Friday, December 17, 2010

A Portrait to Enhance the Arts

If you love music and art, and would like to make a charitable contribution to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, please consider this proposal:

For several years, through my project Portraits For the Arts, I have used the power of portraiture to make monetary contributions to the arts in my home town of Philadelphia. My painting of renowned musicians Claude and Pamela Frank, who are father and daughter, was recently in an exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art. (The head study of Mr. Frank, pictured below in my last post, was used as the cover art for Mr. Frank's new CD.) The large painting is oil on linen and measures 52" x 48".

This is how the donation can be accomplished:

Whoever buys the painting would donate 40% of the purchase price to the Curtis Institute of Music. The other 60% would be paid to Portraits, Inc., and divided according to its usual practice.

Anyone interested?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Music and Art in a Single Package

For the last few days I've been enjoying pianist Claude Frank's new CD as I paint. It's such an amazing experience to hear how he plays Schubert, Mozart and Schumann. I keep getting caught up in the way he interprets the music, like a storyteller thoughtfully infusing the story with a certain characteristic inflection and emphasis.

I'm honored and thrilled that my head-and-shoulders oil sketch of Mr. Frank was used as the cover art for this CD. Mr. Frank will be celebrating his 85th birthday this year, and by contributing in this small way, I feel as though I'm participating in the celebration. Happy birthday, Mr. Frank!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Portrait Unveiling

One of my recent portraits, of businessman R. John Chapel, was unveiled at Drexel University's LeBow School of Business. Mr. Chapel and his wife Jinny have been generous donors to the business school, giving scholarships to deserving students through a foundation they have established. I especially love the multi-generational photo of the Chapel family standing in front of the portrait. I enjoy unveiling parties because I get a chance to share in the joy of the occasion, and contribute to it, but stay on the sidelines and watch someone being honored in a special way.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Thoughts on WPW

Since returning from that wonderful week in Charleston and Sullivan's Island, SC, I've been feeling strangely pensive, not my usual energetic self. I've been musing over all my experiences and observations and interactions, and I realized that the wide age span of the 12 artists in our group--24 to 66--allowed the opportunity to see a microcosm of a life in art.

One thing that struck me is how trendy the culture of selling art is. The gallery scene in Charleston is lively and varied, yet it was not obvious to me where my work would fit into it. Some of the best galleries claimed to only show work of artists who were formally trained, and although I am so glad the younger artists I know have had the advantage of formal training, I know from experience that one can learn without it if one is determined to learn. So formal training has become not just a viable opportunity, but a selling point for gallery owners! How different I feel now, more sure of my own work, yet less sure of where I "fit in" to the gallery scene. Maybe the whole point is that I don't need or want to fit in, I just want to keep doing my own thing, and that is the driving force. I'm still processing my Charleston experience, but it sure has been interesting so far.

If you are interested in reading about the experiences of some of the other artists in our painting expedition, here are links to their blogs:

Sadie Valeri
Diane Feissel
Mia Bergeron
Terry Strickland
Linda Tracey Brandon
Alia El Bermani

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Women Painting Women

My plein air painting in the park, Woman Painting Women Painting Woman! Our model was artist Stanka Kordic, who volunteered to fill in for the model who cancelled and stoically posed in the cold, blustery weather.

This past week in Charleston, SC was amazing one, staying with 11 other artists (Alia El Bermani, Diane Feissel, Sadie Valeri, Catherine Prescott, Mia Bergeron, Linda Brandon, Stefani Tewes, Cindy Procious, Kate Stone, Rachel Constantine, and Terry Strickland) in a large beachfront house on Sullivan's Island. We were there to paint, get to know each other, be inspired by each other. . . and to attend the opening reception of the Women Painting Women show at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.

This show had its origins as a blog started by artist Sadie Valeri. Sadie had noticed that many major exhibitions, gallery shows and events featuring women as subject matter were painted overwhelmingly by men, so she began collecting images of women painted by women. High quality submissions began pouring in from all over the world, and the blog grew so rapidly that Sadie enlisted the help of fellow artists Alia El-Bermani and Diane Feissel to handle the postings. Some of the artists featured were represented by Robert Lange Studios, and it wasn't long before gallery owners Megan and Robert Lange had the idea of curating a show based on this theme.

Even though we knew the show had generated a lot of great press coverage, we were thrilled at the reaction of the people who were walking around the art district on the evening of the opening. I was with Linda Tracey Brandon when a woman told us, "Oh, you MUST see the Women Painting Women show--it brought tears to my eyes!" That was pretty much the general reaction, and it was like a huge groundswell of energy.

To read more about our adventure, check out Sadie Valeri's description. She says it a lot better than I possibly could.

Opening night at Robert Lange Studios: Alia El Bermani in front of her beautiful painting Space Between.
From left: Me (Alex), artist Mario Robinson who shows at Ann Long Fine Art, and Linda Brandon.
From left: artists Kate Stone, Diane Feissel, and Rachel Constantine.
Stefani Tewes, Cathy Prescott and Alia El Bermani painting the model in Magnolia Plantation.

Cindy Procious at work in a Charleston cemetery.
Oyster roast at the home of artist Shannon Runquist--an evening of wonderful hospitality and southern cuisine.
At our house on Sulivan's Island, painting from the model.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"A Day in the Life. . ."

When artist Wende Caporale asked me if she could come to my studio to interview me for an article, I was surprised and honored. to say the least. Wende has been writing a very interesting series of articles in the Portrait Society of America's section of International Artist Magazine, and I always enjoy reading her articles. First of all, she picks a variety of artists to write about, second of all, her way of following an artist through a day's work is original, and she always reveals things about artists that don't come to light in a more formal type of article or interview. Actually, as the day approached, I was little nervous, wondering about what she would say! (My fears were unfounded.)

What resulted was a very intricate and sensitive description of the work I have been doing towards my upcoming show at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine. The show will combine my landscape and figurative work, ranging from large aerial landscapes to intimate scenes of particular places and the people who inhabit them. The gallery hasn't firmed up the date yet, but it will be sometime in the summer of 2011.

The other result of this experience was that I got to spend a day with Wende, who is a delightful, insightful and empathetic person. I'm so glad to have had the chance to get to know her a little better and spend several hours talking about a variety of things!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Women Painting Women

I'm pleased that my painting Right Here (oil on linen, 36" x 28") will be included in the Women Painting Women show at the Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, South Carolina, Friday, November 5, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Women Painting Women was started as a blog by artists Sadie Valeri, Alia El-Bermani and Diane Feissel. The blog is an ongoing and ever-growing collection of "Figurative Paintings of Women by Women with a focus on Contemporary, Living Artists." Over an amazingly short period of time, the founding artists have taken their idea further by creating an exhibition by the same name, and finding a venue for it. They are now exploring ways to take the WPW idea even further.

This is going to be the second show of women's art in which my work is included--and to think I used to swear I would only enter shows that were not women-only! I think something changed for me when I observed how the realist movement, more specifically the realist figurative movement, had become focused on and dominated by the work of male artists. I am hoping people will make an effort to see the quantity of highly accomplished work by women that is out there in the art world, because I would like to see more of a gender balance, more of a mutual respect, less of a boys' club.

A word about galleries: I would like to see gallery directors think twice about the way figurative art is marketed. I believe that the way it is pitched to potential collectors has a lot to do with the type of art collectors are buying--or not buying. Here are a couple of issues that could be addressed:

The AGE of the artist. Why is a young artist such a hot commodity? Doesn't a middle-aged artist still have room to grow? Doesn't age bias eliminate many female artists whose career trajectory takes a different path?

The WAY the figure is depicted. Do male and female artists see the figure differently? Why is the female figure so popular now, how is the female figure depicted in the most sought-after realist art? Would you paint the female figure differently? Would you like to see more art showing male figures?

After being represented by a highly respected New York Gallery since 1994, being one of a group of male and female artists who have been treated with equal respect and whose work sells equally well, I am puzzled by the existence of galleries that only represent men, or claim that only men are financially worth representing, even though they say they give women a chance. I'm hoping that, in the near future, there will be more galleries that showcase the figurative work of male and female artists equally.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2011 Tuscany Workshop Announced

September, 2011

I will be leading a workshop in Tuscany for the week beginning September 17, 2011. It will take place at Pieve di Caminino, a privately-owned 1,000-acre estate located approximately about 45 minutes (south) by car from Siena. The main feature of the property is an 11th century Romanesque church that has been renovated and made into a home for the owners and apartments for guests. Each apartment is unique, and has a minimum of a living room, bedroom and kitchen facilities. Two of the apartments will accommodate four people, while the others accommodate two each. The workshop is limited to 12 or 13 painters. Pieve di Caminino will accommodate a maximum of 24 people, which would include the use of the “tower” in Roccatederighi (a lovely three-story home built into one of the ancient towers in the walls), and all the apartments on the estate.

Most painting will take place on the grounds of the estate. We my also paint in the nearest town, the medieval walled village of Roccatederighi, with narrow streets, archways and winding stone stairways. I will be doing three demonstrations and I will have three critique sessions. I will walk around and make comments on your progress if you are painting nearby and would like comments on your work in progress.

The cost is $1,500 for those taking the workshop and $1,200 for those not taking it. The price includes the workshop and accommodations only.

For more information, or to sign up for the workshop, please contact Steven Stern at:
Phone: 215-732-4200

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Inspiring Figures" at the Butler Institute

On September 12 my husband and I made the 6-hour drive to Youngstown OH to attend the opening reception of "inspiring Figures" at the Butler Institute of American Art. I know it sounds self-serving to say I was inspired by an exhiit that includes my own work, but I have to spread the word and say this was one of the most exciting shows I've been to recently, for several reasons. First, the artwork, by 30 living artists (ten invited and 20 juried) and ten historically significant artists, was impressive in its quality and variety: second, this was an unusual show in that it showcases the work of contemporary and traditional realist (or representational) figure painting in a museum venue; third, although women are drastically under-represented in museum collections, this was a show solely of art by women; and last, the concept of mutual inspiration that underlies this show is different from the concept of linear "legacy."

Inspiring Figures is the brainchild of the Cecilia Beaux Forum of the Portrait Society of America, and it was a good five years in the making. It is an exhibit that explores the roles of American women artists as innovators, sources of inspiration, and mentors.

Here is a list of the artists in the show: Leslie Adams, Carol Arnold, Rose Bartolini, Cecilia Beaux, Isabele Bishop, Colleen Browning, Wende Caporale, Mary Cassatt, Ellen Cooper, Grace DeVito, Marina Dieul, Ellen Eagle, Cynthia Feustel, Rose Frantzen, Nancy Guzik, Lily Harmon, Jane Lund, Sherrie McGraw, Mary Beth McKenzie, Nicole Mone, Kay Polk, Catherine Prescott, Danielle Richard, Lenka Rubenstein, Kate Sammons, Laura Sanders, Leona Shanks, Rhoda Sherbell, Sharon Sprung, Laura Tilden, Alexandra Tyng, Dawn Whitelaw, Patricia Watwood, Mary Whyte, and Lea Wight

Here is my painting: Claude and Pamela Frank, oil on linen, 52" x 48"

Some photos from the opening. . .
And this is how it looked hanging on the wall.
Leslie Adams with her portrait of artist Michael Shane Neal.
Catherine Prescott with her life-sized work Legacy: Portrait of Val
Here I am with artists Jane Lund and Wende Caporale.
After the opening, Nancy Guzik, Rose Frantzen, Lea Wight, Chuck Morris (Rose's husband) and Leon Shanks stand on the steps of the Butler.
A toast at a nearby cafe.
Rose Frantzen drew quite a crowd as she talked about her work and work process.
Marina Dieul was not able to make the opeing but her work Aenor won the Grand Prize.
Ellen Cooper won Second Place for her portrait Judy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Finalist Status in the Artist' Magazine Competition

Recently I learned that three of my paintings made the "finalist" category in The Artist's Magazine's annual competition! This was wonderful news. The paintings were Lunch Break, Horn Hill and Back Yards in Snow (the same two that got some recognition in the ARC), plus my portrait of Portia.Portia: Lead, Silver or Gold, 40" x 30

Business Trip to Maine

I can't think of a better place to be, especially if one's business is one's avocation and passion. I do wish Maine were a little closer to Philadelphia, though. Between gallery drop-offs and pick-ups I had ample time to paint with my art buddies Diana Cobb Ansley and Nancy Bea Miller. One lovely evening as the rain clouds were drifting away, we had a grand time painting on top of Cadillac Mountain overlooking Frenchman's Bay and the Porcupine Islands.Painting on Cadillac, 14" x 18"NB at her eaasel
Diana's lovely home in Somesville is the subject of this painting.
I painted this one during a day trip to Stonington on Deer Isle.
We also painted the beaver dam in the middle of Beaver Pond, on the Bar Harbor Road. Photo by Nancy Bea Miller

Some Recent Openings. . .

It's been fun but hectic lately. At the opening reception of the Philadelphia Sketch Club's 150th Anniversary Members' Show at the Newman Galleries, I met Diane Feissel, a very talented artist who recently moved back to Philadelphia and joined the Sketch Club. Our Professional Artist meetings can't help but get better and better with Diane on board. Here I am with Diane at the show, and underneath my portrait of Nancy Bea Miller. Joe Sweeney, an artist whose work was also in the show, took the photos. Thank you, Joe, they're great.Photo by Joseph Sweeney
Photo by Joseph Sweeney

The next weekend, I, my husband, and artist Garth Herrick piled in our car for an 8-hour journey to Youngstown, OH, to the Butler Museum and the opening of the Midyear Exhibit. There we met other artists who were in the show and who have been our online friends on art forums and Facebook. It's fun to meet someone in person with whom you've been chatting about art for years and find them to be exactly as you thought they would be, or even better, in real life.My husband took this shot of the artists together. L to R: Jeff Gola, Garth Herrick, Leslie Adams, Stanka Kordic, and I
Standing in front of my painting Teamwork with artist Stanka Kordic, whom I've been wanting to meet for ages.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Philadelphia Sketch Club Members Annual Show

Nancy Bea at Saxby's, oil, 24" x 20"

Every year the artist members of the Philadelphia Sketch Club have been showing their work at the Newman Gallery in Center City Philadelphia. It's going to be a fantastic show, judging by the artists who belong to the club, and I'm honored to be part of this exhibit! My portrait of fellow artist and Sketch Club member, Nancy Bea Miller, will be hanging in the Newman Gallery in the company of some wonderful work (including a painting by Nancy Bea herself). Other artists whose work will hang in the show include Garth Herrick and Joe Sweeney.

On the front page of Philadelphia's City and Suburban News is an article on the exhibition. Check it out here!

Opening Reception Information:

Newman Galleries
1625 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Saturday, June 12, Noon-4:00 p.m.

Arsenic Lobster , Spring 2010 Cover

Toast to Lobsters, oil, 22" x 30"

Arsenic Lobster--what a strange name for a poetry journal! It does catch one's attention, though. And it's filled with a variety of work by accomplished writers. I'm admiring of anyone who can write poetry since I'm hopelessly devoid of any talent in that direction.

The editor of the journal, Sue Yount, asked me some time ago if she could use my painting Toast to Lobsters on the cover, and of course I was delighted! Here's a link to the journal, in case you would like to purchase a copy of the spring 2010 issue (or any other issue for that matter).

I'm pleased to report that the original painting, which was hanging in the gWatson Gallery in Stonington, Maine, last summer, has been purchased by a private collector.

33rd Annual Juried Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club in NYC

Harriet Pattison in her Landscape, oil, 38" x 30"

People have been telling me for years that I should enter a juried show at the Salmagundi Club in New York. And I kept saying, "Okay, I will," but for some reason the deadline would pass by and I would tell myself I would have to remember to enter next year. This year I decided the procrastination had gone on for too long, so I did enter. To my surprise, my portrait of Harriet Pattison was accepted.

Juried shows would make an interesting study. Everyone says "It's a crapshoot" whether you get in or not. The decision rests in the hands of a few jurors who are human and have human preferences, though they try to be fair. (I know; i've been in that position myself.) I've been rejected many times from shows, and the rejection letter or email always says something about how they received a huge number of entries and how difficult it was to choose. Because of these factors, we artists know we shouldn't be too disappointed if we don't get in. I've been entering shows for several years now, but I can't avoid being disappointed, even angry and frustrated, when I don't make the cut. Conversely, each time my work gets in I'm so thrilled I feel like jumping up and down.

Anyway, I'm very happy that my portrait of Harriet will grace the walls of the Salmagundi this summer! For those who find themselves in Manhatten, Here are the show details:

33rd Annual Painting and Sculpture Exhibition for Non-Members
Exhibition of original oils, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, mixed media, and sculpture
July 12th through July 23rd, 2010

Awards Reception: Friday, July 23rd, 6:00--8:00 p.m. (open only to exhibition artists and their guests)
EXHIBITION OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: 7 days a week, 1:00-5:00 p.m., July 12th through July 23rd, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Butler Midyear!

Teamwork, oil on linen, 24" x 36"

Persistence pays off! This year my painting Teamwork was accepted into the 74th Annual Butler Midyear Exhibition, at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Several other artists I know also got in. (congratulations to Stanka Kordic and Jeff Gola!) This is a large national juried group show with a wide range of work. Here is the information on the opening reception:

Exhibit opens: Sunday, June 27th
Exhibit runs June 27th-August 22

The Beecher Center
524 Wick Avenue
Youngstown, OH 44502

Hours: Tues-Sat, 11-4; Sunday noon-4 p.m.