Best Friends Forever

Carole

Carole

Today Carole Goldberger, one of my oldest and dearest friends, celebrates her birthday. I painted her pop portrait before I had a website or wrote a blog, so I thought I’d share it on this birthday, to remind her that I’ll always see her as the golden girl I first got to know in Acapulco, no matter how many years have passed (and I’m not telling). Happy birthday, my sister…

Life’s Great Gift

isabelle-at-17

Today our bright and beautiful oldest granddaughter, Isabelle Tess, turns 17. It’s hard to believe that 17 years have passed in what seems like the blink of an eye, but the high school junior who gets her driver’s license today is surely proof. As any grandparent can tell you, it’s a remarkable privilege to be able to live to watch your children raise their children and the thrill of a lifetime to see them do it so well. We couldn’t be more proud. Happy birthday, Izzy!

My project in Florida continues, as I go on to complete the triptych I’ll be calling “Three Sisters,” with a portrait of Izzy & Maddie’s 8 year old sister, Cassie. I’ve written before about the intimate nature of painting someone’s portrait. You spend hours gazing at a face, trying to unlock the secrets of resemblance, and can’t help but feel a connection, even if you’re using a photograph, rather than painting a live model. Painting portraits has given me a much greater understanding of those artists throughout time who have fallen in love with their muses, but in my case, the love came first… 

The Agony and the Ecstasy

maddie-at-15

Today our gorgeous, brilliant and hilarious granddaughter, Maddie, turns 15. (I know I’m her grandmother, but I’m not exaggerating.) She fills our lives with laughter and joy and makes us proud of the amazing young woman she has become. Happy birthday, Maddie!

My winter project in Florida this year is to paint my three oldest granddaughters as they look now, to replace some paintings hanging in my condo here that I did of them when they were very little and I was just beginning to paint. It’s so much harder to capture people you know and love and are emotionally tied to than strangers, who can be reduced to pure patterns and measurements. There’s much more pressure to get the likeness right. Someone I once knew liked to say that everything easy is done already, and that is certainly true of portraiture. I’m no Michelangelo, but painting a portrait is 95% agony and 5% ecstasy…and only if you actually achieve the likeness. Believe it or not, that 5% is enough to bring you back to paint another. So here I am, already working on the next portrait…

 

 

Girl Power

No Autographs, Please

No Autographs, Please

 

 

Today our adorable, sweet and funny daredevil of a granddaughter, Cassie, celebrates her eighth birthday. I could post videos of her surfboarding, rock climbing, snowboarding, ziplining or indoor skydiving, but this painting I did of her, when she was really little but already her own person, says it all for me…attitude is everything! Happy birthday, Cassie!

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!

Grandparenthood

My Darling Girl

My Darling Girl

Sixteen years ago today, our first grandchild, Isabelle, was born in NYC. A natural born leader, Izzy taught us how to be grandparents, named us Granny & Rich (I might have preferred Gramps & Nance, but it wasn’t to be), and has continued to dazzle us ever since. I first painted her offering me a sweet kiss on a beautiful day—not the last time I painted her, but the only time I’ve painted me. Happy sweet sixteen, Izzy!