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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Me, by Bibi

This photo is by my friend Bibiana, whose visits inspire me each time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tweaking for Tourism

I've tweaked the Hyde Park area to emphasize more of the FDR draw for tourists and historians. He is a real icon of the area. Last night I thought I'd varnish and my dad surprised me by installing new flood lights, and making the barn loft as bright as day! Unfortunately I had bought the wrong varnish, not enough of it, and had only a trickle of turpentine. So everything was delayed until after my kids teachers conferences and tournaments and a 40 minute drive to the stores for supplies. Sigh. The beauty of living in the country and of having kids.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Profiles and backside

This is the side view! Isn't it lovely? It"s really pretty narrow and it flows upward. I am about ready to start coating the map with varnish. The backside- which really won't be seen as it will face a wall (which is FINE by me) is where I am having fun- taking risks with paint application. I am capturing the train station as seen from a platform. I love the repeated patterns and slight variations of shape.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The creative highs and lows

Moved from my studio to the barn loft so I could finally stand the panel upright. The ceilings in my studio aren't high enough for an 8 foot work of art. It was a nerve wracking process and the painting seemed to mock me. Worse than doubts on my own skills, I felt sure I'd made a mistake by convincing others that I could paint this map. For a couple hours I was a tender sack of tears. I called a friend and just her voice eased me back to laughter. And then my husband asked if I had eaten in a while (I hadn't). It is so weird how one gets tossed on highs and lows while in the creative process. Is any of it real?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Is this healthy?

Is it healthy to be thinking of your painting all the time? Shopping with my youngest son for school clothes, I embarrassed him by insisting on photographing the colors in the clothing displays. It was what I wanted to echo in the mural. I think I've been working on this map mural since the first of the month. Most of the time the work has been a dance- I make a mark, jump back, look and look until I feel what has to be done next. With the help of a power sander and a lot of acrylic paint I have been able to adjust images as needed. Last Sunday I threw in a really long day- I thought I'd get in early and get out to spend time with my boys- but I worked through the morning until late afternoon. And then Monday the picture was silent. I looked and looked and didn't know what to do.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I love being left alone

I haven't written in a while, not for lack of work, or lack of the Muse in my studio-actually I have been painting a lot. I feel totally inspired- too inspired to slow down and write about it! It's sort of like when I was growing up and had boyfriend issues. I'd call home when I was miserable and all was going wrong...get everybody's advice and sympathy. Then, when things got better I never thought to take the time to call home and tell them- I was having much too much fun!
This week I did take a day to go by train to the city and meet Mom. I didn't talk about the studio or the map because I was afraid to go into it- to share my obsession, as if my eyes might roll in my head and I'd start frothing. I love being alone in my studio. I love the way a painting can talk to me. For every mark made, there is a dialogue. When I spend 9 hours in the studio much of it is standing there, looking, thinking, wondering. When I make a move I am often surprised by the results. I really do not have any idea how this piece will look when I feel it is done.
So I took these pictures, of the east and west sides, in order to study the mural from a distance. A photograph changes what we can see, by flattening and leveling the surface.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A ten hour day in the studio

Millbrook. Millerton. The Map about two thirds done. Some studio details...
I was supposed to attend meetings, dr's appointments and have students, but the weather warnings and county wide state of emergency due to all sorts of flooded roads, let me stay in my studio and be alone. It was a wonderful day but my legs hurt from standing so long and I feel I could pass out for not eating.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


It has been that sort of day. I have not been in my studio since Thursday-and I feel a bit skittish. Part of me doesn't recall what I have been distracted with. I need to sit still and realise I have painted apples in the kitchen, paid the bills and the IRS, chaperoned 21 6th graders to dinner and the movies, mailed posters to customers, worked the school bookfair, catalogued students' work on cd, gone to church, gone to Catskill, gone to Vassar, seen 3 art shows, checked on the cost of art supplies for my summer workshops, caught up on the laundry, cooked two semi-fancy meals, and watched my son play lacrosse. I really really really want to paint tomorrow. Tonight it's potato chips and beer...

Friday, April 13, 2007

MAp - The EASTERN corridor of the county

A study....these are the foothills of the Berkshires. Home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Studio visit

Paint on paper
15 x 11 1/2 inches

If every day could be as good as this day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time with the Muse

It's been a wonderful couple of days where I've barely maintained life outside the studio- in fact my houseplants look withered, and my husband is loosing weight. I have been painting. Painting. Painting. You know how "when it rains it pours"? Well! While I was painting, the phone rang, the email piled up and I got asked to be in three gallery shows, to join two starting galleries, to take on two new students, and to help start an arts camp! Unfortunately I can't commit to most of it- I have 14 days to go on this train station map.
This small picture is called "Time with the Muse".

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Map - The NW corner of the county

I am having a love affair in my studio. It's all.
From the moment I wake at sunrise...I'm painting. I laugh, talk out loud, try something new and faintly hear the violinist play!
Gotta get back there! here are two stages of one corner of the map.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Map study

Full out in the studio- hardly time to breath when I emerge- so much, with the family, to take care of that I neglect...
This is todays painting- acrylic on irregular shaped wood panel.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

set of daily studies

I am having a terrific time working on the train station map. The surface is phenomenal- I love the size, and I fit right in it! There are surprises and questions and unknown territory to travel.
Tied up with a deadline, and not wanting to abandon my daily painting resolve, I am focusing on painting quick exercises in color and light. For the first time in AGES I will not be selling my daily studies. I find them too valuable (in lessons) to sell and also not finished enough to offer anybody else. Hope you enjoy looking. I'll be back to painting real pictures after the map is done...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

MAP- intimate studio developments

I cringe a little at sharing these photographs- they are so much about a work in process. Only a wisper of them will be revealed in the finished mural. I have been painting the backside- a scene of a train arriving at the station- that lets me experiment loosely with the paint. I work between wide brushes, towels, dribbles, spills, sandpaper, glazes and scumbles. Finally, I got the courage to face the front and lay some paint on - to feel the flow of the county edges, slightly exagerate the river and organize the city relationships.
(My daily watercolors are posted on

Monday, April 2, 2007

backyard woods thaw

6 x 4 inches watercolor and pencil on paper

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Watercolors in the woods

6 x 4 inches, pencil and watercolor on paper. My son Max took me and the dog on a long walk... through our backyard, over the neighboring hills, up several creeks, and down a seemingly bottomless ravine. We talked about Spring, rebirth, Palm Sunday, the equinox, sunstorms, icecaps, magnetic fields, and the ozone.
Before the walk, a part of me felt I should be in the studio- but now I feel like the day is magnificent and how lucky I am to live in the country and be healthy and alive. My folks come home from their long trip abroad this afternoon, and my husband has just departed on a week long roadtrip, with a trailor full of motorcycles.