OK. Making a little progress here.

I’m glad to have today’s photo because the paper I’m working on is so large it is hard to gain perspective. It measures 37″ x 57″. I now see that I’d like to lose the skirt and drop the black down to create a dress.

My plan is to paint an under-painting and then I am going to create hand-made stamps to create a top layer.  I will make stamps of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, plus fabric patterns for all the garments.  I may even create a wallpaper for the background.  I love making stamps and I love the print-like quality they can bring to artwork. I’ve never done this before, so I can’t say with any accuracy how well it will turn out.  Either way, I will enjoy the ride and call it one big “experiment”!

Here is the progression thus far:


#252- DEVELOPING CONCEPT (9) #253 - Fully Armed (4) IMG_4846

The subject matter is a commentary on my life.  The many things I am juggling at once during this 365 challenge.  It’s kinda funny, so far to me, it looks like a cross between a Hindu deity and Charlie’s Angels!

It will take some time to iron out the kinks, but at least I feel like I made a little headway today!

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Um, Can you tell I had fun with this one? You bet I did!

I have so much to write today.  Good thing I finished fairly early!

So where to begin…

My influence for this style of work absolutely owns it’s origin’s with artist Richard Merkin.


If you click his name above, you can read his bio, but pretty much he was a picture framing customer of my family’s business.  It took many years before he would work with me.  For the first decade he would only work with Bill, my grandfather and fellow illustrator to Richard. Slowly he began to work with my mom “who was no Bill” and then 20 years later he slowly began to work with me “who was no Patty”.  That was how he was.  He didn’t trust you had any talent until he did trust you had talent, then he would only work with you.  What a handful!

So I got to work with Richard Merkin and his amazing art.  Please take a quick glance at this website below to better understand his style:


What I loved about his work was it’s simplicity and confidence.  There are no wishy-washy lines.  He drew with pastels and he knew exactly what he was going to put down before he put it down.  His color use is fabulous.  His negative space is carefully thought out.  Most of his work shows his wry sense of humor yet also tells a story.

This man wore a yellow and red striped beanie and a giant white mustache. And he rocked it.  You could see him coming a mile down the street.  Brightly colored, absolutely funky, tremendously confident.  He made you want to step aside.  I adored his confidence.

The older I get, the crazier my clothing seems to get.  I owe this to him.  I would simply observe him and I realized if you act like what you are doing is perfectly normal, like you just happen to be “SPECIAL”, people seem to go along with it.  By the time I am in my 60’s, I plan on wearing cat-eyed glasses, feathers and ridiculous patterns (oh, wait I already do!).


Where as Merkin used pastels, I love using wax crayons & watercolors.  I have to make it my own, but what I take from him is the flat 2-D planes of color, exact &  simplified lines, and a careful consideration of negative space. I am a true lover of pattern, so I add that in any chance I get as well.

Here are some other works of mine influenced by Richard Merkin:


He is no longer with us, but absolutely unforgettable.  He has left his mark.


Let me talk about the premise of my painting.

The subject is a commentary on those who buy art, or shall I say those who are not buying art?

I have been going to art shows since I could walk. The rooms were always filled with eccentrics.  Crazy little outfits.  Crazy personalities and egos and the very normal and traditional as well. At my moms art shows, I can remember this 80 year old couple.  They showed up to every event, dressed to the nines and parked themselves in front of the caviar religiously.  We loved having them.  They were part of the whole experience. This painting celebrates these fun happenings.

Now, I get it, this wasn’t a part of everyone’s upbringing.  This just happened to be what was important to my family. But what I would like to address is what I seem to find missing in a lot (not all) of my generation.

It’s the patronage of the arts.

This is my plea.

Hopefully I am not about to lose every friend I own, but here it goes…


One’s home should be a reflection of one’s interests.  When you enter one’s home, you should be able to learn more about the owner’s personality and their values.

If your art comes with or matches your couch, what is it telling people is important to you? your couch?

Are you an aficionado of music, dance, politics, antiques, cuisine, sports, the environment, animals? Are you showing the world this throughout your home?  or is there only a big black box on the wall?

What are you teaching your children?

What will they learn is important about our culture in the upcoming century?

Is it Ughs. Ipods. Louis Vuitton bags?

Dinner out twice, could be an investment in art that could hang on your walls for a lifetime and be passed onto the next generation.

What is in your homes that would be worth passing on?

I’m pretty sure it’s not from Pottery Barn.

I am sorry.  This is strong. It’s very judgmental.

 I do hope you understand there is absolutely nothing wrong with Pottery Barn!

I am using “Pottery Barn” as a blanket term for mass-produced aesthetics. Something that you and your neighbor would both have thus making the object less original or unique.

What this has to do with is a current change in values as the recent eldest generation begins to pass.

People in the past really saved and sacrificed to own what few belongings they had.  For this reason, they really meant something, were very well-made and passed down as heirlooms.

What my generation has inherited is a disposable way of life.

I ask you to take a good look around your home and pay attention to your investments.

We have to decide what legacy we will be passing on to the next generation.  What is important to us as humans, what should be celebrated? We need to make sure that this is what we are reflecting.

Otherwise, this is it.

The days of investing in art will fade like the fake-painting that matches the couch.

To be disposed of in a few short years and replaced with the same thing.


websites like:

Have affordable options that differentiate you from everyone else. We are all unique, our surroundings should reflect it.

Please don’t hate my harsh remarks, I just ask that YOU, people of my generation, YOU define what you find aesthetically pleasing or thoughtfully provocative.  Please do not place that decision in the hands of a mass-market merchandiser.  I know there is more to all of us than this.

Find your voice and hang it on your walls!

Ok. I’m now stepping down from my soapbox. :)

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#133 - Guardian

In my last painting, FILL THE WELL, I experimented with lines and dots.  One might say I went a little too far. So I tried to think of a subject matter which might actually celebrate “over the top”.  For some reason mosaics and religious icons came to mind. Which instantly made me think of this:


This mosaic hung in my grandmother’s home for over 60 years. As a child I would imagine that it came from Rome and was an exotic ancient artifact. It always seemed otherworldly. At least not from my little world.  I always loved this mosaic.

My grandmother passed this year, but before she died she gave this to me.  Because she was still with us, I was able to find out how it really came to hang in her house.

My grandmother was born in South America.  Her mother married a British doctor and they came to live in New York City.  The doctor was known to my mother as Grandpa Doc.  Apparently Grandpa Doc had a very Italian last name which at that time did not help his career, so he changed his last name from Gaspari to Williams.  Grandpa Doc had a brother.  A brother who kept his family name and was well-known as a mosaic artisan for the grand churches of New York and other US cities.  My grandmother admired his work and so her uncle made this for her.

I thought that was such a cool story.  A sign of those times, when one would change their name while moving through Ellis Island in hopes of a new beginning.  Yet you are who you are.  Mr. Williams I’d imagine, could only hide so much. Clearly he had an Italian brother who lived in the same city and was an artisan.  The two extremes…a prim and proper doctor and an ethnic artisan. I love it!

Of course it’s all fantasy.  I didn’t exist then so who knows the real truth. But now, the mosaic hangs in my hallway and I will pass on the story and I’m sure it will get a little more elaborate…and one day, I will have a cheeky little grandkid who’s a little eccentric them self and seeing this mosaic will have peaked their interest and this is who it will go to. Another generation of…. The Artisan.

So that was what was rolling around in my head this morning as I decided to make an angel of my own creation.  My angel is going to be loaded with color, pattern and designs.  I am welcoming it to be over-the-top and fun!  While I am borrowing from the religious icons, this icon will be an angel who delivers inspiration to all who love art & creativity.

I have no idea where I am going with this one… we will have to see how it unfolds…

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#9 -The Bird Feeder

#9 -The Bird FeederWell, I’m a little late. Sorry about that!  This painting is a little bit larger than I could take on in the allotted time. But it was worth it. This painting is a lot of fun.

I picked a theme of birds because they are one of my favorite things.  My hubby surprised me with a deluxe 6 chamber bird feeder last year for Christmas and it has brought me nothing but joy. From center clockwise there is a robin, chickadee, hummingbird, yellow finch, female red-bellied woodpecker, cardinal, oriole, and blue jay.  There is a nest as a hat and a robin egg as a pendant.

I also added an apple falling from a tree.  This is an homage to my family.  there are so many truly creative people in my family. I would be blessed and honored to fall from their tree!

I also experimented with pure pigments for the skin. Believe it or not. the skin is made from mingling, cadmium yellow, cadmium orange, and purple.  I went with this color scheme because I wanted the foreground to be warm and bright and the background to recede  using cool blues and greens.

Overall, I think it’s a fun piece and I will enjoy looking at the birds at my feeder and on my wall!

Thank you for viewing my blog -Mary

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#7 -Girl with Chandelier Earring

#7 -Girl with a chandelier EarringWow. Day seven. This means I actually made it through my first week. WAHOO!

Today I created a portrait of a woman quite simply for the excuse to create fun backgrounds, clothing and accessories!

It is a mixed medium.  Water color in the background and acrylic in the foreground.  Because I’m trying to tackle a painting a day, I think I will stick to watercolors.  I find acrylics dry so fast that I waste way too much time opening and closing all of the tubes.

What I do like about this painting is the background. It looks translucent to me. I love all the colors bleeding and mingling with each other. What I don’t particularly care for is the woman.  Next time I will spend a little more time on the composition and a little less time rushing into painting. You are going to have to bear with me, I am going to make a few of these “decorated Ladies” until I create one I truly love!

Tune in tomorrow for my first pottery class of the year. I’m sure to get messy!

Thanks for joining me on my 365 Days of Art journey – Mary

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