A crazy thing happened in the studio yesterday. Well, I think it was a crazy thing. The sun was streaming in the windows, warming the 60’s outside to 70’s inside, and there I was, painting with a passion, listening to Christmas music and not really thinking about anything . . . just appreciating the creative process in the moment.
I work on several panels at a time, mainly because of drying time and the need to step away for awhile. Had several good ones going and wrapped up the day with a two smalls, a medium and midway on a larger piece. Picked up my phone to take a few photos for my website and social media, and suddenly it dawned on me — I subconsciously used the very same color as the sweater I was wearing. It was weird. My black apron blocked most of the sweater from sight, but the sleeves were definitely in my line of vision. Now this was not straight out of the tube green I’m talking about. No. Multiple oil paints had to be combined to create the color, and I didn’t see the match until it was finished.
The mind is an amazing engine, and it certainly works on cruise control. Can’t explain it. Just marvel at it and keep creating.
I started the week with a new challenge that has evolved into a new direction that I am loving and thought I’d share. Perhaps you have tried this before, but it’s new to me and super helpful.
In an effort to introduce a new palette to my work, with Valentine’s Day in mind, I gathered objects from around my home in colors I loved, taking each into the studio and doing my best to match the oils to the objects. Working abstractly, I was able to loosen up more, exploring and playing without worry. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This Love Collection is now available. I’d love for you to come by the studio to see it in person and maybe even purchase something sweet for your sweetheart and you. Happy Valentine’s Day from my heart to yours.
Here’s a new series. I found myself trapped in duplication mode and needed to escape to a dreamier vision of my art day. There is so much freedom in self expression when you don’t try so darn hard to duplicate from a photo, to follow some path to an unknown place in your head and heart. At least that is the experience I have so enjoyed recently.
More than a feeling . . . close your eyes and slip away.
Far away from reality, yet close enough to come back to when you are ready. It is refreshing to play again. My art practice has kept me sane this past year, as we have all likely found new ways to cope with crazy. I’m not nearly as productive as I was in years past, but I have accepted that reality and forgive myself for casting aside the I-gotta-accomplish-more-everday theory of a good life. Instead, I need to dream more, and paint more, love more and pray more. After all, these are some of the best accomplishments.
Studio visits welcome. Call or text when you want to come by. 850-585-7689. Please wear your mask.
My sister came up with the idea this year to have me create art for each of my five siblings . . . something which would bring back fond memories of our childhood in New Jersey. At first the thought was to duplicate the same concept six times (I get one, too). It was too tall of a task for me to make the decision about what would be a good memory. I knew it was different for each of us.
I am so happy with not only the art, but mostly with the conversation that ensued when we started talking about things that were, and are, significant when we step back in time.
Carol went with the magnolia tree we climbed and carved on, jump roped in front of, and had every Easter photo taken in front of. It had a limb that grew out at about a 45-degree angle from the trunk at the perfect height for children to master the art of “monkey-hood” from. Fond memories, for sure.
The roses were important to Janice. Daddy used to call her “rosebud.” Not that we had a rose garden or some stellar backyard. No. Mom planted rose bushes alongside the one-car cinderblock garage and driveway, along with a rose vine that separated our little property in South River from the neighbors’ yard behind us. As we talked about pink versus red roses, we wondered for just a minute why we never had cut roses in the house, sitting prettily on the kitchen table. Didn’t take us long to remember that Daddy had a sensitive nose and could not tolerate floral scents.
Marlene wanted “punks” on her painting. We lived near what must have been wetlands because cattails were prevalent. We would cut them down, dry them on the garage roof (just throwing them up there was fun). When ready to burn, we’d get to the gas stove and light them in the kitchen and run outside before Mom smelled the familiar burn. I miss those days, and so does my sister. I forgot, but she remembered, that we would get large maple leaves and burn smiley faces into them with the punks.
I’m going with the clothesline and pins. We had a wringer washer in the basement, and, after a damp load ended in the wicker basket, Mom would recruit me to help hand her the clothespins while she hung the laundry in the sun to dry. You know that smell — fresh, clean and damn near intoxicating. No longer an option on my postage stamp lot. I’ll bring back the memory with a painting.
Two more to go, as Lois and Joey haven’t made us their minds yet. Christmas was always a magical time of the year, with total thanks given to my mother. She made the memories I will never forget (I hope). So the three I finished are on their way to Jersey. I hope, through my art, that I have honored my parents with my efforts to help preserve the childhood memories in six small ways.
Wishing you all new memories in the making. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and warm hugs all around.
I left my childhood home when I was 19, believing the U.S. Navy slogan, “It’s not a job. It’s an adventure.” It certainly was, and the adventures have continued. But there really is no place like home.
I have a collection of homes, from the east coast to the west, midwest to the south. Home is not a place on the planet. It’s a place in your heart.
This new work is called Home and includes an ancient photo of me in my old backyard in South River, NJ. I could have titled it Summer on a Chaise Lounge and told you about memories of plastic pools and running the neighborhood, jumping rope with the crew on Lee Street, making perfume with rose petals and water-filled mason jars, rope swings, forts in the meadows or sliding down mountains of gravel on a cardboard box . . . until I was called home for supper.
May your days at home be comfortable and filled with content, hope and gratitude.