Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Last Friday night Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia ( a free tuition art school) had there closing ceremony for the Student Show. This is where I have been taking painting classes. They were giving out awards for the different categories of art being featured in the show.
'WEEPING'                                24x30                    2012                      oil on canvas

The awards ceremony was to begin 7:00 P.M. and it was in Fleisher's historic Sanctuary chapel.  This chapel is something you just have to see.  It looks like it is from the 1700's however, I am not sure exactly how old it is. The walls are plaster frescos with painted imagery on them. The entire chapel is so ornate with tall columns, pillars, arches and decorative embellishments.  It is dark and gloomy at times and at other times it is so awe inspiring and creatively uplifting because of it's endless attention to the details.  Classes are sometimes held in this sanctuary.   There is a round sunglass window at the front of the chapel.  The altar is dressed with a crucifix and many ornate and decorative sculptures and carvings.  It is next to Fleisher's primary school class rooms and you would hardly know it was there from the street if the sunglass window and pointed roof were not there.

I went with my husband Paul and met up with a few friends that I know at Fleisher. I knew I had won an award, I just didn't know which one.  They kept that secret.  Anxiously, Paul and I went into the Sanctuary at around 7:00 P.M. and we sat down to hear the names called for each award category.  The award announcements began with some minor problems as I was the first one to be called up for an award. Go figure!  I was not looking forward to getting up in front of everyone to get my award even though it was in front of people I knew.  Hate that.  I really had the nervous jitters. I felt as though I was going to fall over when I stood up and I couldn't breathe right.  You know, basic anxiety symptoms. I didn't know where to stand and I felt like eyes were all on me. My worst nightmare was coming true. I listened to them call the other names of the artists and waited for them to come up to the podium to get their awards and to join me in the front of the Sanctuary.   I felt better having others up there with me.  After the names for painting category were called, I received my certificate and hurried back to my chair.  Oh, thank goodness, it was over.  I received my award for my abstract painting and nothing terrible happened!

I have been painting abstract since last January 2012.  I've been keeping it a secret because it is a diversion from my previous work.  One I did not need!  It is surely a change in direction for me. It actually started in an unplanned way but possibly inspired by these two things intersecting. One- since I was taking a new class, 'Painting Intuatively'( a modern art painting class) and two- because of my regular class 'Imagination, Memory and Observation'(imagery from your imagination), I was being primed subconsciously for this collision of techniques and to produce something new.

One Thursday in class, I was working on a drawing for a painting I was beginning in 'Imagination, Memory and Observation' and my instructor John thought that it was not in proportion with my drawing in my sketch book. I decided to wipe off the drawing but I felt stuck and I didn't know what I was going to do next. Then out of nowhere, and as I thought out loud, "I think I will paint an abstract painting."  This came to me from a place I did not recognize.  I had been painting still life and conceptual paintings since I began painting in 2008 and I was happy doing it, so this was definitely out of character for me. Well anyway, I went to work furiously painting without knowing really what I was doing. I only used a palette knife.  When class was over my instructor John came over and was amazed at what I had created on the canvas.  He asked how I did what I did and he told me it was great and I should paint abstract, give it a try. (Below, see the first painting that I had done)  After I painted this painting, a new direction and pathway were formed for me and I thought about trying to work in abstract for awhile to see what would develop.   Boy, was I blown away by what was to come. I would almost be totally taken over by abstract painting, form and mass.
'BEGINNING AGAIN'                   24x30                   2012                      oil on canvas

The interesting part of this journey is that when I was a teenager, I totally loved abstract and modern art. My Dad also loved it and we would talk about it when I was a kid. He was so ahead of his time (a toy designer and inventor) and he loved anything that was contemporary or modern.  We went looking for furniture (when I was 13) for our new house and most of it was totally modern.  The colors painted on our bedroom walls were totally modern.  My sister's and my bedroom was 3 walls bright yellow, one wall lime green and brown trim!  Our living room had a vanilla milkshake sofa the had a curve along the back and the carpeting was super plush royal blue that was cut on a curve going from the door to the kitchen!  This was before people realized they could cut the carpet in creative ways. My Dad was 'the bomb'.  We both had the same creative interests when I was young and we had the whole world ahead of us. Sadly, my Dad passed away one year later from a massive heart attack at the age of 40. I knew then that I had truly lost my creative friend in life... and I would never be the same,  and I haven't been.

When I began college, I wanted to work in abstract.  Then, somewhere in my early twenties my interest changed and I sort of found myself moving away from abstract art and modernism and more towards realism and impressionism when I moved to Philly and studied at Moore College of Art and Design. I don't know if it had anything to do with my Dad's death and my not wanting to remember things or not, but this is where I had been for many years. I studied graphic design and ad design in college, so I guess this might be my hanging on to the modern art world?   I'm not sure now if I am comfortable painting in an abstract technique yet, but I am making my way through the process. I feel the fear of beginning each new painting. I can't say that I will move away from conceptual art because it is dear to my heart, but I like the free and expressive energy that is released when painting in an abstract way.  I love the freedom of moving the paint around the canvas and not knowing exactly where I am going only to find a image emerge on the canvas. I am producing a lot and finding the process interesting.  It is funny that all my adult years I had no interest in abstract art and here I am coming full circle to my childhood and all the things I loved about art.  I am thinking about many things I had forgotten about myself and remembering all the things I wanted to be and do. I am thinking about being a child and having all the opportunities in front of me.  I am thinking... Maybe, I am home.

You might be wondering,"which award did I win?".  The answer is, I won the Honorable Mention Award for Painting. I am excited and I realize that I am forging a new direction which is like coming around to greeting a new, yet at the same time old friend.

I will be putting up some of my new abstract paintings soon so stay tuned for a change in direction and mood.  Leave a comment as to what you think of this new style of painting I am taking on.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I was going through some of my paintings yesterday and came across this little painting that I had done awhile ago that goes along with my Balloon Series Paintings.  I over looked it and totally lost track of it since it is a small painting.
It was created with the series of paintings that I just posted about called 'HOW FRAGILE WE ARE' and I wanted to include it with the series
This painting is titled, 'IN THE WINK OF AN EYE' 11x14  2010 oil on canvas.
'IN THE WINK OF AN EYE'                  11x14                oil on canvas            2010

Thursday, March 7, 2013


A couple of years ago I took a brief dabbling in my painting and began painting characters that look like balloons.  
It all started when I painted a diptychs for my brother as a Christmas gift.  He was my secret Santa and I wanted to do something cool for his house.  He had virtually no art in his beautiful home so I thought a painting would be an awesome idea.  I had no idea as to what I was going to take on right before Christmas.

It is titled 'Air on the side of caution' and each canvas is 24x30.  It took some time to paint, but I really got in the groove and finished them on time.  It began my interest in the balloon as a metaphor for the human brain and personality.

'AIR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION'      2009   24x30 panels     oil on canvas

I don't know precisely what caught my attention to create these balloon character faces except that I am generally interested in the face as a theme and use it in a lot of my paintings.  I am also interested in our human psychology as a theme.  The idea that these balloon characters can be extinguished with just a nick by the birds beak, speaks to me because I feel that that is how one can feel when they move in the world.  Vulnerability is the key word I think of to describe these balloon character paintings.  I think of how fragile our psychological life can be and how we can feel so unimportant at times.  I also think of strength and courage when I look at these paintings.  Courage to put yourself out there not knowing what will come back to you.  Strength to pick yourself up after an emotional event and move forward.  The faces are just floating in the air and moving through their life even though there is tragedy.  One balloon has been loosing it's air it's life and a lot of balloons look at it in concern and fear, while others are not nearly so affected.  Some characters like the one in the left panel in the bottom left corner is closing his eyes and doesn't even want to know what is going on.

                'BLISS'                11x14               2010      oil on canvas                                         

This painting above titled 'BLISS" 11x14 oil on canvas is one of my very favorites.  I think it is because I love the way the face looks so relaxed and truly experiencing 'bliss'.  I love the way the colors blend together and support the red face.  It is not actually a balloon face however it is the beginning of my balloon series.

               'HOPES DEFLATED'         16x20                 2010       oil on canvas                                   
Above in this second painting, 'Hopes Deflated' 16x20.  Two birds swoop in to bite onto the yellow balloon character and deflates it while standing on the face of the green character.  This reflects the fragile nature of our psychological persona.

             'WHAT'S SO FUNNY?'                   16x20                      2010      oil on canvas             
 In this third painting above, 'What's so funny?' 16x20, each character in the painting is laughing and filled with fun.  The blue character is clearly the 'jokester' while the yellow woman character is very amused and smitten with the joke as the orange woman looks on.  This painting reflects the different sides of ourselves and how we can change our persona from one moment to the next.
      'RISING ABOVE'          16x20        2010       oil on canvas                             
In this fourth painting, 'Rising above' 16x20 , you can see different emotions as the orange balloon is relaxing and looks like he is meditating and not effected by the others.  The blue character looks on wondering and the green guy in the background looks like he wants to make his own appearance as a unique and different personality from the others.  The three birds fly around these characters clearly familiar with these three guys. The guys do not feel any fear even though at any minute the birds can nick them and they will deflate and their lives will be lost
              'GRIEF'                    11x14              2010   oil on canvas
In this painting above titled 'GRIEF' 11x14,  I really experience the feeling of grief when I look at the face of this balloon that is floating in the air.  Since I have been going through a lot of grief lately with the loss of my Mom and my Gram 16 months apart, I really relate to the way the balloon is holding his head and closing his eyes and staring down. This balloon character is surely feeling down and filled with sorrow.

I hope you enjoyed viewing this group of paintings.  Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what's on your mind.