How Paintings tell a Story

My goal as an artist is to work with designers and architects on site specific projects; working with designers and architects presents an opportunity to interact with professionals with whom I can share my ideas and who can in turn share their visions for how they perceive the final building will engage the user.  Currently, I am working on the Care Dimensions commission for their new facility in Waltham, MA.

By creating site specific work, I can pre-determine the size, shape, palette and subject of the work.  As with all of my commissions, this one attempts to connect the mission of the patron, in this case a hospice center, with the local scenery and history, Waltham, MA., and given this location, the writings of Concord native author Henry David Thoreau whose book Walden recounts his experience of living for two years in Walden Woods near the Waltham/Concord town line.

The three paintings in this commission attempt to celebrate the beauty of Walden Woods as they simultaneously act as metaphors for the trajectory of life.

The painting on the left is meant to suggest sunrise seeping through the trees, breathing life into the foreground. The light source coming from behind and creating a shadow in the foreground mimics stage lighting, a common practice in Baroque art and one that gives the painting a theatrical quality. This sets the stage for a life to come, a promise of a future to be explored. The trees point to the right, guiding the viewer to the painting in the center.

The central painting includes a pathway in the composition. This suggests moving forward into unknown terrain, climbing up a path that is a bit crooked and uneven, but guided by the light that is now in the background.  The open space in this composition is on the right of the painting-the light blue of the sky which holds a sense of distance, a way forward, the bend of the trees guiding the wanderer up the path and into the near distance.

The painting on the right contains the body of water that one expects to find on Walden Pond: calm, cool, and a deep Prussian blue value that bespeaks a brisk New England autumn day.  In this composition, the trees shift to the left, allowing the viewer to return to the first painting and engage with all three paintings as one unit.

The trees are included in all three of the paintings to represent the rootedness of life, a visual symbol used in many cultures such as in Navajo Sand-paintings.  The water is symbolic of the ephemeral nature of life, another visual and spiritual symbol recognized in many cultures and throughout history.

As a naturalist, Thoreau understood that the path to a greater understanding of our life on earth is through an understanding of the natural world around us and of which we are part: “We can never have enough of nature”, he wrote. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and Titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.” (reprinted from walden.org/thoreau).

Working on this commission for Care Dimensions has provided me with the opportunity to share my ideas with architects and designers, with the CEO of this important Hospice facility, and to channel the writings of Henry David Thoreau.  Next: the mission of Care Dimensions and symbolic in the paintings.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about how my work, please contact me to discuss your ideas.

Care Dimensions Commission: What is a Blank Canvas?

The three 62 x 31 x 3 inch panels in the studio, September 2017.

A blank canvas is many things to an artist.  It’s a challenge and an opportunity. Having ordered the three panels from my friend “Ron the framer,” I secured the base sheet of pulp to the surfaces and am ready to begin the painting (left). This is both an intimidating moment and one of pure thrill. I love the challenge of working in multiples and on a large scale with imagery that needs to work harmoniously, as one unit, in tandem with its neighboring paintings. The subject of each painting needs to flow back and forth so that one compliments the others, all the while holding its own identity. This is a far more challenging task than when working on a single image that does not need to share space with other work.

Me taking photos of the wall for which the three panels will be installed. October, 2017.

Because I work with architects and designers, the blank canvas extends to the intended space where the work will be installed. Often, this space is the construction site-full of dust and debris.  I honestly love visiting the site, donning a hard hat and photographing the soon to be completed wall.  The busy workers, noisy power tools, and smell of production are reminders for why I enjoy making site specific work.  I love the companionship of working with people who see a vision, a future space where one does not currently exist. In many ways, this is what I see as an artist looking at a blank canvas: a future space where one does not currently exist.

Next post: the beginning stage of the paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

Rocks and Water as Self Portrait: Day five

End of day five: sides of painting are glued down to the armature and pulp is added to the surface.

Day Four: Applying the background colors.

Day four: Today I applied the background colors and reconfigured the palette. The sides of the painting are as of yet not glued to the back of the armature. That will happen sometime next week. My goal today is to shore up the details in the rock areas and add more motion to the waves.

Autumn Marsh Triptych, 15 x 7 inches. 85.00.

autumn-marsh-triptych-15-x-7-inch-framehttp://megblack.com/galleries/autumn-marsh-triptych-15-x-7-inch-frame-85-00/

Marblehead Harbor painting, installed, private residence.

marblehead-harbor-de                                                                                                                                                                              I love the way the colors of the room bring out the palette of the painting.

 

 

 

 

Painting 40 x 26 inches. Mixed media handmade paper.  Private collection.

FAN Sea That!

If you didn’t get to the beach or the Boston Public Gardens this summer, why not bring a taste of either into your home or office? These Mixed Media Wall Reliefs capture the natural beauty of New England and add an up to date look to any interior design concept. Made with shaped abaca pulp, folded Giclee prints on German Watercolor paper, and mounted onto 1″ Gator Board, these large scale sculptural works are lightweight, ready to install, and guaranteed not to fade. Enjoy the beauty of New England all year round!

North Shore Fan installed insitu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Shore Wall Relief,

60 x 28 x 5 inches.

2.500.00.

Sailing Installed, insitu

 

 

 

 

Sailing Boats Wall Relief,

60 x 23 x 4 inches.

2,500.00.

 

fireplace with brick wall and sofas


Boston Public Garden Fan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Public Garden Wall Relief

56 x 26 x 4 inches.

2,500.00.

What I did over my Summer Vacation . . .

After years of studying Art History, I finally had the change to visit Greece.  It was hot- 100 degrees every day!  But it was a wonderful experience and I had the best tour director who knew her art history.  Best of all, I made some great friends and fulfilled a life long dream.

 

Photos from Greece.

I just returned from a wonderful week in Greece where I was able to see many of the treasures I had studied for so many years.  Hot!  110 degrees every day.  But, what a wonderful time I had.

Documenting Memories of Marblehead for Care Dimensions Auction

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My friend Gary Tardiff photographing Memories of Marblehead in his South Boston Studio.  The photograph will be used for the giclees of the painting.  The Care Dimensions Auction will be held at the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead on Friday, June 17.

 

 

 

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The painting temporarily installed in the artist’s home.

Marblehead Harbor, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final photograph of the painting.