Monday, May 30, 2016

Suddenly Summer

Suddenly, it's summer.
Yard sales yield classic finds.
Art and nature abide.
Garden shops tempt.
Farm Stands beckon.
A flag of remembrance amid ivy.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes I forget to look. Sometimes in the looking I am overwhelmed. Information overload is a hazard. The Hamptons always inspire, the beauty of the landscape is ever changing, constant. A core inspiration is closer to home. I am deeply inspired by family and friends.
Floral Study by Judi Dutcher
My sister-in-law has been posting a pastel a day on Instagram. Did I know that she has ever done pastel? No! She is a secret artist. Her comment, "I couldn't afford the art that I liked, so I decided to make my own" is telling. Beautiful work. She is an inspiration. 
At a local shop, during down time, a friend there was embroidering the lower edge of a black skirt with flowers. What! She drew the flower pattern free hand in chalk and was using thread and ribbon to compose a painting on fabric. Another secret artist.
I was thinking of my nephew who is an impetuous doodler and coloring book artist as I took the red sharpie to white canvas and doodled the red section of The Tanster's rainbow project at the Springs School Art Fair. The Tanster was funny calling me her "ringer" but I felt more like I was a student at her feet, learning how to let the art energy flow. It has been forever since I've doodled. I couldn't stop until red was complete. "If you don't know where to start, just draw a circle." Who knew? More inspiration. 
My niece requested to take her easel outside. Another inspiration.
Visiting the recent show at the Southampton Arts Center and wandering through the sculpture garden of Roman Emperor busts, I had a vision. I could picture street art in this place. During an earlier visit, I viewed the Tanster's street art nearby. Being here again inspired the creation of a digital homage to the rainbow colored work of the Tanster. Lately, I have been stuck, unable to start a new art work. Could doodling on Procreate help me to loosen up?
JMW Turner image via
Hugh brought home a catalog from the Turner whaling painting show. I quickly sketched my version on the iPad.
A photo from our visit to the New York Botanical Gardens of a man incongruously in a bowler hat fascinated me. How would this scene have looked in the early 1900s? I reimagined the crowd in digital paint.
Mom has recently been finishing a bunch of her "UFO"s. Quilter's slang for Un-Finished Objects. She is another inspiration. Unfinished work is another obstacle frustrating the process of beginning anew. I visit the studio and see things that in my mind aren't complete. I am stuck. This week an inspiration hit. Use the Procreate app to experiment and try out changes before actually taking paint to brush. A painting that I began years ago of a friends' barns is the first one I tackle. I like being able to experiment digitally before putting paint on canvas. I forget that warming up is also part of the process. Time to learn how to draw a tractor and decide its scale.
Sunday Taylor at Ciao Domenica got me thinking about what and who inspires. Her beautiful photographs and wonderful writing are a treat. Monique at La Table De Nana is also an inspiration. Coincidentally, she recently posted a photo of one of her grandsons painting en plein air. A kindred spirit finding inspiration at home among family.  I am thankful for family and friends for all of their inspiration. I am grateful to live in this beautiful place and am especially grateful for those who served our country who we honor this Memorial Day weekend. Best wishes for a lovely one everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

American Gardens on Canvas

Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas is currently on view at the New York Botanical Garden. The landscape of the classic American garden of the late 19th - early 20th century is recreated in the Haupt Conservatory, paired with a selection paintings by American Impressionist painters on display in the garden's library gallery.
Childe Hassam, 1893
 oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 26 1/4"
 Terra Foundation for American Art
Old House and Garden, East Hampton Long Island
Frederick Childe Hassam, 1898
oil on canvas 
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington
America Impressionists often gathered to paint outdoors in what were known as art colonies. City dwellers spent summers in rural communities such as Florence Griwold's boarding house in Old Lyme, Connecticut; William Merritt Chase's art school in Shinnecock, Long Island; and Celia Thaxter's salon on Appledore Island in Maine, seven miles of the coast of New Hampshire. Painters, writers and musicians convened for tea, music and conversation in cozy parlors or on wide wooden verandas.
I have visited the restoration of Thomas Moran's studio in East Hampton and fallen in love with the photo of Theodore Wore's painting of it here on the renovation trust's site. Nothing compared to seeing the work in person. The texture! The flowers are rendered in heavy impasto and the paint over the door frame is a thick slash of still juicy white. It was worth going to the Bronx just to see this one painting. The other works in the show are equally stunning and it was a pretty walk past peony beds and ancient trees from the conservatory to the library.
Thomas Moran's House by Theodore Wores
oil on board 9" x 12"
Heckscher Museum Collection
White Phlox, 1906 by Hugh Henry Breckinridge
oil on canvas 30" x 25"
Terra Foundation for American Art
It was incredible seeing the thick display of blooming flowers close to the veranda. I sat in one of the porch rocking chairs and looked out through the multicolored blooms to the crowd enjoying the scene. Isn't it interesting how foundation plantings now are mostly evergreen shrubs but in the era depicted here, a home's foundation was surrounded by a glorious burst of spring and summer color.
Peonies, ca 1907 by Matilda Browne
oil on wood 11" x 14"
Florence Griswold Museum Collection
Shinnecock, Long Island 
William Merrit Chase, ca. 1896
Oil on wood panel 14 5/16 x 16 1/8"
Gift of Francis A. Comstock, Class of 1919
Princeton University Collection image via
I am inspired to plant my garden with flowers and get outdoors with a sketch book.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Doodling With The Tanster

The artist known as The Tanster @gemeinschaftprojekt posted an invitation to "do art" at Ashawagh Hall on Instagram. The Ashawagh calendar listed a student art show. Knowing only to expect the unexpected, I travelled to the Springs in East Hampton.
Ashawagh Hall was abuzz with activity. Artist workshops under multiple tents. I looked for The Tanster's signature rainbow.
The Tanster is re-known throughout the East End for street art. Art placed in unexpected public places. The Tanster's work rises above the commonplace, combining both visual and performance art. The art challenges the finder to help others, to perform positive work in the community. Each piece is signed on the back with a link to the Coalition for Women's Cancers at Southampton Hospital. It is up to the finder to pay forward the positivity of the gift of Tanster's art and contribute in a positive way to the community.  
The Tanster is an artist of many skills. Painter, playwright, photographer, filmmaker, clothing designer and historian. Today the Tanster was at Ashawagh Hall encouraging us all to doodle. Two blank canvases with marks at the bottom to guide. The goal, to encourage participants to doodle ROYGBIV, the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue Indigo, Violet of the rainbow.
The Tanster beckons. Of course you can doodle... and I began the red.
Pikachu inspiration and the beginning of the orange section.
Two new participants continue the orange.
I was amazed by the dedication of the artist contributors. Each took a single color marker and doodled according to the plan. The two artists above completed the orange section. 
Green, Blue, Violet
Down at the Violet end of the rainbow. A fish emerges and screenplays are discussed.
The Tanster has Go-pro footage on Instagram of the day's doodling. I hope we may find a photo of today's completed rainbow canvas there also. Thank you Tanster for an inspiring afternoon!