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tis the season for the kids

Toys for Tots coordinated by the Marines

Recently I was shopping at Zara’s on Newbury Street. One of the sales people came up to me and said, “I remember meeting you when I worked at Equinox. You told me about your annual gift donation for the children. I loved that idea and that you did it every year.” I had totally forgotten about our conversation. We often forget how we can touch people in lasting ways. Perhaps I shared my story to inspire her to do the same some day. I would hope so.

It all began during the Iraq War. One of my friends, a fighter pilot in the Air Force on his assignment there, contacted me with a specific request. He asked for donations to help the children and impress them with the kindness of the American people. I sent him soccer balls, regulation size (which he asked for), as well as some art supplies I tucked in of course.

After that, I gave my myself an allowance each year to play Secret Santa. Sometimes I filled my cart at BJ’s and left it all under their giving tree. Other times it was art supplies or books which I gave to various organizations. It has been so fun to pick out the items and so gratifying to share my good fortune with the little ones.

My options have changed since I moved to Boston. It’s also become easier. This year all I have to do is ride the elevator with the items pictured above and place them in a bin in our lobby. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The wonder and awe of the season as seen through the eyes of the children.

wrapping up tarot cards on Halloween

40 Tarot Cards

What is Tarot, Anyway?

“First, a bit of history—Tarot got its start as a card game in the 15th century. So while it may seem like reading cards is an ancient practice, the use of Tarot for divination really came into its own in the 18th century. Because the Tarot deals in archetypes (or universal symbols), the meanings of each card and the stories those meanings tell span culture, continent, and time. 

You may have seen the Tarot presented as a means of telling the future—even changing it—but the cards are actually most useful for reflection and empowered decision-making. From this vantage, Tarot can only aid on your journey to fulfillment.” – source Astrology.com

I’ve had the assignment to design this deck for quite awhile – research, choosing materials, and multiple meetings with the amazing psychic on Boston’s north shore, Francine Clausen (who initiated the idea for use in her practice) all took time. Link to her site –

https://francinesangels.com

Ever one to accept a challenge, I was fully on board. Apparently, the typical tarot deck is much larger. Forty cards seemed right to me. Most challenging ones to do were the three Archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael.

My finish line was the end of the month. Halloween appropriately. All that that remains for me to do are finishing touches on a few images and lettering. Then follows a design of the back side. Shouldn’t take long. And then drum roll…. off to the printer 🙂


The koi that got away….

Reversible Koi

Oil on canvas

Both views from poor quality photo
(the only documentation)


It’s unusual for me to let a painting go without having good documentation

of it first – a slide, 4×5 transparency, or more recently a good photo.

Unfortunately in this case, none of that happened.

It was sold. To Mass General in Boston.

And apparently resides at one of the nurses’ stations in OB-GYN.

I had hoped to track it down – there are many locations where it

could be – but that was before all the Covid restrictions.

Oh well. Someday.

The title is “Reversible Koi” because it is just that, meant to be

hung either way. Hence, I signed it along the left edge.

I don’t remember the dimensions.



Back to the koi

10 Koi 21

oil on canvas

30×30 inches

Back to the koi it is.

I’ve also been busy with other projects soon to unfold.

The most lovely new client contacted me about an earlier koi painting she

had fallen in love with. That one was sold long ago.

Her new painting will be a 30×30 inch version of a large horizontal.

I’m excited to work on this commission.

She is a huge fan of my koi paintings.

Often, while working alone in the studio,

it’s so easy to forget that there are people

out there watching me.

Even rooting for me to just ‘go for it.’

It gives me the zeal to get on with it.

‘It’ being this series of koi paintings that was launched

some 33 years ago….. .


More from the Archive

It all started at Skowhegan.

At the renowned summer six week program for artists in Maine.

Students hailed from all over the world.

I asked Neil Welliver if I could go. He gave me a scholarship on the spot.

(That’s when I was a student of his in the MFA program at Penn.)

When I looked up the prizes in advance of my going, there was a Nathaniel

Saltonstall Award in drawing to be donated to the Colby College Museum of

Art. I said to myself, I can win that. (Robert Reed instilled such

confidence in my ability. Anyone else who had the privilege of taking

drawing classes from this remarkable teacher knows exactly what I mean.

He left Skidmore to join the faculty at Yale.)

And win it I did, for the handsome prize money of a whopping ten dollars 🙂

The image was totally imagined in my mind. Several paintings evolved

from it such as this large party scene below.



From the Archive: Birds and Rainforests

Newly digitized transparencies from some earlier oil paintings.

Both are 44×64 inches.

The one on the left was first in this series of six bird paintings.

I showed it to Wellington Management in their garage when I was making

a delivery. They purchased it right on the spot out of the back of my

GM Suburban – a fun surprise.

I often wish I still had that car/truck. It was a hauler’s dream for

paintings as large as 4 x 8 feet.

The one on the right was purchased by one of the partners at Wellington

for his private collection in Boston.

From the sketchbook

I loved drawing this model. My preference up to this point had been for

more “Rubenesque” or voluptuous body types, and usually nude women

because that’s all we were exposed to during my college years. Any male

models would have been required to wear jock straps. Well, it was the 60’s

and I was enrolled in a ‘proper’ women’s college after all. When we did

have an ‘erotic art’ exhibition, it was held in the basement. Only senior

year art majors were allowed to view it. Very funny in retrospect.

So then this particular model is either from my days at Skowhegan, or at

one of the live drawing sessions I used to attend during my early years

after moving to Boston.


Abstractions collection

SMALL ABSTRACTIONS

NUMBERS 1, 136, 144, 131, 157

8X8 INCHES EACH

OIL ON CANVAS
MOSTLY WHITE

30X30 INCHES

OIL ON CANVAS

My favorite kind of

phone call from Beth Urdang Gallery:

A young couple just purchased 6 of my abstractions series.

So exciting to view the grouping together.


As I paint them, never can I imagine how or where they’ll end up.

But when I learn about multiple purchases like this one, it is so gratifying

to have someone this captivated by what I’m doing, or trying to do.

And of all the hundreds of 8×8 abstractions, my first (#1) just sold.

Enfin!

Ginger

How cute is this little Doxie dog?!


8×10 inches

oil on board


I’ve had this commission for awhile. Finally got down to finishing it.

It’s so much better in person.

Colors were a challenge to duplicate digitally.



I’ll take it with me on our trip to Colorado in April.

The owner lives in Steamboat Springs but I think she wanted it as a gift for her friend.


Had my second Covid vaccine jab yesterday.

Arm sore despite icing, and a little fatigued today.

Otherwise all okay.

Ready to travel and eat in restaurants again!




New and older koi art

New and old koi in progress.

I’m revisiting the one on the far left.

Painted in 2002!

wow. hard to believe I’ve been painting koi

that long.

The two on the right – 12×12 each – are new.

Complex images with hyper pigmentation.

I’m leaning more towards the simplicity and

narrower palette on the left one – 16×16 inches,

entitled “ Red, White and Blue.”

I love it when juxtaposed with my art pal Ana’s

lovely mostly red painting above.