Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Spatter of Good Intentions

I have some white knit Capri pants that I love. They have a pocket on one thigh for coins and they hug my hips snuggly making me feel sleek and thin under a Tee. So why can’t I find them? I search frantically through my drawers as the clock ticks incessantly. I’m running late and don’t need this added stress. And then it hits me! They’re in my closet bone yard; a cloth mound where all such clothing ends up eventually.

I remember donning them on the day of their death. I never meant to have a full painting session. I was only going to “fix” a spot on canvas with a ragged edge, a missing shadow, a flaw I’d seen after my last session. I only meant to dab a little paint here and a swipe there; but before I knew it, I was in full mode and totally unprepared wearing my favorite pristine pants.

There are other favorites in my plot of threads like a straight legged pair of Levi jeans that my sweetheart nicknamed “biker chic,” and a peach shirt with white stripes by Liz Claiborne that was purchased in the bargain rack especially for a peach skirt by the same name.

There are other things in my closet graveyard that I’m not so fond of: the shorts and tops I purchased because I couldn’t resist a bargain, and then find the flaws only after I get back home. The checkered shirt given to me by an ex-daughter-in-law where the checks never matched up when you button the shirt. But hey, nobody’s perfect, especially me!

I was the kid in school with the scuffed shoes, and the ink on my arm or shirt because I doodled and daydreamed my way through high school. I was the uncoordinated, gangly teenager who “car hopped” or waitressed for extra money and sometimes spilled the goods on me while carrying a tray.

I was an accident waiting to happen; uncoordinated and lacking in grace, I stumbled through life. Even now I must wear a bib while eating spaghetti or look out! You know the expression: “She wears her heart on her sleeve?” Well, I wear my life on my chest; just ask my friends as I spit-wash the toothpaste from my shirt or a speck of make-up that has spattered in an embarrassing place.

And that brings me back to the paint spattered clothing on my closet floor: discarded like old remains, peeled off in layers like the skin of an onion; my own personal bone yard. I still pick through its remains (they bring back memories). I wear them when I paint (I’m recycling!). If my husband asks me about it, I say: “Hey, I’m saving the earth.”

The featured painting "Great Egret" is my first water color artwork. It was a wonderful learning experience. I intend to do more; it's great for birds! I hope you enjoyed it. Go to a previous blog to see the original drawing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Art – Why Now?

I love that Ford commercial where the masculine trucker, Mike, walks out and says: “People ask me, Mike, why Ford? Why Now?” In a last ditch effort to keep Ford afloat and truck buyers buying, Ford is still pitching woo in spite of a lagging economy and a less than stellar sales forecast. Do the words “bail out” have everything to do with it?

If we could only apply this principle to artwork, perhaps more artists would be successful. Why Art? Why Now? Let me summarize:

• From the first doodles on cave walls, humans have had a need to express themselves, to communicate, and to illustrate their world view; whether for future generations or for their own self gratification.

• Graffiti is just another form of cave writing for the urban generation trapped within cement walls yet eager to mark their territory and beautify their environment. Is it art? Unquestionably.

• From their early beginnings, people have yearned to interpret what they see and feel, and to get it down via brush strokes or pen scratching.

• Art defines life; it defines us.

• Art brings the outdoors inside. It captures our imagination and our inner longings.

• What else can art do? If nothing else, it can brighten up a corner, make a personal statement about us, and provide us with a sense of tranquility or comic relief.

• Art may become an investment, part of a collection or an heirloom over time that may enrich future generations.

Art is probably the last thing you buy when you’re financially hurting, and the first thing to go in a downturn or recession. Yet its value is intrinsic by nature and difficult to define. How do you measure serenity, cheer, contentment, curiosity or mental stimulation?

Art appeals to the best in us and sometimes to the worst. It captures our hopes, inspires our imagination, and challenges us to think, to dream, or to ponder the relevant, the absurd, and the profound. I don’t know about you, but my life would be bleak without the influence of art from the past and the present.

Consider a life without romance; a life without the dimension of color, nuances, changes and new perspectives. The spoken and written word reveals and enlightens, but the unspoken revelations on canvas speak volumes to the yearnings of the heart. They conjoin the very soul to participate in a silent celebration of life.

Today, please celebrate my ode to flower art. I love to exaggerate color and the twists and turns of petals and leaves. My flowers are not meant to be authentic representations of nature, but celebrations of them:

“Flash Dance” my orange hibiscus  at the top of the page, reminds me of pinwheels turning, burning in the sun the way their petals overlap.

“Sunshine” my weathered sunflower has stretched her petals so far and wide that they are beginning to turn and crumple.

“Hibiscus Glory” is at its peak of perfection. Her glorious yellow petals are tinged with lavender and rose as she unfolds in the sunlight.

See all at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall is in the Air

Fall has always been my favorite time of year: the turning of leaves, the delicious first bite of a Jonathan apple fresh-picked from an orchard. Cider newly made, corn shocks, hay rides, a pot of chili on frosty nights and toasty memories of bonfires, wiener roasts, and fun.

In Florida, except for the intense muggy heat of summer, it’s green and glorious year round. Without the changing seasons, it can also lead to monotony. In today’s blog, I celebrate fall, Oktoberfest, and new beginnings.

Back by popular demand, I’m creating more art deco pieces; this time with an emphasis on the geometric shapes so popular during the era. For those who may be unfamiliar with this style, art deco (according to Webster) was a “pervasive decorative style in the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by bold outlines, streamlined and rectilinear forms, and the use of new materials (plastic).” Plastic – ish! Big in the 20s and now public enemy number one if you ask an environmentalist.

The sheen of chrome and plastic was the “cat’s meow.” The added glitter of silver and gold brightened the geometric patterns and gave off an aura of sophistication and glamour. The 1920s were high-flying times. America’s Industrial Revolution was underway and people were trying to shed the shackles of Victorian prudishness and pride.

My 11x14 panels will have a background of geometric shapes in varying shades of gray and black. (You really have to use your imagination!) I’m flitting between an eye-popping red apple off center on one and a flashy green pear on the other (perfect for the kitchen)...or glamour poses of flapper cuties for the boudoir or bath. Your input will help me decide. Please leave your comments and vote your choice.

And for all of you who thought you knew what “Starving Artist” meant. I’ll give you another definition: “An artist who spends so much time painting he or she doesn’t have time to cook!” Unless, like me, you have a husband (or wife) who does the cooking so you don't have to.

I thought it might be fun to include some “Starving Artist” recipes that are cheap, quick, and brainless. This month, I’m featuring a German dish.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to be in Germany during Oktoberfest. It was fabulous! I stayed in Rüdesheim, a quaint romantic town along the Rhine River. The entire city was bedecked in hanging baskets overflowing with bright red geraniums. The surrounding emerald hills were spattered with the reds and gold’s of autumn and made a colorful backdrop.

Beer halls were bursting at the seams with overly happy customers. Steins were clicking, foam was sloshing, and hearts and voices sang loudly with the “Oompa” bands which played both day and night. In honor of Oktoberfest, here is my 30 min. meal for “starving artists” and anyone else that hates to cook and doesn’t have time or money.

Sausage Casserole:

1. In a large casserole dish, slice potatoes and onions to the three-fourths mark. Moisten with about ½ C. chicken stock.

2. Microwave for about 10 min. or until the potatoes are just tender.

3. Slice Kielbasa sausage rounds over the top. Microwave for another 10 min.

4. Cut a head of cabbage into wedges. Place wedges around the top of the dish and drizzle with butter. Cover and microwave another 10 min. or until the cabbage is just tender.*

*Another option is to use sauerkraut (I prefer Bavarian with caraway seeds) in place of the cabbage (or you can use both if there’s room.

All of these wonderful flavors blend and become a mouthwatering dish; a complete meal in one large casserole. Have a swig of beer and enjoy Oktoberfest!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Branching Out

Networking, salesmanship and faithful clients are lifeblood to the artist. Without them, we lead a lonely life as an audience of one with a huge inventory of artwork. Thank goodness for friends and for online galleries where you can share, compare, get critique from other artists, and talk about personal frustrations.

Beginning this month, I will be displaying some of my bird art at a new store called: “Green-n-Groovy” that will have its grand opening in Fort Myers on Friday, Sept. 24. Green-n-Groovy is an “earth friendly store selling gifts for mind, body and spirit.”

The store features gifts of nature, recycled and one-of-a-kind items that are not only earthy and environmentally friendly, but downright chic and cutting edge. Over 50 artists are represented. The owner, Lisa Buscher, brings experience from her original store in Pennsylvania. To quote Lisa, Green-n-Groovy is “a fabulous shopping experience for the discriminating, eco-conscious and savvy consumer.”

I’ve been there, and I was surprised by the elegant and sophisticated sculpture, artwork and gifts that are on display. Lisa will add a new line of trendy and classic clothing all from recycled materials.

The shop is located at the Bella Villa Shops off of Daniel’s Parkway in Fort Myers: 8890 Salrose Lane, Ste 105 (behind the 1st floor elevator). Upstairs, Lisa will host cocktail openings, introduction of new artists, signings and classes. Check out Lisa’s online store at

From November 13 through February 13 of next year, I will be on display at Mervil Design Center, Inc. in Naples on 2100A Trade Center Way. Mervil is a major Southwest Florida marketer to the interior designer trade, serving more than 300 affiliated design professionals.

Selected works placed in the gallery will be viewed by trade professionals who design and decorate some of the finest and most expensive homes in America.

Read all about these activities at my online gallery on “Events” tab at:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

I admit. I’ve never done watercolors. I’ve used oils for many years, and later added acrylics, a similar medium; but I’ve never tried water colors.

An opportunity came up in my art league, and I jumped at the chance. How will it turn out? I don’t know. I may not even like watercolors. At any rate, I’m still game to try new things even though some would say I’m “past my prime.”

You will have the chance to see me stumble through this class from first drawing to subsequent washes.

I’m also going to share a few pictures of my instructor, Parker Harlow. Parker has donated hours of his time in helping budding artists in our league flourish.

He has also offered space in prime locations for members to display their works. Kudos to Parker!

I started my painting with a drawing and then used masking material to protect those areas that must remain white. In some cases, this is unnecessary, and the artist can simply wait for certain areas to dry before applying more paint to avoid the “bleed.”

After adding my washes, Parker showed me how to define shapes and forms with the darker colors so I don’t lose my drawing completely. When the paint was dry, I rubbed off the masking fluid with a white erasure. The rubbery waste was swept off with a dry paint brush, and later emptied outside in the shrubbery. (Shhh! don’t tell.)

I will have to refresh some of my drawing which was erased out. Next week, I’ll add more washes and start putting in the details. Stay tuned….

Wm. Parker Harlowe is the owner of Harlowe Studios Inc. and is well known for his murals and artwork in the Fort Myers area. To quote Parker: "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life."

Check out Carol's online gallery at:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

“With These Hands—Hope”

Hope is a bird flying on the upward thrust of a ball. Will the thud of pigskin on metal send the ball hurling outward in a disappointing loss? Will the ball circle the rim and teeter on the brink of success or failure? Or will a triumphant swoosh signal a clear shot?

This is the third painting in my “With These Hands” series, titled “Hope.” The young basketball player is transfixed, and everyone’s eyes seem to galvanize on the moment. The clock is ticking; her team members play defense and wait. The fans cheer in anticipation. She’s focused. Half-whispered prayers rise upward moistening the eyes and the palms.

At that moment, the wheels of motion grind to a halt. In her mind’s eye, everything is happening in slow motion. In reality, she knows that decisions are made in a split second. She knows that accuracy is predetermined by hours of practice doing hoop shots in countless layups on court and at home pounding the driveway until bedtime. She’s ready. Will hope bring fulfillment?

Have I captured this scenario on canvas? To refresh your memory, here is the painting from conception through subsequent layers of paint. As I told you on a previous blog, the paint itself comes from the earth, and there is give and take between the artist’s imagination and the tools and materials he or she chooses to work with.

A painting truly does have a life of its own. I felt the vibrancy of this young girl from the start. I wanted to breathe life into her and be the instrument in sharing her dreams and hopes with you. If you enjoyed this painting, I am pleased.

The painting will also be posted on my online gallery at where you may purchase prints, giclees, or cards with a click of your mouse. How easy is that!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Compromise is a Good Thing

I wanted to get this painting up and running on Friday, but it was more complicated than that. In the process of “catching up” after my vacation, I discovered some unresolved issues at my church where I’m a web master.

To make a long story short, I spent hours on the phone on two different days, only to discover a much needed program had expired. In the meantime, in my absence a logon password had been accidently corrupted, and we had to get a new one with resultant changes in our domain server.

Anyway, details aside, I refused to “rush the brush,” and so my blog is late. With all that’s on your agenda this weekend, perhaps you won’t mind.

When my mixed media painting was finished, I realized I had no shadows of the figures coming from the direction of my light source. I debated with myself over that for a long time. Did I really want to smear shadow over those wonderful checkerboard floors? But then again, it would provide me with a better spot for a visible signature.

This piece is the third mixed media painting in my “Roaring Twenties” series. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have enjoyed painting them.

Getting back to acrylics and drawing was a refreshing change from my usual oil paintings. I had more freedom, I could experiment and I had a great time! It also worked well with my busy travel schedule over the past several weeks.

I have some exciting ventures coming up. In conjunction with Gateway Artists, I will begin displaying at Mervil Design Center in Naples starting in October. Mervil is a new art gallery marketing to the interior design trade, serving more than 300 affiliated design professionals. I will have three paintings on display every three months

I also have membership with the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, and will begin a portrait refresher course in October under the tutelage of Richard Kirk artist and author of “Painting a Portrait.”

Next week I’ll return to my “With These Hands” series and complete my oil painting of “Hope.”

(Featured covers are by John Held, Jr. discussed in an earlier blog.)

Today’s mixed media painting is titled: “Shimmy-Shake.” You may also see it on Facebook at AnfinsenArt and on my web gallery at