With 2020 knocking on our door, it's hard not to get excited about starting a brand new year in a brand new decade. But before all the goals and resolutions become part of what lies ahead, I want to reflect back on the wonderful year that was...2019.
Not only was 2019 a remarkable year for me as a professional artist, but I experienced a truly amazing year of planning and celebrating the wedding of my beautiful daughter, Megan. Like most mothers and daughters, we had many "lively discussions" about so many things from the venue location to the dessert table. But, it was precious time spent together and inevitably, made us closer than ever.
Fast forward to the wedding venue, on a warm sunny day in August, a beautiful historic barn located in Montoursville, PA, near the college where Megan and her husband met. It was without a doubt the best day ever! Family and friends from far and wide travelled to that tiny section of the world to share in their special day and it was a joyous celebration. We enjoyed breakfast with everyone the next morning and just like that, it became a wonderful memory as we all headed back home.
Sometimes, when we travel, things get left behind. It happens to all of us. This, I can attest, has happened with Megan on more than one occasion during our travels together and especially when she travelled back and forth from college. But, there was one BIG thing she left behind during this trip...her wedding bouquet. She's not quite sure where or how it disappeared, but, she left without it none the less. Although she had the best time celebrating and simply lost track of where she placed it, I know how much it meant to her.
So, as an artist, and a mom, I could not think of a better way to help her preserve that moment in time than through a painting. An arrangement of flowers that meant so much to her, transformed into a painting that brought me such joy to paint...with memories abound.
"Megan's Bouquet" 12 x 12, pastel
It was such an honor to receive the Terry Ludwig Pastels Award For Distinctive Accomplishment in Pastel at the Pastel Society of America's 47th Annual Exhibition awards ceremony Sunday at the National Arts Club in New York City. My painting "Diversity" (very top in the photo) will also be among several works selected from this show to exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio at the close of PSA show. This show is a grand display of creative expression and the limitless possibilities of the pastel medium.
Below is a full color pdf highlighting the award winning paintings, and a YouTube video of the entire awards presentation. Enjoy!
A view of my booth at the Rittenhouse Square Art show this past weekend in Philadelphia. Sunny skies brought people out to the show and lots of people stopped by to view and talk about my work. I always enjoy having an open dialogue and answering questions from interested patrons (and artists) but one question in particular I find to be very intriguing..."so how long did it take you to paint that?"
I could just simply say that a piece of artwork takes anywhere from two to six weeks of my life to create, but there is so much more than just a time factor. Patience, perseverance, trial and error, and a deep desire to capture and preserve a moment in time through my art. Well before I enter my studio, before an idea is sketched, and before color is applied, it begins with my journeys in life.
Observing life as it happens and the things that make a place special enough for me to capture the essence of a moment in time. As I take these journeys, I am spending time drawing, painting, and honing my craft to be able to effectively express what I have to say through my chosen medium; pastels.
So, it is not a simple answer. I believe it has taken years to get to this place, here right now, where people find joy in my work. Perhaps it's the style with which I apply my pastels to the surface; representational, very detailed, which prompts people to ask that question because many who have entered my booth, often wonder if my work is "really pastel." So many people believe pastel compositions to be very sketchy, loose, almost like a drawing, because that has been their experience with the medium for the most part. I like to think that I take my work to the next level of representation, and I will continue to educate those on the beauty, lasting value, and stability of the pastel medium.
A beautiful late summer weekend spent at Carl Schurz Park in New York City for the Gracie Square Art Show. I am back to my show schedule again after spending much of my summer planning and eventually celebrating my daughter's wedding. I'm happy to report that it was a truly memorable event that I will cherish forever!
This show did not disappoint as I met so many wonderful people and some of my work found homes with new collectors too. Some friends spent part of their weekend with us in the city and the weather could not have been more perfect. I've got two more shows this fall in Philadelphia and Connecticut then a little break so I can focus solely in the studio on commissions and new work for the new season ahead.
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working,"
- Pablo Picasso
A well said statement, and I couldn't agree more. I believe that what he is trying to convey is that inspiration, while energizing and certainly the catalyst for many creative works of art, is not something that just happens upon us on a whim, well, most of the time. The myth that artists just sit around waiting for something to pop into their heads has long been fed by subscribers to the "starving artist" mentality. As an artist, if I were to wait for something to hit me over the head in the form of inspiration, I would get very little work done.
Instead, I find that showing up every day, going out and finding things that inspire is much more energizing, adventurous, and productive than waiting for something to just generate organically. If you look close enough, you can find inspiration in very simple things that are found in everyday life, and the right light can turn anything into compelling subject matter for me.
From people gathering, to cityscapes and architecture, to choreographed shadows on a buildings' facade, what happens at the easel is my interpretation of these things, and where inspiration begins to unfold in the form of a composition.
So, with that being said, I'll grab my cup of joe, and head into the workplace.
My (mostly) tidy studio...ready to tackle the day ahead. Because I work with pastels, cleaning up at the end of each day is important or my studio becomes a dust bowl!
If you live anywhere near the northeast, you are probably wondering if spring will ever arrive. At least that is how I've been feeling lately with one nor'easter after another. A brief vacation to a warmer place gave only temporary respite from this downright cold and dreary weather. But, all is not lost as I step into my studio each day, I can forget about the snow covering my windows and just escape by living vicariously through the places I paint.
When I am not painting work for shows and exhibitions, I'm hard at work creating memorable house portrait paintings for my clients. Most, if not all of my house portrait paintings are from reference photos I take during the warmer months that showcase my clients homes in the best light, both literally and figuratively. I enjoyed painting this home because of its beautiful yellow color and lots of green grass...just what one needs to see everyday during the dead of winter. Roses in bloom, full foliage, and of course, some beloved pets as well. So, as I wait for spring to make its official entrance, I will continue to paint the things I love.
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving, it becomes time again to remind ourselves for all we have to be thankful. As I look forward to being surrounded by family, friends, and of course lots of food, I would also like to reflect on the many blessings I have had throughout the year...as a full time working artist!
I was honored to have achieved Signature Member status with the Pastel Society of America. This sets the bar very high for an artist and I will continue to work hard at my craft to honor this distinction.
I had the privilege of working with many new clients this year through commission work and found each one to be a rewarding experience. House portraits, travel portraits, and other projects have been in abundance this year and for this, I am thankful!
This year offered many opportunities to show my work in prestigious shows throughout the Northeast, including New York, Connecticut, and Cape Cod, as well as with national organizations such as the American Artists Professional League, Audubon Artists, and The Salmagundi Club.
Another exhibition to be held at the Butternut Gallery where several of my pieces will be exhibited from November 25 - December 23, 2017. This will be the last exhibition for the gallery at its current location and I have been fortunate to have had them represent my work.
At a recent outdoor art show that I participated in, someone approached my booth, pointed to one of my paintings and said “I know that place…is that a house in Maine?” When I told them that it was actually a painting from my neighborhood in Pennsylvania, they seemed perplexed, almost certain that they were familiar with that home and its location. Someone else stopped by and said of another painting, “That painting feels like New England.” It was actually from the Jersey Shore, but it resonated with someone, and that is the goal behind my work as an artist. It’s not about where the painting originates so much as how people feel and react when they view it.
It’s no secret that I love painting architecture in the landscape, especially when sunlight and shadows allow me to create more dramatic effects. It’s a common theme in much of my work, and what I enjoy the most, are the connections that people make to the work. Be it old homes or buildings, inspired locally or from my travels abroad, there is something for everyone to relate to. For some, it makes them think about a place they visit often and for others, it reminds them of home, wherever that may be. An individual that purchased a painting at the show said that they feel like they could “walk right in” to my paintings and feel at home.
I have enjoyed the connections I’ve made this summer with all the new people who have taken an interest in my work, and with so many places yet to discover and nurture my muse, I’m doubtful that I will ever get bored with this subject matter.
"The Colors of a Summer Day."
A summer afternoon on the Island of Burano, Italy. Quiet, lazy, and full of natural sunlight shining down on pastel colored homes. The doorway curtain folded back makes for a warm entryway.
It was nice to be featured in the Business Spotlight this month in the Avalon Chamber of Commerce monthly newsletter. It highlights my House Portraits with a link to my website. Painting the homes at the Jersey Shore is something I LOVE doing and this feature came along at just the right time...in the heart of summer!