Wednesday, December 22, 2010

beloved snow queen...

I wanted to share a personal Christmas story, inspiration, or piece of art to warm the holidays and to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Peaceful New Year. In the midst of working on this my daughter, Christine, posted a beautiful, heart-warming Christmas story about the Snow Queen and the amazing woman who brought her to life for all of us. Thank you Christine!

Read about the Snow Queen at 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

happiness is...

living with gratitude, being thankful for all you have rather than thinking about what you don't have. Topping my list of all to be grateful for is my family. Today marks my daughter, Christine's birthday. Ok, it was 26 years ago, but while looking through my photo collection I came across this photo and couldn't resist posting it. Christine is one of those shining lights, someone who brightens the world by her presence and is truly unforgettable. What an amazing adult she has turned out to be. Happy Birthday Christine!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

new works...

In the last week or so I finished two mixed media paintings. I added crumpled tissue paper with gesso to create some interesting textures, used both watercolor and acrylic paint, saran wrap, colored pencils and ink. Then the paintings were sealed with two coats of varnish and gloss medium.

If you haven't experimented with mixed media painting yet, I highly recommend it. When I find myself unable to focus (in those moments where all the normal life challenges seem to gang up on me), yet my muse is calling me to do something, I usually begin a mixed media work. It transports me creatively and before long I'm immersed in a new piece of art. The best part is that there's no limit, other than your own imagination, as to what you can incorporate into your mixed media painting!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thank you veterans...

With much appreciation and gratitude...thank you to all our Veterans, past, present and future! Let us never forget all those who gave up so much to protect our freedom. "All gave some, some gave all."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

inspiration versus aspiration...

As some of you know, I joined the "Art on No" group of artists in Pittsfield last month. I really love going there to paint, draw, think about and talk about art...but mostly to create art. Here are the promised photos. The afternoon light is splendid; the energy in my studio is extraordinary and the hours spent here make me truly happy.
 Always the philosopher, I've been thinking a lot lately about what motivates us to create. Some say it's aspiring to new heights, reaching goals, but I find myself motivated more strongly by inspiration wherever I find the studio, in nature, being awestruck by an image I can't seem to let go of, being in love, or dreams. What motivates you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

you blink and in an instant, your little girl has grown up...

Twenty nine years ago today, my first child was born and happy doesn't even come close to describing the way I felt. Part of "living the dream" included raising children and this brought a richness to my life that I will always cherish. Today Kate is a wonderful woman, wife, sister, daughter and friend to all who know her. As much as I adored being a day-to-day mom to my little girls (and I truly did), now that they are grown and living amazing lives on their own, I love the moments we share together as friends, as family, as women who love and respect each other.

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Friday, October 15, 2010

wabi sabi...

Here are my top five magazine picks of the moment. In this month's Whole Living magazine there's a wonderful article about the ancient aesthetic philosophy of wabi sabi. Wabi sabi originated from Zen Buddhism and is exemplified by the significant, yet simple tea ceremony. While finding words to define wabi sabi has been difficult throughout the ages, the philosophy is easy to grasp and appreciate.

Now I understand the link between wabi sabi and my appreciation for all that's imperfect, slightly worn, changeable and naturally beautiful. Wabi sabi influences nearly all my personal preferences. There's a link between wabi sabi and my strong attraction to nature and the natural order of things, which heavily influences my art and can be felt in my paintings. Maybe this explains why I love things that are slightly off kilter rather than the perfection that's so celebrated in the western world. In my most aware moments, I find the wabi sabi principles create a sense of freedom embracing impermanence, imperfection and what is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Small Works Show and Open Studios

New Neighbors
As some of you may remember, earlier this year I began my fascination with pagoda type families. Well, things have gotten a bit out of hand. I have just completed a series of eight paintings, three small ones and five larger ones, celebrating both family and nature.  This week two small ones were juried into the Small Works Show at the Welles Gallery in Lenox, Mass.
Family Down the Street
I've also hung several in the gallery space outside my studio on North Street in Pittsfield (Art on No) hoping to share this fascination. I am headed to the studio now to begin work on a new series, definitely not rock related, but these pagoda families just tickled me. I just love rocks, what can I say?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Think Pink

It's time again for the 7th Annual "Think Pink" Art Exhibit, sponsored by The Berkshire County Breast Health Team and The Storefront Artist Project. The exhibit will be at The Colonial Theatre from October 1st-10th during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I'll be dropping off "Bloom" this evening for inclusion in the exhibit, as one of sixty artists who are participating. The opening night reception will be held this Friday, Oct. 1st  from 5:30-7:30 PM. If you're in the area, it promises to be a wonderful evening.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the alchemist...

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. “ This is from one of my favorite books, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, about following your dreams.

A week ago I secured a studio/gallery space at Art on No, Pittsfield, Mass. for September 1st - a rare find that I am so excited about. After I've moved in, I will post a photo or two to share.

the dream just gets better and better...

Friday, July 30, 2010

golden moments...

Was thinking about my parents today and found this photo. (What ever did we do in the days before scanning?)  It was taken on such a happy day over 23 years ago. My parents were a) both alive b) looking great and c) appearing so happy. How I long for a moment like that again, but it's not to be. Dad passed on a long time ago. Mom hasn't been herself for many years and lives in a nursing home now, not recognizing any of us, but seems to be doing OK. I love this picture of my parents with my daughter, Kate, who was my sister's flower girl during her wedding. The one thing that still remains is the smile on Kate's face...could light up a room! 

This reminds me how important it is to take photos along life's journey because when memories fade, people leave us, and time marches on as it inevitably will, we still have those happy moments captured for all eternity. Cherish the golden moments...and record them. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

friday, friday....

All day rain, soaking into the garden...begging me to take a trip to my favorite bookseller and settle in with a cup of tea and my back to the window. Want to join me?

...was thinking this might be a good time to exchange titles for fun summer reading. With all the non-fiction reading we do around here, I enjoy the change of pace that summer brings and dipping into something light-hearted and fun...real vacation material. What are you reading right now?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

juried group show in Sheffield...

If you're in the area between now and August 8th, check out the annual Housatonic Valley Art League's juried show at Dewey Hall on Route 7 in Sheffield, Mass. An artists' reception is being held tomorrow (Friday, July 16th) from 4:30-6:30.

My painting entitled "Home" will be in the exhibit along with a variety of other paintings, more representational I dare say than this bold abstract. It's the mood I was in, what can I tell you? :)

Friday, July 9, 2010


So many of my artist friends are very busy with summer shows, outdoor art festivals and all the last minute preparations that go hand in hand with that. This year I've opted for a quieter, more relaxed summer. Having had Kate's wedding to prepare for and my new part-time job to learn during the first half of this year, I found little time for painting in the past few months. As you've probably picked up on, the time I spent with my daughter, Kate, and her sister preparing for the wedding was priceless...lots of laughs, creativity, love and a few tears along the way, too.

Recently I dug this book out from my overburdened bookshelves and am sketching just for fun of it, without it being a step before painting. I used to spend time this way, but haven't for some time. It's pure fun and summertime is the perfect time to enjoy some of the simple pleasures that nourish our souls.

Summer is such a short, but glorious season here and I want to enjoy every moment of it. Oh, and I haven't given up on painting, not by a long shot, just taking it slow and enjoying the summer!

How are you spending your summer this year?

Friday, June 18, 2010

the rolling hills...

It's a beautiful summer's day here in the Berkshires. A perfect day to seek out waterfalls, go hiking, biking, or canoeing. Maybe you'd rather grab your favorite book, sit on the porch and sip lemonade. Whatever your pleasure, today just begs one to go outside to play or PAINT. That's where I'm headed!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

a big shout out to Christine!

Just thought I'd take another moment to bask in the glow of being a proud mama. Daughter, Christine, shines as a local CREATIVE in this soon to be released design book featuring one of her lunch bag designs. Christine really is an amazing indie artisan and you can find more of her creations at Christine's Etsy Shop.

Well done, Christine!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the big event arrived...

Kate and Joe have been married for four days now. The wedding was truly lovely and the bride and groom's happiness was palpable. Surrounded by friends and family they said their vows and celebrated the night away. These are two of the most compatible, good hearted people you'd ever want to meet and I couldn't be happier for them!

This past week we made bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, programs, place cards, favors and a lot of memories together in the process. There's always one little detail that provides a challenge and this wedding was no exception. A big thank you to everyone who helped make this event so special, especially her maid of honor and sister, Christine. Kate said she had the wedding of her dreams and couldn't imagine anything more perfect - it doesn't get better than that for a mom.

May they always be this much in love!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

to be a mom...

kate, christine and i

If I had to choose just one thing I wanted most in the world to be, it would be the opportunity to be a mom. I have been blessed with two incredible daughters, Kate and Christine. They light up my life in ways both large and small. I love being their mom and have shared their growing up years with a number of incredible other moms including my former mother-in-law, Mary, my Aunt Mil, my sister, Molly and my sister-in-law, Elaine.

I know being a great mom was paramount to Elaine. She raised three wonderful children, Lily, Lucy and Noah. Elaine helped me to be the best mother I could be by sharing her love, wisdom and wicked sense of humor. "Aunt Nickles" the kids called her. The countless lazy days by the pool, great conversations, and home cooked dinners we shared together are the moments I think about today and will always treasure. Elaine died last week. I dedicate this post to her and to all the really great moms in the world.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

food for thought...

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."

 - anais nin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

series in progress...

I have recently started a new part time job and for the moment I've cut back on the time I'm devoting to painting. In addition, preparations for Kate's wedding is front and center in my thoughts these days, too. (only 45 days until the big event)

Still I always think about art and painting, noticing the play of light on an object or some outrageous colors at sunset or daydreaming about the next step in a painting that's perculating. Here are three paintings in a series of eight "pagoda families" that I'm working on. I will be adding backgrounds and developing more depth in the individual rocks through glazing. I think these will particularly appeal to the naturalists among us. My husband and I frequently build our own little pagodas while we hike in the woods. All over Berkshire County you will find them, near a stream, on top of a log, sitting in small gatherings...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a springtime wedding...

My daughter, Kate, is marrying Joey on June 5th and we've been all a buzz with wedding plans, and DIY ideas to create a truly special day that has their personal stamp on it. My other daughter, Christine, is the maid of honor. So we've put all our collective creativity together and are spinning a delightful wedding season, full of parties and events to celebrate this special couple. Kate is doing an amazing job coordinating the dozens of details and somehow makes it look effortless, while I know it is anything but that. This is one amazing springtime for us all. Our little family is expanding!

Friday, March 5, 2010

today's inspiration...

"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens." - Carl Jung

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In addition to meeting some wonderful creatives through the OWOH blog event, I am the lucky recipient of three wonderful giveaways. Thank you Cory, Lisa and Julie! 

I love the bracelet Cory Celaya sent me! It's gorgeous and so uniquely designed. As a matter of fact, I am wearing it as I write this. Cory's work is truly amazing. Definitely pop over to her website. She also has two great blogs Art with Moxie and Create with Moxie to check out. In addition to creating unique one-of-a-kind jewelry, Cory also produces wonderful mixed media art, which really blows me away. Thank you again, Cory!

Lisa Atchison sent me the most gorgeous lampwork bead and opened up a whole new world of art to appreciate. I have never seen anything like this before; it's just stunning! Above are three views of the same bead; depending on which way you hold the bead, you see a different view - really beautiful! Visit Lisa's blog at Touch of Glass Designs and her website to see more of her gorgeous beads and learn more about her art. Thank you so much, Lisa!

My third giveaway gift came from Julie Gazin, who sent me a lovely crocheted towel and her Butterfly Garden foam hand soap. Among Julie's creations are crocheted items, soy candles, lotions, soaps, original artwork, prints and more. You'll want to check out Julie's huge variety of creations by visiting her website and blog. Many thanks, Julie!

Monday, February 15, 2010

OWOH giveaway winners are...

Alice Stroppel from Florida - "Pocket of Shells" watercolor
Flor Larios from Miami, Florida - "Pears & Apples" art cards
Kate Clawson from Pennsylvania - "Vibrant Flowers" art cards 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's OWOH blog event. I've had so much fun and have met such incredible creative people! Let's keep in touch :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

additional giveaway item for One World One Heart...

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your lovely comments! I have added another item to be given away with the orginal two items in the One World One Heart international blog event to show my appreciation.

This third drawing is for my "Vibrant Flowers" art card set created from my original watercolor paintings.The set includes four 4.25" x 5.5" blank cards printed on premium matte paper with matching envelopes.

This is my first year and I am having such a blast - thank you, Lisa!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One World One Heart 4th Annual Global Blog Event

I just learned about a really fun way to get to know other bloggers from Stacey and I am so excited to share it with you. One World One Heart (OWOH) is the brainchild of Lisa Swifka - A Whimsical Bohemian who began this project in 2007 to build community among bloggers. Lisa says "The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way."  Very cool, right?!!

To join in the fun...  Between now and February 15th bloggers from all over the world who are participating in OWOH's Magic Carpet Ride will display their "ticket" on their sidebar which indicates they are hosting a giveaway. Just leave a comment on their blogpost for a chance to win. Winners will be randomly selected on February 15th. Be sure to leave contact information if it's not in your profile. Click here for a list of participants. If you are interested in hosting your own giveaway, click here for directions. Most importantly, make new friends and have fun!

My giveaways...


There will be two separate drawings. The first is for "Pocket of Shells" -  a lovely little watercolor painting I created in 2008. It measures 5"x7" and is matted to 8"x10".

The second drawing is for my "Pears & Apples" art card set created from my original watercolor paintings. The set includes four 4.25" x 5.5" blank cards printed on premium matte paper with matching envelopes.
Only comments left on this post will qualify for my random drawing. Your comment must be left before 1 a.m. (EST) on 2/15.

Might I recommend a super fun stop on the Magic Carpet Ride at my daughter, Christine's blog, ticket holder #801...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Craft Hope for Haiti

Through my daughter, Christine , I learned of an opportunity to contribute to relief efforts in Haiti through Craft Hope, an organization with a rich history of connecting artists and artisans with people in need. Craft Hope has opened an Etsy shop featuring donations from crafters and artists from all over the world with 100% of the proceeds from these donations going to Doctors Without Borders. I was happy to have an opportunity to donate this painting, which surprisingly has already sold. Or maybe not so suprisingly, as 1,540 sales have already been recorded thanks to the many wonderful people wanting to contribute to this cause.

Why not stop by the Craft Hope Etsy Shop to check out the many beautiful items for sale? If you'd like to donate an item yourself, contact Craft Hope. It's amazing what the art and craft community can do collectively!

"It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world." ~Craft Hope

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

purple for Mary Kate

I have a dear cousin who loves all things purple. I mean she really loves them! I'd been working on this painting on and off for a while but without real inspiration. Then I thought of her and it became really easy to finish this piece. There are times when I'm painting when I just need a little inspiration in the form of where a painting might be headed, what would I like to do with it or where it might hang to help me complete it. For you, Mary Kate...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

embracing the new year

Each year I start out enthusiastically embracing new ideas, projects and plans for growth. This year is no exception and here is just a sampling of what I'm setting my intentions on:
living more consciously making steady progress on a greener lifestyle restarting my yoga practice growing my art business and being more daring! (this one borrowed from Christine
There is so much I'm looking forward to this year. My daughter, Kate is marrying Joey - losts of festivities. I will be finding a day job and looking forward to whatever that new adventure may turn out to be. I have oodles of new art projects and things to explore. And I'm looking forward to lots of good times with family and friends!
What are your hopes, intentions and dreams for 2010?