This painting was a particularly enjoyable and successful collaboration between the client and myself because she is a designer and we speak the same visual language. The first time we chatted on the phone we hit it off and it was clear she had studied my paintings closely and really understood the formal elements- composition, geometry, perspective and color. She had a wall in her dining room picked out so that determined the size. She also wanted a deep space so that it felt like another window. She liked the painting I did a few years ago titled "Rabbit Summer" so that helped us with the narrative and structure. She also had some wonderful palette ideas that would work with her dining room. Springer Spaniels have always had a place in her life as well as a beautiful garden behind her home in West Virginia... and she is known for her baking talents. The outcome is "High Tea with Friends".
Monday, February 22, 2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
Next to Alfred is his buddy Lily. Lily is a demure city girl living in a nice building on the upper east side of Manhattan. She goes to the beauty parlor regularly and lives a posh life with her mum. But when Lily goes to visit Alfred on his farm, she becomes quite another beast completely, and has been known to get appropriately muddy for a farm dog.
Behind the pups in this pastoral setting are Mason and Jake, Alfred's very curious donkey friends. Whenever Alfred is near they watch him closely and appear to be amused by his antics.
And back in the field are the beautiful farm cows grazing peacefully.
This painting was a surprise for Alfred's family from his grandmother who is also the former director of the Tatistcheff Gallery NYC where I exhibited by work for many years and my close friend. She stealthily collected photos of the farm from her son and sent them to me one my one. As a writer, she had an amazing ability to describe all the subjects' personalities in great detail so that I could get them on canvas. It was a cheerful project to work on together and now I look forward to meeting all the characters in person one day!
Thursday, November 12, 2020
This painting was a surprise for the recipient. I am always a little wary of doing paintings as surprises because art is so personal. But in this case I knew that the fellow commissioning it for his wife would have great insight into what she would like. AND she is a dear, long time friend of mine- which made the experience especially wonderful.
She grew up in Malta and from a very early age she knew she wanted to make her life about travel. She went to school in Switzerland and ultimately became a leader in the travel industry. So her husband wished to make the painting about that and call it "Citizen of the World" because that is how she has always felt, and lived her life.
The painting shows a young girl, looking at a globe and writing in a journal- perhaps planning future itinerary or writing about the journeys she has already taken. Some of her favorite books as well as books about travel and an atlas are in the bookcase below. Golden Retrievers have always been their family dog. In the distance between the arches I melded together New York, Paris and Malta, all places where she spent time and which are dear to her heart, as if they were one landscape.
In the middle distance, there are two luzzo, traditional maltese fishing boats, which visually help make the transition from foreground to distance. In the foreground architecture, on either side of the arch are a Maltese Cross, and the emblem from the Rosey School in Rolle Switzerland, which she attended. The school emphasizes an international atmosphere which obviously had a big influence. A family of swans floats near the steps, symbols of her family life. I based the color scheme for the painting on Maltese tiles.
Here is the watercolor study for the painting
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
"7 pm with Hopper and Bonnard" (If Edward Hopper's Model had lived during the Pandemic and had Pets")
I was working on this painting at the beginning of the Pandemic so I titled it "Sanctuary". The room is a place of calm and reverie, isolated from the chaos and stress of the outside world.
Formally the painting is a play on the Matisse painting “The Piano Lesson” which is on the wall. The real painting hangs at MOMA and I visit it whenever I am there. It is a mystifying work of art.
In "Sanctuary" the boy at the piano is the reverse image of the boy in the Matisse. Other elements I have pulled into this painting are the arabesques of the wrought iron balcony, the angles, horizontals and verticals which are either opposing or aligning with those in "The Piano Lesson". The colors also relate to Matisse’s palette. The owls have found the sanctuary to their liking and the head of the boy in "The Piano Lesson" has always looked quite owl-like to me.
Monday, April 27, 2020
|"Portrait of a Young Poet"|
|Preliminary Sketch for "Shadow's Woods"|
|Final Painting "Shadow's Woods"|
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
In recent years I have been looking back at various artists who have influenced my work in one way or another during my career, and studying their paintings by incorporating one into one of my own compositions. It is now time for Matisse. I first starting looking seriously at the paintings of Matisse on a trip to Russia in 1987. I was with my husband, who was a foreign correspondent. He was reporting on stories in Moscow and Leningrad, so I took the opportunity to go along and visit the Hermitage Museum. To my amazement, among the incredible collection there were a large number of Matisses -- none of which I had ever seen, even in books. You have to remember, back then St. Petersburg was still called Leningrad, the Communist Party still ran the Soviet Union, and the number of Western visitors to the Hermitage and exchanges of paintings between Russia and the West paled compared with today. One of the paintings was The Dance, which was commissioned by the Russian collector Shchukin, who asked Matisse to paint a second version of the one that hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The panel that Matisse did for Shchukin depicted the figures more robust and muscular, less graceful and in a strong orange-red color, whereas the figures in the painting in MOMA (which is the version I loosely copied in my painting), are lithe, simply drawn and lighter in hue, and the entire painting is imbibed with an airiness and lyricism. The Dance was deceptively hard to copy, which says a lot about the simple shapes and elegant line which is the beauty and magic of Matisse.