Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For the Love of Cards

There is something about unique art cards and note cards that has always attracted me - creating them and collecting them. I guess it started when I was somewhere around 8 years of age. I designed a series of "all occasion cards" using crayons and folded paper. I packaged them in recylced card boxes covered in construction paper. And then I hit the neighborhood to sell them. Fifty cents for a box of six - what a deal!
When my mom got wind of what I was doing, my little enterprise came to a screeching halt. I didn't think I was pestering the neighbors. I thought I was offering a unique opportunity for them to have handcrafted note cards - who doesn't love that? So I'm again selling cards, but now they are created from my original paintings.
There are around 30 different designs currently. I'm slowly building up a little card shop on Etsy and have been sellling cards locally for several years. And this time I'm not pestering the neighbors!

I appreciate the immediacy of email and it's become an integral part of my work and social life, but I will always treasure art cards, lovely papers and being able to take pen to paper. Might it be time to send a thoughtful note to someone you're thinking of? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Staying Focused

My daughter, Christine, is running her first marathon tomorrow and it has made me think about celebrating strengths, staying focused and persevering to reach our goals. She has run a few half marathons, but never a full marathon. Below is a photo of her this spring at her latest half marathon. Christine is one of the most focused people I've ever come across. When she sets her mind to doing something, she'll give it 110%.
stolen photo from Christine's blog at
I'm taking this moment to send out positive energy for us all to stay focused and persevere to reach whatever goals or challenges we choose to work on. For me that means to keep stretching as an artist and to continue my morning walks despite the weather. I've found a walking meditation awaits me each time I head out the door for a walk before I leave for work in the morning. And the painting feeds my spirit in ways I can't describe.

So, here's to you, Christine, and a wonderful run! xo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The most important part of living the dream

If you know me at all, you know how important family is to me. It's with much love and gratitude that I hold my husband George, my amazing daughters, their spouses and my extended family members close in my heart. I include all those who are part of the circle of love whether or not there is a legal tie. And the circle is expanding...

My heart is overflowing waiting for the birth of my first grandbaby due in early January. I could never imagine what this would be like. I would listen to friends speaking about their grandchildren, see their eyes sparkle and their soft smiles, sometimes wild laughs and occasionally tears as they told me their stories. Welcoming the next generation into our own families - what could be better than that?

I never knew a grandmother of my own, but when I was 29 my former husband's grandmother came to live with us. And what a blessing that was - the sun was always shining in Grandma Keefe's heart. Kate was three years old and Christine was about to be born. I never heard Grandma say a bad word about anyone, unless it was the opposing team of the Syracuse basketball team - "her boys" as she called them. She loved the kids, her great grandchildren and left us with beautiful memories.

My mother was known to my children as Gram and my former husband's mom was known as Nana. Nana was an amazing woman, someone I will always love and aspire to be like when I'm a Nana. She taught me much, loved us all so wildly and made family get togethers so special whether it was just chatting over a cup of coffee or a holiday extravaganza. The ordinary was extraordinary. I was also blessed to have a loving, energetic and fun Aunt in my life who provided the girls with another Grandmother figure - Aunt Mil. All these women were in my life and my children's lives to love and guide them. They are all gone now, and it's my turn to be grandmother.

I wonder how I will fill these very large shoes, be the kind of grandmother who will help bring out the best in my own grandchildren. What an incredible opportunity and privilege. I'm awaiting the birth of Kate's baby to show me the way, to fill my heart with her own special brand of love. And I have to say, I am enjoying every anticipatory moment and can't wait to meet the little one.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Side by Side Art Opening

Art Opening & Reception
September 6th 5-8:00 PM during       First Fridays Artswalk

New Works by
Susan Himmel &
Sally Tiska Rice

NUarts Gallery + Studios
311 North Street, Pittsfield, MA

25% of Proceeds to Berkshire Art Association Fellowship Fund to support art field trips for Berkshire County high school students.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Peak

As promised, here's another peak at what I'm finishing up for the "Side by Side" art exhibit that will open next Friday, September 6th at NUarts Gallery in Pittsfield. Stay tuned for all the details.

Back to painting....

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Works

I've been painting up a storm lately and want to share one of my new works. It's still untitled, but I will have a title for it soon.

This painting was inspired by one of the photographs my husband took at Smith College's greenhouse. It's an amazing place with a number of rooms, each one hosting more exotic plants than the previous room. It's one of my favorite winter haunts when everything outside is a shade of brown, gray or white. It's a treat, a wonderful sensory experience to transport one out of the ordinary into the extraordinary.

You can see this painting in the "Side by Side" exhibit at the NUarts Gallery next month. I'm showing with fellow artist and friend, Sally Tiska Rice. When we got together to discuss collaborating on “Side by Side”, the idea of donating a portion of our proceeds surfaced as an important part of our mission. Sally and I are both passionate about art and our community. As we feel strongly about the benefit of art in our children’s lives, we are donating 25% of all show sales to Berkshire Arts Association’s Fellowship Fund targeted for art field trips for high school students.

I'll post another sneak peek next week.

Monday, July 15, 2013

413 Glassworks Gallery

Over the past few months I had been working on a series of mixed media paintings to exhibit at 413 Glassworks Gallery along with art cards and mini journals. I delivered five paintings at the beginning of June, two of which are shown here. I wanted to create something entirely different from the River Rocks series which were featured in the Gallery last Fall and these sure are! Paintings will be at 413 Glassworks through the end of this month. 
Gallery owner, Brittany Gabel, has curated a gorgeous collection of fine art and artisan works. Brittany is a skilled and talented glass artist herself whose studio adjoins the gallery. So if you're in the area, this is definitely worth checking out. I have my eye on some gorgeous necklaces and glass work.



I've moved on to a new series of paintings for an exhibit in September at NUarts Gallery with my friend and fellow artist, Sally Tiska Rice. I may exhibit watercolors, acrylics, and mixed mixed paintings in this show - that's still undetermined. We plan to donate a percentage of our sales to benefit local school children's art field trips through the Berkshire Art Association. Stay tuned for more information about this.

So far this has been a really wonderful summer here in the Berkshires - hot and steamy - but so beautiful.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Anniversary First Fridays Artswalk!

May 3rd was the one year anniversary of Pittsfield's First Fridays Artswalk and what a wonderful evening it was! The streets were full of people, artists' studios and galleries were buzzing with activity and perhaps due to the gorgeous weather, people were in a great mood. It was an amazing evening in my studio at NUarts - getting to chat with so many people, seeing some friends I hadn't seen in ages and selling artwork to boot.

Mayor Bianchi cut the first slice in a "Birthday" cake celebrating FFA at Spice Dragon

Leo Mazzeo, author of ARTS INDIE shared wonderful photos from the evening's event. 

And if you want to follow all things arts-related in the Berkshires, you can follow ARTS INDIE on Facebook, too.

Did I mention that I love living here in the Berkshires? I do.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Portraits on Parade in May

A challenging idea was put out to artists at NUarts, where I have my studio in Pittsfield. Each May there is an annual group show and open house. This year we will be hold the artists' reception during the First Fridays Artswalk celebrating the first year anniversary of the Artswalk.

Theme - Self Portraits

As someone who has never painted a portrait, I loved the idea. It's an opportunity to do something totally different. After all a self portrait doesn't necessarily have to be a classical painted portrait of myself. I thought of collaging a portrait, writing a poem, doing a mixed media piece about all I hold near and dear. In the end I decided on a little bit of all of this.

Here's my portait in progress. I'm going to add a poem to my silhouette - maybe written in white, not sure.

I'm looking forward to seeing what others have created for their portraits. I am sure it's going to be an interesting exhibition!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting for Spring

While I'm generally known for being a patient sort, I'm finding my patience wearing thin as I await spring to really pop! Some of you may know that George is an amazing photographer; so on a recent visit to Smith College's greenhouse, he loaded up some wonderful images of spring to remind me of what's around the corner.


There are so many wonderful photographs from that visit that we may see a photography exhibit from George soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

RAP - Real Art Party

There are so many great events happening this week during Pittsfield's 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival that it's difficult to decide what to do first. But tonight the place to be is clearly the Berkshire Art Association/Storefront Artist Project's REAL ART PARTY. BAA is a wonderful arts organization and I'm happily serving as VP on the board. Supporting student artists is one of our passions and the proceeds from this event will benefit Berkshire County art students directly.

We have 108 pieces of art measuring 10" X 10" to be raffled off for a $25 art ticket. Each ticket purchased guarantees that person will be going home with an original piece of artwork. Sound like fun? You betcha...this idea was patterned after the Storefront Artist Project's 12X12 Annual Event. A night of conversation, good art, refreshments and fun awaits!

Here are two paintings I donated. There are dozens of other artists who have donated amazing pieces of art - thank you, thank you, thank you!
Single Iris
River Rocks #12

Saturday, February 16, 2013

new studio and 10X10 Arts Festival

I am so happy to be back at 311 North Street, this time in Studio #9. We have a new name, logo and collective operating structure. We are 19 artists on the second floor of the Greylock Building. But the best thing is the great group of artists and friends who gather here to work, collaborate, for open studios, gallery receptions and First Fridays Artswalks. We have private studios along three hallways and at the end is an attached gallery. I'll post some photos soon, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos on our facebook page,
There's a super fun arts event happening in Pittsfield for TEN days with 75+ events happening this month. If you're living locally, you probably know what this is all about, but for everyone else - click on 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival to learn more. When you live in New England, you can't let the cold weather and snow keep us from enjoying ART year I right? 
"10 Plus 10 Orbs" is a painting I created for the 10X10 art show at NUarts Gallery. Each artist freely interpreted what ten by ten meant to them. Our opening reception was held last night as part of the 10X10 festival. I'm looking foward to an evening of arts and entertainment again tonight, as George and I take in a number of new shows. - it goes on and on!
Enjoy Winter! Enjoy Art!

Monday, January 28, 2013

First, the Wedding

It took a sick day for me to catch you up on all that's been happening. So many significant events have blessed my world, like Christine and Chris's wedding, for starters.

Two beautiful hearts were joined together in a delightful, intimate ceremony and luncheon reception. A picture is worth a thousand words....



And six week laters, the newlyweds held a party for their friends and family to celebrate their marriage. A wonderful evening of conversation, laughter and love. Some of Christine's friends since childhood are shown here. I've known most of them since they were five years old. We all say it, but oh my how time flies!
Next time I'll share what's new in my world of art - till then xoxo.