Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ready again for the last long wall.

Before I start, I'm looking into vinyl signs for those skater logos that I can glue to the outside wall.  Still trying to figure that one out.

It is settled that one large video screen will be close to the middle of that wall.
View of the long wall now.  Three things are on it, a space station, a castle, and a dragon.
I am glad about that because two screens would take up most of the space (you can see part of one of the screens to the far right of this photo) and make any real sense of a space design fairly impossible to achieve.  This center screen will cover the beloved castle (which looks like a dot on that wall on this picture) that has been a element of that wall through a few other renovations, but I'm going to move it and use it again!  The decision of where to put it took a while, but at least it can be squeezed in.
I did a quick loose drawing and colored it in with markers, not the best for actual colors or values, but it's something I can go by.

  • The dragon, whose wing looks like a purple smoke stack, is breathing fire
  • To the left of the screen you can make out some lightning
  • Beside the lightning is the castle
  • The old space station is visible at the far left.  It blocks out the planets I'm trying to feature.

There is a space station left over from the previous design that I was thinking of keeping, but now I'm not that sure.

So I traced the present castle and will transfer that drawing to the new location.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Plan B, another version of the last wall

Surprisingly ideas come to you, you just have to let them happen.  I'm formulating a new plan for that last wall that will include some elements of the previous plan and include the two video screens.  It's a good thing that I love a challenge.
Besides that last long wall on the inside of the building, I'm trying to figure out how to make more of those skating icon figures for the outside end wall that faces the new parking lot.  I did some drawings of them, and made some measurements and decided that the only way to get anything done now (since the weather is too cold to paint outside) is to paint them on wood and attach them to the building.  I'm up for it, but maybe Marc is not.  It would be an additional $500 in wood alone.  I guess we'll, as they say, take it as it comes.  In other words, first things first.  Redoing the end wall with the big mirror ball and video screens along with the long wall with the new video screens is next on the agenda.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New wall DELAY and revision!

What timing!  Just when I’m geared up and ready to proceed with the long wall and all the wonderful space themed artwork I have been planning for about a year, everything is going to be changed around.
We will be getting in lots of video games and other attractions.  We have been planning on the video games and even though they will be put in front of some of the artwork, it will still look ok and maybe after they are installed, I can add something around them.
We had not been planning to add large inflatables that will need to be on the main floor for maybe half of the time we are open to the public.  These are almost to the ceiling and will take up the entire width of the floor and use up about 20 feet of skating surface from the end wall towards the middle.  When they are inflated, you wouldn’t see the wall much but you would otherwise.
It has not been decided on which end exactly they will be installed.  Most likely the end where the large video screens are now.  That would mean that the video screens will move to the wall that I was just starting to paint, and where the video screens are now (an area that has been painted with the large mirror ball and cheering crowd scene) will need to be redone in some way.
The good news is that I hadn’t finished the new space wall, the bad news is that it would have been pretty darn nice!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Guild of Boston Artists panel discussion

I attended a panel discussion Saturday, Nov. 19th at the Guild of Boston Artists on Newbury Street where T.M. Nicholas, Stapleton Kearns and David P. Curtis were scheduled to speak.  David P.  Curtis was unable to attend because of a bad cold.
Stapleton Kearns is an artist that I studied with only a week or two ago in CT for a 3-day weekend workshop.  T.M. Nicholas I had not met before although I am very familiar with his work and the work of his father, Tom Nicholas (who gave me some advice when I was doing a plein air paint day in Gloucester).  I have known and studied with David Curtis for many years.  All three of these artists are leaders in the Boston School of art, in other words a definite style of New England painting and live or have lived in Rockport .  The room was packed and had standing room only, and I was lucky enough to be there early and got a seat on a sofa which turned out to be very very nice.  It is a pleasure to listen to two guys, who are very accomplished artists, sit and talk as if you were in the living room listening to their conversation.
I was lucky again by getting a parking space on Newbury Street about 3 blocks away from the Guild with the max allowed time of 2 hours.  First I pulled into a public parking place but when I saw that it would be $40 for 2 hours or more, I continued looking and four spaces down the street I found a spot for $2.50.  I had to leave before the event was over, and I was the very first one to leave.  I felt bad about that, but I think people in Boston have a different mentality about this type of thing as they realize there is always a parking situation.
I really enjoyed listing to TM and look forward to talking with him sometime.  There are not a lot of people that I would feel comfortable, lets say, sitting or having meal with, but I believe I would be able to have a nice conversation with TM, he seems like a regular guy and I liked what he had to say about the art of oil painting.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dragon Scales and Skater Logo preparation

Here is a photo of the dragon with the scales on his tail.
Friday I bought some boards to make a stencil to hopefully paint something outside the front door maybe Saturday morning while the sun in on that side of the building.  It's too bad that the cold weather is moving in but it is that time of the year.  I am hoping to get some kind of signage or icon on the north side of the building, the side that faces the now open lot that will become the parking lot. That side of the building can be seen by all the traffic that passes over the bridge from Haverhill to Bradford.  When Spring comes we will do something permanent but I'm hoping we can do something to carry us over until then.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Skater Icon/Logo--rush job

On Saturday, Nov.  19th, I got up early as I was very motivated to paint a skater logo or icon on the outside of the Skateland building.
There are very few warm days left to paint outside.  I wish I could paint the new visible end wall side of the building since the vacant lot next door has been cleared leaving a beautiful view of the building.
The problem is that it is the north side and the cement blocks feel like 32 degrees.  I’ll try to find out how to paint on a cold surface, but don’t hold out much hope.
Since I was planning to go into Boston at 1:00 and the rink would be opening then as well, I literally raced to get this done in the approximately 4-hour window I had.  I started from scratch
although I had done the drawing the night before on a piece of paper.
So first I put together some foamboards and cardboards large enough to fit the drawing on to make it into a stencil.

Then I drew the image onto a piece of plastic, some recycled scrap, I’m big on recycling.  Then I projected that onto the boards, drew around the inside of the marking, took it down and cut along the drawing line with a razor knife–pretty hard to do with a dull blade and in a hurry, fortified the stencil as best I could with tape and dragged it outside.

 First I had to make a run to the local hardware store as I needed exterior spray primer and top coat–great stuff that dried in 10 minutes per coat.  I mixed up some black paint for the outline.  Taped the stencil to the outside wall with masking tape and did 2 primer coats and 2 finish coats and the outline.  First I did one outline and realized it needed a thicker outline so went around the first outline.  I finished one minute before the manager arrived and in plenty of time to head into Boston!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wings and Tails!

Yup, the dragon has his first coat of paint.  Actually I'm calling it the 3-D dragon because he looks like hes coming to get you!  The wing was very difficult to do with the angles and the fact that it's on the ceiling.  It wasn't so hard painting on the ceiling, but what you think you want to do when you are on the ground, gets lost when you climb up on the staging, you can't figure out where you are, especially during the drawing stages.  The most fun part was putting the scales on his tail!

First coat?  Well, I'm thinking and hoping that I'll be able to overcoat with the UV paint.  Usually the UV paint has to go over white, but this would require that I put, for example, green UV over green regular paint.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Went to Portrait Group today.

Portrait Group
I haven't been to portrait group for well over a year.  Since I always have my eye on what to do next, I have to regain my skills with regular oil painting.  I felt a little like a duck out of water last week when I attended the Stapleton Kearns workshop, realizing that I haven't worked with regular paint brushes much since I've been working on the mural.  Incidentally, while I'm painting the mural and have the opportunity to use a brush or a roller, it makes me smile.
I have been doing a few 6x6" paintings that I'll put up on DPW soon, hopefully in time for people shopping for Christmas.
Well, it felt pretty nice to be there today, very many of the people who were there before are still there, and I think I did better than I expected to do.  I have to reassess my supplies, as my brushes are in bad shape and maybe I should have two palettes going in order to do portraits one day and the 6x6"s the next.
When I was working on portraits in the studio almost 2 years ago, I was using a very large palette with A LOT of colors, and some pre-mixes so this sketch type of portrait work uses fewer colors.

If you want to read about the Stapleton Kearns workshop, go to my adventures page.  That is also where you would see my recent Italy trip.

Finally on the home stretch with the mural!

This past week I finished the video end wall and the area over the sales area where the DJ stand is also located.  
It's not finished in this photo.  More photos will follow later.

I started the long wall the was the original reason why this project began.  Imagine that.  
As I probably mentioned in a recent blog, I lost my original drawing and had to make another one. Basically it's a view of space with lots of planets, dragons, a castle, etc.  I started by creating a foreground area 31" up from the floor by painting a middle gray upon which I will paint rocks, valleys, mountains, cliffs, a volcano, craters, etc.  The 31" is only to get something to gauge the space by.  Next I began to work on the big dragon.  We have a big dragon there from previous mural designs and the kids always want us to keep him.  I'm making the wings and tail much bigger.  Here is the way he was before:

He will have UV paint over the colors I have painted him.  
I'm not sure how successful this will be because the UV paint 
should be painted over white to get maximum effect.
Here is where he is now but he's only half done.
I may change the shape of his tail.  I won't know until after I do the shading and put some scales on it..  You can see the gray 31" underpainting for the foreground along the bottom.
Here are some of the drawing procedures.
You can see the original wing if you look closely.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Video end of the rink - wall - mirror ball

October 21, 2016
Mirror Ball
This week I concentrated on the mirror ball.  This photo was taken with the UV lights on.  The next thing will be the beams coming off the mirror ball and I found my laser level and aimed it at the wall and that will be a good way to draw my lines.  After that, I'll hit the yellow outlines here and there on the silhouettes and do a little other touch up and I'll be moving on the THE BIG EXCITING SIDE WALL!!!!  Still trying for a xmas deadline, what do you think?  Will I make it?
Stapleton Kearns
Next weekend I'll be working for three days in a workshop in Lyme CT, plein air with Stape.  This will be a challenge, watch it snow or something.  :)
Other art this week
Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to Cyclorama's 20th Anniversary Boston International Fine Arts Show, pretty much an annual affair for me and my friend Ed Lemay--then we had dinner at MFA and saw the current exhibit and this morning I went to the church where I used to paint portraits twice a month.  I'll be rejoining the group in November.

I also sat for my portrait this week with the wonderful Mark Hayden C.M.  It looks fantastic already!  Mark painted a portrait of my husband, George, that I appreciate every day.  I thought it would be good to have the set to pass down to Mr. Marc. In the meantime, it will be good company for George :)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Video end wall, last week and this week

After taking a break in the progress, I was hard at work last week and was able to finish the lower portions of the end wall where the video screens are.  This week coming, I'll work on the top section.
Here are some photos, realize that some are taken with white lights and then with UV lights.
The light you see is not a light it's the paint under UV light.

First past of the end wall in progress under both white and UV lights

Finished section, you can't see the yellow for some reason, my phone doesn't take great photos.

This is how it looks under white light.

This is how it looks under UV light. It looks better in person.  You still can't see the yellow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kim English Workshop, end of September 2016

I'll be attending the week-long workshop in Gloucester, Ma. with Kim English.  It promises to be a grueling art boot camp.  Why do I do this to myself?  Anyway, to get the gory details, go to my adventures blog.

Otherwise, the current news is that I'm still working on the mural at the rink, and expect to be finished now around Christmas, let's hope.  I haven't been there much lately because of all my travels, but last Sunday I was there for 5 hours and got a little bit done.  I took some photos and will post them soon.   

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Home Again

My 2-week painting vacation in Italy is over and I'm already gearing up for a workshop coming up this coming Monday in Gloucester, MA with Kim English.

You can read about my Italy trip and see pictures on my Adventures blog.  I'll be adding some content and more photos soon.  I posted to this blog with my iPad while I was there and it is an app that does not have the full capacity to edit that the desktop version has.  I like to edit photos before posting and I also like to vary the text.  I was in the Venice area of Italy while a nearby city was hit with an earthquake. I know the area and realized how extensive the damage was.

Kim English is a favorite of mine, and from what I understand, we will be doing a lot of figure work.  He usually has figures in the landscape.

What I should be doing is working on my murals at the rink.  I started that project when it was too cold to put paint on the walls, and it looks like I'll be finishing under the same conditions.  :(

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Leaving soon for Italy

I'm getting pretty excited about my upcoming art trip to Italy.  I'll be blogging on my adventures blog:  I haven't blogged for so long, I hope I can remember how.
The adventure starts Monday, the 22nd, at Logan Airport.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy New Year Art Friends

Wow, I know, you haven't heard from me in a long time.  I am fine but just not producing many finished paintings.  Nothing to talk about I guess you would say--except "Hello" to all of you, and I'm happy thinking that I'll soon be blogging again.

I am heading to Italy again this year and my side-kick, Carol, isn't going because of a different trip to Europe with her family---SO there is one (female) spot left IN CASE YOU WANT TO GO.
Painting in Veneto, Italy, Trip #1 Aug 24 - Sept 6, 2016
The area we will be staying at is about an hour from Venice, and for the first time, not in the mountains.  I'll be pleased to answer any questions you may have about the details of this trip by email.  Margaret's trips are the most amazing, totally well-planned and inexpensive, all inclusive (mostly, except sometimes the wine).  We usually paint every other day and tour the rest of the time.  I have blogged about all my trips with her, either on this blog or my adventures blog in case you want to look back to find those postings.  There is some instruction or you can be on your own.

Update:  I am still preparing to start my mural project which, so far, is going ok.  I'll start to blog about it once it gets underway.  I'm not sure whether I should think of it as "daily" art or an art "adventure".  Any comments on that?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Art is my Joy

This excellent article (part of it anyway) by Michael Britton today at
had a very nice explanation of why a painting grabs us--well, me anyway.

I love his expression "It's as fresh as home baked cookies".  And
his reference to "It is like a dance".
Cookies and dancing, two of my other favorite things!  Life is good.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rockport Art Association and Cape Ann Museum, a big art day!

Rockport Art Association

Yesterday I had a great time attending a walk and talk of the Women Artists of New England Show at Rockport MA by the popular art author, Judy Curtis, whose catalog accompanies this show.  Judy is excellent at doing these narrations involving art shows and there will be a power-point lecture on Nov. 6th at 7 as well.  Her famous husband, David P. Curtis, was on-hand to fill in a few points, between them, they have an amazing knowledge which they thankfully share. Over 60 historic women artists and almost 40 contemporary women artists from NAWA (National Association for Women Artists) complete this exhibit.  (Photos below)

There were two other shows up at RAA at this time also:  Paul Ciaramitaro's exciting and almost sold out show see gulls and the New England Chapter of NAWA.

Cape Ann Museum

After a lunch at the delicious mediterranean restaurant, Azorean, with my friend and prize-winning artist, Karen Berger, we headed off to see the Vincent, Weaver & Gorvett Exhibit at the Cape Ann Museum.  Jeff is on  my very short list of favorite artists, and Gorvett's woodblocks and prints are so beautiful that I want to try doing it.  Yup, I just have to live to be 100 to fit everything into my life that I want to do! (Photos below)

Show at Cape Ann Museum
I tried to capture the actual shaving off of the wood and the depth of the cut
Side view of the entire woodblock
See the actual cuts and carvings
Straight on view of the entire wood block
The print itself (under glass with glare, sorry)

Jeff Weaver
Jeff gets the color and light with lose brush strokes and lots of texture and impasto

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Garin Baker, Nationally Recognized Muralist Extraordinairre

This morning I luckily happened upon Garin's newsletter which led me to his blog about magnificent murals he did recently with alkyd oils for the large scale Public Art Mural project for the New Ballou High School in Washington, DC. They are masterpieces of work in every sense of the word. How he completed this enormous project in such a relatively short time astonishes me.  

Here is a link to his blog page that details the project with wonderful pictures of the 6 murals.

The full story of this amazing and profound legacy was documented and featured in a wonderfully produced Garden Thieves Pictures titled, "Ballou A Documentary Film", created by Michael Patrei. 

Here is more information about how he created another mural.

And another!
The paint I used on this project was a Benjamin Moore product called Impervo, Oil Based Alkyd Enamels , Very durable with light fast colors with a polyurethane binder, gloss finish. in a wide range of mixable colors.
This paint is used commonly by exterior sign painters also sometimes applied to US Navy ships and industrial machinery.
The colors I choose range from black to white and cools to warms similar to an impressionist plein air painters palette from light to dark and warm to cool.

And yet ANOTHER!! and the video!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Best Article Ever on the subject of Gallery Representation

Gallery-Artist Relationship- Excellent Article

Excellent article by Chris Sapier.  Scott Jones serves as the General Manager of Legacy Galleries (Scottsdale, AZ, Jackson, WY and Bozeman MT), among the foremost of representational fine art galleries in the country, shares with OPA members some of his insights into the gallery- artist relationship. Scott spoke on this topic at the Portrait Society of America’s annual conference in Atlanta last April.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Just still getting ready....(mural)

I'm still shopping for supplies for the mural.  I went today to buy some spray guns and didn't get them yet because of confusion about nozzle sizes of the smaller guns.  The ones that looked right said you shouldn't use latex.  I have to go online and do some more research.
I heard back by email from my idle for rink murals, Jody Barrio, and he said that I did pick out the right compressor and now I have to go get that.  It weighs 150 lbs. so I'll need the right car, not the Mercedes!  He gave me good ideas about what to use to cut out stencils.
I got the go-ahead on the drawing for the mural so I can move forward.
Next will be, once all is in place equipment-wise, to practice with the guns and various paints.

In the meantime, I'm working on two portraits from photos and that is taking forever.  It's easier from life.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Boston Public Library - The Sargent Paintings

This week I had the opportunity to attend a private tour and lecture of the Sargent Murals at the BPL.  For years I heard about and read about these paintings.  I finally got to see them and under special circumstances as David P. Curtis and Judith Curtis were the presenters.  Video link - Murals.

David is another of my excellent art teachers who promotes plein air painting on Cape Ann, and Judy is his wife and a knowledgeable art historian and writer who has written many books.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The First Operations--famous paintings

I saw a really wonderful movie this week:  The Physician.
Watch trailer here:
See photos at bottom of page.

In the movie there was a scene, which is only too quickly and not very well captured here in the trailer, of what signified the first time a living person was cut open to perform an operation--it was rather beautifully done in the movie.  The scene was special to me for a couple of reasons.  In my early art training I was privileged to learn a lot about the artist Thomas Eakins and his techniques.  Eakins painted the famous critically acclaimed painting "The Gross Clinic" which memorialized the rather gory operation and "The Agnew Clinic".  He painted 2 famous paintings about operations.

That art education was at the hands of Joel Babb.  Joel Babb, some 130 years after Eakins, was commissioned to paint "First Successful Organ Transplant", 1996, oil on linen, 70x88" and "Coronary Bypass Operation at Brigham and Women's", Boston 2010, oil on linen, 40x70".  He painted 2 paintings about operations as well.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Odds and Ends

Just a note to let you know I'm still being busy with things in process.  
Rink outside wall:  I had to repaint a gallon of paint as one of the gallons wasn't the right color, slightly darker, so that had to be redone.
Portraits:  I started on one of two portraits that have been commissioned and worked on it twice so far.  It takes twice as long to paint a portrait from a photo than it does from life.  I worked with Mark Hayden on Thursday and I also attended the Haverhill Art Association, twice a month, portrait painting session last Saturday and did a fair job.  I've been away from portraits for a while and I'm feeling very rusty.
Volunteer:  I've done some art association volunteering lately. I like doing that.
Demo:  Today I'll go to the Buttonwoods Museum for a demo by Allan Bull.
Big Mural Project:  I'm busy purchasing supplies and equipment and designing the mural.  I got a fair start yesterday on the drawing (working on scale on paper not on the actual wall)  but it will take a while.  Along with the design and composition aspect, working in a different medium (airbrush and spray guns) the process or procedure is different and will take some planning.  Stencils have to be made for some other areas of the rink as well as some for this wall, and the layering aspect is something that takes thought.  I had a phone conversation with the famous mural artist, Jody Barrio, I can't believe he called me in response to an email I sent and talked about equipment, etc.  He is totally amazing!
Teaching:  I'm still working with a student who is coming along very well and she makes me shift gears to think about other aspects of painting.
Small works:  I've painted two small flower paintings, both 8x8".  One is a field of hollyhocks, I like hollyhocks.
Magazines:  Of course, I've read a lot as usual.  I spend a lot of time either reading books, magazines or things on-line about art, and watching videos to learn more about airbrush and airbrush equipment.
Time:  When I do get started painting the mural, it will be during the night.  I'm not looking forward to cleaning up after a long night of painting, where you have to take the equipment outside and hose it down, etc.  It makes a huge mess.  It's getting cold outside now in the mornings.
I'll work on this one again tomorrow.

Wild Hollyhocks in a Field

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rink Walls

Here are pictures of the rink improvements I've done over the past couple of weeks.  
The men's and ladies' rooms were painted as well a light gray with dark gray trim.

Front wall being scraped, wire brushed and primed and weeded.
Front wall final paint job.
Taken from other end, sun was too strong.
Street side inside wall, before.  Light purple mountains were done over
and horizon line moved down and changed to a different green color.
Same wall as above-redesigned blue mountains.  Blacklight and iridescent paint to be added later.
Back side inside wall, before.  Wood was added to existing wall mural because of breaks in plaster.  
Same wall as above-background blue painted over all except extreme top area.
Gold Medal Skater Cliff  helped--pictured with me.
 Marc refinished the main floor and the ladies, mens, snack bar, and skateroom floors.  New stalls were added to the bathrooms and a beautiful black granite countertop with silver faucets was installed in the ladies room.  Next, new showcases for the sales area and always more new sound and lighting.