Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The last picture in this series, at least for now, is Super Cell.  It has one of those huge rotating black clouds that engender tornadoes in the background.  In the foreground, a couple of "beautiful people" sit on a beach, wearing rose colored glasses, reading fashion magazines or obliviously listening to an iPod.  They are also oblivious to a child who does see the approaching storm cloud and tries to scream a warning that they can not hear.  The figures in this painting all come from photos that I cobbled together and put different hair and clothes on. It is consistent with the other paintings in the group in that someone sees that the world is a mess and someone else can not.  Or maybe they just choose not to see it.

oil on canvas - 30"x34"

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Shoot.  I had a lot of names for this one but I finally settled on Shoot.  This was a concept driven piece.  I mean I had the idea and then tried to figure out how to execute that idea.  In my head there had been one or two adults sitting in easy chairs watching TV and drinking beer.  They would have been seen from behind with the TV in the distance with images of war on it.  In the foreground, boys would have been playing with guns.  I could never figure that out to my satisfaction but after using the stars and stripes in Collateral Damage, I thought of using them in Shoot as well.  I dispensed with the easy chairs and the grown ups and emphasized the TV.  The images of the boys came from a series of books that I have, each one featuring photos from one decade of the twentieth century.  These were from the fifties.  It is surprising in our culture how many pictures there are of kids with guns.  These two were playing with guns, but in a lot of the images the kids are using real guns, fighting in real wars.  This painting is slanted, I guess, toward a middle class American point of view, but I hope it implies those kids in the real wars and also the commonplaceness of brutality "as seen on TV" and also how it is romanticized in our culture. 

Monday, December 22, 2014


State and Main was a project long in the making.  Most of the time (a couple of years) was spent in thinking about it. I knew that I wanted a group of children playing in a street as if that street were a beach with the rising ocean waters rising up to them.  This time, it is the children who carry on as usual, as each generation does, while the adults suddenly become aware of their peril.  I tried out many arrangements for the city street and sky line and none of them seemed to work until it occurred to me to make the line of buildings curve as they might if they were falling into the sea. The characters in this picture came from many sources.  The little girl in pink started out as my granddaughter. Some of the others were came from my collection of black and white photography books.  Others were made up.  I thought that the iceberg floating in the distance was a nice touch, representing the melting ice caps. And the greenish sky gives the whole thing an ominous tone. Now that I have discovered the power of tiny white dots in representing foamy water, I might go back into this painting and add some.  54"x40"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


The conception for they passed with noses in the air came from two directions.  First, the poem - King John's Christmas, by A A Milne has been a part of my life and has been in my head since early childhood.   The title of this painting comes from it. On the other side, I like to look at black and white photographs of people and use those photos as source material for practicing color portraiture. While doing this I ran across a photo of a group of men in top hats in a car.  Also, I stumbled across a photo of lady in a huge hat.  Each of them had an expression of  "I'm so much better than everybody else that I need not concern myself with them or their doings",  I wanted to put them together somehow.  I reversed the orientation of the man, put a different hat on the woman, gave them both bodies and different clothes and then set about constructing a background.  They just seemed to naturally fit in to a landscape of destruction and devastation.  So I painted it and here it is

Saturday, December 13, 2014


In Teach Your Children Well, I had a different approach.  Rather than starting with people in poses and putting them together, I started with an idea and found people to put into it. I knew that I wanted a picture of an innocent child being influenced by an unsavory part of the culture.  In this case, military glory. So I had to set out to find the posers. Since I don't have much knowledge of what a soldier looks like in battle, carrying a gun, I turned to tv and movies as a source because that is such an abundant source.  I found a tv series called Over There and rented an episode on Netflix. I actually watched it even though it was the sort of show that I hate every thing about. Using a screen capture app, I went through it frame by frame and collected a lot of images that I thought would be suitable, finally settling on this one. So I had the soldier and the sand.  Once again, a picture of a grandchild appeared in my email that fit in perfectly.  The child was a girl, sitting on a rock and not holding a toy gun.  I had to look on the Internet again for the image of a toy gun.  It turns out that there are more realistic toy guns on the market that I could ever have imagined. So I changed her into a boy, put the gun into her hands and sat her down on the sand.  I think this picture has a sort of dream like quality which I tried to achieve by blurring the soldier a bit.  It differers from much of my work because it is simple in structure. It is my favorite in this group, though.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Collateral Damage - a painting about politics

Collateral damage was first conceived as a live model portrait study done in one of the painting groups that I have been attending for the last thirteen years.  The young man just sat down in front of a flag that someone had put up and the result was the small painting, theirs not to reason why.  Everyone thought that it represented a young innocent being dragged off to war.  They I saw a photo of a politician in a magazine and made the tiny portrait red white and blure.  I wanted to develop them into a bigger painting and I thought of having the politician shielding the eyes and mind of the young man.  I had two of my friends stand and pose like this, one with her hand in front of but not touching the eyes of the other.  I don't know what any guns look like, so I had to look at the Internet for that,  since the soldier is an victim in this picture, I wanted more victims and the models for them were supplied by pictures that my son had emailed me of my adorable grandchildren.  The mother figure, I just put in and I feel the she is the weakest link.  I may take here out.  That is possible, you know, even after years have passed.  I wanted to symbolize the USA with the flag, so by this time, it was an easy leap from amber waves of grain to hills of the stars and stripes.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

What a difference a color change makes

These are three incarnations of the same painting.  The first picture was taken after about thirty minutes of work from a live model.  I think it looks fresh and complete, and I might very well have stopped there.  The second  is the same painting after three hours of work.  It may be more refined but it is not particularly better, in my opinion.  I used the orangish tan back ground because it was close in color and tone to the original canvas color, which I thought was working pretty well. In the third example, I have decided that the warm background wasn't working, so I changed it to green.  I don't know if this is better or not. It is different and it contrasts with the skin tones, but that neutral background seems kind of pointless to me.  It might be better if I made it very dark - black, even.  Or put some objects in it. Or just moved on to another painting.  This is all practice, after all.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Oil on canvas  -  34"x30"  -  2013.  I am entering this painting I a show at Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vermont.  The theme of the show is "Amore".  I feel like this one fits that theme.  The dominant woman, like a modern day Carmen, uses one man to taunt another.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some of my work will be shown at Catamount Arts in St Johnsbury VT as part of the Second Tuesday group show. Second Tuesday is an art discussion group that has been meeting for more than twenty years. Paintings from my series "Breaking Through" and "Atlantic Beaches" will be on view.
Breaking through, is the first group of little paintings that I have done that are purely abstract.  they seem to be about breaking through the cobwebs to some inner, yet hard to reach passion.  I think I will pursue this series and make some bigger ones.
Atlantic beaches is about dead things on the beach.  Dead jellyfish.  Broken shells.  Bits of seaweed. As part of my larger "Small Things" series (I'm up to about 135) these are a celebration of and homage to tiny things under our feet or right in front of our faces that all too often go unnoticed.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Persephone climbing up out of the Underworld - Resurrection

I am posting views of the same painting - one of them upside down.  Which one is upside down?  I don't know, because I can't decide which way is up.  After being stuck for months in an un friendly place, Persephone has finally seen her chance to get out of the Underworld.  I have depicted her doing this under her own steam.  She doesn't need anyone to lead her out anymore.  She can do it on her own.  I think that this series is drifting away from the classic myth and is becoming a metaphor for my life and, indeed, for the lives of all women who find themselves stuck in an unfulfilling life without knowing quite how they got there.  We have to realize that we can climb out and create a new life.  It will take luck, commitment and perseverance.  In this painting, Persephone reaches for the winter dead tree and as she touches it, new life springs forth.
But which way is up?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painting in progress Monday morning

These are two images from my painting group on Monday morning.  The second picture shows the work in progress and the first is how it stands now. This is all about practice, practice, practice.  A lot of figure artists start with the darks and gradually build toward the lights and that works really well for them.  It might work really well for me too but instead, I like to establish the lightest lights early on.  Maybe that is because I tend to use fairly stiff brushes that would scratch the underpainting off if I tried to apply lights on top of the darks.
oil on canvas - 24"x18"

Saturday, November 15, 2014

An alla prima portrait with a few revisions.

Before and after shots of the picture I made last Monday.  I really liked painting this woman with her up turned face.  In the first one, her forehead doesn't look like it is tipped back to go with her raised chin.  So, in the revision, I shaved a little off her forehead. Then - Yikes! - I noticed that her earring was coming out of the side of her cheek, not from where her ear would be, so I changed that too. And since the picture was taken, I have softened the shadow on her right cheek.  This seems to be part of a "yellow chair" series.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Painting revisions - something about green

Here is the painting again with the revisions.  I think the greens are OK and I like all of the roundness - in the cushions and in the model.  I won't go any further with this painting though, as I am interested in nudes only as a painting exercise.  I would love some input.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trying to get comfortable with green

This painting that I did in a quick two hour session last week isn't too bad, but there are some changes that I want to make. Mostly, I will try to get a lot more green into the shadows.  I am not particularly interested in perfect skin tones, but in COLOR to convey mood and emotion.  I have been having a lot of trouble learning to use green, so I will try it here by adding it to the shadows and making the lower cushion green.  Also, I'm going to fatten up the legs and even out the breasts.  I'll post the changes soon - stay tuned.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


So here is the same painting again. What is different? The portrait is still all about color and any differences you see are due to the photograph. I have not changed any of the color tones. The previous photo is the more accurate. I did move the nose over about an eight of an inch - perhaps not quite enough - and I aligned the curves of the chair back and toned down the green on the forehead a bit. Except for moving the nose again, I am pretty well satisfied with this piece as it is. I don't feel any need to refine it further by tidying up the back ground or anything.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I saw a phrase on a bottle of wine describing the contents - "fruit forward". I have adapted the phrase to COLOR FORWARD to describe the work that I am trying to do in painting. This most recent portrait (oil on canvas - 20"x16" - 10-27-2014) illustrates it pretty well. No more searching for perfect skin tones. I want color - gobs of color. Yeah, there is a lot of orange and green in this. Cadmium green is my new "go to" green. As far as I am concerned, painting is all about color. And, oh yeah, I'm going to move the nose a little to the right. What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What is the point of art?

For several years now, I have just been posting images of my paintings without writing much about them. I think I need to change this. I need more writing. I haven't done much writing because I never thought of myself as a writer and imagined that my paintings spoke for themselves. But they probably don't, at least on the internet. I may start a whole new blog where I discuss color or try to figure out what the point of art is. The attached images are four 6" square paintings that I am working on. They are a departure for me - into the realm of abstract - with no source material outside of my own mind. Comment if you think you know what the point of art is. Ann

Monday, October 13, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #119 & #120 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014 These two little paintings are the last in this particular series of 6"x6" pictures of the lily pads in autumn. I am continuing to paint in the genera but next I will be doing some abstract works and some close up pictures of dead things on the beach.

Monday, October 6, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #117 & #118 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014 a celebration of autumn color in floating pond vegetation.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #115 & #116 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014 This series is all about finding color and beauty in unexpected places. The water shield is a little floating plant in a pond near my house. I paint these pictures because I want to show everyone the beauty that I find there.

Monday, September 29, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #113 & #114 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #111 & #112 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #109 & #110 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #107 & #108 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #105 & #106 oil on canvas 6"x6" 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I have now placed persephone back into the surreal landscape. She is climbing up out of the underworld. I think I will be happy with this version when it is done.

Monday, August 18, 2014


When something isn't working, it is time to paint over it and start anew. So now, I have painted the old Persephone out of the "emerging from the underworld" landscape and created a plasticine model that I can use as a reference when I put her back in. Back to square one.

Monday, August 11, 2014


RESURRECTION - WATER SHIELD #103 & #104 oil on linen 6"x6" 2014 These two little red ones are among my favorites of the series.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Installation views

My show at Catamount Arts will be up for the entire month of August. The two large paintings are 36"x36". The group of paintings are 20"x20" on the top and bottom rows and 6"x6" in the middle.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

AUTUMN POND ABSTRACT installation views

These are two views of my current show at Catamount Arts in St Johnsbury VT. They show 36"x36" paintings from the same Water Shield series that I have been posting lately. The show runs through the month of August.