Friday, December 27, 2013

Arethusa Falls

I am still working on this piece.  If you click on it, you will get the enlarged picture and it will be easier to see it.  I added a few people to give a sense of scale.  Arethusa Falls is the highest waterfall in New Hampshire.  It is a good hike from Route 302 in Crawford Notch. I'm setting this aside for a little while to think about. It's hard for me to decide when a piece is actually finished. This is the companion piece to my Frankenstein Cliffs one as we did this hike on one day (which I do not recommend) in the fall of 2013. This is a 16" X 20" acrylic painting on stretched canvas.

As a break from the complicated painting above, I did something a bit easier.  I felt like playing with cumulus clouds and found a photo I had taken of the mountains along the Kancamagus Highway. This one is 11" X 14" and I had a prepared canvas board from an earlier class.  It was a dark and overcast day.  Our first hike (to Greeley Ponds) did not work out for us as there was too much water to cross (and I do not enjoy water crossings as I have fallen several times).  Then we went to Sabbaday Falls which is very enjoyable and an easy hike. We stopped at several overlooks and I took lots of photos.  I painted this scene from one of my photos.  I think it would also work well for an inspirational saying on one of my cards.

I have only set a few goals for the new year as I think they will take me a long time to achieve.  I'm thinking about learning how to convert my poetry books to e-readers.  I also have many poems that were not in those books (which are out of print now). Of course I plan on continuing with my painting. I'm hoping to learn how to do plein air painting (on site outdoor painting) in the spring or summer.

Happy new year to all. May 2014 be filled with blessings and good health for everyone.

To purchase a card or print of the falls painting: Arethusa Falls or one of the cliffs:
Frankenstein Cliffs

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cottonwoods at Arches

Finally finished this painting. It is acrylic on stretched canvas, 16" X 20".  I loved hiking at Arches National Park, seeing the massive rock formations and spending time with my daughter in Utah. This was really the first time I paid attention to the cottonwood trees and the aspens.  Their fall colors are different from the fall colors I see in New Hampshire. I took lots of photos and had a hard time choosing which ones to paint. I may do some more in the future.  Meanwhile, I have started on a painting of Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire.  Maybe I'll have that done to post in a few weeks.

Just for play, I wanted to work with some bright colors.  I remembered how pretty the butterflies were in Costa Rica last year on my trip.  I decided to paint some in a less detailed way.  Usually I paint from my photos, but this one was just from my imagination. This is acrylic on canvas board, 8" X 10".
I am glad that the craft fairs are over for the season.  I sold a couple of originals, several prints and lots of cards.  It is hard work setting up, being there for many hours, then breaking everything down.  I didn't do as many this year as last year.  I do enjoy talking to everybody who stops by my table. There are lots of interesting people in New Hampshire.

We have about 10" or so of snow on the ground now from two storms. The winter sunsets are beautiful and so are the sunrises. I'm not so enthusiastic about the snow shoveling as I get older, but it is good exercise and I'm grateful that I can still do this.

To purchase a card or print of this image: Cottonwoods at Arches National Park

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Haiku - Dorr's Pond

an overcast day
birds chirping, ducks quacking
walking at Dorr's Pond

I had a successful day at a craft fair on Friday. I sold my painting of the snowy egret.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah

While it rarely happens that these two holidays occur together, I am happy to celebrate them with family. The Jewish (Hebrew) calendar is a lunar one, 29 days to a month. An extra month is added periodically to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons.  This spring will be a Jewish leap year with that extra month (Adar II).

I am feeling very thankful this year for all the small miracles in my life. Chanukah is about a big miracle as well as religious freedom, but I see the expression of the divine miracles in small things and in people.  There was the person (an angel in disguise, I think) who came to my help when I was in a bad car accident many years ago. He was an EMT and knew exactly what to do.

Every day when I see the sunrise (when it's not hidden behind the clouds) and sunset from my home, I'm grateful for another day. Another day to be creative, to use my brains and skills to (hopefully) make a difference. When I take a walk, I marvel at all the divine design in the natural things I see around me, whether it's tree bark, flowers or patterns from rain and snow.  I haven't been writing as much poetry as I did in the past, but I'm hoping to start up again in 2014 and put together some e-books as my other books are out of print now.

For a happy Chanukah song, listen to Ocho Kandelikas, a Ladino song about the 8 candles for Chanukah:

Thank you to my readers and I hope you will be blessed with family & friends and a happy day today too.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sketching and WIP

I realized that I haven't posted anything this week, but I don't have any finished work. My husband and I enjoyed a free lunchtime concert downtown (classical music). I sketched while listening and I know I need a lot more practice drawing people. Of course, it didn't help that they kept moving. :)

Delicate Arch, Utah (Arches National Park). This small oil painting, 8 X 10, is getting close to finished. I'm letting it dry for a while and then I'll decide if I want to put any people in to show scale.  I'm still not as comfortable working with the water mixable oil paints (Winsor Artisan) as I am with acrylics, but I'll keep trying. I like challenges.

This was a fall sunset as seen from my window.  I'll probably work on this one a little more too.  I only have one painting class left and I hope to finish my larger acrylic 16 X 20 painting from Arches National Park during that one.  I think I can finish these two smaller oil ones on my own. I don't plan on taking painting classes during the winter, but I'll probably keep painting.

My winter project is to learn how to make e-books so I can put my poetry online.  All my printed copies have been sold and I don't want to make any more. Since I taught myself how to do this blog as well as many other computer subjects, I expect I will be able to learn to convert my files to e-book format without too much difficulty. Anyway, I'll stay optimistic even if I get frustrated at it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work in Progress

I did not get much accomplished this last week in painting. We had a new furnace installed (natural gas) and the oil tank removed.  The contractors were very nice, but I didn't feel comfortable painting with all the work going on.  I also had a craft fair on Saturday and did well with my cards, even sold one print. Still have lots of leaves to rake (fall here).

The canvas above is based on my photo at Arches National Park taken a few weeks ago.  I loved the colors of the cottonwoods and the massive rock formations.  I am trying to get a sense of the majesty of the place. This canvas  is 16" X 20" and  painted with acrylics on stretched wrap canvas.  I hope to have more time to work on it during the next few weeks. I only have two more painting classes this fall. I don't expect to take any painting classes during the winter, but I have lots of projects and ideas to keep me busy.

This painting is a small one, 8" X 10" on canvas board.  I am still learning to use oils and have a long way to go.  I worked on getting some of the dark rock formation backgrounds painted yesterday in my class.  This is the famous "Delicate Arch" at Arches National Park.  I will put some people in the painting at the end so that viewers can get an idea of scale.  It was a long hike up to the arch for my senior legs, but I was glad my daughter pushed me to go.  Links to my Utah photos are in an earlier post.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oil paintings

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am learning to use water mixable oil paints (Winsor Newton Artisan brand).  I am using small canvases (8" X 10") to practice on.  This painting, of an Israeli goat, was from a photo I took at the Petach Tikvah (Israel) zoo in 2012. I was impressed with his topknot (hair) and loud voice. I thought his horns were interesting too.  I had never noticed that goats have horizontal rectangles for pupils.  Next time I see another goat, I will check if that is true for all goats, or only certain ones.

Anyway, I think the goat is done now and he has to stay dry for about 6-8 months before I can put on a coat of varnish.  That is one of the disadvantages of working with oils.

Las Bailarinas de Costa Rica (the dancers in Costa Rica) is from a photo I took of the folkloric student dancers when I was in C.R. last February. I loved the swirling costumes, but I didn't care for the background of the restaurant we were in, so I just made some pretty colors in the background.  You can click on the paintings to see them larger.

I have a few more weeks of painting classes and I have two more oil paintings in process, but today I'm going to work on an acrylic one I'm doing from photos I took at Arches National Park (Utah).  I am having some difficulty with the color of the cliffs, but I looked in a book that I borrowed from the library ("Painters of Utah Canyons and Deserts" by Donna L. Poulton and Vern G. Swanson) and I guess I can make my art any color I feel like making it.  That is the advantage of being an artist. I will try to make the painting somewhat realistic, but you'll have to wait to see it until I am closer to finished with it.

I posted both of the new paintings on my website in case anyone wants a card. (Goat, Dancers)  I also noticed that I had not put any Chanukah cards on there, so I added a few today.  Chanukah starts at sunset on Wednesday, November 27th.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Frankenstein Cliffs

This is the final painting of Frankenstein Cliffs. I just have to varnish it.I'm thinking about buying more floater frames  since I like the way they look. Photo below shows my painting of Mount Willard in a floater frame. These are both acrylic paintings, 16" X 20" on stretched canvas.  I enjoy working on this size canvas. My earlier posts give more information on the hike.

Both of these scenes are in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. This is a beautiful area of the state for hiking. There are many places on the highway where you can just pull into a parking area and take photos (for the non-hikers). This is in the White Mountains of NH, about 3 hours drive north of Boston. Route 302 is generally kept open, even in the winter.

I have a few more fall classes to finish up my small oil paintings.  I also started a workshop on palette knife painting.  I have learned the difference now between palette knives and painting knives. I'm looking forward to my class this Thursday. We have already prepared an underpainting to work on, a little scene with mountains, trees and grass. It should be fun to play with.

I have been preparing my card inventory for my next craft show which is coming up soon. Saturday, Nov. 9th at Brookside Church, 2013 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, 9-3.  This will be my 4th year displaying at this fair. I share a table with my husband, author Joe Smiga and we enjoy meeting with all the people there and looking at the other tables.  It's a good place to pick up gift items, or items for yourself. See you there.

To purchase a card or print of these images: Frankenstein Cliffs
View from Mount Willard

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Canyonlands National Park

A few photos from Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah (from last week's trip). Rest can be seen at: Canyonlands Photos.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Arches National Park

I had a wonderful vacation last week in Utah. I spent 5 days with my daughter. We hiked in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park (in Moab, Utah). We also walked to the Liberty (?) park and visited the Tracy Aviary near her house in Salt Lake City.  I posted the Arches photos and will do the others soon. You can click on that link to see the rest of the photos.  I loved the fall colors of the cottonwoods and aspens.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Frankenstein Cliffs WIP

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I wanted to try painting the cliffs (see last photo on last post for better photo of actual cliffs).  I'm enjoying painting again in acrylics. I have been trying to learn oil paints (water mixable) and I am a bit frustrated. So I decided to take a break and do another acrylic landscape (my favorite).  While this painting still has a long way to go to completion, I am enjoying the process and thinking back on the hike we took.

When I have some of the other small oil paintings closer to completion, I will post them here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Hiking to Arethusa Falls & Frankenstein Cliffs

We hiked over the weekend in the Crawford Notch area of New Hampshire. The view from the parking lot shows the Frankenstein Cliffs and we were up there, about 2500'.  The trail in that area was poorly marked on the way down and we felt that the trail signs lied, this was much more than 3 miles. At the end, we bushwhacked to the railroad bed and followed the rails back to the beginning of the hike, then back down to our car.  Total hike for the oldsters, 6 hours. We would not recommend the cliff trail, but were glad we did it.

These are the highest falls in New Hampshire, about 200 feet high. You can't really feel the scale and majesty of the falls from the photo.  Beautiful fall colors on the trees now too. The hike to the falls was definitely worthwhile and that trail was clearly marked.

I think I will make a new painting of this cliff (glacier).  It will remind me how much I ached going downhill, but how proud I am of myself that I can still do it! The views from the cliff are of the presidential range of mountains.

Crawford Notch State Park (link)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Granada in 1970 - finished

Finished this one over the weekend. Just touched up a couple of spots. I posted it on my website too. I am working on several other paintings at the same time, some acrylic, some oil and do not have any other finished work to post this week. (See September 3rd post for more information about the painting.)

I'll be out and about with my camera this weekend. The fall foliage colors are just beginning in our area of New Hampshire. I hope to get some good pictures and post them next week.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oil & Acrylic - WIP

I think this painting is almost done. It was inspired by the wild flowers in the spring at Emek Hashalom in Israel. (We were there in 2012.) There were more flowers than what I show here. It is 16" X 20", acrylic painting on stretched canvas.  As usual, I'll leave it for a few weeks, then I'll decide if I need to do something else to it.  I may bring it in to my painting class and see what the teacher and other students think about it.

This is my first serious try at a landscape in oils. It is 8" X 10", also on stretched canvas.  I have been a bit frustrated with the media, but I want to learn how to use it.  I bought water mixable oils so I don't have to deal with solvents and bad smells.  The view was from a photo I took last month while we were on retreat in Rindge, NH.  There was a dirt road that we walked on where we saw some farm houses and Mount Monadnock in the background.  I will bring this back into class next week and continue on it.  The sky needs another coat of paint, the farmhouse chimney is too bright and I still need to put in the foreground ferns. My teacher has suggested that I need to do about ten 8"X10" canvases in oil before I will feel comfortable with it.  I hope I will have enough patience to continue.

For my readers who celebrate Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) at sunset tonight and fast, may it be easy for you as we begin another year (5774).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Granada in 1970

I've had a camera since I was a little girl. My parents gave me a small brownie camera in the 1950's when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  Every once in a while I look at my old photos and several years ago I scanned some old 35 mm negatives into my computer too. This painting was from a photo taken in 1970 when I was on a car trip from Belgium (where I was living at the time) through France and down to Spain.  We stopped at many of the famous tourist sites and I took pictures.

This view of Granada was taken from the Alhambra.  I thought it would be very challenging to make into a painting.  I'm not sure it's completely finished, but I like the way it came out.  I'll leave it for a few weeks and see if I want to do anything else to it.  It is an 8" X 10" acrylic painting on stretched black canvas.

I've also learned that I don't need to buy black canvas if I want a painting on black.  I bought some black gesso (Bob Ross brand) and that works just as well.  It is better than black paint over white gesso.

Photo above is also from 1970, the same trip.  I haven't been back to Spain since then, but I still hope to take a trip there in the future.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunrise, a new day

I think this painting is done now. I always hesitate to varnish it for a few weeks until I'm sure I won't want to change anything.  I start back in classes in a couple of weeks and will review the painting with my art teacher before I varnish it and declare it "done".  I had a hard time getting a good photo without shadows.  I think my camera lens is not working quite right as I noticed some areas of light where there shouldn't have been light. I moved the canvas to several different areas in my studio and did not use a flash for this photo.

More details on this painting are on last week's blog post. I will probably make some cards from it and post them on my website. This painting was inspired by a beautiful sunrise I saw in Costa Rica last February.

A little marketing note for artists: If you are selling cards, prints or originals, make sure you keep track of your customers and collectors.  The Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) is next week. I looked back through my past order of Rosh Hashanah card customers, sent out some e-mails with links to images of my current cards and received several new orders.  In business remember, it’s always easier to sell again to an existing customer, they are already happy with your work.

Friday, August 23, 2013

On my easel today -- Sunrise, WIP

Sunrise, a New Day.  This is an acrylic painting in process. The canvas is 16" X 20"  I am happy with the way it looks so far and will work on the details when it dries a bit more.  This painting will be donated to Families in Transition, a wonderful organization in New Hampshire.

I am participating in a painting project organized by Friends of Art Manchester.  I am the treasurer (and chief blogger) of this organization and we are trying to get more public art downtown.  Families in Transition has some residences that have bare walls.  It's a match! We have artists and they have walls.

FIT is paying for the canvases and the artists are donating their time and expertise to create paintings to beautify the walls.  You can find the details on the FOA blog (link above).  We are starting with six 16" X 20" canvases and two 8" X 10" canvases. Some are already reserved.  We hope that this will be an ongoing project and will encourage some local artists to join our organization.

Meanwhile, I have a display of paintings, prints and cards at the Derry Public Library.  This will be up until the end of September.  I had a wall display there in April and now I have my paintings in their beautiful display case.  This is in Derry, New Hampshire.  I lived there from 1979-1984. The library has expanded and has a different exhibit each month.

The display case is quite large and I went back a second time to fill in the extra space with cards.  I didn't realize how many paintings would fit into the case. Photo below shows one section of it. I received some positive comments while I was arranging the paintings. That's always nice to hear.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Time and the month of Elul

One of the courses I took on retreat was about time and art. We studied various biblical and talmudic verses. We talked about linear and circular time.  We are in the Jewish month of Elul now, which is the month before the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah).  This is a time of reflection, meditation and looking inward so that we forgive ourselves our imperfections, ask all those in our lives for forgiveness in case we have wronged them, and pray with the intention to do our best in the future.  We listen to others with compassion, try to stay in the present moment and try to understand who we are and where we are going. This is also called "cheshbon ha-nefesh" which is the Hebrew for a spiritual accounting.

I listened to the meditation from the teacher on the last day of class and visualized the Hebrew letters going vertically that spell out the tetragrammaton, the unpronounceable word for God (there are various pronunciations now).  She talked about colors going up and they were the rainbow colors I learned in Biology 101, ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).  I didn't have all the right crayon colors with me so I approximated the colors for the letters.

Psalm 27 is read every day during this month.  It seemed appropriate for the visualization.

I am a visual artist. I paint what I see (with some adaptation for composition, color etc.).  I found this class very difficult.  We were talking about a non-visual concept (time).  I brought watercolors with me as I found that easier to transport than my acrylics.  I visualized a sunrise, mountain, river for Genesis (creation story) and put the Hebrew words on the mountain from the morning liturgy (Blessed is the One who spoke and the world came into being).  The bottom words (English) are also from the morning (daily) liturgy.  We had spoken in class about our traditions regarding both birth and death and the hevra kadisha (holy burial society). I have written about that on this blog several years ago. So this painting was about beginnings and endings (circular time).

We also looked at Dali's paintings and Monet's treatment of light changing during the day on his haystack paintings.  I prefer to paint what I see so I'm not sure I would take a class like this again, but it was interesting.  My morning class was an introduction to the Qu'ran (Koran). That was fascinating and I hope to continue to learn more on this subject.

If you are interested in a Jewish retreat next year, this group (about 300 people) is usually the first week of August.  You can find out more information at

The theme of the retreat was from Psalm 90 - notice my artwork on the right.  I have had this phrase on my blog from the very beginning in 2008. I've also posted a poem about Elul. The poem was posted 8/27/08. I'm hoping this link will work for you:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On Retreat

On retreat this week. That is a view of Mount Monadnock (in NH) from the parking lot.

Lots of lakes in this region of New Hampshire (southwestern part of the state)
Canada geese like it here too.