Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cuba: Plaza de Armas

I made this quick sketch painting while sitting in the Plaza de Armas in Habana Vieja. The Plaza is home to a book market, which sells used and antique books. 

I sat in the shade of the plaza’s generous trees and made this painting. While I was sitting, a nearby book seller, who was also a painter stuck up a conversation with me. He told me that the statue in the plaza is of Carlos Manuel de C├ęspedes del Castillo, who fought for freedom from Cuba’s Spanish colonizers and also for freedom for slaves. 
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cuba: Balcony View

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Cuba to conduct professional research. I’ll be working with my colleague and travel companion to document our travel and research in the coming months. it was an extremely interesting trip to a country which presents a myriad of contradictions and complexities. I made a few watercolor paintings while I was there. Most of them were quick sketch paintings made quickly, without much time to linger on days with full agendas. 

This painting was made while sitting on the balcony of the casa particular where we stayed in the Vedado neighborhood. The balcony was an extraordinarily pleasant place to sit in the hottest part of the afternoon, or to enjoy breakfast. From the balcony we could see to the ocean and also glimpse the private lives of the nearby residences. I made this postcard painting of a apartment building that just down the street, with aquamarine painted accents.

I took this photo of the painting while in Cuba before mailing this postcard because I had heard that mail from Cuba can take a month or more and sometimes doesn’t make it at all. It has been three weeks since my return and the postcard has not yet made an arrival to it’s U.S. destination.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lake Harriet Save the Date

I recently had the pleasure of creating a save the date for a couple soon to marry in Minneapolis. For the save the date, I created a painting the Minneapolis skyline as viewed from Lake Harriet. It is a particular pleasure to create commissioned paintings of places that I have visited and loved. I made two visits to Minneapolis last year and stayed very near to Lake Harriet, which is one of the many picturesque lakes, which dot the city.  The bride knew that she wanted the painting to have an open sky with trees. We created this design in the depths of winter, the green leaves in the painting were a gentle reminder that spring and summer will return.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martha take Flight

I am delighted by the barter and “sharing” culture, which has developed with the assistance of the internet. I think Air B&B, Uber, and other services that allow for sharing of resources are fantastic. As an artist, I place particular value on the artistic work of others and want to be certain to recognize their time and effort. So, this painting was made as a barter with friends, who shared their fantastic musical abilities at a Rural Studio fundraiser in August. I’ve also made paintings in barter for financial planning advice and knife skills class. If you’d like to barter, let me know!
The painting was inspired by the song “The Cuckoo” and Martha, the dog of my friends. The words of the song, "Oh the cuckoo, she's a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies…” remind them of Martha. So they asked me to make a whimsical painting of Martha flying through the air with her front paws extended superman style. 
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From the Archives: Summer Day at Oak Street Beach

I made this painting in the summer of 2013, while sitting on Oak Street Beach in Chicago. I was surprised when I moved to Chicago that our city has beaches. Of course, I knew that Chicago has a lakefront, what I didn’t imagine was that the lakefront is dotted with beaches, with sand, and in the summer, sunbathers, beach umbrellas, paleta carts, beach bars, teenagers hanging out, and all that one would expect to find at a “beach.” Though I’m frequent visitor to the lake for bike rides, walks and picnics, I rarely “go to the beach.” I did spend afternoon there last summer with some friends. I made this painting on that occasion. It was a challenge to try to capture the crowds of people, in constant motion around us and the dynamic nature of the scene. As you may guess from the painting I made, I was particularly taken with the vibrant blue umbrellas. 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reid Park, Tucson

On our last day in Tucson, after a relaxed brunch we spent an afternoon at Reid Park. Reid Park is a large public park. which is home to a small zoo, Rose garden, a reflecting pond, with a waterfall. I made this painting sitting on a rock under a tree next to the waterfall overlooking the reflecting pond. It was a pleasant place to sit and paint, even on a Monday the park was bustling with activity, including a group of men piloting their remote controlled sail boats on the reflecting pond. I’m always looking for opportunity to paint the water and the reflecting pond was particularly pleasing to paint, with its serene surface providing interesting reflections and colors.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Desert Diamond Cup, Tucson

Part of our visit to Tucson was spent at the Desert Diamond Cup, a pre-season MLS (Major League Soccer) Tournament. In addition, to taking in the soccer, I enjoyed sitting in the warm sun and making paintings. As a painter, I believe firmly in pushing the boundaries of your abilities. In the spirit of the Eleanor Roosevelt adage, “Do one thing every day that scares you,” as a painter I find myself wanting to make paintings of unfamiliar subject matter, sometimes “failing,” but often expanding my perception of what I can do. I made these paintings in this spirit. I had never made soccer paintings before, but it was a pleasant setting and interesting to consider compositions at this venue, over the course of two days.
View of stands from picnic bench at end of field.
Sketch of tree made while talking to my friend Brendan on the phone.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fort Lowell Park, Tucson

On our first day in Tucson, still weary from a late night flight, we spent an afternoon at Fort Lowell, one Tucson’s public parks and once a U.S. Army fort built in 1873. The park features a duck pond, where families fed the birds bits of bread, bringing back memories of my own childhood outings to the LA Country Arboretum with my Grandparents. I took up a spot on a shady bench and made this painting of the duck pond and it’s desert surroundings. It was a charming spot and a lovely park. The pond provides an unusual contrast to the earth tones of the surrounding desert, reflecting those tones off the water’s surface.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tucson Travel

I recently spent a week in the desert. It was my first return to Arizona since I lived for a year in Phoenix, after graduating from college. It is always a delight to visit landscapes, which are so different from the places that I call home and I was delighted to explore Tucson for the first time. 
Flora at Tohono Chul Gardens
I was particularly taken with Saguaro National Park, located off of Cactus Forest Drive, which is quite appropriate because in the park you can see hundreds of cacti in every direction you look. There is something still and serene in the stark landscapes of the desert. Even the dryness of the desert air seems to suggest a kind of calm and the long view across the desert valley is spectacular.
Saguaro National Park
In contrast to the in the desert terrain of Saguaro National Park, part of our time in Tucson was spent at a lush green field taking in pre-season MLS (Major League Soccer) games at the Desert Diamond Classic. Though the cultivated green fields feel a bit out of place in the Tucson desert, the setting is quite pleasant, with a long view the Catalina Mountains and their rich, warm tones at twilight. I enjoyed not just the soccer matches, but also making paintings and sketches, and people watching players and fans.
Bench with water feature at Tohono Chul Gardens
And, of course, there were there are the more urban aspects of Tucson, which sprawls across the open dessert in a more controlled way than Phoenix. I especially enjoyed a visit to Tohono Chul Gardens, meals at Ghini’s French Cafe and Bentley’s, and the opportunity to see Charade on the big screen at the Loft
Sunset from Gates Pass
Check back in the coming weeks for paintings made on this desert adventure, and as Chicago finally begins to thaw, I am feeling energized by the painting and travel opportunities to come in the warmer months. 
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

View From a Hill

This commissioned painting was completed for a woman as a gift to her husband on their first wedding anniversary. This photo was taken at the spot where they  had their first date and first kiss 10 years ago prior. If you’d like a custom painting, I am delighted to create paintings to commemorate special memories.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chilean Wedding Map

One of the fantastic things about keeping a modest Etsy shop is that is allows me to connect with people not just all over the U.S. but also all over the world! I’m currently creating a custom painting for a woman in Finland. This project was another such international client. I created this custom wedding map for a bride in Chile. She was married in a Church followed by a reception at a private park. She wanted a map that would convey the feeling of the rural feel of the venue, characterized by rolling green hills.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Custom Castle Invitation

I created this custom save-the-date and wedding invitation for a couple who will be marrying at a beautiful castle in the Italian countryside. In the year I spent studying in Rome, there were many travels into the small hilltop towns of Italy.
It was a delight to make this painting and recall those days exploring the beauty of Italy's landscape and architecture. Congratulations to Kelly and Jesse!
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