Thursday, May 6, 2021

May Greetings

 I photographed the above photo seen in a newspaper book review some time ago.  I loved it and then forgot about it until recently.  I layered some colors and textures which suggested a story to my friend, David.  Here it is:

She sat before the piano almost lost in thought, but really her only thinking was about the commission she needed to finish.  Her mind had been blank for days.  No ideas sprung forth as they usually had in the past. There sat the piano before her, silent and almost mocking. She felt hopeless.  All she needed was a mere spark of creativity and she could start with that.  Strangely, the keys of the piano began to glow giving a comforting light that bathed her face and warmed the darkened room.  The piano began playing quietly as she sat looking at it, while it gave up the tune that she was about to write.

I love it when my art inspires art in others.

We are in the thick of Spring garden work here on "the estate".  We do not live on an estate in the sense of a grand estate, but a friend telephoned for me and Barry said I wasn't in the house and she said, "she must be somewhere on the estate".  Now I can't stop calling our 3/4 acre "the estate".  Just saying it perks me up everytime. If only we had a garden staff on the estate. Once again, I'm really, really going to try to do more sketching and art making outside.  Photography counts and I will be doing that for sure.  Over the winter I went through my analog archive and pulled out a lot of so-so images thinking I might cut them up for some collage work.  The stack was next to where I was painting and when I went to clean off my brush before using another color, I decided to clean the brush on one of the photos.  I'm on to something with this and will share some of the results in a future post. 

I recently sold one of my Japanese inspired collages and it has prompted me to work on more such pieces.  I have piles of Japanese papers and images waiting in the wings.  Below is a montage "Washi Paper Boxes, followed by a photo triptch with Japanese influence, and a collage, "Scene From a Japanese Film".

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Wee Hours of Easter Morning


Enjoying one of my rare nights of insomnia.  Awoke around 2:00 a.m. and after dozing off and on, got up and came straight down to the studio where I've been going through old sketchbooks.  I have an account on Instagram and among several of the artists I follow,  there's been a lot of buzz about sketchbook lately.  I happen to love sketchbooks and journals. I love paper. I love writing.  During the lockdown I made a few 5"x 7" handbound booklets for recording all the books, films and ideas I was gathering from the Review section of the Wall Street Journal.  I also sketched in these journals and played with some collage ideas.  All the discussion and sharing of sketchbooks on Instagram has been fun and so interesting because through sketchbooks an artist reveals something about process and practice of creating art.  Sketchbooks on their own can become art.  A couple of years ago I attended an exhibit in which an artist had handbound an oversized book of her mutimedia drawings.  Visitors were alllowed to page through it.  I was mesmerized.  Recently, my sisters and I gathered for my youngest sister's birthday.  She dabbles in art so I gave her a sketchbook and some new art materials as a gift and to encourage her to have fun with art. I told her not to be too precious about what goes in the sketchbook.  To make my case, I brought along two of my old sketchbooks which both sisters went through page by page.  I did not expect that much interest.  However, they were amused, intrigued and somewhat amazed at the contents.  Since then, I have been digging out my old journals and sketchbooks and organizing them on a shelf in the studio.  Some I will discard because I don't want to be overrun.  If I can figure out how to post a video here, I will do a little sketchbook presentation.  For now, here are three recent collage exercises.  The first is a collage of my photos of the former Enchanted Forest, Ellicott City, MD.   I cut the photos in pieces and tried to create some sort of story.  It's rather a FAIL, but I might find a way to salvage it.  The other two are small and intended as something to mail to my friends. 

Lastly, an image of a beautiful woman overlaid with leaves from our garden.  The first includes multiple images with blue tones.  I love these images and keep coming back to them.  

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 19, 2021


March greetings!  Typical of this month we have had a taste of all the seasons.  March can be so cruel when we are so ready for Spring.  The transition to those warm days we long for right now is fairly brief and we can cheer ourselves up by walking around outdoors and observing what's happening in nature.  It really lifts the spirits.

The collage pictured above is heading to a fund-raising exhibit at Creative York, York, PA,  The bidding will be online along with an onsite exhibit at the gallery.  I will include all the details and a link in the next few days.  I may have shared this collage earlier but without the frame.  This is one of several collages I'm working on with a Japanese theme.  I'm still processing my 2018 visit to Japan.  Have been diving into Japanese writers, photographers, art and film.  Believe me, I'm not going overboard, but I enjoy how dipping into different areas of the culture enhances my art-making.  I want to play this series out with a few more collages and then move on to another series.  Even as I work on a series, I am working on other art.  It helps me to have several things going at once so that if I'm stuck on what to do with one piece, I can work on another.  The gallery director suggested that artists send photos of their studios.  I took these photos yesterday.  The first is a sample of works in the Japan series.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour of my basement studio.  That's all for now.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2021

February greetings from our snow world in southern Pennsylvania.  I've moved my digital photography darkroom/lightroom down to the basement in my art studio.  Art and photography work hand in hand with me, so when Barry and I got finished with some necessary repairs and painting down there, I used that period of reorganization to find a place for a large monitor and my laptop.  My desk is a former dot matrix printer stand.  Barry cut a piece of wood to fit on top with some extra inches all around.  There is built-in paper storage which is great.  I'm settling in and really like the changes I've made to the studio. Above, I am holding a poster I received as a gift in the early 1970's.  The giver knew that I was studying ballet and that for one season I studied Spanish dance with Maria Morales in Baltimore.  She was connected to the Peabody Conservatory at the time and wanted to raise awareness of Spanish music and dance to the general public in the Baltimore area.  I took lessons from her in the ballroom of the YMCA on W. Franklin Street.  It was tremendous fun and very challenging for me.  I remember that the biggest challenge was to find a place and time to practice.  I had recently moved into a one-bedroom apartment.  I kept the bedroom empty just for dance.  The floor was bare and most of one wall was mirrored.  Perfect!  Well, not quite.  I found out quickly that a young couple and their new baby lived next door.  My foot stamping and castanet playing were waking the baby.  I became good friends with my neighbors, but Spanish dance practice was stifled.  Stifled but not totally.  Dance is in my bones.  I still do barre and other exercies to keep my body flexible and joyful.  I dance and sing for myself almost everyday.  It's never too late until it's too late.

Since the pandemic, I do very little shopping or visiting friends.  If I have an errand to run, I do it alone.  The same with Barry.  Recently we did some errands together.  He drove and I had a photographer's holiday in the passenger seat.  Here are a couple of diptychs I made.

And here is an interior photo.  Our bedroom window in winter.

 Lastly, I had read an article on Helen Frankenthaler's printmaking period in an old Art News magazine. One of the prints stuck in my mind and a created a little collage inspired by it.

I'll be heading out shortly to help Barry clear the driveway.  It's supposed to stop snowing soon.  Also have ingredients for a pot of minestrone ready to go. Soup making is great for warming up and I can watch/listen to one of my favorite old movies at the same time.  Have a good weekend and stay safe.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Trying New Things

 I have tried to post on this blog several times using an iPad to no avail.  This time I was able to access photos and I’m typing words, so things are looking up.  Above is one of my favorite images taken by me on our first trip to Venice in October 2012.  Being the optimist that I am, I see myself there again.  Would love to visit before all the big cruise ships resume service.  From time to time, I check up on Venice and I'm hearing that the Venetians are loving having their city back.  It makes me smile to think of it looking and sounding more like itself.  Following is a short trip down memory lane with two photos of our very early, foggy morning approach to Venice, another canal image,  two men I encountered and Barry's shot of me in the afternoon.

I may have mentioned this before, but one of the things we have enjoyed during these Covid-19 times, is the Frick Museum's "Cocktails with a Curator" and "Travels with a Curator".  Both are available on YouTube.  In one of the "Travels with a Curator", Zavier Solomon takes us to Venice and the Ca'd'Oro, also known as Palazzo Santa Sophia or "golden house".  It is one of the very oldest palazzos and sits on the Grand Canal.  I really felt I was there for a few minutes.  I have enjoyed so many of the Frick's programs these last months that I've decided to become a member.  So much to look forward to when it's safe to travel again.

Take care!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

January Greetings - Feeling Hopeful in 2021


We are in a time of pandemic and (in the United States) a time of threatened democracy.  Still, with all the disturbing news we face everyday, I am personally thankful for my art practice which carries over into every part of my life and enables me to see what is beautiful and interesting around me.  I can walk out my door and walk up the street to find the view pictured above.  No matter how upset, sad or worried I am (and I have been worried plenty lately), this walk gives me release.  When I think about it, almost any walk helps improve mood and outlook.  And, if you have been sitting too long (like I am apt to do when photo editing), try Dr. Zach Bush's 4-minute workout.  You can find it on YouTube.  Try it!

I love collage and made several small ones during November and December.  They range in size from 5"x5" to 8"x10".  Here are a few:

One last thing I'd like to share.  Barry and I enjoy more than ever our "Social Hour".  We used to call it "Cocktail Hour", but I like "Social Hour" better because it reflects our love of stopping whatever work we're doing, freshening up and meeting for a festive drink before dinner.  In good weather we enjoy this somewhere in the garden.  Now that it's winter we have enjoyed watching some short YouTube offerings.  Our favorites are the mini lectures offered by the Frick Collection:  Cocktails with a Curator and Travels with a Curator.  Both started with the first pandemic lockdown.  Each is about 20 to 25 minutes long.  We have become especially fond of Xavier Solomon, Chief Curator.  I love this series so much I made a donation and now I'm thinking of becoming a member even though it may be another year before I can visit New York.  So much to look forward to.

That's all for now. Take care!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas is Coming

 My little granddaughters, who live so far away, have been busy elves all month making gifts, baking cookies, learning new Christmas songs and attending virtual kindergarten.  Their mother is a gifted artist and shares her garage studio with them.  I worked in their studio myself when I visited them in October.  Even when we Skype, we talk about art and they will often carry their mom's iPad to the garage and start working on a drawing or painting.  I then carry my device to my basement studio and start working on something with them.  I love it because we're so relaxed and we're sharing an activity we all love.  We hardly talk.  I hear Lillian humming to herself.  Come January, the four artists in the family are going to participate in a daily drawing/painting challenge.  The girls are helping their mother come up with the prompts.  Looking forward to challenging myself in the New Year.  

Another project for the New Year is a new website.  I mentioned this during our first pandemic lockdown.  Summer came, lots of outdoor work and a feeling that I didn't really need a new website.  Now I think I do.  We'll see.  One thing is for sure, I will be making art and photography.  Below are two montages using the same image of a painting I saw in a former Byzantine fortress/prison.  

That's it for 2020.  Thanks for stopping by and best wishes for a Happy New Year 2021!