Close to Home

Five years ago, I climbed up a ladder in the Art Room of the New Bedford Public Library so I could peer down at the restoration in progress of Alfred Bierstadt’s Mount Sir Donald. It was impressive to see, but what stole my heart that day was a small painting on the far wall by another New Bedford painter, Charles Henry Gifford. Sunlight from a large side window made Coastal Scene with a Gundalow glow with an ethereal quality that captivated and inspired me. Could I ever create landscape imagery that would be suffused with a light like that?

It took a walk along the Fairhaven bike path to make me think it might be possible. As the mist coming off the salt marsh diffused the morning light, I wondered if Bierstadt or Gifford, who spent their early years in this community, had ever watched the sunrise from this same vantage point. I began to envision a series of local landscapes in a Hudson River School style.

Close to Home: Marsh Dawn Archival pigment print on vellum with white gold

While these painters used glazing, varnishing and secret recipes to create the luminous lighting in their work, I use modern digital printing on translucent vellum with hand-applied precious metal leaf. The gilding creates a unique sense of luminosity and an atmosphere of mystery. The image subtly shifts as light moves across the surface or the viewer changes position. These are prints that need to be experienced in person.

In Close to Home I have tried to honor the tradition of American Luminist painters with Southcoast scenes that feel timeless - images of the present and the imagined past. Part of the series will be on display at Norton Gallery Exhibit: Quiet Spaces during the month of February. There will be a Gallery Night Reception on Friday, February 15th from 5-7 pm. I hope to see you there.

Close to Home: River Dawn Archival pigment print on vellum with white gold

BlueFish 2016 - The Blues Papers....

This winter, wandering through an Artisan's Fair, I found a piece of blue bookbinding paper that stopped me in my tracks.  While other people probably saw journal covers, I saw fish. I bought the small piece of paper with no idea where it would lead, but soon I was hunting down other lovely handmade papers.  My husband, used to my eccentric ways, didn't bat an eye when I started stringing clothesline along the skylight so I could study how light streaming through multiple layers of handmade papers would affect their colors and textures. These are some snippets of what ultimately became my digital collage, the Blue Papers. It will be on display at: 

  • DeDee Shattuck Gallery Opening on July 9th, 5-7 pm  
  • Village Merchant on Elm Street in Padanaram from July 22 - August 5, and in 
  • My studio during the Art Drive, August 6 & 7 from 10-5 pm.

For more information on the other 35 fish in this year's Art Drive school of BlueFish click here

Blue Fish Digital DNA

Swimming in front of the studio.

Swimming in front of the studio.

Meet "Lost in Reflections"

Not every winter flounder likes to bury itself in the sand.  Some get adventurous.  This one, like many guys, refused to ask for directions and found himself upstream in Destruction Brook where he got lost in the reflections. 


 I first caught sight of him while studying ripple geometry last fall and over the early spring he became my "Flippin' Founder."  Kidding aside, since becoming a member of the Art Drive I have started to see fish shapes, scales and fin patterns everywhere.

Long ago I knew that this ripple would be a fin, and the image below would become a scale.

Of course there was a steep learning curve from imagination to execution- but what fun along the way!

Dartmouth Diebenkorn

A new landing for boats is under construction on the northside of the harbor here in town.  A rusty collection of steel plates have created a cofferdam-a dry area for construction of the dock supports.   The industrial feel is a bit jarring in the bucolic landscape of river and marsh.

Cofferdam before the sun hits.

Cofferdam before the sun hits.

But when the early morning light bounces of the plates into dead calm water the rusty reflections create an abstract art show that reminds me of Diebenkorn's Ocean Park Series.

Dartmouth Diebenkorn 1

Dartmouth Diebenkorn 1

Slow Spring

April 21st and it is below freezing at sunrise.  Not great for the daffodils yet to open in my yard, but it makes for lovely mist, frosty sparkles and a timeless quality.

Sunrise on the Slocum River

Sunrise on the Slocum River

The frost doesn't last long once the sun is up.  By the time I reached this field its new growth was frost free, yet still stark feeling.

Nature's Paintbrushes

When I go into the studios of my painter friends, my eye always goes to those buckets, coffee cans and bins filled with paintbrushes.  I love the many sizes, shapes and colors – the spatters of color on the handles hinting at the magic these brushes have been part of.

As a photographer, my "paintbrushes" are not nearly so sleek, seductive or varied. My tools are a black box of glass and plastic, a carbon fiber tripod that my serious photographer friends laugh at and call “cute” because it is so small, and a virtual paintbox, AKA my MacBook.  But in the last few days of autumn’s glory I have been foraging in my yard collecting branches of vermillion colored Japanese maples,  golden amber giant hosta leaves, miscanthus stocks and more. They are the paintbrushes for my winter portfolio project – a study of form and reflections in Destruction Brook.


Paintbrushes gathered from my garden .

Sitting alongside the brook I look a bit like a crazy woman as I make little rock weights and attach fishing line to my garden trove of branches. But it allows me to attempt to secure my leaves and branches in the middle of standing ripples or where the light is best without the current making off with them.  For all the attempts that don't work, there are still a few moments of magic that make it worthwhile.  Here is a sneak peek of what is to come.

Autumn Mists

Day after day of glorious autumn weather has me out before sunrise watching the complex interplay of light, mist and tides.  Some days I come home with no pictures, but always with a sense peace. This gift of time to observe, listen, and just "be" in the day's awakening lightens my heart and makes hope possible.


Ragweed Sky

A week of September glory greeted us upon our return to the Southcoast.  Almost every morning I have been up early watching the sunrise at favorite spots.  The image below of the Slocum River bordered by ragweed and goldenrod made me think of color theory.  The sky and the flowers were perfect complementary primary colors -- all that was missing was the red.  It was there alright, just not in the photograph.  It was my red, runny nose as I pushed the shutter button in between sneezes.

The Mayflower

Most of my elementary school trips were to either the Whaling Museum or Plimoth Plantation, both of which were pretty boring as kid.  Half a century later, with no teacher's or lesson plans, it is pretty fun to get up early and watch the Mayflower sail through New Bedford's Harbor and the Hurricane Dike and its way back to Plymouth. 


Portuguese Men of War

The high winds that have brought Alberta floods and lots of rain here off the coast, have also blown Portuguese Men of War ashore.  Yesterday I found three of them at Cherry & Webb beach.  To have them here so early in the summer is yet another sign of climate change. They are miserable to come in contact with, but they sure make for interesting looking beach blobs....