The first time I entered an online art competition was in 2017, and it was for the LightSpaceTime Online Gallery’s 7th Annual Figurative Art Exhibition. I won two Special Merit Awards that year, then two the next, then Special Recognition in 2019, 2020 and now 2021. It’s an honor to be one of the 200 artists recognized this year in the Painting & Other (two dimensional work) category. It Takes Two to Tango and all winning entries will be featured on lightspacetime.art for the month of April 2021. While I enjoy painting still life, animals and the occasional abstract, figurative is where I live. I am constantly inspired by portrait and figure, which makes this kind of recognition so very meaningful.
I have a good friend who has had a good friend for many years who is nuts for spoonbills. I don’t think she gets to see too many in the flesh, since she lives in California, and roseate spoonbills are the only spoonbill species found in the Americas, mostly in Florida and parts of Louisiana and Texas. After seeing In the Pink, my friend commissioned a small canvas portrait of a spoonbill for her friend, and Ready for My Closeup is what I came up with. Hope she likes it…
I’ve said before that it’s lovely when people tell you how much they love your work, but the highest compliment an artist can get is a commission or a sale. When I exhibited Hair Love at the BallenIsles Art Show 2021 in January, the curator saw fit to hang her in the Elvis spot for the exhibition: the painting everyone saw as they entered the building. My friends Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel loved it and asked to buy it—and now Hair Love lives in their beautiful home! It’s a thrill for me to see it hanging amidst all the other wonderful art they own.
I painted Contact in black and white three years ago, a suggestive image of a couple on the verge of a kiss, on a canvas 36” wide but only 12” high. A year later I donated it to the Lighthouse Art Center for their annual fundraiser, D’Art for Art. Earlier this month, between paintings and with a spot on one of my walls that was calling to me, I took a canvas 24” wide and 12” high and thought I’d enjoy the challenge of painting that same carnal image in slightly different dimensions. As it turns out, I think this is the better proportion for what I’m now calling Seduction. Go know…
When January comes along, it’s usually time for the BallenIsles Art Show. Despite the pandemic and luckily for 58 of the artists who live here, the art show opened today. It’s always a treat to see the work of so many talented people displayed, even if we have to be screened to enter the clubhouse, wear masks and be socially distanced. I can’t think of anything better to feed our souls right now than enjoying art…
I have managed to navigate pretty well through these strange and terrible times we’ve been living through, thanks at least in part to finishing ten paintings since last March. As much as I like a painting class, these days I’m grateful to be able to paint in my own studio at home. Good news also helps. I entered the Light Space Time Online Gallery’s 10th Annual All Women competition at the end of the year and was thrilled to hear that my tenth painting, In the Pink, won Special Recognition. The gallery received 1,093 entries from all over the world and saw fit to honor more than 150 of those women artists. The exhibition will be available for viewing on lightspacetime.art for the month of January. Some good news indeed…
A year after we bought our condo in Palm Beach Gardens, I was playing golf with my friend Marlene and suddenly looked up, because of an unfamiliar noise, to see a HOT PINK flock of birds flying closely past us. My immediate response was to say, “What the [expletive deleted] was that?” I knew they weren’t flamingos—the color was off—but what were they? Marlene didn’t know, so I went home after the round to see if I could find out. The first iPhone wouldn’t be launched for over a year, but my husband had become completely enamored of the birds of south Florida, so I had a beautifully illustrated book to look through. The roseate spoonbill was shown in all its glory. Not the largest of birds, it’s more the size of a greater egret or a stork than a blue heron or a sand crane. Its beak is remarkable—hence the name spoonbill—and it sweeps it back and forth through the water to gather its food in that spoon. I see the spoonbills all the time on our golf courses here, but always just one alone or perhaps two. I’d love to catch another glimpse of a whole flock again…now that I know what they are!
I’ve had it in mind to paint a roseate spoonbill for months and finally got to it. I’ve found that there’s so much less pressure around painting an animal than there is doing a portrait of a person. I’ve had some fun painting a few animals this year: JJ the Beast, my grand dog, Charley Redux, my friend Herb’s Shichon, and, now, In the Pink—a roseate spoonbill that has just touched down on the tip of a branch, not yet hiding those glorious hot pink wings.
It’s wonderful when people tell you how good your work is, but the biggest compliment an artist can get is a sale or a commission. I had the great good fortune to meet a lovely woman at a dinner party a year or so ago who admired the portraits I had done of our hosts. She took my card so she could look through my website, and I thought no more about it. But she did, and she chose to commission two of my tango paintings to be redone and hung as a diptych.
I’ve been painting dancers for fifteen years, starting with a tango series of five paintings that showed the various phases of the dance: the presentation, the flicks and kicks, and the surrender, all represented by the dancer’s legs alone. As my canvases got larger, the images grew to include torsos. This commission called for two 30” x 40” canvases, both with white backgrounds and colors that related to each other, so that Close Encounter and High Jinks could become It Takes Two to Tango.
I’ve been working on a big commission all month and have hardly had any time for anything else, but I kept receiving bulletins from lightspacetime.art about entering their 10th Annual Open (no theme) Exhibition and finally sat down to choose the five paintings I wanted to submit, just a day before the deadline. The best part of entering near the end is that you receive the results pretty quickly, so less than a week later I find that Dancing the Night Away received Special Recognition out of 1004 entries from the U.S. and around the world. All winning entries will be featured on the Light Space & Time website for the month of November 2020. In these terrible times, it’s lovely to get some good news!
I had a vision about three years ago, when I was still painting at the Acorn Gallery School of Art three times a week. My house was up for sale, and my husband and I were moving to our condo in Florida, so I realized that my time at Acorn would be coming to an end. I owed so much to my dear friend and mentor, Debra Freeman Highberger, for opening up the world of oil painting for me, that I thought it would be a great idea for us to write a book together—a textbook published to preserve Debra’s legacy and perpetuate the lessons taught at Acorn, the lessons that made me the painter I am today. That was my vision…so Debra and I began to have meetings to map out the book and then hammer out the text. Most of the drawings and paintings that illustrate it (a picture is worth a thousand words?) are Debra’s. I had to learn an entirely new skill set to format the book and prepare it for publication. Now finally…finally…I am tremendously proud and happy to announce that PAINTING LESSONS l A Practical Approach to the Philosophy of Painting, by Debra Freeman Highberger and Nancy Satin, is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions and on iBooks!!! Debra will have paperback copies available for sale at Acorn Gallery School of Art as of October 5th, and I will have them in Palm Beach Gardens as well. I’m finding it hard to stop smiling. This has truly been a labor of love. Yay!!!
Anyone who knows my friend Herb Siegel knows that he loves his dog Charley more than anyone or anything else on earth. A Shichon (a mixed breed cross between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise), Charley has been with Herb for about fourteen years, such a sweet dog as his constant companion, even during those brief times when Herb didn’t have a female companion. A big supporter of the arts, Herb owns quite a few drawings and paintings of Charley, including a little 5” x 5” canvas that I painted of his dog over four years ago. I must confess that I tossed off that little painting in one sitting, simply to complete a grouping of portraits of Herb and his beautiful Sydelle.
Fast forward from four years ago to four months ago, when I had just completed a portrait of my granddog JJ. Herb took one look at that painting and turned to me to ask, “Will you paint Charley for me?” How could I refuse? Herb and Sydelle are dear friends and among the very few couples we see in these days of Covid-19. I have a habit of labeling photos of my paintings “redux” when I’ve revisited a subject, which happens from time to time, so here is Charley Redux…four years older, done by a better painter than I was four years ago.
I’m fascinated by the use of photographic effects to change and enhance images, so I welcomed the challenge of painting a figure within a figure in light and in shadow. Not for the first time, I was attracted to a face looking up—to the heavens? to a better world? to an obstacle to be surmounted? to a love now gone? I’ll let you decide.
In this time of Covid, the only place I can paint is in my studio at home. My husband had never actually watched me paint before now, but since we’re together constantly these days, he gets to observe, comment, and suggest at will, always with the caveat, “You probably won’t listen to me anyway.” That’s mostly true, even though he does have great taste and a good eye—I’m the one who gets to decide what and how I’m going to paint. I do, however, welcome suggestions for titles of paintings, which brings me to my point. Early on, when I just had the grisaille done and was starting to apply color and hadn’t even begun to think of a title for it, he told me I ought to call the painting “Lady Sings the Blues.” “It’s perfect!” he insisted. Well, damned if I could get that out of my head! I couldn’t even think of another title, so Lady Sings the Blues it is. The power of suggestion indeed…
Needless to say, in this time of Covid-19, everyone has to try hard to have a positive attitude and keep their spirits up. For me, that means FaceTime with my kids and grandkids, painting, playing golf, working out and staying in touch with good friends. Last week, I neglected to check what Gmail characterizes as Promotions and didn’t see that JJ the Beast had won Special Recognition in Light Space Time Online Gallery’s 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition, which opened online on Saturday and will remain on display until October 2nd. The gallery received 2,129 entries from 34 different countries as well as from 41 states and the District of Columbia.
I began entering art competitions at lightspacetime.art over three years ago, in April 2017, and have received Special Merit and Special Recognition for 28 of my paintings to date. Proud to be in such good company, I’m especially happy to have JJ the Beast applauded before this painting of him leaves for Wisconsin this fall with our granddaughter Maddie—as a reminder of home and everything she loves.