning from watercolor to oil painting and lacked the experience at the time to get the effect that I wanted. It felt great to finish it up this summer. It stirs up a desire return to Provence.


"Inspiration" 24x30 oil
"Inspiration" 8x10 study and 24x30 studio version
If you have looked through my paintings, by now you've discovered that I love to walk in the early morning and evening. I am captivated by the stunning light and color I am treated to by sunrise and sunset. The light reflecting on the water and earth brings a harmony to a scene that can leave me breathless. In creating the small 8x10 painting, I became so enamored of the scene I wanted to keep painting when I was done. I went into my studio and began working on a larger version. The different proportions of the 2 canvases meant some alterations, but that was just another challenge that made it fun. The large version is a gallery wrap; I find it easier to deal with edges when I do a smaller version first. I particularly was drawn to the blues and violets in the sand as darkness descended. I used the meandering storm fence to draw the viewer back into the distance at a slow,  leisurely pace. The shapes of the houses silhouetted in the distance are meant to give enough information with only a suggestion rising up against the sky. My aim is to  keep the scene quiet and the viewer transfixed on the transformation  in nature.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Day of Summer!

First day of Summer!  16x20 oil 
The first day of summer was spectacular! The colors were amazing and the days following  are treating us to a "super moon", a heat wave interspersed with some powerful thundertstorms and amazing lightning shows. The color transitions needed expression and I chose to capture it at one of my favorite beaches. The solo walks are time for contemplation and wonder. The WOW moments are, for me, the ones when the clouds form beautiful patterns, the colors harmonize and the light is reflected in the wet sand and rolling waves. The wet sand mirrors the show above.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wellesley inspires!

Wellesley spoils 16x20

My college reunion yielded leftovers crying out to be painted. I brought home the centerpiece from dinner and some leftover pears from lunch and got to work. Since it was my Wellesley College reunion, adding some Shakespeare books and shades of blue -actually created by mixing viridian and alizarin crimson-seemed a perfect addition. In the next few days I completed this still life as I worked against time. The petals fell off the peonies. The lily buds opened fully. I painted my lasting impressions as the scene before me unfolded daily. In the end, I warmed up the foreground to bring attention to the beautifully shaped pears that held their own throughout the week. I placed the cat there to give a sense of scale as this is bigger than I usually paint a still life. He also made me giggle as he looked so intently for so long at my painting; such a loyal admirer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Make Way for Ducklings!

Make Way for Ducklings -Boston Public Gardens 11x14 oil

A favorite childhood memory were my many visits to Boston with my parents. We would ride the swanboats and walk around the beautiful public gardens which was the setting for a favorite book, Make Way for Ducklings. In a stroke of genius, the city commissioned this sculpture of Make Way for Ducklings. It is possibly one of the most photographed spots in the city. As a lifelong Bostonian, I would be remiss not to include it in my favorite painted places. I love the  sun reflecting off the ducks, the warmth of the bricks, the meandering lines of the sculpture and the backdrop of my beloved city and it's gardens.

Spring flowers-always beckon.

Bleeding Hearts, Bottles and Apples
Dorothy's Duck with rhododendron
 I noticed as I started looking at the gardens the abundance of pinks and reds surrounded by the lush greens and earthy tones. The flowers are so beautiful and their beauty is so fleeting. Capturing them requires a certain decisiveness in putting the paint down. Mostly I try to capture the essence of how they feel. Once cut they don't last, but their image makes an imprint on my senses and I try to savor the few days they are at their peak. With a storm forecast for tomorrow, I knew today was the day to paint peonies. And we connected. Looks like the red green harmony is in season.

Peggy's Peonies  11x14
Update-happy to say this painting has been selected for the Zullo Gallery's 19th annual Juried Exhibition
in Medfield, MA Sept 21-Nov. 9, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Always a favorite-Bird Park in winter

They didn't read the sign!
Nemo came to Walpole and buried us in snow. It was the first time I recall a snowstorm being named. My first trip after digging out was to Bird Park. I have been painting the bridges in Bird Park, all of which are different from one another. This particular bridge has no good vantage point when the leaves are on the trees. With winter the bridge becomes the focal point of this beautiful snow covered scene. The ducks on the ice juxtaposed with the keep off the ice sign provided a bit of humor. The blue violet scene accented with the red orange and yellow orange  branches provided a perfect color harmony as you get pulled back into the distance.


She's got her eye on him!  11x14 oil

Vintage cars aren't my only interest in the past. Both my grandmother and mother were antique dealers. I grew up learning the history of so many items and their connection to us personally as well as their  connection to the past in general. Being part of a gallery  opening in an antique mall this past month, I was drawn to these items and the story they might tell. There was a photo of a woman that wanted to be in the still life but just didn't seem to fit. I resolved that by putting the woman's reflection in the mirror. I imagined her watching her man as he prepared to groom himself for the upcoming day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Meant for one another

Tea with lemon, please.

Horse and Ginger Jar 11x14

Working with still life is a great way to focus on color harmonies and  sharpen observation skills.  Sometimes finished works feel like they belong together. I felt that way about these two. They were done a year apart, but when they ended up side by side, I felt like they were, somehow, old friends. The horse belonged to my mother-in-law and the ginger jar belonged to my mother so they belonged together too.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

All in the Family

Emma's triumphant moment


My grand-nieces are fun to paint. We don't see one another that often, so when we do I like to get a few good photos to work from. Getting together centers around vacations or weddings. Everyone is  snapping pictures so they are relaxed and that is what I like. I am not too interested in posed portraits when in comes to children. It just isn't natural for them to sit still. With more babies on the way I never run out of subject matter or Christmas ideas.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boys will be boys!

 Investigating!   9x12
Having extended family creates a built in fan base. I have the privilege of painting my nephews sons.  Children  a favorite subject. Always on the move, and exploring are how I think of these boys. Consequently,   I use photos to work from. A good photo is essential. It is hard to capture  form without good light. The plus is, the kids are around and familiar. Another plus is that the parents and grandparents are always happy when they get a new painting!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


These paintings were done for my friend who owns a shop at The Norwood Commerce Center. She was doing a fundraiser for a friend who donated a kidney to a family member and was holding a raffle to pay medical bills. In a strange twist, she invited me to put some paintings in her shop and be on Chronicle -as they were coming that week to film the new marketplace that she manages. I was thrilled to have people see my work and said I 'd come down and set up stuff. I went around my house and took down stuff off the walls and gathered up the paintings I had done for my kids and went on down and hung up enough to make it look good. They said they wanted to interview me painting. When I saw it air, what a surprise to hear them say they were all for sale. Holy cow. I never said that. My kids might disagree. But, if you like this peony-bid on the raffle. They can use the money.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rhythm & Blues

"Rhythmic Blues" 9x12 gallery wrap
Daybreak Beach Stroll 16x20Gentle rolling waves,  the advancing and receding patterns of the water, the light bouncing off the surface or shining through the crest of the wave all capture my attention. Mostly, I paint my impressions of it, as it  rapidly changes and is a fluid, dynamic experience.  Colors change with wind and clouds -and alter the patterns even in a moments time; sand churns up from the bottom and colors ebb and flow with the water,  but there is a consistency that is evident. It seduces me every time.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Frog's Fantasy

"A Frog's Fantasy" 11x14

"A Frog's Fantasy 2"  24x30    
When painting the first Frog's fantasy, I was really excited about the complexity of the layers in the water. The natural layers of things that were visible below the surface and the color changes associated with the depth changes were exciting; but adding the sky and weed reflections took it to another whole level. I enjoyed playing with the pinks and violets and creating a fanciful landscape that I think any frog would have been psyched to encounter. It was such a pleasure to paint, I decided I really must do it big. I don't know which one I enjoyed painting more, but the big brushes and the many layers I built up in creating the 2nd one put me in the zone so much that I didn't realize someone stood watching me a half hour before I even became aware they were there.   Since I "retired' my goal is to paint what I want and to get better. I don't want to be motivated by whether or not something will sell. I really want to focus on my own expression. I loved creating this piece! I was happy someone else loved it too.

In the Zone in South Natick

South Natick waterfall 16x20
Sometimes people ask, "How can you paint with all those people watching you?" After 36 years in front of a classroom filled with students and parents watching me demonstrate and having to use both the left brain and right brain simultaneously (which is very difficult to do), being watched stopped being an issue for me. Now, the luxurious feeling of "just painting" is wonderful. A friend says she wears earphones-even if she isn't listening to anything-so she can stay focused on what she is doing. She said another trick is to just put a hat out there with some money in it and then people tend to leave her alone. At best, she makes a couple bucks extra. I was mesmerized by the three types of water at this site. The sun was strong. The upper water was calm and reflective with duckweed and leaves floating on top, the waterfall was roaring and powerful with water splashing upward at it's base and the area below displayed patterns and a rhythm in the strong current. For me, I get in the "zone". I literally am not even aware of people staring or taking photos. When I did this painting in South Natick, MA, I may have been too in the zone; I got home  to Walpole and realized I had left my pocketbook back on the park bench in Natick. The young girl that found it returned it to me via the police station. I let the painting dry, framed it and dropped it by her house several weeks later as a thank you. She was absolutely stunned that I had tracked her down and equally thrilled with her "thank you". I was grateful my bag was found by such a nice honest young woman.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Art in Bloom"

Jonathan's Peonie's


Marion Blues  16x20

"English Garden" 8x10 -
"Lucy's Lupine

 "Lucy's Garden" 16x20
Flowers are nostalgic. They remind me of people, places, and moments experienced when all alone. I'm not a big floral painter per se, but  I do love landscapes with flowers in them. My friend Lucy has an amazing perenial farm in York. It's  inspirational and always changing with the seasons. I love the old fashioned New England flowers: hollyhocks and lupine,peonies and lavender, morning glories and larkspur. Painting flowers is discovering patterns and color variations. Light hitting a thistle, for example, has a halation effect that is unique and beautiful. Atmospheric perspective can be manipulated to create a transition in colors as they fade into the distance. When painting flowers outdoors, speed is of the essence. They really need to be captured in a small window of time.

Antique cars-it's a family thing!

"Wavecrest Woodie"
16x20 oil

"Ken's World" 18x24 oil

My brother restores antique cars. Since the early 1960's, wherever he is, there has always been a car in the process of being reassembled or proudly displayed. Woodies were always our family car during my childhood and my brother has two beautifully restored ones at the moment. The green one in the painting received the coveted "Dearborn Award". He loves his cars and I love to paint them. They are particularly challenging since any mistakes in drawing are very obvious to a car connaiseur. They do lend a certain charm to a scene with their warm wood tones and shiny glass and metal components. Once put into a setting that I like, I think of it like painting a still life;-size and color relationships, light and then relating to the background. "Ken's World"is on it's way to be displayed at the Northern Virginia Car Club show.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Blues

Winter's Glory-Bird Park at dusk
Winter Stream-Fairfax, VT

Beautiful Dawn-
Winter Wonderland

2013 should be synonymous with SNOW. Here it is March 18th and yet another big storm is forecast. For some this might not be exciting....But...
I love snow! When I wake up in the morning and look out the window I am always astonished by the sheer beauty of everything blanketed in a new fresh coat of white. For a brief time everything looks clean. My thoughts go to days off when I was little; a kind of gift to have the freedom to play and take a break from the daily grind. I think of the exhilarating feeling of being on top of a mountain about to ski down and looking out over the snow covered world below. Fresh tracks when no one has gone before. Snow provides an opportunity to get "centered". There is a serenity that I feel and that I like to try to capture when I paint a snow scene. I love the cool blue shadows dancing across the surface, the warm lights hitting the snow and reflecting back, and the branches that hang heavy under the weight of their new visitor.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sometimes a still life

My first still life in oils -11x14-Juicy  Nectarines
This won honorable mention in the Art in the Park show
 in Norwood, MA 2011

I had fiddled around with painting things before actually doing still life paintings.
18x24-primarily peppers
Sometimes a still life is a good way to hone skills and focus on technique, color, composition,etc. without packing everything up and facing the inevitable question-"what shall I paint today?" I am fortunate to have a really great group to paint with. Feedback from other artists is helpful. Having a quiet uninterrupted time to paint is essential.
"Autumn's Delights" was juried into a show at Fountain Street Fine Art in Framingham, MA (11x14)                                                                                                                



Judge's Choice Award!

I was honored to receive the judge's choice award in the Hull Museum show. There were many outstanding works and seeing the ribbon on my painting evoked a certain pride knowing that others enjoyed it too. One of the judges commented, "I wish that I had painted this!"


Church St. Burlington ,VT  18x24---

Swanboat Memories 16x20---

The old and the new, Oxford University, UK-16x20-

Winooski Falls, Winooski, VT-

When thinking about painting  city scenes, first thoughts are the downtown hustle and bustle. The great thing in exploring a city is discovering what makes it unique and what makes it universal. The old mill towns in New England are great;  factory buildings are converted and the flavor of the community is preserved. Some old mills are marketplaces, artist studios, restaurants, fitness centers and a multitude of other things. In some cities parks and walking streets provide places to gather or relax. Sometimes it's the history that attracts me. Although painting the city provides a lot of opportunity, I have much more exploring to do in this area. I was able to set up my easel on my daughter's balcony to paint the Winooski Falls. The blue and orange harmony attracted me as well as the rushing  water patterns;  but today that view is gone as new high rise condos went up right after I painted this one. Some scenes, like the swanboats, are iconic and others are pure luck. When I saw the students come through the doorway at Oxford it was the moment when it all came together. I was already hooked on the lighting, but the new and modern juxtaposed with the old and established was the moment I wanted to capture. Church Street in Burlington is another iconic scene with the white steepled church at one end. Sometimes there are banners and flags or street performers and pushcarts or in the winter-lights and people bundled up against the VT cold. Any season is a good one to paint Church Street.