Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Wildflowers and Ironstone" 9 x 12 oil

I love objects with facets, ironstone, silver, glass.  They reflect their surroundings in a lovely way.  Here is one of my favorite ironstone cream pitchers back lit with wildflowers, and a tomato which casts a beautiful color on the white.

Added to my studio clearance sale today.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Climate Change - Getting the Message Across

UMass Lowell has a great website for educating students about climate concerns and encouraging their involvement in advocating for change.  My students watched an interesting slide show, read a number of FAQs, and entered a poster contest with their take on spreading the news about climate change. Here's a link to the slide show.   The posters needed to be a specific size and shape because the winning posters will grace the sides of the Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) buses. We had a learning curve aside from climate change itself.  The posters needed to be 22" x 7" with a one inch border around the edge.  Sometimes I need to remind myself that what I see as a simple task is not simple for all.  I taught everyone how to make a one inch border that was uniform.  We made draft designs and discussed their strengths and potential changes. Here are some of the final products.  I'm really proud of my students' efforts and their fabulous creative ideas. 
 What do you think?

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Few More....

Added a few more paintings to my Studio Clearance Sale.  including this demo I did with my painting class a few summers ago.  The blue dinghy was very appealing, and the truck behind it was originally white, replaced by a blue one, and eventually a red one... I love a moving target.

Finding all kinds of things as I clean out.  Use the link above, click on any image and you will see its dimensions and pricing information.  Thanks in advance for looking.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Studio Clearance Sale!

My studio is cramped and I'm going to grad school.  Check out the Studio Clearance tab at; lots of work at deep discounts, unframed, "Buy It Now" option via Paypal, and priority shipping.  
When you get to the web site, click on a painting to see its details, size, price, etc.
Thank you in advance.  

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

"City Sidewalks" watercolor and ink 10 x 9

It's that time of year. Since I was a little girl, walking about Boston's Downtown Crossing area meant seeing the wonderful glowing stars lit and suspended above the streets.  The stars have stayed the same for decades.  I assume these are not the same nets-with-lights-in-glorious-star-shapes that hung there when I was a little girl, but they are the same design so someone else understands their icon status, too.  The design is so appealing, and nostalgic for me, while contemporary, too.  This month's theme for Girls Just Wanna Paint  is "celebration".  When I see these lights, I don't think of retail.  I see history, and wonder, and the joy of the season, and beauty, pageantry, excitement.  That's a celebration for me, every year.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Painting with Tape - Jumping Math Man

Our wonderful high school art teacher, Marianne Buckley-Curran, had a terrific idea for her art workshop.  She wanted to decorate our K-12 school with silhouettes having to do with school life.  The project would be unveiled at the school open house.  She taught her students the proportions of the human figure, how to draw from their photo reference, and how to scale up when their instincts let them know something was off with the proportions.  So that the images didn't involve repainting any areas of the school, Marianne bought painters tape in inch and 4-inch widths, in blue and green.  I was happy to be asked to created one of the designs.  I wanted to show a student leaping, and as a math teacher, decided to come up with "Jumping Math Man".  I found a reference photo, and decided to paint with the tape on the column, adding a joyful splash of math symbols.  

reference photo
See images of "Jumping Math Man" in process below.  I'll take the panorama again, it came out a little mushed together.  Bottom line, this was a blast!  The students transformed the school Friday afternoon after everyone left so it was a complete surprise on Saturday when we greeted the public for our open house.  And, I loved painting with the tape, thinking about angles and proportions and the graphic possibilities with two colors. I tried to concentrate on the textures in his clothing, indicating where his pants ended and socks began. 
Initial Mapping
I added a little contrast to the bottoms of his shoes and added shadows on ground below him.  Then I used the green to convert him from "Jumping Man" to Jumping Math Man".  My classroom is just down the hall, so when the school had cleared out, I blasted my Pandora with some Motown, then Les Miserables.  We had such a good time, painting with tape.  I came home exhausted  but with that happy glow that intense creative thinking imparts. 

Getting a little round in the middle



Sunday, November 01, 2015

"Forever Changed" oil 14 x 14

  The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge for October was the theme "gun".  Sigh.  As a teacher, I must practice lock down drills with my students so they know where to sit, how to be quiet, how to stay calm when I lock the door, drop the blinds and douse the lights.  It is very stressful for us and especially for them.  It is so stressful to discuss the procedure with my administration, when they have to say things like, "If a student knocks on your door to come in, use your own discretion as to whether or not they are the perpetrator."  Sigh.  Each and every teacher wonders if they could do the right thing in the face of potential carnage.  Carnage.  That is what is happening.  My job is to teach math.  More importantly, my job is to create a safe place for my students, and to protect them, which I will do.  I know I will do the right thing.
When I thought about the theme of gun, I thought of my students sitting on the floor, sometimes giggling nervously as we practice the drill. I thought of the fear they are either articulating or suppressing.  I thought of the teachers and children who have been killed in the school shootings.  I pray for the comfort of the survivors whose lives have been forever changed.  I pray for connection in our world so that less young men will feel so isolated and angry that they turn guns on others.  What can we do?  For starters we can reach out and connect.  Make eye contact, make connection, break the isolation.  Just a start.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Watercolor Joy

First wash
Second Wash
 I was revisiting one of my favorite painting books, "More Joy of Watercolor" by David Millard last night.  Each page is a visual feast, and the book is packed with information. 
 I'm exploring some of his wet-in-wet demonstrations and color combinations (sort of).  Above are the first two washes in a bottle study. The first wash is ultramarine and raw umber, taking care to preserve the whites.  The next wash was a combination, adding some light red with cerulean up top and letting it wash down, and then some cerulean, and a little sap green lower right.  I'll keep you posted...

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Coffee Shop" watercolor & ink 8 x 9

The Black Duck is one of two coffee shops on Monhegan Island.  Both have their own personalities. Both are great places to hang out and draw, to meet a friend, or to accomplish my favorite Monhegan past time... just being present.  These two women were hanging out one morning.  
The September challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint was "paint like a famous artist"... I've adapted that in my own head to "spend some time studying a famous artist and think about what you can learn".  I admire Charles Reid's work.  It looks so spontaneous, but is so intentional. Spontaneity and intentionality are not opposite ends of a spectrum, they are just tough to achieve simultaneously, for me.  I concentrated on backlit heads, and wet into wet, lost edges.  Long way to go, but I like this effort.  

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shape to Form and Fantastical Creatures

Along with teaching Math in our charter school, I teach an art project for three hours each week.  I wanted to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to start creating 3-dimensional illusions on their 2-dimensional paper... in other words, how to make form using light.  I showed the students this tutorial on converting shape to form.  They followed along, and withing a few minutes they had shaded six shapes into 3-D forms. Then I asked them to invent a creature using a combination of the shapes they had just made.  They needed to indicate a light source on their paper, and we discussed shading accordingly.  Last step - add a scene around their creature indicating size.  
My sample creature is to the left. 
Here are a couple of screen captures from the tutorial, and some of the students' shape creatures.
We had a blast, and the results were fascinating.  Even those very reluctant to risk making art had success.  I forgot to name my creature, any ideas?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Few Faces - 9 x 12 sketchbook

The students had the day off, and all the teachers had a day of professional development around the topic of service learning and high quality work. I learned a lot, and did some sketching while I listened.  Interesting day all around... 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Book from One Sheet Paper - "Hare and Tortoise" 5 x 5 inches

Friends, hare and tortoise, chat about a contest one day while enjoying ice cream sodas.
 Every summer, I teach a couple of weeks of Art Studios for Children at North River Arts Society here in Marshfield, MA.  I love those weeks each summer working with young artists from 6 - 11 years old.  A few summers ago, I showed each student how to make a book from one large piece of paper.  They wrote their own stories, designed and illustrated each of the twelve pages and a cover. Then they made several strategic cuts to the original sheet of paper, and folded it into a book. This video shows the cutting and folding technique. 

 During the process, I taught my students a number of design considerations, including how to create the illusion of distance using size, temperature and placement.
My sample book resurfaced the other day as I was organizing.  I designed my own take on "The Hare and the Tortoise" as an example of the finished product.   Glad to have found the book.  Let me know what you think.

They lay out the course over hill and dale. The hare bounds off to a speedy start!

Confident Hare naps on the course while methodical Tortoise eventually passes him.  Hare bounds off again.

Overconfident Hare stops for a picnic as Tortoise again catches up.  Hare meanders ahead, Finish in sight.

Hare slowed to taunt Tortoise, who plods past and wins!  Photo op with the trophy.

The two friends celebrate with ice cream sodas.  Hare bemused, Tortoise ebullient. Friends to the end.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Ice Pond House" oil 9 x 12

 In the twelve years we have been going to Monhegan, we've met some wonderful people.  Some live on island, some visit the same weeks we do each summer.  We love our annual visit to the Island, and love our annual visits with other vacationers, from upstate NY, from mainland Maine, from points farther south.  Often, we have connected over our children, and enjoy seeing the maturity another year brings.

One friend used to rent the "Ice Pond House", not to be confused with the "Ice House" which was the shell of an actual ice house on island, and has since collapsed, its site being reabsorbed into the vegetation alongside the Ice Pond itself.  
A few years ago our friend asked me for a painting of the Ice Pond House.  I never got a good photograph of the painting until we visited our friend at her home on the mainland last month.  Monhegan's Ice Pond House is lovely, no electricity, exposed studs throughout, and a big living room with a balcony above onto which open the three bedrooms; a real cottage.  It is filled with original art and collections of things from over the past century.  Wonderful. 
I added a couple of pictures from the Thompson Ice House Museum in South Bristol, ME.  We visited there in the winter years ago and attended their actual ice cutting.  It was fascinating.  There was a basket of vintage ice skates.  You could pop on a pair, and skate at the far end of the pond while the near end of the pond was being sliced and carted away by horses, onto an arrangement of pulleys by which it was loaded and packed into the ice house itself.  Fascinating, and all happening on a -4 F day.  I imagine Monhegan's Ice House was used similarly, though I don't know if there were horses.   

Thanks for reading.  I love your comments.  Oh, and check out my fledgling math blog Fractions Aren't Half Bad.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

"Christmas Cove Rocks" watercolor & ink 8 x 11

The southern tip of Monhegan Island is defined by beautiful, powerful, rugged rocks.  When staying on the island, I listen in the morning for the sound of waves from that direction, although I'm sure there is a much more accurate way of predicting interesting surf along the southern end of the island.  Perhaps wind direction... I don't know.  It's a small island, so I listen, and can hear the waves through the 1/2 mile of forest between me and the rocks.  Sitting on those rocks is absolute joy, all senses activated by the movement of surrounding air and water.  I wish I had a recording of the sounds accompanying the visuals.  I can hear them when I look at the painting, deep booms when waves crash into narrow crannies, splashing sounds of surf and spray on the rocks, and the silky withdrawal of the water back into the sea.

Thanks for looking (and listening)

Friday, July 31, 2015

"Foggy Harbor" watercolor & ink 11 x 8

Our Girls Just Wanna Paint theme this month is fog... I am visiting Monhegan, where the fog has been undulating through the harbor all week, in and out and up and down, tinted yellow and green and purple, receding, advancing.  I tried to capture it as it obscured all but the edge of my beloved Manana. Didn't quite achieve the affect I was going for, but close.  Will experiment some more.

Thanks for looking.

Monhegan Sketchbook July 30 - oil barge, geraniums, etc

Each week that we are blessed to be on Monhegan, my daughter and I choose a day to be up and out early.  We head to the Barnacle for breakfast, and time together.  Today, as we chatted, an oil truck backed down onto the dock.  This is a first for me in the dozen or so years we have been coming to the Island.  The dock is busy, pick up trucks picking up and delivering luggage and goods with each ferry arrival all day long.  But, I had never seen an oil truck.  Its scale was all out of proportion (just realized I've used "proportion" in my last two blog posts; start of school must be approaching) to the landscape, the architecture, and certainly the narrow road and dock.  
Turns out, an oil barge was coming from the mainland to refill the oil truck with diesel fuel, which is used to run some generators up behind the lighthouse.  Live and learn.  The oil barge was long, low, and sleek; and someone told me double-hulled as is the rule since the Exxon Valdez spill.  Again, live and learn.  

Thanks for looking... and reading.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Monhegan Sketch Book" July 29 and a sunny selfie

Today I sat on the rocks above Swim Beach in the sun and added watercolor to some sketches from yesterday. I'll finish up tomorrow, but it was a joy to paint and listen to the hubbub on the crowded beach this hot July afternoon.

 The beach was filled with many children, and families with the singsong accents of our country's south.  Children on paddle boards, in small kayaks, on floats.  The water is COLD, but there seems to be an inverse proportionality to age and tolerance for cold water, as in, the younger you are, the higher your tolerance.  Toddlers toddle in, single digit-aged children head in with a little hesitation, then have to be ordered out eventually by adults witnessing their shivering bodies and blue-tinged lips; pre-teens have to contend with peer pressure so they hit the water a little more slowly, then simultaneously, with a lot of squealing.. and up the line.  Adults that I have witnessed are more likely to try but turn away; or just not try at all. 

Today's high point was watching a pair of toddler girls on the beach.  They were both naked, and loved the water and sand and excitement of their older siblings' activity.   At one point, the two girls looked twenty yards up the beach and saw an inflated raft. They toddled across the wet sand with great purpose, each grabbed part of the raft's rope and they dragged it down to the water. (Did I mention they were on the young side of 2 years old, and it was an adult-sized inflatable raft?)  Toddlers are not known for cooperative play, and these two weren't speaking in sentences yet.  I didn't hear them utter a word.  They formed their plan while exchanging a conspiratorial glance, and off they went.  It wasn't their boat, and it was a new beach to them.  These two girls may be future world leaders.  Very impressive.  

I added a "selfie" here from our rented house, late afternoon.  The sunset was glorious, and cast a golden glow into the living room.  

Thanks for looking; thanks for reading.    

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"From Nigh Duck" - new view of Manana pen & ink 6 x 12

Today I made my way down to "Treasure Beach" or "Sea Glass Beach".  There are a couple of paths that lead there, and isn't far, but what a lovely spot!  And, a new vantage point for watching the shadows extend along Manana.  I climbed up on a flat rock and did some drawing while listening to the birds squacking on Nigh Duck nearby.  I'm going to find my way there again tomorrow a little later in the day to paint.

Finished today with a long read/nap/read on the deck with the intermittent thought that the air was perfect... the kind of air that kisses your skin, makes you think about a light sweater, which you never act on because it was a fleeting thought replaced by the next thought which is the feeling of being so blessed to be alive.  That kind of day....

Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Majestic" two ways...

I inherited a lot of art supplies when Mom passed away 9 years ago.  Mom was a prolific painter, accomplished in oils, watercolor, and pastel. I have been using her brushes, oil paints, easels, paint panels, sketchbooks, pencils, charcoal, taboret, and a library filled with art books.  However, I have never used her pastels, though I have inherited a lifetime's supply, and loads of pastel paper in a variety of shades.  So, I brought two small sets of pastels to Monhegan for the week, and began to explore today.  I reproduced a small watercolor in pastel, laying in darks first and using some alcohol to set them.. then layering on top.  It was fascinating, and a brain bender, and good grief, I have a lot to learn so please excuse my heavy-handed start... I am intrigued!!!  

Stay posted for some more experiments here on my blog... this week.

Thanks for looking!!!