Thursday, December 30, 2010

THROUGH the EYES of an ARTIST... Counting my Blessings!

Spellbound, I watched in awe as a master created a magnificent work of art. Using a prismatic palette of glowing Cadmiums, rich purples and soothing blues ranging from Cerulean to Indigo, in the artist’s hands, splashes of golden orange and pink morphed into bands of Azure blue in a glorious Acapulco sunset.

Privy to God’s beautiful handiwork on this enchanting Christmas Eve, it gave me pause to reflect on the many gifts we artists are handed.

Unique vision, imagination, individual ability to express that which comes from the soul and the freedom and joy of working in a field that we love, are but a few endowments we are privileged to share. And while creativity is an enigma that can easily be taken for granted, especially on those magical days when it just flows from within through the brushes and onto the canvas, or from the chisel to the heart of the stone, reality keeps us grounded every time we struggle to find the muse or worse, get bogged down in the mire of overworked details.

Grappling with process aside, surely we are a privileged lot! In the words of Camille Pissarro: “Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” Give yourself a gift in 2011. Resolve to be true to your calling; embrace that vibrant inner vision.

Here’s wishing you a peaceful New Year overflowing with fulfilled hopes, blessings and pleasant surprises. 

Color your world,

P.S. Every year I highlight New Year tips and goals for artists. Please leave a comment or share one of your trade secrets for inclusion.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Memories of Mom

"Nanny's Pansies" 12 x 12, Oil on Linen
Every November for the past five years, I have paid tribute to my late mother during her birth month by  exhibiting my work in a celebration of life and the art of giving. This year's exhibition, "Holiday Treasures: Art for a good Cause"  is held once again in the stylish, lovingly restored 3-story home turned full service salon, Mane on Madison (MOM) Salon at 238 Madison Avenue,  Wyckoff. 

Tucked away on a quiet street near town center, and exquisitely decorated by owners Paul and Rose, Mane on Madison is the ideal venue to showcase 18 of my recent paintings, including: Nanny's Pansies, so titled after the  affectionate name given my Brit mom by her grandchildren. 
Mom was a talented pianist and performer, who never let cancer dim her joy for living life to its fullest. That included giving concerts "To cheer the old folk" at a senior residence up until one week before her passing at age eighty-two. 

Proud to have served in the Royal Air Force, where she met my father, a yank in the American Air Force, mom was a pioneer in every sense of the word, and after her tour of duty in WWII, she went on to become a successful entrepreneur at a time when women rarely ventured into that male-dominated world. In honor of her verve and spirit, this year's exhibit will be a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists who are fighting to end breast cancer forever.  A portion of proceeds from all paintings sold will be donated to this fine cause. 

Should you be in the area, do stop in. Coffee is always brewing, browsing is encouraged, and the staff is amazingly talented and welcoming. And in the spirit of the giving season, perhaps you could find it in your heart to make a small donation to my signature charity, Susan G. Komen.

Holiday Treasures: Art for a good Cause, runs through January 30, 2011. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Technicolor Tranquility

David Rothermel succumbed to the Southwest’s magnetic pull in 1987 after tackling a pivotal and dramatic landscape, “Silent Crescendo.”  “With that painting,” he says, “I knew I’d arrived at my own voice, and it happened so easily, it came out like butter.”

That decisive, 7-by-5-foot oil would go on to become the poster that celebrated New Mexico’s 75th anniversary of statehood.  And for Rothermel, having tackled some major personal conflicts and thus temporarily abandoned his fine art career to paint billboards, the creative floodgates were reopened.

Today, the onetime student of minimalist Brice Marden  paints in stages, mainly in studio, with mixed media. In my feature article (October, 2010 issue of the Artist's Magazine), he demonstrates his use of fluid watermedia, textures derived from pastels, and vivid color to produce landscapes that strike a balance between the intense and serene. Magical!

Monday, August 2, 2010

TONY BENNETT: Coloring our World with Music and Art!

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Tony Bennett, the music man who has sustained a stellar recording and performing career for over 60 years. While music has always been in the forefront for this mega-star (Tony has garnered Emmys, Grammys and sold over 50 million records worldwide), a lifelong passion for art  has also been a mainstay.

As a teen growing up in Queens, NY,  Bennett studied at the School of Industrial Arts and since then,  despite the rigors of the music business and demands of being on the road, has painted or drawn every day. Says Bennett: "The World is Full of Beautiful Things," from the film Dr. Doolittle is one of my favorite songs and it is quite meaningful to me. I have seen many of those wondrous things and  joyously reproduced them on canvas."

Behind that trademark,  mega-watt smile and infectious charm, is a warm,  witty,  totally unassuming man--a generous humanitarian who is forging opportunities for budding artists through his founding and support of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in his hometown Astoria. 
For the full story, check out the September issue of  The Artist's Magazine.  Hits the newsstands mid-August. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finally... A Grant to Benefit Artists over Age 45!

Announcing the Lillian Orlowsky/William Freed Foundation Grant for American painters aged 45 or older who demonstrate financial need. Deadline: 8/16/10.

Monday, April 19, 2010

MADE (exclusively) for MOM: A painting of "A few of her favorite things."

It all began with a commissioned painting, entitled "A Few of My Favorite Things." The name was a natural, considering that my patron and I had made the rounds of her home together gathering treasures that reflected meaningful memories for her and her family.

Back at my studio, I composed a set up of these intriguing mementos and rounding out the composition with luscious plums to compliment the purple etched glass; delicate white orchids to offset the vintage cloth, I took some photos for my patron's approval.

After completing the commission, its title got me to thinking... "Why not do a collection of 'favorite   things?'" It also struck me as a beautiful and unique commemorative gift idea for any special occasion. And so... a series was born!

Mother's Day fast approaches... If you would like to thank mom this Mother's Day with a special painting of her "favorite things," please e-mail me for specifics. Mom will receive a personalized signed gift card explaining your intention to honor her with a beautiful painting, and together we will create a memorable keepsake for her and future generations to cherish and enjoy!.

Happy Mother's Day,

Monday, April 5, 2010

NEW WORKSHOP: Painting Moving Still Life

If you have a passion for painting still life, I welcome you to join my newest workshop, "Painting Moving Still Life" on August 7 & 8 from 10 - 4:00 PM at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey in New Milford. Have fun exploring imaginative ways to paint everyday, non-living objects, like drapery, fruit, china, metals, etc.

Focusing on new interpretations of traditional artistic principles such as composition, object interplay, lighting and form, students will have an opportunity to experiment while working from life at their own pace. (all skill levels welcome).

Beginning with an underpainting (modified Grisaille), students will learn to understand the basics of light and shadow and how a dramatic juxtaposition of the two creates atmosphere and depth.  We will move on to adding  color and work toward completion. Short demonstrations, one-on-one coaching and critiques will be offered at each student's easel. Space is limited.

For more information or to reserve, please contact: Ruth Miller @,
or call 201/599-2992. The Art Center of Northern NJ is located at 250 Center Street, New Milford, NJ 
FEE: $390 Non members; $360 Members.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Resources, info and inspiration for portrait artists

The April edition of The Artist's Magazine, available now for pre order, is chock full of info, resources and inspiration for portrait artists.

The issue,  which highlights portraiture today with 4 bold approaches, also includes my in-depth features on two talented and in-demand portrait artists: Casey Baugh and Steven Polson.  "Starstruck" gives a behind the canvas take on Polsen's technique and prowess for painting some of the foremost political figures of our time, including Madeline Albright and Colin Powell;  "Practice makes Perfect," explains Casey Baugh's fastidious approach of working up a number of smaller studies, incorporating modern technology and meticulously paying  attention to every facet of composition, light and color harmonies when painting his compelling figuratives of women.

This portrait issue is a stunner by all accounts, beginning with the cover, which is a cropped close up of Baugh's mesmerizing "Yellow," a painting that he says was born from his desire   to use more intense color. Baugh's article includes an 8-step tutorial of his process. Polson's feature divulges secrets of craft and a progression of his painting of former secretary of state, Colin Powell.

Friday, January 8, 2010

10 Tips for a Better (Painting) Life

Last year around the holidays, a good friend sent me a list entitled:  "40 tips for a Better Life," which I have since seen published with various additions and deletions as "Enjoy the Ride," "45 life lessons and 5 to grow on," "20 tips for a better New Year."
As I read over the 40 inspiring tips, I realized with a little tweaking some of the themes could easily be applied to us artists and set about drafting a version that became my 2009 New Year blog post. Heading into 2010, I took up the challenge again. Here, then, revamped are my "10 Tips for a Better (Painting) Life." 
1. Set consistent work habits and painting goals and stick to them. Start each painting session by abandoning preconceived notions and stumbling blocks.
 2.  Be true to YOUR 'art and soul.' Encourage your inner vision; listen to your private voice; let your imagination soar and don't concern yourself with what others may think of your work.
3. Take short breaks, particularly when you've hit a rough spot or are experiencing a painting block. Stand back from your canvas on occasion. Quietly review your day’s work and take it all in with a fresh eye. 
4.   Take pleasure in the painting process. Continually advance your skills.  Read instructional books, attend workshops and exhibits, frequent museums, and study the masters.
 5. Be generous with your knowledge. Whenever possible, exchange ideas, tips, techniques with other artists. (Twitter, Facebook, Fine Art Views "FAV," artist's blogs, are all great places to start).  The more you share, the more you learn, and the benefits of networking are limitless. 
 6.  Be passionate about creating your art, but do make time to nurture relationships. As in all things in life, balance is key!
 7. Clear out the clutter from your studio. It will help you hone in and focus. Reassess unfinished work. Categorize as salvageable or not. Discard or sand down any canvases that don't make the grade and start anew.
 8.   Learn from the challenges that each painting offers and move on to your next masterpiece. Keep a positive mindset and resist being over critical. Give yourself the right to make mistakes, a free rein to experiment. Remember, oil paint is forgiving, can be wiped out if wet; painted over when dry.  
 9. Bring HEART to your work. Treasure wisdom and innocence wherever you may find it
 10. Work from promise not fear... the best is yet to come!  Think of that blank canvas as an opportunity to color your world!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A year in Art: 17 of my paintings

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Came across this beautiful quote by Souza. Plan to make it my mantra for the New Year.

And... if I may add one other phrase...
           as though you can be seen but not heard!
A special thank you dear readers for your friendship, support and insightful comments this past year.  
Wishing you and yours all good things in 2010!