Monday, December 28, 2009

Portrait Swap

Artist Suzy Charto
Oil with a palette knife on cradled artist board
8" x 8"

This is my entry for the latest challenge from Karin Jurick's blog, Different Strokes from Different Folks. This mystery artist will also paint a portrait of me from a photo that I submitted. I remember looking at all of the amazing portraits that were painted last year and knowing that I would want to participate should Karin do it again. What fun this was and I can't wait to find out who my mystery artist is.

UPDATE 12-29-09 Suzy Charto is my mystery artist! Here is the link to the painting she did from my photo. Her blog is so fun to read.

Oh, and this is really cool. Karin is making videos of all of the portraits and posting them on You Tube. There are 4 parts to the series. Check them out!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At Last

At Last
Oil with a palette knife on artist board
10" x 10"

This lovely couple was married in June and their theme song was "At Last". Well of course I've had that song in my head for the last several weeks as well as the entire time I was painting, but then again, it is a great song. The bride's sister commissioned me to paint this as a Christmas gift for her sister, just like the other wedding commission I posted a few weeks ago. Sisters are awesome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What are those things?

Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
8" x 8"
Click on the image to enlarge
$150 unframed

I painted this from a photo I took on Nantucket this past summer. This restaurant had the most beautiful sidewalk garden with big white hanging lanterns that caught the attention of my camera. I sat down to paint this knowing it was going to be a hard read if you hadn't seen the picture, but it was so full of crazy colors and textures I wanted to give it a shot with my knife.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Scream, You Scream

I just finished reading this book, The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick which was recommended by a fellow blogger (Thanks Katie May!). Interesting read about the theft and recovery of Edvard Munch's famous painting, The Scream.

Did you know that: 
The Scream is painted on cardboard with tempera and oil pastel?
• someone (not Munch) wrote on the painting "This must have been painted by a madman"?
• there is candle wax in the bottom right corner where he blew out a candle after working on the painting into the night?
• Munch actually completed 4 Scream paintings?
• The vivid red sky he saw and painted is believed to have been caused by debris from a volcanic eruption in Krakatoa in 1883?

This fragile painting, even though it was removed from it's frame, was recovered without damage by the undercover detective Charley Hill. Hill is from England, yet he was posing as an American from the Getty museum and it was funny to read about what he needed to do and say to make himself believable. A few interesting trivial tidbits: Did you know that the word "horseshit" is apparently only used by Americans? And that Americans switch the fork to our right hand only after cutting our meat? As a lefty-I was surprised by this because I cut and eat with the fork in my left hand.

The book weaves in many other art theft and undercover operations of Hill's as it develops the story of the recovery of The Scream stolen from a museum in Oslo the day that the winter Olympics started. Two men simply put a construction ladder up to the window on the second floor, took the painting, and vanished. Hill has also been working on the recovering the paintings that were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum which has remained unsolved since 1990. Hope he can crack it someday!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding
Oil with a palette knife on artist board
8" x 10"
This lucky couple got married in Mexico last year and as a special remembrance, her sister wanted a painting done of them together on this beautiful beach. She is going to give it to her as a Christmas gift. What a nice sister!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Support your local artists PART 2

In my continuing effort to encourage others to buy local and handmade this year, here is another great place to do your holiday shopping. Check out Boston Handmade Downtown store through December 24th for some locally made, super creative gifts. Also-check out the video that Nancy Rosetta has posted on her blog to give you an idea of the great items you can find there including her fantastic, one-of-a-kind jewelry. 

Happy Handmade Shopping!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Support local artists this holiday season

This coming Friday, December 4, Custom Art Framing & Gallery 9 in Norwood is having a Shop Til You Drop event from 6-10pm with wine, cheese, and socializing. I can't think of a better way to shop-I mean who else is doing that? If the mere thought of going to a mall makes you sweat with anxiety and dread (like me) why not support your local businesses and artisans by buying unique gifts for everyone on your list?  I can't think of a better, more meaningful way to deck the halls.

Yesterday I visited the gallery to have some framing done and drop off a few smaller pieces. I took a few shots of some of my paintings that are hanging there. The ones seen here are from my Family Album series, as well as two of my tree paintings. All done with a palette knife, of course. It always makes me feel so proud to see them. What a terrific job Julie has done transforming her new location into a wonderful shop.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Life is a bowl of mashed potatoes

Life is a Bowl of Mashed Potatoes
Oil with a palette knife on 1.5" cradled artist board
10" x 10"

This painting was done last year from a family photograph of a Thanksgiving dinner just before we dug into that big bowl of mashed potatoes and mom's famous strawberry jello mold.  It is currently hanging at Gallery 9 in Norwood. I love painting from old family photographs. They bring back such fun memories. And I love Thankgsiving. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite holiday. It always means family, food, and a long weekend away from work. If you have a favorite family photograph that you might be interested in having a palette knife painting like this done, check out my commission prices in the side column. They make great Christmas presents! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and eat lots of mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Abstract #2

Looking Down
Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
8" x 8"
Click on the image to enlarge

This is my entry to the latest challenge from Karin Jurick's blog, Different Strokes from Different Folks. Like the last challenge, I was trying to paint just the shapes I saw to keep it as abstract as I could. The photo was full of straight lines and angles-difficult to achieve with a palette knife, so I told myself that they didn't need to be perfectly straight and to just let go and had fun. This was the first time I painted while looking at the image projected on my computer screen. In the past I have printed out a color copy and painted from that. I'm curious what others artist do. Do you print out Karin's photo or do you project in on your computer or do you use some other method?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Going once, going twice...SOLD!

Polo's painting, Apples in Red and Green was one of the more popular pieces at the art auction to benefit Walpole's new library on Saturday night. Wow, what a turnout. The tickets sold out ahead of time and as the very busy bartender said to me "It looks like everyone showed up." We'll find out soon how much money was raised but a quick calculation of the art auction part alone is probably more than $10,000. They also have silent auction items and ticket sales to add in. It was fun evening and great to see how people really value and appreciate art in the midst of a suffering economy. Here are a few photos from the night. Sorry for the bad quality, maybe the paper will have better photos to share later.

Here is Polo's painting being auctioned.

My painting, Prim Rose was bid on earlier in the evening. You can just barely see it there sitting on the table behind the woman.
Here's the view from the back of the crowded room. There were also many people standing in back.
Friends of the Walpole Library should be very happy with the turnout. We're on our way to a new library. Yeah!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tastings at Patriot Place

Oil with a palette knife on artist board
12" x 12"
I worked on this painting some more after our Patriot's Place plein air event last month. Here it is after I glazed it and framed it up. I love how the glaze brings the colors back to life after the paint has dried. I'd love to hear if other artists glaze and/or varnish their paintings after they have dried and what brands you use. I used Liquin Original here but have also tried Dammar Varnish. The varnish seems to be smellier (is that a word?) takes longer to dry, and leaves a much shinier coat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In her element

In Her Element
Oil with a palette knife on cradled artists' board
10" x 8"

I painted this picture of my friends' daughter Elizabeth, an avid reader. I just loved this photo of her taken in a bookstore in Paris, France and couldn't resist trying to paint the pretty dress with the pink tulle she was wearing. You may remember that I had done a sketch of this photo back in August.

I also wanted to post this updated version of my painting Sunday Morning. In my Thursday night painting class, Kim showed me how to glaze this painting to warm up a few areas of the painting and make it more cohesive. Here is a before and after. I just realized that I also made a few adjustments to the composition after I took the second photo. Can you spot them?

Thanks Nancy and Greg for the great reference photos!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haunted House and Halloween Update

Up There

Approx 10" x 8"
Oil with a palette knife on canvas
$75 unframed

Who living up there in that tiny room? I don't think this house is really haunted but on Halloween anything is imaginable. Happy Trick or Treating!

UPDATE The weather Halloween night couldn't have been more perfect. Warm, windy, and an amazing moon. I tried to capture it as it reflected in our dormer window, but photographer Kerry Hawkins captured it much better as you can see on her blog.
Our end of the street is kind of dark and we usually don't get many trick or treaters, so this year I made a few luminaria to try and entice kids to walk up the driveway. It worked! I couldn't believe we were able to keep these going with all the wind, but they lasted the entire night. And it looked really cool cuz the bags glowed an orange light. It was a tradition in our neighborhood in Ohio for each house to make these and put them out on Christmas Eve. I used to love driving around that night and seeing all of the streets lined with lights. 

And finally, scary Polo...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Abstract #1

Abstract #1
Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
8" x 8"

Here is my entry for the latest challenge from Karin Jurick's blog Different Strokes from Different Folks. It was a photo of rooftops in San Francisco. I really, really tried to keep it to just abstract shapes but then couldn't help myself by putting in a more details. It was fun to lay in big areas of flat color with the palette knife. Karin was right when she said that this was a perfect challenge with respect to value and mixing colors. I painted this all in one sitting last night because I really like to work wet into wet. And it's easier to scrape off areas that aren't working. I call it Abstract #1 because you never know what someone else might see in it, and perhaps it may become a series. Who knows? 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Library Auction Donations and Press Update

Prim Rose 
Oil with a palette knife on artist board
9" x 12"
Click on the image to enlarge

On Saturday November 14, the Friends of the Walpole Library are holding an art auction to raise money for a new town library. I've donated this painting and you can see it on their site along with many other wonderful original paintings. The auction will be held at the Walpole Country Club from 7-10pm and should be a lot of fun. So if you are looking for something fun to do on a Saturday night, purchase original art and gifts at unbelievable prices, all for a good cause, come on down.

I've also contributed two books by the author Kristin Kladstrup, The Gingerbread Pirates and The Book of Story Beginnings. Both are signed by her as well as the illustrator Matt Tavares.  

What a great gift! Thanks Kristin.

UPDATE On October 29, me and some folks from my art class appeared in the local paper. Here we are with our donations.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

There's something about Mary Cassatt

Mini Cassatt, Mother and Child 
Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
8" x 6"

I painted this for an upcoming show that the Foxboro Art Association is sponsoring in January called Masquerade. Artists are asked to choose a painting by an artist they really like and do their own version of it. I chose this painting that was part of a wonderful Mary Cassatt exhibit I saw back in 1999 at the MFA in Boston. It has been awhile since I had done any more additions to my Mini Masters series and I forgot how much you can learn by doing an exercise like this. And it's even more challenging when you try to do it with a palette knife on a small scale. I think I might do some more!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning 
Oil with a palette knife on cradled artist board
9" x 12"

I finally completed this painting after many sessions in my Thursday night painting class. You may remember that I posted a sketch of this piece back in August. This was my first interior painting, and there was such wonderful light and details in the photo that I wanted to capture. Now...Kim says "DO IT AGAIN BIGGER!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patriot's Place on Columbus Day

It was a beautiful day for painting at Patriot's Place in Foxboro yesterday. That is, when the sun was out. Amazing this time of year how cold it can get when the sun gets hidden by clouds. Columbus day was our rain date because the original date of October 3 was a major wash out. After we were invited to come down and paint there, we were instructed by security that we weren't allowed to paint the stadium or any logos. I mean, what else is there? So I went with a square format thinking I might try and do an abstract composition. I ended up putting in more detail than originally intended but the front of the Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro had some interesting architectural details that I wanted to see if I could capture with my knife. Here is my sketch.

I took this photo after I had sketched onto my panel and put in the sky. Notice-no stadium in my painting. The kids that came by were very funny. They are so fascinated and honest with their comments and critique. 

Here is me at work. My favorite quote of the day was when a woman came up to me and said "my husband said I had to come down here and see your work because you were painting with a spatula."
Here is Polo busy working on his painting.
And here are his adoring fans.
After the event was over, we all went to Tastings and enjoyed some great wine and food. While we were there, the artist, Eli Cedrone was inside painting another beautiful interior of the restaurant. There is another event scheduled for Saturday, October 24. We might need a "snow date" for that one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The finding of The Taking

I just finished reading this book, The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. It was recommended by Tony from my painting class who had seen the post I did about Caravaggio back in March and thought I would enjoy reading it. And I did. I enjoyed peaking into this world of art history and research through the eyes of a young art history student living in Rome and then the authentication and restoration process by an experienced restorer in the National Gallery in Ireland.  The book tracks the story of this Caravaggio painting, The Taking of Christ, lost for 200 years and then discovered in the 1990s hanging in a Jesuit rectory in Ireland. It also gives details about Caravaggio's tumultuous life, which I found interesting after having had taken that class at RISD. The man holding the lantern at the right side of the painting is supposed to be Caravaggio himself. He often inserted self portraits in his work. The painting was on display at Boston College in 1999. Wish I had seen it.

The Taking of Christ
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Oil on Canvas: 1598
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Thursday, September 24, 2009

October 3rd Tag Team Events

On Saturday, October 3 Polo and I will be in 2 places at once. From 10am-4pm we'll be at the 5th annual Walpole Arts & Music Festival held at Blackburn Hall and from 1pm-5pm we'll also be plein air painting at an artist fair held at Patriot Place in Foxboro. If you haven't checked out Pat's Place yet (that's what the kids calls it) you should make a trip down there. It's pretty amazing. We've figured out how we can do a tag team approach and be able to participate in both events. Oh-and it's also the drop off day for the Foxboro Art Association's Fall Member Show. Wish us luck!

Rain has postponed the plein air artists event at Patriot's Place to Monday, October 12 from 1-5pm. Come on down!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vanilla or Chocolate?

Oil with a palette knife on cradled artist board
4" x 4"

This is the latest painting I submitted to Karin Jurick's Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge. The photo that Karin posted was an beautiful array of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles. I chose a vanilla one to paint because that is what I would have chosen to eat. I painted it on a small cradled board so I also took this photo that shows it's dimension.

When I paint with my palette knives I often feel as if I am icing a cake so this image was such a fun image to paint. Getting that icing nice and thick was so satisfying. Like butta.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Another Opening, Another Show

We just finished hanging our September show at the Boyden Library in Foxboro. We will be having a reception from 2-4 on Saturday, September 19. Here is a preview, but we hope to see you there!

(I didn't paint the clock)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Today I want to stop and take a moment to appreciate achieving a few small goals. I have finally made it into the top 10 listing on both and when you search for palette knife paintings. Wow! To be listed on that very first page is so exciting and so cool. Also-I have now reached 10 followers and have gotten 10 comments on a single post (a record for me). Both of those thanks to another talented palette knife artist, Trisha Lamoreaux. Thanks Trisha-I've been admiring your work from a far. So let's hear it for the number 10!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Future paintings

August has been a busy month so I haven't had a chance to do much painting. That doesn't stop me from being inspired though. I have had a chance to do a little sketching from some photographs that I think would make nice paintings.

This first one is my friends' daughter, Elizabeth, in a bookstore in Paris.

And this one is of my friend's parents (Elizabeth's grandparents) reading the paper inside a beautiful castle where they stayed in Scotland. You can see where she gets her love of reading!

I have been wanting to try an interior painting and this photo has such wonderful light I am excited to give it a go. It reminded me of the beautful interiors that Vuillard painted. Check out this painting of his on Gail's blog and you can see why. I will have to use him as my inspiration when I paint this one.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Berkeley Street take two

Looking up Berkeley Street II
Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
12" x 8"

At our Barnes & Noble show in July I had two different people interested in purchasing my painting called Looking up Berkeley Street so I offered to paint another for the second person who inquired. I finished it this weekend. It was an interesting exercise because I went back and forth between looking at my reference photo and looking at the other painting. There are many differences between the two but I'm pleased with the results. If you'd like to see the first one I painted, here is the link to that blog post.

I've also been working on a really large version of this painting that measures 48" by 30". I sketched it in several months and it's been staring at me ever since. I think I am intimidated by the size. Holy cow what was I thinking?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Streets of San Francisco

Streets of San Francisco
Oil with a palette knife on canvas paper
12" x 8"

Here is my entry into this week's Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge. I was confused when Karin referred to this as a view of Lombard Street because I always thought that was the crazy winding street, but perhaps this is the climb to get there and then you descend down the other side? 

When I first saw the photo I was excited because it immediately brought to mind one of my favorite artists, Richard Diebenkorn. I dug out the big orange book I had about his work and found this painting. I wanted to use his work as inspiration for my painting.


Richard Diebenkorn
Oil on Canvas
81 13/16" x 69 1/2"
Collection of the Grand Rapids Art Museum

I started with a sketch again to warm up....
And then launched in on the painting last night. I think it will make a nice companion piece to the NY Madison Avenue painting and the other scenes of Boston in my View from a Cube series. A new "Streets of..." series might be in the works. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Honeymoon en Espana

Wendy and Bill

Oil with a palette knife on 1.5" cradled board
12" by 9"

I painted this for my friends Wendy and Bill as a surprise wedding gift. It was painted from a photograph that was taken on their honeymoon at a wonderful cafe in Spain. I mean, don't you just want to be there right now with your honey and a glass of wine? I know I would. 
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