Sunday, February 19, 2017

Escape Under Cover by Andree´MiChelle

Grenning Gallery recently hosted a reading and book signing with Andree´ MiChelle, author of Escape Under Cover, The Ola Mae Story. MiChelle spoke of her desire to write a book for young people which inspires hope in all circumstances. Her book's protagonist, a twelve year old slave, is challenged to overcome dire seemingly insurmountable circumstances. MiChelle's telling of Ola Mae's story is compelling and inspiring. 
Ola Mae's story is interwoven with quilter lore regarding Quilt Codes and the Underground Railroad. I loved hearing MiChelle read the opening scene. 
When I reached the last page, I didn't want the book to end. I fell in love with Ola Mae and I wanted to know the rest of her story. Thank you Andree´for penning this tale. I look forward to reading more.
Andree´and me
photo from Grenning Gallery via

Escape Under Cover
The Ola Mae Story
by Andree´MiChelle

available at Grenning Gallery
17 Washington Street ( P.O. Box 3049 )
Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love and Chocolate

I stopped by the Whalebone General Store this weekend for chocolate. An unassuming facade along Noyac Road disguises an interior secret. The Whalebone is a destination store for gourmet chocolate. It's not a very original idea to give chocolate for Valentine's Day, but it has been a long winter lacking  in treats. My chocolate loving hubby has endured some tough months health wise. Thank God he is on the mend and feeling much better. He may even be up to nibbling a little chocolate.
Hugh and I met at a business function. I was immediately attracted to his gallantry (he offered to refresh my drink) and modesty (he didn't brag about how important he was at his job). After an appropriate time dating (seven years) we married. 
We didn't want a fuss. I found my dress during a lunch break from work at Lord and Taylor. The reception was at my parent's house. I love this picture on the back deck with the neighbor's garage as background. All of my Mom's friends from bridge brought food. It was perfect. 
It was Hugh's idea to take oil painting classes. As you can see, he is equally relaxed with paint brush as champagne glass. This photo is from an early trip to Laguna Beach to study plein air painting. We've enjoyed many more hours of painting since.
My love, so lucky to have found you.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Expanding Tradition at Grenning Gallery

I recently attended the opening of Expanding Tradition: The Journey of the African-American Artist at Grenning Gallery.  Gallerist Laura Grenning was inspired by and collaborated with local author AndreĆ© Michelle to curate this show. Michelle's new book Escape Under Cover - The Ola Mae Story is being launched this month. Grenning will host a book signing at the gallery for MiChelle on February 18. 
The Gallery was filled with fans, friends and all seven of the artists. 
Elegy for Ethan by Jas Knight
oil on linen, 28" x 42"
Doppelganger by Irvin Rodriguez
oil on linen, 20" x 20"
Study for Woman's Back Homage by Jas Knight
oil, 12" x 8"
I stopped by earlier in the day to enjoy each work at my leisure. The enthusiasm of the Grenning Girls brought me back that evening with the lure of meeting the artists that created this amazing body of work.
The Mansion by Mario Robinson
Watercolor, 22" x 30"
Mirror Imaged by Roger Beckles
oil on canvas, 22" x 22"

I was honored to meet artist George Morton at the opening. His beautiful charcoal portrait is used on the exhibition's invitation. Go here to the gallery site to read Morton's inspiring story as well as the stories of all of the talented artists featured in this show.
Artist, George Morton
Mars by George Morton
Charcoal, 24" x 19"
Adam and Eve in Brooklyn by James Hoston
oil, 40" x 60"
Embrace(Study) by Philip Smallwood
Watercolor 20 3/4" x 14"
A Clean Slate, Ode to Private Gordon by Irvin Rodriguez
oil on linen, 32" x 24"

The show is up until March, but if you visit the gallery to attend the book signing next weekend you may find yourself meeting an artist or two there as well.  Go here for more information.

17 Washington Street ( P.O. Box 3049 )
Sag Harbor, NY 11963
Phone: (631) 725-8469
Fax: (631) 725-8467

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Something Good in January

The cold winter days of January in the Northeast are never a favorite. New Year's resolutions are usually made and quickly broken. This January I took a challenge to create art daily for thirty days. I surprised myself. Creating. Discovering. Art every day. This was good.
Watercolor requires more planning. Where will the light areas and highlights be? Water is a creative partner. The colors bloom and flow under the brush. Drying paint becomes strategy. Patience a practice.
A blue scarf unworn serves as still life backdrop. Slathering brush loads of juicy oil paint on canvas. Enjoying the freedom of color layering.
Discovering the miracle of masking fluid. 
Forgetting to buy fruit and discovering the love of painting shell portraits.  I need to keep doing this.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Emma Ballou: Bittersweet

Bittersweet, a solo exhibition by artist Emma Ballou, opened at the Rogers Memorial Library this weekend. Ballou challenged herself to create a painting a day for the month of January. Her Bittersweet Collection is the fruit of that labor. Each piece is an 8" x 8" acrylic on canvas. The title of the collection Bittersweet come's from Ballou's appreciation of the contrast of dark and light, cool and warm; the bitter and sweet that come together to compliment and create beauty. Ballou's mini-masterpieces are imbued with these contrasts and the spirit of the East End's beauty. 
acrylic on canvas 8" x 8"
I first discovered Ballou's work on Instagram. She inspired me during the month of January while I underwent my own painting challenge. She took her thirty day painting challenge with the knowledge that the work done would be shown in a public venue upon completion. Emma Ballou is not only a talented artist, she is disciplined and brave!
acrylic on canvas 8" x 8"
Emma Ballou's show is up for the month of February. 
Emma Ballou website

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Moody Blues

I ventured over to Flying Point to see what damage the recent N'or'Easter hath wrought. It appeared as if sand had been scooped away from bulkheads and plantings and spread in a wide swath. The beach seemed extra wide and flat. It was a relief to see, but I fear the low tide may deceive. Away from the storm we've been lucky to have a mild winter. Swans on Mecox Bay were enjoying the lack of ice. It was lovely to walk in the cool fresh air and enjoy the solitude and sound of surf.
Thinking of the sea, a portrait of a seashell seemed a good idea.

Monday, January 16, 2017

January Challenge

This past summer I met artist, Ann Lombardo. Our serendipitous first meeting led to others. We ran into each other at plein air painting sites and art gallery openings. Ann kindly welcomed me into a painting group on Facebook, It is Ann that I have to thank for this month's learning experience. The Facebook group was founded by artist, Aubrey Grainger. Aubrey issued the first challenge: create a painting a day for thirty days. She christened the group: Thirty Squared. The group recently began their third annual challenge.
The group members include a number professional fine artists that I have long admired. Would I just watch from a distance and "like" their works as they posted images or would I take up the challenge as well? I did feel intimidated. These were real artists after all. 
I decided to go for it. It is a nice change from my usual New Year's resolutions. Hopefully by the end of the month I would see improvement. Next question was what materials to use. I am not always able to get to my oil paints. I decided to make it my goal to do some kind of art daily. Even if it were just pencil on paper. We are halfway through the challenge. Here are a few of my efforts.
Georgica Beach
Winsor and Newton Watercolor and pencil
Holbein Drawing Book F3 9.5" x 11"
Cedar Island Light
Winsor and Newton Watercolor and pencil
8" x 5" Cotman Water Colour Pad
My hair appointment came up and I was wondering how I would fit in my daily art challenge.  I've never had the discipline to sit still and try a self portrait. Sitting in a chair in front of a mirror for twenty minutes waiting for my hair color to process was the perfect time to try one. Funny, no one in the hair salon asked me what I was up to.
First Self Portrait
pencil on 5" x 8" Cotman Water Colour Pad
April's Marsh
Turner Artist Water Colour Gouache
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
White Sloop
Turner Artist Water Colour Gouache
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
I've been fortunate to be able to do most of my still life and landscape paintings from life. During this challenge I'm using a combination of inspirations. Georgica Beach and Cedar Point Light are inspired by photographs that I've taken. The White Sloop is inspired by an Irving Ramsey Wiles painting of the same title. The recent beautiful Wolf Moon inspired me to create my first ever imaginary landscape painting. A night where I felt desperately blocked caused me to start doodling with pen and the result was Jazz Bouquet.
Wolf Moon
Turner Artist Water Colour Gouache
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
Jazz Bouquet
Faber-Castell 6 PITT artist pens, brush basic
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
Trying to paint a still life set up using watercolor gouache was a new challenge. Gouache comes out of a tube so it initially has a bit of the same feel as oil paint. Unlike oil paint, once you go dark it is nearly impossible to get the tone lighter. First effort, too dark, second effort, too light but learning. Third effort, oil paint! Ahhhhh. The oil paint seemed so much easier after wrestling with gouache.
Turner Artist Water Colour Gouache
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
Turner Artist Water Colour Gouache
Strathmore Watercolor paper cold press 9" x 12"
oil on canvas
8" x 10"
I finally took down my last still life set up of turkey feather and lady apples. Two of the apples where shriveled to nubs. I didn't let that happen to my most recent still life subjects. The pear was perfectly ripe and quite delicious. To see if I can complete this challenge follow me on Instagram and let me know what you think. Better yet, join me in the challenge and start your thirty days of creativity today.