With plenty of time on my hands these days, I’ve been spending more of it painting and entering art competitions than ever before. It was lovely to get back from my walk this morning to find an email congratulating me for receiving two Special Recognition awards from Light Space Time Online Gallery’s 10th Annual Seascapes Competition for Spash and Mixed Marriage! I don’t usually paint traditional seascapes but remain fascinated by the process of painting underwater images. And in a time when many people aren’t going to art galleries or art shows, it’s a privilege to be included in an online gallery show that reaches so many viewers in our newly virtual world. Check out the 10th Annual Seascapes Exhibition on http://www.lightspacetime.art for the month of June. Some good news indeed!
A White Study: Portrait
My good friend and former student (Long Beach High School Class of ’67), Jeffrey Felner, posts #wakinguptofashion every day on FaceBook and Instragram, featuring fantastic fashion photographers of the past and today. Last fall, I took a screen shot of one of his postings—a beautiful, young model who was swathed in white tulle from her hat to her toes. I filed it away and came across it last week, when I was looking for something new to paint. The whiteness of her made me think of one of the earliest painting assignments presented to students at the Acorn School of Art: the white study, an exercise that teaches just how much color there is in a painting of white objects. I thought it might be fun to try a portrait in white, having just watched Debra Highberger’s portrait painting lesson on YouTube through acornartschool.com. I got to give myself the challenge of painting a portrait, painting a white study and painting the transparency of tulle…all in one. Having just finished two very large paintings, I decided to change the pace by painting a couple of small canvases. I painted JJ the Beast and A White Study: Portrait alternately, because one canvas could sit out on my patio to dry for a day or two while I painted the other.
JJ the Beast
I’ve been painting for twenty-one years but still love to take a painting class. There’s always something to be learned, and it’s always a good idea to have other eyes see your work. Lucky for me, my friend and mentor, Debra Highberger, is teaching online on YouTube through http://www.acornartschool.com during the pandemic. I watched her lesson on painting a white kitten and was inspired to paint JJ the Beast, our beautiful white lab granddog. JJ is a sweet and handsome devil and, like many pets, has been a particular comfort to my daughter and her family in these trying times I get to see JJ on FaceTime and in photos and videos my granddaughters send of him doing things like sitting down and shaking hands. Can’t wait to see him in person again…
Light Space & Time Online Gallery ran a competition last month asking artists to share the art they had created while in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Since painting has been one of the things keeping me sane in a time when I can only see my children and grandchildren on a screen, I was happy to share the two large canvases I had worked on and finished in the last two months: Hair Love and Splash. A few days ago, I was delighted to be notified that one of my pieces had won an award and would be included in the Created in Isolation Exhibit on lightspacetime.art for the next month (until June 15th). The gallery received 1,189 entries from 30 different countries around the world, as well as from 35 states and the District of Columbia; 215 winning artists are now featured in Painting and Other Media. Speculating that Splash seemed more in keeping with the theme of isolation, I was surprised and delighted to wake up today to the email telling me that it was Hair Love that won Special Recognition. While many of the winners used the pandemic as subject, most of the works were just about creating art in this strange time in our lives. Hair Love sits on the floor in my front hall waiting to be shipped to Town Stages in Tribeca, once it opens for business again.
I’m not much of a believer when it comes to fantastical things like unicorns and trolls and mermaids, but I’m a grandma, so I suspend my disbelief now and then. Back in early February, when we took our last trip to Boston, our granddaughter Lasa gave us a picture she had colored of a mermaid, and my husband promised we would have it framed and hang it in our house. Which we did.
A couple of years ago, I gave one of my painting teachers, Aj Rombach, a blank 30”x40” canvas that she covered with an oil ground for me, which is something like gesso, but made of oil, not acrylic. A thick surface resulted, with trowel marks all over, so it wouldn’t have served for most of my portrait and figure work, which is usually very smooth. The texture somehow suggested water to me, so I painted the background first, and then, inspired by Lasa’s little mermaid, I thought I’d paint my own. She’s underwater, just like those jellyfish I’ve painted before, and even looks a little transparent, which seems suitable for a figure that may or may not be quite real.
Note: Though a picture is often worth a thousand words, some paintings are just better viewed in person, whenever possible. Since I don’t have that option, this photo will have to do.
A few years ago, I had the luxury of choosing from a series of photographs of a pole dancing competition and chose to paint two of them: one of a dancer balanced on her arms with the pole in sight and the second of a dancer upside down on the pole. Though of two different competitors, I took some artistic license and painted the red haired dancer in a red costume on the pole as a blonde in white, to make it appear as if the same woman had advanced to the pole and intending to hang the two paintings as a diptych. When submitting five paintings to the 10th Annual Figurative Art Competition at the Light Space Time Online Gallery last month, I included the dancer on the pole as one of my entries and today received word that Topsy Turvy won Special Recognition and will be posted on lightspacetime.art for the month of April. The gallery received 623 entries from 27 different countries around the world, as well as from 30 different states and the District of Columbia. I am delighted to be one of 100 artists who were awarded Special Recognition and to have the opportunity to show my work and make my website available to the public. Receiving notice of the award yesterday, I was happy to know that the email from Light Space Time was no joke!
I love movies. I’ve been a big fan since I was eleven, watching Million Dollar Movie almost every day of the six weeks I was home with whooping cough (though not socially isolated) and, until the last few years, going to the movies almost every weekend with my husband. And I’ve always watched the Oscars—no matter how long and boring the telecast might be. One of the highlights of this year’s Oscar’s was the winner for Best Animated Short Film: Hair Love. While you may not have had a chance to see the long features, animated or not, so many people were taken with Hair Love that you can find a link to it and watch it at home—even now. Since I was in the process of painting another version of Diva in a much larger format (4 feet x 3 feet) at the time I watched Hair Love, I couldn’t help but borrow the title for my painting.
This Hair Love is going to hang on a black wall in the bar and lounge at Town Stages in Tribeca, the women-centric, all-inclusive, fabulous event space for the arts that’s owned by our niece, Robin Sokoloff. Seize the Day…Rose and Seize the Day…Violet are already there and waiting for Hair Love to arrive, which won’t be until this pandemic is done with us and it’s safe to reopen all the wonderful event spaces and venues for the arts in New York and elsewhere. Ever the optimist and lucky to be able to paint at home in these unsettling times, Hair Love is finally finished and ready for hanging. Here’s to better days for us all!
Last month I entered five portraits of women in a competition at See.Me.com called “S/HE PERSISTED,” celebrating the power and strength of women for this year’s Art Takes Armory 2020 exhibitions, from March 4th to March 26th. On February 26th I received an email notifying me of this:
“After a long and thorough review by the jury panel, your work has been selected to receive a digital feature at the “S/he Persisted…” exhibition. Your entry did not rank in the top ten and was not selected as a prize-winning submission.
One of the images from your submission will be chosen by our curatorial team to be featured digitally on a large TV monitor at the exhibition. The image will be accompanied by a short excerpt from the written section of your submission and the name (for display purposes) you provided us with on the submission form.”
I was thrilled, of course, though I had no idea which of my entries had been chosen. I even briefly thought about flying up to New York for the opening at their event space on Lexington Avenue & 46th Street. COVID-19 put an end to that notion, and, of course, the event has been cancelled, along with almost everything else in New York and the country.
I received an email this weekend confirming that Diva was the painting that had been chosen for the event. This original Diva is on a 20” x 20” canvas, and I am coincidentally painting her again in a much larger format as a commission. Grateful that I can paint amidst all the insanity surrounding our lives right now, I’ll be posting another diva soon…
Lucky to have the chance to be included in the fourth Revolving Art Show this season at BallenIsles Country Club, I entered Rabbi Rich, the portrait I painted of my husband from a color photo taken of him the evening he officiated at the wedding of our son and daughter-in-law, and Argentine Tango, a celebration of the dancers I love to paint. The exhibit is up for viewing from February 3rd to March 9th.
I’ve had the privilege of exhibiting my work at the annual Art Expo at BallenIsles Country Club since 2006, where it’s always been a delight to see how many talented artists live and work in the community. After our clubhouse was razed and rebuilt in 2018-19, all interested parties met to form an Art Club, which includes both artists and members interested in art and boasts a membership of over 340 residents. For those interested in the arts, there are lectures, films and field trips designed to stimulate lively discussion and feed the soul. For the artists, there is now a schedule of open studio time for those who like to work on their own projects and appreciate the camaraderie and benefit of having other artists’ eyes on their work, as well as a variety of art classes offered with various professionals from late fall into spring. And…once again…there is an annual Art Show, with 67 artist members exhibiting their paintings, sculpture, photography and even needlepoint from January 14-19 in our beautiful clubhouse. It is a privilege to have an opportunity to show my work and a delight to admire the work of my fellow artists.
Dancing the Night Away
I love everything about dancing. I took my first ballet class before I was 5 and, bursting with pride, was a dancing tulip by the time June came around, when I experienced my first annual dance recital. I married a good dancer and still enjoy dancing with him whenever possible, whether at someone’s wedding or, on a Friday night, at the club where we live. I particularly like watching the young dancers perform on So You Think You Can Dance and must admit that I even enjoy Dancing With the Stars. Painting dancers is even more fun for me these days, especially when it includes the challenge of portraying movement on a static canvas.
Dancing the Night Away is a portrait of a dance troupe, but it could just as easily be seen as a memory of my high school days in the late 50’s and early 60’s, when we all watched American Bandstand and dreamed about dancing on TV with our friends
Seize the Day…Rose
I entered the LightSpaceTime Online Gallery’s 9th Annual All Women competition last month and was delighted to hear today that Seize the Day won Special Recognition in the Painting & Other Media Category for this exhibition of women artists. I was particularly pleased to win an award for a painting of a woman, by a woman, a gift for a woman who owns an event space that is run by women, giving it special meaning for me. All winning entries will now be featured on the Light Space & Time website for the month of January 2020 and will remain online in the Light Space & Time Archives.
Seize the Day…Rose
Once again I’ve been inspired by the work of photographer Whitney Brown, who often photographs dancers and uses all sorts of techniques like image on image or double and triple exposures to make me want to crop and flip and paint her subjects in my own fashion.
Seize the Day…Violet
Our niece, Robin Sokoloff, owns and runs a fabulous event space in Tribeca called Town Stages—a women-centric business with an emphasis on the arts and diversity and acceptance. The first time I was there, as we sat in the cocktail bar, I knew I wanted to paint something for her to hang on those black walls that at that moment displayed some graphic images supplied by a sponsor of an upcoming event. It’s taken me some time, but I’ve finally finished a diptych for her, called Seize the Day, that I think will suit. I used paints that have women’s names and meaning for me…Rose was my grandmother and Violet is another niece’s new baby girl…and tried to capture the sense of strength and aspiration that has taken Robin from her small Loft 227 in Chelsea to this amazing 10,000 square foot space that provides a venue for theater, concerts, lectures, promotions, parties and more. Robin has surely seized the day.
It was a delight to come home after a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with the family to find that I had won a Special Recognition Award for Lion’s Mane in the Light SpaceTime Online Gallery”s 9th Annual Nature Exhibition. 140 artists were recognized for outstanding art in the Painting and Other Media category, and I’m thrilled to be among them. The exhibition will be online at http://www.lightspacetime.art for the month of December.
The Lion’s Mane is the largest known species of jellyfish and the most gorgeous, its beauty belying its powerful stinger. I actually painted the bottom view, which looked like a flower to me and hid its signature orange and red tentacles. I continue to find painting somewhat transparent sea creatures like jellyfish and anemones a fascinating challenge.
On Saturday, November 2, the Ballenisles Art Club opened its first Revolving Art Exhibit outside the East dining room of the clubhouse. I was honored to be included in the first of what will be four to six week long art exhibits throughout the season. After our beautiful new clubhouse opened just one year ago, the artists and lovers of art who live here, at BallenIsles Country Club, formed a new Art Club that now has over 300 members and sponsors field trips and lectures and provides open studio time as well as art classes for its members. In addition to the Revolving Art Exhibits, Art Expo 2020, exhibiting a variety of mediums in work created by members of the Art Club, will open with a gala on the evening of January 15, 2020 and run through Sunday, January 19th. I’m happy to be a member of the Art Studio committee and the Art Show committee, since I’m so pleased to have a place to come and paint with other artists right here where I live, as well as new opportunities to exhibit my work.