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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Balloons and weighty new year resolutions

acrylic on paper 5 3/4 inches by 7 1/2 inches
I vow to keep it light and have faith.

Put out for the Muse

Tomorrow is the birthday of Micah Condon who is the founder, mastermind, and maintenance man behind He has given a community of painters voice, cohesion, and inspiration for our passion. This cake is painted for him- "happy birthday Micah"!
Thinking about year end giving, and making an effort to help our communities- both local and global. I am glad I could help the North East Community Center (in my hometown) by volunteering last spring to help the after school kids paint a mural in their classroom, and I feel compelled to help the GCN (Girl Child Network) empower child victims of rape in Zimbabwe (where we were last December). SEE LIST OF LINKS BELOW TO HELP GIVE SOMETHING BACK...FOR EVERYONE
I know giving money isn't an option for all of us- In America 4% control 90% of the american wealth.
But giving back is part of my family culture going as far back as my great grandmother, Florence Call Cowles, who established the 1st farmers bank in rural Iowa. She bought a safe and loaned money for seed and equipment through initial interest free loans. She also repeatedly paid bail for Margaret Sanger.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Time's Running on 2007

Wow. Loads of fun...been doing loads of pasta, loads of laundry, loads of drama. Seventeen of us makes for passionate family tennis tournaments, hilarious family bike rides, mean games of midnight kick the can, poker, and a constant buffet with buckets of cookies. I'm fifteen pounds heavier and exhausted. Hard to find time to paint, though for this one I snuck to the backyard and pretended to be on safari- like our holiday last year.
11 x 7 inches

Friday, December 28, 2007

A matter of Time

7x5 inches. acrylic on paper

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Urban Ice Cream

A perfect triptych for new England apartments- small, black, iconic, and yummy. The edges of the deep block canvases are painted in black.
each is 4 x 4 x 2 inches, oil on canvas

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Moodona and Calf

This is a small oil painting made using my brother's photo's of our cows.SORRY FOR THE CROOKED PHOTO.
4 x4 x2 inches

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sacred Day

5 x 7 inches
What makes a day more sacred than any other? Why did I greet the sunrise with a special sense of euphoria? Why do we decorate an ordinary tree? I was thinking, of course, of the calendar. My sister, who just arrived from the Pacific coast said she had been stunned by the phenomenal increase in the pull of the tides with the full moon. My sister from France said perhaps it was a sacred day just by taking the time to notice. She gave me a book called, The Difference a Day Makes, by Karen Jones. For today- I read: Curb your assumptions. Remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays you do, whether for religious reasons, out of personal beliefs, or due to circumstances such as the passing of a parent...Plan with sensitivity.
"Karen M. Jones is a creative strategist, social entrepreneur, and founder of Benevolent Planet, a public resource providing practical strategies for socially conscious living. We all want to do our share in making the world a better place."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cookies for Santa

Acylic on paper 5 x 7 in.
Needless to say those who take care of the rest of us need to be nurtured as well.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Present

acrylic on paper and I think 5 x 7 inches
The doors are opening and being filled with hordes of relatives as cousins, uncles, sisters, nephews, neices all arrive bearing tales of travel, laughter, and gifts. With each hug and pat we size up the changes in each other, and look deep into eyes seeing not only the bonds that tie us, but a mirror to our own history. This little present, with it's oversized card, caught my attention. It is from my mother's brother to my mother, and is a small symbol of his incredible generosity. We are so lucky to have each other. She is so lucky to have him. My heart goes out to those who are alone this holiday. I wish we could all be together, everyone in the gathering.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Virtual Studio Tour

My artist friends at are all sharing their studio space today. My work space in the barn loft has gotten a bit cold and I use the holiday errands, the kids social life and other distractions to not be there as often. I have hung a tarp to contain some of the heat and reflect the light from the skylight, there is an electric heater and I believe padded insulated coveralls are the fashion of the day. I lust for mittens with the tips removed! Once I start to work I forget all about the temperature and hours will pass before I notice. It is just getting there! My dad has his vet clinic just downstairs and it is nice seeing him everyday. We synchronise all the stereo (turntables), from the waiting room, to the kennel room, to the studio loft, to his electronic bench area (even higher in the rafters). It is a huge space, and lots of fun for entertaining in warmer weather!
Meanwhile the photo shows a pretty CLEAN area because I am working out of a suitcase in my house! Until March...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shifting perspectives

I had a friend over to my studio today and I painted her 3 times and caught three pieces of her. It's hard to believe it is possible. Each one is her and isn't. Then I played in Photoshop and collaged the three together for a 4th version. How does an artist capture truth? Glass? Mirrors? Filters? Cut and Paste?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Point of view

Diptych 14 x 7 inches. The painting started as one image, a figure standing on lace-like ice (see how the head connects to a torso on the lower portion?) But I took a risk, then it just changed. I could call it a change of perspective...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wake up

7 x 7 inches, acrylic on paper
I UNDERSTAND that being at a funeral can make the spectators feel alive. There is a sort of twist to it. But what I don't get, amid the laughter of family and friends and holiday food, is WHY we are here in the first place. Is it just to enjoy what pleasures the good times bring? There is so much force to living. Tons of details to the daily grind. Miracles in the eyeballs of posterity...but my soul wonders...Why are we here? Where is the study of consciousness?
As I spent the afternoon driving (to parties), I wondered if the reason we are here is to move. Perhaps by expending energy we create energy and fuel the universe? But, undeniably, the gift is to be still. The truth seems to be that we can't stop moving- so we need to choose carefully, acknowledge positive motion, and meditate on stillness.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spiritual Tool #5- the alarm clock

More musings on time.
11 x 7 inches

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The fledglings are back in the nest

Not much done today- a big snowstorm came in at the same time we had to retrieve our boys from opposite sides of the county. I was a nervous wreck. As you can see they are home now and my heart is at ease.

Yesterday's work, Yesterday's heroes

Like a lost sailor, cut adrift, I wandered in a car full of paint to the local graveyard. Not much to brag about.
7 x 7 inches acrylic on paper

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Butterfly Bird House


Gift Idea- a painted birdhouse, all sides and top, in bright tropical colors. My friends decorate their bookshelves and one client decorated her mudroom in a collection of wacky original houses. Bonus gift of a small plaque pronouncing "HOPE". Both will be festive additions to any home this season. $100 (includes December shipping cost)

Monday, December 10, 2007

All the Roosters I have Loved: Phoebe Snow & Frank

Years ago when my husband ran his free range poultry farm, Phoebe Snow escaped and moved onto our front porch. My father-in-law really enjoyed her company when he was sunbathing or doing yard work. He named her and took her everywhere whistling for her to follow him. She knew he was her protector. So I painted my father-in-law, Frank, as a rooster.
This is oil on canvas, 4 x 4 x 2 inches- the lighter side of life!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Shovel #2 with vines

I am not sure what inspired this one. Look closely at the sewn words in the painting, notice the paint is layered in whispy brushstrokes. It has been a hard couple of days. I've been painting through tears. That changes the view a little to the more vague end of the spectrum. This shovel needed a little hope. As we slide toward the darkest days of the year, I tried to imagine the light returning. Having a positive outlook takes practice- for some it may come naturally, but my friend Steve says you can cultivate it. He uses self-hypnosis. I guess my painting is a stab at being positive. Serendipitously, a fortune cookie from Friday says: the hard work you do today will reap easy rewards tomorrow. Ha! We'll see, won't we. 15 x 11 inches. Acrylic and sewn paper

Saturday, December 8, 2007

All the Roosters I have Loved: Julio

Oil on canvas, 4 x 4 x2 in.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Clean sweep #4

Another version of my seductive sweeper. This is 11 x 15inches, acrylic on paper with sewn words...
I have been shopping- Picked up a watercolor of our farm painted by Sue Hennelly for my neice in France. It captures the light and the warmth of our summer holidays here together. For my nephew I found a print by Amy Farrell of bear prints. My nephew is such a sweet boy- often scared of his own shadow, and yet alive when it comes to nature and fossils. I could definitely see him in about a dozen years on Discovery Channel as some expert on the life cycle of some rare beetle. Check out the list below to see where I have been shopping.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gift idea original art- whip cream and other delights

I am going to start posting GIFT SPECIALS for my blog viewers as we head deep into the season of exchange. This is a grouping of three daily paintings painted earlier this summer on the theme of the ice cream sundae. They are oil on canvas and measure 4 x 4 x 1 1/2 inches each, wired for hanging as is! Surprise a loved one with this collection of paintings that tell a story when grouped together. Usually I ask $100 per painting but for this month only I will consider $225 for the three!
I bought a lovely painting of a heart shaped lollipop from Sarah Trefny in Oregon, for my 6 year old niece who is a notorious sugar addict. When the work arrived in the mail I was astounded at the quality- hope she doesn't try to eat it! Do something artsy for the holidays... please visit to see all the great art shopping options.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Spiritual tool #4- shovel

I could get in a lot of trouble dealing in weighty matters and pictorial realism. Forgive me if this offends. My desire was to take an inevitable cliche and paint it beautifully dull- a solid form against the unidentifiable. This is sewn paper painted acrylic about 22 x 15 inches.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Travelor #3 In My Shoes

Words paint a picture in our minds eye, and then, embedded, sewn, layered in paint, they collaborate with the image on our retina. That's the bright idea.
I am having dreams about highways. I run along them as if I were a vehicle and then get baffled when approaching intersections. Last night I squeezed by a huge, and soft, tractor trailer when my 4 lane highway turned into an 8 lane intersection with "turn only" and "turn or go straight" or "go straight only" lanes. It made decisions imminently important. I didn't know whether to turn toward a hazy new city across a precarious bridge or trust vague memories of the route straight ahead.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Words paint a picture, another Travelor

Early in the morning I had the idea to revisit my travelor image, yet it took all day to get it done. I wanted the idea to be more solidly rendered and the travelor to be ephemeral. There's hardly any paint to talk of- as it is mostly words sewn together. The figure is a gestural mark gracing the surface. It's risky whether it works or not as art. There are accidental parts that I enjoy now- such as, "the approach pressurized LIFE call her Mad." 11 1/2 X 8 INCHES. $100 (plus s/h)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pressure point symbols

PONDERING THE ECONOMY. Quandry #1: I worry that the first thing to be cut when budgets get tight is art dollars. So in an act of Voodou- (did I tell about growing up in Haiti?)- I am actively putting my dollars in the art world. Perhaps it will be a contageous act? I have decided to buy each of my neices and nephews a holiday gift of a work of art. Artists who I think will grow stronger and will be interesting for these little kids to keep an eye on surround me in my local community and on the web. It has been a TON of fun to view art with the eyes of each individual child. So far (I hope they aren't reading) I bought Jamie W. Grossman's miniature oil painting on easel of Bannerman Castle for Natalie, the 3 year old princess of Texas.
Quandry#2: I haven't wanted to sell my latest work. I think I need to reapproach the daily painting, create faster work for that in addition to the work I am not ready to let go of. I have been looking through old sketches of the cows and chickens...

This small painting is called "Acupuncture" in reference to my first experience with it...I slept on a bed of crushed quartz and while my blood seemed to sweep through my limbs, my mind pondered the begining of life. Acrylic on panel 10.5 x 9.25 inches.

Clean sweep #3

I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO POST THIS IMAGE YESTERDAY. It actually has been a piece in my studio that I have been coming back to over several weeks, sewing and painting, and tearing out, starting over. I really like it right now and think perhaps it is done...15 x 22 inches, acrylic, thread, collage

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the Road

This is my 300th post! What a strange path to here. First a series of anxious chickens (look for upcoming book), then capturing time in a month of sundaes (limited posters still available), to this moment, this act of homage to a personal memory. On the Road is 12 x 8 inches sewn paper and paint with a few holes.
Words are sewn into the warp and weft of my journey, revealing plans and dreams I've come to terms with and that will eventually mark my passing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Spiritual tool #3- hammer

Inconclusiveness permeates this image. I don't know how this will end, and so I paint, grasping for clues. Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 x 2 inches

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Drop Everything

acrylic and ink on paper 7 x 11 inches
Picture this artist, housewife, chauffeur, mother as... Atlas, with the sky on her shoulders. Picture yourself. In all fairness we are each given whole star systems to shoulder. Galaxies of lists, those nebulous relatives, pulsating health issues, global warming, orbiting chores, blight years, etc... Now Atlas is often depicted in art as a symbol of strength- yet really he should be far better known as a symbol for endurance. His task, to forever shoulder the heavens, was a punishment he didn't truly embrace, as seen when he tried to trick Heracles into taking the load. So when my yoga instructor breathes out the words, "Drop everything" it can really radically rock this artist's world. And spread panic.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Unravelled, to Wish or Knot

Still working with the Thanksgiving Ties. Acrylic on paper-

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Ties and Rituals

pen and ink and paint on paper...first stage and reworked ...
so many dishes.......FOOTBALL GAMES. My alma mater (CU) beat Nebraska in Folsom stadium! I loved watching the game, the fans..recalling memories of past games. Only a bit of sadness over the hieghtened importance of a game...affecting careers and lives. The Nebraska school zealots FIRE their coach after the game! What happened to sportsmanship and keeping a game in perspective? I am baffled.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Ties

It has been two days since I painted. This was a quick painting done near the potted plants by the televised football game at my brother-in-law's. I was thinking that rope, originally a product of twisted organic fiber echoes the sweeping broom heads, and is a beautiful symbol for the ties that bind families and friends together.
Of the wishbone, and the maple leaf...I'm not sure what it is about, but I need to try it again.
Hope everyone has had a gratitude brimming holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some local scenery

I find having my husband off work, less daylight, and holiday chaos abounding that I am not painting every day now. Here are some of the works for sale at local venues. The Sharon Historical Society (SHS) has three or four of my sewn works, among them my sewn rose- which my son Max titled "Soft Landing". Liz Shapiro, the director of SHS, is very supportive of the arts and a magician at turning the museum into a community center. My "Paradise" depicts what I call the divorced hen- she has her own small pad, with TV dish and forgives the housework. Eight of my chicken paintings on wood are hanging near the window of the Riverwinds Gallery in Beacon. That gallery is run by four dynamic women who have a love of adventure and a tendency towards deep laughter. Also across the river from home at the GCCA gallery on mainstreet Catskill I have two of my February paintings of the farm.
Please support these places because they work hard to make art a center of the community, a part of the local economy, and a viable lifestyle for those creativly inclined. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

SPIritual tool #2- focus

To focus on what is important you sometimes need input from others as well as time alone. I just got back from a meeting with 7 other women artists (Women Artists @ Work). The 3 hours we spend together once a month really lends clarity to the vision of myself as an artist. We support, encourage, listen, share, critique and inspire each other's work. The time we take to gather together acts as a balance to the time we must spend in isolation creating new works. Our group is special in that every one of the twelve of us is completely different, in our work as well as in the rhthym of our lives. When I tell them about my latest paintings they each have something unique to add to the dialogue.
Spiritual focus is a paradox. Like walking through a dark room, you see shapes more clearly when you avoid directing your glance anywhere specific.
I hear Steve is painting!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Clean sweep

If you search Google for "clean sweep" you will get 2,010,000 entries. So check those out or just trust (like I do), that these paintings are taking me closer to finding out truths to our daily existence. On an artistic level I am inspired to paint the curves of form, the linear pattern of light and the flowing edge of the brush. On a gut level, the memory of the woods I just finished painting exists here in iconic microcosm, distilled to an organic tool. We spend our whole lives accumulating things to feel full and yet perhaps the best way to prepare for inevitable death entails the graceful removal of any sense of attachment...