Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Alaska painting

oil/canvas, 30"x40", 2014
My latest Alaska painting, actually begun after my first trip in 2011, but finished with new inspiration from my 2014 residency and my investigations into the structure of ice. (click to enlarge) A more wordy post will come eventually!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tossed out of the rat race...

Slowly but surely I'm finishing work I started in Alaska. This one was done just out of sight of our tent on Harbor Island. While I was working on it one of the Rangers came over to tell me that the rushing sound that I subconsciously attributed to waves was actually a whale spouting. So we ran over the bumpy mossy terrain to the shore, and waited, and waited, and waited and then — I saw my first whale! Or the spout anyway, but I did get a glimpse of tail so I guess that counts!

2015 is looking to be an interesting year, I have two shows of my Alaska work in the fall, and in January I'm going to be exhibiting my Shoemaker paintings at the state airport. So that's "good interesting".

I'm also going to be UNEMPLOYED, come February, for the first time in my life, including college. A victim of the ailing newspaper business. That's just "interesting-interesting". We will see what happens with that. I am looking for work, but there's a good possibility I won't find it, right away at least. Perhaps I can live off my painting? I know, always joking....but if I can meet my studio expenses I can still keep painting.

A break would be kind of wonderful, but no paycheck will be a shocker. Fate (and various HR departments) will decide! Until then, to the studio!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Back to the Blog!

[Insert obligatory apology for not keeping up with this blog HERE]
[Insert empty promise to post more often HERE]

Whew, now I feel better!

So where was I?

 I've finally finished a painting I started before I went to the Tongass, this one is from the Chugach NF. I hung out with more oystercatchers in the Tongass, so there will be more paintings featuring these crazy birds.

The Oystercatcher - Pakenham Point, Chugach NF - oil/linen 20x24

These two are were started on my last residency in the Tongass National Forest. The first was foiled by rain, the second by little black flies, but I brought them back to the shelter of my studio and finished them. I'm working as much as possible on my Alaska paintings, and will have two (!) exhibits of them in the fall of 2015. Time is as scarce as always lately, so how will I pull it off? Big changes ahead after the new year....stay tuned!

Harbor Island - Tongass NF - oil/panel - 11x14
Middle T, Ford's Terror - Tongass NF - oil/panel - 11x14

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back from Alaska!

It was an incredible experience. It's been a bit crazy trying to process all my impressions and deal with life back in the real world but I hope to post more writing and paintings soon!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Next stop, Alaska!

Did I mention, a long time ago, that I was returning to Alaska as Artist in Residence with the Forest Service? Well, after months spent doing everything but writing in my blog, I am almost ready to head to the great north! I am almost packed, have read everything I could find about the Tongass National Forest, rolled over in my kayak 3 times and practiced rescuing myself and others in a kayaking class, and even watched YouTube videos of the take offs and landings in the Juneau airport. 

Having already spent a week kayaking in the Chugach NF has really has helped me figure out what to bring on this trip, and I've gotten a little more ambitious. This time in addition to a small gouache set, I am bringing acrylics and canvas, and a little lightweight easel, since those lovely Forest Service kayaks can hold an amazing amount. 

I'm expecting I'll be posting from Juneau, since I've now enabled my iphone to capture the internet and deliver it to my laptop, so if I can get a signal you may be hearing from me. Of course I'll be off the grid when in the field, but really, wouldn't you rather be in a field than mapped to a grid?

4 days till lift off!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back to Alaska, after all!

I am very excited to announce that I have been once again selected to be artist in residence with the Voices of the Wilderness program, this time in the Tongass National Forest, Tracy Arm/Ford's Terror Wilderness, Alaska. I'm especially honored because due to budget cuts, they are only able to take one artist this year, and I'm it! I'll be going at the end of July, beginning of August, which give me some time to get in kayak hoisting shape, and maybe take a class in rescue techniques before having to practice them in the cold waters of Alaska

To see what the residency is like, artist Jason Elvron has posted a journal on the VOW facebook page that describes the day to day experience. I, of course, have been pouring over the entries. "What kind of pants are they wearing? Hmmm...fleece vests, could be chilly, how many drybags are they fitting into the kayaks? No headnets, that's good. Is that a bear!?!"

Photo by Jason Elvron, 2012 Artist in Residence.
But, since I have already traveled with the Rangers in the Chugach National Forest (Nellie Juan/College Fiord Wilderness Study Area) I have an idea of what to bring. And it's really great to be able to do things a little better than I did the first time. Forget the clunky waterproof camera CASE, I'll splurge on a waterproof CAMERA and take WAY more photos. Any if I can get my hands on another audio recorder, I won't leave it out of the ziploc to be dunked and destroyed in the fiord. And I'll bring two pairs of pants, for when I follow the recorder it into the water.  And I'll be a bit more ambitious in my art supplies, the kayaks can hold more than I had expected. And I'll of course be taking my xtratufs, but with some alternate shoes in case I "overboot" (see above) and need to let them dry out.

The supply tent in our base camp, on Harbor Island.
Photo by Jason Elvron, 2012 Artist in Residence.
And I will spend more time exploring the shoreline life, pay more attention to the ducks and birds, and the forest.

And, if I couldn't get any luckier, Rangers Barbara and Tim Lydon, who kept me alive during my first residency, have family in my area so will be staying with me for a few days while they visit! So they will give me the lowdown on the Tongass, where they were based before moving north to the Chugach. 

Ok, this is the kayak launch that scares me, I don't want to find out how deep the fiord is!
 Photo by Jason Elvron, 2012 Artist in Residence.

 Home sweet home. Photo by Jason Elvron, 2012 Artist in Residence.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Gallery Night Providence is starting up again with a brand new website and a classy new poster which I am thrilled to report, has my painting on it! This is the second time one of my paintings have made it to the poster and I was very lucky to be asked again to supply the image, and it coincides perfectly with my exhibit, which is having a "closing reception" at the Bert Gallery on Gallery Night, March 20, from 5:30 to 9, if you're in the area. If not, you can always hop on a plane, but no pressure.

The painting is called "The seal" and is a kayaker's view of Harriman Fiord, where I went as part of the Voices of the Wilderness Artist-In-Residence Program in the Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area of the Chugach National Forest.

This year I couldn't resist the temptation to apply again to the program, this time just south east in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau. I actually sold a few of my Alaska oils during the exhibit and all of my little gouache studies I did in the field, so need to do some more research and restock! And as this is the 50th Anniversary year of the Wilderness Act, it would be great to spend some of it in the national forest with the greatest number of wilderness areas! Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 6, 2014



While kayaking in Prince William Sound ice was often on my mind, under the surface, floating by in sofa sized chunks, or towering above like the skyline of NYC. Mostly I was thinking about avoiding a collision with my kayak, but I also wanted to figure out what made ice tick. Transparency has always fascinated me, and I held my camera close to the surface of icebergs to try to capture its inner life. When I returned and began to interpret it in paint I researched (or as I like to call it, googled) the structure of ice,  finding molecular diagrams and even cool animations of how ice forms melts.

I wanted to incorporate the molecular structure into a new painting I am working on, but the 2 dimensional diagrams were limited as models, so the only thing to do was to build my own. I can't wait to get back to the studio and take it for a test drive!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Exhibit update

Three little paintings (Gouache on Paper, 7inx5in) of the trees left by the Long Mesa Fire of 2002 in Mesa Verde National Park where I was Artist in Residence in 2008.  They are currently on exhibit in my show at the Bert Gallery. I will be at the gallery on Saturday, February 22 from 2 to 3, if you are in the neighborhood, stop in and say hi!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hanging at the Bert Gallery

My latest exhibit at the Bert Gallery is coming together, with the help of Cathy Bert, who has somehow managed to take a disparate collection of my latest work and present it in a way that makes sense, and looks great. The show is still in "beta", but if you'd like to get sneak peek call (401.751.2628) and see if the gallery is open. The official opening is February 20, and will be up through the first Gallery Night Providence, March 20. There will also be a web component, still in development, I'll post a link when it's up. And by a great stroke of luck, an image from the show will be used on the March Gallery Night poster, so check it out!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Denali spelled any other way means Denial...

Ok, I’m over my silent sulk. Yes, I was once again rejected from Denali, and no encouraging notes this time either. In fact, they said that due to the high level of applicants, they even added a few more slots. Which doesn’t exactly make me feel better, since I DIDN’T GET ONE OF THOSE NEW SLOTS EITHER! Oh well, will I give up? Probably not, it's a great program, and there is still the VOW program that I can try again. Alaska is not going to get rid of me that easily.

And I missed my window of opportunity for both an End-of-the-Year Wrap-Up and/or a Welcome-the -New-Year optimistic outlook. Wasn’t that clever? So now it’s mid January, the holiday take-over is done,  and its time to take these dark cold days to catch up and get back on track.

And, a few things are going on…. I have a show up at the Bert Gallery, mostly of National Park/Forest AIR work. The exhibit now is in a sort of a work-in-progress/sneak-preview phase so if you’re interest in viewing it in January, best to call to see if the gallery is open. The official opening is February 20, and the show will be up through March (Except the week of the 10th).  More and less confusing details to come!

Also, because it’s not cold enough in RI, I’ve decided to accept an invitation from a friend to share a lakeside cabin in Vermont in February for a winter painting getaway. Luckily it has big windows that look out on the lake, so if we feel wimpy we can paint inside, but it might be fun to see at what temperature oil paints freeze and paint "en aire glacial". And, maybe I can work on my journals during those long Vermont nights. (What, you say? No, really, I'm really going to finish them this time....)

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