Monday, March 30, 2009

"Mary in Amma in Kimberly"

my Indian wedding sari

I had some errands today, including a trip to the art store for a few new pastels and pastel pencils, so I'll try for adding another photo of my progress on the pastel of Kimberly later tonite, but I promised to talk a little about my decision on it's title.  When we did the photo-shoot of Kimberly for the series of works I wanted to do of her, I had a number of white fabrics I used as veils, but I also tried putting my Indian wedding sari on her as another kind of Mary veil, and we wound up using this special sari in about 50% of the photographs I took.  I love my Indian wedding sari, and it hangs in the doorway of my studio these days.  I was told when I bought it in a small shop in the East Village that this particular kind of wedding sari is from the 1970's and is not made anymore, since the beads were sewn on by hand.  

It felt apropos for Kimberly to wear it, because it was Kimberly who introduced me to Amritanandamayi Ma.  In fact, Kimberly and her husband were honored to be married in 2003 with Amma performing the wedding ceremony.  

This was one of the poses that to me is a portrait of both the 'Mary' in Kimberly and the 'Amma' in her also, and since I've explained how, for me,  Amma is a kind of living manifestation of Mary, it feels like both in that way also.  Hence the somewhat mystifying title of "Mary in Amma in Kimberly".  It feels just right somehow.

I want to thank Kathleen Coy who yesterday was the third person to honor me with the "Passion for Painting" award.  It's truly an honor each time it is passed, and since I've recently responded to this award, and will be responding to it again for my miniature blog, (on April 5 after my painting sale), I'll simply recommend that you check out Kathleen's beautiful dog portraits, paintings and photographs.  Apart from appreciating Kathleen's creativity, I'm a little in love with her sweet dog Cloud too!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More on the pastel of Kimberly

pastel in progress (detail view)

I'm still working on this, and may post again on it's further progress tonight.  It's an Indian wedding sari that Kimberly is wearing here, and for several reasons I've been debating over what I wanted the name of this painting to be.  To find out the name I chose, check back in tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More pastel in progress ~ Kimberly

pastel in progress (working right to left helps me avoid smudging, since I am left-handed)

*I'm also honored to receive an award, created by Kim Ratigan, which is being passed from artist to artist in honor of their passion for painting from Akiko Watanabe.  The receiving artist is asked to acknowledge the artist who passed on the award (please check out Akiko's wonderful art by clicking on her name), name 7 loves, and pass it forward to 7 artists.  (I received this same award for my Ruby Slippers blog too, from Deb Kierce this week, and will post in response to that on The Ruby Slippers following the end of my spring sale on April 5.)

7 loves:   1) water  2) the color viridian green  3) the color coral melon  4) Mary  5) Amritanandamayi Ma  6) Mother Meera  7) God

Most of the artists I'd like to acknowledge have received this award, but there are 3 I would like to pass it on to:  my friend Bill Mundy, a great miniature portrait painter, and my friends 
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist a very special husband and wife team of wildlife miniature painters.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009


Just a little postscript on my last post, since fellow artist, Todd Bonita, and I were talking about how his father-in-law, David Baker, who passed away very recently, and my father were both smokejumpers.  My father only spent 2 or 3 summers smokejumping, during the summers of 1948 - 1950, but he was very proud of being a smokejumper.  While Dad smokejumped, Mom worked in the ranger station as a clerk.  Although Dad went on to study law and become a businessman, later in life he would often state that his favorite job was still smokejumping!  He belonged to the National Smokejumpers Association and a few years ago they produced the book Smokejumpers, in which Dad recounted his experience in the 1950 Hell's Canyon Snake River fire.

Also want to say, thanks Peggy, for buying an early miniature, right before my Ruby Slippers blog sale!

"Surprise Daddy!"

"Mona and Ben" 5 1/8" x 6 3/4", charcoal and pastel on gray sand-grit pastel paper (NFS)

I forgot that I wanted to do this post on both of my blogs:  My father passed away in April '07, and March 18 of this week would have been his 86th birthday, and it is still a tough week for me.  I wanted to honor his memory with one post, since my blogs began after he passed.  I love knowing that if he were still here, he would be on his computer checking them every day!  I'm sure he is enjoying them in spirit anyway.  This is drawn from my favorite photo of Dad and I, and the photo-version is also my screensaver.  I have a post coming up for my Mom within the next month also, but this one's for you Dad.  Love you always! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Session on the Ruby Slippers" with Mona Diane Conner

"The Ruby Slippers," 3/4" x 1 3/8," egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum
in Venetian glass frame

I've posted a new video clip today on my other blog, "The Ruby Slippers." In it I discuss more about what motivates me as an artist, including my motivation to work on this series of spiritual portraits.  If you'd like to watch it, just click on my Ruby Slipper painting.  

I've also started a new pastel portrait, and I hope to post some progress on it here for you soon.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Artist Statement & Bio

This past week I took some time out to write my artist statement.
Click on my eyes and scroll to see it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Panel Progress, "The 'Mary' in Kimberly"

Gilding a Panel

I've been forgetting to mention this, but I've been gold-leafing this special panel for a mother-daughter portrait of Kimberly and her daughter Sophia, which as a painting will also be pertinent for my spiritual portrait series, and I did a video clip of myself gilding this panel.  If you haven't already seen it, check it out on my miniature blog, The Ruby Slippers, along with the other posted video clip, a 'virtual visit to my studio.'

Because a short video only allows for highlighting a few aspects of gilding, I want to be sure to mention two more things for those unfamiliar with the gilding process.  It's hard to show the difference in surfaces via online and in video, but I chose oil gilding for this panel because for this particular painting I favored going with it's less shiny, more satiny patina.  The difference between oil gilding and water gilding is that water gilding is burnished with a special tool to a very high shine.  A slow-drying size will give a bit more shine than a fast-drying size, so that's in between the other two options.  Second, I skipped an important but recommended step in my video by not priming my gesso panel first with a venetian red or ochre primer before gilding, because I wanted to expedite my process with this project, but I don't want to skip saying that traditionally this gets laid down first before fast or slow-drying size is added to the panel.  It looks beautiful if a little of the venetian red primer shows through the gold, and it saves gold.

I'll post more progress on "The 'Mary' in Kimberly" later today.