Monday, July 1, 2013

A New Series of Figurative Paintings

Though I've always been especially drawn to painting people I know--sometimes over and over again--about a year ago I began thinking about going even further in this direction and painting my family members as characters in scenes of my own imagining.

My idea was to bring people together from different places and time periods, and to set them in scenes that would look "real" in a sense, yet have an element of something beyond realism. Would this be called "magic realism?" I'm not sure. I also wanted to continue exploring the use of symbolic visual language, and ways of suggesting meaning without telling the viewer how to interpret the painting.

I was afraid to begin the first painting, but an idea kept nagging at me. I was looking through my digital files and saw a particularly good photo of my brother's mom blowing out the candles at her 80th birthday party. Then I remembered I had a similar photo of my mother at her 80th birthday. When I put the two photos together in my mind I saw them blowing towards each other, creating a firestorm in the middle of a huge cake between them. Letting my imagination run, I saw my father (who died 40 years ago) rising out of the flames. The whole scene began to take shape in my mind, and it was not until then that I realized it was a painting about a wish for transformation, for positive change.

More paintings followed this one. I'm exploring ideas and connections and interests and feelings that have been important to me all my life. It's kind of scary to be doing this, but it's incredibly enjoyable, too. And the people in my family have been such good sports, posing for me in different positions and under odd lighting conditions, without knowing exactly what I was going to "do" with them!

This September I'll be showing some of these paintings in a solo show at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, ME. The show is called The Unseen Aspect and it will open September 6th. Stay tuned for more details.

Article in American Arts Quarterly

Last summer I met author Stephen May at the Dowling Walsh Gallery and we went across the street to an outdoor seafood restaurant for lunch. Stephen and I had arranged to meet because he was going to be writing an article on my work for American Arts Quarterly. I was very excited at the prospect of being featured in such a prestigious art journal. We sat down and started chatting. Steve was charming, super intelligent and perceptive--and he asked such good questions I found myself talking way too much. Amazingly, he was able not only to make sense of what I said, but also to make a terrific article out of it.

Meanwhile, my husband was enjoying some quiet time away from his talkative wife in the local coffee shop, where he was reading the latest Dick Francis thriller. Definitely a win-win situation.

The article, which was published in the Winter 2013 issue of AAQ, can be found here. Upon looking through the magazine, I discovered I was in great company: also in this issue is an article on the wonderful work of my good friend, artist Catherine Prescott.

America's Parks I Exhibit

I have so much catching up to do, I'm just going to hit the highlights of the last year so I can bring this blog  up-to-date.

My biggest excitement over the winter centered around the show America's Parks: Through the Beauty of Art. Comprised of 50 two-dimensional works of art depicting any park in North America, the show is now traveling to different venues around the United States. After.opening at the Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar, MO,  it traveled to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY, and will end up at the Kenosha Public Museums in Kenosha, WI, from August 17 to October 13, 2013.

My painting, Marsh at Round Pond, was accepted into the show. . . and shortly thereafter I got a call from curator David J. Wagner who told me that I had won the prestigious Juror's Choice Award! I was thrilled. In all my years of landscape painting, this was the very first time I had ever won a major, top award for a landscape.
Marsh at Round pond, oil on linen, 22" x 40"

Here are a couple of links to the press release and review of America's Parks: