Are there koi in Vancouver BC? and other musings

I’m about to find out.

People have told me there is a large Asian population there

so it would make sense that Koi COULD be found, non?

My fifteen day vacation should afford ample time to explore

all the possibilities.

5 Koi 22a
5 Koi 22b

In the meantime, I managed to finish a few new 12×12 Koi

These smaller ones always make me laugh because for the longest

time I painted only larger works – eg 50×60 inches or so – so a small

painting meant “a piece” of a much larger one.

It took some effort for me to shrink them down.

De rigeueur these days.

Finally, two takeaways from the Philip Guston Now show at the Boston MFA.

  1. The pink background in his the KKK paintings was inspired by “Felix the Cat” comic strip.
  2. My favorite part of the show were the wall of these little drawings that people created at the end of the exhibition:

Finally, there’s this:

New Zealand to Guarantee Artists Resale Royalties Starting in 2024
Shanti Escalante-De Mattei

New Zealand said on Thursday that artist resale rights, which provide visual artists with royalties upon resale of their work, will officially go into effect in the country in 2024.
“This is about fairness. It underlines our Government’s commitment to honoring the tremendous artistic skill and creativity of so many of our visual artists,” Carmel Sepuloni, New Zealand’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said in a statement.
The Artist Resale Royalty Scheme guarantees artists a flat 5 percent royalty fee when their works are sold in the secondary market in the 80 other nations where such resale rights exist, among them France and the United Kingdom. The scheme is to be implemented as a part of New Zealand’s new trade agreement with Europe and the U.K.
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“The establishment of this Scheme is a really important step to support emerging and established visual artists in Aotearoa, ensuring that they can continue to see benefits for creating amazing art and enabling the creative sector to thrive,” Sepuloni said.
New Zealand’s art market expanded significantly in 2021, prompting debate about the secondary art market and the formation of activist group Equity for Artists. The group, which was founded by artists Judy Darragh, Dane Mitchell and Reuben Paterson, has the express purpose of pushing for resale rights.
Critics of royalties rights claim that arts professionals are being forced to bear an unnecessary burden that could negatively impact the market. Sepuloni mentioned in the release, however, that the government did its due diligence to reach out to the New Zealand art sector. Government officials had spoken with “Māori and Pacific artists, art experts, art market professionals, public galleries and museums, and key sector organizations” before initiating the scheme, Sepuloni said.
New Zealand isn’t the only commonwealth country making a push for resale rights. Canadian government officials have also been pursuing amendments to their Copyright Act that would allow for resale rights for visual artists.
“Resale rights for artists are an important step towards improving economic conditions for artists in Canada and a tangible way of ensuring that visual artists are better compensated for their work,” a government representative wrote to ARTnews in an email.
During a July 13 meeting of Culture and Heritage ministers, the amendment was discussed. “In the coming months, the Government will find opportunities to further engage with key stakeholders and partners to identify the best options for allowing resale rights for artists,” the representative said.
The United States has no such royalty scheme for visual artists, although some have been campaigning for such rights since the ’60s, when artists began observing huge markups in their work on the secondary market, according to the Center for Art Law. In 1978, the Visual Artists’ Residual Rights Act was introduced to Congress but failed to pass. The American Royalties Too (ART) Act was floated in Congress in 2018; that piece of legislation met a similar fate.

Koi Diptych

Koi Diptych 22, 24×36 inches each panel, oil on canvas

Making this koi painting was utter joy.

Instead of listening to music or NPR (with the exception ofTerri Gross’s Fresh Air interviews.)

I’ve begun listening to books on CD while painting.

For some reason listening to them never seems to interfere with the process.

And, I can catch up on my every burgeoning “to read” list 🙂

wall of color

Eighteen 8×8 inch oil on canvas paintings, Small Abstraction Series, 2022

New purchase for a client in the Wellesley area.

She has a large home with huge walls and oodles of light.

An artist’s dream.

I love it when multiples of my work end up together.

The hanging possibilities are endless and adaptable to the whimsy

of the day.

Beth Urdang and I have been doing large installations of small

paintings ever since my “Little Series” of koi paintings in 1999.

It packs a powerful punch.

I’m still getting inquiries about the eight 12×12 inch koi

paintings on the Delta Premier Lounge wall at Logan Airport, Boston.

Stay tuned for more about that.

Elaine’s Koi

Elaine’s Koi
oil on canvas
30×30 inches

Just before leaving for Hawaii I was able to ship this commission to a

new client in Maryland.

She’s a big fan of my koi paintings and has a gorgeous koi pond of

her own.

This particular piece is a variation of a much larger one I had made

in 1988 titled, “Koi School 11,” 54 inches square.

It was her favorite.

There were two enormous koi ponds at both ends of our hotel in Lanai.

I took a bunch of photos at different times throughout the day.

The staff kindly provided fish food that I used to lure them into a

roiling water frenzy. (Another favorite motif of mine.)

Still digesting all the images before I leap back into painting them again.

Marching to Hawaii

3 Koi
24×24 inches
oil on canvas

It’s happening.

Another return to Hawaii – my third – where I first saw the

koi swimming among lagoons in the lobby of a hotel in Maui in 1986.

I knew then that’s what I wanted to paint when I returned to the studio

after 10 years in business.

And I did exactly that.

Began painting koi in 1988.

Hard to believe that I’m still intrigued by them so many years later.

This trip we’ll venture to Lanai, a quieter island

for some much needed R&R in warmer weather.

Two glorious weeks April 5 to the 19th 🙂

Trio of Koi arriving together

Red and White Koi 2
12×36 inches
oil on panel
Red and White Koi 3
12×36 inches
oil on panel
Circus 3
12×36 inches
oil on board

These 3 paintings just sold to a lovely new client in Newton, Massachusetts through the Beth Urdang Gallery in Wellesley. I have to pinch myself often to remember that my first show of koi paintings was in 1995 at the Beth Urdang on Newbury Street. She continued to show my work there until moving to SOWA in the up-and-coming area in Boston a few years ago. Since then, she now has two galleries in Wellesley.

I loved working on this series, and the elongated profile, another favorite of mine. Since then I’ve scaled back a bit from the 30×80 inch and longer ones. As usual, photographs never fully capture the lusciousness of oil paint – especially the dark green lagoons in the top two images.

As soon as the client sends along an installation shot, I’ll include that image in this post. It’s always fun to see where and how my work lands. 🙂

Last koi of the year

5 Koi 21 30×30 inches oil on canvas

Last week I began work on a koi commission for a lovely new client in


She has an enormous koi pond – about an acre! – with 6 large koi in it.

And snapping turtles, bass and ……perhaps other unknown critters.

Anyway, the painting I started (above) was not the one she had envisioned.

So, I’ll begin another in January. I told her this is what I would do,

and happily so, because I need to make the painting she wants.

There’s plenty of creative flexibilty for me to exercise in the new version

because she’s a huge fan of my work. (Art major in college turned lawyer.)

That is so gratifying to know.

Most of the time I’m working in my own little isolated world of my studio

unaware of anyone who might be looking at my website

to see what I’m doing. 🙂

tis the season for the kids

Toys for Tots donation (distributed 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 had 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 that 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. 🙂