This painting, Beach Day, is my entry for the Girls Just Wanna Paint December challenge "luxury". I was sketching this couple on the beach in July of 2014 and she noticed and came over to see the sketch. Recently, she emailed me and asked if I'd ever done a painting from the sketch. I hadn't, so I did. I sent her the image and she loved it but, told me that her husband had passed after a long neurological illness he'd been suffering from even as I did the sketch. It saddened me as I'd been thinking that she'd give it to him for Christmas. Sitting on the beach in the summer is a wonderful luxury, but time is the luxury we forget we have.
My favorite thing to see is what's called a murmuration. It's a large flock of birds flying together and abruptly changing direction in unison. Many times the birds will land en masse on the utility wires, light for a few minutes and burst forth into flight again. I began this painting by putting the shapes of the birds in with burnt umber and then painted the sky against them to create vibrant edges. I wanted to capture the motion of the birds as they flit about the wires. This is my painting for Girls Just Wanna Paint's November challenge "peace".
You may have to tilt the screen to see the range of color in the sky in this late afternoon plein air painting done at the marsh on 3A in Scituate. I had such fun blocking this in loosely and applying lively, energetic brushstrokes in broken color to finish it.
I've been focusing on loose brush work and will be teaching a one day workshop featuring this topic, in my studio on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 10 - 4.
This month's Girls Just Wanna Paintchallenge is nocturne, which means a night time painting. I dug into the archives for this painting of a full moon over Truro in the winter, reflected in Pilgrim Lake. I've hit a speed bump this summer, having lost my Irish Twin (13 months apart) Anna Marie to pancreatic cancer in June, a short 8 weeks from her diagnosis. I don't mind sharing this because cancer is the disease that touches us all. I am blessed to have my GJWPpainting "sisters" who lift me up, make me laugh and carry me through the rough patches. I'll be posting some of my new work so stay tuned and thanks for hanging with me for all of these years.
My "Irish twin" sister Anna Marie and I with her first grandson, Winthrop Davies Cottrell
I spent a blissful "interlude" last Tuesday at Derby Academy Summer Arts Camp. My multi talented friend, Sally Dean Mello teaches in the program and invited me over to check out the kids' work and try my hand at creating a glass mosaic. She furnished me with a frame into which she glued a sheet of glass, showed me how to score and break the glass pieces and sent me on my way. Sally, her friend and fellow counselor Judy Benzaquin, and I sat together working on our pieces along with the kids who were creating their own works. It was exactly what my soul needed and this mosaic just seemed to create itself. I'm hooked ;) Be sure to check out Girls Just Wanna Paint , tomorrow, to see the works for our July topic: Bliss.
I applied for and was accepted to the first annual Parrsboro Plein Air paint out. Not only is this my first ever Plein Air competion, it is taking place in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, a place I've been visiting for close to 20 years and where my husband's mother's family is from. It is one of the most spectacular places I've been and I know it well. I painted this at Sargent's cottage at second beach. Notice the reflection of Blomidon in the windows.
We arrived home from Naples to the scent of lilacs, fresh ocean air and the unexpected treat of daffodils which I expected to be long gone by. The first leg of our trip was to Charleston, SC, a beautiful and charming city in every way. We took a delightful Carriage ride during which the driver gave us the lowdown on the care of the horses. They are logged in and out for every trip, regulated as to how many days and hours they can work, get shipped off for two week vacations out to pasture and are very well cared for. The weather was a balmy 75 degrees with no humidity! We spent some time checking out Charleston's rich selection of art galleriesand had a lovely dinner at the Francis Marion Hotel. My hubby was a Navy man stationed in Charleston, but there is no trace left of the Navy Base as he knew it.
The Carriage Horses make Charleston
The next part of the adventure took us over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and landed us on the DelMarVa peninsula which, brought us near to the Chincoteague National Seashore. The day out on Chincoteague was spectacularly beautiful and the only horses we saw were spotted from the top of the lighthouse.
I am struggling mightily with artist's block this winter.
I have also been working in some different mediums and trying to go in a new direction but, it is taking time.
This paper collage is one of the ways I've been using my "Imagination", which is the Girls Just Wanna Paintchallenge theme this month, to find my way.
I started with a piece of watercolor paper that I'd done some random painting on. The verse is from a calendar that I was throwing way but, when I noticed the verses, I cut them all out and added them to my collage files and I drew the dragonfly, glued it onto the paper and embellished it with rhinestones.
I actually first used the dragonfly, in 2012 in a collage piece for the Outside The Box, show given by North River Arts Society. It holds special meaning for me and I will be using it often in my upcoming work.
(because it's on a larger canvas board and can't be cut down)
After a long drive we arrived in Naples on Thursday, January 12th.
I had a full blown sinus cold but, was happy to see familiar faces in class the next day. Although I felt a bit out of line for exposing everyone to my germs, I passed out the Clorox wipes and everyone was happy that I didn't cancel. Thank you for your warm welcome!
If you've been trying to sign up for my classes through the Von Liebig website and had trouble finding my classes, the website is undergoing a redo and it's unreliable.
Here is the schedule and you can call the front desk at
We had the most lovely opening party last night for our Girls Just Wanna Paint group show at South Shore Natural Science Center.
Despite pouring rain, we were pleased and honored to have a substantial turnout of supporters to cheer us on.
Thank you to all!
The Girls: Left to Right. Sally Dean Mello, Victoria Chesley Brega, Jeannie MacFarland, Jody Regan, Mary Sheehan Winn, Kelley Carey MacDonald, Pamela Copeman, Paula Villanova and Margaret Farrell Bruno. Missing: Page Pearson Railsback.