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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cake case II

Since I only have a week left to be in the Market window I have spent some time reviewing my body of daily painting work. I think the spinning cake case at Robin's Millerton Market is an amazing visual (and oral) feast. So I have decided to paint it a couple more times before I leave- Also, the scene of Main Street- as I have to wonder when will I ever again have such a cozy vantage spot? I get to spy on the town, enjoy the vintage architecture while smelling great "just out of the oven" pastries, and meet with friends. Today Amy Farrel and a friend of hers came in and stayed for a long while to chat about art, self promotion, ideas for the next series. I was uplifted and inspired by the discussions. Kelly and Rachel had the music cranked and during the less trafficked moments I was able to soar with Barry Manilow like my teenage days...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Progression of a painting

I thought you might want to see stages of a developing painting. The whole thing took me about two hours since I was also talking a lot of the time;-) You can see how the light was shifting. I started with a yellow canvas and ended by painting the canvas edges to look like woven rattan. The ice cream is actually mashed potato, cold and dripped with chocolate shell. Topped with Maraschino Cherries- there were three, but I was starving and ate one...
8 x 10 x 2 inches acrylic on canvas
Main Street Sundae Monday

Monday, January 29, 2007

Farm Heaven

We live in an awesomely beautiful area...sometimes in my travels I find myself searching the world over for the next great spot where artists can enjoy natural beauty and a good living. Canoa Quebrada, Ouro Preto, Cape town, Puerto Morelos, Boulder, Lacoste, Sitjes, Barcelona, and then I return to...Amenia. Perhaps this is as good as it gets? Perhaps this is heaven?
I had a couple kids looking over my shoulder the whole time I painted this one- they made me switch the seasons from winter to summer and the flavor from vanilla (mashed potato) to strawberry. It was a magic act.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quick Ice Cream Offering

So, I have about a week more in the window. I want to create a couple more than mere thirty paintings to give myself room to edit the final poster. Several people have asked if I'll be creating a calendar as well. And I got my first poster pre-order today.
It can be very warm where I am sitting, so I've started creating "ice cream" out of mashed potatoes! One of my ex-students suggested it. The texture works well...Though the chocolate sauce, on top of warm potatoes ( since I made them at the last minute) still ran. Tomorrow I will try cold potatoes and chocolate "shell".
Right after the painting session I ran to meet John Haas of He is going to help me with the welding of the train station map. My brother hasn't gotten back to me about the latest drawings. All this is the beginings of the next project...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Disaster in Ice Cream World

Sherbet and Soda
8 x 10 acrylic on canvas
In the begining I was going to work more on my Sherbet and Soda picture, but the still life got swept away. So the painting's basically just a sketch washed with color. Looking around the store I grappled for the next source of inspiration.
I was left with using a giant plastic cone and my imagination. Luckily- when I saw people tripping up the steps to the store- the muse struck.
I think it's actually a fun picture- sometimes things work out...
Disaster in the Ice Cream World
8 x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas
Think Quick!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sugar High

acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 inches
Yowee! It was a wild day!

Africa painting

I call this Two Monkeys, Three Zebra and Four Kids...
of course you SEE five kids- but I am counting little Eliza in the front as a monkey!
Oil on canvas with buttons
I still need to finish the still life of the banquet,The food in Africa was amazing. I drank litchee juice, and ate passion fruit for breakfast...among the pastries and eggs and sausages and seafood...I gained so much weight. Well- anyway- about the painting: I must also touch up the zebras and background.
The zebra's really did graze right up to the swimming pool. In the pool is my son Max and three of his best buddies, his cousins. The lounge chairs still call my name.

africa painting continued

This is taken from memories of the trip to Capetown with my extended family and our stay at the luxurious Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa.
oil on canvas with terrycloth additions

Africa painting

This is my version of Selati Lodge, in the Kruger national Parks, South Africa
still need to work on the leopard, the sky, etc..
Oil on canvas with mosquito netting and some feathers to be added to the kingfisher...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Brush and Cone, Double Icons

Daily painting: Double Icons and two images of work in progress: Twelve Apostles and Selati Lodge
What a wonderful day- I should check the lunar calendar because I feel absolutely euphoric. The day started out with renewed inspiration to tackle the oil paintings in my studio. It has been less than a month since we got back from travel to Africa- yet I have to work hard to remember the feel of the air, the light, much less the smells. Recent posted comments renewed some smoldering memories. I will post the three tapestries- which are in progress. By midday I went to the Millerton Market, by standard appointment for my daily painting, and, to my surprise, my youngest sister, Suzy, dropped in to keep me company. We laughed, marveled and even shared a cup of coffee. I ended the day on the phone and fax with my brother, Willy, working out details for the train station mural installation specs. His inspiring vision had me unable to sleep most of the night. The fire is burning! Stay tuned for more on that project really soon!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

With or without an audience?

Two paintings of icecream...
I guess if I was on a desert island I would draw in the sand. There is joy looking at lines, shadows, depth. And if the waves came and washed it away- I'd still do it... Would I decorate my hut, if no one but myself saw it? a desire to juxtapose items in harmony, perhaps to add spots of color, and some order to natural chaos. In conclusion, I guess a painting can be born and survive for the mere audience of the maker. I can be thoroughly entertained on my own in my studio. It is amazing to me to see the effect of lines- the residue of a gesture. My friend Amy is working on a series of giant paintings capturing the movement of a Tai Chi excersize. She quests for a record of a moment. A record of existence. Is it a futile thing? Which is it: the pleasure of the mark making or the recording of one's existence? On the desert island am I decorating for my own eye or leaving a sign of my presence?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cones at Rest

I wish more artists would move out of their studios and share their methods and inspiration with the world. Since I have sat in the window on Main Street I have reconnected with old friends and made new friends but in between I have sensed a shyness among the crowds. Grown people are scared to look. They avert their eyes and concentrate on the card rack. It is the children that pull them closer and make the first comment. I even heard a woman admonish her child-"don't stare", as if I was some mistake in the corner display who needed to be ignored. There has not been enough exposure to the public. Art can be fun, It can be exploratory. Not all of it is great- but... what is a painting without a viewer?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Moon over Sundae

Just another day at the eisle. I read this over the internet: On the Oilandperfume blog.
Last week I took my children to a restaurant.
My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert, and justice for all! Amen!"
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."
"Really?" my son asked.
"Cross my heart," the man replied. Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing)."Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal.
My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will
remember the rest of my life.
He picked up his sundae and without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Paintbrush with dazzle toppings

This still life looked like a white puddle of gunk 15 minutes afterwards!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Take the case

Cake Case at the Millerton Market, acrylic on canvas 8 x 10 x 2 inches
A truly "Sweet Scene" as described by staff reporter Patrick Boisi of this week's Millerton News. This painting was challenging compositionally and as far as editing. I had to leave out so much! Thought I'd go dizzy watching the cakes spin and timing my glances to fall accurately upon the items. There is a vast array of delicasies to focus on...the place is amazing. Kelly put a fresh drizzled chocolate cake in the case and the smell was of heaven. Half the painting is from life, the other half is, because of the constant movement, from memory.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sweet Afterglow

8x 10 x 2
acylic on canvas

Distraction on Main

reworked...I changed the rules- why can't I work on it longer than 2 hours? Thats a stupid rule that I made myself. So I broke it with this one. Needed to tone down the buildings. Still has hardly any room to breathe.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Curiosity on Main Street

Ice cream on Main
8 x 10 inches

A question that begs to be answered is:Why? Why bother to show up everyday? Why bother to put myself in a window and paint in public?
Perhaps it is as lofty as the desire "to raise awareness of the arts" and as lowly as a desire "to demystify the artistic process" for the curious. Making art is fun, and can be funny. Not every painting is a success and I find myself purging my sensitivity for an afternoon of entertainment. I talk while I paint and I make fun of the whole situation. The kids are the best critics and admirers. Everyday I feel as though I am recruiting artists for the neighborhood, the planet, the future. I am an example of someone who chooses to paint the world some beautiful pictures. While politicians recruit soldiers I am on Main Street recruiting artists of tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Think outside the bowl

8 x 10 x 2 inches
acrylic on canvas
still having fun!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Valentine Ice cream

Valentine Sundae
8 x 10 inches
My brother and Eryn just got married!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Two in one day

An American Icon 8 x 10x 2 inches

Three Cherries 8 x 10 x 1 inch
Sometimes I have to paint what is set in front of me and sometimes I have to paint what I see in my head. Today was one of the days I had to paint the parts of an ice cream sundae that are stuck in my memory. Until I get the images out, it just warps my vision. It bothered me throughout the cloudy sky painting yesterday. So I embraced the distraction and just did my favorite parts of the whole. Meanwhile the store was crawling with people, shrieking delighted kids and shy soft spoken seniors... all curious as to what I was doing and why.
Who knows why? My husband stopped by. He thinks I am crazy and he knows me best.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sundae clouds on Saturday

Out of my mind...
Did you know that the worlds largest Ice Cream Sundae was made in Alberta Canada on July 24th, 1988? According to the Guinness Book of World Records it had 20.27 tons of ice cream, 4.39 tons of syrup, and 537lbs of topping.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Millerton Market Mochi

Have you ever tried Mochi balls?! Robin told me all about them and then fixed a skewer. Love the powdered ice look, the delicate colors, the strangeness! They are Hawaiin ice cream, wrapped by hand in a Japanese pastry. As they melted I was able to sample them- and it is a strange sensation...very...nice.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Window dressing

Today I tried to put in everything I could see in front and out of the window. I think it was too much...bottles and buildings fighting for the surface. I will have to try it again...edit and subdue...Meanwhile, lots of old friends passed in front of the window- then did a double take- and came in to chat. Kelly, one of the lovely ladies behind the counter, is funny and encouraging and always seems on the verge of laughter. I may have to paint the inside of the store next! What a fun village Millerton is! I am really enjoying the paint date.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wednesday Cones

Acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Tuesday Toppings

I felt like moving a bit slower than usual today. The freezer is on the fritz. Robin came up with a way to avoid the race against rapidly melting ice cream. She lined up a bunch of sprinkles. I think she is going to open her candy shop across the street very soon, because she has a ton of these really cool and colorful tidbits at her disposal.
I am not sure I like the painting's background - I changed it from green to orange to pale blue-white...each time I leave a little edge of the previous color showing- and dab some on the canvas edge. Vibrations.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Day two

Robin and Allie have been cheerful backup in the store. My aunt drove by and did a honk and wave. A sheriff dropped in and left a flyer for some missing kids. Kind of makes painting ice cream pretty frivolous... Actually, the ice cream sundae was the answer to the "frivolous" Soda Fountain drinks that were outlawed for sale on Sundays. Story goes- a minister in Ithaca, NY wanted a cool refresher and, since the store couldn't fix him a soda, they took the syrup from the soda, put it in a cup and added a dollop of ice cream , some extra syrup with a cherry on top. The minister named it the Ice Cream Sundae- sanctifying it's existence.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

THE Millerton Market

Robin Helfand, of main street's Millerton Market, is letting me use the window space of her storefront for the next month while I explore the American Icon. The Ice Cream Sundae melts quickly- especially in this unusually warm January- so I have to work fast! Overheard a young girl behind me say: "Mommy, I want to go home and paint". That makes me smile.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Between Worlds

I am trying to paint three large tapestries to illustrate what words fail to perform. It feels like a race to set down a memory before it fades. One image is set riverside, the second tapestry is twilight in the bush and the third depicts the cape coastline. Each image illustrates a different aspect of the journey- a different group of people, animals, and textures. I have swaths of mosquito netting, a plethora of buttons and terrycloth for sewing bath robes to the surface. Spent an hour yesterday prying open crusty tubes of oil paint-it has been twelve years since I last used them. (I switched to water based paints when pregnant with Max). Acrylic paint just won't begin to capture the light of Africa. I love pushing around the oil paint and cannot believe the brilliant range of "white" I can achieve.
Tommorrow it will be time to start my American Icon paintings- a series of daily paintings and live demonstrations of the Ice cream Sundae. I will post them as I finish them. I hope to finish 30 in order to create a poster, "A Month of Sundaes", for sale next month.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Out of Africa

It was a dream vacation. There was so much. So much. I flirted with the idea of never coming back home. The plants were seductive. My children were the sound of laughter. My husband was brilliant. The whole family was moved. Returning home to Baltimore, Lise said: "we recognize our stuff, we know this is our house but our souls were left behind..." Jody, my brother-in-law in France writes: " sort of out of body to be back- like we came home to the wrong place" I cannot find the words to tell the experience- so I have started three large paintings...