Art, I believe, is meant to open your eyes to life’s magnificence. When someone finds a painting that they love enough to buy, the creative circle is complete: from inspiration to artist to creation to enjoyment. So when I finish a painting, I sometimes wonder whose painting it is! I imagine that it belongs to someone already, and that that person will, I hope, find it and bring it home. What appeals that deeply to any of us is very personal and, in some ways, unpredictable. But, as the saying goes, you know it when you see it. These paintings have found their owners.
“Sky and Lake Conversation,” 16″ x 20″. This is Caspian Lake in northern Vermont. The conversation, as you see, is between the glorious sky and the gentle water, a conversation about light and color. This painting sold the first time I showed it, at the Wood Art Gallery in Montpelier, VT.
“Holding the Sky,” 24″ x 18″, acrylic. This was my first attempt at painting in acrylic. They handle very differently indeed from pastels. The tree is roughly modeled after a photo of a local tree, but the sky, of coursed, is invented. I like how the curve of the tree’s limbs appears almost to carry the clouds. [
“Between Heaven and Earth,” 18″ x 24″, acrylic. In one of those unexplainable artistic impulses, I decided that I wanted to paint the aurora borealis. Not an easy subject, it turns out! But there is something deeply mysterious about these lights in the sky; in this case, they are echoed again in the water below.
“Winds of Change,” 16″ x 12″. My first foray into abstract art. For me, this was a more feeling-driven process than representational art, although both are informed by spirit. I especially liked the boldness of this piece.
“A Prickly Perch,” 12″ x 9″. Watercolor. I was surprised to see how the desert birds perched without a care on the cacti, including the saguaro. I guess I should not have been – after all, they make nests in the cacti too! Some birds make holes in the saguaro and then raise their young right inside. Perhaps this bird has a nest.
“Spring Layers,” 10 1/2″ x 6 3/4″. I was well and truly weary of winter and wanted a spring scene to paint! This appealed to me: those layers of early green in the distant trees, the band of misty fog you see in the spring, the middle-distance meadow contrasted with the close-up grass, and in front of the entire scene, the tree branches with their new yellow-green leaves.
“Softly, Softly,” 9″ x 12″. Such a soft and lovely pastel-colored dawn! One gift of walking in the mornings (until the cold drives me inside in the winter) is the variety of dawns, and this one was especially evocative.
“High Summer, Quebec,” 18″ x 24″. This is from a photo taken during a trip with the two artists I paint with regularly. It’s hilarious to travel with other artists. We saw this field and are all yelling, “Look at that! Pull over! Pull over!” then scrambled out of the car to take photos. But when we developed the photos, they were disappointing, somehow not conveying the sweep and rounded beauty of the hills and planted grains. Art to the rescue! I exaggerated the curves, amped up the color in the foreground, and purple-d up the background foliage. Now, THAT is closer to what we saw! Here is one of the reference photos, below, so you can see the difference.
“Green Fire,” 9″ x 12″. A simple scene, but I have made some not-so-simple changes to it. The colors are pushed toward blue-green. But, even more fun than that is the swirly and curly shapes that I used for foliage and the foreground plants. In fact, the yellow-green plants in the foreground are shaped more like flames than leaves!
“White Birch, Red Maple,” 12″ x 9″. I liked the columns of color in this scene: the dark green of the evergreen, the gold, that amazing red, and then the stark, almost leafless birch with its lighter green. The maple is the star of the show here! It was an overcast day, with nothing in the sky or in the pale gold of the grasses to detract from that brilliant scarlet.
“Sinuous,” 12″ x 9″. This is a more abstract take on “To the Mountains” (you can see that painting in “More Traditional Landscape”). This was very interesting to do. I used a triadic palette: green, yellow, and purple. A great combination, and I do like this slightly abstracted version.
“Desert Companions'” 12″ x 9″. Prickly pear and (I think!) brittlebush. The brittlebush is a beautiful almost-white soft gray-green. I “pinked up” the prickly pear a bit for contrast, although some of them do indeed have a little red or purple in their pads. I liked the way these two plants intertwined.
“Fall Fishermen,” 9″ x 12″. It’s hard to see in this small photo, but the fishermen are indeed there, in their red boat. I hope they got lucky! I exaggerated the foliage, but just a little; Vermont in the fall boggles the mind. And eyes! This is Curtis Pond in Calais.
“Tulip 3,” 5″ x 7″. A tulip closeup from underneath! I like the contrast of the purple background.
“Tulip 4,” 5″ x 7″. Mmmmm, red, red, red.
“Jamie’s House,” 29″ x 21″. A portrait of my friend Jamie’s home in New Hampshire. Oh, the light on that far hill! Her brother, her dog, and I (by implication: my car is in her drive) are there as well. This sold right off the easel.
“Bella,” 7″ x 5″. This is the daughter of an acquaintance, having so much fun playing at the edge of the lake. Kids know how to be in the moment.
“Snowshoe Trail,” 9″ x 12″. I took the photo for this painting from a friend’s window in the late afternoon. Of course, the reality was much more muted than this, with hints of those colors only imagined. In fact, here is the “real” scene, below. But this painting is the true scene!
You can see the same structure as “Snowshoe Trail” in this photo, but showing the spirit required (ahem) a few changes.
“Last of the Gold,” 9″ x 12″. Another central Vermont scene, my lovely home territory. I shifted the colors in this scene, making the grass, the wood of the tree and fence, even the sky a little more gold to emphasize the feeling of late autumn. Everything seems to glow as fall closes.
“Fall Hideaway,” 9″ x 12″. My neighbor’s barn, greatly exaggerated. But I like to think of this as a little cabin tucked behind the fall trees. Autumn in Vermont certainly lends itself to playing with vivid color.
“Wanna Play?”, 14″ x 12″. Not sure whether you can see it in this little thumbnail, but the painting is of a treehouse, thus the title. I was so drawn to the way the late afternoon sun lit that gracious old tree from behind. It was the perfect place for a treehouse. Wanna play? I do!
“Rural Mailbox,” 9″ x 12″. It’s not my home, but this scene is a kind of universal template of home. The front door light is a beacon in the growing darkness. This house is in Worcester, my home town.
“The Happy Couple,” 14″ x 20″. This also sold right after I made it! Do you see the two little trees at the very end of the road? One of the Art Rules is always to use odd numbers of things, and in general it is more visually pleasing to do so. But I put two trees here, and then flaunted it with the painting’s name. The photo I used had a gray sky with some lighter clouds, but I made the sky clear with the clouds sweeping around: much more beautiful, I think.
“Enchanted Afternoon,” 16″ x 20″. Another “hot-off-the-easel” sale, sold before it was even exhibited anywhere! Here, for your entertainment, is the photo I used. The difference between reality and art!
“December Walk,” 9″ x 9″. I caught this lovely couple strolling along Montpelier’s Langdon Street Bridge, which was decorated for the holidays. The lights embedded in the new snow were so magical!
“Beginning,” 6 5/8″ x 9 5/8.” This is from a photo I took at dawn when out for a morning walk on my road. The delicate colors of the sky are a beautiful contrast with the silhouetted trees.
“A Single Flame,” 12″ x 16″. I have been eager to paint this scene ever since I took the photo about a year ago. The sky in that photo was layers of gray, but this blue and purple seems much more deliciously dramatic to me. The tree was actually almost that color; fall foliage is dramatic without any help from me!
“Goldenrod,” 9″ x 12″. I underpainted this in warm reds, and let those colors peek through to emphasize the heat of late summer.
“Summer in Vermont 2,” 9″ x 12″. Here’s the second one. As you can see, I am naming the series “Summer in Vermont.” Nothing says summer like creemees! In this one, I decided to make a clear Vermont theme by adding an arc of maple leaves and a soft mountain background. To make the maple leaves, I went out and picked sugar maple leaves, laid them out on the floor, and took photos that I could then use as a guide. This, like the other creemee paintings, has a kind of stylized, graphic quality, which is a fun change for me.
“Ominous,” 18″ x 24″. This was a first for me: it sold before I had it framed or on this website! A “hot-off-the-easel” sale! The sky in actuality was gray and the barn red, but I changed the colors and shapes of the clouds to make more movement and drama.
“River Light,” 9″ x 12″. Lovely quiet water. I enjoyed playing around with the color and adding the magentas to this scene.
“Rosy Morning,” 5 ” x 7″. I went to an all-day “Plein Air Festival” in Jericho, VT. There were 75 artists, three venues, and we painted all day, with the public invited to come and watch. At the end of the day, we showed what we had created. It was tiring! I don’t know that I have the stamina to paint all day. But this is the first painting I made that day. The sky wasn’t really that color!
“River of Corn,” 9″ x 12″. I do love this! This corn in actuality was that soft tan-gold of late summer or early fall, and I made it a glowing apricot color, complemented by the purple and red-orange of the back hills. I particularly loved the sinuous sweep of the cornfield, which reminded me of a river. This painting won an “Honorable Mention” at the Champlain Valley Fair for 2012.
“November Morning,” 9″ x 12″. How soft the colors of November are! My morning walk takes me along this road.
“Tulip 2,” 5″ x 7″. Into the center of a beautiful orange-yellow tulip.
“Tulip 1,” 5″ x 7″. This is the first in a series of close-ups of tulips. I used photos from my prior year’s garden.
“Neon Barn,” 11″ x 14″. This was my initial experiment with color, what fun! I worked out the scene’s values (how light or dark each are was) and chose colors to reflect those values, but not necessarily reality. I like the result a lot. Check out the reference photo below. You can see what happened!
And that’s the reference photo. You would hardly know it, would you?
“Sparrow Farm View,” 9″ x 12″. Here’s a yellow sky, yum. I was especially drawn toward the expressive branches of this tree, as well as the movement in the curve of the pinkish grasses. This is a view from – you guessed it! – the Sparrow Farm, only a couple of miles from my office.
“Purple Swirl,” 12″ x 24″. This is a second take on “Lemon Sunset,” which sold. Since I need a painting of this scene for the themed show, I had to do it again. This is one of my favorite scenes, so that wasn’t a burden! Aren’t the colors delicious? I so enjoyed making the slight suggestion of rows in the field into swirling lines of color.
“Five Kayaks,” 5″ x 7″. This is from a photo I took at Caspian Lake in Greensboro, VT. Don’t you love how the rock in the middle is almost the same shape as the kayaks? I thought the reflection of the colorful boats in the green water was beautiful.
“Rick’s Sailboat,” 9″ x 12.” I did this painting while on vacation this August (2011) at a friend’s lake house on Caspian Lake. I love the soft colors in the lake and sky in the early morning. I painted outside, and the lake and light change fast! This scene is sort of a compromise between how the lake looked when I started and how it looked when I finished the painting.
“Montpelier Quiet,” 6″ x 6″. This is right in the heart of Montpelier, Vermont’s capitol, on the North Branch river. It’s a small painting, just 6″ square, of our small and beautiful city.
“Serenity,” 7 1/2″ x 12″. The name of this painting says it all. I hoped to express that quiet glow in this early-morning winter scene.
“Autumn at the Lake,” 9″ x 12″. This scene is in south-central Vermont. The cool stillness of the lake is a lovely contrast for the fiery foliage.
“The Birdhouse,” 9″ x 12″. This is an early winter morning in Calais, a neighboring town. The shadows on the snow and against the red house were gorgeous. Do you see the birdhouse tucked into the crook of the tree branches?
“Lemon Sunset,” 7″ x 21″. Oh, I do love this! The original scene was fairly nondescript except for a hint of lemony yellow in the sky as the light faded. HA! You can see that I did with that! It’s hard to see in this little thumbnail photo, but the clouds (and the field, for that matter) are purple, magenta, and orange. Yum.
“Overhead,” 16″ x 20″. I struggled with this painting! I went through two complete color changes with the sky and three with the field. But I am finally pleased with it; it expresses something of the dramatic sky that day and the sweep of the stark hillside underneath.
“Midnight, Twenty Below,” 9″ x 12″. This was the view from my bathroom window on a very cold January night. I think it was actually eighteen below zero, but I took artistic liberties with the title!
“Evening Gold,” 12″ x 18″. I did this in a class given by Liz Haywood-Sullivan on painting skies. What a wonderful contrast to my usual workshop fare for my “day job”! I worked from a photo I took while in a canoe out in Caspian Lake in Greensboro, VT. It was so beautiful to see that dramatic sky with the gold reflected in the water.
“Cherry and Sycamore,” 9″ x 12″. Ah, spring. I did this in a park near the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, while visiting my cousin there. The sky was overcast and threatening, the sycamore not yet leafed out, and the cherry tree an amazing blast of pink with a shaft of light on it.
“In Winter’s Grip,” 9″ x 12″. This tree is right up the road from where I live; I go by it every time I walk in the morning. I love its shape. I don’t think you can tell with this wee photo, but I put subtle lines of bright color along some edges of the tree, suggesting the life force of the tree even in the grip of deep cold.
“Little Blue Eyes,” 5″ x 7″. I liked the morning glories in “Heavenly Blue” (on the “Flowers” page) so much that I decided to make another smaller version of the same scene. Can you see the subtle differences? Art is never a copy!
“Sky Road,” 12″ x 16″. This was a very blah scene, color-wise. The grasses were dry and pale gold, although green on the right: the road a nondescript tan: and the sky gray and white. But I liked the shapes and the lovely curve of the road. Look what a little inventive color can do! I made the cloud shapes echo the road subtly, which I think adds a nice movement to the scene, too.
“Frosty Whitethorn, Tipperary,” 12″ x 26 5/8″. This was inspired by a photo taken by my cousin when she was visiting family in Ireland. They’d had a frost, which is very unusual there, and everything sparkled with it. I used iridescent pastels to capture that effect. I love this painting!
“November’s Gravity,” 16″ x 20″. This painting started in my mind long before I ever started painting at all. In November, the sky is often a leaden gray; it looks so heavy. In contrast, the apple trees, their leaves long gone, still hold the apples like a cloud among the branches. They don’t look attached to the tree; they look as if they might float right off into the sky! It seems like gravity is all mixed up, with the floating apples and the heavy sky. Look carefully at this little thumbnail photo, and you will see the apples floating off into the upper right of the painting.
“What the Sunflowers See,” 18″ x 24″. This is from the same sunflower field as I painted from in “The Fire of Sunflowers.” The flowers are looking at the view! Although this has sold, I have a canvas print of this painting available. It is 12″ x 16″ and is priced at $75. Not quite original art, but the next best thing!
“Autumn’s Fire,” 12″ x 18″. I started experimenting with using the color that was really in the scene (more or less!) and amping it up until the painting was very lively and saturated with color. Here is one result. It’s a fall scene, and so is colorful anyway, but I love how vibrant this is! It’s one of my favorites.
“Shadows on the Road,” 9″ x 12″. The play of light and dark caught my eye, as the title suggests. I made it even more obvious by making warm peach light and cool purple shadows. Isn’t art fun?
“Hidden Pond, Greensboro,” 9″ x 12″. This pond is not very hidden, but is near the road although tucked back a little. I liked the soft colors of the light and the joe-pye weed, and decided to accentuate those with a pinkish-lavender sky.
“Lake and Shadow,” 16″ x 20″. This is a scene of Caspian Lake in north central Vermont. I was out early in the morning and was struck by the gorgeous angled shadow of the elderly tree.
“The Fire of Sunflowers,” 14″ x 20″. While on vacation at Caspian Lake in Vermont, I was driving around looking for places to paint. I saw a bright stripe of yellow up on a hillside and discovered this field of sunflowers. A quick trip to the nearest farm and I got permission from the farmer to paint there. This is the result.