Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Celebrating the Portrait as Art"

Nan Talking, oil on linen, 32" x 26"

When I was in my 20s I was told that portraiture was commercial art and that I could not be taken seriously as an artist if I kept on painting portraits. Having lived through that era, continuing to paint portraits while determinedly showing other work in galleries, it's satisfying to know the portrait is once again appreciated as fine art.

 Gary Haynes of Haynes Galleries takes portraiture and figurative art seriously. He attends the annual conference of the Portrait Society of America, and work by many of its award winning artists are hanging in his gallery. This month, Haynes Galleries will be hosting a group show:

Celebrating the Portrait as Art
April 18-May 24, 2014
Reception Friday, April 18, 5:00-7:30 p.m.
1600 Division Street, Nashville, TN

The show will open first in the Nashville gallery space and travel to Thomaston, Maine this summer. Here is a link to all the pertinent information: http://haynesgalleries.com/hgSite/pages/newsAndEvents/newsAndEvents-PortraitAsArtNash.html

I will have one portrait in the Nashville show. (I don't show in Haynes' Maine location since I show at the Dowling Walsh Gallery up the road.)

With portraits by many outstanding artists including Ellen Cooper, Lea Colie Wight, Aaron Westerberg,  Terry Strickland, Linda Tracey Brandon, Joseph Bolderer, Suchitra Bhosle, Diane Feissel, Alia El-Bermani, Stephen Bauman, Katie O'Hagan,  Lisa Gloria, Linda Lee Nelson, T. J. Cunningham, Cindy Procious, and many others, this will be a show worth seeing!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Plein Air in Monterey, CA

In April I'll be heading to the 3rd Annual Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA. I attended last year as a field painter and I had a wonderful time meeting artists from all over the United States and beyond, listening to the variety of presentations and demos, doing my own demo, painting, and  sharing knowledge. One thing I discovered is that there is a plein air universe out there, a group of artists who go to outdoor painting events and competitions all over the world, and they know each other just like all the portrait artists at the Portrait Society of America conferences. I'm used to hanging with the other East Coast artists, many of whom paint outdoors, making finished paintings and/or studies for larger paintings in the studio, who show in galleries and call themselves simply "landscape painters." So, for me, meeting these artists was an eye-opening experience.

 There's something about outdoor painting that makes people relax. You can't worry about how you look when the wind is blowing your easel over or your palette falls in the sand or the mosquitos attack you or a thunderstorm threatens. I've had many days when the weather has been so uncooperative I'm happy to just have something down on my canvas.  By the time you have spent the better part of the day battling the elements, you are ready to roll. Yes, this is a lively crowd, in case you were wondering. They know how to enjoy life.

I'm one of those artists who has to know a particular landscape to do it justice in a painting. So I'm glad that, this year, the convention will be in Monterey again. One of my favorite children's books, A Spell is Cast by Eleanor Cameron, is set in Carmel, and the descriptions of the area are so evocative I wanted to go there myself to see if it was anything like what I had imagined. It was, but even better, more vivid. The huge cypress trees with their gnarled trunks and gesticulating limbs, the lush wooded areas, the deep turquoise of the ocean, remain in my head and I am looking forward to going back (after re-reading A Spell is Cast one more time of course) and painting there again, allowing the scenery to work its way into my soul.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saying Yes to Things that Make You Nervous

Those of you on my newsletter mailing list may have noticed that the link to my interview with Peter Trippi was broken. I often have bad luck with links, even when I cut and paste them.  But here, hopefully, is a functioning link to the interview.

I want to talk a little bit about anxiety, and doing things you're scared of. As a child, I was extremely shy. I could give you a long list of things that made me nervous and embarrassed. But after I started my adult life as an artist, someone gave me an extremely important piece of advice: "If someone asks you to do something you know is important for you to do, always say yes."

Saying "yes" doesn't mean saying, "Wellllll. . . I'm not sure. . . let me think about it. . . . okay, all right, I'll do it." It means saying "YES" without hesitation. With pleasure, even. And maybe adding, "Thank you, I'd be honored." If you break into a sweat and bite your nails and feel your stomach churn afterwards, that's fine. But you can't hesitate--that is, not if you want to go places and share experiences and meet people and live up to your potential as a human being.

I'm sure you've heard people say "fake it till you make it." Lots of people do just that without a problem. They start teaching a subject they know a little about, and they convince their students they know something, and before long they really do know something, and then they know quite a lot. Why? Because they learned through doing. They took the opportunity because it was too good to pass up, they acted confident, and that led to true confidence.

The truth is, I am actually incapable of faking knowledge. I would not want to bullshit my way through a subject relating to art. I'd much rather listen to and read about what other knowledgeable artists have to say, and think a long time, and try things for myself before coming out with any proclamations.  Once I form ideas, I can talk for hours on one subject which is unfortunate if you happen to be   listening. But public speaking is another matter. The words just dry up in my brain. In high school we had a public speaking class in which each student was handed a piece of paper with a topic written on it and, with no preparation, was required to stand up and talk on the topic for five minutes. When it came to my turn, I stood in front of the class, stared at the faces looking expectantly up at me, and broke into non-stop hysterical laughter for five long, long, long minutes.

One thing that helped me was a story my father told me about his first lecture. He had put all the slides in the projector right-side-up, so when they were projected on the screen they were upside-down. He was so undone he simply walked out of the lecture. But later on, he developed into a decent public speaker. The way he did this was to repeat his ideas to all his family members and friends ad infinitum. For instance, he would talk at the dinner table about "Silence and Light" because he was preparing to give a talk on it. I began to realize this was a good technique for me to use in preparing to talk publicly--but instead of making people listen to my practice sessions, I talk to myself in the mirror, or in my head while riding on the train.

So I apply the saying "fake it till you make it" not to knowledge, but to confidence itself. I have to fake confidence until, gradually, I gain it.

When Peter Trippi asked me if he could interview me for the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center series of artist audiocasts, I felt honored to be in the company of prominent artists who had been interviewed before, but I was also nervous. What if I became tongue-tied? What if I said something stupid? What if I started a long, rambling sentence and got lost in the twists and turns of grammar?

So I prepared for the interview by making a list of possible topics. Peter sent me some of his ideas. I went over my thoughts in my mind until I knew them thoroughly. And, as usually happens in life, the actual interview took on its own direction, and not only did it go well, but also it was fun. I have to add that Peter Trippi made it fun. He has a talent for engaging people and following promising lines of thought.

But this post is not just about an interview, but it's also about saying yes to anything that scares you. Remember, if someone asks you to do something like give a presentation, be on a panel, paint a portrait, teach a class, or give a workshop, they are asking you because they feel you can do it, and do it well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Treasure Trove of Art. . .Now at Haynes Galleries

Haynes Galleries is holding their small works show, and it promises to be a sellout. A Treasure Trove of Small Things opens November 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

I urge anyone who can get to Nashville to attend the opening, or at least the show, before it closes. Judging from the artists whose works will be displayed, this promises to be a sellout show.

Three paintings of mine will be in the show. They are all plein air landscapes, painted this summer.

 Breakfast at the Huttchen, oil on linen on panel, 10.5" x 12"

 Three Roofs, Horn Hill, oil on aluminum panel, 7.5" x 15"

  Whitehead looking towards Gull Rock, oil on linen, 18" x 14"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recent Portrait Unveiling

Early this month, my portrait of Ben and Gerri LeBow was unveiled and hung in the new Gerri C. LeBow Hall of the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University. The building replaces an older, outdated facility, and will truly be a beautiful and functional centerpiece of the school for many years to come. I feel honored to have been asked to paint this portrait. For a more detailed description of the portrait and the event, click on this link.

Here is a photo of me with Mr. LeBow in front of the painting. (The portrait looks a little dark because lighting was not yet installed.)

At the opening, I sat at a table with the LeBow grandchildren, who were all delightful young people. I also got a chance to reconnect with some of my former and future portrait "subjects." The surprise of the evening was seeing my childhood friend Daniela Voith. Danelli and I were in the same class at the Miquon School and shared many adventures. She was at the opening because her architectural firm, Voith and Mactavish, designed the beautiful new building! My husband snapped this photo of us.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fall group show at Fischbach Gallery!

This group show, opening September 5th at the Fischbach Gallery, showcases the work of 22 representational artists with a variety of styles and subject matter. I am happy to be included along with many wonderful artists. I'm also pleased that my friend Jeff Gola, who is now represented by Fischbach, will be in the show. Fischbach has been a champion of representational art since the 1960s, through the Modern and Postmodern periods, and into the present day.


5 SEPTEMBER– 5 OCTOBER 2013       

Jeff Gola  House on Buddtown Road  2012, egg tempera on panel, 10 x 10"

The Fischbach Gallery is pleased to present Season Previewa group exhibition featuring the following artists: Leigh Behnke, Helen Berggruen, Alice Dalton Brown, Colin Brown, Tom Cordell, Barbara Dixon Drewa, Fredericka Foster, Jane Freilicher, Victoria Gitman, Jeff Gola, Patrick Gordon, Nancy Hagin, Glen Hansen, Polly Kraft, John Laub, Brad Marshall, Anita Mazzucca, Denise Mickilowski, Emma Tapley, Alexandra Tyng, Jeffrey Vaughn, and James Winn opening 5 September and continuing through 5 October 2013.

Season Preview presents a selection of these Fischbach Gallery Artists’ new paintings that offer a foreshadowing of work to come.  Displaying contemporary American representational painting and works on paper, Season Preview highlights these Artist’s explorations of their artistic sense of style, intellectual approach, and inner passion, everything that evokes new inspirations for their most challenging, current paintings.  Whether a vivid landscape, a lush atmosphere, or an alluring still life, these works of art represent a preliminary showings of each Artist’s ability to push themselves to the brink and become better and better in their skill.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Unseen Aspect

I'm excited to announce the opening of my show of figurative paintings--and a few landscapes, too--at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, ME. Please stop by if you can!

Opening: Friday, September 6, 5-8 p.m.
Show dates: September 6-September 30

Royalty, oil on linen, 42" x 54"

In my latest series of figurative paintings I explore themes of personal/psychological interaction and motivation. Using family members and close friends as models, or characters, I distill ideas down to their essence, creating scenes out of my imagination that appear “real,” although they have never actually happened as they are painted. Time is used fluidly. Situations that developed over many years are painted as though they are happening in a moment of time. People who lived in various time periods appear alongside each other, and a single person can appear more than once, at different ages, within a single painting.

357 Main Street
Rockland, ME 04841