Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Painting for Preservation, June 6 & 7, 2009

Camille Gagnon Statue, Greenlawn Cemetery

Me, painting the Gagnon Statue Saturday morning

Statue in Woodland Cemetery, Keene, NH

Painting for Preservation was a fund raiser for the Sumner Knight Chapel in Keene, New Hampshire held in early June, 2009.... I thought this would be a great event to kick off my return to painting.   A lot led up to this day as I refreshed my painting supplies, visited the site several times to scope out the areas that I would paint and as the time grew closer I anticipated what type of elements the weather would bring.  The building is a gem but in need of many repairs.  Plein Air artists would gather Saturday and Sunday to paint throughout the cemetery.  Sunday afternoon the paintings would be auctioned off to raise money for the repair fund.  Despite a terrible sunburn, I thoroughly enjoyed the day painting.  Friends stopped by to visit and enjoy a picnic lunch and I also met many new people who seemed to be fascinated to see many artists painting in "plein air" throughout this cemetery.  I also had a young artist named Caleb visit and he returned again with his sketch book and joined me for awhile...it was great to see his enthusiasm. 
 I was so pleased when I was contacted Sunday evening by someone who purchased the painting of the Camille Gagnon statue.  I met her the day before while she was out on her run through the cemetery and we had a pleasant exchange while I was painting.  I was happy that she, too, shared an equal appreciation for this statue... she stated that many feel she is the angel of the cemetery.  Little did I know until half way through painting this that the person buried here was born 168 years ago on this very day: June 6, 1841!  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Early paintings....

Rajasthan, India 1993
In 1982, as a sophomore at Principia College, I and 15 other classmates traveled to India for a month on a photojournalism course. We stayed in many places... Kachwah Guest House in New Delhi, Mayur Tourist House in Agra, visited the majestic Taj Mahal. Especially memorable was a visit to the Taj in the moonlight while the rest of our families were awakening to Thanksgiving morning back in the States. We also saw the Red Fort, the Pearl Mosque and various tomb sites. After Agra was Jaipur where I met some lovely children playing in the streets. In Jaipur we stayed in the Bissau Palace Hotel and visited the Palace of the Winds, the Amber Fort, rode on elephant back to the gates of the fortress and visited a few palaces. We also took in a Bollywood movie with some new acquaintances we met while sightseeing. We camped at the Pushkar Fair for 3 days and witnessed thousands of pilgrims take their sacred dip in the Pushkar Lake. From there we went to Jodhpur and then on to Jaisalmer. This is where we left for a camel safari in the Thar Desert for 3 days. The painting above is from a photo that I took while in the desert. What I will never forget, is how these children were in the middle of miles and miles of sand, happy and quite content. Also lovely was hot tea in the desert. I never thought something like this would be so refreshing. After our safari and a memorable trip to Udaipur a few of us flew down to Bombay (now Mumbai) for a week of relaxation before we returned home. Without a doubt, India was a life changing experience for me. A place full of vivid color, exotic aromas, and mysterious people. I look forward to revisiting my photos for some future watercolors....

Seagulls Gloucester, MA, 1988
While growing up my parents often took us to the ocean. One of the places we would visit was Gloucester. I loved walking around on the rocky shore. This painting was sold at the Oxfam America show in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1988. A woman from Baltimore purchased it as a gift to her mother in Clearwater, Florida. I received a lovely letter from her mother when she received it...

Iris                  NH, 1988
During the summer of 1988 my father gave me an opportunity to devote my entire summer to work on my watercolors. I had been out of college for 3 years and still trying to figure out what my 'real job' should be. I had a Bachelor of Art in Sociology and worked in a large antique business. I showed my father a painting that I did of an Indian woman (I should get a picture of that posted..) and he asked me what it would take to paint all the time. "Ah, well Dad, I need to pay my bills..." Dad offered to match my pay for 10 weeks if I quit my job and painted for the summer. How could I say no? During that summer I joined the Keene Art Association, did a show in Cambridge, Ma., Portland, Me., and Peterborough, NH.

An Introduction...

Jackson, Vt 1988


For years I have been inspired by blogs that I have stumbled across while researching all sorts of subject matters. There are so many lovely people out there who have so openly and honestly shared their lives to anyone who happens upon them.

For me, I thought this would be a good way to rekindle my love for painting. Over the years and for many reasons, I have allowed large blocks of time (decades) pass while ignoring my need to self express through painting. "Are you still painting?" Well.... "Not like I used to." is often the response.

My first few posts will show paintings from the early years... junior high school, (Fitchburg, Mass.) boarding school (St. Louis, Missouri), and college (Elsah, Illinois) 1975 - 1985 for personal documentation and for my children. The watercolors from 1988 represent the summer I spent devoted solely to painting.

It's time to close the gap... and find again the reason that I love to look at the ocean, study shadows, fabric folds, flower gardens and facial expressions. Who knows what I might find and maybe you too will be inspired to pick up your brushes again.