Sunday, January 31, 2010


Pear Joy II

oil on gessoed paper
4 1/2 x 6 inches

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Recently I volunteered at a local art organization to assist while rejected work for an upcoming art show had to be retrieved.  An interesting exercise for anyone who enters juried shows and has suffered the rejection syndrome.  Post-it® Notes with a Y or a N were put on the artwork in the gallery.  (Y = YES. N = no.)  The show's list of entries had a Y or a N next to the artist's names though the Y's also got a yellow highlight.  A simple letter can carry such power. 

I know artists who take rejection in stride, others dwell under a dark cloud for a day and then there are the ones who will voice their displeasure to the organization.  (We artists can forget it is all subjective.)  Even when one does suffer rejection one tends to ignore the fact others are suffering the same probably because we may not know the other artists who entered the show or we may focus on those lucky ones selected.  Most shows accept a tiny portion of the entries so the no's if penciled on Post-it® Notes could create quite a pile.  This time I was able to put faces to the N's and seeing their comings and the goings of the work made me realize such a group can give solace if one thinks of rejection only as a Post-it® pile of Ns.   

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Along with the new year goal to get into the studio everyday,  I also decided to do small painting exercises.  These are roughly 6 x 6 squares on 300 lb paper and I use graphite, white gesso and a limited palette of watercolors.  My subject matter for each must include a boat and a wave.  The intention is to work quickly on 4 - 6 squares per session just to loosen up, warm up and have fun.   This is play time and a stack of paintings is building.       

Monday, January 25, 2010


Isn't there a song about today?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This past December I wrote about studio envy and this month an exciting opportunity was offered to me to rent a space for two months through my artist friend Merill Comeau and artist Cristel Ide at ArtSpace in Maynard.  The studio is fantastic (!) with high ceilings, tall windows, great light and long white walls to hang one's work.  For two months I have an opportunity to work daily without distractions of home/family/pets and technology and also to be in an active artist environment.  This is like getting the big promotion and the corner office.  And almost like an artist residency though I still have to make my own lunch.     

Friday, January 22, 2010


While driving the other day to my new temporary sub-let half share studio I spotted this bumper sticker:

Live Your Own Myth

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The other day I bought a chocolate bar based on the packaging.  The artwork sold me.  I decided to support the Vivani Chocolate business since they are supporting artists by featuring art work on the packaging and telling you who the artist is and where to see their work.  This artist is Annette Wessel and her work can be seen at and is worth a visit.  Vivani's tagline is The Art of Chocolate and is also a fine example of the art of marketing.  Plus the added bonus is exqusitely rich dark chocolate to savor while looking at delicious art.  How sweet it is.  

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Last night while watching reuns of NCIS I pulled out some boxes of watercolor paintings. I was looking for fresh full sheets of 300 lb paper, or at least a white back side of a bad painting. On reviewing a pile of scissor paintings that would probably never see a mat and frame I decided some could be better used for other purposes/projects and paintings. These were torn into sections with the plan to gesso over them. But in the tearing I found some fun works reborn. And am now inspired to work with these images in a new way.

If one is interested in seeing more of my scissor paintings please visit my website

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Last night around 2 AM  I had trouble falling back to sleep. I tried warm milk, reading, and moving the cats to the other side of the bed.  It was a few frustrating hours before I was able to again sleep.  And then I dreamt (separately) of a young Robert Redford and George Clooney.  It was worth those few hours of tossing to interact with these two artists even if it only happened in dreamland.  At least I woke up this morning fourteen minutes before my alarm and definately refreshed.

So my plan for the day was to dash out to Concord to pick up a painting and get back to the studio.  However once on Route 2 there was a huge traffic mishap that had cars backed up in all directions.  Fortunately there were no fatalities and thankfully some miracles did occur.  With the usual route roadblocked we had to detour.  Again another inconvenience that for me became a silver lining.  On my detour I first saw an owl, then a few miles down, the road opened into stunning landscapes that are breathtaking.  Places I am now planning to revisit with my sketchbook, camera and paints in this season of winter and the seasons to come.  So even though my dash turned into a two hour journey I am glad I was made to detour.  So next time you are out think about that road not traveled and take a chance for inspiration.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Since re-framing yesterday I decided to do the math on all the elements that goes into presenting the painting in a professional manner.  (As noted in my prior blog I order most of the following items from Documounts.)  This is a worthwhile exercise especially when it comes to tax time.  For a 28 x 36 inch framed package this is the breakdown:.

FRAME: Nielsen metal frame including hardware    $54.04

PLEXIGLASS: (standard)     $23.05

MATBOARD: 6-ply archival 1 sheet (hopefully)   $15.44

FOAM CORE: 3/16th inch archival 1 sheet  (usually)  $8.58

Cost so far $101.31

Plus adding the other essentials of archival linen hinging tape, bumpers, hanging wire and labels which I did figure the cost per inch so add an additional $1.91 and this makes a total of $103.22

One could go on to list the cost of other tools that come into play when creating  but in the final math it is not about the financials is it?  It can't be.  It is about the love of the process and pushing paint around.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Today I am gladly back to work after the festive last days of December into January.  I reframed two large watercolors for an upcoming juried show. Originally I had floated the watercolors (on 300 lb paper) in the frame but after viewing under various lighting conditions I felt the technique detracted from the paintings. So after several hours, with one paper cut on a finger, a matboard wasted, and cat hairs removed between the Plexiglas and the mat the two paintings were framed. With a wide white border these two paintings now look vibrant.

While I was cutting a third matboard, due to scratches on the second one not seen until it was under the Plexiglas, I was thinking of the cost of framing. I recently read a well written blog by Rhode Island artist Jason Brockert titled “Why Does Art Cost so Much?" He succinctly explains both the hidden and real costs of a painting. I would highly recommend reading this article and passing it along to non-artist family and friends who do not understand why we or galleries charge that price for the work.

I use a full sheet, 22 x 30 inches, of watercolor paper for my work. For the mat board I use 6-ply and a full sheet measure 32 x 40 inches and costs $15.44. This does not include shipping (from Portland, OR) nor the minimum orders required. Since my frame size is 28 x 36 inches there is little matboard left over except the fallout which can be used for a much smaller work. There are a lot of scraps in my studio. For the backing board I use archival 3/16th inch Foam Core and again requiring most of a full sheet with no fallout. A 28 x 36 inch Plexiglas can be hefty if priced locally so along with the matboard, Foam Core, and Nielsen metal frames my resource of choice is Documounts of Portland, OR. Then there is wire, archival tape, bumpers, labeling, and framing hardware to add up along with assembly time. If the planets are aligned favorably sometimes it can be a breeze to frame so I would figure two hours a painting. What does it all cost? Well, now I have to do the actual math…. Though, once framed, the feeling, on viewing the work, is priceless.