Sunday, April 11, 2021

Small Quick Pet Portraits

 

 

Manuel's Swiss kitty

Hershey and Sunny


I don’t currently have my own pet dog or cat- but when the kids were little we had several and they live on in my paintings.  I am grateful for the images of Sherman on the porch, Alice under the Christmas tree and Mr. Bo napping on the sofa. Now my sons have pets and I believe my portrait of Stevie Nicks is one of the best paintings I have ever done. It’s large, colorful and contains the memory of that late Alabama afternoon that I painted her. 

 

After sharing with my colleague at Swisssemester that I never painted a cat that my dad approved, she commissioned me to do a memorial portrait of her friends kitty. She said "do your magic", and I said, "Magic? You know I never painted a cat painting that my dad liked. But I am going to try".  


That was last month.

 

I just recently I finished a series of paintings for another family of pets. It felt fun. It felt magical. I especially enjoyed the looseness of painting on scraps of painted papers. 

 

Let the magic continue?

 

Hire me. I am quick and my prices are simple-

5 x 7= $70 (shipping USA included)

All works are acrylic on paper

Just email me with your preferred size, and some photos to work from.  

                                Tillystudio@aol.com

Satisfaction guaranteed. Pay when you receive the work 

If not satisfied, return the painting within 7 days.

Picture of Stevie Nicks, 33 x 22 inches





 Testimonials:

"I love what Tilly did with our Nelly Pup! She caught her sparkle and joy "- Dot, from CO


"Thank you for the beautiful painting. Our daughter was delighted with the gift. She burst into tears when she saw it" - Hannah from VA


"I received the portraits today!! I LOVE them and know the kids will too. You are very talented"- Liz in MA


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Hot Cross Buns

 I am not talking about a trip to Fire Island. It is about the magic of being where you are, and seeing icing on the cake.

Film crew from the Trevor Zoo interviewing Pa for YouTube

As the season of hibernation wanes, I feel hunger and desire. Last month we had the full "wolf moon" which traditionally references the depletion of our pantries and symbolizes bill collectors at the door. This month's full moon is the "worm moon", and... have you noticed how many earth worms are in the road? They are waking up and plowing through the thawing the soil. Perhaps it is time to go fishing?


I started the month painting pancakes. They serve as vehicles for the sweet maple syrup our farm has been producing. The sugar season was a little bumpy, with temperatures swinging from 60 to 20 degrees in the last days. We barely made 195 gallons of syrup before the trees finally started budding. The best part of the process, besides being outside in the sugar bush, is being with my dad. I get to witness how he moves from project to project, taking a moment in the sun, sawing wood with headphones, daydreaming into the steam of the evaporator pans... there is a grace and sense of solidity. When you get into a conversation, it can be really deep.

My hot cross bun, 7 x 5 inches, acrylic on paper
 I end the month with a painting of a hot cross bun, bought on impulse at the register of our local grocer. A little research online reveals the indented top and icing cross are for Jesus and the spices inside reference the embalming ingredients. These buns were common in England until 1592 when Queen Elizabeth I decreed they could ONLY be made on Good Friday, Christmas or for burials! She reasoned that they were "too delicious to be eaten any other day". Somehow I wonder if we are getting the full story. But digging further I find that the buns have protective (embalming?) powers. They can save you from shipwrecks, so were commonly taken on long sea voyages. They can also cement a friendship. There is Irish lore: "half for you and half for me, between us two, good luck shall be".  This little painting would make a good gift paired with that sentiment, don't you think?

It's easy- just be the first to email me (tillystudio@aol.com) for for directions to send $55 USA


Friday, March 12, 2021

The Artist Behind the Man on the Syrup Label

 As the maple sugaring season goes on, many people have asked if I made the label featuring my pa's smiling mug. I did not. But my boyfriend Michael did! He is an amazing artist who makes his living doing illustration work for many publishers across many genre. I think he is especially good at those "exploded views" for How-To books. But he can draw anything...and I mean anything!!! I have tried to stump him, asking for a drawing of a clear glass of vodka tonic against a fur wall with a rusty nail and a dead fish...but that is another story! 

Michael has done all the drawings for Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie Brown Murder mysteries as well as a series of maps for George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones. So we find ourselves in high quality company and are seriously proud of our labels!!!!

Twelve years ago when I was moving away from the farm, and sure to miss my pa, Michael secretly got together with my dad and drew this portrait IN PENCIL when he was at an artist residency. It's so special. I cried with joy and wonder when I saw it and had it framed with me in Miami. The original is a treasure.

 


Now that we are bottling a new batch of syrup and packaging the sugar and we have many different iterations that need tweaking for weight and date. Michael is working hard behind the scenes. It is not always easy and several computers need to be configured to line up the print exactly with the sticker edges.




We have a temporary set up in the sugar shack so that Dennis, who is full time sugar master, can make changes and corrections.
Michael is also gifted with another incredible virtue! He's positively willing to do what ever it takes to make us all happy. To see more of Michael's work check out his website:  www.mgellatlyart.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Virus Anniversary Ponderings on a Plague Saint

 

Marking the anniversary of yearlong pandemic-induced closures and nationwide isolation, I am drawn to St Sebastian as a perfect devotional image. Depicted tied to a column, tree or stake, he is riddled with arrows and gazing, with a beatific smile, up to the heavens.

Back during Bubonic plagues of 17th century Europe, Christians embraced the saint as an intercessor for their prayers. Sebastian, who lived in Rome, became a martyr who submitted to torture and was left for dead twice. He seemed to defy odds, surviving arrow wounds and beatings. For that reason, he could serve as a lightening rod to relieve and protect others from the plague.  

 

There are other saints to pray to for help in times of plagues, such as the Virgin Mary and St Roch, but St Sebastian seems to be the perfect one for me.

His ideal physique, riddled with arrows has come to symbolize the toleration of multiple zoom meetings and multiplying obituary pages, while the archers, who run away on the receding road, are the business commitments and goals of a “get-me-ahead-at-any-cost” lifestyle. The calendar is the rubble of antiquity around us. I strive for the verticality, and the connection to God.

 

St Sebastian By Botticelli, Tempera on panel, 1474 (Berlin)

In the 14th century the “Black Death” killed 30 million people in Europe alone, and an estimated 75 to 200 million across Eurasia. Some people blamed God and turned to focus less on the afterlife and more on a humanist philosophy of earthly delights. Many blamed marginal groups such as the Jews, and instituted brutal and devastating pogroms. The movement of the Flagellants reflected a growing belief that self –harm could win God’s favor and spare the body or even the community. Many people attended gruesome performances of the faithful whipping themselves into frenzy. In the port of Venice, they instituted a law for 30-day isolation applicable to all incoming ships, called a “trentino”, and then extended that for what we now call a “quarantino”

In the 15th and 16th century, with the European hunger for world exploration, (and exploitation), 80 to 90% of indigenous populations in the Americas were wiped out by small pox.

Just this week America reached a milestone of 500.000 deaths due to Covid. There hasn’t been public mass mourning until President Biden and VP Harris stood in silence with 500 lit candles. We seem like Sebastian, suspended between two deaths, those of our loved ones and possibly ours. St Sebastian reminds us of that as he is depicted still alive a moment or two before his death. He shares in our personal vulnerability.

 

 Featured art work:


Digital drawing, dimensions variable. Last May, my 82 year old mother had to undergo massive surgery on a rare abdominal cancerous tumor during the Covid crisis. We had to drop her off outside the hospital and wait to hear from her after hours of surgery and recovery. I did this drawing as a prayer and a nod to St. Sebastian. (And mom's doing great!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

First real test of the Maple syrup Season


 We started tapping this week (a week later than last year) and it took five of us over three days to get 1100 taps into the sugar maples. I loved being in the woods even though it was barely over 25 degrees.


On the third day there was a snowstorm, but the trees effectively sheltered us from the rage out on the roads. I joke that I am dad's apprentice...

But seriously, it means the most to me out of this experience, to be able to learn from my dad and spend days at a time helping him on this passion project. At nearly 85 years old, he is full of stories explaining remnants of old fence lines and rutted fire lanes. He moves with grace through the depths of the snow and over the limbo lines in a way I only aspire to. (Thank goodness for my Swiss semester training last fall!)


Of course there are the hardware glitches, the batteries run dead, and the leaking lines thwart a steady vacuum. But I have returned to the studio to paint the bark, branches, wind and snow along with the glimpse of hawks, ravens, foxes and deer. It's a wonderful life. And it is getting sweeter, literally, by the moment! 

We are selling bottles of pure Maple syrup though my website store in single 8oz bottle or bundles of 5 and 10. Domestic shipping included in the flat rate. Email me and let me know how it tastes. 

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                                FEATURED PAINTING- 9" oval, acrylic on wood panel

On my easel today as I recall, kind of abstractedly, two days ago, when we were tapping trees in the maple forest during the snow storm! Could call it the "Sugar Bush Snowstorm". I am still wondering if I should add a third figure, Michael, in the lower left. Feel free to let me know what you think.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

I'm Becoming a Sugar Master

 Between teaching jobs, I am helping my pa with his maple syrup business. Last year was the first year I was around for it and I illustrated a small zine about the process. This year I am way more hands on! In fact I can see it annoys my pa and Dennis for me to have the camera or my pens in my hand when I am in the sugar shack. There is lots to do and I need both hands to do it well.

 We have been cleaning. Doing inventory. Sorting. We have been pulling the lines up from under the snow and moving limbs and branches from on top of them.

 It's been pretty cold with temperatures in the teens so the tress have had at least 2 weeks of deep sleep. (Last year was much warmer and more stressful for both the sugar masters and the trees). The forecast is calling for warmer temperatures by next week and we plan to be ready to tap the trees right away. If we are late, the season is shorter... once the sap runs, the trees start to bud, and when that happens, the sap turns bitter and the window is closed. 

 

Right now I am sorting parts. It seems an endless job, but a needed one, to be an efficient "sugar master".

#syrupseason #homefarmmaple #maplesyrup #familyfarm #sweetness

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Vision Vessel Valentine's Day Afternoon Fun


 Art has the power to transform and it was with that intention that Lisa and I hosted our first ever vision vessel Valentine workshop. We started with reading a list of affirmations and a short guided meditation to set the tone. Once everyone got settled into decorating their miniature cardboard houses, it was pretty silent and focused. Everyone worked with scissors and glue to collage the surfaces. After an hour, the houses were spectacularly unique. We felt refreshed and inspired. I could not stop smiling. 

I am still waiting for photos from Doug, Bobbi and Elena!

house covered in printed words

Some focused on their goals, or warding off their neighborhood  threats. Others focused on dreams of vacations, or getting back into their hobbies. Others focused on manifesting their affirmations.




Vision vessels are really 3D vision boards. We collage on top of a house everything we wish for our "nest". It is reinforcing positive vibrations and giving an image to what we desire.

To help the art work it's full magic, the houses have to remain visible for a while. Many have openings, (doors and windows), where we can stuff little notes of dreams or worries as we manifest big changes.