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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.

 

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A Taste of France in DC

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘French Market?’  Baguettes? Lavender?  Linens?  I am sure you will not be surprised when I tell you – I think of French macarons!  French macarons in all their colorful, sweet, classy, and unique glory.

DC area residents do not have to travel to Paris or Nice to experience a fabulous, open-air French market.  This weekend, Friday April 28th through Sunday, April 30th France is coming to you!  Take a short trip to Georgetown’s Book Hill district to indulge in French delicacies and festive atmosphere.

I believe French macarons, in all forms, should be celebrated at a French market.  Therefore, I am beyond thrilled that six of my mini macaron paintings will be included (and for sale) in this weekend’s 14th Annual Georgetown French Market in connection with Susan Calloway Fine Arts!

Details:  Friday, April 28 & Saturday, April 29 10am-5pm, Sunday, April 30 12-5pm. Georgetown’s Book Hill neighborhood (1500-1600 block of Wisconsin Ave).

Enjoy French pastries, live entertainments, children activities, french macarons, and be sure to visit Susan Calloway Fine Arts to see my unique take on my favorite subject – the french macaron!

Bon Voyage!

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Coming up BLANK!

Spring break ends tonight in my house.
There has been spring cleaning.
Passover and Easter have left many delicious sweet treats to consume.
The weather is nice, which means lots of playground visits.
Lots of macarons have been painted on easel.
Two awesome commissions await me.

As for blog topics? I am coming up blank.
Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Questions?
I submit to you, my dear readers.

Photo from my recent visit to Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC.
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Its Good to be Busy!

Whew! I am tired.  It was a fun and busy weekend, so I am going to leave you with a short post and some pictures of this weekends art festivities.  Other highlights included standing in line with the rest of Montgomery County to buy kids sneakers on a Saturday, changing my 8 year olds earrings, and my son starting T Ball!

    1. Friday night I was honored with first place (in the miniature category) at the Women’s Club of Chevy Chase’s Annual Art Show by the very talented painter and judge Eric Westbrook.
    2. Sunday was the fabulous opening reception for my spring show at Glenview Mansion, along with Sara Liebman, Barbara Bell, and Coriolana Simon!  There was a great looking crowd, that was constantly flowing through the galleries, but in the two minute break I was able to get some pictures of the space with my work.  In case you missed it, the exhibit it open until May 12!!