Going dark on the social media front for a while as Facebook sorts out its operation and its commitment to its users. I’ll miss it as well as Instagram as they are both such great vehicles for staying in touch with and expanding your artistic community. Sigh! But I will have even more time to continue to dive deeper into my work and post more in my own blog where I don’t share or sell people’s data.
The Art Docents of Los Gatos hosted a fabulous High Tea fundraiser at my home and studio yesterday. This dynamic group (that brings art to our public school) keep themselves well informed by taking in all kinds of exhibitions, documentaries and artist talks. I was absolutely delighted when they approached me with the idea of throwing a catered High Tea here, using the very antique teacups that I use in my Birds and Teacup paintings. The idea was brilliant and I jumped at the opportunity to share my work with such an informed audience! Such a nice way to support this organization which does really valuable work with our children.
Karen and Elizabeth thoughtfully paired freshly cut flowers with the vintage cups!
The table-scapes looked beautiful, each setting uniquely individual.
The High Tea was sold out and as the catered food was plated and the tea prepared I gave a guided tour through my studio to the assembled quests.
In the studio I spoke of my series, Critical Masses – stories of us and them, relating the stories behind the work, my process and inspiration.
Here I described how the red dots on the vintage mother of pearl fishing lures are meant to imitate a wound and signifying easy prey to hungry fish. These lures served as my models for Lure, and led to the red dot in the middle of the painting.
I was also able to share the story behind End of Spring and how it came to be the cover art for Christy Ann Conlin’s new novel, The Memento.
In the house we talked about my Birds and Teacup Series and discussed how they were inspired by the desire to create synchronistic moments where the image on the antique porcelain is reiterated in the bouquet made for the cup. The unlikely introduction of a wild bird into the setting serves to further increase the magic, presenting a puzzle for the brain to figure out.
Sharing one of my all time favorite teacups – an eggshell thin, hand painted Japanese piece from the 1800′s. The painting of the flower, butterflies and and basket design is so finely skilled that it really should be in a museum somewhere! I forgot to tell how I’d used this cup in a dramatic photo shoot with a live black widow. (Birds won’t co-operate in these shoots and have to be shot separately an imported into my teacup arrangements through photoshop but the spiders will model for a while).
I gave a peek into what’s behind my Florilegia series (quite literally) – a generally illuminating and playful take on the Victorian meaning of flowers thorough mixed media assemblage paintings inset with antique Magic Lantern Slides.
The dining room served as my portrait gallery where I had many of my People In My Neighborhood series on display. I spoke of the intimacy that the direct gaze establishes in our often impersonal public life and how it turns out that our community is rife with models!
We had just a few more moments to talk about portraits I’ve done of my children, using moments from their life as the spring board for art.
Meanwhile everything in the kitchen, (pomegranate, pear and field green salad, savory finger sandwiches and tempting sweets) was ready to be served…
…oh yes, and lots of tea!
Sue Ward making magic in the kitchen!
So happy to see guests enjoying themselves.
We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, better company or a more perfect tea!
Thanking our guests for coming as they depart.
High Tea wrap up in the shade.
View from the hammock – post tea.
Last of the clean up crew – xo!
Thanks to everyone at the Art Docents who worked so hard to make this event such a success, with a special shout out to Elizabeth Greer, Sue Ward, Sue Nystrom Walsh and Karen Harlan.
Thanks to my collectors, Marie Hetherington and Shanna Desai for allowing me to borrow back pieces for this special event.
Thanks as well to artist Holly Van Hart for the lion’s share of these photos!
Finally, thanks to everyone who came and helped to make this such memorable day!
I just finished all my book keeping for my taxes …. I might as well crocheted the entire annual report for as much time as it took me!
Now I feel like I need to sink my teeth into a BIG painting (or 4)! Today I primed 4 64 x 64″ canvases…that’s 16,384 square inches of gesso (not including the edges or multiple coats)! I find doing this work is very therapeutic – you can clearly see the progress you’re making, laying down this foundation for your future painting. It is an act of optimism, full of potential and hope!
I fell in love with one of Carole Rafferty’s paintings. Well, actually, I love all her paintings but there was one in particular that was beyond perfection. It was a little out of my budget but that didn’t stop me from seeing it in person. Maybe if I couldn’t have the painting, I could paint the artist with the painting!
Carole Rafferty with Street Corner #1
I know Carole from the Los Gatos Museum Gallery and the Los Gatos Art Association where we are both members, but she’s also represented by Nancy Dodds Gallery and the Studio Shop and the American Impressionist Society and the California Art Club. Her studio is in Palo Alto (and has had a fancy reno since I visited it in 2015 – which is nice for her but who else would even notice with all these gorgeous paintings all over the place?!).
The artist with a coffee and another favorite painting, Street Corner #2.
Carole Rafferty specializes in urban landscape painting, but everything she sets her brush to has that same dreamy, super skilled handling of paint, light and palette.
Just look at this lush light and shadow playing across the scene!
Rafferty’s work is so atmospheric and absolutely filled with the sense and spirit of place…
…like this Marnia view that was fresh on the easel.
Looking at her tools of the trade, I think, it’s not what you’ve got…it’s what you do with it!
There is so much to learn from this Chinatown painting, Grant Avenue San Francisco. The overall effect of the palette is subtle but there is so much complexity to the color! The peach of the buildings is underpainted in the sky, the green of the awning is echoed in the shadows throughout, the red dots are repeated as awnings and lanterns and lights of the cars. I love too how the figures and cars and relegated to different zones in the painting.
More fabulous paintings everywhere you look!
You can see more of her amazing work on her website, http://carolerafferty.com.
After four years of drought, it looks like were finally going to get a decent El Niño! This was the second day of heavy rain and I delighted in keeping my studio windows open to hear all of that rolling thunder!
I love how cozy and inviting the studio is in the midst of all that rain!
It always amazes me how the rain makes everything look different!
The beginning of a new week…. and although I made some major headway in working out the image I’m going to be doing for a commission, I was not able to start work on it as my client and I still need to decide on the appropriate scale. I couldn’t let the day pass without using my paintbrush so I painted this little 4×4″ oil of a Western Bluebird which is destined for the painting tree at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery. I wonder if I can whip up some more tomorrow – or should I do teacups? Hope they’ll dry in time for the exchange this weekend!
So……this was happening above my studio today…..so nothing much was happening within it.
I knew this chainsaw vs oak day was coming after the crown of this massive oak toppled recently. Even though the arborist said it was best to take it all the way down, that it would never be a healthy tree again, I was still sorry to see it go. The sadness was mixed with fear and fascination as I watched this modern day lumberjack scale the precarious tree limbs with his chainsaw, cinches, pulleys and ropes and take this centurion down – a death by a thousand cuts.
The three major limbs were shaved off today for firewood – the trunk comes down tomorrow.
You might wonder why this has a place on my art blog…I think art comes from being aware of your surroundings, being curious, being observant, being in touch with your feelings and honoring the moment.
It started with that gorgeous barn owl, “Owlivia” from the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center. I knew I wanted to include her in my birds & teacups series so I took lots of pictures when I had the chance. Then I had to scout out a perfect teacup. I thought should be a in a woodland theme, maybe ferns or branches but when I saw the mushroom teacup by Aynsley of England (circa 1939 -) I knew I had found the perfect whimsical compliment to the owl. At first I arranged pink oyster mushrooms in the cup and while I love the color, I wanted to see what a stronger form would look like. In the end, I prefer the king oyster mushrooms which will help to make a more interesting composition.
Mushrooms turn out to be pretty fragile to work with ….I ‘d better eat them up quickly!
I need little excuse to slip on my red rubber boots, pop open my bubble umbrella to slosh about to see how the world is transformed by a good down pour in our drought stricken state!
Well, my world turned out to be very small today – I did make it to the studio of course and I love the way it looks so cozy there waiting for me.
I was amazed to see how each raindrop on my umbrella contained a little image of my studio ( be it inverted and distorted ). Little moments of magic – keep it coming rain!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done plein air. Since having my children it’s been easier to be a studio painter. Painting in the open air teaches you to paint in the moment, to rely on the gesture and the medium, to lay down your poetry on the canvas quickly before the light changes or your fingers freeze or the bugs chase you away! Plein air works are known for having a freshness and vibrancy that their over worked studio counterparts can sometimes lack. It’s a good lesson for all artists and one I struggle with daily. When to put down the brush!
That brings me to my recent foray in plein air, against good advise, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and continued to rework my persimmon painting once back in my studio. Every painting is a learning experience, but I put it to you, do you prefer my pre-studio or post-studio version better?