MY INSPIRATION & STYLE
An introvert at heart, I’m reaching out to—and creating connections with—friends, family and complete strangers through art. Creativity for me is about peace and resilience. I draw realistically but paint in a semi-abstract style. (Paint is a fluid medium so why not let it move?) My landscapes are inspired by local open spaces and my trips out west, as well as the general sense of hope that lives in my imagination. I continue to experiment by fracturing planes of space.
EXHIBITS & SALES
Having shown my work in Western Mass., Connecticut and NYC, my paintings are now available in my space at Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton and at Paradise City Arts Festivals (Memorial Day weekends) in Northampton. These local venues have resulted in most of my connections, feedback and sales, and make it possible for me to speak directly to visitors about what they see in my paintings. (Rewarding for me and hopefully for visitors as well.) I also offer private studio visits by appointment. I haven’t courted traditional galleries because I currently choose not to pay 50% commissions.
My “Open Studios” events also make it possible for me to offer customers high quality reproductions. I print and stock matted, archival digital prints in sizes ranging from 8×8” to 16×20”. I offer 5×7” notecards, and I sell small ceramic art tiles (the tiles are manufactored by a company specializing in fine art reproductions).
TECHNIQUE & MATERIALS
Solvent-free Painting with Traditional Oils
A solvent-free process is important and easy to manage. Solvents are toxic, especially in enclosed spaces, and solvents weaken the paint film. No turpentine, mineral spirits, odorless mineral spirits, petroleum distillates of any kind are in my studio. They simply aren’t necessary when oil painting or cleaning brushes, whether you’re a beginner or experienced artist.
I stretch and prime my own canvases first, and then use professional-grade oil paints (bound in linseed oil) once I start the actual painting. Applying paint in many layers, and on 3 or 4 paintings at a time, I switch from one painting to another while the layers dry. This is a “fat-over-lean” approach, which means later layers of oil paint should contain more oil, be slower drying and more flexible than previous layers. I use artist-grade linseed oil in small amounts to help the paint flow. Linseed oil and Ivory soap, in that order, are used to clean brushes.
Growing up in Easthampton, Massachusetts. I became obsessed with drawing at an early age. I redrew my coloring books on yellow-lined paper with #2 pencils. (Who needed waxy crayons?) I nagged my parents for inspiration (“What should I draw today?”) and was disappointed if they ran out of ideas. Eventually I’d come up with something —
a lamp, a vase, Ginger the family dog or my goldfish Fluffy. No lessons, just me and my #2s . I knew how to entertain myself and was happy.
As a teenager at Easthampton High, I studied relentlessly and was also interested in art and sports. High school gave me my first taste of art instruction: charcoal and graphite drawing, acrylic painting, watercolor (not yet oils), and pottery. I earned merit and financial aid scholarships and eventually went off to college.
My parents were hardworking people. Both originally from Easthampton, they met while employed in a factory. They didn’t go to fancy colleges but managed to send me to one. They chose Smith for me due to its stellar reputation and because it was close to home. Back then Smith College made a 4-year Bachelor’s degree affordable through grants, loans, student jobs, and modest family contributions. My relentless studying paid off and I was accepted. While at Smith I pursued my liberal arts degree, majored in studio art, and fell in love with oil painting.
Interesting Student Jobs
In addition to campus jobs (everything from dish washing to managing the college’s art supply store), I helped put myself through college by working summers in Easthampton factories. Local students like me had tuitions to pay, were happy to get full-time employment, worked with very nice people in the factory who didn’t get to go to college, and we didn’t dare complain. Some of the machines were a little scary but after four summers I still had all of my fingers. (There was one close call but that’s a story for another time.)
Career in Publication Design
With my liberal arts bachelor’s degree and a 6-month graphics internship on my résumé, I began a
35-year career as a publications designer for educational institutions, including 18 years on staff at Smith College. Immersed in graphic design for decades, I occasionally did find time to paint and draw.
PRESENT DAY: IN MY STUDIO
Painting full time now, my current studio is in a renovated Easthampton factory building full of artists, coincidentally right next to one of the factories I worked in 40 years ago (also now renovated). I work alone in my studio, focused on the many details involved in painting, and I’m surrounded by creative people. Driving there, I pass my parents’ old neighborhood, their first apartment, the factories they worked in, and their cemetery. Much has changed. From my studio window I can even see my old factory entrance. One hundred yards away. A lifetime ago.