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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting on the past

This is an apple shaped gourd.If you shake it you can hear the seeds rattle inside it. It is about 7 inches tall from tip of the stem to the base and about 6 inches wide. I thought I'd try an iconic image for New York and all of us living in the aftermath of 911. With the attempted Christmas eve bomb scare aboard the plane to Detroit, 911 haunts us once more in the media and with the TSA. Will put this on eBay at a starting price of $5.

Some review on the past year

My 2009 goals were:
Solidify local networking I exhibited in 11 group shows, 4 public works projects, 2 two person shows, and 2 solo shows! How nice the solo shows were spaced from spring to winter! Hailed as the “town artist” for three area villages and towns (that’s nice about rural areas) As for press coverage I got 8 articles about my work in papers from Poughkeepsie, to Bedford to Millerton. I spoke to two village boards and was on public cable TV. And I have to count the one radio show. One of the public works projects linked a community of 50 artists countywide.

Reach overseas I took a German class, sold two painting to a guy in Brussels, and have two drawings in a show in Berlin right now. Need to do more.

Community service I organized art slide slams, a county wide artist studio tour this fall, did school backdrops for events, window displays for a local non-profit, co-curated a show that got NY Times coverage, donated paintings to non-profits, volunteered in an after school woodshop class, and hosted 5 free community flag making workshops.

Grants and residencies: Though it feels like much more, I applied to at least 16 places or art competitions, and have at least 7 rejections. Three places are still considering. My goal was to apply monthly- and I did that. I have since come to realize that with everyone gone from my home I don’t need a residency- unless it has a valuable networking component, so I probably won’t be as gung ho about applying next year.

Paint 20 hours a week There were weeks I painted over twenty hours and a lot that were less. Completed a lot less paintings than the last year or the year before.

Internet: Web I will have posted work almost 300 times on my blog this year. Started a second one, not as regular but with a few followers, with images from my past as I analyze my marriage. Started posting miniatures on eBay a few weeks ago.
Links I was going to make comments on other blogs and reach out- but frankly had no time. There is no Internet service at my studio. I did write a couple articles for healthybeing blog. I am still a member of I started and forgot about my Etsy account in February. Absolute arts in March, Linkedin in April, Twitter in May, Fineartamerica in June, and recently artslant and Artblogs4U. I refused to do facebook even though I was told that was a great way to keep track of my kids. Haha.

Sell/teach I started teaching my dream job this summer. I have an after school stint with them and promise of work next summer. I also taught a workshop through an adult art school that was very successful. Hope to do it again this spring. I put a sign in front of my studio and now have four adults coming on weekends for 2-hour classes.

Separate studio from house. I moved into a new studio in the spring.

Contact mail list 1x month I didn’t do this as regularly as I hoped. Made two postcards this year. Did 4 e-newsletter type blasts. Had about 45% open click rate on them.

Book- didn’t get there- but last June I had my own room in a huge art mill event and put on a solo show with the one idea I had in mind. I can start to see it- the wall labels are a start! Just last week I made a quick book from CVS of my last solo show before it came down today. I included the explanatory text that I worked so hard on. I may push that further. The info is all there.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hamster Chronicles

This is an older work- and a memory of past Christmas seasons,
You see, a few years ago- seems like ages- the kid's aunt P showed up Christmas eve with two hamsters as presents. Of course we chided her for bringing live animals into this house... always a risk, and worried about our imminent vacation departure.
The night before we left one of the hamsters, the one named Ray, escaped. We spent hours stumbling across suitcases and Christmas debris trying to corner and catch the little guy. No luck. We left town. While away the remaining hamster, Rowena, gave birth! We returned with the opportunity to philosophize on parenting styles. Seems Rowena also wanted to escape. It was either that or eat her children. I let it become a sleepless battle to keep her and her kids safely contained. One night, in total frustration, we opened the front door and- blizzard not withstanding- she went out. Seems the dad was absentee and she was of the traveling type, as well.
Ahh- holidays can be stressful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Five Kids on snowy hillside with sled

SOLD The picture quality is terrible because I've had to use the mac photo booth to take it. My computer goes to "the shop" today and I may be off-line for a few days.

KIDS SLEDDING is 4 x 5 inches, acrylic on canvas wrapped stretcher. Check out more of my ebay offerings. New miniature works weekly for the next 5 months... It is an experiment!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Self help book on couch in clouds

6 x 9 inches
Thank goodness for small moments among the holiday festivities where I can get away and paint. This painting brought a whole mood shift with it. Fabulous.
There is so much work to be done, the tools are right there, I just have to get my lazy butt up and off the couch to secure the changes. And often just the thoughts exhaust me. Time for a new year's resolution?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Couch Three Presents

6 x 9 inches acrylic on panel
Executed in a palette of mostly reds, this charming scene is not appropriately represented using my computer photo booth to document it. The glare is a reflection from the screen, which I can't tone down anymore.
Hope everyone is having a fine holiday season. I do feel, contrary to my low spirits, blessed by having so many friends and supporters this year. It's too early to recap how lucky I feel- so instead I will spare you and leap away from the computer today... coffee and stocking awaits!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dream Lounge under full moon

This is a chaise lounge chair. ( SOLD- thanks sarah!) If it was only velvety red it would be perfect for a corner of my bedroom. I could "lounge" there all day and read self help books and munch on potato chips while my toe nail polish dried. No seriously- I would, if I owned such a chair, give up the bad habits of self help books! So instead I'd snuggle with my cats and needlepoint pillows with images of my chickens.
Right now, these days, I do not quiete know how to maneuver. I know I am forgeting things and only getting the minimal done- like pick up a son at the train, feed everyone a meal, check the animals. My dreams are quickly filling up with water. I can't see my footing. Everything is about a foot deep under mysterious water. This painting, at 6 x 9 inches of acrylic on wood luan panel, was created today in that dull lull between errands.

Also- my eBay work has been selling. Still great deals. Today a really nice hen is SOLD. If you have a chance, check it out. That reminds me! I have to wrap and ship paintings and presents. My Christmas cards are inevitably turning into New Years cards...
Oh- there is so much to do!!!! Thank goodness there isn't a chair like this to entice me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Seems like my computer is dying. It's doing all sorts of funny things and won't recognize my camera so I cannot post todays painting.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a new day.

Not exactly a holiday picture

MY computer is not recognizing my camera so this photo of this painting, in desparation, was taken using the camera built into the lap top. So it's not cropped well... sorry.
6 x 9 acrylic on primed luan panel.
Trying not to have a pity party... though with all the changes this holiday, I'm feeling sad and short on brilliance. Short on time too. So the idea of crying all day, in a chair with nothing but a box of tissue and a ray of light, is only a fantasy.
Before my computer dies I am hoping to spread the word on my ebay offerings. there is one small chicken painting that is really quiet divine going for $5 tomorrow. It's worth a bit more. Search for Tilly Strauss to see it and others. thanks... and go do the elf thing, create magic for your family, friends and neighbors.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tiny wing in silver frame

Well- When you think you should start to fly, I imagine a small wing would feel appropriate. Paired with the Tiny Nest from a few days ago, I see the poetry of transformation. Both are individually 2.75 x 4.25 inches framed. Acrylic on primed cotton canvas. 
I have focused on painting just the leading edge of one wing. For maximum lift potential it needs to be strong and light. 
Lately, I have sought time for reflection. Pondering questions such as, for what purpose do I paint? Why does it need to be posted and seen? Perhaps it is by painting images of my toil and growth that I tap into a common memory. By letting others see and enjoy the work, I keep the flow of the Muse. Too much reflection and analysis might kill all my enthusiasm. Too much reliance on the market valuation will kill it too. These are unique times for me. I have never seen a fall in economy as I have these last few months. I have been painting full time for the last 5 years, and it has been a blessing and privilege. Thanks to all my blog readers who send me comments, encouragement, questions, and insights. I hope this week finds you with both wings and a cozy nest.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wings off back

Small painting inspired by the glorious wings etched by Durer in the early 1500's. There is a great show at Vassar's Leaman Loeb up until the 24Th of this month. See it. Use the magnifying glasses that they provide for a real TRIP.
This acrylic on primed birch luan panel painting is 7 x 7.75 inches.

Hudson windows again

Friday, December 18, 2009

gretchen's 12 art days countdown

I am honored to be the first in Gretchen's series of twelve artists to watch.
She is inspiring and too kind.
I am intrigued by the pairing of images she chose. I haven't looked at my work that way... and yet, with Gretchen's eye, I see the work in a new light and some of it starts to make sense!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A TEENY Tiny nest framed

Just had to do this...
hope you like it.

Studio in the snow

It's a lovely day....
I am reviewing my accomplishments and shortfalls this year and working on my goals for next year. I hope to be able to keep my studio space in town... it is such a lovely place with great energy and nice tenants. (There is a room for rent for another creative person).

Next weekend I will be open from 11-4 Friday through Sunday for those last minute browsers! Stop by and have a cup of tea, rest your feet for a minute and tell me a story.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inspired by the snow and deer in nature

My hunting friends have been stopping by the studio and talking about tracking... this is my own sort of hunt- all paint and maps on fine luan birch wood panel. 19 x 13 inches.
It's late so I am just adding photos of the painting as it came to life in my studio.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finally, Wings of maps, paintbrush, paint smock

I wanted this to be a "daily painting", and yet, with the increase in size (19 x 13 inches) I find it needs at least two days to get to some level of pause. Then again- why not keep working on it for DAYS, weeks, months? (Something I rarely, maybe never, have done).
Wasn't there someone who said that "paintings are never finished, only abandoned"? 
With some air under my arms, and roads leading out from my brushes, I can start to fly.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Contemplating the Nest (at my age!)

This is yesterday's painting- 18 x 12 inches
Acrylic on birch wood panel with map collage elements.

Reviewing the Maplebrook show- which exhibits works of mine spanning 20 years, I see that the nest has been a constant recurring symbol for me. It has meant various things as i have spent the last two decades raising children, building a home, carving time for work, and reaching out to neighbors. Perhaps it is time to leave the nest behind. So, in order to MOVE ON, I let myself paint one more and hope for the best. It was a brave and appalling experience to look at myself this way.


Open today and tomorrow to the public from 1-4
Thalheimer hall, right off route 22, Amenia

This is an early work- 1989, cut wood painted in acrylics. "The Offering"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

READ the signs- road maps and hand palm

all paintings gifted out!

This is a strange little number... 7 x 5 inches.
No thought went into it more than a feeling it had to be. Just be.
On a lighter note I did three quick studies of the cows across the street as gift paintings for the guys who look after me. They are so kind- they plow the drive and give me hay with out taking any money. So this is what I can offer in exchange. I hope they like it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

EGG with map nest- gift idea

Collection P. Baneviscious
Talk about a conflict between staying and leaving! Perhaps just the option of all those roads is enough of a cozy idea to feel comfortable. Have you ever wanted to burrow down into a map? I am intrigued by spots where multiple lines converge. If I had been a map maker I would have created a wrinkle across the surface where I could live.
This measures 6 x 6 inches, maps and paint on matte board.
I don't know why I try things. I just get an idea and have an urgent sensation that I have no choice but to put it together and offer it to an audience. That's the burden of a gift... That's what some people call it. The artist doesn't have a lot to do with it- they just receive inspiration and then pass it on.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Map roads all over my head portrait

7 x 5 inches collage and acrylic paint on acid-free matte board.

Just the idea that roads= like ideas= can sprout all over the top of my head, inspired me to try this likeness. In the process I realised why stop with the analogy of a length of hair being one path- how about those WRINKLES????!!!!! Man! I have maps all over my face.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, THE SEDUCTION, fantasy and humor on eBay


Just posted another small painting on ebay- the one called suitcase bombshell... painted on 5.5 x 8.75 x .75 inch plank of wood with collage elements, travel detritus- such as architectural maps of Barcelona and hotel receipts from India's Taj Mahal area, and a sugar packet.
Search for Tilly Strauss in the art category. Starting bid is just $5!!!!
Also finished this "trail of the nightgown"- acrylic on thick arches paper, 5 x 7 inches

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter wonderland

It snowed about 4 inches last night and I missed the Hudson Winter walk... my car couldn't make it there with the tires balding and the wipers frayed. This morning I awoke (safe in my comfy bed) to a beautiful scene- crystal blue skies, white puffs of snow on the branches and soft purple shadows.... This painted scene is about a ten minute walk from my house- I call them "My trees" and it is where I go to stand in awe and wonder and say prayers and give thanks for everything. I don't think there is a more beautiful place on earth for me, right now, than in those trees.
The photo of the small painting is a little on the blurry side- I will try to retake and upload a better image manana, tomorrow-
5 x 7 inches acrylic paint on heavy arches paper.

On another note- thanks to everyone who came to my reception at Maplebrook today. I am so glad you were there! I wish I could have talked longer to each one of you. Thank you. Thank you.

Award winning windows!? Must see...

So I was awarded:

Most Unique Interpretation
for my window displays at:

Jean Deux, 339 Warren Street



Friday, December 4, 2009

TAXI escape suitcase

Time to hit the road. Only thing is- Mom has an infection, and so I feel like I am leaving a bit...pre-maturely. My other sisters are too far flung across the globe to step in, and this weekend I have the window unveiling in Hudson and the 20 year retrospective reception on Sunday at the Maplebrook school. I can't miss that. And she should stay near her doctors.

In the painting there is a ghost of a figure next to my luggage. No one is that small anymore- but I my dreams, my son is always small... so maybe I am bringing him with me.
this is 5 x 7 inches- acrylic on thick arches paper

If anybody reading this is in Miami this weekend- after Basel- there is a fabulous porcelain artist with sculptures on display in the Falls Art District. It opens tonigth at 7pm. 8886 Southwest 129th Terrace Miami 33176 Demandt Architects

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicken Hen meets Car in Road

Today, for the last night of my brief trip, I have agreed to plans to meet with my husband. I feel like a hen standing firmly in a roadway confronting a car head on.
(Important note: he doesn’t read my blog- I don’t think he ever has- and if he does now—well, consider this a test. R- if you read this, tell me!)
Last night I had to write a brief statement answering a question about what made my art unique. I said something like, “I paint my life and what I see around me’. What hokum! I don’t paint my life around me! Who has ever really seen a chicken confront a car while crossing a road? Who has seen a yellow sheet cake on the lawn of a Victorian mansion? These aren’t scenes I have sat in front of. I paint, I guess to say more accurately, “a narrative story in symbols of my daily experiences”. Does that make sense?
Often my paintings don’t make sense to me until hindsight. In the process the images manifest as if I were experiencing lucid dreaming. All of it records my life. It places me in time and a location. Look at my “We Are Lost” of 2007-8, painted leaf on map- that was when we were going to move away to Buenos Aires, and then we didn’t and I was confused about where we were, if we were staying or going, and where we were supposed to be.
Then in August 08- I painted Two Weeks- when the discussion of marriage counseling was firmly refused, I was thinking the marriage was over.
In September I placed the hen alone in her own box, framed by colorful maps, Destiny Unknown. That was a self-portrait. Not all of it is anthropomorph-sizing fowl. Look at this summer’s Still life with String- that was the day my uncle Freddy died.
So it’s all about my life, my family, and what I see around me…
Does that make my art unique?