Sunday, October 12, 2014

2,000 photos edited

I've just finished editing over 2,000 photos of my Italy (Umbria and Capri) trip and have posted some of the selected ones to my adventures blog.  It will take another day or so to finish the postings.  It is a sad moment to feel in many ways that the trip is over, this being another one of the things that completes the adventure.
You can see my various blogs in the margin here or go to

Saturday, October 4, 2014

It's in the news!

While I was away, this appeared in our local newspaper!  I'm very happy with the spot I got, upper left portrait picture!  Naturally, nothing was mentioned in the text as my subject was a controversial figure in his/her day.  The show at the Newburyport Art Association was about noteworthy persons from Newburyport on the 250th anniversary of the city.  A book accompanies the show.  40 entries were accepted.  Ask me, if you want to know more.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Getting back on track

I got home 1 week ago tonight and it's been a whirlwind week trying to get back to normal.  I'm ready to begin phase 2 of the portrait project starting this Sunday morning.  I only have 7 people so far and need 8 more, so I better do something about that right away as it's already October.  I painted with my student on Monday at Lowell's Boat Shop and did a 9x12 looking toward the bridge that's being replaced.  I'll try to go back this Monday to finish it and the fall foliage will be more intense.  On Thursday I painted with Mark Hayden and that group and did a 24x30 of a big pot of flowers from a print I have always liked and not for the flowers but for the effect of the plantation shades behind it and the glow that was accomplished by the tints of cool and warm colors.  Basically, gray backgrounds would always make colors pop! 
Last night I attended the North Shore Art Association annual potluck and show to celebrate the end of a really great season--Ken Knowles has done a remarkable job and I like the changes that have taken place.  Tonight I wish I could attend an event at the Lyme Art Association but it just won't fit into my schedule, being a 2-hour drive in each direction.  My past favorite art teacher JOEL BABB has some work in this show and a few other wonderful artists are showing as well.
Later today I hope to get my art spaces cleaned up and reorganized.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

End of Italy trip

Wow, what a great time I've had over the past 18 days, good experiences and good luck. It seems forever since I've been home.  I'm hitting the ground running though and it seems a little scary to have to quickly get back into the grouve. My husband sounds fine and I'll get him today from his daughters house which will entail lots of driving and packing. I'd like to see the portrait show I'm in at NAA today before it comes down tomorrow. I can't wait to look at all my photos and put some up on the Vacation blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Packing day for Capri trip

I'm a little anxious today as we leave our friends in Umbria and set off at 4 tomorrow morning for the bus to Capri. We were lucky to get a driver from here to Rome to meet our next tour bus.  There is nothing scheduled for today so it will be great to relax, etc.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Start of Italy Trip

Today is the day.  I'm trying to stay calm and get my bags packed which naturally includes the ever-changing paint kit.  This year I'm going lighter than ever.  I am still doing errands and housework, last minute stuff, cutting the grass, library, etc.  Haven't packed a thing yet, nothing like prolonging the inevitable.  My flight is leaving late tonight and so far I love that idea.  I'll be posting to my adventures blog while I'm away, at least that is the plan--bringing my iPad.  Stay tuned.
Look in the right margin for that blog or go to

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Winding down for this month (People Painting People)

The People Painting People--The Merrimacians project for the month of August is coming to a close.  There will have been 15 models painted for this month.
Take a look at the project page.

I have some appointments for October which is when the project will resume.  I'm hoping for another 15 people.  I just realized that since I'll be away most of September (painting in Italy) I won't be here to book or invite people for October.  Somehow since there was a month in-between I though I'd have plenty of time to work on October's list.

There are people of all ages represented and so many interesting people and stories. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

August was busy

I know there is still some time left in August but my mind is starting to shift towards my upcoming trip to Italy.  I am so busy that I won't be able to really pack or even think about it much until the week before I leave.  I'm happy that I'm pretty much keeping on track with all my projects so that feels good.  I'll be so relaxed when I get back from my trip that it will be hard to get back in gear.  
Take a look at the People Painting People project, click here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Outdoor Portrait today

Our project, People Painting People - The Merrimacians, is moving along--today was #9.  We painted Grace, a teenager, in her yard.  I'm working on portrait colors and still not getting where I want to be.  I'm pretty determined and will continue to pursue this goal.  I thought of a way to display these 12x12" panels in the Library Show.  I'll put 10 on each of three panels (two rows of five on each), make them with either Masonite or luan and paint them a dark gray, and attach them with mirror mounts.  Then I can wire up the  back of each large panel and hang them on the hanging rods.
Grace Handy in her yard-unfinished

An artists work is never done.

I'm working with my student and attending Mark Hayden's painting group and painting portraits for the People Painting People project.

Tonight I have another portrait to paint and the local TV station is coming in to do an interview and do some filming.
My total house renovation project is winding down also and that will feel soooo good when it's over with.
I'm beginning to realize that my September painting trip to Umbria is closing in as well.
Here's a few pics of my painting subject from this morning--animals at a farm.  Well, I'll download them later tonight, I'm not as good at downloading from my phone (forgot the camera today).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

All in a day's work

Yesterday morning I painted plein air at Pierce Little Farm in Newbury with my student.  I used Lori Putnum's primary palette.  It is important to realize that these outdoor sketches are only meant to acquaint yourself with the subject in order to do a larger studio painting.  Analyzing this and comparing it to the photo I can see how I would amplify the colors.

Subject:  Pierce Little House (I love the colors on the front facade)

Then in the evening I painted another portrait for my People Painting People project.
Model Deborah Ketchen

Saturday, August 9, 2014

8x8 Show

After painting a portrait at the church this morning I went over to Newburyport to see the 8x8 show.  It looks so great, four walls of paintings all the same size.  They were wonderful!  Here are the two that I put in.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Good Times

I found a few more helpful tools, thanks to my friend Liz.  A great white (not a whale), using a magnifying glass that does the opposite, changing some of my palette colors.  The project is coming along very well, it feels really nice to be there and participate with friends where everyone is 'in the zone'.

Simone Cartier, the model

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Wyeth video

I delivered my painting to NAA Friday and forgot to photograph the two 8x8s.  I guess I'll have to do it at the show.

Here is a video of Jamie Wyeth.  Years ago while on a painting trip with the Band of Brushes to Maine, on a rainy day, we all went into the Farnsworth's exhibit on Jamie's work, and there was a video there on how he painted.  I actually also like to paint on cardboard.  Here he paints with watercolor used in a non-traditional way, and he uses a lot of spit.  I especially like the shot at the end of the film of the island in the sea. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Deadlines tomorrow

Two deadlines tomorrow.  One is to have the portrait ready for being photographed for the September Portrait Show at Newburyport Art Association's Portraits of Newburyport.  The other one is that 2 8x8" paintings for the Newburyport Art Association's 8x8" Cubed show have to go to receiving.  Guess what?  I'm ready.
Portrait for NAA September show (this is not the official photo)

Two 8x8s for the current show (Better photos tomorrow)
I need names for these paintings.  The swan family lives out behind my house, and the geraniums where on the porch where I took a workshop with Lori Putnum in upperstate NY.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Good News!

Daily News, Newburyport newspaper article

I was busy today with lots of phone calls and emails.  How sweet it is.  The game is afoot.

Since this is truly an adventure, I'll be posting the progress on my adventures blog: Go here for adventures blog.
and on the Facebook page for the project.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In the news!

Well, almost, the correspondent came to my house and studio/gallery and interviewed me.  She was here for an hour and hopefully the story will help promote my People Painting Prople project.  She had the idea, and I totally concur, that we should extend the deadline until the end of October, so that enough people can participate to make the project large enough and more people to participate.  The article can also help me to find more locations that will allow painters to come in and paint the model.  Now the next thing is that they will schedule a photographer to come in the take pictures, oh my.
On another front, I'm doing a complete redo of someone's house, and I've been happily shopping for all kinds of flooring, paint, and furniture.  The cleaning crew went in this week and got everything ready for the contractor to paint, etc.  I found a great nice wood bed with headboard and footboard at Salvation Army that I'm painting-- I've found chalk paint, and love the texture and finish of it, but the colors seem limited. While I was there, there was a wonderful table and chairs with gorgeous real leather seats in mint condition, and guess what, I hesitated and today it was gone. I also found at various stores on sale or clearance the linens to make up the bed like the luxury hotel's do.  I'm in my element, I love this stuff.
Here's a photo of my subject at the Paint Out Day at Gloucester last Saturday.
It was the day after the hurricanes around the east coast, so we were all hanging on to our easels.  One lady's blew over three times!  I got very flattering comments from Betty Lou Schlemm and Ken Knowles during the critique.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another 8x8" for Nbpt and another "DPW PIC"!

I got a start yesterday on my second 8x8" for the Newburyport 8 Cubed show.  It will be geraniums with the American flag.  Here is the block-in.
Block-in for Geraniums with Flag, 8x8" 
I also painted in my garden and was struck by the gorgeous color of an orange lily I have there, but with the limited palette of RYB it just didn't do it.  I'll need to punch it up a bit with some more serious colors!  I like using the limited colors but for flowers it sometimes doesn't have enough intensity in the secondary colors.
I got picked again for the Daily Paintworks Pic.  I love these.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lori Putnum Workshop, June 2014, NY demo

This was the demo on the morning of the first day.
Notan block-in with wipe off
Middle values
Lori - I was fascinated by the little sunny shapes coming through her hat.
I'm finally getting the method of finding the middle value on my palette and on my painting.  I have had a glass palette for a long time and now I'm going to the wood palette for the middle value and no glare.  I got used to the glare and didn't realize the effect it was having on my eyes.  I did have a middle value on the glass palette and never took advantage of it.  I also have a plexiglass palette that has less glare but it's not easy to clean since its scratched up.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The lost month-June-Putnum

Mary Pyche with Lori Putnum in Canandaigua, NY
The reason June was 'lost' was not that I wasn't painting, it's because I wasn't posting.  The marketing aspect of art is a challenge for me.  I try to be disciplined, but sometimes I lapse.  In order to post regularly, I like to have something to show, like a finished painting.  I have a lot of unfinished paintings in the works right now.  The one I just posted, needs a tiny tweak, so I'll post that one again, maybe today--The Swan Family. 
I also have not been on my computer much lately and now I can't remember half my passwords.  I guess that can be a good thing, as we are supposed to change them periodically.
So related to this photo above, I was very fortunate to be able to attend a workshop with Lori Putnum.  My Italy trip friend, Sandi, and I signed on early (back in January I think) for Lori's Canandaigua NY workshop.  The town was very nice and quaint and there are many good places to paint.  It is the location of an annual Plein Air Paint Out event.  Sandi and I arrived the day before and were able to see the show attached to the Paint Out and enjoy the refreshments under the big tent at the Sonnenberg Gardens Mansion.  We also had fair weather.  The first day was perfect, the second and third day were overcast and a few sprinkles.  Luckily, the hostess' front porch was large enough to keep us covered during demos, critiques and talks.  Lori, featured in numerous issues of American Art Collector Magazine, and most recently, Plein Air Magazine, is recognized as one of the finest American Impressionists of our time. She has been chosen as an Artist Faculty member for the Annual Plein Air Convention, hosted by Plein Air Magazine, for the past two years. was an excellent teacher and did pay good attention to all attendees.  What were the take-aways?  For me, I enjoyed using a primary palette again and enjoyed her color selection of Napththol Red (M.Graham & Co.).  I used the new Gamblin solvent-free gel medium and LOVE IT.  Mostly it was her way of explaining using the medium value to guage all my color choices against.  I like it because it is logical and organized.
I will post some progression pictures of her first demo in tomorrow's blog.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rosemary Brushes and masking tape and Swans

Masked off

Opps, almost forgot the top part

All sprayed
My hat is off to John Salminen, the masking genius.  I used a whole role of masking tape and lots of newspaper to mask off this large painting, see yard stick on first picture.  Well, it is definitely a challenge to get the effect I'm looking for with this painting.  It's a garden at the Stevens Coolege Estate in No. Andover.
Next--I got my order of Rosemary Brushes today!  How sweet it is.
Next again--I started one of the 8x8's for the Newburyport 8x8 cubed show in August.  I have a wonderful photo of the new baby swans on my Back River and will do one painting of them.  I'm doing 2 in total, so I don't know what the second one will be yet.
I'm also making a paint carrier to bring with me when I leave Sunday for NY.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Getting ready for NY

I've been painting, just not posting.  Shame on me.
I painted a portrait last Saturday.
I'm working on the "Fran" portrait for the September show at Newburyport.
I volunteered at North Shore last week and really enjoyed it.
I've been working on a large acrylic 30x40" of Stevens Cooledge's garden area.
I've been working on a 10x20" oil of my view out back during the early winter.
I've been reading a lot of art stuff.
See, I've been busy.
Tomorrow I'll experiment with a very limited palette for Lori Putnum's workshop in NY.
Oh, and yes, I've spent a considerable amount of money on new supplies, panels, paint, and ROSEMARY BRUSHES!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Paint Inventory Day

How does anyone end up with 156 tubes of paint?
I guess the short answer is that they don't use it.  While looking for some particular colors I realized that my tubes were stored here, there, and everywhere.  There are probably a few more stashed somewhere I didn't come across yet.  That lead me to organize and inventory them.  I got these nice boxes for $.97 each.  I set up a laptop on that chair to the right and sat on a milk crate and did the inventory.  I have to say it feels good.  Now I know what I have and where it is.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Progression Pics of WeRun

Progression photos of We Run, 30x40 acrylic
Recently I worked on the Portrait "Fran" for the Newburyport Portrait Show in September, it has a ways to go yet.  Then I've started another 30x40" acrylic that I like because of the geometric patterning of the rows of plantings in a garden at Steven Coolidge Place in No. Andover.  Today I should be painting at Cox Reservation with David Curtis' group and I'll head over there about 1 p.m. and then attend a reception at The Nook in Rockport at 5.  Spring arrived very late here in New England and I still haven't done my yard work.  I know that if I don't get out there soon, the weeds will get out of control.  The People Painting People Project for Merrimac MA for the month of August is still gaining ground, and tomorrow morning I take down my solo show at the Rhythm Cafe.  I had a very good show there with lots of nice comments and many sales.  I'm going to buy Rosemary Brushes with the proceeds and supplies for the Lori Putnum workshop in June.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Run

We Run, 30x40", acrylic on canvas
This painting that I finished yesterday is titled "We Run" (Together) which comes from the billboard sign on the right edge of the painting.  It is a view down Berkeley at the corner of Boylston.
I've been painting since I moved into this house in my studio upstairs (14 years ago) and while working on this painting (in acrylic) I made more mess in a few days than I did in oil in 14 years.  Boy, I have to get a little better organized to work with acrylics.
I'm planning to tone down the building on the left that is a little bit too yellow and fix a tire on a car.  A painter's work in never done.
I took this picture on the way home from an art show at Cyclorama in March in late afternoon on a rainy day while driving.
I did it for the DPW challenge to paint a busy city street scene which came up just recently and motivated me to do this painting, and the Merrimac Public Library offered me a show in August and for that I thought I'd do about 4 large acrylic paintings.

I did take photos while in process and will post them tomorrow.