House by the Lane--Getting Ready for Thanksgiving | Monday, November 24, 2008Too Cold Too Fast--Sonoma Photo | Wednesday, November 19, 2008I'm Back and Napa Valley Vineyard | Tuesday, November 18, 2008I Hate My iMac! Sonoma Grapes #3 | Friday, November 14, 2008
Thanx Jim. I really appreciate it.
Ardrossan Cattle | Thursday, November 13, 2008Sonoma Grapes #4 | Wednesday, November 12, 2008December First Friday--Sonoma Olives #2 | Tuesday, November 11, 2008Black Copper Marans Egg--Finally! | Monday, November 10, 2008Good Show and Weekend | Sunday, November 9, 2008Overly Tired | Friday, November 7, 2008Cognac and PT | Wednesday, November 5, 2008Election Day and the Shoulder Doctor | Tuesday, November 4, 2008First California Painting | Monday, November 3, 2008Whew, Way TO GO PHILLIES, the Exhibit is Hung & Nuclear Stress Tests | Sunday, November 2, 2008
The painting above is one of my favorites. I painted it last year and put it up in my exhibit at the Gryphon Cafe'. I forgot to photograph it and it got sold right away. It's back for a final varnish, so I took the opportunity to post it for you. "House by the Lane, Chester County, PA", 11"x14", oil on linen, sold. I went to Maryland on Thursday night and to Grandparent's Day at Gabriel and Jonah's school on Friday morning. Krista met me there and filled in as the other grandparent because I couldn't be in both places at once. It was really fun, I loved it. All three of the Johnson kids came home with me after that, so it's been really hopping here ever since. I'm finishing up a couple of paintings, one of which should be finished by tomorrow.
Then I need to get seriously busy and start shopping for and making the holiday soup for Thursday. I plan on having the kids help me prepare it. Isabella has been painting with watercolors almost non-stop. I think she has so much talent. She's an excellent colorist. I realize that I'm her grandmother, but I'm totally impressed. One of my little, Old English banty hens laid her first egg yesterday. Such a pretty little pearl-colored egg.
Jay Jr. cooked for us last night. Danny prepared the cheese course which was reminiscent of summer, with heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella with basil leaves and good bread and olive oil. Jay then made marrow bones on garlic bread with sea salt, gnocchi with a rabbit ragout and a roasted pork shoulder, brussel sprouts and cheese polenta. Then Celeste made a pumpkin bar dessert with whipped cream. The kids watched Jay cook and tasted everything.
We had plenty of leftovers as you can imagine, so it was great the second time around too.
It definitely got too cold too fast. Last week it was warm and humid in the 70s. This morning when I went out to get the roosters their water was frozen solid, not a crispy crust, solid ice. So I raced against time all day to get everybody's water heaters connected. Most of them were already positioned, but the cords weren't cooperating with the outside extension cords. Well, most everyone has heated water now. Today's PT for my shoulder went well with a new therapist "Toni". Believe it or not she's at least two inches shorter than I am! She's great. All of the exercise went really fast while we compared notes on our versions of the Holiday Soup/AKA Italian Wedding Soup. We had everyone there hungry by the time I was finished.
I'm waiting for Derek to get here and we're taking Isabella for dinner, probably to Theresa's next Door. I love that place.
The chicks are pretty much finished hatching, so I'll get a final count tonight. Very cute. It was wonderful watching Isabella's reaction to them hatching.
I'm giving you a photo tonight, since I didn't have time to finish a painting in the past few days and totally forgot to photograph one that I painted before, but never posted. This photo is of the cross on top of the Sonoma Mission, titled "Bird on a Mission", black and white photo, $100., framed
It was an eventful weekend, starting with a raccoon that was here in the middle of the day (definitely a bad sign) on Saturday trying to eat my Sicilian Buttercup chickens which are right outside of my studio. I'm very concerned and we're all on the lookout for it. Sunday, Jay and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Craft Show. Really interesting and inspiring. Thank you Melissa! I was having trouble walking with my aching knee. I think the problem could be the deer tick that Danny pulled off of me on Saturday night. Not good. I have a call into the doctor. The boys went shopping for dinner and Jay Jr. made steamers for starters and then a rigatoni/duck/olive and tomato sauce main dish that really hit the spot. Just great. After that we played poker, Danny won as usual. I went to Maryland yesterday to read to Jonah's class today. I told Jeanie to have the kids wake me up this morning with kisses. what a way to start the day! Reading to Jonah's class was such a fun experience. I brought Isabella home with me. She already painted about four watercolors. Speaking of four, my Welsummer x Ameraucana chicks started hatching today. A very springtime thing to happen on probably our coldest day so far. There was even a snow shower on our drive home this afternoon. The chicks are precious.
The painting I posted tonight is of a vineyard in Napa Valley. I miss California. This painting was challenging, but extremely gratifying when it was finished. "Napa Valley Vineyard", 14"x11", oil on linen, mounted on board, $350., framed.SOLD
I admit it I hate my iMac. I realize that if I'd been using one since 1995 as I have a PC, that it would probably be a different story. But that's not the case and I despise this thing. Those weird A things that show up in my posts and emails, the way AOL, or the mouse, or my external hard drive or printer, or wmv files or try to save or find files, or my fonts, never work right. I can only take so much of it in the eight months that I've had it. AOL doesn't work at all now, thank God I have my back up PC. OK, enough moaning and groaning.
As much as I hate this Mac, is how much I love this painting of more Sonoma grapes. The grapes really do look like jewels in this one. "Sonoma Grapes #3", oil on linen, 11"x14", $350., framed. sold.
Nice, love the grape paintings.
Thanx Jim. I really appreciate it.
All the best,
I won't go through the sad feelings about Ardrossan again, but here's a painting of the Black Angus cattle down by Saw Mill Road. I think it reflects some of the feelings I have going on about the sale of the property. I plan to do a similar painting of this, maybe bigger, but in any case it will be different.
I mentioned before that I started four new paintings. Hopefully they'll all be finished before the next first Friday. I'm starting to enjoy the process. The most difficult one being the French Laundry garden. Who knows why? I'll figure it out, I always do.
Here's "Ardrossan Cattle", oil on linen, 11"x14", $350. framed. sold.
Today's painting is actually the third in the series, but I wasn't paying attention when I titled them. "Sonoma Grapes #4", oil on linen, 11"x14", $350., framed. sold. I like the lighting in these paintings, the backlit grapes and the shade from the leaves with the luminous late afternoon sun peeking through is what attracted me to this vineyard.
Physical therapy for my shoulder is going very well, but I'm knocked out tonight, so I'm going to cut this short. Have a great night's sleep.
Heads up, for the first Friday of December, the 5th, as I'll be hosting another reception, again at the Gryphon Cafe' in Wayne, from 5pm to 8pm. Jay Jr. was scheduled to show his photography, but it looks like he's overwhelmed at work. So if you missed last week's reception, here's an opportunity to get in and see the brand new paintings just in time for the holidays.
The painting to the right depicts the olives still on the tree in Sonoma. I'm loving the colors of warm and cool, although looking at it on my screen the colors are more vivid in person. Come out to the cafe' and get a better look. "Sonoma Olives #2", 10"x10", oil on linen, $250., framed.
My oldest Black Copper Marans pullet, "Mademoiselle Pertilote", laid her first egg today. Her new husband "Chanticleer" is still too young to do his "job". She is one of the chicks that I traveled to upstate New York for last February.The color of the egg is beautiful, a rich brown with no speckles, but it was the size of her egg that really surprised me. It was an extra large on my egg scale and weighed 69 grams or 2&3/8ths ounces. Now she's a big girl, but that's a big first egg. Anyway, I'm super excited about it. She's nine and a half months old, which is very late to start laying eggs, but she's the one that I rescued from the jaws of the raccoon a couple of months ago, so we've got to give her some understanding for the terror and trauma. She didn't have a scratch on her, but I can certainly forgive the delay. I'll be painting pictures of eggs again real soon.
My painting tonight is titled "Chester County Cow and Calf", 14"x11", oil on linen, $350., framed. SOLD Again you can see the crisscross grain of the linen and glare of the varnish which diffuses the colors and contrast of the painting. I still love the backlighting on it though.
We had great weather, food and music for a wonderful turnout on Friday night. Jay's students were terrific as usual. Such talent, Matt and Allison Tufano, Scott and Ethan Kripke, Eric Margolis, Olivia Mullen and Jay Sr., just made the entire night so special. Thanx to all of you for coming out and being the hit of the evening! If I spelled your name wrong, sorry, just shoot me an email and I'll fix it.
I've been to Ardrossan many times and have passed this particular view countless times. Sadly it doesn't look like this anymore. The dirt road is now paved, so that trucks with building materials and construction crews can build houses in those fields. The end of another era.
I need to go back to the cafe' and record the paintings that were sold, but would sincerely like to thank all of my friends and patrons for your
support. It's immensely encouraging to have you there, in addition to being a huge incentive to stay at the easel. Painting pictures is such a solitary practice, that when I get out into the public with my work, I'm really apprehensive and anxious. I realize that most people would say that artists should paint for themselves and while that's true for some, for me it partly is, but only to a small extent. The larger purpose of my work is done for God and for you. It's my attempt to share with you, my experience, i.e., the visual, emotional and even spiritual aspects of it. I love it, I hate it, it gives me fear, peace, joy, uncertainty and it gives me confidence and as always it defines one, albeit a huge one, aspect of me. I love my life.
I'm not resistant to change, as long as I'm happy with and about what's changing...
. I particularly dislike the "end of an era" changes. I'm not talking about the national, international or global changes, although I could include many of those for sure. In this sense, I mean the "closer to home", personal, local ones that will never, ever be again. Like when the last person of the previous generation in the family passes away. Such a strange, scary feeling. Definitely a reality check. Anyway, that's what the painting above is about. After a few major losses and changes, occasionally, I've felt as if I needed to record a place--some I know, some random-- in my paintings. Photos are great, but I feel like I can capture the innocence and beauty of a place by painting it. I can paint it without prejudice and just simply take it at face value because it's there and I feel a connection to it. Several subjects of my paintings, human and otherwise, no longer exist. The fact that I painted them made me feel as though I've done my job. My tribute to them.OK, after all of that here is "Ardrossan Cornfield--View from Chanticleer",oil on deep, gallery-wrapped canvas,14"x11" $350. framed. Sold.
I'm so sleepy I almost forgot to post tonight/this morning. I worked on many, many, family pix tonight and started four new paintings today. Also trying to wrap up some details for the reception tomorrow at the Gryphon, for First Friday. So I'll be speedy here.
The painting tonight is of olives, "Sonoma Olives #1", oil on linen, 10"x10", $250. framed. Again this painting presents so much better in person because of the glare on the linen. I doubt that I'll post tomorrow night after the reception, so if not, I'll be back soon.
Last night I had the experience of a lifetime. Two of the people that I hold nearest and dearest to my heart brought something extremely rare and special to me. What they brought was some of Napoleon's personal Cognac. This magical elixir sells for $1000. that's right, a thousand dollars a shot. No, not the bottle, just a shot. When a bottle of it is sold, it's delivered in an armored truck! Unbelievable and unbelievably good. Very smooth and smoky with a lot of complexity...it stayed in my mouth for a good 15 minutes. I am blessed, not so much by the cognac, which I am extremely grateful for, but for the extreme consideration, time and just going out their way to bring this experience home to me.THANK YOU!
I had the first session of my life of physical therapy today. Everything was going great until a man that had just had his knees replaced got on the mat next to me and started moaning. That was all I needed to start crying and asked my therapist to turn me in the opposite direction. It just opened up all of the suffering Jay Sr. had gone through again, and I couldn't handle it. What a sissy I am. It's ridiculous. Anyway, I did a pretty good job with my range of motion and will go twice a week starting on Monday.
Tonight's painting is another one of grapes and it's dull in comparison to the actual painting. I believe it was glare from just having put a temporary protective varnish on them. In any case, it's "Sonoma Grapes #1, oil on linen, 11"x14", $350. framed.sold.
I am so happy that the political phone calls and ads will be over by tomorrow. I did my civic duty and I'm not going to stress about the outcome now. God will just have to take care of the rest of it.
I went to the shoulder doctor again today and start physical therapy tomorrow. He gave me an another injection--or I should say injections in the top of my shoulder joint. He couldn't get the needle in the right spot. I had to ask him to stop. It REALLY hurt. So he said he would try just once more and I could feel that one just slide right into the right place and the cool medicine go in. But man, it's really been screaming like crazy since then. He did say to ice it. I'm due for some Motrin when I finish this, so this won't be much longer.
Tonight's painting is of a quail at the Fedrick Ranch in California. They're all over the place there. Scurrying about all of the time, very busy. This particular little guy was perched upon a fence post, on the lookout, however I just can't take him all that seriously with that cute little topknot. "California Quail on Guard", oil on canvas board, 11"x14", $350. framed.
Today was an extremely productive day. I moved three chickens into the garden, but except for adding willow fencing as a wind barrier, they're not winterized yet. I got the big pen of chickens ready for winter. When it starts freezing enough to make ice of their water, I'll plug their water heaters in. I moved their houses to face south instead of north and added more protection from the wind. They seemed to like the added room and brightness when I took down the shade cloths. They'll love all of the sun.
Tonight I edited Laurie Shipley and Winnie King's photos that I shot of their installation at "Two Paper Dolls", www.twopaperdolls.com
They moved from Louella Ave. in Wayne to West Wayne Ave. What a beautiful job they did with the lighting, colors and comfort. It feels like you've walked into a friend's house, not a shop. They have the letterpress there, which is one of my favorites when it comes to stationery. The above is the first oil painting that I did after our visit to California. The grapes in Sonoma County are ridiculously colorful. I was so amazed at all of the different colors on one bunch that I did four paintings of grapes. The rest will follow. The contrast doesn't look right, it's not that dull. There's more dimension to the actual painting. "Sonoma Grapes #2", oil on linen,11"x14", $350. framed. sold.
Be back tomorrow after my appointment with the shoulder doctor.
Jay Sr., Jay Jr., Celeste and I went to install my exhibit at the Gryphon Cafe' last night at 11PM.
You heard it right. We were there until about 1:15AM. THANK YOU Guys. They...I didn't hang anything because of my shoulder....did the hanging and the boards with the small paintings always present a huge problem. Last year they were constantly crooked and swaying and the paintings continually fell off. So Krista found a way to mount the paintings so that they stayed put. THANK YOU Krista and Jeanie found a way to back the paintings more securely. THANK YOU Jeanie.
The walls are full and it's a great relief to be done with it for now. We went to Christopher's afterwards and got some snacks and drinks. On our way, we bumped into Asser! Wow, how great that was. I really miss him. Felt like old times. By the way, remember, the reception for this exhibit on Friday from 5PM to 8PM. I'm really looking forward to the party.
How about those Phillies!? The boys went to the parade and there were about three million people there. Literally, the trains into the city were packed and delayed for hours. Danny being the tallest in the crowd immediately around him, couldn't see, but he kindly lifted up a 76 year old man so he could. Jay Sr. played (he was the musical entertainment in the tent for NBC) at the 1980 World Series game. The whole thing is such a boost for us. A great thing in these dreary economic and political times.
I finally had the nuclear stress test for my heart. The anticipation was a zillion times worse than the actual test. Thanks in big part to my dear friend Penny, who had me believing that my heart was going to explode and I was going to die on the spot if I took the Persantine. Just wait until she has to have some medical tests.....(me laughing fiendishly). It was actually for the best, because there was really no reason for me to take the Persantine. I did just fine without it. Well, that's an exaggeration. The treadmill was an ordeal that made me suspect that I was on Candid Camera, or it could have been an episode of I Love Lucy. I'm only about 5' tall. I definitely do not have a long stride. So everything was fine until they amped the treadmill up to the last segment. My heart and lungs weren't in distress, it was my arms and legs. My arms holding on for dear life and my legs trying to keep up. I felt like I was going to fly off of the thing and shoot across the room! Honest! In any case I did it and the best thing is that the results came back "perfectly normal". Just lovely, beautiful words. Thanx for the prayers everyone. I do want to say to anyone that needs to have this test, no biggie, even with the Persantine, Most of the people there did need to use it for their test and not one had an event of any kind. Asser, who is a heart doctor told me that they do get a better reading if you don't use the Persantine. So, thank God that's over.
Now, starting tomorrow, I'll be posting again with photos of the last 10 or 11 paintings I've been working on and hopefully more in the meantime. I miss doing the small paintings, but love the 11"x14" size too.
The garden is closed for the remaining fall and winter. I'm working on the top of it to keep the predators out so I can put the chickens and rabbits in there to weed and fertilize. I FINALLY got that damn raccoon! He's outta here, but my shoulder is still really hurting. I go to see the shoulder doctor on Tuesday. I'll vote on my way home.
Still need to winterize for the chickens, quail and rabbits with water heaters and more protection from the cold. The weather will be relatively mild this week, so it'll be a good time for that. Well then, until tomorrow, stay cozy.
- "Honey Bees and Honeycomb" & "Toad in My Yard"
- Terrific Reception!
- Sneak Peek For the Gryphon Cafe'
- More paintings and YOU Are Invited--December Artis...
- New Paintings for the Holidays
- Getting Ready for the Weekend--Chanticleer Koi #2
- Such a Slacker
- Toad In My Yard--Congratulations to Danny!
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