Art Takes SoHo | Volume 4

Rising Again

 

 

I subscribe to an arts organization called See.Me that specializes in providing online profiles for artists to display and promote their work and holds real-world exhibitions every few years. Last week, See.Me featured Rising Again in Volume 4 of Art Takes SoHo on their website, directing viewers to my website when they click on the image.  It’s very gratifying to be included in a juried show with artists from all over the world.

Love and Marriage

Rabbi Rich

Rabbi Rich

 

My husband is my biggest fan and my most thoughtful critic. He was quite taken with my latest work in black and white, encouraging me to do more of it, so I decided to try to paint him. For even more of a challenge, I painted him from a color photograph.

IMG_0303He had the distinct honor of marrying our son and his bride five years ago. Licensed as an officiant by the state of Vermont, he wrote a beautiful ceremony that he performed at Stowe Mountain Lodge. The photographer took a wonderful picture of him as he walked down the aisle, and those of us who love him, called him Rabbi Rich for awhile. That’s the photograph I used to paint this portrait in black and white.

About Face

I’ve  been unusually absorbed in painting faces this past year, many in pairs and most on smaller canvasses or gessoboards. I love seeing a likeness emerge from a blank canvas from the moment I start the grisaille (underpainting), but the real pleasure for me lies in mixing and applying color, searching for the light and accentuating the planes of the face, even when I choose to crop the image. 

Mum's the Word

Mum’s the Word

Mum’s the Word is a companion piece, I suppose, to those people I’ve recently painted who are whispering to each other. But is she keeping a secret, or has she just told one? Hmmm…

Ménage à Deux

Room 503

Room 503

I continue to be fascinated by the juxtaposition of two faces on a canvas, most recently in the act of telling secrets or whispering sweet nothings. If painting a single portrait is an intimate act, painting two people relating to each other goes far beyond that. Are they friends or lovers? Do they even know each other? All sorts of scenarios can be imagined as their faces take shape on the canvas. And when the painting is done, I get to choose a title that gives the viewer a sense of what I’ve been thinking…sweet…and, in this case, sexy.

A Little Night Music

Dancing in the Dark

Dancing in the Dark

I usually paint my tango dancers on a colored ground, my focus being the image, not the setting. But over the last couple of years, my friend, Jeff Fay, a wonderfully talented young artist who specializes in architectural paintings (jhutchinsonfay.com), did a few night paintings—a convenience store, a gas station, an ice cream stand—that blew me away. I loved the atmosphere that black background created and thought it would work in a tango painting, enhancing the mood and highlighting the intimacy. It took me some time before I got to paint this, but I knew before I started that I would call it Dancing in the Dark.

BallenIsles Art Expo | 2015

After a crazy week with a Twitter threat causing my flight to Florida to be cancelled so that I could be in Boston in time to experience the more than two feet of snow from Juno, I finally got to Palm Beach Gardens for the BallenIsles Art Expo | 2015, which featured paintings, photographs, collages, mixed media, sculpture, needlework, woodwork and even hand-made Christmas ornaments.  Eclectic!

photo (36)photo (34)

Best of the Clubs: Exhibition at the Lighthouse Artcenter Museum

Dropped in at the Lighthouse Artcenter Museum in Tequesta, FL, on the last day of the year to see my painting hung in the juried show for artists from ten country club communities in the area.  As always, it’s impressive to see the range of talent exhibited; I particularly enjoyed the pottery and sculpture shown, a fond reminder of past endeavors for me.

Blowin' in the Wind

Blowin’ in the Wind

 

“Blowin’ in the Wind” is meant to be a portrait of my daughter, who grew up near the ocean and still loves to hang out at the beach.

Blurred Lines

Shh..Don't Tell Anyone

Shh..Don’t Tell Anyone

 

I do love a painting class. There’s usually a teacher or two there, someone to engage you in a dialogue about what you’re doing, what you want your painting to be and how to get there. And when you step back from your own painting, as you must do and often, you are surrounded by other artists and the myriad of subjects that they’re painting. You learn so much from other people’s work! Sometimes it influences you; sometimes you might even steal something.

Almost a year and a half ago, I stopped by the Acorn Gallery during the Marblehead Arts Festival and saw Lexi Baliotis (getting married next week, she’ll be known as Alexis Kereakaglow) working on a painting of a girl on a beach.  I was completely enchanted by it—a back and side view that featured the girl’s ear in close up detail.  You could have reached out to touch that ear or at the very least whispered a secret!  So this year, I painted Shh…Don’t Tell Anyone with the image of Lexi’s ear in my mind’s eye.  I’d call that inspiration.

  

About Inhaling…

Guillty Pleasure

Guillty Pleasure

I haven’t smoked cigarettes since the Surgeon General declared smoking a hazard to health, but I must admit to inhaling every now and then since.  And because a friend went into a business associated with vaping, I’ve been able to try vaping “juice,” not with nicotine, but with herbals like menthol, eucalyptus and lavender.  I might be exhaling steam, but it behaves like smoke, making it perfect for me to study the patterns and understand what smoke does as it drifts through the air…and to blow smoke rings.  When I was sixteen, I must have thought it was the height of sophistication to be able to blow a perfect smoke ring; now, I think it would make a good painting.      

It Takes Two to Tango

I’m a great fan of dancing of all kinds, but I especially love to paint tango dancers. The tango is such a sensuous dance that the figures on the canvas, caught in a moment of time, still seem to be moving. I really enjoy the challenge of figuring out where each leg needs to be and which shoe goes in front of which shoe, especially since they’re so often black on black on black.

Close Encounter found its way to Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, and the lovely couple who own it commissioned a companion piece, Too Close for Comfort, so they could hang the two 30” X 40” paintings together on a large wall going up their stairs: two couples destined to dance near each other but never meet or even bump into one another on the dance floor.

Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort

Close Encounter

Close Encounter

 

 

He’s So Fine…

 

photo-86

 

For no particular reason, I don’t paint very many portraits of men. And when I do, that man is usually in the company of a woman. But I wanted to give one of my paintings as a gift to my very handsome hairdresser, who celebrated the 5th anniversary of the opening of his own salon last fall, and I didn’t think his wife would like it as much if I used an image of him with another woman. Wanting to surprise him, I had to rely on the internet for a photo of him that I thought would work for me, a task made easier by the fact that he’s done some modeling over the years and is currently getting press regarding the launch of his new hair product line, V76 by Vaughn.

Vaughn Acord has been my hairdresser since 2006, first at Bumble & Bumble in New York and then at Mizu New York, the salon he opened on Park Avenue with his partners in the fall of 2008. Trusting him to keep my hair looking as fabulous as possible, I see him every couple of months and have gotten to know him well in the last 8 years.  I think he looks like he could be in Game of Thrones (his kids should love that…or not).  Happy anniversary, Vaughn.

Vaughn

Vaughn

 

 

Deep Purple and a Little Blue

My husband loves women and is enough of a man to be very much in touch with his feminine side. He was in the fashion business for many years and never lost the habit of looking through Vogue or W, though now he might be paying more attention to the beautiful women on those pages than he is to the hottest new colors and latest fashion trends. He is a Brooklyn boy of a certain age, after all. Of the many different things I paint, he probably likes my paintings of women best and wants to keep all of them for himself. I painted a small portrait for him to see before I committed to painting it on a larger scale as a gift for him for our upcoming 50th wedding anniversary.

Yes!

Yes!

 

I like to fill a canvas, edge to edge, which causes me to crop my images. When I first started taking drawing lessons from Duddy Fletcher at the DeCordova Museum School, she had us use view finders before beginning a new drawing. I do it to this day, whether I’m painting from life or a photograph. For the last year or so, I’ve taken to using my iPad when I’m painting from a photograph; the clarity of the images and the ability to enlarge and crop that enlargement makes it a great tool. It also allows you to flip images around, particularly if they’re square. When I do that to Yes!, it makes it a much more provocative painting. I’ll have what she’s having…photo-86

 

Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, et al

BFF'S

BFF’S

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a Wire

 

 

There’s something about pears for me…the shapes, the contours, the colors. Though I’d never turn down the chance to eat a sweet, juicy pear, I’m much more interested in them as subjects for still lifes.  And they’ve got that anthropomorphic thing going for me: I certainly see them as female–all those lovely torsos.  I painted BFF’s to celebrate the friendship between two women (I’m the taller one) and the Birds on a Wire are having a gossipy chat.

When I came across a poem about pears online, it inspired me to paint the pears that hang in my kitchen in Florida, so I  painted the first two lines of the poem in DaVinci script, directly on the painting:
Some say
it was a pear
Eve ate.
Why else the shape
of the womb,
or of the cello?
Some say it was a pear Eve ate...

Some say it was a pear Eve ate…

When I painted The Bartletts, a triptych of eight pears, I used pears I had spent some time selecting at our local fruit store as my models.  I very carefully wrapped them up and kept them at the back of my fruit drawer between painting classes, hoping to keep them from getting too ripe.  I was about half done with the painting when we went away away for the weekend, and as soon as we pulled into our driveway, I knew that our son had been at the house while we were away.  (He just left a light on in the den.)  I had no problem with that until I saw the note he left on the kitchen counter: “Mom, where did you get those pears?  They were awesome!”  He had eaten three of my models!  Don’t think it was so easy to replace them, either.  Who knew that no two pears are alike?

The Bartletts

The Bartletts

About Girlfriends and Birthdays

I have a bff who was approaching a “big birthday” about five years ago.  Her husband was throwing a surprise party for her, and I was thinking about what gift I could give to a woman who really does have everything.  Of course, I would paint something for her, but what?  After awhile, it came to me…

Since my girlfriend and her telephone are never very far apart, I decided to paint a telephone keypad for her, with every number and symbol representing something personal about her.  To make it physically look like a keypad, I painted twelve 8” X 8” canvasses, each an inch and a half deep, to look like buttons.  The result, in its own way, is a portrait of her (I told you I think of all my paintings as portraits).  I’ll explain:

Number 1 is painted on a house.  She’s a very successful realtor and has been the number 1 producer in her agency for most of her career.

Number 2 is a conversation bubble.  She’s a talker.

Number 3 is a nod to our girl golf trips to Aruba and her enjoyment of the craps table.

Number 4 celebrates the game we love to play together.

Number 5 is all about makeup.  Did I say she’s a looker?

Number 6 is a conversation hearts candy.  See number 2.  Her favorite food is candy.

Number 7 is a ticket stub.  She loves plays, musicals, and concerts and is the social director for a group of friends who rely on her to get them tickets too.

Number 8 is a triangle.  Remember the ones you got to play in kindergarten?  She has one.  It makes her happy to play it sometimes.

Number 9 is a mah jongg tile: 9 dot.  Girlfriends like to play games.  See number 3 and 4.

The * key is a magic wand.  She has one and uses it when she thinks she needs it.  See number 8.

The # key is a scale (get it?).  She organized a group that worked with a nutritionist to lose weight and eat healthier.  See number 6.

Operator is a CD.  She’s a big fan of music (see number 7 and 8) and often gifts friends with CD’s she’s burned of her favorite singers.  If you play the notes on the music staff below the CD, you will hear Op-er-a-tor (Jim Croce).

Telephone Keypad

Telephone Keypad