Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Visit to the Fechin House


        September, 2008- My husband and I traveled to Taos, New Mexico for a few days of painting workshops (me) and golf/photo taking (him).  The workshop I attended was at the famous Nicholai Fechin Museum/former home, and it was taught by an amazing painter, Jeffrey Watts ( of Watts Atelier in Encinitas, California).   To attend such an informative workshop in the former studio of one of the true "Masters" of our century was a memory and experience that I will forever cherish.   For three days, we painted models from life dressed in authentic  Native American attire in Mr. Fechin's spacious studio under north light.  While we were there, a photographer from American Artist Magazine snapped photos of us.  What a thrill to find a photo of Jeff and I on the front cover of the winter issue of American Artist/Workshop Magazine when I got my subscription in the mail!  My work was also shown in the article!  

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Oma's back porch, Brooklyn, NY

8"h, 10"w oil on canvas board
In 1976, my sister Anna and I took a flight to New York to visit our grandparents.  We were 12(me), and 15(Anna), and we were to spend our "whole summer" there in Brooklyn.  Our grandmother, whom we called "Oma", was really our caretaker, as our grandfather (Opa) was already pretty incapacitated by then, and not probably real happy about the arrangement.  I remember him banging his cane (or a broom?) on the ceiling  when my sister and I were listening to the small radio upstairs or laughing too loud.  What I remember about Opa is:he was mostly blind, and wanted to tell long stories that I  did not want to listen to.  Oma made baked goods regularly, and bought fresh bread every day, which we enjoyed with REAL butter.  And tropicana orange juice!  Ice cream every night!  She pushed one of those "granny carts" (the same kind I sometimes schlep around with my painting supplies) to the market every day it seemed.  Also to church for Mass, which happened to be a long walk through the creepiest cemetery  I had ever seen.  (I loved it of course)  We saw a few sights; one of them being a real live "flasher" (trench coat and all!) on the city streets-Anna and I never laughed so hard!  We took the subway to visit some of the historic sights, and to the beach.   Oma treated us to Radio City Music Hall where we saw "Logan's Run", and the "Rockette's".  We saw a play on Coney Island but I can't remember what.  Oma bought me my first pair of "platform" shoes and I wore them to death for months (they added three plus inches to my height!) We found a sweet "mother" German Shephard and her young pups living between Oma's house and the next.  Anna and I saved some of our food for her, but Oma found out and wasn't happy about it.  Anna must have taken the snapshot I used for this small painting on Oma's back porch.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year PAAR

This very small oil painting (3" by 5"!) depicts a small group of PAAR (Plein Air Painters of Riverside) of which I have belonged for a few years.  At the close of 2008, I would have to say that being a member of this group has been one of the most enriching creative experiences of my career!  We are of varied backgrounds, yet we come together several times a month to share in our appreciation of this age old practice of "plein air painting".   The inspiration for this painting came from a cute picture that was taken of some of us before we painted at the DosLagos Golf Course in the spring of 2008.   Can you guess who's in it?  I sort of hope so since  I used a HUGE brush (as I have been advised to do from one of my PAAR friends) and tried to capture the comaradarie of this lively group of friends, with as little "detail" as possible. (for me that's a real challenge) For myself, being exposed to so many beautiful and talented people has been  a valued treasure for which 2008 will be remembered. Happy New Year and thank you for all the wonderful memories PAAR! I'm looking forward to another rewarding and fulfilling year as a plein air painter!