Thursday, January 28, 2010


I was happy today to open The Providence Journal and find my show got a positive mention in the weekly art review.  Although I work for the paper, that by no means guarantees a review.  In fact, I think it works against me most times. It's hard to maintain that bohemian artist mystique when you're seen every day trudging up the stairs to your cubicle.

It was even more fun to get a phone call from my mom, who lives in Warwick, that the show got a full page color write up in the Warwick Beacon. It's nice to make the folks proud once in a while. And just think, all the neighbors will see it!

I get a kick out of it too, since The Beacon was my first job after I graduated the Swain School of Design.  It wasn't my first newspaper job, which was typing in stories for the RISD Press, but it was where I learned the trade of newspaper design and production.  A lot has changed in that field, but it still provides me a paycheck, and now supports my painting habit.

And unusual for art reviews in this area — the reviews were published before the show is over.  Yea!

The show is up until February 12 at the Bert Gallery in Providence.

• • •

RIP -  J.D. Salinger. His books helped me survive high school.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back to work

On Sunday I finally made my way back into my studio. It seems like it's been forever since I've been there, and it was great to be back even though the temperature, which started out at 30 degrees, only made it up to about 48 no matter how much I cranked the propane stove.

Once suited up in 53 layers, with a hot pot of coffee on the stove, I decided to rework the largest painting from my shoemaker series, which is about the only one not safely on exhibit now. Even though its been signed and shown, I was never really satisfied with it. It has some difficult areas, and the color needs work, but it's much too nice of a canvas to give up on.

I'm filing this under Things I Wish I Had Time To Do, That Could Lead to Interesting Paintings.  Roger Williams Park Zoo needs volunteers to spy on frogs.  I know, pretty exciting....but it involves a commitment of time, and a nearby pond. Ponds I got. Time, not so much.

Oh well, someday I'll be a little old retired lady hiding behind a rock on the bank of a marshy pond with a notebook. I'll be the one who's also packing a sketchpad.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back to basics

Hey, isn't this supposed to be a painter's blog? Where are the paintings? What's with the video and photos? Not to mention - Politics? What is this, a postmodern gallery space?

Here is a painting to redeem myself. From my show at RWU and my series "From Providence to NYC".

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We still can

We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but at least we have made a start.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exhibit 2, submitted into evidence at Roger Williams University

It was great seeing all who showed up for my opening of the Shoemaker Series at the Bert Gallery. Thanks for coming and for all the nice comments, I'm just sorry I couldn't manage to talk to everyone I saw come through the door.  It's very strange to be the center of attention and way out of my comfort zone, but I do appreciate it, and all the hard work Cathy Bert and her staff did to make it happen.

I have to admit I am enjoying having a nice quiet week though— last week was busy with not only preparing for the Bert Gallery opening, but also in hanging paintings at Roger Williams University School of Law Library in Bristol. I was given the walls of nice big lounge space on the second floor of the library that's open to the public and was glad have help from Lydia from RWU and Suzanne from the Bristol Art Museum as well as two very accommodating men from RWUs building staff, who did the heavy lifting and hung the work expertly. Even before the work was fully unpacked I started overhearing feedback from the many law students and staff who walk through and didn't know the "artist" was overhearing. I couldn't help but contrast it to the sterile, silent atmosphere of most galleries.

Anyway, this show will be up for 6 months, until June, so if you're in the East Bay vicinity, stop in. Unlike many gallery spaces, they have nice comfy chairs and couches!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shoemaker show. The Trailer.

A little video and a link for more info on my Shoemaker show which is up now at the Bert Gallery. (Opening reception - This Saturday 2-3! Did I mention they'll have hot chocolate?)

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I was curious about the square UPS box on my porch since I didn't remember ordering anything. I opened it to find this really cool mug, made for me personally by the second Artist-in-Residence at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Sally Gierke.
We met when she took my drawing class on the dunes, then we bunked together in the Park apartment on my last night. I was the first time I overlapped with another Artist in Residence, and it was fun comparing notes, as she had also been Artist in Residence in Margo-Gelb on Cape Cod National Seashore. I guess that makes us Dune Buddies.

The next morning I had my first cup of coffee in it. Tasted great.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Well, 2010 (just realized that number is fun to type, a good portent), is starting out very unusually busy on the exhibition front. Yesterday I packed the truck full of paintings and delivered them to the Bert Gallery before I had to report to my job. This is the first time breaking in the new truck for exactly what I bought it for, a painting transportation vehicle.  It did well and by the end of next week, when I deliver even more paintings to another exhibit I just finalized, it should settle in to saddle.

The Bert show opens on January 13, with a reception on January 16 (2-3).  I'll be showing 12 paintings from the Shoemaker series, and I have to say they look pretty good on Bert's freshly painted raw sienna walls.

Another show, which came up suddenly and out of the blue, is at Roger Williams University Law School Library in Bristol, RI.  I'll be showing a variety of work from the last 10 years in the second floor atrium lounge. More details to come.

Then in March, I'll be installing my church paintings as part of the Providence Art Windows project. My window is on Fulton street, just to the left of City Hall, and right next to the wonderful Big Nazo Puppet windows. You can see my space above the black pickup (currently exhibiting work by Amy DiPlacido).

As a result, most of my paintings will be out of studio storage for awhile. I'm looking forward to seeing the empty racks... even if it's only temporary.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Year in Review - 2009

I spent my New Year's Eve sitting in front of the fire drinking a little champagne and reading over my last year of blogging.  My memory is notoriously bad, so being able to review the year this way makes me glad to have posted over the last 12 months, even if no one was to read it. But I've also made some good connections along the way, which makes me happy that some people have read it, so if you're reading my blog now...thank you and Happy New Year!

I have to say, for all the dissing of 2009 I've heard, it was not a bad year for me, and for that I'm grateful. Even though I often fantasize about ditching the day job, I survived two rounds of layoffs and I know, intellectually, it's a good thing. Unemployment would not mean more time in the studio, it would mean more time on interviews. If I was lucky enough to find another job, would probably mean longer hours for less pay. So I guess I'm glad I kept my job.

More importantly though, those I care about are doing ok. Although I would wish better health for some, we are all still here, still supporting ourselves and still getting along.

The most disappointing thing this year has been in my work. After three or four years of intense work on my last series, I haven't produced much substantial since my show at the end of 2008. I have been thinking a lot, but haven't found the same kind of focus as I had with my Shoemaker Series yet. I do have some ideas floating around, and found a special dune-ish inspiration last summer, so paintings will follow...

So where did all the time go? Let's see...

In January I went to classes at the Museum of Natural History in Roger William's Park called "Drawing from the Collection" and learned to love taxidermy.  I focused on owls, and it gave me some ideas about incorporating these little spirits into my work.  It was also very cheering (if freezing) to hop on an overnight bus to attend the inauguration in Washington. It was a great experience to feel so hopeful about the shift in direction our country chose, and although everything is far from wonderful, I still feel hopeful to have someone leading this country who can think in more than one dimension. I had washed my hands of the judgment of the American Public, so had to promptly unwash them.

My friend Mary Grady was the one who got me out into January's cold on those adventures. Her's usually take place up in the sky, so check out her site if you like all things aviation.

In February I said goodbye to my 1989 Toyota pickup. You would think swapping it for a new 2009 version would be exciting but I still feel a pang when I think about it and wonder if I did the right thing. The new truck is much smoother, but bigger and not nearly as friendly. But I gave my old truck to my college-age niece, so I get to take it for a spin once in a while. I have to admit I'm amazed at how stiff, pokey and noisy it rides now that I'm used to the other. But it served me well for 20 years and delivered a lot of paintings

In March I found out that one of the national park artist residencies I had applied for had accepted me. In fact, I was to be the first AIR at Great Dunes National Park.  A few weeks later, I got a phone call which told me that my name was chosen in a lottery to stay in dune shack on Cape Cod.

Quite a coincidence, and it was nice to be able to anticipate hiking barefoot through the dunes to get me through the blustery chill of March.

As excited as I was about planning my next residency, I still owed Mesa Verde a painting from my 2008 residency there. I finished it in June,  just over the year deadline. Those at the park were very patient and resisted showing up at my studio door with their flat rimmed ranger hats and crisp khaki uniforms to seize what I owed them. I'm glad they like it when it finally arrived. 

In August, after a little angst about whether I could get the time off work, and keeping a nervous eye on Hurricane Bill which was charging up the coast, I was dropped off at the dune shack Thalassa and spent an idyllic week there, hiking over the dunes and along the shore, watching the huge waves kicked up by the hurricane, drawing, swimming and entertaining a few guests.

I hardly had time to shake the sand out of my shoes before heading out to Colorado and  Great Sand Dunes National Park in September.  The dunes were much higher there, but worth the climbing. I'm still working on posting my journal, but the first two installments can be found here.

The rest of the fall was spent in getting my application out for Denali National Park (rejected!) and happily sorting through some exhibition opportunities which have come my way. I drop off the paintings for the first one, at Bert Gallery in Providence, tomorrow and will have more details soon.

It will be nice to move some of my paintings out of the cold studio and into nice warm gallery space.  And it will be nice to move me into the cold studio to make more...

Here's to 2010, it's going to be a good year.
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