Thursday, December 20, 2012

joy + peace + love + thanks

This whole holiday-season-of-giving... it's very nice.

Running around trying to find the most unexpectedly perfect gift for the important people in our lives. Ho, ho, ho, deck the halls. Take a breath, grab a latte... It's awesome and we can only sustain it for a few weeks, because seriously, it's exhausting. But that's ok.

Truly. I am grateful for the merriment, joy and energy people put into being kind and jolly and magical at this time of year. It's a complicated mix, no doubt. The season roars in with so many activities that can't be ignored: parties, concerts, cookies (seriously), decorating, eggnog sipping and so much more!

Hence, you may have noticed a lack of blog presence on my behalf. (blog or eggnog?)
Sorry. But I'm actually ok with that. BIG PICTURE. Spread joy.

Once upon a time I would have felt badly about not fulfilling my "responsibility" (self-imposed though it may be) to stay on top of a "commitment" (that I only made to myself). But now I'm a grown up and I get to decide what's really important for me.

So I'm taking a break from wrapping and figuring out where everyone will sleep... because what's important right now, is to say
Thank You!

A huge, heart-felt thank you to everyone who has "liked" my Facebook painting page, commented on a blog post, reached out via Twitter or LinkedIn, recommended my artwork or in any of many ways encouraged me art-wise.

You have bestowed an incredible bounty of positive energy that I know will be apparent in my creative endeavors going into 2013. I am truly grateful and appreciative of all your support and encouragement.

And although I have been absent in the blogosphere, I've been experiencing lots of artistic wonderment and I hope those of you who have missed my blog are also spending time celebrating the season and enjoying family fun. More art adventures to come. I promise.

Meanwhile, let me share with you the exuberance of some little people who are very special in my world. This photo is a few years old but the giddy happiness of the season is as bright as ever.

I wish you and yours the same joy that lights up these sweet faces, now and throughout the coming year.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ho, ho, ho! Gifts: start small and local.

Q. Where can you find a unique gift of fine art?

A. "Farm to Frames" exhibit at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls and "Festive Home" in Ridgefield, CT.

Check out my original oil paintings for great gifts and the feel-good feeling of shopping with a local focus!

Festive Home, at the Ridgefield Artists Guild, features decorators' showcases with fine art and fine crafts for sale. Lots of fun decor ideas.

And plan your visit to see original still life paintings at Who's Cooking around mealtime. you are going to want to have lunch ... or an afternoon baked treat... or a "home cooked" dinner... or order catered specialties for your holiday gatherings...

Tis the Season, so stop by for some holly jolly artwork.
Hope to see you there!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

shadows and highlights and ...HAIR? (oh my)

Open studio events are great, whether you are an artist or art lover. The bonus for artists is to be inspired by the energy and creative atmosphere. Studios are holy places where true believers in the almighty power of paint are itching to be baptized.

Perhaps I exaggerate.

But who doesn’t like a slightly voyeuristic experience now and then? Just imagine yourself in those paint-splattered shoes.

Recently my friend Donna and I attended the Mother of All Open Studios at New York’s historic 41 Union Square. For 100 years this building has been the soul of creativity from Ashcan School artists to Andy Warhol and beyond.

We were looking forward to seeing Leah Lopez, an outstanding representational painter who teaches at New York Art Academy. Leah’s studio has an awesome, high, north-facing window, paint smells, display shelves and beautiful still life masterpieces everywhere! 

It feels like the perfect environment for incredible artistry. And it must be because that’s what happens there. If you don’t know Leah’s work, check out her website.  She’s a fabulous painter and a wonderful teacher. I can’t wait to take class with her again!

There are 14 floors of artistic magic happening at 41 Union Square. Donna and I wandered the hallways visiting painters whose media, styles and subject matter differed, but all were welcoming and willing to share their artistic experiences. We talked about everything from toning prepared canvas to glazing finished pieces.

We passed other painting pilgrims coming and going throughout the afternoon in stairwells, hallways and elevators. Lots of artistic energy!

So when a woman we had seen several times said, “Oh hi again! I hope you don’t mind, I wanted to speak to you about highlights,” I thought, “wow, she thinks I have some artistic insight to offer!”

And then she asked, “Who does your highlights?” Looking at my HAIR! So much for sharing my artistic insights! But I was flattered and, after all, my hairstylist is an "artist" too.

So if you want perfect highlights (and lowlights) in your hair, see Linda Vacarro at LaSpina Renewed Image Salon in Mahopac, and at Salon Perri in Pound Ridge. Linda is so talented, she makes me look good!

And, if you want to know about painting highlights you should take class with Leah!
You'll be glad you did! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

save me from number 13 on Halloween!

Art  |  Marketing
The more you paint the more you see, the more you see, the better you paint...  and the better you paint, the more you see...

See how that works? Since I've been painting a lot,  I guess it's safe to say I'm getting more and more comfortable with "Art".
Still not so comfortable with "Marketing."

But I'm sticking my toe in the water again by taking the advice of Alyson Stanfield, the Art Biz Coach (or, as I think of her: professional-and-kindly-Art Marketing butt-kicker), I'm getting braver about marketing and adding a new effort to the business side of my artWORK each month. Last month I exhibited in three new venues! Thank you for the advice and nudge, Alyson!

This month I've entered the Bold Brush Painting Contest by Fine Art Studio Online, hoping for some positive recognition. Validation is a wonderful thing and it's good for the resumé too! An Artist/Judge will determine the winners of Bold Brush but there is also a "popular entries section" that reflects how many have clicked the link on Facebook that connects with my entry. All those clicks add a level of validation too.

Right now my painting "Plum Jam Kettle" is #13 out of more than 500 paintings. Pretty exciting, but:
         ...this is October
         ...the deadline is Halloween (drop DEAD date!?!) number is 13

Do me a favor. If you haven't already clicked through, please go to my Facebook page, scroll to the status update shown above and click on the link. You have to click through, not just "like" the status entry for your like to count and move me out of the danger zone!

'Cause, I'd really like to NOT be #13 on a Halloween DEADline. Ever. Thanks!

PS - If you're an artist or entrepreneur with an aversion to self-promotion, check out Alyson Stanfield's awesome marketing advice here and get a knowledgeable nudge along with support to move forward.

Monday, October 8, 2012

farmer's markets and... Who's Cooking?

I love seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Not just because they taste great but because they look beautiful. This glossy red pepper goes great with antique, tin canisters! Fun stuff.
Pepper Checkers oil on linen by dorothy lorenze

By the end of the summer there were many paintings of farmer's market finds in my studio. So I was more than pleased to be invited to show them in the dining area at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls.

Owner Russell Puckhaber has quite a focus on local providers and purveyors. His store carries delectable baked goods from Tates Bake Shop of Southampton, Maura & Nuncia of Brewster and Lola's Granola of North Salem!

Now, he is also supporting local artists from Somers (me) as well as North Salem photographers. John White and John Keenan capture local faces, places and events in their beautiful photographs.

Who's Cooking, is a fine food store, butcher, bakery, caterer and deli that creates daily specialties made with the finest ingredients. Everything is fresh and delicious. They were even filmed recently by the Food Network!

So, you should GO! 
Go at lunch time... or coffee time... or dinner time. Sit and eat or pick up a perfectly prepared meal to take home to your family. And while you're there check out the beautiful local photography as well as my savory selections in the "Farm to Frames" exhibit on display through November.

See you at Who's Cooking in Croton Falls!
Here's a link to a local news article about this yummy, gourmet deli and caterer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

painting... walls!

It's been a busy summer (what other kind is there?!) All things considered, I've done a lot of painting. But lately the "painting" has been with a roller and my studio has never looked better. To be honest... it was kind of a disaster.

Look left. Yeah, that's what I was dealing with.

I had planned wanted needed to make some big changes and Alyson Stanfield's "Get Organized" class helped identify the obstacles to getting it done (more about that in a future blog).

My studio has lots of closets but few walls for art display. Time to address this!

Out with the contrasting trim. Walls and trim needed to blend for a more neutral backdrop.

Check out the transformation!
Looking forward to even more creative energy in this room!
The whole room is grey, except for the sunny stairwell. Now trim and closet doors fade into the background. Kept the checkerboard flooring and the hooked rug looks better than ever.

Removable racks hanging across the doors of 3 closets make good use of all that non-wall space. This is the same view as the first photo above.

Here is the far end of the room with the old loveseat re-covered (same square windows as above). Lovely spot for a spot of tea by the spotted carpet! Guess before entertaining clients I may need a grown-up sized chair! 
The little green chair is from nursery school. Somehow it seems fitting. 

Not so coincidentally, the painting I'm working on at the moment is a quiet interior space. Lately, I've been interested in light coming through windows, imagining the private world in that space. Inner sanctum, private spaces, that sort of thing. It's good to appreciate your own creative space.

(Thanks Ken, couldn't have done it without you!)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

summer minis

Hello again!

It's been awhile since I've posted - due to a busy summer schedule and the fact that I'm trying to master Mail Chimp so my blog will be sent in all it's graphic glory. Look for that next week month. I'm going to assume all my supportive friends and cyberfriends will be happy to hear from me... but if that's NOT you, there will be an easy "unsubscribe" at the bottom of the post via Mail Chimp.

So for now...
  Tiger Eggplant  • 2012 dorothy byers lorenze
Here are my summer minis. No, no... not mini skirts!!! mini paintings! Featuring bounty from twice weekly visits to farmers markets.

Between having company and being company, and working on the house and gardens, studio time came in smaller, less predictable bits.
So, to avoid being totally frustrated, I worked small: 6x6 to 8x10.

Small paintings are rewarding in their own way because you can focus on a particular area of interest - like the stripes of this funky Tiger Eggplant!

 Cabbage Peach  • 2012 dorothy byers lorenze

Another attribute of small paintings is that one object can truly be the star of a painting. Peaches were amazing this summer and this one was so gorgeous and luscious that it really needed special treatment. It's wrapped in tissue paper (a subject I have wanted to paint because of my attraction to folds, which are like puzzles and labyrinths... but I digress)

The tender enveloping of this succulent peach reminded me of a cabbage rose. But that wasn't quite accurate. My favorite 11 year old suggested "Cabbage Peach." And so it is.

If you can't wait for the full color version of this blog (and you shouldn't wait!) PLEASE click on the title "summer minis" at the top of the email and you will go to the web version... much prettier!

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 3, 2012

This beautiful red cabbage was an unexpected find at the farmers' market in Charlotte on Tuesday. 
On Wednesday, it was a finished painting! 
(Well almost.)

There are artists who regularly do a painting a day and, believe me, I'm impressed! I could never imagine how on earth they manage that. I'm learning.
It's not about speedy brushstrokes, more about accuracy. To finish a painting in one day the drawing has to be correct at first pass. Then there is the challenge of color mixing and determining values. Sometimes that comes easily. Sometimes... not so much!

Anyway, it sure feels good to have accomplished so much in one day! I could have left it as it was above but, the moment of truth, for me, always comes the next morning. I decided the color cast was not quite right: not quite purple/red enough. It just didn't have that "red cabbage personality".
So here is the final purple-ier red cabbage. I hope you agree that the color is more authentic.

Doesn't it look like the cabbage is peeking out at the lemon slice? Maybe it's a little jealous of all that "zest." Although, redheads are known to be rather zesty themselves, don't ya think!?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eggplant Escape

Four mini eggplants sitting on a table...
Along comes a frying pan. 
Two curious young'ns are dazzled by the shine and they take a peek. 
But the other two know what's coming and they're ready to roll...

Eggplant Escape by dorothy byers lorenze, 7/2012
Who could resist these guys! 

You never know where inspiration and opportunity will come from. Happily, my daughter's babysitter's Dad and home re-modeler (did you follow that?) is also an avid cook and gardener who likes to share his vegetable bounty. He gave Tara these wonderful, shiny, purple eggplants.

Of course her kids thought they could be put to better use in my studio. I have to agree!

So, thanks to Aim Improvements of Charlotte, these purple cuties have been memorialized in oil paint instead of, well, sauteed in olive oil!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

drawing improves your golf game, I swear!

(This is a re-post of an earlier blog that bears repeating because drawing is so important for the artistic process!)

drawing improves your golf game, I swear!

Well, it could. I've always suspected it was true. Because some of my artists friends are wizs at golf (miniature, that is). It's pretty much official and I'll tell you how I know...

But first - drawing from life is the most challenging, rewarding and mesmerizing artistic endeavor imaginable. However, in my experience its not always easy to find cooperative naked people. 
What's an artist to do?

One helpful (and safer!) solution is to go to the Met, or any great museum with classical sculptures, and work from marble or bronze versions of the human form. The bonus is observing the sculptor's skill in rendering subtle expression and the suppleness of skin in stone!!!!

drawing after Daniel Chester's sculpture, "Memory" Met Museum of Art, NY
Sometimes I like to get up close and personal (well, non-personal - they're sculptures) and focus on folds and details of drapery. Love the folds! The center image below was especially challenging! It features the gorgeous gathers of a Grecian garment! (say that 3x fast)

drawings after portions of various sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum  ©2008 Dorothy Lorenze
Following the twists and turns and ins and outs, as the fabric gathers and folds and changes direction is like negotiating a labyrinth!

So that brings me back to sports. Both art and athletics involve checking direction, measuring distances and hand-eye coordination. And here's the story that makes it official.

In college, non-art majors occasionally decide that drawing nude models is not a bad way to get some humanities credits. But it's pretty difficult if you haven't done much drawing. There was a student once who happened to be more athlete than artiste. In fact he was a star of the basketball team. But he was also working diligently in our life drawing class.

After a few weeks in the studio his drawing was getting better and the instructor looked over his shoulder and asked. "How's basketball going?" He was surprised by the question and answered, "Actually, really, really well!" So the drawing teacher said, "I'm not surprised. You're beginning to see better."

That was it. I'd never made the connection with sports before but drawing is basically about observing and measuring. It carries over to sports... hence the amazing ability of artists to totally crush the competition at miniature golf. It's legendary.

So if you need to improve your golf game, (and from what I hear, who doesn't) get thee to a drawing class! If you can find one with live models, au naturale,... well that's just an awesome bonus!

You don't have to go back to college to take a class. Check out "meet-ups" online to find a life drawing group that meets in your area. The group leader hires the model and artists register and pay a nominal fee to attend. It's a wonderful way to hone your skills for fine art.

If it helps your golf game, all the better.

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Review of Grumbacher MAX Water-Mixable Oil Colors

Originally submitted at Jerry's Artarama Art Supplies

Artists' Oils That Mix With Water! These oils have a rich buttery consistency with the same feel and performance as conventional oils. The difference is they may be thinned and cleaned with water. Due to their modern formulation, MAX colors provide you with a permanent non-yellowing white. You ...

traditional oil quality, easy clean up

By dorothylorenze from Somers, NY on 7/23/2012


5out of 5

Pros: Blends beautifully, Good Color Variety, Glides Smoothly

Best Uses: Fine art, Art

Describe Yourself: Artist

Primary use: Business

Was this a gift?: No

Great paints that work like traditional oils but without the toxic solvents. Same consistency, excellent color choices.
Blends just like oils, dries perhaps slightly faster than traditional oils.
I love working with these oils!

Admiring Tomatillos,


Tags: Made with Product

Red Onion Siesta,


Tags: Made with Product


Thursday, July 19, 2012

this little "figgy"...

went to the market...

"Fig 'n' Friends" oil on linen by Dorothy Lorenze

...and he hooked up with some new friends!

You may think he lost his marbles, but no!
Being a modern, enlightened fig, he appreciated the complexity of color and variety of inner swirl within his new friends.

And it didn't hurt that they reflected well on him!

What reflects well on you? Maybe your art collection?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

summertime, and the living is...?

But it's all good. And I'm so lucky to be able to spend my time doing what I love: making art as well as connecting with family and friends, old and new.

This week I will meet a very new friend: Produce Pete of WNBC's Weekend Today in New York when I present my painting of asparagus to Pete on his TV show Saturday morning. It's on NBC between 9 and 10am and I hope you will tune in.
(I'll be the nervous one)

Pete knows everything about the seasonal vegetables that I love (maybe he'll tell me something  fascinating about the paper-encased tomatillos that I'm about to paint!)
On Saturday mornings Pete frequently brings my attention to something yummy and gorgeous.

"Tribute to Produce Pete"
This painting is one of my favorites. It was inspired by a segment of Pete's show that I've blogged about. It's called "Tribute to Produce Pete" and I'm honored, and excited, and nervous, and amazed... in any order you choose... to have the opportunity to show my painting on air!

In an effort to extend this serendipity beyond the walls of my studio, I'll be donating 20% of all painting sales throughout the summer to two wonderful, grassroots organizations:
Edge of Seven
Good for Kids

Both are volunteer-based organizations founded by folks who  passionately create environments that build self-esteem where it's needed most.
They personally invest love, sweat and tears to give children the chance for education.

They are ordinary people who are extraordinarily committed to the fine art of doing good!

Edge of Seven, founded by Erin, my daughter's friend, brings volunteers to remote regions of Nepal to actually BUILD schools and other infrastructure designed to empower girls in a part of the world where education for girls, traditionally, is not a priority, to say the least. Take a look at their website and see the amazing opportunities created for children in the mountains of Nepal!

photo by Rachael Grace Photography

Good for Kids, a program my friend Gail helps facilitate, provides a safe refuge as well as education opportunities for girls within a very dangerous area of LaCarpio, Costa Rica. When our local teachers learned of this refugee camp where 35,000 of the country's poorest families live in squalid conditions, they just had to help. Ever since, they have been raising funds, raising awareness and raising standards of health and education for so many!

We all know how important education is to the future of our own children but these organizations offer something more basic and far more precious:
It's a word we use everyday with little thought of the desperation and despair that take over when there is NO hope.

So I hope that you will help brighten the lives of children who could use a dose of good, old-fashioned, ordinary, hope-FULLness! Go to the websites of Good for Kids and Edge of Seven to make a direct donation or buy a painting this summer and I will send 20% of your purchase, in your name, to your choice to either Good for Kids or Edge of Seven.
"Hope Box"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

painting metal with mettle

Recently a friend gave me this great copper/brass/metal planter. It's kind of tarnished and the metal could be brass or bronze - who knows. All I know is it's a great color with a fascinating and frustrating metallic finish that reflects, glows and holds deep shadows!!! Challenging!

Deep red/purple plums added the perfect compliment and contrast to this rich surface.
Above is the first pass at laying in color.

This stage is more fully developed with stronger modeling of the plums and highlights.

I actually thought it was finished! But then wasn't quite happy with the metal-ness of the pot.

And I've learned that if something's bugging me - it has to be fixed!

You know, I really had no idea what would make this pot look metallic rather than clay-like. Which is why it was almost OK to focus on the parts that were working and be done. Almost.
Going back to surface of the metal feels like something of a milestone. A test of "mettle." Because even though I didn't know how to do it, I kept going because I believed I could. Phew, that is a huge shift for me.

I hope I have succeeded in rendering the character of the metal as well as the juiciness of the plums. Here is the finish painting - the more I looked, the more interesting reflections shadows and subtle color changes were apparent. It was fascinating to find what I hadn't seen before!

FYI - the other difficulty making this painting was NOT eating the plums. They looked so luscious! Happy to say, the painting is definitely done because the props are being eaten! So sweet and juicy. Insides ia a gorgeous deep purple - hope I get to paint a cut plum before they are all eaten.

Monday, June 25, 2012

latest heirloom painting

I'm finally able to post about my latest heirloom painting. This one was a gift for my nephew Jimmy's wedding in June. His lovely Lauren has been a fan of my artwork for awhile, so naturally I think she is a woman with sophisticated taste! 

Each cup belonged to one of their grandmothers. To add a personal touch for Jimmy, the cap is the same as the one my Dad wore that Jimmy liked to wear as a boy. And, my added touch is the depression glass sugar bowl which is like one my grandmother had (Jimmy's great-grandmother, although he wouldn't have known).

So, there are lots of cousins getting married these days and it's nice to be able to incorporate family memorabilia in a wedding gift painting. But they live in Georgia and I'm in New York so it took some effort. 

First I asked Jimmy's mom to ask Lauren's mom for a family teacup for the composition. It arrived quickly and I was ready. Until I realized that a boy is probably not going to care about teacups. So the cap was added since Jimmy liked my dad's. But the original could not be found. So I went shopping. Found a cap!

How to compose lady's teacups and a mans cap? Needed a chair with posts to hang it on. A friend with many antique chairs had the perfect one: beautiful wood ladderback... with arms!

Next, I moved all the living room furniture to get this set up on a table by the window. Perfect! Except the chair arms didn't fit under the table so the table had to be propped up on books. Twice.

All set, cups on the table, cap on the chair, paint on the palette, pandora playing: ready! 
Not quite. It just didn't seem right for the cups to be empty. So I made coffee... and tea. 
(and maybe had a snack).

Finally it all came together and I really liked the composition, the light through the window and the reflection of white china on the milky coffee. So, I was feeling pretty good about the steps that went into creating this special, authentic painting. Patting myself on the back. Such a conscientious artist am I!!!

Then I read a book about the painter Ernest Meissonier and the formal Paris salon period as the Impressionists were struggling to come into their own. Needless to say, they were all pretty darn serious about their work. But Meissonier was the embodiment of authenticity and perfectionism. For example, to paint scenes with realistic galloping horses (before stop action photography was invented) he had an actual train track built on his property so he could keep pace with the horses and sketch them in action! 

This explains why I paint "still life"!

I think I'm a serious painter anyway. No galloping horses, but Lauren and Jimmy are happy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

tea with kathy

Painting a series of similar subjects is a great way to learn; it helps to reinforce similar characteristics and work on different aspects of composition, color and perspective. Right now, I'm working on a series of teacups based on china I've collected over the years. Each cup has a story and this chintz cup is one that is truly close to my heart. It belonged to Kathy: a watercolor painter, antique collector, classical music listener and a dear friend.

Kathy shared her art adventures with me and encouraged me in ways no one else ever had. She even made it possible for me to return to college for my degree - offering to watch my baby even though her own girls had just started school full time! After class we had tea and she always served mine in this beautiful aqua chintz cup... because it's "your color"! 

In the spirit of nurturing artistic abilities, here are some of the stages of painting "Tea with Kathy"...

The initial sketch, organizes the composition and proportions are measured. Vertical and horizontal guides check symmetry.
Because of foreshortening ellipses are not quite symmetrical front to back - the front is usually slightly deeper than the back. The "corners" of the ellipse (widest edge left and right) are not too "sharp" and should be directly opposite one another.
Another good test for symmetry is to turn the painting upside down!

Adding local color creates volume which helps me see if the proportions are correct. Here I noticed that the bowl of the cup was a bit too narrow.

Added basic background and foreground colors and worked on overall values here.
Often shadows are blocked in at the drawing stage, but this cup has a very complicated surface pattern so I needed to keep it simple to start.
Basic shadows on the cup background color underlay the surface design - which also must be in shadow.
Here's the tricky part for me: implying an overall flower pattern for the "chintz" design of this beautiful cup without trying to paint each petal!
...and using brushstrokes that follow the contour of the cup so that the flower forms are foreshortened to prevent the cup from becoming flattened,
...and using deeper values of each flower hue in the shadow areas to create more depth and strengthen the form.

After cleaning up edges, adding stronger highlights, more complex shadow colors and details to the flowers and sugar cubes, the final: "Tea with Kathy."

I'm pretty sure Kathy would have had something sweet to say about the resulting painting.

On a personal note, I have to say, the chintz pattern of this china is amazing and I have always loved it. And even though this was a favorite of their mother's teacups, Kathy's daughters Amy and Becky gave it to me when she died... the finest china with the finest memories! And after all, it's my color.

I know I will paint it many times but I'm pretty pleased with this first attempt.
Thank you, Kathy, for yet another artistic challenge!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

adventures in social media

My adventures in social media over the last few months have been interesting and enlightening... and pretty darn social! Sure, it takes time to wade through all the blogs (well, not nearly ALL the blogs!) I have found some useful creative information and assistance as well as thoughtful, engaging - and often humorous - marketing insights.

Thanks to the real media mavens and mavericks out there, who are prolific bloggers, I've learned a thing or two as well as made connections with potential buyers and real art lovers! So here are some of the folks who make me stop and think... or more importantly... just STOP making excuses and get to work!

Carolyn Edlund
 Carolyn is the founder of Artsy Shark, a consulting service for emerging artists. And Carolyn actually puts her support into practice by featuring artists on her website! First I was linked on Arsty Shark under the heading "Links to Artists We Love" (Who doesn't love THAT listing!) Then I was received an email from Carolyn on Mother's Day asking if I wanted to be considered as a featured artist! Um... YES!!! I was truly honored to be asked. And my blog and website views have increased tremendously since the featured artist post! Thank you Carolyn! You can see my featured artist post on Artsy Shark here. While you're there check out Carolyn's advice as well as other featured artists on Artsy Shark!

Alease Michelle
multi media collage by Alease Michelle

Alease Michelle is an artist and consultant and generous soul! Her medium is collage - and that makes sense! Alease has forged a creative collaboration: working her art while helping other artists with market theirs. And did I mention generous? Last month Alease spent an hour on a FREE phone consultation with me! She offered advice on prioritizing online marketing and made me feel good about my decisions and capabilities. Thank you Alease!

Ariane Goodwin: smARTist
Ariane is an artist's consultant who offers a multitude of connection through seminars and webinars, etc - some of which are free. I participated in a free webinar on Pinterest where I learned many helpful hints and was introduced to the well informed and highly irreverent Jess and Sammi from Badass Biz. Always so many new things and new ways to learn!

©2012 Jackie Garner, Eye of the Beholder. Acrylic on board.
photo: "Eye of the Beholder" by Jackie  Garner, acrylic on board
Alyson B. Stanfield, the Art Biz Coach  has real advice for artists. She understands when we are our own worst enemies - sabotaging our professionalism. Alyson has "nut n bolts" (or maybe, brush and palette) info as well as some soul-searching suggestions for how to be honest with yourself, spark you creativity and get serious about promoting your work. Click her name above to reach her blog on thinking big - as illustrated by the rather large critter by one of her featured artists, Jackie Garner!

Social media works!
It takes some discipline to not let the art of connecting take over the art of making art! But really, it's not too hard to keep it in balance since I truly love making art. Honestly! there's no real danger that I will become a tech geek (no offense to the brilliant ones) or a marketing maven!

A sprinkling of social media a day is already helping the business-side of my artwork grow. Recently, through friends ... of friends ... of friends on this great wide world web, I was contacted by Produce Pete, my favorite veggie guru on NBC. He heard about a painting of mine. It just happens to be called "Tribute to Produce Pete"! (read the related blog post here)

With a little consistent effort social media can, quite literally, pay off!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

playing hard to get

Guess you could say there is a double entendre for the title of this painting.

The pear on the left just wouldn't cozy up to the pear on the right! So it did seem to be playing hard to get.

The other elusive element was that da*n yellow in shadow!

I almost gave up. I thought the problem was the color of the pears but it was really a problem with the surrounding color! It started out with a dark navy-ish background which had worked well on an earlier painting of pears. That one was a trio of pears on a wooden plated and the yellow stood out well against the dark so I figured it would be good for this painting.

But it just didn't work with this composition. The important element here is the relationship between the pears. (I know... they're PEARS not people!)
Anyway, the area of interest is the push/pull of distance and connection in the space between the pears. Light from the pear on the right reflects on the opposite pear and you can tell they have a lot in common.

But the pear on the left? It's just not sure yet, weighing it's options.

There's no competition with a grey background - it creates a neutral environment that makes sense.
(Neutral and non-competative... which is good if you are thinking about how pears might have relationships that they are sort of ambivalent about...) And yet I know - pears are not people.

In any case... I'm happy with the yellow in shadow. And that was the whole point, right?
(unless you are a pear... and then maybe it's about playing hard to get!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

just say NO!

Oh what a week!

Painting is challenging, but you know what's really hard? Committing to yourself as wholeheartedly as you do to other people and responsibilities.

And by "you" of course, I mean "me."

This week I was busy with projects for our choral group. Somehow, I let that take over my life and I never got into the studio. While I feel very good about working with the chorale, I don't feel so good about letting myself... and my artwork... down.

I think I need an attitude adjustment.

Creating artwork is so enjoyable that even though it's called artWORK, the word doesn't quite fit. So I need to remind myself that this is what I want to do in life. My work.

Oddly, I feel more comfortable describing myself as a "painter" than an "artist." Somehow it feels like painter is more of a "doing" role than artist which is kind of philosophical, emotional or cerebral, maybe. To paint well you've gotta be in the studio consistently, doing the job of painting.

It was a long and windy road, but I think I got there: I am a painter. That's what I do and how I hope to earn a living... which means studio time matters!

Fellow painters - How do you keep from letting distractions take over your studio time?
At the risk of distracting you... tell me how you manage to just say no.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

got lemons? paint lemonade!

I like yellow things - pears, lemons, sunshine...yellow labs puppies! who doesn't?!

Yellow paint? that's another story. I have two of the most beautiful yellow pears in my studio. They are supposed to be the luscious subject of a new still life, but they are far from luscious... so far.

What color is yellow in shadow anyway? brown, grey, rusty, greenish? Sometimes it's even kind of purple! You see the problem.

Yesterday was a rainy, dismal day and my yellow paint was equally dismal. So to keep myself hopeful that there is real lemon yellow somewhere in the palette of my mind, I'm posting a more successful journey into the sunny world of yellow via lemons (with artichokes lurking in the shadow). I know I struggled with the lemon shadow color for this painting too because I was tempted to turn them into  lemonade!

I hope to post my yellow pears soon... when we are on better terms.

If you love artichokes, sorry to relegate them to the background, but this painting is all about the juicy yellow lemons!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In the Merry Art Month of May

I'm have a very artsy month of May! Paintings are on display in four shows this month and I've just learned that 7 have sold already!

Stop by the North Salem library to see what's new! It's a beautiful space and my 30 paintings really fill the wall. Lots to choose... for now at least!

Or come to the Mamaroneck Artists Guild reception for their Small Works Show on May 19th, meet all the artists and say hello.

You can also venture to Kent, Ct for a great juried show at the Kent Art Association.

And last, but not least, Arts Westchester has selected a group of my paintings for display and sale at their annual ArtsBash event next weekend.

I can't wait to get back in the studio and prepare for the next exhibits!

Happy Mothers Day ladies!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tribute to Produce Pete

I start my day with tea and the NBC Today Show. And you never know where it will lead.

Last month Produce Pete was talking about asparagus. You know Produce Pete - he's the vegetable guru on the Today Show and he's pretty passionate about his veggies. He has caught my attention more than once (St. Patrick's Day cabbage inspiration, for example).

Of course it's quite possible that I just enjoy the organic forms of fruits and vegetables but Produce Pete gets me thinking about all the beautiful colors and shapes of the season and it's a great way to start the day.

So last month, at the end of his segment on the stately asparagus Pete held up a bunch, stuck in a glass of water and said, "THIS is how you keep asparagus fresh!"

Like a trophy in his hand. And all I could think was "Here's to you, Produce Pete!"

So there you have it - my Tribute to Produce Pete. (if anyone out there is best buds with Pete, let him know that somewhere, there is a painting with his name on it!)

I don't know if Pete was thinking about the refraction of light through water and glass - probably not - but look how the straight stalks of asparagus shift underwater and behind the different thicknesses  of glass. Love it!

That Pete sure knows asparagus!

Friday, May 4, 2012

painting alla prima

This painting was done in the traditional "alla prima" or "direct" method of painting which involves painting wet layers upon wet layers. It has been used for centuries by artists from the early Dutch masters to the Impressionists and beyond (not that I'm comparing...)

The other traditional method is glazing or "indirect" painting which involves adding thin layers of paint on dry under-layers to build up the color - which basically takes more patience than I have! 
Oil paint dries  s l o w l y .

The beauty of alla prima is that you can't over-think it! That's helpful to someone like me who tends to obsess about capturing details in graphite drawing and even graphic design (Q: how many fonts do you need to try to design an invitation? A: about as many as you have!)

So, for me, it's a challenge to capture the essence of a composition without over-working it. Alla prima painting stifles that obsession - in a good way. It means honing in quickly on what you want to express. In this painting the thing surprise observation that interested me was the warmth of reflected light in the shadow area of both the vase and the grapes. It links the objects in an unexpected way since you generally think of shadows as cool. Everything else is painted to support that relationship.

Of course, the fact that this painting was done in Leah Lopez's class at the New York Academy of Art didn't hurt. Nothing like knowing you have to finish within a three hours to help FOCUS!
(to be completely honest... I did add some finishing touches at home)  

You can see this effect more clearly in person. And just your luck - this painting is part of my solo show this May at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library in North Salem during library hours.

Stop by!