April 20, 2020 (during COVID-19 pandemic)
The format of small still life is different for me, a challenge I took up during this time of change in my schedule and a new perspective.
When the pandemic took hold in my local community in mid-March, I thought I'd switch gears and focus on a smaller scale project. I didn't know if I'd be able to continue to get to the studio regularly (I do, but less often), if I or someone in my household might get sick (we haven't), or if my spring gallery show would get cancelled (it did).
This practice of focusing on one small piece at a time has been helpful to me when everything looked suddenly uncertain. An interesting thing that happened along the way was that as I painted these tiny pieces of broken shells in the confined dimensions of small canvases, I thought about how we too are confined in small places. Yet there is beauty, almost a meditative and abstracted beauty, in each small world of each broken piece of shell.
Days have turned to weeks. Our family is now on week 6 of the stay-at-home advisory. I am able to continue to go to my two studios on reduced hours. When I do go to either studio, which are both my own private rented spaces, I keep up the practice of mask-wearing, disinfecting, and social distancing, though I usually do not run into anyone else when I venture out.
As many of you know, in addition to making art my livelihood, I am a mother of two big kids who are doing school at home now, and I'm also the wife of a busy school administrator. Making sure to be a presence and a support to the kids in their schooling at home has been important at this time. It's also a time to get lots of the projects on the back end of studio practice done too. Life seems strangely busy for us, even when it's so eerily quiet on the streets, but we are managing well, and continue to stay safe and positive.
These quahog pieces have been an interesting exercise during this time. I liked doing them; they are very different from the large, multilayered paintings I have been busy with. If you are interested in purchasing these pieces, please go to my gallery shop page under "purchase" here.
I hope you are able to stay safe, positive, and healthy during this time!
PS. Quahog (pronounced KOE-hog) shells are clam shells with various markings of purple in different shades on the inside. On the outside, these clam shells are gray, plain and really nondescript. First Nation Wampanoags have always prized the purple color of the inner shells. These are called "wampum" and were used in trading as currency, often crafted into pieces of gorgeous jewelry, and are still made today by artisans.
Hope to see you at this year's Cambridge Arts Open Studios!
Saturday September 28, 12 - 6 pm
Sunday September 29, 11 am - 5 pm
Free and open to the public
686 Mass. Ave. 4th floor #403
Central Square T stop on the Red Line
Come browse and enjoy:
- Original paintings
- Giclée prints, framed and unframed
- Art calendars for 2020
- Art notecards in gift boxes or individual packaging
One of my favorite events of the year, Open Studios is a chance to come to studios in the city to meet artists, enjoy seeing different art and artisanry, and to purchase directly from artists if you wish. I hope to see you there! I will be at my studio, #47 on the map. Click here for the map of studios created by the city's Arts Council. See you soon!
Here are some of my popular products that go quick at Open Studios!
Notecards, giclée prints, and calendars for 2020
For a city-based artist like me, getting into the car and taking off for a few days to get into nature is just about the best thing I can do to reboot my brain. When I'm lucky, I get away at least twice a year for several days to different locations in Massachusetts, my home state.
Click on the one-minute video below to enjoy a sketching session on Race Point Beach of Provincetown, the furthest tip of Cape Cod. My patrons sent me here a few months ago. You'll notice the mellowed earth tones of the beach in autumn... golden ochres, plums, siennas... just gorgeous.
I am blessed with 14 patron subscribers who micro-fund these retreats (thank you everyone!). Over the last four years, I have painted places along the coastline of Massachusetts in different seasons and times of day. Slowly, I have built up a portfolio of paintings that reflect both the beauty of my actual surroundings and the transcendent landscape, or 'sense of place.'
The retreats are building on themselves one year at a time.
-In 2014 I stayed at the home of relatives and explored the South Coast of Massachusetts.
-In 2015 I got an informal artist's residency on the island of Nantucket, a real treat (blog about that in June 2015, if you care to look in the Archives sidebar).
-In 2016 I took a trip to the North Shore to Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, on Cape Ann.
-In early 2017, I set up a Patreon page, and quickly, patrons began to subscribe. Then I was able to revisit Cape Ann to stay at the Emery House, a beautiful country monastic house, and I explored nearby Plum Island in detail. I shared the experience with my patrons and kept them up to date on the works in progress in the studio.
-Later in 2017 I went to Provincetown to explore the Cape Cod National Seashore over four days (where I shot the video above). Now that I had a patron community building up, I shared what I learned and saw with them via video posts.
If you are curious about my patron subscribers and how they microfund these painting retreats, click here to see my Patreon page. You're welcome to see some of the public posts and videos there. Some are for patrons only.
I hope I've inspired YOU to travel, sketch, and dream... it is a joy!
On Thursday December 7th, from 5 to 7 pm, the Harding House Bed and Breakfast hosted a lovely wine and cheese reception for photographer John Heyman, and myself.
Back in the spring, the owners of the Harding House selected artwork through the Cambridge Arts Council in order to install a year-long show in their reception area, living room, and dining room. Our artwork will remain up until June 2018 and is being shown on a rental arrangement at the Harding House.
Here are some pictures of our event! We were honored to have Mario Santiago with us, who played acoustic and classical style guitar for our event, enjoyed by some of our 40+ guests who dropped by.
The Harding House is located at 288 Harvard St., Cambridge. If you are local and you're interested in seeing the show, you can drop by during the day anytime, there is always someone at the reception desk. If you are interested in any of the pieces, you'll find a booklet on the coffee table in the living room that lists John's and my work and the price list.
If you are not local and are interested in any of these pieces, please contact me and I can help you. Thank you!
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