Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Giving Thanks...Whenever

One of the wonderful beliefs my dear Mother instilled in us was that a holiday on the calendar was simply a suggestion, not a dated coupon which expired.  We always celebrated whenever we had a quorum of participantss.  Which meant birthdays were often multi-day events, Christmas morning happened several times in different locales (for the same year) and Thanksgiving...well, Thanksgiving could pop up anytime we had family and a yen for turkey.  So no whining that a particular component of family had to be elsewhere on some magical date.  Calendar be damned!  Gather ye together and make ye a pie.

So this year my daughter-in-law will set our table on Saturday. With my son (who works the Thanksgiving shift), we will give thanks for the fact that we are together, happy and healthy.  Unlike millions of others we are not fleeing for our lives, we are not searching for food and our future prospects are brimming with hope. 

So whether you break bread with friends or strangers in a soup kitchen; whether you use fine china or  a picnic table; whether you indulge in a feast or share a bowl of soup... if you are reading this you know that you have much for which to be thankful.  Take a moment and do so.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Self-Portrait Archeology

I'm peeling back layers of time and memories as I "downsize" my life in anticipation of moving to smaller digs.  My studio has been a fountain of information as I shuffle through chapters of creative paths and experiments.  I'm finding boxes of unfinished projects, ideas that never blossomed, starts I long ago abandoned.

Some of this feels good to part with, some not so much.  But as the burn pile grows, I documented a few pieces for keeping digitally. Today, a walk back in time via self portraits.  All artists are encouraged to paint "selfies" every couple of years. 

Oil, 8 x 10, geeze, I can't remember dates, but this was chronologically one of the first

Oil, 8 x 6, a la Modigliani, done as part of a group effort for the Pieces of 8 logo poster

Pastel, 20 x 16, done for a show on self portraits

Oil, 24 x 20, done for my book "She Knew"

Oil, oops, not me!

Acrylic on wood, most recent, opens (see below) as a book

Inside the book box, left, collage, me as a bossy, little girl and
Right, collage, a humbled adult still climbing the mountains of life.

I'm not a portrait painter, and if I were I might not have attempted to paint myself for fear of too much realism.  I think these were enough to capture the time and feelings of my life at different stages.  I like that they bring back memories...and while I may have left off a few wrinkles I also did not have to please a paying model!!

Digging in Color,

Friday, November 13, 2015

No Longer in the Fast Lane

One of the pleasures - and problems- of being an artist is that you often see things that would make great paintings and then they are gone.  Either they no longer exist or you never return to that locale.
Most often it is an inability to slow down and take notes or photos or even just memorize the scene for later work.

Such was the case when I often whizzed by an open field fenced by a line of old trucks.  I was never able to slow in time to pull off and photograph the composition but I would spend the rest of the trip thinking about them and the symbols they brought to mind.  Finally I made an intentional trip out to the field with camera in hand.

Time passed, deadlines came and went, and still the photo did not materialize on a canvas.  Until one cold and dreary day I decided it was time to tackle the scene.  With abandon and a palate full of color I began:

Sometimes I cant wait to see what will emerge so I start off in acrylics...they dry rapidly and a playful attitude really emerges when I know that I will be painting on top of it all over again.

At various times I thought of these trucks as retired men getting together, sharing their experiences or bragging about the good old days.  At other times I saw them as objects of desire, now past their prime and cast aside.  Maybe they were even jewels in the rough catching the sun and showing their colors now hidden by rust.

I tend to get metaphoric when I abandon all rules of realistic tonal qualities and perspective.  To paraphrase Cyndi Lauper: a  girl just wants to have fun (now and then).  So I did.

ROMEOs 12 x 36, oil
(Retired Old Men Eating Out) Available

Creatively Color Full,

Friday, November 6, 2015

BIG MAGIC is big inspiration

Can you stand one more book review?  I hope so because if you are looking for a nudge to help you live the most creative life you can, you won't want to miss Elizabeth Gilbert's newest book:

Image result for big magic

Gilbert is best known for her blockbuster "Eat, Love, Pray" which folks either loved or hated. Very few readers know that Gilbert had published 3 (award winning) books and numerous articles before her best seller hit the stands.  Even fewer knew that during these productive writing years, Gilbert maintained her day jobs.  "I was not going to burden my creative muse," she explains, "with the job of paying my electric bill."  How kind of her....and likewise, the muse has been generous with her. But I am getting ahead of myself and her story.....

If you have not had the privilege of hearing Gilbert's 2009 TED talk , stop right here, get a cup of coffee and listen to a great 20 minute discussion on the role of work ethic, showing up and being creative.  Now.

Sidebar here: Having also read "The Last American Man" and the newer "Signature of All Things",
 I am enthralled with Ms Liz because her genre and her styles are varied, she has no desire to crank out formula books or stick with one style in her work.  For me, in the creative world, this is a SWOON moment.

OK, you're back.  When I read that Malaprops Bookstore was bringing Gilbert to Asheville I jumped at the chance to hear her (breath her air, see what she wore...ok, I'm a groupie).  Road Trip.  Girl Talk.  Big Magic.  Big Fun.

Listening to Gilbert (or reading this book) is not taxing.  It is rather like your best friend telling you things you really know deep down; she has a way of kicking you where you need to be kicked and hugging you at the same time.  Her mid-western farm roots, so very evident in her approach to work,(no farmer ever looked at a cow and whined, "I'm just not in the mood for milking today, I'm not feeling it.....think I'll have more coffee instead.") and her belief that we can all lead a creative life (such is "driven more by a sense of curiosity than by fear") make her hopelessly engaging.  The audience was putty in her hands.

Image result for photos of elizabeth gilbert

But Gilbert is also one to call a spade a spade, look you square in the eye, tell you where the dog died.  "What are the things you need to say NO to in order to hold back energy for those creative moments," she asks, almost as foreshadowing to why she could not stay and sign our books (which had already been signed and sent to us).  "I don't know is a legitimate answer," she cautions for times we form an opinion or devise a plan too quickly, without thinking.  And one of my favorites, a paraphrase from a CEO she knew "You will never get into trouble for long as you fail in increasingly more interesting ways."

Talk about permission.  No excuses.  No obstacles that can't be overcome.  And the promise that pursuing a more creative life results in happiness.

For readers thinking "creative" refers only to writers or painters?!  Bite your tongue.  Gilbert's manifesto starts with the fact that we are all imbued with creative impulses...we honor our Creator by living them.  

And that's all I will reveal.

Get the book, underline it, turn down pages.  Reread it.  And don't waste a minute discovering how you can banish the fear we all experience on the road to living more creatively.

With Blessings to Your Muse,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Learning to Steal...(like an artist)

This is how I have been starting my mornings lately.  Not always with cheese toast but with coffee and this work book, pen in hand.  I've long been a fan of Austin Kleon's books and blogs and he just came out with his newest creation:

Yes!  He has taken all his succinct advice in Steal Like An Artist and produced a journal.  I call it a workbook because each page has prompts on it which get the brain cells buzzing around priming the pump for finding ideas during the day from which to morph, build, stretch and otherwise create.

I have fallen off so many "journal" wagons you'd think I'd never climb on another but hope springs eternal and I made a commitment to myself to go the distance with this one.  Maybe I just love the sound "creative kleptomaniac?"  I also know that no page is the same (I purposely don't look ahead) and most don't take very long to do.

This was fun and easy: "Shop for a new pen.  Use this page to test several."  Easy peasy...and I came home with, not one...but 3 new pens.

This is one of the few that requires a daily effort consistently - and you can't see what I choose to do daily.  BUT even if it is to drink one glass of water daily you can complete the challenge and get the (not so) subtle lesson of the effort involved in developing habit.

Not everything gets completed during breakfast...some you think about during the day and complete later on.  Still...not so hard, huh?

Kleon likes simplicity...easy "How To" instructions printed on the back cover...

And finally, a "swipe file" in the back.  A great place to tuck articles, headlines, business cards and those receipts you make notes on.  Very clever, I think.

Please understand that as an artist himself, (Kleon started black out poetry from NY Times articles and has recently developed that into a 3D cut out poetry), the author does not endorse nor suggest anything close to plagiarism.  But building on the adage that there is really nothing new under the sun, his philosophy is that we can all train ourselves to be better observers of the world around us.  And therein lies the basis of our inspiration.  And if we get in the habit of grabbing these observations while they are fresh and crisp, we can return to them to doodle and elaborate.  Voila!  Genius.

Gotta run, I still have to complete today's "habit" and get on to the business of stealing the seeds for my next great project.

Color Fully Stealing,

Friday, October 23, 2015

Venus & Bottecelli Meet Simonetta & Picardi

I'm delighted, honored and excited to share Fay Picardi's news that, after years 
of research and miles of travel, her book,
is ready to launch!

Simonetta (for those not in the know of Italian Renaissance gossip) is the woman who inspired Bottecelli's depiction of Venus, the Goddess of Love, commissioned (in the 1480s) by the d'Medici family.  The painting is fraught with symbols and secret messages, but very little is known about the woman whose face has become our icon of beauty and grace.  

Enter Fay Picardi, Melbourne, FL author, poet and Italian aficionado.  Simonetta's story dwelt in Fay's imagination for as long as I have known her. Every summer she and her husband would spend months in Italy and Fay would use the woman's story as an excuse to trek all over digging up bits of data.  Pretty soon it became the reason to travel, trek and research.  Years in the works, Simonetta is now her latest baby, her newest novel, and our excuse to celebrate!

Join us for the launch on November 6 during First Friday in EGAD from 5:30 until 7:30 at the Derek Gores Gallery, 587 W. Eau Gallie Blvd, #101, Melbourne.  After you peruse the art (yes!) and settle in with some vino, enjoy hearing Fay read from her work at about 6:30 pm.  You'll want the book...and she will have copies of her previous books of poetry for sale (and signing) as well.

But WAIT, THERE'S MORE?!  Of course there is more....Fay challenged members of her creative group to execute their own versions of the Goddess of Love aka Venus aka Simonetta, and they will be on display for your curious pleasure.  Here's a preview of what you can expect....

Donna Vines used an encaustic technique (wax) to give Ms Simonetta
an etheral look....ah but note the ruby red lips!  and so....

Mary Warnick painted a young Venus in watercolor

Carmen Beecher got sticky fingers as she rendered the Miss via collage.
Hmmm, not sure which magazines offered so much flesh??  This may be a 
"work in progress" - come see if it changes.

Yes, you can count on me to go waaay out into left field.
I titled this piece:
"When Pablo Decided to Paint the Venus, It Became Clear He
Had Never Seen Simonetta"

and finally, the gorgeous book cover, poster art and original art
by Kathy Garvey (editor, layout director and consultant)

Books are also available from at 12.95 plus shipping, unless you are prime.  For a signed copy by mail you can contact the author at, it will only be $10.00 but there is a $3.00 flat rate shipping charge.  Follow along with Fay as she prepares to launch her latest round of readings by "liking" the FB site:   

Fay would love to discuss her work at your book club and is available by contacting her at  Join us in congratulating Fay for seeing her dream to completion...and entertaining us along the way.

Illustratively yours,