Wednesday, October 28, 2009


After realizing I could view Van Gogh paintings at the Musée d'Orsay on YouTube, I decided to look for one of my favorite Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.

I remember the Museum of Contemporary Art in Basel, France had one of Monet's huge waterlily painting taking up an entire wall. Across the room from it was a over sized, comfy couch for us Monet fans to sit and gaze for a good length of time. I was mesmerized!

I found a lovely video on YouTube featuring some of Monet's paintings called Through The Eyes of Monet.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Van Gogh on YouTube

Have you visited the Musée d'Orsay, in Paris, France?

The museum is dedicated to artwork in the period 1848 to 1914 and is, in part, a temple to Impressionism. Essentially it starts where the Louvre leaves off. The artwork housed in the museum came from three different collections.

There is one room in the museum containing 18 Van Gogh paintings. Katherine Tyrell says, "It's certainly an experience to be in a room with quite so many Van Goghs. You'll note from the video that it's very crowded. However, that's what all the rooms are like on the top floor where the late nineteenth century and Impressionist paintings are displayed. However people always like to linger in the Van Gogh room......."

Like Rembrandt and Goya, Vincent van Gogh often used himself as a model; he produced over forty-three self-portraits, paintings or drawings in ten years.

Monday, October 26, 2009

To Crop or Not To Crop

Cropping is one way to transform an image for emphasis.

When I first began to create watercolor collage paintings, I chose the areas of previous watercolor paintings that I liked. In other words, I cropped a portion of the painting. Having done several paintings of the same subject, I had several paintings and areas to choose from. Then, I recreated a painting using my favorite croppings. Thus, the birth of watercolor collage painting!

Recently, I have cropped the encaustic paintings I created while at a painting & yoga workshop in the Berkshires into miniatures, and entered them in the Miniature Art Show in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Now, I am toying with how to crop another pastel painting done in the Berkshires. I am not happy with painting as a whole, but I do like aspects of the pastel painting which might make smaller individual paintings.
Let me explain.......

Here is the original pastel painting:

The cropping I like with the three trees as the subject.

Then, I am intrigued by the cropping of the light on the hillside....

Are they "keepers"? What are your feelings?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mima Mounds

Today, a friend and I Walk around weird, grass and moss-covered hillocks in southwest Washington.

One of Earth's strangest landscapes can be found in the humble pastures near Littlerock, Washington, 12 miles south of Olympia. The Mima Mounds, at Mima Prairie, look like a sea of giant, half-buried bowling balls 8 feet tall and 30 feet across.

"There's no obvious reason why they should be there," says University of Washington geology professor Bernard Hallet. Indeed, after two centuries of speculation, scientists are still baffled by the mounds' origin and magnitude before agriculture and development encroached, the mounds extended a remarkable 20 square miles.

You can ponder the Mima Mounds' quirky mystery as well as Mima Prairie's unusual ecosystem at a 450-acre preserve set aside by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This native prairie is one of the rarest ecosystems in Washington.

From the kiosk, a network of easy hiking trails wend their way through the mounds. As you explore, consider the two most viable current theories for the mounds' formation: Some geologists believe that violent earthquakes shook the loose prairie soils into neat heaps. Zoologists have also studied this area extensively; some believe that ancient potato-size pocket gophers created the mounds over generations of frenzied territorial construction. Most other theories that these are Native American burial mounds, for example have been refuted.

Perhaps, after a visit, you'll come up with your own theory for these strange mounds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Too Much Fun!

It is know that the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better is by making it fun to do.

Turn the stairs into a Piano, and people will "take the stairs" over the escalator!!!

And notice how happy they are!

Piano stairs -

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Dance to the Piper"

Martha Graham (May 11, 1894 – April 1, 1991) was an American dancer and choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

This is a passage from Martha to Agnes B de Mille (18 September 1905 – 7 October 1993), an American dancer and choreographer, sharing her insights on unique individual creativity of an artist.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

"As for you Agnes, you have a peculiar and unusual gift and you have so far used about one third of your talent."

"But when I see my work, I take for granted what other people value in it. I only see it's ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied."

"No artist is pleased"

"But then is there no satisfaction?"

"No satisfaction whatever at any time!" she cried passionately. "There is only a quiet divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

How do you feel about this?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The Cannon Beach Gallery in Oregon, a program of the non-profit Cannon Beach Arts Association, is calling for original art submissions for its annual All Juried Miniatures Show this November.

Two of my fellow artists, Judi Colwell and Ellen Miffit, and I have started a tradition to enter this show. It began as a challenge last year because none of us have done miniature paintings before. For one thing, Miniatures are easy to mail, and, two, what fun it would be to take a field trip together to visit Cannon Beach to pick up our art if they were accepted. Need I say, we had a FABULOUS adventure together to Cannon Beach, and my painting sold!

As I looked at my most recent art from a trip to the East Coast, I realized that I liked certain areas of my paintings better than others. What if I cut up the painting into miniature paintings?

Here are two of my entries for the Miniature Show in Cannon Beach taken from an encaustic painting I did at a painting & yoga workshop in the Berkshires:

New England Fall Colors #1

New England Fall Colors #2

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kripalu View

Kripalu a center for yoga and health is situated in the western Berkshires of Massachusetts. People come from all parts of the country and world and all walks of life to pursue personal growth, cultivate health and wellness, learn practical life skills,explore creative pursuits,delve into spiritual practices,develop professional skills, renew and revitalize.

I went to the Yoga and Painting workshop and experienced Kripalu. Each day I took in the OUTSTANDING view. Most of the time that I painting it was outdoors which is quite different than my usual studio experience.

Here is the view from Kripalu that I created in pastels, a medium I have not used since childhood. It was a moody day which made the Washingtonian feel right at home!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Painting in the Berkshires

I just returned from the East Coast immersing myself in the fall colors.

We did some "peeping"* in Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. I also attended a workshop at Kripalu entitled Yoga and Painting in the Berkshires with Linda Novick. Linda is an artist and art educator as well as a certified Yoga instructor, but best of all, a totally fun and supportive person to be with.

There were eight of us and our days revolved around morning and afternoon sessions of creativity and plenty of time to enjoy nature and do yoga. The food was outrageously good and healthy; glad to still fit in my jeans after the five days!

I dabbled with new media; a form of encaustic done with craypas and hot wax and I added colored tissue paper, as well as a return to pastels. Nature was intoxicating and I did several plein air paintings.

Here I am in my element.....

I created these wax paintings using craypas, tissue paper, leaves, and hot wax.

* "peeping" is a New Englander's term for driving around looking at the beautiful fall color of leaves.