Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Working with Galleries and Stores

I have had a fantastic time showing my work at Kirby and Conpany for the past few months.  It has been a real honor and a pleasure to work with such a beautiful store and wonderful people.

As my show comes to a close I have become aware that some people thought that it might be better to wait until after the show to purchase artwork so that I wouldn't have to split the sale with the store.  So I'd like to talk a little about my thoughts on the subject.

I'd rather represent myself than show with just any gallery or showroom.  So when I do decide to show in a bricks and mortar location I really choose carefully and only show in places that I really believe in, points I consider are:

Personal Chemistry
Good percentages
Shared Vision
Exposure to new markets for my work

It's important that I have good sales when I show in these venues so that the next time I approach a place I want to work with I can point to past successes.

It's also important that these venues get compensated for the work they put into promoting my work and for the wall space I occupy in their locations that could contain other stuff.

I will continue to look for great partners as I go forward and I will also continue to promote and sell my work on my own.

As always, I am profoundly thankful for all who support my work, from sharing my work and events on social media to purchasing my paintings.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Driving in Italy

I was really excited to drive in Italy, but it had been awhile since I drove in a foreign country, I was concerned about navigation and by the reputation of Italian drivers as being a little bit crazy.

I arrived in Milan and picked up my Renault Twingo, which felt like it could fit in the back of my Wrangler.  It had only 13 km on it and was brand new (I put 1,500km on it during the course of the week).

The drive down to Umbria was without incident.  The rest stops were plentiful and I had rented a GPS so I wouldn't have to worry about getting lost.

I drove a lot in Umbria and then went to Rome and Milan.  My GPS crapped out in Rome so I ended up my trip relying on old school maps, Italy's excellent signage and my very fortunate sense of direction.

Here are some of my thoughts on driving in Italy:
  • Italians believe they are race car drivers, they speed and tailgate constantly.
  • Driving in Umbrian hill towns means navigating two way roads as wide as your tiny rental car.
  • Sometimes these roads end in dead ends so be comfortable backing up.
  • Umbria has a lot of gravel roads, it can be dusty.
  • Gas is expensive, fortunately the cars mileage is superior to American cars.
  • Manual transmissions really are best.
  • Driving is an amazing way to see the countryside and get off the beaten path.
Caridad driving down a two way street with pedestrian traffic in Lugnano in Teverina

Off roading in my little Twingo...poor little car!
The Road between Rome and Milan along the coast.

Someone found a good parking space!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mona and Klaus

One of the many unexpected delights of my trip to Umbria and stay in Porchiano Del Monte was getting to meet Mona and Klaus.  When I arrived in Porchiano, Caridad told me we were having dinner with her friends and neighbors.  It turns out they were Danish (as is my mother) and so we totally hit it off.  They run a B&B in Porchiano (Click here for their face book page) and judging by the hospitality they showed me (not even a guest) I can imagine what a treat it would be to stay there. They have an outstanding view over the rooftops and the valley and Mona and Klaus are both excellent cooks.  They grow a large amount of their own food and I was even honored to try there home grown meet (they raised their own pig last year and we had bacon and a type of salami from him).  Plus they are the absolute nicest people (I even liked their cats).

Everyone should be lucky enough to get out of the big cities and tourist attractions of Italy and spend some time living the Italian life like I did in Porchiano.

Klaus, Mona and Caridad on the balcony, First night there.

In danish we would call this a Rullepolse, I have no idea how you would call it in English.  The raised the pig and made it themselves.  When I say it was one of the best things I have ever tasted I am not exaggerating! 

Homemade rugbrod (Danish pumpernickel), homemade rullepolse, homemade Aegekage including home grown eggs and bacon.

The view from the terrace overlooking Umbria and the roofs of Porchiano.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Top 10 Reasons to visit Umbria

10. The food.  I had wild foraged asparagus and home grown bacon, amazing pizza and fresh pasta.  The food was simple but exquisite in its freshness and flavor.

9. Charming unknown hill towns to visit.  Many don't even have hotels but places to stay can be found in AirBnB and similar and its a great experience.  I stayed in Porchiano Del Monte.

8.  It's the green heart of Italy.  There are many natural beauties to be found.  Just driving through the countryside was a constant delight.

7.  It's full of monsters!  Check out the Parco Dei Mostri not far from Rome.

6.  No crowds.  Unlike Tuscany, Umbria is just enough off the beaten path that you can enjoy your trip without the constant barrage of tourists and tourist traps.

5. Festivals like Penna In Fiore which j went to and also the famous Spoleto Jazz Festival

4.  It's Affordable.  Umbria is relatively inexpensive.  I was constantly surprised by how little things cost.

3.  Assisi.  A spectacular city that was home to St. Francis.

2.  You can stay on a farm or vineyard that doubles as a B&B by staying at an agritourismo.

1.  The people.  I was completely welcomed by the people I met there.  From my host Caridad, to the little old ladies of Porchiano del Monte that. We're concerned by my walking out of the house without shoes.  To my hosts neighbors who coined for me and treated me like a daughter.  It was like coming home. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Park of Monsters - Parco Dei Mostri

This morning I drove the short distance to Parco Dei Mostri.  The park was built by the Duke of Bomarzo in the late 1500's in memory of his wife.  Full of allegorical, fantastic and massive sculptures made even more magical by the fact that the trees are shedding their seed pods and which float through the air and catch light.  A sacred River runs through most of the heavily wooded park as well.  If you are ever in Rome, especially with children, this place is definitely worth the trip!  http://www.sacrobosco.it

This monster was big enough that a tall person can easily walk in the mouth. 

These giants were wrestling, note the railing next to them for scale.  

Found an elephant for my Friend Elaine:) 

The leaning house.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Penna in Teverina

Today Caridad had a festival in Penna in Teverina to attend so I came with her to see the flower festival 'Penna in Fiori' and paint.  Painted two small pieces and had a great time.

Tonight, I returned to Penna with my new Danish friends Klaus and Mona for the community dinner in conjunction with the festival.  We sat in the piazza and ate a very nice meal, with an open bar and live jazz for 5 euro.

It's so special to visit Umbria and get such a wonderful taste of country life in Italy!  

Painting in Penna.

Penna in Teverina from outside the walls.

At the community dinner.

Kids playing 'Hide and Seek' in the Medieval section of the city.

Lugnano in Teverina

After painting, Caridad had to teach a lesson so I went to another nearby city called Lugano in Teverina.  The medieval streets were up and down and turned all around in a maze, which made me grateful for modern urban planning.  I sat in the piazza and did a quick sketch of the old church and listened to the bells of the church.  And then I enjoyed the spectacular view across the valley.

I wish I could share the smells of Italy on the Internet.  Umbria is very much country and you come across hints of wood smoke as you walk.  I followed the smell of a bakery to find some fresh made bread and the pines and herbs were constant as we worked in the countryside yesterday. 

The narrow, twisting and steep streets of Lugnano in Teverina.

My quick sketch of the church.

The view from Lugnano in Teverina

Another image of Lugnano in Teverina

Friday, May 08, 2015

Wild Asparagus, Vipers and Painting

After lunch Caridad and I went out into the fields to paint.  As we were walking down the dirt road we heard a rustling in the bushes, Caridad preceded to tell me all about the Vipers of Italy and how I shouldn't walk where I couldn't see around me!  Yikes!

Then as we were setting up we found a huge treasure of wild asparagus!  I had no idea they grew wild in Italy.  We harvested a huge bouquet of them for omelette a for breakfast tomorrow, but they tasted pretty amazing fresh off the stalk on the side of a dirt road in the middle of Umbrian fields.

Our Wild Asparagus

Painting the second painting of the day.

Final painting of the day.

Porchiano del Monte

So excited to arrive in beautiful Porchiano del Monte a tiny medieval hill town in Umbria.  I'm staying with my artist friend Caridad Barragan (check her out on Instagram, FB, and etsy) and she's showing me the sites. 

Caridad painting this morning.

Me painting.

Beautiful scenery

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Getting ready for Italy

Painted 4 paintings in two days.  Good practice for next week! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Art and Homes

Original Oil Paintings can bring life and vibrancy into homes when decorating.  I recently loaned some paintings to a design friend for a house that was being staged for sale.  Here are the results!

Monday, February 09, 2015


When I started doing the little videos' of my working process, people asked if I would explain why I do what I do.

Unfortunately that's a really difficult question for me to answer.  So much is based on decades of practice, muscle memory, experimentation, schooling, and countless hours looking at other artists work and reading about things like color theory and the properties of paint and a million other little things.  But I'll try to explain a little of my thoughts on the subject anyway.

The first part of it is the relationship I have with the painting.  I might come up with the initial idea of what the painting is going to be, but the rest of it is a sort of back and forth dialogue between me and the painting.  With me doing a lot of 'listening' to what the painting needs.

The way this dialogue might unfold is this.

1. Using a colored pencil or really thin paint in a single color, I'll very briefly sketch in what I'm going to paint.  Really, it's just to get some landmarks down so I don't need to be thinking about it during the next stage.  Here's a picture of what this stage might look like.

Not much there, is there?

2.  After that, I try and fill up the canvas or panel all at once.  I don't spend too much time worrying about whether the color I am using is right (although I do try and keep my colors clean, not muddy), or whether things are 100% how I want them to be.  The idea behind this is that a painting is not individual parts but a whole, and you always need to be looking at it holistically instead of in individual pieces.  During this stage I thin my paints with an artists grade turpentine so that they are semi-translucent.  This is so there won't be a lot of texture later, so if you want to do a major change you can without sanding.  Also, the turp speeds the drying time up A LOT!.

Painting the whole image at once.

Painting the whole image at once.

3.  Up until now this is pretty much how all my paintings start, but after this the next stage depends on what kind of painting it is.  If it's a portrait of an animal for instance I will add several more layers of thin paint to achieve a good realistic yet painterly representation of what I'm painting.  If it's one of my landscapes the next stage will likely be the only other stage I'll do.  There won't be much in the way of blending or shading, brush strokes will be evident as will texture.

A recent commission

A recent landscape

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the process.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Shop Small, Buy American!


As a self-representing artist I really appreciate when people share links to my website, etsy store, and facebook pages, preferably with a photo of one of my paintings and a comment about how great I am!  I am also a huge believer in the value of small enterprises and entrepreneurs, I was raised to believe that this mentality is what makes our country so great.

So, in the spirit of the Holiday S
eason, knowing that people are looking for unique one of a kind gifts, I have compiled a list of websites and etsy stores of my fellow small business owners and creatives.  I hope you take a look and consider buying American this Holiday!

And of course, here's the link to my Etsy shop:
My Etsy Store

My Friend Jenny has great Prints, Original Paintings and Notecards:

This shop is Canadian, but that counts too, great gift items for home, pets and kids:

A friend who does the coolest photography, love her stuff:

The art of letter writing is not lost here:
Easton Place

The cutest little bags, she also does custom bags:

A great artist friend out in California:

Met this cool potter this fall, she also makes equestrian pots that are cool and beautiful:

More Great Pottery:

Another Artist Friend:

An all natural skin care line:

A final artist:

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Landscape and Home

A Large Danish Seascape that hung in our Living Room

My Mom was born and raised in Denmark.  She is still a Danish citizen.  Growing up I always had a keen sense of what it was like to live in one place and yet always have a piece of your heart somewhere else.  In part, to ameliorate some of the homesickness, my Mother filled our home with Danish things, Mid-century teak furniture, Royal Copenhagen China and landscapes from Denmark.

A Small Painting of Copenhagen with the Canals and Vor Frelser Kirke

These paintings were really my first art education.  The first paintings I was ever aware of.  The first paintings I would stare at for hours, fascinated by the color and texture, and the idea that someone could actually make something so magical and trainsporting.  Their presence in our house and in my childhood has certainly influenced my attraction to the idea of the landscape and the importance of place.

A Large Painting of a Danish Fishing Village

Everyone has places on this earth that mean something to them.  The woodlands of their childhood, the cities of their youth, the quiet place they go when they need to think.

What's you place?

"Danish Landscape."
My first landscape in Oils.  Done as a Christmas Gift for my mother.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Note on my Memorial Flag Painting Series

There are a number of reasons why I enjoy painting the American Flag, but I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about how I got started on this series.

A few years ago, one of my oldest friends married a man from Oahu.  When I was there for the wedding I had no plans to do anything other than attend the wedding and visit with my friend.  The morning of the wedding I got up early for some reason and when I was going for breakfast I ran into a family that was also there for the wedding.  They were on their way to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and I ended up joining them.

The tour starts with a short Documentary of that day, bringing it vividly to life and I find there were a lot of details about that day I didn't know.  We leave the dark movie theater into the brilliant Hawaiian day and board a small boat to go over to the Memorial.  The Memorial is a semi-open platform on top of the sunken USS Arizona.  You can see the shipwreck rusting through the clear water.  At one end is a wall of the names of the over 1,000 sailors of the Arizona that died that day.  The platform is crowded with people, but no one speaks.  The sky is a pure deep blue.  And flying above it all is a single American Flag.

It is such a moving experience, I wish every American had the opportunity to go.

The first Flag painting I did was of the Flag at the Memorial and every Flag painting since then has the same intended goal.  To honor the Men and Women who serve our country, to respect those who have died in her defense, and to show love for my country.

I hope you enjoy these paintings as much as I do in painting them.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zenyatta Painting Auction to benefit New Vocations Racehorse Adoption

Auctioning off Zenyatta Painting...link Here

As part of the Escapist Mentorship Program we are given periodic assignments.  The assignments are designed to push us to do things we normally might not be comfortable doing.  A recent assignment was to chose one of John Ross Palmer's works and use it as inspiration for our own work, and then to sell it before the next group meeting (May 4th).  The painting part of the assignment wasn't scary, as an Equestrian painter myself I was drawn to Johns Equestrian work already, but I had no idea what to do about ensuring the painting was marketed and sold in such a short period of time.

And the I realized I could do so much more than just painting and selling something...I could help a charity that means a great deal to me while also getting exposure for my work in new markets.  You see, my late horse Bradley, was an Off The Track Thoroughbred (OTTB)....he raced about 60 times until he turned 6 and then was retrained to be a Show Horse.  I bought him (well my parents bought most of him) when he was 8 and he was with me for over 20 years.  Obviously he was an essential part of my life.  Here's his picture, at about 14 years old at the Steinkraus Barn:

So by auctioning off the painting to benefit New Vocations I figured I could do something in memory of Bradley while helping future Bradley's.

Two other points.  First: I'd been curious about the idea of using eBay to sell art work...so this would give me an opportunity to try it out, and Secondly, by selling the painting for a charity I felt I could reach out to many horse groups to market the painting and hopefully raise awareness for New Vocations at the same time.

So all in all a great all around outcome for this project.

If you are interested in bidding on the painting click here...the auction ends on April 28th at 10:00pm EST.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Child That Survives

They say that an Artist is the Child that Survives.   But who was that child?  A friend recently posted about her childhood influences and it surprised me how different they were than mine.  So I decided to make a survey of mine:

The Magic Garden was a Childrens Program broadcast in the NYC area.  The chuckle berry bush, talking squirrels and two pretty hippies with long hair who played the guitar.

NYC.  My parents believed in exposing us to the culture of NYC and we spent a lot of time in the city.  Broadway plays were a favorite treat...we would go to a restaurant in the theater district that served fondue...and we'd go back after the play for Chocolate Fondue.  It was magical.

The Chronicles of Prydain.  My favorite series of books...I read them until the fell apart.  I couldn't decide whether I want to be the hero or heroine, but I did have a crush on Gwydion.

Horses and Ponies.  I was a girl who loved horses and I was fortunate enough to have parents who supported it.  I spent many a day at the barn.

Bridge at Arles.  When I was around 7 we went to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.  I remember standing beneath a painting of the Bridge at Arles and wondering "How did he do that?".  I was fascinated....and hooked. I no longer count Van Gogh as a favorite, but I will always be grateful for his appeal to my 7 year old self.
 Denmark.  My Mom is from Denmark and I spent many holidays and vacations visiting family there...the culture is unique and I think much like a H.C. Andersen Fairytale (not the Disney version).

The Olympics.  I believed I could be an Olympian....either Downhill skiing or Equestrian Jumping.  I had a Great Uncle who had competed in the Bobsled and I grew with Show Jumping Olympians so it seemed a reasonable goal.

Road Trips.  My Parents loved them and we had a big station wagon to use on them.  We drove across the country, the length of the Eastern Seaboard, Canada and much of Western Europe.

The Cold War.  I am a child of the Cold War.  I remember on a family trip, driving to the border between East and West Germany...this is how I remember it.  Russia fascinated and terrified me.

Star Wars.  Okay, Who wasn't a fan?  But I sincerely believed for awhile that I could grow up to be a Jedi.
Hospitals.  I was healthy but not everyone in my family was.  I spent a lot of my childhood in Hospitals.  Perhaps this is why I had a rich imagination.