I am thrilled to say that I have two young Granddaughters whose Art will be displayed in an Art show this upcoming weekend . The family legacy continues as these two also take care of a stable full of horses. One rides English, the other Western and Championship ribbons have been pulled already. I may miss my days of competition – but seeing these two young beauties enjoy their horses is pure delight to me.
Music chosen by Janine
What’s your background?
I grew up in the country in the Hudson Valley of NY. Barely one hour’s drive from NYC – but at that time it was a whole other world. Surrounded by fields and farms, as kids we were able to roam the mountainside, play in the woods and spend our days down at the waterfalls. My earliest memories were of pony rides down at Clove Acres ranch. Little did I know then how that would shape and guide my future . My sisters and I grew up working at that farm . Taking care of the stable, our own horses, and riding in the horse shows. I had a Paint horse at the time and competed in Gymkhana events. That horse was very aggressive in competition and pulled plenty of Championship ribbons and trophies, it was my job just to hold on. Ah, the glory days…. My son lives on a farm and has several horses – the grandchildren now ride horses and place in shows !
Does your artwork come from that background?
Yes, my love for all things “Country ” and being outdoors in Nature. It is all that I know really. My artwork is a memoir. A reflection of my life and how I experienced those times. It is a longing for “Home” and to return to cherished times, if just for a few brief moments. Most of our time spent with family is on the farm or at horse shows – the land provides me with most of my inspiration.
What are you trying to say with your work?
My wish is that I can evoke a memory. I hope that the viewer feels invited in to a scene, and wants to spend some time walking around. Not everyone will enjoy or be interested, but for those who are – I hope to pull forth a strong emotion for them.
What made you choose the medium you work with?
I learned how to paint with Oils along with Bob Ross of course . As the years went by and the family grew with children, dogs and cats – it was no longer convenient to have wet canvas lying around drying. Watercolors, while convenient, quickly proved to be quite the challenge . Although quite difficult at times, they were filled with wonderful surprises. It seemed to me to be a reflection on life . You don’t always get what you expected – but if you can get through and get past the struggle – the results are always well worth it. I still believe that ” the Fairies ” finish my paintings for me. Every Painter knows that there is this horrible phase where it is just so ugly – and you can’t believe that it will ever turn in to anything. But it does. The watercolor Fairies do it.
My job is just to introduce colors together.
Do you work in a studio?
I am fortunate to have a small spare bedroom that is converted in to a studio . Tons of art supplies stuffed in to buffets and hutches. All ” my specials ” are kept displayed on the hutch – as they inspire me. Bird’s nests and Robbin’s eggs, feathers and crystal rocks. Hand made gifts and ornaments that my family has given to me. They remind me of who I am. I have my Painting easel displayed between two windows that look out in to the forest . My Art studio feels like a tree house to me . A herd of deer is a daily sight, and several times a season I will see a bear moseying by. Last year he spent an entire hot lazy day just lounging at the base of a tree, possibly a whole 20 ‘ away – with not a care in the world..
What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?
Interesting enough it is my camera that I would not wish to be without. Even though I am primarily a Painter- my camera goes with me everywhere I go. It captures all the details for me that I can bring back to the studio. I paint the emotion from the memory, and the picky little details come from a photo.
Who are your biggest influences?
My greatest influence of Watercolor is Andrew Wyeth. My heart aches from his portrayal of the rural Pennsylvania countryside. The bare bones of the land – the austerity of its stark Winter existence. Although I am completely drawn to his stoic nature – you will quickly observe that I paint nothing like him. I may desire to – but my paint brush has a habit of picking up orange or purples and throwing it in a scene. My style is somewhat whimsical and Illustrative . My trees can be spooky at times but my scenes are typically uplifting. Blame it on the Fairies.
One of my greatest joys is that I get to share my artistic sense and way of seeing things with my two grown children. Each an Artist in their own right . My daughter Jasmine has won awards at local Art shows. She enjoys the use of multiple mediums – but excels at using charcoals and doing Portraits. When I am painting a scene – I will always call her in to critique it . A split second and she will point out what is needed for the finishing touches. My son Christopher is a Photographer who is always out there capturing the bridges in the Hudson Valley . His work can be found by the name Christography. I enjoy when we get to go on an adventure capturing the local scenes. Our last day out shooting pics together was at the Scranton Railyard. A cold rainy late October day ( and we were both recently released from the hospital for different ailments ) and we had a blast. There is much to celebrate when you appreciate the time that you have.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
That is like picking your favorite child. I also create Photographic Art, so each creation was a journey – complete with fond memories and stories to tell.
One piece that has touched my heart in a special way was – ” Pete the Mule ” . I met Pete up on my way to Cooperstown NY as we were going to visit with family. There was a farm down the road – and for some reason we decided to stop and say Hello. I’m sure I had my camera out to take pictures. Pete had so much love in his heart to give. You could see all his old scars from days gone past – but was grateful to his new owner who was a kind gentleman . Look in Pete’s eyes, and you will see his soul .
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
A painting can take from three days to three weeks. I am getting too edgy with that lately – and want a piece completed in under a week. I have a lot to say – and feel the need to get pieces out there. I have been painting with Watercolors for over 25 years – still learning new techniques every time I paint. They’re actually called mistakes, but if you can remember how to replicate them – you have a new technique. For the first twenty years I was a “Traditional Style ” painter. Basically that means no white paint used or any other mediums to enhance your work. I am no longer interested in challenging myself that way – I paid my dues. I will use whatever means it takes to express myself. Life it too short to not leave your authentic mark on it.
What do you want people to say about you when you are gone ? ” She followed the rules ” isn’t it.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
I have a very difficult time knowing when to finish a piece. I love painting intricate details, I find it relaxing. Not a splashy loose painter by any means . Perhaps when I have exhausted myself with a scene and am no longer obsessed with it. I like to push my skills to the limits. I quite often win, but sometimes I do lose. I’ve learned that I can always paint it over again. With new insight.
Music chosen by Janine
What project are you working on now?
I have been working on a series of painting Little Country Churches. My son will catch a few images for me in his travels, and I have the local shots. I’d like to do a favorite church from each of the local little towns. In small towns many of life’s memories are surrounded by the local church .
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
It was Wyeth again. Painters often have anxiety about ruining a fresh clean piece of ( very expensive ) paper or canvas. Wyeth’s simple cure for that was to take a pencil and make a strike on the clean paper. ” There, your paper is ruined now ” he said,” and the only thing you can do to improve it is paint on it “. That is paraphrased, but it sure did stick with me.
Also I credit my husband for purchasing a huge roll of watercolor paper for me. No more worries of ruined paper – I now had tons of it.
What was the first piece of art you sold ?
I’ve been painting since about ten years old – I simply can not remember my first sold piece. I do remember my first Oil painting of an Ocean wave that I painted – it came out so beautiful in teals and aquamarines, I was shocked that had happened. Throughout the years I have painted everything in sight. I have painted and sold several houses – inside and out. I have painted many pieces of decorative furniture . I’ve painted hair for a living . My family seems to collect Paint horses. It’s in the blood. The sale was never as important as the doing. Maybe I should rethink that ?
Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?
I am a very friendly and outgoing – Introvert, as most Artists often are. I tend to keep to myself and my family. I have enjoyed living in Milford and participating in the local Art shows and Black Bear Festivals – what I have not done yet is committed to hanging in a gallery. It is because I enjoy producing my art in isolation that I have focused solely on online and print sales . I get to hoard my originals that way – I don’t have to worry about the immediate sale of an original painting when prints are available to the public. Committees of large groups can be quite taxing and vexing to the spirit. I have not yet found my niche in the local arena.
What are you personally doing to advance your work career?
I just adore the town that I have recently moved in to. Milford PA is consistently listed in articles as one of ” America’s 10 coolest small towns”. The variety of architecture is an Artist’s playground. I would like to focus on creating a body of work of local sights. I am intrigued by architecture as of late. They are more complicated to produce than a landscape – with all those pesky straight lines . When I feel that I have a decent body of work to display – I will then focus on presenting in galleries in my local areas.
How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?
Pricing is probably the most difficult topic an Artist will face. Perhaps a look around the Art studio at all the ridiculously expensive supplies and equipment will remind one to take their work seriously. Know who your audience is at first – I would like my art to be available to the average consumer. Thankfully prints are available in a variety of sizes – and price ranges. On Paper, Canvas, Acrylic or Metal prints – the purchaser gets to choose. That makes my life so much easier . If a Collector is interested in an Original – they may certainly contact me .
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
Barely. I keep an Artist Facebook page so that so that family and friends from back home can keep track of what I am doing. Everyone’s support has always meant the world to me. My family’s encouragement keeps me going I try to add a few things to Pinterest Collections. That’s about as talented as I am with social Media.
Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?
I am sure there would be lots of things if I really paid attention. I simply do not “Art Speak ” for one . I also do not engage myself with people who have a disproportionate sense of importance or entitlement.
What advice would you give new artists?
Being an Artist is such an individualized experience. I wouldn’t know what it is that each person wishes to seek. I would tell someone to be authentic in their art, and find your niche. Do not be concerned with the ” shoulds ” and the latest fads. As life gets busy – remember who you are. Keep a sketch pad and pencil in the car, or a cheap camera in the glove compartment if that is all you can afford . I truly believe if you are doing what you enjoy – you will flourish.
Have you got hobbies?
Other than art ? Let’s see… I do enjoy Flea markets and dawdling through thrift shops . I like to take time worn pieces and recreate them, using as decoration around my home. I’ve spent many years landscape gardening – but my new home is now surrounded by forest. I’ve picked up Kayaking recently . We enjoy fishing and hiking in many of Milford’s state Parks. Milford has so many activities going on in town – I enjoy a few hours stroll to stop in a say Hello to everyone. My camera is always with me of course .
Where are you based?
Milford PA is in the North East of Pennsylvania nestled in the Pocono Mountains. My family still has a home in the Hudson Valley, so we travel back and forth visiting. It is good to see the old sights of Home.