Friday, August 31, 2007

A Little Chat

Red. And three. And what's this? A confection? And a green shadow under the raspberry on a red tart. What's going on here? And how dare I ask so many questions in a row? What's in all this for you? Am I teasing you? Delaying the point? Asking you to look a little closer at three simple, or maybe not, little forms and color? Maybe follow the shadows and look for shifts in the light. Am I there or somewhere else again? Maybe thinking of the lucent glimmer of waves on a coastline, some mangroves, a Carolina skiff? Am I back on the island, in the wetlands looking again? Chasing the light, the glimpse of form and shadow that speak magic to me? Is that leaf of the berry enough of a palmetto, that blue near the choux close to a gulf blue? And that green shadow? Is that an after image from looking hard at things while in the sun? Or are they pastries, painted for show? Sometimes MR. Freud, a cigar is not just a cigar. Again, what's outside the frame? Or within the artist? And what are you bringing to it yourself? In looking at art, making art, collecting it too. Something shimmers, vibrates, something speaks to you, and there you have the beginning, a glimpse of truth. Need I say it? That call and response.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back To The Garden

My friends, old and new, love the "garden parties" that I have been painting. Like any good party, garden or dinner, lively and interesting conversation, a refreshing beverage and some variety help make it memorable. The whole is so much greater than the parts. The flow between, as I have said before, the juiciness of the paint. The thing that enters here, in this internet venue, is the arrival of new friends, former strangers that are suddenly like sunshine to me whenever they arrive. A ready smile, enthusiasm and a common love of all things good comes across in all the words I get from them. And the enthusiasm of their collecting. This little experiment is gaining ground much quicker than I anticipated and in ways I had not fully known would happen. My little original pieces are traveling all over the country and across the ocean to good new homes with fabulous, interesting people. So are art collectors, as a group and as individuals just cooler, keener people? I love boxing these up and sending them off to their new homes. Suddenly there is this extended gallery and lively new friends. We love treats. We love sparkle and color and joy. And like a good party, everyone comes away with something of value that lasts again long after the trays are put away, the leftovers are in the fridge or the brushes are cleaned and put away for the night. First and foremost an artist must paint for him or herself, the tickle of the inner muse. I have always likened it to looking for the heartbeat of a piece. But more, much more fun, is when there is that wonderful call and response between artist and art lover, between artist and art friends, between artist and old friends and artist and new friends.That's when the party gets going in full swing. I thought of you all when I painted this one. Can you see the smile?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Opera Bastille at Amis

Simple. Direct. Even has corners, which for me is rare. In my painting life, I am drawn to organic shapes, round, ovoid, irregular, odd. Things Fibonaci would like to count. Except there are doodles in my sketchbooks of rectangles of color standing alert with shadows cast and lines marking their place on the page. All of my years of technical and architectural drawing rise up occasionally and demand some time. My urge is to make them softer, rounder more welcoming. But right now, I long to straighten edges, cross hatch value, measure angles. Codify with measurements and topography. Quantify. And yet, I see tuxedoes here, gowns and smell perfume richly wafting through the air. The orchestra warming up, the audience hurrying to their seats. I need ruffles and flourishes, spaces to dream. Wiggle room in the measure, a soft edge or two.Possibilites unexplored, not quantified or fixed. Paint not yet tamed.There is perfume in the purple and a dance in the blue.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Raspberry Tart, Deux

Today marks the Deuxieme Anniversaire for me. A Sunday two years ago that I thought I could share. But it is way too personal and I am still too close. This series is about reconnecting with my work. Seeking an ease with a medium that I use to use only as an alternative. Finding a way in the studio while I am away from my home. Trying to find that joy and spontaneity that I used to find walking the wetlands, exploring barrier islands. I love exploring. I love Santa Fe. And all of the areas I have visited these past two years have something of interest to note. But today there is a tug, a tug on my heart that will always be there. Wanting to be there, with you, in that sliver by the river. Wanting to walk my bricks beneath the oaks down to the corner for café au lait and a visit with a friend. Chatting at the bookstore, catching up on the news, grabbing Ace's new book, or Doug's or Randy's or Tim's, or John Ed's. But instead, I will have cake here. In a Texas town. And make it alive as if I were walking my island again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chocolate Nun, Deux

These fascinate me. Ladureé has a whole group of Religieuses he makes. All very regal. This nun is everyday. Very posh and proper, but is comfortable about town getting it done. Do nuns wear the traditional habits anymore? I painted loosely and freely. Sometimes the paint just flows. Jumps right on the piece. I like to paint the impact of things. Somehow this kind of pastry connects me to the body of all art history, of ritual, of choices we make as painters. Reminds me that in the end it is the work, the doing of it that stands at the end of the day. Not intellectualizing it, not fitting a type, a genre. It all comes down to being out there and getting it done using the moment of looking to inspire, to drive us to pick up the brush. To put ourselves in that moment and capture it once again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Little Grapes and Fig

Can you tell I would love to be in Provence? Light is important to a painter. Some of us are heliotropes while others seem to thrive in the shade. Living in a semi tropical place affects one's work. Walking down old brick sidewalks through the dapples of light from live oak trees and magnolias past above ground tombs to get a daily cup of tea or coffee, the newest story or just a good book, well that light and rhythm and sense of place seeps into your bones and resides permanently in one's psyche. Walking on a barrier island, chasing wetlands dreams, it is all sun drenched unless there are clouds, or storms. Lazing within the alleé of pines and cypress of Audubon peering out across a lagoon, dapples, deep shade under some oaks, but again southern light. So my shadows and fruit are bits of all those places and the places I long to go. They are here and now as well.Looking at abundance and summer in a Texas town. Provence will come in its own time. Paris and Barcelona too. And of course all those islands. But there will be light and dapples and a little bit of shade. Beverages and breezes and plenty to paint.

Tarte Aux Pommes, Deux

Definitely Van Gogh.Simple shape. High key color. Generous tarte. Eternally comforting.I have always been drawn to light. I am a zone system photographer by training as well as a painter. Ansel Adams developed the system. Basically the point of it is that one sees and captures all ten zones of light values in an image without losing detail at either end. Your darks and your lights and zone five grey are all there. Your film, camera and lab are calibrated so that when you decide to click the shutter you have
the impact rendered as completely as you technically can. What this discipline really teaches you, besides patience, is how to look. But more, how to see. So when I give props to Harold Baldwin for teaching me how to paint, it is because of this intensive work in seeing light and form. The impact of relationships there. Relationships. Very important in painting. It is back to rhythms, form, color and light. Toss in line and texture too. It is the impact that calls so dearly. That elicits the response. In film or paint. The eye must eat, the head and hand pass it on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

St. Honoré

St. Honoré. Offering an homage is a dangerous thing. To offer up one's humble skills to a saint, well, gulp, may the powers that be be forgiving ones. Knowing how fabulous chocolate nuns are, I was hoping for a treat here too. Wow. To the top of the charts. Right up there with the Crepe Cake ( see earlier post ) And he is a treat to paint. He has this owl, angel, fluffy professorial air. Even a limited palette cannot disguise the joy of discovery here. Discovery of playful form, rich history, and something else. That je ne sais quoi, that other outside the frame again.This little guy represents a time and place that has reached across centuries, a continent and an ocean. He is a concept and a real person. One of the richest churches in Paris was raised to honor him.Thousands of pastry makers rise early every morning to test their skills by baking Galette St. Honoré and little ones like this. So this little meeting in the Main Street Bakery has spawned the curiosity that will lead me to more, to richer, to cultural ritual that feeds the soul. Not bad for a little paint and pastry.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Key Lime Tart

Tangy key lime. Simple fresh color. Form with spirals. Very nautilus. Mention key lime and I am back at Hemingway"s after sailing all day with George on the Gulf. Before the casinos and well before Katrina we would sail the Chanticleer over to Perdido for her June through October berth. Then sketchbooks and paint in my boat tote, we would head out on the weekends, past Pass Christian,Gulfport and Biloxi to our weekend floating home away from home. You know the song, "Cheeseburger in paradise"? Been there. Not too far away, over in back bay. Boat access. Island living again, a favorite of mine. Swimming in azur waters. Time, a natural rhythm. Thirsts quenched. Clouds studied. Friends hailed. And after cleanup and lots of lotion, off to Hemmingways where cocktails are bracing, fish is fresh and key lime pie is just the perfect way to cap off a perfect day. Lulled by the rhythms of gentle lapping waves. Stars brighter than ever remembered. Well, a little key lime tart can bring all this, even when my dear friend is gone. So happy colors and simple shadows, a dome of meringue. Another day in paradise.Here's to you my dear departed one. Smiles for you today.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tarte aux Pommes

Apple Band they called this. I call it scrumptious. The colors recall Monet's Table. Yellow and Blue. I keeping thinking Van Gogh, too. But most of all, I think apples and Anndel. Nothing like a beautiful day, unexplored country and a good friend. Toss in a family run apple farm nestled in a New Mexico canyon and some crisp apple cider. You have yourself a memorable day.Full of laughs and the crispness of a Santa Fe fall. Blue sky forever, white puffy clouds. Driving the back country roads, not the Quebradas, this time, That's a later story. It just doesn't get any better than this. So as I painted this rectangle of tarte, I thought fullness, laughter, light and sky.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Les Trois

Like friends meeting on the street. Chit chat ensues. I liked the high key nature of this trio. Lots in common, yet distinct. Stories unfold and flow. Movement. Color. Rhythm again. Its all about the flow. Rhythms and flow. Walking, riding a trolley, moving at a different pace. Stopping to chat with a friend. All ways of looking closer. Being there. Taking it in. And then passing it on. I walk. Light dapples on the the bricks beneath my feet. A smile, a remembered phrase. the pleasure of it all. And paint moves from palette to piece.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Turtle Cheesecake

Shade. I was thinking shade. I like the shapes the paper liners make and the shadows that are cast. This is a fluid piece. Dribbles and goo. The paper caught some of it. My fork caught some a little later. As I eat these with my eyes and while my brushes travel from palette and paint to the piece, my mind plays in a place where color and light and moments in time shift and ooze. Painting is an exploration. An access point where possibilities abound. Movement. Vibrance. Color. Form. The ooze and goo of art.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who Needs Lunch?

Raspberries anyone? I like this piece. It has presence. Pairs again. Les deux. To create a dynamic pull, Winslow Homer balanced a large element with a smaller one in his paintings. The diagonal between them, the space as well, heightens the impact and draws us in. How an artist entices us to enter the frame and moves us around the piece is as important as what is being painted. It is key to its energy. Its rhythm. Kandinsky's point to line to plane. So a raspberry can beckon. A lavender shadow can flow. A boat of creme and berries can uplift and call to the truffle where a raspberry beckons all over again. It is a perpetual call and response between the truffle, the eclair, the observer and observed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chocolate Lattice

I have nicknamed this one Kabuki Man. It's the shadows. Looks like an emperor all dressed for some ceremony, or to give great face. I am thinking jade and silk are not far away, and saki. Face. Very important. Is the color balanced? The form truthful? Are the strokes expressive? And now do my words have resonance? I started this experiment as a challenge in the studio. I am known for my large scaled watercolors. So here I am working small, and in oils. Almost daily. I had been asked to test e-commerce too as a venue. And I wanted to experiment with the free market system. Do a reality check all way round. A life changing storm will do that to you. You want to know what's left whole after the wind and water have swept so much away.What is true. What can be trusted. So you look to connect with the better parts of yourself. And try to put your best face out there. No matter where you are. The big pieces are still in me. Biding their time. But I am finding that they are all big pieces. Even if they come wrapped in chocolate lattice, with a little fruit on top. Saki, or Sazarac, oil or watercolor, paint is paint. A real part of me.And that is still whole.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tart Persimmon

Sun washed yet hinting of autumn. This was just a little surprise waiting on us at the Main Street Bakery. I love their things because they bake for the taste as well as the eye.And oop a la, look at the leaves and the bright orange. We think this is a very small persimmon. We had a lone persimmon tree in my front yard growing up . Loved the color. It is still Africa hot here but this makes me think of upcoming change. Wishful thinking, or longing for Santa Fe already? Crisp clear 65 degrees and blue forever. Colors and crunch. It is declasse to pave the roads off Canyon. So the walks there are really soothing and stimulating to all the senses. There's a sense of timelessness, well expensive timelessness. So we'll enjoy this little luxury for now. This treat from chef and maybe hear a slight rustling of aspens and cottonwoods.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Frommage Blanc

It was the blueberry eyes that got me. And the cool elegant form of this white cheesecake. It was filled with more blueberries inside. All I could think of was how soothing it would be to pull some ultramarine around here, some cobalt blue there. A little yellow up top and some deeper warm at bottom. But not too much. Cool , calm and ultimately simple. Definitely present. My desire to be near the brightness but definitely in the shade is obvious. So I am sending out a bit of a breeze, a cooling one to all my friends. Join me on the terrace. Relax. Let's catch our breath and chill for a bit. Brush is smiling too.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Garden Party

I thought a garden party was in order. So here is a gathering.I know some fine gardeners and some really good party givers. Of course in my neighborhood, any gathering over two can be a party. And if the conversation is really juicy, well just keep us in a fine beverage and let the story flow. It is the same with a painting, I think. It is the flow between the elements that gives it juice.The play of light on this one, next to that one. The color here, and over there. Just enough in common and just enough uniqueness to each. And that's when you get a party that is vibrant, and fun, and makes you yearn for more long after the trays are put away and the leftovers are in the fridge. Of course a really good story can continue on and on. New players and old. New venues and favorite old ones. Just keep the paint fluid and the beverages fine, and please bring a friend.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cheesecake Chilled

Shimmers. Gently bold. Like dapples of light under a shade tree, maybe a lemon one on the Isle of Capri. Maybe there's a cocktail nearby. Refreshing. Cool. There's definitely a breeze.I started out my career painting whites. Mostly in watercolor, but also in oil. There's a lot to be learned there about local color, form and painting what's outside the frame. Light and shade are both alive, vibrant. Suggestion and mystery are a must. Warm, cool, light ,dark. Balance, rhythm. Call and response. Happens too, local color, on terraces of cafes while sipping something fine. From underneath the shade, perhaps of a lemon tree, one observes, la vie dansent. Perhaps, ordinary, perhaps not, the shimmering of life.

Mango Mouse

This little cake was off center on its golden disk. As I turned it around to find the best angle, boo, there he was, just looking up at me. Mango Mouse. Perhaps his super power is to fend off this heat. Chill us all out. Kind of endearing, little blueberry eyes. Pick me, pick me. So I did.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cakes a Deux

Oasis. Islands. Twos. The idea evolved. I loved these cakes on first sight. Saw them as a pair immediately. Maybe I seek to improve the feng shui in my relationship corner by pairing things. We'll see if it works. I liked these because they are similar yet distinct. That they are sublimely cooling and clean, well, major plus right now. Painting subtle things and giving them depth and heft as well, presents a lovely challenge. Kind of like attraction, balance, light, passion, and form. Not too much, just enough. Well, that's like a relationship too. And love. Hmm. If you told me this was a painting about love, I would look twice and be amazed. Then nod. Yes. I guess it is.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Toffee Cheesecake

Do I get a hint of fall in this one? Yes. As the temps rise to 100, here I am painting a little chocolate leaf in a lake of toffee. The lake is held in check by a dam of chocolate. Of course, it just has to drip over the sides. Cascades of chocolate. Having hiked a few waterfalls in the autumn, I remember the freshness even as things were dwindling into the sleep of winter, to be buried later in the snow. Ahhh. There's some respite from the heat. I kept this one to the limited range of greens and lavender and oranges. The treat itself was mostly browns. That forces me to look for the bits of color, the surprise revealed in some little spot or another. Just like hiking those falls. So as the temperatures soar and we try to stay cool, perhaps a bead of liquid running down a glass, or chocolate sliding down the side of cheesecake, can take us to other, cooler places. Maybe to find a surprise or two here and there.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Fruit Tart, Grapes

Little tiny grapes and berries. We ate lunch at the Main Street Bakery and Bistro. This luxurious custard tart practically jumped in the box to come home with us. The artistry there is superb. Real creme, fresh fruit, novel arrangements. And the taste, yum times two.My favorite parts are the overflow of glaze under the strawberries and the vermillion glow next to the magenta in some of the grapes. There is a world to paint in this one, a sumptuous portable island. And you know I love islands. So here is another oasis, luxe, calm et volupte. Oh, and the grapes just exploded with juice in my mouth as I ate bite after bite. Still chillin' here in the summer heat. Hope you are too.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lemon Curd Cake

If I were looking for an oasis right now this would be it. Temps are rising outside after being held off by a rainy summer here in Texas. It will be Africa hot for awhile. In Europe everyone goes away for the whole month of August. Some of our favorite spots in New Orleans used to close for the month too. Yes, Crepe Nanou. You could hear the occasional gnat or mosquito buzz. Some lazy hound move from one spot of shade to the next. Everyone run from one air chilled island to another. The flavor of Trout Meuniere keeps coming to mind.Walking into Mandina's and ordering Trout Almondine. The meuniere comes with. And you know what goes well with yummy fresh fish? Lemon. Probably lemon curd cake would be really best. So my brush and I send this out to you for these dog days of summer. Tangy. Cool. And oh so right and bright. And there's shade on the side for the hound.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Harlequin Cheesecake 3

Huge glob of dripping chocolate oozing from under the strawberry caught my eye and engaged my brush. And I got to play in the high gloss refection. This makes me want to set up a study in excess. Something shiny silver, glossy chocolate and maybe succulent strawberries. I am on the search. My mouth is watering and my brush can't wait. Connecting with one's work is essential. I'm there. Are you? Did the blue pull you in, or was it the red? Maybe it is that contrast? Maybe the whole of it. There is a red mark in the right corner of Cezanne's huge Bathers in the Barnes collection. That mark has stayed with me for decades. Pulled me in and showed me me how to paint. Don't get me started on Twombley's marks. He has made a world with them. Ahh. Both large scale painters and here I am in love with a little bit of chocolate running down the side of a cake.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Crepe Cake

Quelle suprise! This little number was a blanket of perfect crepe with creme brulee inside. A smattering of bronzed sugar and berries sit atop a taste treat that you have to try slightly chilled. So it wasn't exactly the most colorful treat. The richness was waiting inside. The berries, wow, just the right "go with".The cleverness of anticipation. So my brush went to work on that. The color in the shadows and on the reflective surface are reminders to look again. The wonder is lurking right beneath your nose. Savor it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fruit Tart, Figs

This is all about abundance. And color. And light. How lucky are we that on any given day, most of us have access to such a tremendous variety of things to eat. My grandmother ate from her garden. They lived on a farm. But now we can walk into any market and see such variety and such a palette of color. This piece had so much going on in such a little space. I had been eyeing a neighbor's fig tree for a couple of weeks. Over the fence rule in play of course. You know, if it is over the fence or hanging into common space.....well I went back to check for ripeness and a whole picnic full of fat Texas squirrels were gleefully feasting away. Aughhh. So lucky for me, my fig fantasy still played out in this nice little medley of fruit on a tart with cream. Take that my furry fiends.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Papaya Blackberry Tart

Ahh. No. Nothing to do with hand held communication devices. I suppose you could pick it up and get the message of yum across to anyone in range. Are we still willing to savor our days and goodies like these? Pick up the vibrations of complimentary colors and juiciness? Or are we all wearing a track into the hustle bustle carpet of life. Although I may have blackberry envy. And am craving an iphone. My most meaningful communication takes place in a very small area with a little bit of a palette, some canvas and a brush. The cool thing is my work is internationally collected. So it travels farther than I do. WHO says a little brush can't go along way. Now if enough of them make the trip...maybe an iphone can become a reality. I may like organic and intimate but I love really cool tools. Good artists are very much of their time and place. So I am willing to explore a world that is flat... but it must have treats and light and color.