On Gifts…

image

Two years ago, I decided to paint a small portrait of my friend, Sydelle, who was celebrating the same “big birthday” I was celebrating that year. Wanting to surprise her with it, I couldn’t ask her for a photograph, so I snapped a picture of a framed photo of her with her significant other, my great good friend, Herb, and his dog, Charley, that was on the desk in their kitchen.

Sydelle

Sydelle

I gave her that portrait a few months later and was happy to see it in their family room every time I was there. More than that, Herb was really taken by it and constantly complimented my ability to catch a likeness, encouraging me to market that ability.

Charley

Charley

Fast forward…now Herb is about to celebrate an even bigger birthday. How could I not paint a portrait of him, after all that praise? Although Sydelle tried to send me photographs to use this time, none of them quite worked for me, so I went back to the same one I had used for her portrait and, just because Herb loves him more than anything on earth, painted Charley as well, on a little 5” X 5” canvas of his own. When I first painted the grisaille for Herb’s portrait, I thought I had not quite caught the likeness yet, so I started calling it “Almost Herb.” The title tickled me, so it stuck, though I do think that anyone who knows Herb Siegel, legendary playboy and lawyer from Buffalo, NY, would recognize him in this.

Almost Herb

Almost Herb

 

 

 Happy birthday, Herb!

BallenIsles Art Expo | 2016

The BallenIsles Art Expo | 2016 is open today through Sunday, showcasing the paintings, sculpture, photographs, woodworking, mixed media, needlework, paper art and pottery of eighty artists who live in this community. Given the opportunity to select only two of the paintings I’ve done this past year, I chose to exhibit Dancing in the Dark and Let’s Get Out of Here. Attending the lavish opening last night with some art loving friends, as always, I enjoyed the great variety of work displayed. Impressive…

FullSizeRender (39) FullSizeRender (38)

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

Of Parrots and Palm Trees

I have a wall in my condo in Florida that was perfectly suited for a mural.  Now, I’m not really a fan of murals—I’ve never seen any that I could imagine on my own walls—so I started thinking about what I might paint myself.  The rug in that room is a needlepoint of parrots and palm trees, so I had to come up with something that wouldn’t conflict with it.

I was sitting on my patio, late one afternoon a year ago last May, just relaxing, playing word games on my iPad and listening to music, when I noticed the shadows of the palm trees in the yard on the building next to mine.  The fronds were moving in the breeze, and it was somewhat soothing to watch the motion on the wall in front of me, a little hypnotic.  I thought how cool it would be to have a palm tree inside, on my wall.  The dimensions of the wall (9.5’ X 12.5’, then an arch over the bedroom doorway and another 9.5′ X 3′) wouldn’t allow for a painting of those palms that had inspired me, so I decided on a Bismarck palm, a variety of the fan palm with a short trunk and sage green fronds.  I photographed one at my friend Judith’s house, because it was the perfect shape for my wall, then painted it last summer on a proportionately smaller canvas, as a sketch for my mural.

Last November, back in Florida, I was lucky enough to have one of my painting teachers, Alexis Baliotis, a young and very talented artist, come to stay with me for a week to help me paint my Bismarck palm on my wall.  A few weeks after, I  painted inside the arch of the doorway, then fiddled around with the background for some time, until I could call it done.  It makes me smile every time I walk into my home, but it will be the only one of its kind, since I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever…paint another.

0

Bismarck Palm

Bismarck Palm