Sunday, December 31, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - A Snowy Day

We drove to the far north (2 hours away) this morning and the thought crossed my mind that there were a lot of cars on the road this Saturday morning and where could all these people be racing to on a Saturday morning when it was -6 degrees and the high would only reach +4.  I could only partially answer my own question.  We were on our way to our granddaughter's sixth birthday party.  A very good excuse, I would say to myself, for leaving our cozy home and fire to drive 2 hours each way.  The thing about getting out and driving is that it inevitably changes your perspective.  I know that Vermont is beautiful but today seeing it with the snow laden pine trees and the brilliant white peaks catching the morning light I just felt so renewed and blessed even as I looked at the frigid temperature displayed one the dashboard.  It was like seeing it for the first time.  I am normally not fond of chaotic kids birthday parties, but this one was a lot of fun.  The kids were really well behaved and the star of the party handled all the attention with grace and generosity.  There wasn't any squealing until the last few minutes which was particularly surprising as there were a lot of six year old girls there chasing each other around the house.  On the way home it started to snow and the sun got very hazy and almost orange casting warmth over the snow and emphasizing the blue shadows.  It warmed my heart and reminded me that my spirit needed that kind of warmth to go along with the mittens, scarf, boots, leg warmers and down jacket.  Go Figure!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - The View From My Studio

My first memory....stop me if I have already told this first memory is a blur of moving colors.  Somehow that makes sense for a future artist.  I knew for a long time that this was my first memory, but I couldn't make any sense of it until I was an adult and was skiing.  I suddenly realized that the memory was tied to a real experience, that being the first time I went sledding.  If you have no point of reference for an experience, and no words to describe it, it sticks with you as a sensory image.  I think I will paint that memory...the way I remember it, as a blur of colors...Go Figure!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Irish Walk

I learned some new words today.  I hope I can get to use them in a Scrabble game someday.  My sister-in-law is a world class Scrabble player.  There is no hope in beating her as she has memorized the entire Scrabble dictionary, but the game with her is always fun.  My friend Jean Paulsen is also an avid player and when I have the opportunity, my daughter, the genius and beautiful Ruthann, is fun to play games with.  We have been known to fall into uncontrollable giggles bordering on hysterics.  That doesn't happen often as she lives in the northwest and I in the northeast.  Her winters resemble the image above.  My winters are snowy and brrrrrrr.  So, my new words are fridgiculous and frigorific which is the weather we are experiencing now.  I am hoping this is the coldest blast of the winter, but it probably won't be. Go Figure!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - It's Free

5"x7"original oil   For Sale $100
In moderate weather the Staten Island Ferry is one of the really fun free things to do in NYC.  It is a  great place to do some serious people watching and it has a great vantage point for viewing the Statue of Liberty from the water. New York City is a very expensive tourist place with oodles of things snazzy things to do.  On the other hand,  is a magical city with loads of authentic and low cost or free things.  The High Line and  Central Park are two of them, along with the Ferry.  I love finding off the beaten path jewels, but this applies to any place I visit, and even in my own back yard (Go Figure!).  What is a favorite, low cost place you like to visit?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Waffles with Dad

It has been snowing.  The winter looks good so far.  The ski resorts are open and rocking.  Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters are spending money at the waffle cabin. Kids are out sledding.  The plowmen/women are making money.  Everyone who has gotten snowshoes for Christmas is getting to use them.  Those who are housebound for whatever reason are saying to themselves,"it's ok, it is too cold to be out so I'm glad to stay home by the fire."  It is going to get really cold, really soon, too.  We will have the opportunity to test our mettle and also the effectiveness of all those wool and high tech clothing we have collected.  It is invigorating and when the temps get above 20 degrees again we will feel like it is perfect!  If it sounds like I am an eternal optimist, well, it is because I am!  Go Figure!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Joy

We are empty nesters....have been for ages.  Almost every holiday we spend it with family, but this year is different.  This weekend we celebrated with my son's family and had a spectacular time with a bonfire, a spiral walk, and we decorated a night tree as well as exchanging gifts and eating great food.  Next weekend is my granddaughter's birthday so we will be with more family and friends.  I am saying this so you won't feel sorry for me when I say it will just be the two of us on Christmas day.  I have been thinking a lot about traditions and how important they are, but also how they need to be flexible so that we don't get disappointed when they are thwarted.  I don't think it is ever too late to start new traditions...times change and I want to change with them.  So, I have been trying to come up with the perfect tradition for Carl and I that can be adapted to those Christmas days when family is here or we are alone.  This year it looks like we are going to be housebound because a big storm is expected, so our new tradition has to be something we can do at home or if we are traveling elsewhere.  I am not there yet, but I am narrowing in on the perfect idea that will mark this Christmas as the one where we started a great new tradition.  I am taking suggestions, so please jump in and comment on my blog, or send me an email I hope your Christmas is everything you hope it will be.  I can't think of anything pithy to say to end, Go Figure!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Happy Holidays

Whew!  It has been a bit intense for me lately!  I have been absent because I had shoulder replacement surgery which all went well, it just has a long recuperation and it is, after all, my dominate hand.  So, since painting was difficult, I decided to redo my website and blog and all the social media stuff.  What a headache to go with my shoulder ache!  I have published my website, and please check it out.  I have also renamed and reconfigured my blog so I am really hoping you all receive this!  Please let me know if you do.  My Facebook business page is the hardest to figure out.  I think that will take a while but I am determined to really get this all together and be active with it once I do.  So now that I am attempting to post this, I can call it a day and get some shut eye.  I need that because tomorrow is a big day for me.  I am going to the doc's and hope he says I can drive!  I really hope he says that because I am going to drive there to find out.  Go Figure!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Prince Izzy's Favorite

8"x10" acrylic Price $180
Izzy is my grandson.  He, his siblings and his mom took me to the Portland, OR, Museum of Fine Art for my birthday this past summer.  I asked each of the kids to show me their favorite pieces of art and Prince Izzy chose this modern art painting. This is titled, "The Prince Patutszky - Red" and was painted by Jules Olitski in 1962.  Prince Patutszky was a nickname his father gave him when he was young.  He was born in the Ukraine and named Jevel Demikovski.  As a child, his mother and grandmother immigrated with him to the US after his father was executed by the Soviet government. After his mother remarried he changed his name. He ended up getting his masters in art from NY University and later taught at Bennington College, here in Vermont.  He was well received and renowned during his lifetime, working with large areas of color.  This painting, like others he did in the early 60's, included orbs of color using stains and thinned acrylic.  He did a whole series of Prince Patustszky paintings. Some of them were sprayed with thin areas of color creating an ethereal look.  They were about color and nothing else. Throughout his career he was interested in ways of laying paint, ink or stains on canvas as well as presenting unusual combinations of color fields. We are living in an amazing age, where much of what interests me is, figuratively speaking,  floating in cyberspace.  Go Google! Go Figure!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - The Small Things

Today I was listening to an interview on NPR with Jacqueline Woodson about her book "Brown Girl Dreaming."  She sounded like a grounded soul who gave thoughtful and authentic answers to the interviewer's questions.  After talking about her book tracing her family ancestry, and the difficult history our country has with race relationships, the interviewer referenced another author who was writing about similar things with an angry and frustrated voice.  He asked her about how she felt about that and she answered that she couldn't live with a pessimistic view of the world.  She said that the America that makes her cry is also the America she dearly loves.  It kind of implies that we all have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with our country.  She said she looked at the little things that gave her joy and love for humanity and let those things give her hope.  Later today I read this quote published in Sara Genn's newsletter, The Painter's Keys. It said, "If you stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable." (Rainer Maria Rilke)  I think they are talking about the same thing.  It is  a bit like asking yourself how much real estate you are willing to give to negative ideas and thoughts and how much you assign to finding uplifting things.  I am always looking for happy real estate in joyful neighborhoods filled with nature's opportunities to find little things.  Go Figure!

Figuratively Speaking - Red Barn

8"x8" oil $160
Aren't we lucky that we get to do revisions?  It takes a lot of failure to get to success but the good news is that it just takes some tweaking to get it right.  I am not sure what I am talking about, but it does apply to painting.  I have been studying Vermeer and his method of layering glazes to get it just right...not everywhere, but where it counts, has inspired me.  I am usually in a hurry but I realize I need to slow down and pay attention to what details are needed to make it glow or sing or just be sweeter.  I think it applies to a lot of other things though. Like cooking for instance.  My friend Heather is a talented chef.  I can make a decent, and healthy meal, but she pays attention to every detail in layering and flavors and textures and presentation.  Going to a dinner party at her house is a special treat.  It applies to exercise.  Theresa is a beautiful woman who hikes and does Tai Chi and swims and does yoga, but she doesn't stay in shape for the sake of exercise.  She does those things because they keep her way of thinking healthy.  Shinrin Yoku is Japanese for "forest bathing."  It is a method of breathing in the energy and peace of the woods.  Theresa does that moment to moment in her everyday life.  It applies to relationships as well.  I was going to try and stretch this analogy a little further, but I guess I really don't know what I am talking about.  I need to give this one a little more time and let the literary glazes slowly build up.  Go Figure!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Matisse Bouquet

8"x8" oil Price $160
I finished a book about Matisse right before I did this painting.  It struck me how much I had been influenced from reading about how he painted and looking at reproductions of his work.  That in term got me to thinking about influences in general and how I wanted to make sure I was being influenced by people and things that are going to enhance my journey in life and art.  Later I was listening to Antrese Wood's podcast with Frank Lombardo.  It turns out that he is the one I want to be influenced by in my artwork.  That was a real revelation because I know I have been inching towards this for a long time.  I of course dug deeper and started reading his blog, which is very out of date by the way, but the information he posted last year is timeless.  The one I read was about artists and their daily routines which of course made me look at mine.  He referenced a book Daily Rituals:How Artists Work by Mason Currey. So here are my "rituals."  I get up between 7-7:30 or earlier, depending on how I slept.  I do some stuff around the house and then go to the gym where I workout, swim and socialize and get home around 11am.  I fix a concoction, you could call a "smoothie," but it is very healthy, not very pretty.  I check my emails or read while I drink it, or do more household stuff.  Then I go to the studio and work and usually stay there until around 4:30-5, but sometimes later depending on how in to it I am or if I have a deadline.  I also try to get a walk in the woods in there somewhere too.  I can't really call myself a full-time painter, because I usually just paint in the afternoon, but I am a full time artist because I spend the evenings hanging out with my husband (who has a job) and doing art business or reading (about art) or preparing things for another painting.  Sometimes we go out to a concert or I meet with some other artists or go to life drawing, or teach, but you get the picture.  My weekends are scheduled differently, and are more flexible, but they have a rhythm as well.  So back to Lombardo.  He quoted William James with the phrase, “effortless custody of automatism.” He was referring to routine giving freedom not to have to think about daily details.  He also mentioned the supposition that Edison had numerous versions of the same suit so he didn't have to think about what he was wearing.  I am so like that.  I have always wanted a uniform, and kind of have that in a way.  I love necklaces and use them for my aristic fashion statement, but black leggings and a black tunic works for me in about every situation.  Anyway, I am really happy with my Matisse-like painting.  I deliberately went back in and added more detail just to make it mine.  I don't want to a copy-cat, just slightly influenced.  Go Figure!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Serena in Gold Shawl

12"x16" oil Price $480
I am tall.  When I was young and healthy and relatively cute, some people would say to me, "you should be a model."  No one ever said, "You should be a jockey.  You should be a gymnast.  or You should be a airline stewardess."  I am so glad I didn't attempt to be a model.  I am sure I would not be where I am today if I had and I really like where I am at today.  No one ever told me I should be a doctor or lawyer or dentist or airplane pilot either.  Honestly, all I ever really wanted to be was an artist.  I wish I had been mature enough and believed in myself enough to have pushed to go to art school and to have been driven enough to succeed.  Problem is, I wasn't.  So if I had gone, I probably would have blown it.  I needed to go through all the trials and made all those stupid mistakes to have learned how to appreciate the opportunities I was given.  I definitely learned from the school of hard knocks.  I wasted a lot of wonderful opportunities and got derailed by my bad choices, but somehow it all worked out. I learned to work hard and be frugal as a young adult by living on "The Farm," an alternative farming community. Later I became a teacher so that, as a single mom, I could see my kids during the day.  Being a teacher was certainly an opportunity to fly by the seat of my pants, but I did learn to be disciplined and efficient.  I learned to identify the objective and find different ways of communicating it.  I ended up being a fairly decent teacher and I learned to love much about the job. Honestly my chance to be an artist came when I married a very stable, honest, man with integrity who played by the rules and had a good  and stable job (pretty much the opposite of me).  It also really helped my parenting.  So when anyone asks me how long it takes to do a painting, I can answer them honestly and say it took a lifetime.  Go Figure!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking- The Fair

8"x10" watercolor Price $50
I saw him at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  That sounds like the beginning to a Country Western song.  I hated country music when I was a young teen.  We made fun of it for being whiny and brokenhearted.  That was before my heart was ever really broken.  Somewhere along the line I started to like it. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Charlie Daniels, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, even Dolly Parton snuck into my heart.  Dolly Parton is so much not my thing,  her big hair, big makeup, big....figure, her marketing, her presentation, but gee, she is just so lovable and funny and has great musicality, and is adorably self depreciating.  Tomorrow night we are going to see the Glenn Miller Band with about 15 of our friends. (I realize this has nothing to do with Country) Several people I asked to come with us flat out hated big band music.  I love it.  It makes me want to sing and dance. My sister and I used to dance in the living room to our parents' records including Glenn Miller.  Actually that is when I fell in love with Patsy Cline. Clearly I am all over the place in my likes when it comes to music.  I love classical, some show tunes, jazz, folk, gospel, newgrass, motown, rag, blues, and I like to watch opera, but not so much just listen to it, and I am, of course, a child of rock.  Heck, I even like Dean Martin.  Maybe I am musically clueless or just confused, but music just wiggles into your soul and makes life so much richer.  Patty Casey wrote a love song to her dog who was dying.  Every time I listen to it, I cry.  Really, every time.  Some of the words are: "you taught me how to howl, and how to live with just one bowl."  I love that.  Howling is a bit like singing or reading poetry, or painting (to music)....I think I will go do that now....Go Figure!   

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Church Planes

8"x8" watercolor Price $50
I think I am an easily influenced person.  That could be really bad, but on the other hand, depending on who or what is doing the influencing, it can be a good thing.  I NEVER (yes I yelled that) let comments on Facebook influence me to have opinions or get angry!  Recently I read a book about Matisse.  I don't think I ever really got what he did until I read that book.  The next painting I did showed that influence.  It wasn't as if it looked like a Matisse, I just approached it directly, simplifying the forms and doing broad areas of color, at least in the first swipe.  It was so fun to do even if it isn't a masterpiece.  The one shown here was just a little watercolor I did at the Tunbridge World's Fair.  What caught my eye was the planes of the church and the way the sun hit in one spot.  Sometimes when I have some insight and see how I am being influenced, I can throw it off if I don't like what I see, or I can embrace it and see how it becomes part of who I am.  In a short chit chat with amazing artist, Peter Huntoon today, we talked about how to identify the things we needed to grow in our painting.  He added that it wasn't a broad, open ended growth, but growing to be more truthful, more authentic in what we say.  He was referring to what we say in our art, but it applies to what we say in general I think.   I am going to let that influence me.  I think I might have influenced him too.  He seemed in a better mood at the end of the conversation....Go Figure!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

8"x10" watercolor price $50
Yellow and Purple don't really suit me I think.  This portrait has a very vague resemblance to me, like it could be an unknown sister or fraternal twin.  I did it as a study in complementary colors.  That means that they combine to enhance the qualities of each other (thank you Webster).  They also combine to create interesting neutrals.  Originally I only used those 2 colors and white, but later I added a touch of red to the skin tones.  On the other hand, complimentary (with an "i" not an "e") refers to praise or giving something free of charge.  I know people who are very complimentary, but not very authentic.  I know people who give free of charge, like advice or their opinion, or even criticism, and it just isn't nice or helpful.  So, instead of being a complimentary person, I think I will stick with complementary and enhance the qualities of another.  Next time I do a complementary selfie though, I will try it with Christmas colors, green and red, or maybe orange and see which pair complements me the most!  Go Figure!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Ticonderoga

6"x10" watercolor $50
The Ticonderoga was the last steam powered boat on Lake Champlain.  It was a truly decked-out (pun intended) ride between Vermont and NY.  It would go one way in the day and back across in the night.  It was like a traveling hotel.  There were limited bedrooms where wealthier patrons could sleep the trip away.  When it was decommissioned Electra Havemeyer Webb purchased it.  During the winter, when the ground was completely frozen, she had tracks laid from the boat to her property in Shelburne, VT.  On a harrowing trip, they slowly dragged that huge ship overland, as there were electric lines to move and railway crossings to coordinate, plus the land started to thaw.  It's final resting place was Shelburne Museum.  Electra (love that name) was a consummate collector.  She collected, dolls, quilts, paintings, buildings, a railway station, a lighthouse and a big boat.  Today that boat is completely restored and is quite magnificent.  Electra is interesting for a number of other things, including the fact that she was the daughter of Lousine Havemeyer (wife of the sugar baron) who was best friends with Mary Cassatt (impressionist painter).  As a result, there are some wonderful paintings by Monet, Manet, Degas, Cassatt, and others at the museum.  I painted this painting from where it sits at Shelburne.  Clearly, it is not in water, but is landlocked on a slight slope.  The beauty of painting and drawing is that you can change anything you want.  One of the changes I made, was to put it in water.  There is great power in creating!  Go Figure!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Mediative Morning

8"x10" watercolor $100
The sun just peaked over the mountain top and is misted in rising fog.  It is a meditative morning. 

I kept waking up to check the clock because I had 2 granddaughters to get off to school.  Of course, I then slept in.  They had awoken in the middle of the night and came in to snuggle with me.  I felt like my nest was full.  It was a warm and wonderful feeling. I should state here that I loved it so much because I don't often get this opportunity.  After rushing the dressing, eating, brushing teeth, hair fixing routines we went out on the cool morning to wait for the bus...which didn't come, and I realized I was half hour early.  Geez it would take some practice to be good at this.  That is pretty much true for anything I guess.  My father always said, "Every parent is an amateur."  That is so true.  We are never ready for what the next twist and turn will bring.  We only mellow out by the third kid!  So now the sun is burning off the fog, the sky is blue and it promises to be an amazing day.  I am free to do what I wish.  That also is something I don't get the opportunity to do much.  Rather, I have my routines.  I guess I always have the choice, but I like feeling like my day is ordered.  Today, however I am going to go by the seat of my pants.  Maybe some new art gallery visits, maybe tracking down that wonderful watercolor artist, Jo Mackenzie (her gorgeous sunflower below)  maybe taking a hike and practice some watercolors.  Maybe I will do all of those things! Go Figure!
Jo Mackenzie watercolor

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking- Grandma's View

5"x5" watercolor and ink on 400# paper
Yesterday was my son's birthday and today I am staying at his house and watching my granddaughters while he attends a conference.  It is so cool to get to do that.  We live 2 hours from each other so we get to be together fairly often.  He is a very busy man.  Who would have guessed t42 years ago, that he would become a business person and I would be sitting on his porch painting a little watercolor of the village store across the street, while I wait for the school bus.  Speaking of school buses, we lived in a school bus when he was little, with his father, sister and brother.  Talk about tiny house living!  I have to say I loved it while it lasted.  Actually his sister was born in a school bus, but that is another story.  Adam was born in Bethel, MO, in a big old house that had been sort of subdivided into 3 living spaces that we shared with 2 other friends.  One was a potter and the other a weaver.  Adam was born at home early in the morning after a ridiculously short labor while his father was going to pick up the midwife.  Yes, it is true, I was alone, but not for long.  Everything turned out fine, although numerous people have chastised my foolishness, I wouldn't have made it to the hospital anyway.  We could have a long discussion about this, but I don't think it would accomplish anything, so I just hold my tongue and keep smiling.   Sometimes I dream of traveling, visiting exotic places, meeting wonderful artists and others, then I think back and remember all the unusual adventures I have had and how wonderful life is now and I feel content.  Not bad....Go Figure!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps

Playing catch-up at Moon Brook Studio.  Life is good.  My kids and grandkids are healthy and Vermont weather is spectacular.  Foliage season is delayed in our area, but I am sure it will catch-up too.  All the disasters in our country and the world are really depressing, but plenty of wonderful things are happening everywhere.  Healthy babies are being born, couples are falling in love, students are getting good education and loads of folks are volunteering or working to improve conditions in the world.  Connections are being made and innovations are blooming.  In my world, creativity is happening and I hope it is in yours as well.  I read on a blog today (and can't remember which one it was, apologies to the author who found this quote) "The art of drawing which is of more real importance to the human race than that of writing...should be taught to every child just as writing is." John Ruskin.  Now that would be a great thing for our culture to catch up on.  Meditation is practical and good.  Drawing is practical and wonderful!  Can you imagine seeing all those people who have tilted necks and fingers pecking away at their electronics with little sketch books and pencils instead?  What would it be like if everyone was stimulated by art and creativity.  Something to think about.  Here's another one by John Ruskin, "Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies for instance."  Mmmmmmm....Go Figure
Oh, here is my 30 in 30 collage.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Baby Steps #15- Metaphor

6"x6" watercolor collage Price $50
Baby shoes are a great beginnings, times gone by, loves found, loves lost, innocence, baby steps, things forgotten, things remembered.  I posted on FB trying to find out the name of my first grade teacher.  Boy did that stir up a lively conversation which included old (literally) friends, out of touch friends, associates, and even people I didn't spend any time with.  Talk about "things remembered!"  What is your first memory?  For a long time I had a memory that involved fear and the world changing into a blur of colors.  I loved that blur, despite the fear. When I was a bit older and understood language a whole lot better, I suddenly was able to make the association of the memory with an experience I was having at the time.  It was winter and I was sledding.  My memory was probably of the first time I went sledding.  The whole world tilted again with that memory and being able to put words of explanation to it.  There have been other times in my life when I felt the sensation of the world tilting or slipping, but none of them are as pleasant or exhilarating.  I had kind of sinking feeling last fall during the election campaign....but that was a whole different thing!  Go Figure!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Baby Steps #14 - Too Much?

5"x7" watercolor Price $50
 Do you remember the first art that really moved you?  For me it was Dick, Jane and Sally illustrations by Robert Childress, my first love affair with art.   In first grade we had to sit round robin and read aloud when it was our turn.  I can't imagine how painfully boring that must have been for the teacher.  I think it made her a bit cranky.  I could read because I watched my father teach my sister to read lying on a blanket on the living room floor.  There were a lot of tears involved and I vowed I would teach myself to read so I wouldn't have to endure that.  While waiting for my turn in the reading group I would read ahead and look at the pictures.  I thought they were magical!  I was in art appreciation zone and very happy.  Then the teacher would call my name, observing that I wasn't with the group.  I wouldn't know what page I was suppose to read and she wouldn't tell me.  It was humiliating.  Today, I feel bad for both of us.  Mostly though, I loved her.  She was very young and very pretty.  When we came back from Christmas vacation she announced she had a new name because she had gotten married.  It was Baumgartner.  I don't remember her maiden name but it was something like Smith.  I thought Baumgartner was impossible.  It took a lot of effort to learn that new name.  She should have considered that when she was dragging my attention away from my beloved "Dick, Jane and Sally." By the way, Sally wore baby shoes in those pictures.  Go Figure!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Figuratively Speaking- Baby Steps #13- Mouse Tales

6"x6" watercolor Price $100
The following is an account of my relationship with mice. As a child, it had mostly to do with Mickey and Minnie or Jerry.  Occasionally my father would catch a mouse in a snap trap.  We were warned severely about the dangers of the traps with, "It will break your finger," a frightful image for me to this day. When the poor mouse was caught, my father would discreetly dispose of it.  I never asked where.  I did, however, ask to see the dead mouse (because I was that kid) and he let me.  It horrified me.  I felt so bad for that sweet little thing.  My father had cataract surgery when I was a little older.  That was in the days when it was a really big deal and he was incapacitated for a long time.  On the day when my father was finally allowed to go back to work, we all marched outside to bid him a celebratory adieu. My mom drove one of those station wagons with a third seat turned backwards.  My dad had a big silver car with fins.  I think it was an Oldsmobile, and it had remained in the driveway which abutted a corn field for the entire time dad was unable to drive.  When my dad pulled out of the driveway we all clapped merrily and then broke into hysterical laughter because a gazillion mice ran out from it and scattered in every direction.  My dad, not realizing anything was amiss, smiled and waved at us until he disappeared from sight.  Now, in the fall, mice usually sneak into our attic, trying to find a friendly and warm home for the winter.  My husband is in charge of catching them.  I don't ask to see them....Go Figure!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps #12- Even for Super Heroes

Even super heroes once wore baby shoes.  My youngest son, Harry, was adopted.  I call him my chosen child.  The rest of his family are tall white folks.  He was tiny until he became a teenager and started playing football. Then he started to look like a super hero.  He was also really agile and wiry.  We were all lanky and rather clumsy.  He was in love with football, dinosaurs and superman.  He was the one who was always wondering off and I spent many hours in frustration looking for him.  A favorite trick of his was to climb to the top of a tree in our front yard and sit there quietly, watching us below looking for him.  He loved that tree too.  It was his private place. He would climb up and wedge his football in the branches and then place his dinosaurs around it to protect it.  Once when we were traveling and had to leave the hotel early in the morning he refused to wake up and was a super crab when he did.  I told him to go lay in the back of the van while we packed it up.  After the packing chaos and finally getting everyone in the van, we took off.  We had some family friends with us as well so it was all a confusion of action, suitcases and plans.  Harry's friend spoke up about an hour after we were on the highway and asked where Harry was.  I said, "In the back sleeping."  He said, "No he isn't."    I of course panicked and imagined all the horrible things that could happen to a child alone in a huge hotel.  We sped back.  I was a nervous wreck and drowning in guilt.  When we arrived back at the hotel, he was eating in the restaurant.  Another quality of Harry's is that he always kind of looked like an orphan and people were always giving him stuff.  He wasn't too upset, until,  once I was done fawning over him, I let him have it.  I don't think he ever wandered off after that.  Go Figure!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps #11- Bird's Eye View

6"x6" pastel $50
It is hard to recognize today's date without thinking about where we were and what we were doing in 2001 on 9/11.  I was a teacher and was in my class when another teacher burst into the room and said to me, "New York is being bombed!"  Besides not having factual news, she had forgotten that my daughter lived in NY.  I got someone to cover my class and ran to find out what was happening.  After many long moments of high anxiety and inability to get her on the phone, she finally was able to get through to me. It was a poignant conversation.  No one on the ground in the city knew what really was happening and communication lines came down quickly. Long story short, she ended up having to hitch hike across the Triborough Bridge to get home.  She had a clear view across the East River to the billowing smoke and dust.  I went down to be with her the following weekend.  She had to go to Pace University to pick up something that weekend.  Pace is a stone's throw from the old World Trade Center buildings.  I will never forget that image and all the sensory input that went with it.  There was a heaviness, a profound sadness in the city and it lasted for a long time.  But, as in all tragedies, and with all the horror of what humans are capable of, it also brings out the best in people and really good people shine forth in the darkness. Who would have guessed a short year before those fateful events, when we were going through all that Y2K nonsense, that  in a short time we would be facing such a huge and real attack.  Our hearts still feel sorrow for the victims, and police and firefighters who gave their lives to try and save others.  I have no more to say on this...Go Figure.

Figuratively Speaking -Baby Steps 9 &10

5"x8" acrylic on Yupo, $50

5"x5", Pentel markers on Yupo, $50
These two little paintings were done during hurricane Irma.  I do not live in Florida, but I was a bit obsessed with with the whole thing because I know a lot of people who do reside there.  They both reflect Irma's influence on me.  The top one, #8, has the dark, broken branch, blowing in the wind look (all unintentional)  and the second one is my tribute to Florida.  It is my interpretation of Floridian colors and I made the rudbeckia look like Palm Trees (kind of).  The shoes represent the peninsula and the lace holes like little tornadoes or hurricanes.  I am grateful that the damage wasn't quite as bad as they had predicted and everyone I know is out of dangers' way and starting to assess the clean-up.  I hope the reports turn positive quickly.  In the northeast we are having a gorgeous day...and weirdly...I feel guilty about that. Go Figure!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps #8- values

Values 6"x6" acrylic on paper Price $50
Football season has begun.  I am the most unlikely of football fans.  It basically goes counter to my values and sensibilities.  It is violent, results in way too many injuries, and the capitalistic culture is greedy and ruthless.  I still am a fan.  I like the energy of the stadium, the excitement of the competition, the athleticism.  When my dad was still with us, my sibs and I had an on-going banter via email all through the season.  I miss that.  When my son was very little he fell in love with football.  We lived in a big 8 town and would take our bikes to campus to ride around until after half time when they would let us in to the stadium for free.  That was good because I was a single mom and had to master the art of finding a diversity of free activities and entertainment.  I went to every single game, home and away, when my son was in high school.  That taught this reluctant learner the basics of the game.  I was incapacitated a couple of years ago and one of my chief entertainments was keeping stats of the NFL games.  I only watch Patriot games or sometimes the KC Chiefs or Denver Broncos. That is more than enough!  So the Patriots are playing KC as I am writing two favorite teams.  KC is stomping the Pat's.  Honestly though, I like sleep better than football and so many of the games go past midnight.  Who can play at that hour?..I don't have the energy to even watch...not sure this post represents my best values.....Go Figure!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Figuratively Speaking-Baby Steps #7

6"x6" watercolor Price $50
My standard nightmare for years involved missing  classes in college.  I was well into parenthood before my night time dreams started easing out of school scenes and switched to those involving me losing kids.  I am back in school, taking an online Color Theory class.  I wonder if this means I am going to start dreaming about missing a test.  In all honestly, that seems like much less of a horror to me than losing an innocent child.  I do have 3 children who have safely (more or less) made it to adulthood.  Being a grandparent is so awesome because you don't have ultimate responsibility for them, and that is a huge relief!  After spending a weekend with my granddaughters, I again had that scary dream, so I guess I am never going to be freed from ultimate responsibility when I am in REM sleep and the alpha waves are running at 15 cycles per second. Oh well.  Ah, for the days of dreaming about a teacher being mad at me.  I know I deserved those dreams as I had many experiences missing classes and tests or handing in assignments late.  However, as far as I know, I haven't lost any children.  My guilt goes deep I guess.....I am a responsible adult, and I fully expect to hand my Color Theory assignments in on time. Maybe I should take a class on dream analysis.  I would probably have nightmares about being lost in my dreams...Go Figure!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps #6- Still Life

6"x6" oil on Yupo Price $50
I like to speak to strangers.  In my mind, everyone is a walking book with a story.  If I have the opportunity of opening those pages and hearing their story, I feel honored.  Of course there is always that possibility of opening it and then not being able to close it...but that happens rarely and there are warning signs if you pay attention (like a look of anticipation, slightly bulging eyes, and a general anxiousness looking for a ready victim).  But, I digress.  I have a friend who told me she hates chit chat.  She doesn't have time for it and sees no redeeming quality in it.  I am not like that.  I consider chit chat to being a segue to something more significant...a portal to their world.  So, today I saw a chance to initiate a conversation with someone I didn't know at the gym.  I saw an easy connection by commenting on her shirt, the style and where she got it, because I really like it and have one in another pattern.  Generally I think everyone is my friend until they choose not to be.  She clearly chose not to be.  She never even looked at me as she mumbled something curt.  So, looking at it from her viewpoint, I looked like a busy body trying to find out things that were none of my business.  From my viewpoint, she just blew a chance to make friends with a really interesting and fun person!  Good thing I have Rhino skin!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby steps #5- Hanging Out

6"x6" oil on Yupo  Price $50
I am feeling weighted right now with concerns.  We all are feeling the sadness of loss for folks in Texas and Louisiana.  There is a disturbance in the force!  My daughter is dodging smoke from forest fires in Oregon with her family.  My nephews are trying to get out of the Florida Keys before Irma lands.  One of them works at the airport and may have to stay until the last flight leaves (hopefully with him on it!).  Vermont has its fair share of severe weather, but right now I am hanging out (like these baby shoes) waiting for the storm to start.  It is eerily quiet, but you can feel it in the air. There are rumblings of thunder in the distant.  It will only be a regular end-of-summer storm. I take so much for granted.  These major weather issues make me stop and count my blessings.  But then, there is the never ending storm of politics we are exposed to.  What is the deal with North Korea? much to weigh us down!  I think I need some chocolate and a mind numbing comedy....Go Figure!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps #4 - Fall

6"x6" oil pastel, acrylic, water soluble graphite on Yupo   Price $50
Forty years ago, I lived in Summertown, TN, in a community of hippies called The Farm.  That day, Sept. 4, 1977, in my converted school bus, I gave birth to my only daughter who weighed over 10 pounds (the scale the midwives brought only went up to 10 pounds).  She was so perfect.  The first thing I said was, "She looks like my mom."  The second thing I said was,  "She looks like peaches and cream."  Even though I was a hippie, I knew I couldn't name her Peaches, so I named her Ruthann. Her brother, Adam, was interested, but not thrilled. I can't blame him, as he was a month shy of turning 2.  He was still a baby and the apple of my eye.  I thought my nest was full, but then a year and a half later, Harry dropped unexpectedly into our lives, compliments of the Catholic Women's Shelter.  Now they are all adults and I am so proud of them for growing into quality human beings. I have spoken to each of them today and I am so grateful we are close and even friends.   In the last 9 years, I have attended 5 more births, those of my grandchildren.  I know home birth is not for everyone, but it  is for our family and I am so happy I could be part of that tradition.  My totally normal daughter is on her way to the southern coast of Oregon to celebrate her birthday by spending a week in a Yurt with her husband and 3 kids.  The apple does not fall far from the tree....Go Figure!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps with Bunny

6"x6" oil on Yupo  Price $50
It can be beneficial for a person to take a serious look at his/her weaknesses for the purpose of correcting them.  This painting, unfortunately represents one of those weaknesses (or maybe many, but I can only focus on a singular fault at a time).  I had a total of 45 minutes to set up, paint and clean-up today.  Since I am attempting to do the 30 in 30 challenge I felt obligated to post day 3 even though I consider it a wipe-off.  Sometimes doing a quick painting can be very instructional, and sometimes it is just hurried.  That is my weakness.  I can rush through and not be conscientious enough. I owe it to myself to go slowly and know where I am going and how I will get there.   I had a plan with this painting, but raced through to the end.  It looks very abstract, but it actually is a baby shoe and a knitted bunny.  If you have to explain what is in your representational painting, that could be a sign that something is off....Go Figure!

Figuratively Speaking -Baby Steps #2

5"x6.5"  colored pencil, graphite, acrylic, acrylic medium on Yupo Price $50
Today it is chilly and rainy and really feels like fall. Hurricane Harvey has gently moved up the coast to New England and is giving us a soaking rain.   There is a tinge of color in the mountain landscape.  Hopefully we will still have some sunny warm weather, but the inevitable is on its way.  I don't mind change, and if I could choose anywhere to be in this season change, it would be my backyard.  Vermont is so lovely in the fall and hiking and camping are at their best. Today though, I went swimming indoors and am going to a movie later on.  My swimming has changed as well.  I am having shoulder issues so I am trying to perfect that underwater dolphin kick I noticed when watching the Olympics, not using my arms, but my torso and legs.  Change happens all the time.  My mom was an optimist and I learned so much from her about how to roll with the punches and accept change, throughout my childhood and even in the process of her death.  I chose to focus this September's 30 in 30 painting challenge on the little baby shoes created the year I was born. They represent change for me, and make an interesting subject for still life painting.  It is hard to look at my size 10 feet and imagine that once they fit into shoes just like these...maybe, even this pair.  Weirder things have happened...Go Figure!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Baby Steps

5"x6.5"  oil on Yupo
I was waited for AAA to come unlock my car after locking my keys in it when I ran into a coffee shop to pick up a sandwich for my lunch at a Mark Boedges workshop when I spotted these baby shoes among the antiques they were selling.  They were dated the year I was born and were priced 50% off so I thought, "I'll support them because they have been so nice to me and loaned me their phone to call AAA."  The gas station was less than a block away, yet it took and hour before they arrived.  While waiting, I decided to dedicate my 30 paintings in 30 days September exercise to getting to know these little gems.  This painting is #1 and I did it on Yupo...a really cool alternative to paper that is usually used for acid inks.  I used oil.  I think I will do all kinds of different media this month.  It will fun to try it out and doing little still life paintings are always a good way to practice. So, back at the coffee house (it was the day of the eclipse) I was  in totality with the exercise of calming meditation as I was suppose to be at Bobbin Mill Falls painting and my monkey brain really wanted me to get anxious.  The baby shoes gave me something to think about.  I hung them from my rear view mirror when they finally fished out my keys through the sunroof of my car which was propped open a few inches. The workshop was great, but I really came to love that coffee shop and my little baby shoes....Go Figure!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - What?

8"x10" oil
When I photographed this cute little guy he was really unsure of what I wanted.  It made him look reticent which was not what I was going for.  He had that look that said, "What?"  My husband eats bacon and I am a vegetarian, so I buy him bacon crumbles from the warehouse store and that way he always has some meat to sprinkle on his salad, eggs, or rice.  I went and got some of his bacon to see if I could convince the pup to cooperate.  It did the trick a little too well.  I suddenly had all his attention and could have had him dressed in a clown suit and juggling balls for those bacon bits. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to bribe people so easily?  Maybe not.  I don't think I could handle that kind of power.  I have a lot of fun things coming up that require much preparation. I suspect when people are trying to break into my concentration force field I give them that look of, "What?"  I am not sure if I just blundered through multiple things when I was younger or if in fact I just can't do so many things at one time now that I qualify for Medicare.  My life is made of lists and if it isn't on the list, it just ain't going to happen!  I can't complain though.  I got to meet a sweet little dog that hasn't quite got the gist of manners or good behavior but has loads of potential.  I have days filled with things on my list that I get to do and on a good day, I get to check a lot of them off my list.  Right post....check....that's done!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spillway

6"x6" oil
I am going to a workshop next week which is facilitated by Mark Boedges.  He is an amazing landscape painter and I really hope I learn 4 really great things.  I figured out at some point that if I can take 4 things away from a workshop, then my work might improve.  If I try and take every good bit of information and latch onto it, well I default to overload.  Then, my painting suffers, my self esteem suffers, my husband suffers and....well you get the point.  All the good stuff just goes to my own spillway.  A few years ago hurricane Irene blew through Vermont wreaking havoc throughout the state.  Lefferts Pond took a hit and the spillway and bridge between the pond and the lake blew out. They have since rebuilt it and it is beautiful.  I am coming off a big show and numerous other wonderful things in my life, and I feel like I can barely hold on to the important things. My spillway is working, keeping the catchment of my life together for the important things, and letting go of the rest.  I guess that is the best we can hope for.  There is a balance in that.  I have been trying to find a balance and I think I am going to hold on to the spillway metaphor.  Go Figure!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Celebrate!

8"x8" oil
I feel a little guilty posting a painting image called "Celebrate!" when so many are mourning the events in Charlottesville from this past weekend. I too, am saddened by the injuries and death that occurred.  The attention that North Korea was intensely getting at the end of last week seems to be put on hold in the capsule of fear about the Alt-Right.  That is the way with news.  There is only so much space and time to put out a message, so one gets sidelined for another.  I want to spend my short time to put out a message of love and peace and celebration because, one eye may only see the sadness and discouragement, but the other can see the beauty and the good.  I think wisdom is missing from the social commentary.  I do not believe we should bury our heads in the sand, but I do believe that confronting radicals on the brink of violence is unwise.  We need a strong voice in our culture for understanding each other and a clear message that hatred is unacceptable.  We can respect the rights to differing opinions, but I do not believe that the voices of the KKK or neo-Nazi idealists are merely a differing opinion, but rather a refection of evil.  I just saw that Trump has finally denounced them.....finally.  I think we need to take their rhetoric off the front pages, out of our faces and reduce their voices by not giving them our attention.  Is anyone with me on this?  Maybe I am talking to the mirror...who knows?  Go figure!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Forever Friends

8"x10" oil
Shelburne Farms is the setting for this scene.  The balustrade is in the gardens overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in NY state.  These women are some of the important women in my life.  I feel very blessed to have had so many wonderful females in my life, starting with my mother who was humble, sweet, nurturing, supportive and offered unconditional love.  She taught me to see the world in a joyful way and tried to teach me to not be swayed by silly things, opinions or people.  She was an artist and one of my dreams came true when she and I attended a Dreama Tolle Perry painting workshop together.  I miss her funny way of saying things, her passion for her family and her wonderful giggle.  She wasn't perfect, like the rest of us, but her faults have faded in my mind because her positive qualities overshadowed them.  I remember as a 12 year old hearing her story about her mother's death when she was 12 and thinking I could not go on without my mom.  It helped me start to see her amazing strength.  She couldn't read and would have been diagnosed with dyslexia if they had known what it was back then, and she was left-handed, another deficit.  She was one of 13 siblings and the school decided she was unteachable and was needed more at home rather than get an education.  She was ashamed about this, but I think it just goes to show what a resourceful woman she was.  She went to art school for a short time and joined the Navy as a bookkeeper because she was a wiz with numbers.  She was a talented mom to five kids and the true definition of great homemaker.  She felt insecure about her lack of education, but taught herself to read and educated herself and she and my dad both valued their children getting an advanced education.  I didn't know, until I was an adult, that my mom had been faking her way life because she couldn't read.  So many things made sense then, like: not ever reading to us when we were little, spending nights up reading when we were teens, and the way she wrote notes in beautiful penmanship but would always leave out words.  Vocabulary was important to my parents. My dad taught me the word "facetious,"  and he was a good example of that.  My mom taught me to use "flibbertigibbet," of which she was not at all!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Tumbling

8"x10" oil  $200

Letting out a big sigh of relief right about now.  I just delivered well over 100 figurative paintings (including the one featured here)  to the Castleton Downtown Gallery for a show which opens the first of July.  Like so many things in life, getting ready for this show, aptly titled Go Figure, was fraught with many potential stumbling blocks. Rather than describing the mundane frustrations I have encountered, I will just say that it was a bit like the little tufted titmouse who repeatedly is flying into my window convinced that the image of a threatening competitor is real! Nothing too interesting or life altering in any of that, but it has brought to mind more important events that have changed the course of my life.  One of those was the arrival of my youngest son, Harry.  He arrived with that first name and a heartbreaking back story.  He was an abandoned baby, teeny weeny and clearly scared.  My memory of holding him for the first time was of him gripping my skin with his fingers and toes and holding himself on to me for dear life.  This is not normal behavior for a 6 month old who should be all soft and floppy.  This unprecedented early physical development, although the result of survival skills, has served him well.  He is a natural athlete and incredibly strong.  It took almost 12 years for the adoption to go through, but that day stands as one of the happiest in my life. I could, and probably should, write a book about all we have been through, but the happy ending to the story is that he is a handsome and successful adult who has a sweet and loving personality. Aside from my parents, he has done more to form the better parts of my character than anyone else.  It is easy for others to view our story and react by saying what a wonderful thing I have done for him.  But, truth be told, it really is the other way around....Go Figure! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Umbrellas

8"x10" oil Not for Sale
It is so easy to forget that for the majority of my life I have not had immediate access to obscure information at my fingertips, literally.  In my father's lifetime, he went from flying a heavy tin can around to seeing a man land on the moon.  We can instantly talk face to face, "2001: A Space Odyssey" style, to friends across the globe.  It is amazing, but equally amazing that we can also take courses online for free or very little money.  This painting is a result of Leslie Saeta's online course of painting with a palette knife, which is something new for me.  I have been thirsty for a change in my artwork, and even though I don't think painting with a palette knife is it, it is a nice tool to add to my bag of tricks. There are tons of online classes available and the advantage of them is not just the low cost, but the opportunity to take your time or move quickly through them.  The drawback is the lack of interaction with other students or an instructor, however most of the art instructors I have become familiar with are willing to correspond via email.  I think it is a great way to mix things up a bit and step into new territory.  It gives those brain neurons new pathways and shakes things up a bit.  It will take making a bunch more of these paintings to feel comfortable with the palette knife, so it may take me while...but I am in no hurry.  Considering that I am well into the last quarter of my life, that may not be true about everything....Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spring Bouquet

11"x14" oil on canvas, $350
OK so this is not a figure...lets see if I can make a connection, because of course, that is what it is all about.  There is a quote in the Bible that speaks about not worrying, just asking, that goes something like this....the flowers in the field don't work and yet King Solomon wasn't dressed this good.  So, if we make the assumption that God dressed the flowers and he takes care of our needs too...that sort of associated flowers with the figure of a person.  I may be stretching this one a bit, but there is an importance in making the connection and it does seem to be the point of almost everything.  My paintings have little meaning without the connection...without someone who is moved by them.  I get something out of it too, in the making of it.  I feel meditative, which is good for my soul.  I feel struggle, concentration, problem solving, and discovery which is all good for my brain.  I feel the "zone" which is good for tapping into that creative power bigger than all of us put together.  However, without the connection to others, there is no purpose in finishing them.  When they are successful, it taps something in many and gives them joy.  That is enough for me ultimately.....but of the short term, it is also my livelihood and I did put a price on I guess I also want to sell it.  Oh well, so much for lofty ideals....Go Figure!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Fiesta

6"x6" oil
My grandson used to live close by, however, and alas, they have moved across the country.  Initially we would take him to a Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday.  They sang to him, gave him a balloon, and he got to wear a sombrero.  One day he told me he could speak 3 languages, American, English and Spanish.  American because, well, he is.  English because his dad is British, and Spanish because of the restaurant.  It is funny what we hold close to our hearts and carry freshly in our minds from our experiences in the past.  Recently, I remembered something from junior high journalism class.  I had a great teacher.  She really taught and valued the intellectual curiosity of her students.  One day she said, "The biggest problem with propaganda is that eventually people will believe nothing."  It struck me at the time like a light bulb going on.  I really thought about it, but didn't have any personal experience to back it up.  It was a bit like the story of the boy crying wolf.  At the end of the year it was a question on the final exam.  Of course I remembered it, and amazingly she told me I was the only one in the class that got it right and that someday it would mean something to me.  In this age of fake news and Russians influencing what we think by interfering in what is leaked, that phrase really does mean something to me.  For all of our differences, I hope Americans can come to grips with who we are.  I don't want to live in a country made up of radical factions that are at war with each other.  Really, are we not just a ginormous tribe?  Go figure!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Oh My!

6"x6" oil
I frequently hear this phrase from the "experts,"  Paint What You Love.  I think there is wisdom in that.  I paint a lot of different things, but I always love painting children.  Well, not really children, but painting images of children.  I like my children unadorned and natural, certainly not covered in paint.  I can see things I would have done differently if I was starting this painting again.  Things I know but frequently forget, but all in all, I loved doing it and am happy with the results.  Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - New Consumers

10"x10" oil
Some of my concerns have been sneaking into my paintings lately.  I try not to be overly political or socially opinionated, but we all have issues that matter to us.  I love painting children, especially in poses that are natural and not posed.  These three Tweeners are conversing about something important in front of a fashion art poster.  I have 3 granddaughters so I am paying attention to the influences our culture has on them.  I heard the phrase "Pester Power" in terms referring to children influencing the buying habits of their parents.  I don't think this is new, it just seems more excessive and high dollar.  I remember pestering my mom to buy me the shoes I wanted.  There were tears involved.  I lost.  I got sturdy tie up shoes instead.  "No," was common in my parents' vocabulary. I am concerned about how advertising is helping to define how the young girls see themselves and forming a picture for them of what it means to be a girl.  On the other hand, I love to see my girls dressed in their lovely pink dresses as they explore the world and discover its magic and catching salamanders!  I may have to paint this scene!  Go Figure

Monday, May 1, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Too Young

6"x6" oil
The background painting is located at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, which is my favorite art museum, so far.  I love the building which was completed at the end of the 19th century as a station for electric trains and an accompanying hotel.  It was renovated as a museum which opened in 1986. It is spectacular architecturally as well as the collection which spans the years 1848-1915 of western hemisphere art. The Impressionists  paintings make up a good portion of the collection.  This painting, The Red Ball, is by Felix Vallotton.  The flatness and odd horizon line of the painting give a sense of a child running after the ball and away from his/her caretakers.  It invokes a sense of insecurity, hence (in part) my title Too Young.  The second meaning has to do with the visitors pictured here.  We all know that obesity is epidemic with the US rating 6th in the world.  So "too young" refers to the generations of young people who are sacrificing good health for high calorie and low nutritional content foods.  I find it an interesting juxtaposition. Perhaps more of us should be running after that little red ball. Why am I thinking about chocolate right now???   Go Figure!
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