Compass School Commission

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For the last 5 years the principal of the Compass School has commissioned me to create a piece of art that celebrates the past year’s accomplishments.  The art piece is revealed at the school vision night and parents write new wishes or goals on the matting.  In this way, the artworks have become time-capsules.  We can see what we have envisioned and what has actually come true. Here are the past years:

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What’s kind of funny is the randomness of the things I am asked to incorporate in a painting.  Things that have been asked are could you combine a new garden, new farmer, a walking path, a soccer field, goats, sheep, a new basketball court, a family dance party and bank funding for a potential building?……   umm… I guess so?  Every year I have no idea how I am going to illustrate it, but somehow something comes out.

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This year the principal wanted to celebrate the completion of a new garden high tunnel, two calves named Fuzzy and Bulls-eye, a new soccer field, and the beginning of a new middle school that is being renovated from an old seed-mill.  This required incorporating, diggers and cement trucks which have become part of our everyday existence at the school.  I added a beautiful dahlia garden the 7th and 8th graders maintain and chickens.  The school always has chickens.  How could you not add the chickens?  Next is figuring out how to communicate these concepts when they are stretched out of acres of land?  This year I literally painted each idea separately , cut them out and then collaged them together.  I think each objects separateness, coming together, summed up the chaos of an elementary school!

So next year should be the unveiling of a new building, the new middle school.  This will be my son’s last year at the school, which in turn,  will be the last painting I contribute.

These artworks will be a nice legacy of the time spent at this school.

We can see how far we’ve grown literally and figuratively.

Holiday Herring Gulls – RI Christmas Card Series

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This might sound weird, but I am pretty sure I could devote the rest of my life to painting seagulls and never tire.  For one thing, they are fascinating and for another, they are hilarious.  I think of them as the con-artists of the bird world.

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Funny thing.  My whole life I thought the male seagulls were white and the female seagulls were brownish-gray.  Guess what? I was wrong!  Brownish-gray seagulls are juveniles. They grow into their white feathers when they reach adulthood. Good thing I figured this out before I began illustrating ;)

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There’s nothing like a good peck under the mistle toe ;)

Santas Lobstas – RI Christmas Card Series

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They way I brainstorm on card concepts is to pick a theme and then write down the hundred things that come to mind.  From there I pick six.  Anyways, while I was brainstorming my family was sitting in the kitchen. I yelled out “Quick, what comes to mind when you hear Christmas in Rhode Island?” I got all sorts of blurts, but the funniest one was the exchange between my husband and son.  They both looked at me and said “Forget a sleigh of reindeer, we want Lobsters!”

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Seriously guys?  Yes.

I guess not everyone has Lobster boats miles from their home.  It’s a pretty unique and beautiful thing.  Not to mention tasty if your into seafood!

Also nearby, is the Narragansett Light house.

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Put them together and what do you get?

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Christmas in Rhode Island.

A RI Red in a Quohog Tree – RI Christmas Card Series

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Have you heard of a Quohog?

It’s pronounce ko-hog.  It’s a Native American word for clams.  When the English settlers came to America this was what they were taught and in our region, it has stuck.  A quohog is a quohog.

Now can you guess what Rhode Island’s state bird is?

Yep. You guessed it. A chicken.  The Rhode Island Red.

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Rhode Islanduhs love their chickens!

Don’t even ask what I was thinking, but as the radio was playing the 12 days of Christmas, I kinda got this image in my head… and the rest is history.

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Yeah, guess you kind of have to be local ;)

For Santa – RI Christmas Card Series

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I’ve had a lot of fun designing Christmas cards that are very unique to where I live.  They call Rhode Island “The Quirky State” and this is for so many reasons…

Here is a link to favorite foods, locations and traditions of Rhode Island: 48 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Rhode Island This way, you will be able to understand why people might find my cards funny.

Some local faves are coffee milk and famous Allies Donuts.  So here I have offered them up for Santa instead of those regular old cookies and milk.

In the next few days I will send images of each card in the series. I am also playing with different editing software to try to decide what I want the final cards to look like… Luckily I have plenty of time.  I won’t be offering these until next year :)

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              I hope you are all enjoying the things that make your region special.

Tis’ the Season!

4 Paintings

Here are the 4 paintings I forgot to photograph :) 3 of them are 12×16 and the smaller 11×14. All of them are acrylic paintings.

This one is of the clay cliffs of Block Island, RI.

Another Block Island painting, this is one of our favorite fields to sit and watch the sunset. Ok. We never sit. It’s more like hike!

There is a tiny little shed near my kids school in Kingston,RI. It’s bright white against the fields and trees. The white of the building always says “haunted” to me. I guess like the famous haunted “girl in the white dress”.

This is a view of the Island of Jamestown, RI from the mainland. The area where I live is blessed with both beautiful farmland and breathtaking seascapes. The juxtaposition of the two is a painters paradise!

My thoughts are to paint a bunch of 12×16 paintings. Reason being the size will allow me to work rather quickly. The more I make the more “gems” I will produce.

I’ve learned in pottery that not every pot comes out perfect. If I make 6 mugs, I can count on really loving 1 or 2. I call those the “gems”. With these four paintings there is only one true “gem” for me.

my favorite is this one. Other people may agree or disagree, but this painting meets my standards of what I deem a successful painting, a gem.

Ahhh…. I guess I am putting it out there (again :). My weakness.

Deep breath…. I have perfectionist issues…. Don’t judge me, we all have something! ;) This one is mine. Not my first mention of it, but I think it’s important to admit imperfections in ALL humans exist. I know I haven’t found that real-deal airbrush app for real-deal-life so until then, the first step to fixing anything is admitting it, one time or apparently twenty times….or maybe thirty for good measure.

I get it. I do. For instance, I’m new to pottery, I am gentle with myself, I know I have to put a ton of time in to master the art form. But with painting, I am not so forgiving with myself, even if I know I haven’t put In a spec of the time needed to master the art form. I create all sorts of stuff. I cross a wide range of mediums. And I feel no anxiety. No cares in the world. It’s all just play for me. Except for painting. Every insecurity and ounce of angst pours out of me. If I go even deeper, to find the source of my angst, it’s probably a childhood incongruent thought. I grew up in an art gallery surrounded by incredible talent. My childhood association with ART and SUCCESS was based on my observation of PAINTERS. As I sat there scribbling with my crayons, they were the unattainable in my mind. Natural talent. Just pure magic. Little me scribbles = big artists come in to frame their masterpieces. I could never be that good. Why did little Mary think that? Beats the shit out of me. I wish I could go back and shake it out of her!

So, in my 43rd year, I am finally putting the pieces together. All the “unattainable” artists I observed as a child with their perfect paintings, were get this -not perfect. What???? Really, they are my people now. I talk to them regularly. Did you know they have a garage full of duds they never show the world? Did you know they have to practice and practice and paint and paint until they find their gems?

Mind blowing. I know. I wish someone could have told me not every piece will be a masterpiece . Then I’d just need to find a way to get the last thirty years of my life back!

So that’s it. I am going to paint a lot this year. I am not going to craft and fill every hour working on craft shows. I am going to practice my heart out painting and heal my little inner-child. Who is going to come out of this year saying “I am not perfect, but I’m a darn hard worker. If you don’t believe me, check out my garage. It’s full. And there may even be some gems in there.”

My Childhood Poem

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OK. Drumroll please…..

This is the haiku poem I wrote in the third grade!!!  Thank you to my teacher Mrs. Mylnar for introducing me to the awesomest form of poetry ever!!!

Now think about this.  When I was 9 yrs old I lived on a dead-end road out in the middle of country. I find it so cool that I have this poem as a personal piece of history to actually reflect on what I was thinking about in the third grade.

Where the green grass grows

and the hot sand burns your toes

That’s where I live best

My inner third-grader wanted to live by the beach and guess what???

 Thirty years later I -I –I live by the beach! There you go -the power of manifestation. magic. poof. The universe is too cool.

So this silly little poem is what prompted me to write haiku poems in the middle of the night. Alas none of them could ever be as good as the one from 3rd grade.  Mic drop. I should have quit while I was ahead :)

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This will be in the beach line of notecards for summer 2017.