Friday, December 31

Old Year Snow Frog

                 It's the last day of the year!

Sons P and H made this snow frog and fly yesterday

the year's final day
the new year poised like a frog
to gulp the last fly

Close-up of the fly!

Monday, December 27

Evil Cookies!


"Death to all diets!" scream the collected hordes of leftover Holiday Treats. They are led by this devious looking fellow...Sugarnut McButterfat. His motto "C'mon, just one won't kill you!"

Friday, December 3

A Big Friend Friday!

It's Friend Friday time again, and there is quite a list this week!

Mike Miller, fourth from left or right, in front of his newly unveiled painting
First notice goes to my nephew Mike Miller, 14, whose collaborative art piece based on the work of painter Jackson Pollack was unveiled at the Greenwich, CT board of education building earlier this week where the painting will hang. I'm proud of you Mike! You can read the full story here. And a little back story: Mike really enjoyed working on this piece but has told his art teacher he really prefers Monet to Pollack. Those Miller representational art genes just keep coming on through!

Valerie Craig (far right) with friends at her recent opening reception

My friend Valerie Craig has a show of more than fifty of her lovely plein air paintings currently on display at Newman & Saunders Gallery in Wayne, PA. It's a wonderful show! Plus I kept thinking about how much great vitamin D Valerie soaked up all spring and summer while she was doing all this work...plein air painters don't need vitamin supplements, just bug spray! ;-)

November 23- December 24
Tuesdays- Saturdays 10:00- 4:30

Newman & Saunders Galleries
(One Block west of the center of Wayne)
120 Bloomingdale Avenue
Wayne, PA

View the exhibition at

This month's Funny Times is better than ever!
My friend Roz (Rosalind) Warren has a humor essay in the current issue of  The Funny Times! I had some cartoons published in this monthly humor magazine myself, many years ago, and although I have stopped making cartoons, the whole family still eagerly awaits the arrival of FT each month. What a thrill to find Roz (and her writing partner Janet Golden) have a piece in the current issue: Gone with the Wildebeest. Read it here, or go get yourself a copy of The Funny Times while supplies last. ;-) Who couldn't use a little more laughter in their lives?  Congrats Roz!

Tangerine Rose, oil on linen on board, 7 x 5 inches, 2010
Last but not least I should mention that I am in a small works show that opens today at Artists' House Gallery in Old City Philadelphia.  I have several small pieces in this show that includes many of Philadelphia's finest representational artists including Renee Foulks, Daniel Miller, Carolyn Pyfrom and Peter van Dyck. Both Artists' House receptions are always wonderful, but I prefer the Sunday opening (live classical guitar, coffee and cake) so that's the one I will be attending: if you are planning to come then be sure and let me know!

Small Works 2010
December 3 to December 24, 2010
First Friday December 3,  5 - 8:30pm
Sunday, December 5,  1 - 4pm
Artists' House 
57 North Second Street  
Philadelphia, PA 19106  (215) 923-8440    
Wed - Sun 12-5 PM or by appointment

Thursday, November 25


I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks...

--Sebastian, Twelfth Night, Act 3, scene 3
William Shakespeare


Wednesday, November 17

Friday, November 12

Friend Friday!

Nancy Bea Miller, Sarah Barr, Lisa Mintzer at the
Philly Photo Day Exhibition

Regular readers of this blog probably realize that I do a lot of photography in addition to painting. I don't consider myself a professional photog, even though I have had several photographs bought for book-covers, magazines and websites, and I am occasionally commissioned to take product shots, art shots and head shots. I still think of it more as a hobby. I don't really know what I am doing, technically speaking. I'm just an eye with a lens. Photography simply satisfies my unflagging impulse for observation and appreciation of life and expression, quick and easy! I can't be painting 24/7 but I do have a camera to hand at all moments. You never know when something will reach out and grab your heart. When that happens I reach out and grab my camera. As Baudelaire put it:
To glorify the cult of images (my great, my only, my earliest passion)

Nonetheless, I have never exhibited my photography in a gallery setting until now. Pal Sarah Barr urged me to participate with her in the first annual Philly Photo Day. On October 28, photographers took their best shot within the Philadelphia city limits and send it in to the Philadelphia Photo Art Center. The work was compiled and printed out on huge banners and hung. There was a real opening reception too, with drinks and nibbles and a speech by the fascinating director of the PPAC, Sarah Stolfa. So, thanks to both Sarahs and the PPAC I finally have a piece of photography on view...a first for me.

"Leaf Blow on Clearfield Street"(click image to enlarge.) On Philly Photo Day I happened to be driving through the East Falls section of the city when a sudden gust of wind whipped the leaves into a hail of gold pieces. I checked behind me, saw there was nobody coming up and quickly shot the scene. Talk about driving while distracted (just kidding, I of course, stopped the car while shooting.) Steering wheels make good tripods! Rotopods? :-) Prints can be ordered through the PPAC: $10 for a 5 x 7, $20 for an 8.5 x 11. If you're interested in purchasing a copy of "Leaf Blow" contact the PPAC and tell them you want image number 168.
Philly Photo Day Exhibition

November 11 - 21
Philadelphia Photo Art Center
Grey Area, Crane Arts Building
1400 N. American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
267.324.3268 (fax)

And here is my friend Sarah Barr, with her own beautiful image:

It is truly an amazingly interesting show, giving a wildly varied portrait of a day. It should interest Philadelphia historians and sociologists as well as artists and anyone who just loves Philadelphia!

Sunday, October 31

Vampire in the Kitchen!

Oh wait, it's just me in my "Deluxe Vampiress" outfit (fangs not included.) Okay then...

You know you're getting older when you and your husband dress up to go to a Halloween costume party and your kids roll their eyes and stay home. Well, whatever...HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 29

Friend Friday

Racing to States

Today was the District cross-country meet held at Lehigh University and my son P qualified for the State Championship (along with another Harriton team mate) setting a personal best along the way. I kept hearing that it was a very fast course. Not exactly sure what that implies, but all the kids seemed to have sprouted wings on their feet. Congratulations to my wonderful P and the whole Harriton team! Two young men qualified but it was definitely a team effort.

Friday, October 22

Friend Friday!

The Inferno for Kids
My old Penn friend Ginny Jewiss is in town speaking at the American Literary Translators Association conference and I managed to catch up with her for lunch at Reading Terminal Market today. In addition to being a respected and highly sought-after translator and leading Yale University's summer in Rome program, Ginny has recently had a children's book published. This is based on, if you can believe it, Dante's Inferno! Ginny was always creative and multi-talented.
Dante's Journey: an infernal adventure
by Virginia Jewiss
Get it while it's hot (sorry, just could not resist!)
Good luck with all your many fascinating endeavors Ginny, and I hope we'll catch up again soon. Ciao bella!

Wednesday, October 20

Egg Faces

tempus edax rerum
time devours all things

I was on a university campus recently and met a lovely young woman who told me with sweet earnestness that her art was mostly in time-based media. I smiled and nodded, then after a moment's reflection decided it would be worth showing my ignorance in order to understand what she was talking about. "What is a time based medium?" I asked. "Oh!" she said, clearly astonished, " video, you know?" She seemed almost embarrassed for me (she really was a sweetie.)

Somehow the term time-based media brought up other explanations to my ever-churning brain, one of which was planned decomposition, or art that is made knowing it will not last, like buddhist sand paintings or beautifully frosted cakes or ice sculptures. Now that's bravery. Here is my own small ongoing art project in that kind of time-based media: egg faces. Every week I boil up a batch of eggs. Once they are cool, I draw faces on them with a soft lead pencil and put them in a bowl and into the fridge. Sometimes the faces are cartoonish or sketchy, sometimes very detailed. But simply or elaborately enfaced, the egg shells all get torn into eventually in my family's constant quest for food, and thrown onto the compost heap. ars brevis vita longa

Monday, October 11

Happy Birthday Baby!

My baby turned 14 last week.
Which seems almost unbelievable because I remember his baby days so clearly...

A child who has never once had to be reminded to eat his vegetables, a rara avis indeed! Happy Birthday wonderful H.

Monday, September 20

My welcome home!

I'm just back home from a week painting on Monhegan Island, fourteen miles out from the coast of Maine. When I stumbled in the door around midnight this vase of flowers was the first thing I saw...very sweet! (I think my guys missed me.)

On the way home in the car my oldest son P, age 16, texted me (I was not driving at that point, no worries) with the wonderful news that he'd just won his latest cross country meet, set a new personal best and a new school record and is now ranked nationally! Oh my gosh. Wow! My husband stitched together these shots of P running then (middle school) and quickly time races by. I was so sorry I'd had to miss this particular race. But what happy news to come home to!

End result: I brought home 14 paintings in various stages of finish. I have two galleries in Maine that show my work and have been asking for more, so this was really a business trip believe it or not! I'm also gearing up for a one person show at a gallery in Philadelphia next spring. My plein air work is not standard quaint landscape views, so despite these being inspired by Maine, the work does not seem to be limited to a regional audience (thank goodness!) Here are all fourteen pieces being shown to the sun this morning. I unpacked the pieces, most still sloppily wet, and took advantage of the brilliant weather to try and dry them a little. The squirrels and morning doves are usually my first audience after a business trip.

Friday, September 3

End of Summer

The end of summer
has rolled round, creaking gently,
like sunflower stalks

Friday, August 27

Friend Friday!

Hey, that's a lot of Friends!
(photo: Dainis Roman)
An enormous crowd of Philadelphia's red-hot talented artists showed up at Camphill Special School on Saturday August 7. What was going on? Plein Air for Camphill. The artists gathered to do their art thing, but of course the day included socializing and feasting (people were treated to three gourmet meals featuring school-grown and otherwise locally raised food:yum!) I am the creator of this fun and unique plein air event which raises money for my son Henry's wonderful school. In particular its program for 18-21 year olds (an under-served segment of the special needs population.)

The actual money-raising part of the event comes later...when we hold an exhibition of the work at Rosenfeld Gallery in Old City, Philadelphia. Save the date: Tuesday, October 5, 5:30-8:30 pm. Food, drinks, live music and live artists too! ;-) Last year the event was a succès fou (here is a video that shows the huge, happy, crowd!)

This is the second year of what looks to be an annual event. Last year it was called Plein Air at Beaver Farm, but as Beaver Farm (part of Camphill Special School) is undergoing construction this year (expanding so that more 18-21 year olds can be served) we couldn't hold the big art day there! Stymied by our own success in fund-raising! So, as the event was moved temporarily to Camphill Special School's main campus, we decided to change the name to the more all-purpose Plein Air for Camphill. This will enable us to hold the event at any number of different locations in future, but clearly explains the beneficiary of the effort, wherever it is located! I hope this is clear (and not as mud!)

So, why is this plein air event unique? Because I invite all manner of different excellent artists, not just traditional plein air artists (outdoor landscape painters.) This year I believe PAC was absolutely groundbreaking in having Dale Roberts doing en plein air encaustic painting (complete with hot plate and hair dryer and lots of heavy duty extension cords) and Amy Kann and Stephen Layne doing plein air clay sculpture! Now THAT is some seriously heavy lifting! It was also a thrill to have cartoonist Tony Auth and book artist David Wiesner joing in the fun this year. Back again this year was Fay Stanford drawing directly onto the wooden boards which she will carve into woodcut blocks, and Aina Roman taking photos which she will turn into video collages. This kind of eclecticism would have a regular plein air event organizer scratching their head, but this exciting, innovative mix is exactly what I love and want.

I am so grateful for all the time, energy and enthusiasm shown by the 57 artists participating this year. I'm also thankful for the gallery directors, the Camphill community and all the other friends who are helping and supporting me (you know who you are!) Too numerous to name everyone here, but their names are written on my heart.

Some random shots of the day:

Wednesday, August 18

Tomato Taste Test

And the winner is...

undecided! Paul and I had some gardening friends over for dinner and a homegrown tomato taste test last weekend. On the table were these varieties: Black Krim, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Red Brandywine, Amish Paste, San Marzano, Speckled Roma, Coyote and Sun Gold. One friend brought Italian bread, fresh mozzarella and a homemade cheese-less pesto (because another of the friends is a vegan) to go with the tomatoes. After a while (and enough glasses of wine) all I could really taste was the incredibly delicious pesto, punctuated by slightly different degrees of acidity and sweetness from the various tomatoes. NOT the best way to conduct a tomato tasting! (Fun though)

We've agreed to hold it again in early September and try to be more scientific about it. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 16

Henry and Me (an hour ago)

Happy pink moment-
after the storm sunset beams
on my smiling boy

photo credit: Paul Downs

Sunday, July 18

First Tomato!

Green Zebra
wins the race for first ripe tomato, in my garden at any rate! I was surprised that Green Zebra even beat out the various cherry tomatoes...they are covered with fruit, but unripe. I cut up the small tomato to share with the family and it was gone in seconds. Hard to say if was really all that delicious, or just seemed that way because it was "first in the mouth!" It certainly tasted fresh at any rate! There is a Cherokee Purple nearing ripeness, and I can hardly wait to try it. Squirrels, rabbits and groundhogs...begone!

Just got back from a week away from home to find this little beauty and quite a big handful of my Trionfo Violetta pole beans, all ready to harvest. A nice homecoming treat! When I eventually have more Green Zebras I will try this recipe from La Tartine Gourmande.

Sunday, July 4

Monday, June 21


First day of summer-
celebrating with bright flags-
laundry on the line

Friday, June 11

Friend Friday!

Friend Friday is here again.
In fact, my friends have been so darn busy this last few weeks that I am probably leaving out somebody very dear to me...I just can't keep up!
Above is a picture of Mineko Yoshida and Dianne Morrow, both dear friends from art school who happen to be showing work in the same exhibit! In fact, by chance their work is exhibited side by side, so here they are, glimpsed in front of their work: how convenient is that?
New Faces 2010
June 2 to June 27, 2010
Artists House Gallery
57 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 923-8440 Wed - Sun 12-5 PM or by appointment
I also know several other people in the show including Jo-Ann Osnoe, Kathy Hayden and Susan O'Reilly. It's really a beautiful, varied showcase of new talent, well worth a special trip if you are anywhere in the area. And I haven't seen so many red dots in a long time, a beautiful sign of the economic recovery? ;-)

Here are two more friends exhibiting in another group show: Pam McLean-Parker and Sarah Barr. Both talented photographers, they are exhibiting in an alumni show at their alma mater. (As photographers I hope they'll be understanding of my using this arty shot!)
Alumnae Artists: The Reunion Years
June 5-August 26, 2010
Lawrence Gallery
Rosemont College
1400 Montgomery Avenue
Rosemont, PA 19010

Victoria Donohoe (center) a well-known art critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer was also on hand during the reception to receive an award. A Rosemont alumnus from the class of 1950, Ms.Donohoe was honored with several speeches and a presentation. On the left is Rosemont College president Sharon Hirsch lauding Ms. Donohoe's achievements (Lawrence Gallery curator Pat Nugent on the far right.) I really enjoyed meeting and speaking with Ms.Donohoe for the first time. As an art critic, she has reviewed my own work on several occasions, once very favorably and once not so much...LOL! But c'est la vie, she calls them as she sees them (and she has great sartorial flair, something I had heard but never before! How I'd love to paint her in that gorgeous red suit!)

Last but not least, here is my friend Marianne Mitchell, with artist Pam Taggart and myself at the opening of a show Marianne curated at Historic Yellow Springs.
Landscape Into Abstraction
Opening Reception: Sunday June 6
Exhibition: June 1-19, Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m
Lincoln Building 1st Floor.
Historic Yellow Springs
Chester Springs, PA 19425 610-827-7414
Marianne Mitchell, curator of this exhibit, presents artwork from artists who derive inspiration from landscape, capturing imagery through emotionally intuitive expression and communicating the essence of “place” with a uniquely personal vision.
I was very pleased to be included in the group of wonderful artists Marianne selected, although I definitely was on the outer edge of the continuum of style. Other friends and aquaintances in the show include Stuart Shils, Bill Scott, Elaine Lisle and Justin Snow.