Friday, August 31, 2007

Hudson River School Photos

My friend Karen and I went up to Olana to tour the house, buy a table (pics and story on my other blog), eat, and make art. Again I was graced with beautiful light, warmth, and a Friday afternoon with a beautiful sunset, and very few people around. We were at our mansion.

I will post the sketches I did tomorrow, but here are a few pictures from the sunset in Tivoli. (these are untouched) I pulled off the road onto a farmers dirt driveway to get these shots. They are dark due to their compression and size, but you get the atmosphere and the drama, typical of mid to late 1800's landscape painting.

I am not looking forward to going back to teaching. I have enjoyed the freedom of my days, the warm sun, and the time I have spent in my house and with my friends. I will just have to stretch out the summer as long as I can after school....before the days grow short and cold and I go into hiding.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kitch(en) Art

This is a painting I did last year of some cantaloupe pieces while I was studying oil painting with my friend and mentor Rob. I have grown quite fond of it, a combination of the time, of the mood, of our friendship.

I have actually built some of my color palette around this painting as seen by the colors of the walls in my kitchen, taken at night so that it is a bit darker than daylight.

The small bathroom near the painting is going to be painted in a faux finish, in shades of light blue, much like the middle ground of the painting.

When I am done I will take more pics. There are some really nice interplays with color going on in parts of my house and it is exciting me. (oh how easily I am amused...)


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Accidental Still Life

This is the closest I came to art today, other than painting my walls and pulling my house apart. In the midst of chaos however, art can be found in the most simplest of things. Here, an old bench and lamp, thrown in a corner out of the way of the paintbrush and tarps. The lamp is lovely, the bench torn up by my cats over the years. It needs a face lift, and I am debating upon how I can keep its integrity while hiding the flaws. (Oh what us middle aged plus women do!)

I love the color, the objects, the mood.

So I leave you with the light of the lamp to guide you on your darker journeys.

To the light, Patti

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Ashokan

I tried to put up a video that I made of the view of the reservoir where I walked today. The file was too big and I don't know what kind of a program I have to edit it, and if I do, I have to figure it out first. So, another time.

I walked a few miles along a road that winds along a portion of it with magnificent views of the water and the Catskill Mountains. This public road was closed to motorized vehicles after 9/11 due to the fear that someone would try and dump toxins or some other horrid substance into the source of New York City's drinking water. It is a wonderful walk/jog/bike/Rollerblade path, and as long as NYC exists, this beautiful land is protected. It took 9 years to build in the early 1900's and entire towns and communities were flooded in order to make a body of water large enough to supply NY with all of its water.

Bardet and I have a plan on how to get down to the water, which is FORBIDDEN unless you have a Reservoir fishing permit. She already has one and and I am applying for one too. We will pack a pole and some bait, as well as my sketch pad, camera, and book. (Oh no Mr. DEP officer, that is NOT a bathing suit! That is the gear to wrap the fish in!) Bardet and I will call it going Faux Fishing. Hey, I do fish, and find it very meditational.

I found a place on the road to lay down my towel and sketch for a bit. The heat of the asphalt came through the towel, and I felt like I was sitting on a hot plate, but I ignored it and enjoyed the views and painted and photographed. Another painting spot that is free, splendid, and magical here in the Catskills. Patti

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Greatest Works of Art

A very quick blog as I need to go out and get breakfast the morning after the wedding, but here is a picture of my greatest work of art, my daughter, and my largest work in progress, my husband, LOL.

They are both very dear to my heart, and great masterpieces in my eyes.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

And the Pressure is ON

A brief blog as I am in the process of leaving to have Larry's tux fitted, to buy the ingredients for the tomato salad I am making for the barbecue for my daughter's wedding on Saturday.

I leave you with an image from an altered book I am working on. It reminds me of love and magic, which we all need. Perhaps it is also influenced by the movie I saw last night STARDUST. Sweet, romantic, funny, an entertaining movie! I SO LOVE MAGIC!!!

Oh, and Bruce Springsteen's new album with the E Street Band is called Magic. Now ain't that some coincidence!!

TO MAGIC!!!! patti

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Under Pressure

I joined a swap for the Fatbook Into the Woods. I have been doing swaps for years, and love the challenge of a topic. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone, and the deadline forces me to make a new piece of art. Some of my best work has been done this way and I am grateful for the wonderful yahoo art groups out there who support and inspire my creativity.

Since I could not get into the studio to make this piece due to having to watch my 3 year old granddaughter, I had to do it digitally. The collage was done in photoshop and is composed of a photograph, and scans of antique illustrations of mushrooms and a young girl. Of course, there are special affects and filters added on too.

The back page of the book is two photos, one is of the woods and one of me, with an exerpt from the poem Into the Woods.

I had fun, I hope my fellow swapees enjoy it as much. Now I just have to print them up and cut them and send them out. Deadline: 2 days. BYE!!!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Small Check Blues

I have not been creating much these days. The most I have done business wise is listing ephemera on Ebay and Etsy which at least pays the business bills.

I got a commission check today from one of the stores I work on consignment with. WOW in one month I sold an 8.00 card, which nets me 5.60. Sometimes it is hard not to get depressed about my cards. I have to realize that they are NOT mainstream and that they only call to a few, but those few do so love them and are my biggest supporters. I love the store, I love the owner, so I will leave my cards there. She did ask if I could come in and switch some out, which I have no problem doing. But GEEZ, it is hard to keep one's head up high when it rains all day and you wait for the postman to bring some money, and it is not enough to buy lunch.

I hope that I am not like Van Gogh and others, who left behind huge bodies of work, but died penniless. I had better start a will now so that I will leave my work to those who appreciate it, and I do have some fans. Don't know how many, but there are a handful...... (Kincaid, can't you share the fame?) Anyone want to be in on the will? (I know you all only want me for my paper-I wonder who will get that?)

Today's collage is one I did several years ago. It is on loan to one of my friends for now. She floats around.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

House as a Work of Art

The walls have been my canvas this past week. Not my favorite painting surface, but I have been getting into the rhythm of it. The ceiling and three out of four coats of paint are done. I plan on painting the trim a rich color called red oxide......but the question is, what color appliances? My husband and daughter say black. Of course Larry yellow/orange and black are Halloween colors and he LOVES Halloween. I do too, but not 24/7. I am thinking work with the ceiling and sink. As it is I will have dark trim and rich glowing walls, so white will counteract it a bit.

SO MY READERS...what do YOU think? You can either respond to my post or email me by going to my profile page and finding the email link there. I won't go off white as if one piece (stove or fridge) has to be replaced, you can't match off white colors. White is standard and does not show fingerprints like black does. I don't want to spend the money on stainless, and besides, it is also a bear to keep clean.

One of the pictures was taken without flash, and one with. This lovely color changes hue with the light, ranging from a slight yellow orange, to a glowing melon color as daylight fades and lamps come on.

I will post more photographs as it comes together. We will paint as much as we can in the house until it is too cold to keep windows opened. Then the winter's projects will be interior design work, like maybe a runner up my stairs held on with brass stair bars (this 1820 house I was in last night had the stairs carpeted this way, and it was fabulous!) or a carpet in the dining room.

I hope to hear from you my readers! Patti

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bridal Shower Project

A quick blog while I wait for the water to boil for the Pesto Pasta I am making for the shower, along with the other salads I am bringing.

The girls did not get any little "bridal favors" so I had a day to whip something up using whatever materials I had at hand. I did not have a lot of time to do this as so much else is going on, but I found some little muslin bags, had a pound of lavender, (both from the Atlantic Spice Company which is located almost to Provincetown on the Cape and is on the Internet too I am sure..). I found some rubber stamps. Great, the fine detail ones would not stamp on the rough muslin. I came across some Chinese word stamps that were thicker in design and stamped two words with fabric ink.

I think hot glued charms underneath, made a tag on the computer using an antique image of two lovers, and translated the words on the bag "Love and Happiness".

Placed inside of one of my display baskets, it all smells and looks sweet.

Voila. Some of my favorite challenges are the ones that are done on short notice and with limited materials and limited time.

Martha-I may have failed housekeeping school, but I did NOT get this out of your magazine, LOL.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Catskill Mountain House Vista

This is the vista overlooking the Catskill Mountains; the villages of Catskill, Saugerties ET.AL. can be seen from this view. The Hudson rolls in the very background of this painting, the small white area in front of the final mountain range in the sketch. It was very very hazy, atmospheric perspective at its best; blue, cool, misty. Storms rolling in from the west. Ghosts whisper in the trees along the mountain top. Names, dates, dreams, and loves etched into the rock ledge that graciously provided a table for my work.

Perhaps I should run a class one summer. Painting in the Catskills. If I only had that lovely mansion in Catskill...oh the things we could do. Anyone want to invest with me? LOL. patti

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catskill Mountain House

After another long day of painting, we headed to get my lost cell phone at Clermont. I managed to have enough time to do one sketch of some trees (you can see it in the photo). I loved the trees in the graceful way they grew on the hill; they looked like dancers.

Afterward we headed up to the mountains into the heart of the Catskills. At North Lake we found the trail to the site of the Catskill Mountain House. Storms were rolling in from the west, so we had limited time to work. I did a sketch which I will post another time, and took many photos. Larry worked with his 8 x 10" and I can't wait to see the photographs.

The first picture is a photo which was a mistake, but which is so cool. I was walking in front of Larry and took his picture. He looks like a specter. I am going to print this odd photograph! It doesn't look like much when it is condensed on the blog, but on the screen it rocks.... I photographed my set up on Artist's Rock, upon which many names are carved, some 150 years old.

I felt honored to work in such a beautiful and historic place whih has been graced by fellow artists over the centuries.

And it is all good. Patti

Hazards of Working at Dusk

A quick post as I am busy working on painting my kitchen and that has been what has been consuming most of my life these days, as well as preparing for my daughter's bridal shower on Saturday.

Hazards of painting at dusk which I have discovered..... bugs. I have bug bites. Not too many, but enough to be annoying. I normally carry some natural repellent, but I forgot it the other night. Oh and always have to check for ticks. I am lucky that I have never seen one on me ever, but I do check all the nooks and crannies that they like to go. Or Larry does, haha.

Dropping things that you can't see when it is dark, like your cell phone.

Luckily, some dog walkers found it and it appears to be in good working order. Only it is still 40 minutes away and I don't know when I can find it.

I hope to get out tomorrow to paint again. Today looks like it will be stormy and we have our hands full with stuff at home. I feel like I am going through withdrawal if I don't write or make art.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Evening at Clermont

As I mentioned in my other blog, I am having periodic problems posting to my blog. I write, I upload, and it does not appear to my chagrin the next morning. So I have to go back and add something and then reload for it to finally work. I don't have time to go figure out the bug right now as I am off to tape and prime my kitchen, but it is frustrating since I write nearly every day and the blogs are not posting!!

I find watercolors one of the more difficult medium to work in, yet it is so easily transported. I work with semi-moist pans, though I am thinking I want to dig out whatever tubes I have and try them. I don't think I am getting the concentrated color that I would like to have in the small pans.

I carry a small bag with a few different size watercolor blocks, paints, brushes, some pencils, a sharpener, a plastic container with a lid. I always have water with me, my digital camera, and a blanket to sit upon.

Acrylics on the other hand are much harder to set up, clean up, keep moist etc. when working plein air, though I love the few I have done in the field.

I have not tried working in oils yet outside, and I suspect that I need to set aside a good chunk of time to work with them, and have a system to transport the wet canvas home.

Tonight we watched the sunset over the Hudson River at the Clermont Estate, the home of the Livingstons. It was lovely. The first painting was made when the sun was starting to set, the second was a very quick sketch as it dropped behind the mountains.

I may take a watercolor lesson from a friend who is a pro at it. I know the techniques, as I have done them and teach it in High School, but I need the inspiration and experience of someone who knows the medium by heart to give me some direction. Till then, practice, practice, practice.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Afternoon at Olana

Olana, the estate/home/studio of one of the main founders of the Hudson River School of Art - Frederick Church, is one of my favorite places to go any time of the year. The Persian/Italianate architecture and the view of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River are one of the BEST in the area.

Larry and I packed a light dinner, a bottle of wine, and our art supplies and cameras, and headed up for a late afternoon into early evening art-a-thon.

It was splendid. I met the buyer for the gift shop (and one of the MOST delectable gift shops in a state historic site thus far...) and she wants to see my cards, and it is the PERFECT venue for my work. I don't like to have many wholesale accounts, but I consider it an honor if they will buy my cards. It is a sacred place, and I would so love to sell my work there.

I had planned on doing some watercolors, but as I pulled out my art stuff I realised that I loaned them to Karen. I only had watercolor crayons in my bag, (Crayon D'Arch?)so my focus and challenge for the afternoon was to learn how to work with these. The two art pieces I did sitting by the back door of Olana.

I took TONS of photos, and will post some of them in the days to follow.

A few families from NY came by and wanted to see my sketches. They were quite enthralled and asked if I had a store. Fortunately I have taken to carrying my business cards with me and handed a few out. I forgot that making art plein air attracts people, and it is a good venue to get seen and you never know WHAT might happen!


Friday, August 10, 2007


If you want to read the story, go to the link to my Eat Man Drink Water blog.


So much for making art today. I will be spending the afternoon cleaning up a gigantic mess and trying to figure out what to do with it.

Patti who is sore and out of sorts now.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ornament Production

At last years holiday show at Unison in December of 06,, I got an order from Earth Angel Toys for 100 ornaments as gifts for this upcoming holiday season. I was thrilled as this order will get pay my summer bills for the business and then some.

Each one of these ornaments is made out of two pieces of Victorian paper, many of which have mini collages on at least one side of them. They are encased in microscope glass slides, which are held together with copper foil, and then soldered along the edge, and have chains soldered on so that they can be hung on a wall, a tree, or from a wine bottle. I package them in a little off white bag which I bought at the Atlantic Spice Company in or near Wellfleet on the Cape. .

It is a tedious process, especially the soldering part of it, and sometimes I wish I had a studio helper for this part. I have come to the conclusion that I love to design and do that part of it, but I want to leave the production part of it to someone else.

I am hoping that this fall I will find a student who can help me do some of the bagging and labeling of cards etc. so that I no longer have to do all of that.
Another art goal, and one that is not too terribly hard to realize. I just have to make sure that I am selling what I am paying someone to help me with!

I have Alanna today so studio work will be at a minimum, but I can take her with me to go to the art supply store, the post office, and do all the other things that need to be done when running a business! If I wear her out then she will take a nap. Then I can at least do some computer business.

Till the next round, Patti

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fishkill Design Shop

A few weeks ago I stopped into Suite Designs in Fishkill New York. Located on Route 9D right near the Dutchess Stadium, home of the Renegades, it is run by Jacklyn and Ann Marie Faust. It is more than a shop to buy fabric, rugs and other decorative items for your home; I found lovely necklaces, a set of wine charms (which I have been looking for as a gift for a dear friend) lamps, and artwork, many made by Hudson Valley artisans.

Amoung the artists featured in this shop are Carol Pepper-Cooper and Stacie Flint , two delightful artists whom I have met at many of our local art openings here in the Hudson Valley.

I strongly believe in supporting small local businesses especially those who promote local artists, rather put my money into the box stores of corporate America.

So stop by and say hi if you live in the area, and check out the wonderful fabrics, furniture, rugs, wools, jewelry, glass vases, and other lovely items for your home or for gifts. It is a treat!

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Photo Stint

I really really really wanted to put up some pictures of the young folks I photographed at my niece's 21st birthday party last night. I got some fabulous photos at the party, but out of respect I won't put up any pictures unless I have permission. Well, I think my niece will forgive me for the quick shot I got of her from a strange angle as they sang happy birthday.

I had offered to take photos for the party as Erika's camera was broken, and I wanted to do it for her, plus I also wanted more experience doing this sort of "commerical photography".

Now I am not a photographer. I have a good eye for composition, light, subject, etc. but I am sometimes technically overwhelmed by all the buttons and settings of the digital camera. I sometimes want to grab my Pentax K1000 and shoot away and edit the photos just by throwing the bad ones out. But digital photography is fast, I can edit, crop, adjust, burn to disc and have the photos printed, and I am assured a decent set to give the "client".

This is the second party I have photographed. They are not studio shots, but my yearbook experience has taught me how to make one comfortable with the camera...and when they relax I have been able to take some fabulous shots, capturing their essence, the spirit of the moment.

I will bring the 50 shots I took to the printer tomorrow and hope to have them for Erika by tomorrow noon. Pretty damn nifty if you ask me.

I am curious what they will think of them. I wonder if I could get a side line job doing this. Kid parties. Teen parties. Adult parties.

Oh, and the girl whose party I photographed last month came over today to show me which pictures she wanted enlargements of for her grandmother and some friends. Sometimes I find their joy and pleasure enough payment....


Friday, August 3, 2007

Rejection Follow Up

You think I would have learned my lesson by now. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't waste energy on anything till you know the entire story.

I was so crushed about my piece getting rejected and caught up in the WHY? of it. I struggled with wanting to ask the curator "why" she put it aside. Thankfully I did not do it, and I got my answer without having to ask as soon as I walked into the gallery.

Out of 40+ works, only 21 got in, and both Larry AND I had each gotten a piece in. The rest were sent a packing. Instead of being angry, I was honored that one piece did get in...EXCEPT that it was on a low sculpture stand that needed to be painted, and in danger of being damaged by the crowds of people that come through.

In my PMS state I swooped down and told the gallery manager that it was in a horridly dangerous place and I was taking it out of the show. She got really upset and said, "no, you can't" and solved MOST of the problem with some putty to keep it tight on the stand.

I still don't like the location, it is too low and was supposed to hang, and I am not sure how many will even see it in the crowds of people, but perhaps in a more quiet time others will see it. Larry's photo shines on the wall, and perhaps this time it is HIS turn to get seen. He is far more humble and meek than I.

I spent today packing up some antique prints and off season art cards and such to sell at a garage sale tomorrow. The majority of the proceeds go to Megan's wedding fund and some to cover the cost of art materials. We made fun signs and live in a good neighborhood, so I do hope that we get some kind of turn out.

So my lesson is to breathe, and don't get upset until you know the entire story. How many times will I have to get hit on the head with that?


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rejection and the Artist

I have to write this blog before I descend upon the gallery to type up the labels for the next show and pick up my rejected piece of art.

Even though I never take it personally, and I do believe that this piece is too intense perhaps for some, or uncomfortable, it always feels like a let down when your work is not accepted.

There were many levels of art that were submitted for this show. Some were looked like they came right out of a 9th grade drawing and composition class. It will be interesting if those were accepted. I want to ask the curator what it was that made her take the piece out...I know it wasn't the million dollar frame job, or the technique, composition etc. I think it was the subject matter that was just too touchy for the general public. Religion - interpreted in a scary way.

I know deep in my heart that this is not the right venue for it. I know that many artists who are now revered were also rejected - many times. I know deep in my heart that art is subjective as is the method for curating a show.

Next month is "Full Bloom". I wrote the curator to ask if it was a floral show, or more esoteric and open to interpretation.

She sternly wrote back NOT open to interpretation, floral show. I chuckled to myself. Now..hmmm...what can I do with that? The month's challenge. You know I will push the limits.

Oh, one of my pieces DID get accepted, the first one titled OBELISK IV. That is still scarey, though because I don't use religion reference, perhaps it makes it safer.

I don't know, any comments out there?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mission Accomplished

A short blog, no pics. I am fighting a migraine and need a night's sleep.

I did get the nightmare of a collage framed. As you should know if you don't, artwork should NEVER touch the glass in a frame.

I had done my collage on 8 ply mat board, mounted on a large piece of white mat board. I had bought spacers to avoid the art touching the glass, but as it turns out, the spacers were not high enough. I had to go BACK to get higher spaces (frame: 35.00, spacers: 8.00, time: it would have been cheaper to have paid to gotten it framed)but not before the artwork had a chance to touch the glass, cause some problems, and make a mess. I got marks on my white mat board in the corners, had to sand it out.

In the end I did an OK job, but NOT before I learned that I should have put another board behind the board I had mounted it on as the brads left some slight indentations from the back of the board. I pulled them out, but it got to the point where I had to be satisfied, it did look good, and besides, who the heck is going to buy it anyway? It is so bizarre and disturbing, both pieces are actually. I wonder if they will be curated in-I paid for the hanging fee, so they had better put them somewhere. The question is....where?

Off to bed...before I hit my head on the keyboard.