Thursday, July 26, 2007

Petits Fours 3

Juicy thick color. Loose enough. Different enough. A painter's painting. Creativity expands the less you have to work with. So I purposely set up a simple chocolate and vanilla group to play with pigments. To tease lusciousness out of a limited palette.Line must work, form must work, texture jumps in to distinguish, one from another. That these serve to feed both body and soul must be apparent. And by the way, make it look easy. Why do we paint? Why do you respond? Because in the vibrations set up, there is an essential heartbeat. A call and response. And we all need that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Petits Fours 2

Rhythms. Color and rhythms. This suggests a gathering to me. Kandinsky wrote and painted about music in paint, and the spiritual in art. His point to line to plane has always been a mantra of mine, reminding me to tag the bases. Use the tools and develop a piece until it's components' call and response was satisfying. I have even named huge pieces inspired by Wynton Marsalis, Making the Music. Jazz is a four point rhythm and is most likely to show up in any of my work. But here we have a delicacy rather than brass. Maybe the sound of strings warming up can be heard. Ah but there 's that jazzy little flower. So Wynton get out your horn.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Petits Fours 1

Petits Fours 1 implies that there will be a 2. And there will be. Closer to figure gesture, this one has an intense looseness that I enjoy. Quickly get the bones in place, then distinguish one from another. They seem happy and carefree. Like debutantes before making a bow. Or dancers backstage. It is hard to put into words the feeling of process, good process. Some call it in the zone,or chi. It is amazing alignment. One's sense and sensibilities taking action. And all over a couple of eclairs, a choux pastry and a lemon tart. What makes an artist tick, is the pleasure of spending time there. It isn't exactly an altered state, but a more alive state. And I got to eat one of the eclairs. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Carmen Opera Chocolate Cake

This chocolate has drama. I can hear the Bizet playing.Maybe it is a good thing to grab a red shawl and whip it around from time to time. Are we all we can be? Is a cake able to be more? Apparently I needed to whip some cobalt blue and some vermillion into a bit of sepia I saw on this day.This ganache was high gloss. Rich. It craved attention. Pranced like a prima donna. Paint is not passive, shadows are not dead, light invigorates, activates, reflections can be opportunities to other worlds, to suggest. If indeed the world is in vibration, what tune are you humming?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Parade of Tarts

I had to laugh after I named this one. It wasn't intentional. We are a product of our environment. I have a full bakers dozen of these little treats to play with. I wanted to loosen up a bit so maybe the name is appropriate. One of the challenges in working in series is to explore with fresh eyes every time. I have been taught also by one of the greatest living artists of our time, John Scott, to play with randomness. To truly engage your senses freshly with whatever comes your way. Can I do this? How would it be to use that here? What makes this pop? It is the engagement you see, the ever exploring artistic mind at work. The painting is the result of tracks one makes while engaged in professional play. If you do it right some times the wonder of it all comes through.

Kiwi Strawberry Flower Tart

This is cheerful. Succulent too. A mentor of mine, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, once told me that she found greens the hardest to do. In my painting life, I often set up pieces to tackle those things that are challenges, or that challenge a rule. Matisse did this too. In his goldfish paintings he set about making a dead center set up dynamic. That is behind one of my earlier paintings, "Red Orchids". Huge vibrant red orchids dancing around a green leaf center. I reversed the colors for "Unfolding" , one of my tropical series pieces,now housed in a good Mobile client's home. There is nothing static about them. So here we are revisiting- like seeing a good friend. Lively conversation ensues. The call and response between compliments and rhythms enjoyed anew.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gingerbread Cake, Chocolate Hat

Looks can be deceiving. Underneath this little sun hat and pastel frosting was a ginger cake full of spice. I like that. Like turning turning over a shell on a barrier island to discover some feisty creature underneath. Or sitting down outside Tavern on the Green and discovering the gentil lady seated next to you is Jonas Salk"s sister. And the guy in Kinko's next to me having allergy problems was an acoustical guitarist who goes by the name Keb Mo' who plays all over the world. I have been accused of" talking to anybody". My sister and I joke about it. Our grandparents taught to explore and look for wonderful things. My mother's parents had a farm. My father's mother taught English literature before her family came. She told us stories every visit. My sister and I grin about the ribbing, and think of all the wonderful adventures we have by just looking a little beyond, looking for a story maybe. We are southern. That's part of what we do. I think it's in the rule book.So on we go in our separate lives, lifting shells or listening to others' stories. There's sometimes a crab underneath, or a little unexpected spice as a reward for the effort. And isn't that a nice thing?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mango Toasted Coconut Cheesecake

I like islands, Many forms of them. Yes, I know. No man is an island, But we are at times just that. Perhaps , floating islands but that is another painting altogether. One of my dreams is to visit Capri, pick lemons from overhead and sip Lemoncello on a private terrace with a friend. My good friend, Shelley has an island home in St. John. When she is there she says she wakes up happy everyday. Light abounds, it is warm ( very important if you know her) and there there are beautiful things to paint. That is when she and her husband Chris are not out looking for more real estate. I like to think of them there, the frolicking blonds.They deserve happy. We all do. So when I saw this little bit of exotic cheesecake, off I went, to Capri, to the Caribbean and to my thoughts of sipping cool beverages and enjoying everyday as the breeze( there's always a breeze) tickled my senses. My brush played along.

So Many Treats, So Little Time

One of the things that intrigues me in painting is light play. Form yes, but it is the light that draws me in most of the time. These petits fours are soaked in it. The light bounces off the white even in the shadows. My brush and I are definitely in a happy place. One of the missions of this experiment is for me to become as relaxed and dexterous with oil color and light as I am with those same things in watercolor. I have spent the past many years exploring the wetlands, responding to the light and the specialness there. I would then go back into my studio and create massive watercolor landscapes. My goal was to create the impact of a rich and nurturing place that is so essential to us all. I can make watercolor sparkle, sing, dance, impact the viewer. Can I do it in oil? Well, here 's maybe a little start. After all, treats are essential too. Especially now. Carpe Diem.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Florentine Lace with Fruit

Barbary Coast and pirates. Or something Renaissance , perhaps a medici treat? I don't know, but I keep hearing those echos when I look at this and when I was painting it. I also thought of Portugal but I don't know why. The Moors? Am I channeling a long forgotten art in the dark class? Mostly I am reminded of a long ago bakery on Magazine Street that made the best Florentine Lace cookies ever. Golden crisp and chewy too. My brush just slurped up the paint for this one. The fruit was glazed and succulent. Inside there is a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream and underneath in the bowl is deep chocolate that seeps out of the lace. It was taste treat after taste treat. The fruit was at its prime, bountiful.I would love to play in the shadows again with this. Maybe there's the pirate connection- naughty, hidden surprises, slightly decadent, gold doubloons and lace, and not the usual fare. Argh.

Chocolate Cappuccino Dome

Il duomo. Only this one is mocha and not attached to a cathedral. I like the little cup on top, of this one, not the one in Florence. Waking up in a pensione and looking down the narrow street at the real Dome, there's a treat. One that spelled excitement, adventure and new explorations. My first cup of cappuccino came in Italy from one of those huge copper machines. It was frothed and sprinkled with cinnamon. We were in the Italian alps skiing. So you may always perceive a bit of a smile when cappuccino and I meet. Dome or no dome, Il mi piaci tanto.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Stars and Berries Tart

Fresh and simple yet a celebration on its own. Many things to be thankful for, freedom is one of them. This project of small paintings in oil, is a new found freedom and pursuit of a larger one. John Scott calls it moving between languages in the studio, working in multi media. Being able to express no matter what materials are at hand. Some ideas take steel, others a whisper of ink, still others, a printing press. Some may just take a few berries artfully arranged on a day we celebrate forming a free country. Coaxing light and color into an idea, the freedom to do that endlessly in many forms, that's something worth celebrating too.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Harlequin Cheesecake,Berries, Kiwi

I love lots of little nibbles of flavor. Balancing flavors, colors or form presents more interest to me. I get to travel all around my palette. Harlequin traditionally dresses in a patchwork of color, oddly matched and completely whole as a character. It's again a call and response which sets up all kinds of possibilites. So here's to the chef who likes a little chocolate along with the cheesecake and puts a little patchwork of fruit right on top. And here's to possibilites. That keeps my brush endlessly happy.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Chocolate Truffle Cake w/Hazelnut

No frills. A cylinder of deep chocolate. But rich? Oh yes.The flavor in this truffle couldn't have been better. I think this piece will spawn a Bauhaus study in restrained richness, geometric shapes of flavor. Princess cut cakes are upright triangular slices. A Napolean is a stacked rectangle. And there are tons of domes out there. Architect or pastry maker? Both. Engineering and ingenuity supporting fantasy. The hunt is on for more. Something restrained yet bursting with flavor barely contained. And for balance, maybe something Roccoco. Ahh, endless exploration. My brushes can't wait.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Chocolate Praline Cheesecake

Dripping Springs. It's a little town in the Hill Country on the way to Fredericksburg. Dripping wet, dripping with praline sauce. Is dripping with something too much? Or enough to relish and play in? You probably know my take on that one. Dig in. It's all about carpe diem, isn't it? That little town's name still brings a smile to my face. Light danced, birds sang. It was fun just to read the signs and imagine getting mail addressed to myself, at Dripping Springs, Texas. Explore any map and there are equally intriguing town names. I always wonder who decided, who picked the name and why. But on this day, I decided to just let the brush play and relish in the glorious qualities of dripping paint.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cheesecake with Blueberries and Peach

Succulent glazed fresh berries and a peach sit atop a creamy cheesecake with crust. This was a dream to eat. Each component enhanced the other. Happy, happy mouth. We were watching Giade de Laurentis on Capri, a Food network show, this past weekend.She has such enthusiasm. Everything we saw, was fresh, colorful and full of an incredible essence of magic. That happens when all the senses are attuned, engaged, and receptive. Everything is more. The scents, sounds, looks and tastes made us itch to be there, taste that, see this, do it is with this little piece that I comtemplate an island paradise and urge my brush to go there with me. Perhaps it it possible to create a glimpse of paradise in small things around us each day. Today, when I dip into Naples yellow and add a little cobalt violet next to it, it can be the world of color for me. The light I use can be a little light reflecting off the water, and the freshness of drawing new form can remind me of endless new explorations.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sticky bun

This painting is about abundance. And a bit of joy. It is a simple, but huge cinnamon sticky bun. I was reminded of how full it feels to connect with one's work and passion. How lovely it is to feel the paint, tickle sensibilities and remove just a bit of the care of the past couple of years. Normal little things make up a life. My wish is for those things not to be taken for granted. So enjoy all the little things in life.A splatter of yellow, a touch of lavendar, fullnesss of warms and cools and neutrals, lightness and dark. Sometimes a little bun rich in flavor is all it takes to remind me of friends and places and little blessings all around. So I would like to pass it on. A little joy, a little paint, a little gratitude.