Photo Credit, Alaina MinichielloRead More
I have been hesitant to post on my blog the last few months. I have been planning for a long time to create a brand new web site with my blog integrated into the site! I knew once that went into place it was going to take some time to transfer 5 years of former posts into the new platform and space! Thanks to my wonderful daughter, who is an actor, but happens to be multi-talented, (computer skills being one of them), helped me design and build a brand new site! Plus, she transferred my entire blog over to it’s new home! Feel free to explore, I would love any feedback you have! Sometimes there can be a few kinks with a new site, let me know if you find any. :-)
Those of you that subscribe and have been getting my blog posts in your email inbox will still be getting them in a new format. If you prefer to read blog post with an RSS feed reader, you can put my RSS into your favorite reader. The best way to stay up on the latest and greatest I’ve been up to is to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. You can join that party by clicking on the link at the end of the post. If you are coming across this post and are new to my blog, you can subscribe to that as well. The more the merrier!
A couple of years ago my husband and I went to the Provence area of France on our 25th anniversary. Driving in the Vaucluse area to the village of Ménerbes, made famous by the classic book by Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence, we came upon, in the valley below the village, fields laden with cherry trees ready to be harvested. It was one of those stop the car moments. I got out of the car and strolled among the trees marveling at the millions of tiny red and yellow orbs hovering over my head. While I was composing this painting inspired by that day, I couldn’t help but think of the classic French song Les Temps des Cerises, (The Time of Cherries.) It was written in 1866 just before the French Impressionist movement. Lyrics were added later and it become a revolutionary song for the Paris Commune in 1871. This is the time from March to May a rogue, radical government, laid siege to Paris right after the fall of the French Second Empire. The title of the painting reflects, a wonderful memory of a day in Provence with my husband, a classic French song beloved by many today, and an ironic reference to today’s political environment.
I’m so thrilled that an artists work I greatly admire, Soon Warren, has chosen this painting for this years Kansas Watercolor Society’s National Exhibition at the Mark Arts Center in Wichita Kansas. The show will take place from November 17 - December 17. If you are in the area this show always promises some of the best watercolor paintings in the country.
Les Temps des Cerises
30” x 17.5”
24" x 24"
I have a deep affinity with Japanese culture which I really can’t explain. I’ve had a self imposed study for many years on their food, customs, design, textile arts, horticulture, you name it. So when I finally had a chance to visit Japan, especially Kyoto, the old capital, on two separate occasions, it was a dream come true. I have had the idea for this painting floating in my head for a few years, and finally executed it. On one trip to Japan during cherry blossom season, we came upon a number of maiko, apprentice geiko, as geisha are known in Kyoto. The maiko in the painting was surrounded by lots of fanfare and was accompanied by her male dresser. Maiko must by assisted by a person, usually male, to help them layer their formal dress of kimono and tie the heavy and cumbersome obi. The obi is tied differently for the Maiko, leaving a long tail of the two ends down the back. For the geiko the obi is tucked in and doesn't hang loose. A Misedashi is a ceremony when a girl who aspires to be a geiko becomes a maiko, an apprentice geiko. It is the official beginning of her career.
I wanted to integrate in the design my love of the textiles of Japan and pay homage to the art of ukiyo-e or wood block prints whIch I also adore. I used to do textile work for years and used some of those former techniques I used to do on fabrics in the background. Ukiyo-e literally translates as "pictures of the floating world" which describes the lifestyle and culture in the Edo-period of Japan when the prints were produced by artists such as Hokusai. The fish, or Japanese carp, in the design makes reference to the "floating world" depicted in this ancient art form, which also inspired many of the impressionist artists, like Monet and Van Gogh in the late 19th century. Monet collected ukiyo-e and Van Gogh was inspired by them as well and integrated elements from them in some of his work.
Bright and early this morning I was at Epcot laying the ground work for a watercolor sketching workshop I will be teaching next week for artists and designers at Walt Disney Imagineering. Got the demo spot scoped out with plenty of room for folks to gather around and honed in on other locations for everyone to sketch.
A few weeks ago I was at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Asia trek painting near the bridge between the 2 tiger exhibits. While I'm painting I love watching the early morning routines of the animal keepers and I end up learning a lot about the animals I'm painting near.
While I was working, there was a male tiger on the exhibit to my right and a female on the exhibit to the left. They are currently separated until they get used to each other and the younger female is ready for mating. They have to keep the shutters closed on the male's side because if he sees her through the glass across the promenade, he will go crazy! (This is what the keepers have told me.) As it was, he can smell her and had some guttural sexy calls, that morning, which felt like he was carrying on right behind me! Nothing like loud Tiger snorts and groans to keep you awake in the morning. She, the female, couldn't be bothered in the least!
It's been a busy few weeks, I shipped off 13 paintings to The Waterworks Museum of Art for "WAM Presents WAM." I will be part of a five women show that includes my Women Artists Mentors (WAM) group. Members are Helen K. Beacham from Summerville, SC, Maria Bennett Hock from Cary, NC, Debra Kierce from Ashburn, VA, and Carrie Waller who is currently living in Tokyo, Japan. The show opens with an opening reception on Sunday, March 12 and closes on April 15. Maria and Debra will be there at the closing reception to give a presentation which includes painting demonstrations. It's going to be a great show! I'm thrilled and honored to be part of this exhibition. This week I'm getting ready for the Windermere Art Affair, the only out door show I do each year, it's this weekend March 4 & 5 from 11:00 am -5:00 pm.
Recently, I was thrilled to get a copy of the February issue of The Winter Garden Magazine, who did a featured article on me! I am honored! Thanks to the Winter Garden Art Association for recommending me for the article and the editors at the magazine for putting together such a lovely layout!
I was a little under the weather today so I didn't go out plein air painting. I thought I would share one of the things I have been up to the last couple of weeks. Have you ever entered a show with a society, art guild, or art center and won an award? Do you know where that award gift of money or merchandise came from? It comes from generous members of the group as well as those individuals that love and are so kind to support the arts, as well as sponsors, businesses or companies that do the same.
My responsibility this year being Second Vice President of the Florida Watercolor Society is to graciously ask many of our over 1000 membership to consider donating for an award for our annual exhibition, that is part of our convention every fall. Last year we had over $24, 000 in cash and merchandise that was presented to 21 artists as part of our award program for our exhibition. Many of the awards are in honor of members that have passed our founded FWS. One award The Healing Arts Award is a purchase award, whose painting is then donated to a local hospital.
Last week I stuffed, labeled and stamped 285 letters to just our Signature members to donate to awards and next week letters will go out to all our past presidents, and merchants who also generously donate their time to make FWS such a stellar organization as well as put on a fantastic convention with workshops, and trade show for members and non members every year.
Next task after letters go out, is to collect items for our raffle and silent auction. With such a large member ship we usually have a great collection of art supplies, DVD's, and non art related items that are raffled or auctioned during our convention.
If you are interested in learning more about FWS or donating you can visit the web site here. If you cleaned out your studio to get ready for the new year and have art supplies you no longer need. Contact me and send them my way!
I went back to the spot I was at last week in the Africa area. I had very limited time today, I didn't completely finish. I will put it up in the studio and analyze whether I will finish it or not. Some I'm compelled to bring to completion and others I essentially see as a painting exercise. As I mentioned in the last post, I tried a new paper I didn't care for so part of me doesn't want to spend any more time on this one. It is at that point where I feel like I may have overworked it. I will look at with fresh eyes another day.
I'm posting a painting I did finish in the Asia area. I also wanted to share a link to the Urban Sketchers Blog. Last week there was a meet up of different chapters all over the world to record anything related to the Chinese New Year, the year of the Rooster. Noga Grossman the head administrator for our Orlando Chapter suggested the idea as well as documenting what other artists did on the worldwide Urban Sketchers blog. If you would like to see the post you can click here. One of my paintings of the Temple of Heaven in the China Pavilion at Epcot was featured! There are other sketches from Lisbon, Yokohama, Seattle, Orlando, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Beijing, Dallas/Ft. Worth, O'ahu, and Canberra, in the article.
I can’t believe I haven’t posted since my Favorite Things, Top Ten series over the holidays. Where did January go? This morning I painted in the Africa area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I have painted a few times in the Asia area and this is the first in Africa. I lost my bearings and didn’t realize after I started that about an hour and half into the painting, drawing then block in, I wold have the sun right on my paper and in my face with no umbrella. Oh well, I will try and go back next week to finish it before the sun crests the building I was in front of.
On an interesting side note, the past 2 Fridays I have tried a new paper, Windsor Newton Cold Press. I painted at Epcot last week, this Tori Gate painting, and struggled with the paper drying too fast because it was chilly and windy. Today, no wind and in the sun, it took forever for the first wash to dry so I could move on! Just goes to show you different papers behave differently then when you add the elements on top of it, that’s a whole other story, Something, my fellow oil painters don’t have to worry about. Unless you are painting in freezing conditions and the paint gets stiff. Painting in freezing conditions, not my cup of tea. Won’t be worrying about that!
When I was in Venice last spring with my WAM Women Artists Mentors Group. I kept noticing at every cafe, whether it be lunch or apertivo hour, people were enjoying this neon orange cocktail! I had to find out what all the fuss was about. I had traveled in Italy many times before but these drinks had never been on my radar. It is the The Spritz.
The Spritz of today has its roots in the Hapsburg occupied Northern Italy. In the nineteenth century, Austrian soldiers would add a "spritz" or a spray of water to the regions wine to make it more palatable to them. They were used to Riesling and not the drier wines of Italy. It has gone through some other incarnations but basically The Spritz of today is three parts Prosecco, two parts bitter liquer, and one part sparkling water. It is traditionally made with Aperol or Campari as the bitter liquer. I like the Aperol Spritz. It's garnished with an orange slice and sometimes in Italy a skewer with a green olive is added.
It's a cocktail I usually make at home, since many restaurants or bars don't stock Aperol nor do they get the proportions right. I had one once where the bar tender added plain water to Aperol and called it a Spritz; I don't think so! You can see in Italy they use a variety of different glasses to serve a Spritz.
A recently issued book of Spritz, with a lot of nice recipes for different varieties
I find it to be super refreshing and a nice way to end the day when the golden hour strikes and it's apertivo time!
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed "My Favorite Things Top Ten," plus the bonus. Cin Cin!