recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Monday, May 30, 2011

quiet conversations (sold)

I love the following poem, and the heady scent of them right now compels me to share it.

(although I think of my own region when I read it)

My May Lilacs
oil on canvas
18x24in, 2010


 Amy Lowell

False blue,
Color of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.   
Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing   
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs   
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow   
Of all Springs.
Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;   
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.
You tapped the window when the preacher preached his sermon,
And ran along the road beside the boy going to school.
You stood by the pasture-bars to give the cows good milking,   
You persuaded the housewife that her dishpan was of silver.   
And her husband an image of pure gold.   
You flaunted the fragrance of your blossoms   
Through the wide doors of Custom Houses—
You, and sandal-wood, and tea,
Charging the noses of quill-driving clerks   
When a ship was in from China.
You called to them: “Goose-quill men, goose-quill men,   
May is a month for flitting.”
Until they writhed on their high stools
And wrote poetry on their letter-sheets behind the propped-up ledgers.
Paradoxical New England clerks,
Writing inventories in ledgers, reading the “Song of Solomon” at night,
So many verses before bed-time,
Because it was the Bible.
The dead fed you
Amid the slant stones of graveyards.
Pale ghosts who planted you
Came in the nighttime
And let their thin hair blow through your clustered stems.   
You are of the green sea,
And of the stone hills which reach a long distance.
You are of elm-shaded streets with little shops where they sell kites and marbles,
You are of great parks where every one walks and nobody is at home.
You cover the blind sides of greenhouses
And lean over the top to say a hurry-word through the glass   
To your friends, the grapes, inside.

False blue,
Color of lilac,
You have forgotten your Eastern origin,   
The veiled women with eyes like panthers,
The swollen, aggressive turbans of jeweled pashas.
Now you are a very decent flower,   
A reticent flower,
A curiously clear-cut, candid flower,   
Standing beside clean doorways,
Friendly to a house-cat and a pair of spectacles,   
Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight   
And a hundred or two sharp blossoms.
Maine knows you,
Has for years and years;
New Hampshire knows you,
And Massachusetts
And Vermont.
Cape Cod starts you along the beaches to Rhode Island;   
Connecticut takes you from a river to the sea.   
You are brighter than apples,
Sweeter than tulips,
You are the great flood of our souls
Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts,   
You are the smell of all Summers,
The love of wives and children,
The recollection of gardens of little children,   
You are State Houses and Charters
And the familiar treading of the foot to and fro on a road it knows.
May is lilac here in New England,
May is a thrush singing “Sun up!” on a tip-top ash tree,   
May is white clouds behind pine-trees   
Puffed out and marching upon a blue sky.   
May is a green as no other,
May is much sun through small leaves,   
May is soft earth,
And apple-blossoms,
And windows open to a South Wind.   
May is full light wind of lilac
From Canada to Narragansett Bay.

False blue,
Color of lilac.
Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,   
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,   
Lilac in me because I am New England,
Because my roots are in it,
Because my leaves are of it,
Because my flowers are for it,   
Because it is my country
And I speak to it of itself
And sing of it with my own voice   
Since certainly it is mine.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

the end

The end has come, for my orchard series this season. I think of all, I feel most connected with this wee one.

May (Mom)
Wild Orchard, Niagara Escarpment
oil on canvas
8x10in, 2011

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~Leonardo Da Vinci


Friday, May 27, 2011

Vincent & inspiration

‘Is it not emotion, the sincerity of one's feeling for nature, that draws us, and if the emotions are sometimes so strong that one works without knowing one works, when sometimes the strokes come with a continuity and a coherence like words in a speech or a letter, then one must remember that it has not always been so, and that in time to come there will again be hard days, empty of inspiration.’

Excerpt of a  Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Arles, c. 7 July 1888

Those words resonate with me. I have been thinking about what compels me to make so many paintings of the orchard-I never think about it while I am in progress, only after I have produced a series do I reflect on why. In essence I think the orchards in bloom hold a resplendent optimism –I think the rows of white are leaning into the sublime-my friend calls it tree-worship. But what are They worshipping? Besides the bearing of  fruit, I find they are feminine in their gesture, in their stance, in their limbs. When in bloom they merge with the sky into an otherworldly guise. The culmination lasts not even a week, and I think that is what I find to be so compelling. 

May (& Joan) oil on canvas, 7x14in, 2011

This painting is one of my finals from the season. Part of it was rendered in response to a photo taken by my dear friend last week. We were WAy overdue for a good visit. With dogs in tow and drinks in hand  we  hiked out to the orchard, sat under those glorious old trees glistening in the late day sun, and caught up with our lives.

*I have been pouring over  letters written by  our Vincent. All 874 are posted on a very easy to navigate website: the Van Gogh letters


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


No creature is fully itself till it is, like the dandelion, opened in the bloom of pure relationship to the sun, the entire living cosmos.
- D.H. Lawrence

If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.
-Andrew V Mason

It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stoney street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, a radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun.
-Henry Ward Beecher

May, oil on canvas, 8x18in, 2011, available

I knew my neighbours would be mowing through the vineyard rows as soon as the rain ceased, taking the dappled yellow with them. I sat outside my kitchen door and caught these doomed (deemed) weeds as quick as I could—was lots of fun. Their plight was sealed just as I put down my last stroke-


Friday, May 6, 2011

A Weekend Invitation (sold)

SALE on -
This Weekend Only
ALL of my paintings at the Jordan Art Gallery are offered for 13% less than the listed price-just think of it as a tax break.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

MAYDAY (sold)

"What potent blood hath modest May."
- Ralph W. Emerson

"The world's favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."

- Edwin Way Teale

"Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun."

- Kahlil Gibran

Happy May!

Niagara  Escarpment
acrylic on canvas
18x24in, 2008


to everything there is a season (sold)

My earlier post expounded on how incredibly amazing April is - that we should be patient considering all she brings in growth and renewal. Well I take it back. She has wreaked havoc on far too many. 

 I’ve been  miserable thanks to April. Our majestic old maple tree was torn out by the aftermath of the US tornados. (I can’t even begin to fathom the vast devastation and destruction in the US). The tree is/was situated in front of our veranda, where the entrance to my studio is located. I know that I am fortunate as it missed the house, causing no major damage. I can’t help but feel gutted though when I look at her splayed on the ground, vulnerable, her wee spring buds on branches of hope. I feel like I am mourning as she was so significant to me and my work. The ambiance she provided when sitting out with friends or painting with students will be sorely missed. I keep thinking of all the years that she gave to the birds-some returning year after year. She was their social network as well as protection and housing. When I think of it trees are very much gathering places and places to gather. I am deeply thankful that I shared my seasons with this old girl and she will be sorely missed.

I like to paint ideas via oil sketches on black gessoed card. I have many and usually don’t share but thought I'd make an exception. Last evening I sat on my veranda and painted ‘ view without  tree’ . Serenaded  by finches and mockingbirds, breathing fragrant sweet air, colouring in yellow green land and shocks of forsythia --I might forgive April.

Almost May
Niagara Escarpment
oil on gessoed card
4x6in, 2011


read on for image of destruction....