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2018: New Year – New Intentions

 Hello 2018!
Have you been making resolutions and setting your own goals for 2018?

While I am not very good at resolutions, I do take my goals and intentions for the year seriously.  I have been ruminating these past couple weeks on the best ways I can serve myself and my art in 2018.

I expect the first half of 2018 to be quite chaotic with a long-anticipated major home renovation which will leave me without a studio for many months.  With that in mind, I am trying to be kind to myself and not give myself unrealistic expectations, only to be disappointed later.

So, I dub 2018, the year of EXPLORATION.

  • I will explore a new series of work.
  • I will explore new classes and workshops.
  • I will explore a new genre of painting, as I am about to begin taking an ABSTRACT class.
  • I will explore plein air painting, especially when my studio is unavailable.

I really look forward to seeing how the year and my work materializes!

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, art-filled year with lots of mindful and meaningful intentions.

“Oyster Love,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 16×16. Click on image for more details.
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Inspired by The Masters: Cezanne

Last weekend was the opening of “Inspired by the Masters: Cezanne” with works inspired by Cezanne’s painting “Woman with a Coffee Pot.”  It was such a wonderful opening with just fabulous and inspired pieces.  The show is at The Artist Angle Gallery in Frederick, Maryland and runs through February 17, 2018.  A worthwhile, exciting exhibition!
Check out a glimpse of the opening and some of the works:

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Woman with a Coffee Pot

“Woman with a Coffee Pot” is one of Paul Cezanne’s lesser known works.  However, at the Artist Angle Gallery in Frederick, MD from January 6 to February 17th it will become the most recognized!

14 artists, of different mediums and styles, were are invited to create their own interpretations of Cezanne’s masterpiece.

You will not be surprised to learn that my own interpretation is not of the woman or the coffee pot, but what lies beyond the coffee pot.  The woman wasn’t having JUST coffee was she?  Cezanne’s original painting is circa 1895 in Aix en Provence; therefore, I am certain the coffee was accompanied by croissants and jam!

My favorite part of my painting, “Dejeuner,”  is not the patisseries but the vessels that contain them.  These vessels are very sentimental to me, as I have been holding on to my grandmother’s ceramic basket and crystal jam jar in hopes I might one day find a use for them.  While perhaps not the traditional use, being able to include them in my painting makes me so happy.  I picture my grandmother, who died over 3 years ago, smiling and chuckling to herself upon seeing her serving pieces being a part of my artwork.

The original Cezanne painting, “Woman with a Coffee Pot” is currently hanging in my all-time favorite museum, The Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France.  While you may not be able to see the original easily, consider a trip to Frederick, MD instead.  “Inspired by the Masters: Cezanne” exhibition runs until February 17th at the Artist Angle Gallery, 124 South Carroll Street, Frederick, MD.  During that 6 weeks, patrons will have the opportunity to place silent bids for their favorite artworks from the exhibition.

“Dejeuner,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 16×20.

 

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To My Daughter On Her 9th Birthday

This week  is my first born’s 9th birthday.  Gasp!  I am not sure how that happened.  The saying is so true: the days are long but the years are short.

To my sweet, sensitive child,

You have given me so many amazing gifts as a mother, but one that you gave me and will probably never comprehend is the drive to be a full time artist.  I am not sure I would have ever made the leap without you.

While you currently show now interest in the visual arts (which SO okay with me), to hear the tell you friends with pride in your voice that your mom is an artist makes all the late nights painting, stressful deadlines, sore backs,  and bruised egos 100% worth it.

My wish for you, along with a lifetime of health and happiness, is to fine your true passion, as you helped me find mine, and for you to give it back to the world.  If you want to be the next J.K. Rowling, I will be behind you every step of the way!

XOXO,  Mom

 

 

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Holiday Gratitude

The days are growing shorter, its getting dark and cold here in the Mid-Atlantic.  I just want to pull on my sweatpants and begin my winter hibernation.  But alas, that is not possible, well at least not until after the Holidays.

It is that nutty time of year when I become focused on gift giving, gift wrapping, making homemade cookies, attending holiday parties, and organizing my daughters birthday.  Every day this month I have been screaming to myself – SLOW down as deadlines loom and obligations are to be met.

I am asked a great deal how I manage to paint and get everything else that needs to be done and still be some semblance of sane (which is debatable).  My response – painting is my calm, my zen.  When I paint I am using another part of my brain that is not exercised in daily activities.  I am transported to another realm in which all the exists are me, my paints, and my subject matter and for that I am internally grateful for the vacation.

Life is a whirlwind and I am still learning.  Right now, I am learning to count my multitude of blessings.  My family, my children, my art, my success, my friends, my health.  With two close friends currently battling cancer, one of which recently had a double mastectomy, it makes you realize how precious and fragile life is.

So, with 2017 coming to a close I am trying to emanate gratitude.

With my gratitude, I want to thank you, my dear readers, for following/liking/commenting my posts, paintings, events, pictures, etc.  Your support and love mean more than you know!  It definitely keeps me going on some darker days.  You are amazing and appreciated.  Thank you!

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and sweet holiday season along with a fabulous 2018 filled with lots of joy, happiness, and art!

 

“Begonia Escargot,” 2015. Oil on canvas, 18×24.

 

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Why Do I Paint Food?

“Shabbat Sweetness,” 2017. Oil on canvas, 14×18.

Wow, not only do I get asked the question, “Why do I paint food?” I find myself asking that question a great deal too.

My response has changed and evolved over the years.  First it was because it was relatable, colorful, and texturally interesting.  Then I realized it was also due to a wonderful childhood memories of my mother bring home treats from various local bakeries.

My most recent revelation from examining my work and my subject matter is that I don’t just paint food or sweets.  I paint delicacies.  Dictionary.com defines delicacies as “something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness.”  The items I paint are not common place, you typically can not pick up from your local grocery store.  French macarons, gourmet cookies, wedding cakes, baklava all require finesse and trips to special bakeries to acquire.  

So, why do I paint delicacies?  They are rare and special and make you feel special consuming them.  A true treat.  Everyone deserves a treat – I just like mine to be immortalized on canvas to be treasured much longer than it takes to devour a cookie.

My latest painting “Shabbat Sweetness” (above) is of challah and a kiddish cup.  While not a true sweet – the nature of the challah embodies the meaning of the start of Shabbat, the day of rest – a time to rejoice in life and all the delicacies it has to offer.

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Holding Myself Accountable

This Summer I published a post where I made 6 Summer resolutions to myself and promised you, my dear readers, to  stay accountable and report back on my progress.  So alas, it is into October and summer has long past.  It is time to review my progress in this week’s post.  Without further adieu, let’s see how I did:

1.  Read the 6 art books that I so desperately wanted to read and have been sitting on my desk for 2 months or more (including the super boring guide to new camera)

Done!  With time to spare for a couple fiction books that also had been sitting on my kindle for an embarrassingly long time.  The highlight?  “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield – it really gets into how creatives think and how it takes grit to keep going and succeed.  A must read for creatives of any kind.

2.  Paint, small, alla prima, loose paintings from still life set ups, not photos

So, I had grandiose plans for this one of lots of small alla prima paintings.  I did one.  It was hard and found myself suddenly scheduled with deadlines.  I definitely want to come back to this, especially since I was overly ambitious and already prepped the boards to paint on.  Fall goal?

3. Visit the National Gallery of Art….by myself!  Not distractions, no conversations, just me & art

Check!  YAY! Despite painting deadlines and crazy camp schedules I spent a day at the National Gallery of Art at the end of July – ALL BY MYSELF!  Heaven.  Below is one of my favorite paintings there – its John Singer Sargent’s “Repose” and I could stare at the paint on her dress for hours.

4.  Do yoga 2x a week and exercise more.  Not a resolution, a goal.

This might be the one I am most proud of.  After dabbling in yoga for years and then quitting when it became difficult to get to classes or hurting myself, I was counseled by more than one doctor to take up yoga religiously.  Advice taken.  I have been going to vinyasa yoga 2 times a week for the past 4 months and not only do I feel fantastic but I actually have awesome arm muscles!!!

 5.  Paint my entry for the super fun Kensington Labor Day Art Show

Done and Done!  This was such an amazing show this year and winning “Best in Show” Bertha Club award was just icing on the cake.

         6.  Clean out the old baby toys from my house

Bitter sweet chore – but done.  The best part is I was able to send all my kids baby stuff to my brother in Minnesota who is expecting his first child at the end of this month!  Thrilled that all strollers, furniture, and beloved toys get another lease on life.  I am embracing the next phase.

Now on to Fall goals….
Honestly,  I have only one at the moment – managing my newfound time (aka both kids in full day school) effectively.  I am sure there will be more to come.  Well, and getting back to the alla prima goal…

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LOTS of ART this Labor Day Weekend!

Mark your calendars…My favorite art show of the year is this weekend in Kensington, MD!

The “Paint the Town” Art Show and Sale at the Kensington Town Hall/Armory opens on Saturday, September 2nd and runs through Monday, September 4th (check flyer for specific times). This show is packed with tons of amazing local artists, fabulous original art, prints, notecards, and even a plein air competition.

The most unique feature of this Art Show is that in order to participate, each artist is required to submit one piece of artwork based on the 20895 zip code of Kensington, MD.  Walt Bartman, the Founder and Director of the Yellow Barn and co-founder of the Griffin Art Center in Frederick, Maryland and internationally collected landscape artists and renowned local instructor is this years judge.  He will be awarding several prizes in various categories.

I have been following Baklava Couture on social media for a while now and have adored watching the journey of this women-owned business with a fabulous eye for appealing social media posts, farm-sourced ingredients, local farmer’s markets, and authentic Greek baked goods.  Lucky for me Baklava Couture’s headquarters is located in Kensington (their fabulous baked goods can be purchased at farmer’s markets around the DC area) and could not think of a better place to inspire this year’s 20895 painting.

Katerina, the owner and founder of Baklava Couture, is amazing and lovely!  She invited me into her kitchen to take hundreds of reference photos for my painting and talk to her a bit about her business and inspiration.  I was thrilled to be able to show her the finished painting before she embarks on a trip to Greece to see family, find new recipes, and lead a Farm-to-Table Heritage Tour of Crete for a group of very lucky Washingtonians.  I hope to be able to work with her again in the future!

In addition to my “Baklava Couture” painting, I will also have 4 other paintings available at the “2017 Paint the Town” Art Show, including “Thin Mint Craving,” “Oyster Love,” “Mac Stack,” and “Raspberry Hamantaschen.”  Additionally, I will be selling select giclee prints, my French Macaron coasters, and Capital Palette notecard sets.

Not enough art for you?  Glen Echo Park is also hosting its 47th annual Labor Day Art Show.  See link for details.

Happy ART shopping this weekend!

 

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New Year’s Resolutions, Summer Goals & Creative Spirit

First alla prima painting of the summer

On New Year’s, we set a series of resolutions.  Then six months quick pass, warm winds blow, and summer is upon us.  Three glorious months of gorgeous weather, trips to the beach and/or pool, and thoughts of what to accomplish in the lazy, dog days of summer creep into our heads.

Summer goals are different beasts than January 1st resolutions.  Resolutions are decisions to either firmly do or not do something, summer goals are ideas we would like to accomplish  These goals are typically events or activities that have been pushed off during the busy winter and spring months, when life is barreling at full speed.   These goals can come in all forms from giving away outgrown kids toys, to reading the stack of books on your nightstand, to taking the watercolor painting class that you did not have time for during the year.

Summer is a great time to finally slow down a little, dust off the cobwebs, and indulge in something you want to do, but have avoiding for one reason or another (fear, time, rejection).

I thought I would share my summer goals, and perhaps I will inspire you to set some too!

  1. Read the 6 art books that I so desperately wanted to read and have been sitting on my desk for 2 months or more (including the super boring guide to new camera)
  2. Paint, small, alla prima, loose paintings from still life set ups, not photos
  3. Visit the National Gallery of Art….by myself!  Not distractions, no conversations, just me & art
  4. Do yoga 2x a week and exercise more.  Not a resolution, a goal.
  5. Paint my entry for the super fun Kensington Labor Day Art Show
  6. Clean out the old baby toys from my house

What are your summer goals?  I would love to hear about them?  I hope some of those goals foster creativity and relaxation, in the true spirit of summer.  At the end of the summer, I will check in and let you know the status of my goals.

 

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Artists have MAJOR Attachment Issues

“Chocolate Blunder,” 2015

I am trying to get over my attachment issues.

It is no secret that people get attached to objects: a favorite ratty old t-shirt, a high school sports trophy, a college beer poster, a favorite pair of out-of-style shoes.

Artists are no different with their artwork.  In reality it takes a great deal of comfort, strength, and security to let a painting go.  Even if an artist receives oodles of money in exchange, the loss of that part of themselves always seems to sting.

After putting my heart and soul into a canvas, my mother has joked with me over the years, “How do you part with your baby?”  Honestly, it has taken years to overcome.  The best advice I received on the topic is: the next painting will always be better, no need to hold on to this one.  Create it, learn from it, move on.

There is a creation cycle:

Each step takes different amounts of time with each unique artwork.  I could spend months working on a painting and the second I finish the last paint stroke and put the brush down, I have already let go and don’t need to see the work again.  I got what I needed from the piece and it fulfilled its purpose.  Then other paintings take a couple of short days to work into existence, but then I drag my heels on sharing it with the public and letting go, as I am not done studying or enjoying it.

An interesting idea I learned from a podcast featuring the talented artist, Connie Hayes.  She explained that she keeps 10% of all the works that she creates. The paintings she keeps might not be her best, but they were the transition pieces where she tried something new and learned the most.

Learning to let go is a skill that can be used in so many facets of life.  Concentrating on letting go within my art has definitely spilled into personal life and has been very beneficial.  I have learned to rely on my learned skills and not ponder if I could ever paint a painting similar to one that has come before.

Breathe.  Let go.  Create again.

“Lindor Treat,” 2016.