The painting above, ‘Boys of Summer,’ will be on display at the New England Watercolor Society Regional Juried Exhibition at the Newport Art Museum.
The show runs from May 20 to July 9. The opening and awards ceremony on Thursday, June 8th, 5-7pm.
I haven’t entered many juried shows, so it was exciting to receive the email from NEWS Vice President Wendy Hale:
Congratulations! Your painting, “Boys of Summer” has been selected for inclusion in the 2017 New England Watercolor Society Regional Juried Exhibition at the Newport Art Museum. You should be very proud to be part of this competitive show. Our juror, Kathleen Conover, had the unenviable task of selecting 60 paintings from a pool of 530 entries. In her words, “I could put together three good shows from the NEWS entries”.
‘Boys of Summer’ is one of my favorite paintings. I created it from a series of photos I took of boys playing at Town Beach in Sandwich, Mass. I was experimenting with gouache at the time, and found by mixing white gouache with watercolor I could achieve the luminosity of the inner tubes I was going for.
The Newport Art Museum is located at 76 Bellevue Ave. in Newport. The 105-year-old museum has a gallery in the John N.A. Griswold House, built by Richard Morris Hunt for Grisworld. It’s considered one of the premier stick-style buildings in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Griswold was a China trader who died in the house in 1909.
Boys on beaches having fun are irresistible subjects for me. Boys on beaches wearing red are even more so.
I love paintings that show a person’s mood or emotion in an identifiable setting. Boys on beaches are almost always having a blast, and their body language shows it. They’re as joyful as — well, Louis Armstrong playing Potato Head Blues.
But I digress.
Friends ask why I do representational art. The great Edward Hopper explains why:
The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design.
He also explains, sort of, why the color red on a Cape Cod beach is so vibrant:
…there’s a beautiful light there — very luminous–perhaps because it’s so far out to sea; an island almost.
The painting above is taken from an image of my nephew Scotty throwing a rock at Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, Mass. He was 10 years old and visiting his grandparents in nearby Sandwich during Easter vacation. Scotty and his older brother and sister were getting restless, so Grandma and I took them to the beach. That’s the power plant and the Sagamore Bridge in the background.
It took me a year to get around to it, but I finally finished Scotty this week.
I was born in New York City, grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, returned to New York City as a Barnard undergrad and did some time in corporate America in Chicago while wasting much of my youth at Wrigley Field. Then I fled to New Hampshire where I started a journalism career, which took me to the Massachusetts Statehouse (yes, I have great stories about it) and then to Washington, D.C., as an Associated Press reporter.
I was not cut out for Versailles on the Potomac, and it would be an understatement to say Arlington, Va., never felt like home. I left AP to work for a labor union, which at least gave me more time to paint. In 2015, my husband Dan and I moved to a former stonecutters’ boardinghouse in Stonington, Maine.
While working as a reporter, I had very little free time. Watercolor suited because it was portable and quick. For a long time I practiced endless still life paintings of household objects. So boring.
During the oughts I got turned on to John Yardley, an English watercolorist who does lots of light-infused street scenes.
It was just around then that cell phone cameras got to be quite good. I started taking pictures of scenes in downtown Washington, D.C., feeling predatory but shameless as I followed an orange coat or a white shirtsleeve until it caught the light just right.
Sometimes it took hundreds of cellphone images and lots of sketches before I could extrapolate a painting from them.
Sometimes I’d snap a photo and immediately see a painting, like this one. I was walking in front of the Capitol on my way to work, and just after this bicyclist passed me I whipped out my cellphone to capture him.
I found I love to paint people in streetscapes and landscapes and all kinds of scapes. I like to paint animals, too. (Dan says that’s all I should do.)
Painting people and animals means knowing how to draw.
I spent a lot of time in Washington sitting still – for hours on the Metro as it lurched toward the station or in rooms listening to people prattle on sententiously.
I used that time to practice drawing people. I’d look for someone on the Metro wearing earbuds (they rarely move except to the music) or I’d draw a politician in a hearing room. Sometimes I’d draw from C-Span images. (You’d be amazed at how much reporting comes off television monitors.)
Another place I found ideal for sketching people is the racetrack. Race fans sit very very still while they pore over the racing form, oblivious to me as I observe and record them. Saratoga is a wonderful place to paint, filled with color and motion, stock still subjects and plenty of filtered light.
I also like to paint on Cape Cod, where my parents live. The light on Cape Cod, as Edward Hopper noted, is luminous.
So now my home is in Maine, where my hero Winslow Homer lived, though I’m on Deer Isle and he was farther south. Every other person on this beautiful island is an artist or a fisherman. I found a lot of things to paint. I also joined the Deer Isle Artists Association last year and learned a lot about making and selling art in the Deer Isle gallery.
I’m taking the next step with this website. With the help of my husband (thank you, Sweetiepie) I’ve posted images of a decades’ worth of my best paintings. Most are for sale, though some are already sold. I’m open to doing commissions (I even paint signs and I’m real good at lobsters) and I’m open to negotiations. Just email me at [email protected] or call at 207-348-3129. I’m on Instagram and Facebook as well.