recent paintings and news

recent paintings and news

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Plein Air Classes

Fall is such a short season-why not make the most of it? Join us outdoors in Niagara's  orchards, fields and vineyards while they are bursting with colour. 


Plein Air Painting 
All sessions are held on the Niagara Escarpment, a Unesco world biosphere reserve


These in-depth sessions will address challenges specific to the outdoor painter.  After my trip to Ireland I have learned about packing light, working with a simplified pallet, preparing surfaces and working fast with the changing light! I will share techniques including pre-mixing predominant seasonal pallets, building composition and economy of brushwork. You will be responsible for your own supplies and a list is provided upon registration. Some outdoor easels are available.
Ongoing Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the fall:
10am -12:30pm or 6-8:30pm
info/prices/register here 
secure online payments via paypal accepted

Thursday, September 20, 2012


 It’s interesting what ‘sparks’ inspiration. Last summer I worked on a series of small nocturnes(firefly moondance), incorporating them with my encaustic work. 

This week someone posted a simple poem on facebook. It beckoned me to re-visit the theme-on a larger scale.

 I also think it resonated because of the project that I will be presenting on Saturday. I grieve for my Mother-I crave her physical presence. At present, the physicality of making art settles this longing, allowing-for a time- peace and acceptance.

Firefly Moondance, oil/cold wax on canvas, 24x36in, 2012


As subtle as a fairy's sigh,
aloft on summer's velvet night,
the blinking of a firefly
anoints the dark with specks of light.
It's said that they illuminate
the spirits of our loved ones gone,
who wink at us from heaven's gate
and flash their love, like sparks of dawn.
These creatures, magical and small,
are bearers of immortal souls
who come to comfort one and all
by glowing soft like warming coals.
So in that moment, brief and bright,
we lay our grief and sorrow by,
and smile each time we catch the sight
of the elusive firefly.

Katharine L. Sparrow

Sunday, September 16, 2012

fall (into place)

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Confucius

fall (into place), Niagara Escarpment, oil on canvas, 48x48in, 2012

 I did have many falls in the making of this painting, but the process taught me a lot

Don't learn to do, but learn in doing. Let your falls not be on a prepared ground, but let them be bona fide falls in the rough and tumble of the world. Samuel Butler

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rags for Those Loved

below is an invitation for those who live near or are visiting the Niagara region:

photo courtesy of Carol O'brien

I  will be presenting a public installation on September 22 in conjunction with Niagara  Night (& Day) of Art. The project is intended bring to attention the importance of hospital and hospice in our community and the public is invited to participate.

During my Ireland residency while travelling around the countryside, from time to time I came across a tree completely covered in rags or scraps of clothing.
I learned the rags are placed there by people who believe that if a piece of clothing from someone who is ill, or has a problem of any kind, is hung from the tree the problem or illness will disappear as the rag rots away.
Tying rags as an offering to a sacred tree is an ancient Celtic tradition still alive in Ireland. The fabric is meaningful - it symbolizes a desire or dream.
Some leave offerings to saints, others to ancient gods or nature spirits. Sometimes the rag represents a wish or aspiration.The fabric used in rag trees is symbolic so the types of rags tied to branches vary widely, from lovely, shining silken ribbons to simple scraps.
The public is invited to adorn a tree with rags, ribbons, clothing, trinkets or any object they find to be meaningful. They can come, make a wish or say a prayer for loved ones who are ill or have passed, bringing  to attention the importance of hospital and hospice in our community. The artist will be present during the day between 12PM and 4PM. 
In my research I have  been corresponding with Irish photographer Carol O'brien:

this is exactly what the custom of the Rag Tree is - an offering in exchange for an intention (or wish), whether that be for those still with us, or for the memory of those who have passed. One of the lovely things about the tree is seeing the colours of the new items against the faded and discoloured items which have been on the tree for years and seem to have blended themselves into the bark. Also the variety of items on it - from actually rags torn from clothing, to rosary beads, to lengths of ribbon, to hair ties, to belts, even socks! But mostly you find yourself looking at an item and wondering who had left it, or when, and what intention was so important to have granted that they would leave behind some part of themselves, and most importantly - was their intention granted! Every item holds a secret and a storey and I think it is this that makes the tree so full of mystery and symbolism!'

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the kind of September

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh
so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember and if you remember
then follow, follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
When no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
When dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
When love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember and if you remember
then follow, follow.

 Deep in December it's nice to remember
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
Without a hurt the heart will hollow.
Deep in December
it's nice to remember
The fire of September that made you mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow, follow.
written by Tom Jones and Harvey Shmidt

September, remains of the day, Niagara Escarpment, plein air, oil on canvas, 11x14in, available