Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Recently, there's been a lot of talk about change. Most of it is directed toward the future; I've been thinking about the past. Heading to my Cambridge home one night back in the 60s, I faced a line of police in battle gear: helmets, shields, tear gas and guns. They were lined up across Mass Ave to prevent a mob of rioters from going toward Boston. It was at the height of the race riots all over the country. People were killed, buildings burned and stores looted. Last night, a black man became president-elect. This country has come a long way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Summer's over

So where have I been? Vacationing in Maine, harvesting garlic, cleaning up the studio, taking a workshop, planting garlic, getting ready for winter.....
Not a lot of painting. I'm switching to painting mainly in acrylic and have had to adjust everything I thought I knew about what to paint ON, what to paint WITH, and just HOW to paint. 
Meanwhile, here's a summer painting of a peony to try to get my mind off the fact that it's snowing here. It's acrylic on gessobord, 6" x 6". 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Over the weekend, I took part in New Hampshire Plein Air's paintout and wet paint sale at Canterbury Shaker Village. I've painted there many times, with and without the group, but this time my painting was too horrible to contemplate, so I'm posting one I did on my last trip there instead. Still trying for the abstract.....
"Barn Door" It's little, 8" x 6", oil on Raymar panel.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Some Color

A friend came to dinner a couple of weeks ago and brought some flowers from her garden. I painted them and their canning-jar vase in acrylic on an 8" x 6" RayMar canvas panel. Fun. Thanks, Judy.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Another View

This is the same woodcut, printed with the same ink, as the previous post, but done on thin Chine colle paper, then glued to heavier Rives BFK. It looked to me as if Steve was paddling into the sunset. I like trying out different ways of using a block, which is partly why most of my editions are "open." 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Steady Drift 2

For some reason, the system wouldn't let me attach the image to the first post, so here it is!

Steady Drift

This is my latest woodcut print, done for another exchange. The theme this time was "Journey." My reference was a photo I took of my husband Steve on his first kayaking trip. He's wearing an enormous life jacket because he sinks like a stone when he tries to swim. This was a point where he had stopped paddling for a moment and was just enjoying the solitude and beauty of Hoit Road Marsh. However, he was still moving, as the ripples signify. I like the idea of a journey continuing, even if we stop our frantic paddling now and then. I started this image as a reduction print, but due to life getting in the way, ran out of time, so did it in one color instead, using a new block. At some point, I'll continue the reduction print and see what happens. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Here's my latest woodcut, "Cecilia, Lily of Heaven." It was created for an exchange with the theme of "Canterbury Tales." I picked the second nun's tale, in which an angel gives a crown of lilies to Cecilia and a crown of roses to her mate, Valerian. Cecilia dies a horrible, bloody death in the end, but I decided to go for the less gory part of the story. Tori, my 14-year-old granddaughter, posed for me, wearing a crown I made using fake lilies. Instead of clearing away all the background, I left much of the wood in the area of the hair so that it would print as hairy texture. The image is 8" x 6", printed with oil-based inks on Rives lightweight paper. This version of Rives is easier to print on by hand (which is what I'm doing until I get the press) than the BFK version. 

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Here's the "fix" to yesterday's failed acrylic landscape. I'm posting it to show the method rather than the success (it's still not OK as a painting!). First, I scanned the 6" x 6" painting into Photoshop and printed it out actual size onto heavy paper. Then I painted on clear Colourfix Primer, which has a fine grittiness to it. Once that dried (I left it overnight), I put a couple of layers of pastel over it, turning the ugly brown shed into a tree and adding a shadow in the front where there really should have been one. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm fairly sure that the Colourfix could be painted right over the original acrylic. Pastel over that would probably have even more texture to it. This method could also be used over watercolors (esp failed ones), drawings, pen and ink, etc., just about anything that would take the acrylic based Colourfix. 

Friday, July 4, 2008

Plein Airless

Working in acrylics outdoors proved to be almost impossible. The paint dried way too quickly, even though I was working pretty fast. I did 5 little studies, from 6" x 6" to 6" x 8", in as many hours. As you can see by the above example, I didn't get further than an underpainting. The very next day, I learned that there's a new product on the market as of July 1, Golden Open Acrylics, that promises to remain wet for hours or even days. I'd really like something in-between, paint that would remain open for a couple of hours. It could be worked into wet-in-wet for awhile, then allowed to dry and worked over. I now  have some gel retarder that I'll try with the regular acrylics before investing in a whole new gamut of paint colors. A couple of days after the painting trip to Shaker Village, I scanned that little underpainting into the computer and did a kind of fun experiment that I'll post tomorrow. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

Still Life

This is another little still life, 5" x 5," painted in acrylic on gessoboard. I'm having fun with some of the old objects I've collected, plus some new ones that have crept in recently. In a couple of days, I'll be trying out the acrylics "en plein air," at Shaker Village in Canterbury. I'll post whatever I end up with, as long as they're not "wipers." 

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Back to printmaking- Here's a woodcut done for a food alphabet exchange: it's 6" x 8", water-based inks on Rives lightweight paper. For the background, I transferred my drawing onto an uncut block, then applied plain water to the areas I wanted lighter. I rolled it with light green ink, then added a bit of yellow ink to the flower. After printing about 30 of the background, I printed the "key block" in dark green on top. I tried to make it not-too-obvious, so that you'd have to look an extra second to see the little zucchini. This was a fun exchange!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

....and another

This is another still life from the workshop: "Green Jar with Rose," approx 9" x 6," acrylic on gessoed paper. You can see the gray undertone in places, but I decided to leave it rather than getting picky. I was still having fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Earlier this month, I took part in a still life workshop taught by Ellen Rolli at the Concord (MA) Art Association. My aim was to loosen up my painting, have fun and learn how not to agonize over every detail. What I didn't know right off is that, while the workshop was posted as being for both oils and acrylic, Ellen teaches only in acrylic. I'd never used acrylic for "fine" art before. Yikes! Though I could have used oils, I decided to jump in over my head and go for the acrylics. I felt like a new person! For starters, I re-learned how to hold a brush (not like a pencil). The paint (mostly Golden) was wonderful: juicy, fast-drying, intense color. In the one-day workshop, I did eight small paintings, about half of which I'll save from demolition. My days of painting tight, overly obsessive, niggly paintings are over. I still like other artists' realism; I just don't want to do it myself. I'll save my urge for detail for woodcuts, where it's needed. At least for now.
The painting above is "Flower in Bottle on Blue," approx 9" x 6," acrylic on gessoed paper.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Plein Air - Tavern

For four days of last week, I painted with 10 other New Hampshire Plein Air artists in a Michael Chesley Johnson workshop. I learned a LOT and had a great time! This is one little (6" x 8") oil, still somewhat unfinished, of the old tavern in the village of Dunbarton. The methods we were using don't work as well on canvas as on a gessoed panel, so the weave is too prominent in some areas. I'll post more from the workshop as they are dry enough to scan, and there'll be more whenever the weather is good this spring and summer.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I've been away from art for a couple of months, getting better after a medical issue. It's been a rough winter in many ways, not the least of which was the loss of a dear, long-time friend, Ed. His funeral yesterday was a combination of horrific sadness and, amazingly and oddly, fun. Ed, a costume designer by trade and inclination (he designed for the Boston Ballet for many years), enjoyed dressing as Father Christmas each holiday season. He wanted to make his exit from this world in his Father Christmas outfit, and so he did, crown, fur, bells and all! His coffin was decorated with golden icons and holly and evergreen branches. The final, and most telling thing about what a wonderful person Ed was is in the music that rang him out of the church at the end of the ceremony: "Joy to the World." Ed brought a lot of joy into people's lives, as Father Christmas and as himself. He brought much joy to my life and I will miss him dearly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Calling Glooscap

Here's another almost-illustration print, done for an exchange. The theme was "Mythology," so I chose a Native American story about Glooscap (creator-being) giving the loons their voice. It's titled "Calling Glooscap" and is a woodcut, 4" x 6" oil-based inks on Rives lightweight. It started out as a black and white image, but I added the blue sky, then it looked funny without color in the water, so I cut another block.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fairy Tale

Recently, I completed a print for an exchange, the subject of which was to be a fairy tale. I picked "The Boy Who Drew Cats," that I'll post below. The print is a woodcut, 8" x 10", printed on Rives lightweight paper. The other pic is my printing setup- you can just make out a squidge of the brown-black ink on the right.
THE BOY WHO DREW CATS a Japanese fairy tale
A farmer and his wife had many children. Their youngest son was small and weak, so they took him to the temple to become a priest. He learned quickly, but drew cats everywhere. The old priest finally said he could not be a priest, though he might be an artist, and sent him away with the advice to avoid large places at night, and keep to small ones. He decided to go to a big temple nearby and ask them to take him on.
The temple was deserted because a goblin had driven the priests away. Warriors who fought against the goblin were never seen again. A light burned at the temple at night, so when the boy arrived, he went in. He saw some big white screens and painted cats on them. Then he went to sleep, but, since the temple was large, he remembered the old priest's advice and found a little cabinet to sleep in. During the night, he heard sounds of fighting. In the morning, the goblin-rat was dead in the middle of the temple, and all the cats he had painted had mouths wet and red from the blood.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Plein Air???

One day last week was really sunny, but also cold, so I painted from inside the studio looking out. This little (8" x 6") oil painting "Snowy Sunset," probably doesn't fit into the plein air "rules," but to me it's really no different than painting from inside the car or from on the porch. This is the second-floor view in the same direction as the last little painting. I did three of these studies that day; fun.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Fried Chicken"

This is one version of my slightly sick pollution joke for the New Year. Though it's a two-block woodcut, I'm calling it a monoprint because I've printed it in several different colors and on different papers, including one on an icky yellowish-green color that I just delivered for the "Prints of the Year: What's New in New Hampshire Printmaking" show (reception Feb 8 in Concord). Have a happy and less-polluted new year!