It’s a colorful day here in the studio and new work has been sent flying, like autumn leaves, to a gallery near you (That would be the Granary Gallery if you happen to be taking a walk on Martha’s Vineyard )… Here’s a sneak peak with Painter’s Notes to read so pull up a chair and a cup of tea…

The Reverie – 12 x 16

The Reverie72

I have been sitting here in the studio office for over four hours now,
basically avoiding the task of writing Painter’s Notes.

Yes, I have been distracted by important things…
like the glorious clear November sky,
screaming its glaze of King’s Blue Deep,
overtop of which the tapestry of fall oaks and maples are positively on fire with peak season color.

Or the twenty minutes I just spent editing the photo I had to take of the praying mantis,
who I discovered sunning herself on the air-conditioning unit outside of my easel window,
when I walked over there to get a piece of gum.

And in between I have listened to two radio interviews by Krista Tippett,
whose conversations with modern day Clerics, Mystics and Buddhist monks
often stop me in my atheist tracks
and shine a light on my own particularly flawed humanity.

So, ok focus…and I am looking, once again, at this painting…and remembering.
It was a hot summer day and the bed of zinnias which I had planted for Pat was full of flowers.
It was late enough in the season for them to have to make way for the Black Eyed Susans,
and for the garden rake to be covered over with cornflowers.

I remember that I had noticed, the day before I started the painting, that the swallowtails were spending the early morning dancing in that bed, and that the first rays of light climbing over the hill made them seem like stained glass windows.
So I had taken some quick photos before I sat with the sketchbook.
As so often happens this was serendipitous because when I came over the next morning,
and sat waiting…and waiting…for the sun to replicate those shafts of cathedral light,
the one butterfly, which I had fancied and chosen as model, returned with a broken wing.

I didn’t see it until just now,
but the colors are the same, in the summer butterfly and the autumn leaves,
and both just as brilliantly alive
with the spirit…
procrastination or reverence ?

Her Smalls – 24 x 23

Her Smalls72

I believe the origin is British
but that doesn’t matter.
Smalls…it’s just a matter of undergarments.
And the dearness of intimacy.
And the gift of props.
Like the hat box which belonged to John’s grandmother.
The tiny gloves that I wore to the White House.
The delicates which used to live on the shelves in the Muddy Creek General Store.
The leather purse and traveling iron which used to live on the shelf in Jane’s shop.
The coin silver spoon that Ted gave.
The teacup that Sue had to remind me was from her grandmother.
And that whimsical handkerchief of Polly’s which I pulled from the drawer
because of it’s red stripe, and only discovered half way through setting up the still life,
that it’s little girl was, Herself, doing the ironing.

Some of my most favorite paintings come from a single word.
And the gathering round of favorite things.
And the gift of quiet leisure in which to cherish them both.



Garden Graces

The studio garden is alive with color this week so I’ve been spending time outside each morning listening for the muses…


I had photographed this butterfly yesterday as she drank in the nectar from Pat’s Zinnia bed…and so today I brought out a teacup and set it on the split rail fence…and waited…and waited…for the sun to climb over the tree tops and reach that same raking angle.

garden set up

Pat came out and found me sitting and staring at the fence and decided it would be a good time to pick some of her flowers…

pat with zinnias

Herself never looks lovelier than when she is holding a handful of her beloved Zinnias.

Just after she left the sun came through and I captured the shadows through the petals and the fleeting light. As I turned to leave, yesterday’s butterfly came back and danced across the tops of the remaining flowers. I was sad to see that a large chunk of her delicate wings had been broken off.

So my visit with her yesterday, in all her cathedral-winged glory, was arranged by the muses after all…and, like so many of these Garden Graces Series paintings, the emphasis is on…grace.