October 28, 2014

Arvgarden B&B

Arvgarden B&B, 6 x 12" Oil on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
I just completed this little oil painting today.  It's of a lovely B&B we stayed in this summer when we were vacationing with Arny's sister and brother in law (Elaine and Larry).  It's in Wellsboro, PA.  We were in the area to visit what we in Pennsylvania like to call the Grand Canyon of PA.

I love the story of how the place got its name: Arvgarden.  The couple who started it  told their children they were moving from Philadelphia to the rural place were the mother had grown up to build a Swedish style home on a farm that they'd use as a B&B.  The response they got was, "OK, but you're spending our inheritance", so the couple decided to name their place Arvgarden -- which means "inheritance farm" in Swedish.  It is so cool that they made a private joke out of the name.

   I hope you enjoy this piece as much as we enjoyed staying there.  As usual, I'm going to put the piece in my Daily Paintworks Gallery, so if you're interested in it, check out the auction there.

On the Motivation and Joys of Painting with Friends

In my Studio, October 28, 2014
My husband, Arny, got a new iPhone 6+ and to see how good its camera was,  he came down and took a shot of me in my studio painting.

    I'm working on a small oil that I'll talk about later.  It's one of three small works I'm wanting to have in good shape before tomorrow -- when I'm having a painting date with a friend.  My friend is Deb Watson,  a wonderful artist and teacher. Check out her webpage to see her work, and get great watercolor painting tips, and lessons.  

     We have known each other for years, but we hadn't talked in a while.  She is a real go-getter, and her career reflects that.  I reconnected with her a couple of weeks ago, after my opening because I wanted to she how she was doing and get inspired by her energy and enthusiasm.  As usual, talking painting with her was a blast, and reenergized me.  She too seemed to have a good time.

    While she does oils, she's primarily a master watercolorist -- my original love in painting. She has done some work in oils, but not as much as I, so we'd thought it would be fun to set up a regular painting time where we could do our own work, and benefit from the enthusiasm and skills of the other.

     Last week was our first meeting.  We met in her studio, and talked a lot about stuff she is thinking about, then I sat down and did some sketches for a couple of little paintings.  Although I didn't get any farther that day, it inspired me to work on stuff this week, and I've almost completed the two works I started, and today began a third one.  Although I'd been painting abstracts recently, Deb's work has inspired me to return to my original love, realism, this week.   I think we're going to play with oils, but maybe she'll need to work on her watercolor stuff.  Either way, I am really looking forward to painting with another artist, I always find it increases my motivation and creativity.

    The picture you can see me working on is a little oil of a wonderful farmhouse B&B we stayed in with my sister and brother in law (Elaine and Larry) in August.  It's called the Arvgarden B&B in Wellsboro, PA.  We loved it, and loved using it as our base of operations so we could explore Pennsylvania's version of the Grand Canyon.  I'll put it up later today and make it available on my Paintworks website for auction and sale -- and later in the week I'll do the same with the two other small works I've been working on.  Look for them.


October 7, 2014

Breaking Patterns by Making Art

        This weekend was the opening of my art show, New Works Big and Small by Tracy Feldman.  I was there for my opening and also for Lancaster's Art Walk.  There were lots of people at the opening and OK traffic during the Art Walk event.  I sold some small pieces, and had a good time, and got a lot of positive feedback. The show stays up all month, but I didn't sell any of my big pieces over the weekend.

The Topology of History, 32.5 x  26", Oil on Canvas
by Tracy Feldman (& Myra Hichcock)
    In the past that typically has led to an emotional letdown that undercut my willingness to do any art for at least a month -- not a very good pattern for a working artist.  So, when a friend (Harriet) came to the show, and we talked about the Reclaimed Series,  I got an inspiration of a way to short circuit that pattern.

     My Reclaimed Series are abstracts that I make on top of earlier realistic works I know I'll never sell.  By using tape and paint, I both preserve part of the earlier work and create a new abstract at the same time.  I really like doing this, and I realized that by doing a painting like this for my friend, Harriet, I'd give myself the opportunity to solve two problems at once.  The two problems were getting me back into creating art more quickly after finishing a show and using a family painting Harriet had given me and asked me to paint over.

Harriet & Sister
   The original picture is shown to the right.  Harriet brought it to me when she and her husband were in the process of downsizing.  The picture is of Harriet and her sister, and was done by an aunt, Myra Hichcock, who was a painter.  The aunt never had completed the work, and so Harriet kept it in her attic instead of displaying it.  That was about 60 years ago.  Because she knew I was an artist, she brought and told me to paint over it: a better solution that throwing it out.   It was a neat solution for her, but for me it posed a dilemma.   Even though the painting had gotten dull and dirty while sitting in the attic, I loved it, so the thought of totally destroying it rankled.  So I thanked her and put it in my garage -- hoping that as I passed it each day on the way into our house,  an appropriate use would occur to me.   And, as I talked to Harriet Sunday, I realized that taking this piece and turning it into one of my reclaimed pieces would do just that.

   The piece above, The Topology of History, is the result.  Like with my other reclaimed pieces, I used tape to preserve some of the image.  However, there were two important differences in the way I handled this new work.  I didn't just want to use random tape patterns, so I went on line and looked up patterns made in point set topology -- Harriet's husband George's area of mathematical study -- so I figured the piece would appeal to both of them for different reasons.  The second difference between this and the earlier reclaimed pieces is that when I took off the tape, the faces and dresses of the girls stood out too much.  Thus, I glazed over all the previously taped areas with a golden ochre.  I like the result, and hope you do too because the ochre gives it a unity, but glazing it allows Harriet and her sister to be seen peeping out of the painting.

    There was a hiccup on the way to making the piece, however.  Last night, I realized I wanted to do the painting today, but I first needed to clean the piece so the tape and the paint would stick.  I didn't know how to do that, so I asked myself before I went to sleep what might work.  As often is the case, I had an ah-ha thought when I awoke this morning.  I had heard someone talk on a home improvement show about how shaving cream is a great, gentle way to clean things that are oily/greasy (as oil paintings are by nature).  So I got some of my husband's shaving cream and spread it all over the painting.  When I was done, the work looked wonderful, and I worried that Harriet might regret not saving the original, so I brought it to her and asked if she wanted to keep it. She confirmed that she still didn't want to retain it as it was.  So that is why I got the opportunity to make what I feel is a very interesting piece.  I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

     Since I'm intending to give this  piece to Harriet, I won't be selling it unless she decides that she doesn't want it.  If it does become available for that reason, you will be able to that it is available on my website.

September 23, 2014

Getting Ready for my Show, Continued ...

For Danni - 30 x 24" Acrylic on Canvas by Tracy Feldman

One of the things that artists do when getting ready for a show is to evaluate works that we thought were done. Some, we decide need to be reworked.  Today I did just that with a  piece that is part of my Rouen Cathedral series.  It's called  For Danni because I was thinking of my sister, Danni, a certified "Zen Tangle" artist and teacher.  I originally conceived this piece as monochromatic, and liked it that way.  But looking at it through the eyes of someone who was attending my show, I realized that it didn't "pop" the way I wanted it to, so I went back and modified it.  

I've included a whole series of pictures so you can see the process I went through.  The difference between the second- to-last stage and the final stage is subtle: I glazed a yellow over the orange and then extended the glaze over the blue background to tone down the "sun",  helping link the painting's warm and cool elements.

In the next couple of days, I am going to finish framing this piece for the show; then it will be ready.  Yea!  If you come to the show at the Mulberry Art Studios (on October 3, 5-8, October 4, 10 - 5, or October 5, noon to 4), tell me what you think.

September 20, 2014

The Show Cards Have Arrived! Want One?

I generally don't like the PR part of getting a show ready; it makes me nervous.  But designing the poster and cards for the show is closer to art, so I enjoy that.  This is a picture I took of the cards that just arrived for me to mail out and distribute.

The actual cards are nicer than this picture of them, thank goodness. I had them made online by Staples.  The price was good, and would have been even better if I had had a longer turn-around-time for the show.  The opportunity to do it landed in my lap less than a month before the opening, and because of that, I needed to pay for fast shipping (which went from free to $26).  So if you need to order postcards, I'd recommend them, particularly if you have a longer turn-around-time.

Two cautions, however. First I put a message on the other side, and realized when they arrived that I should have used a larger font size for the delicate type face I chose --  stay above 12 points with such fonts.  Also, in order to be able to create these cards so inexpensively, they don't allow you to edit or cancel an order after you submit the artwork, even though they have "edit" on the order review form. I didn't notice that, so I added something that I had forgotten to the back, and didn't understand why I had to redo the order information; I ending up getting 1000 cards (at a good price per card, but WAY too many cards) instead of 500.  So learn from my mistake and don't do that yourself.

That being said, you can understand why I'm happy to send you a copy of the card if you send me your contact information -- even if you can't make the show. :)

September 19, 2014

New A&R Work for New Works Show

Spinner for A&R Construction
      Over the last couple of days, I've been working on a number of items to get ready for the show.

     This is the centerpiece of a new construction for one of the three series of works I'm including in my New Works Big & Small show.  This piece is part of my A&R (Addiction and Recovery) Series.   It is the spinner that will be part of a carnival-style "prize" wheel. Attendees will have the chance to spin this Denial and Acceptance wheel.  The upper half of the wheel will present different symptoms of the underlying disease of addiction that people can get if they choose to keep living in denial about things in their lives, or life in general.  The lower half of the wheel will represent the greater peace, health, etc. that addicts, and others, can have  if they choose to accept themselves as they are and their "life as life is".

      It was fun trying to figure out how to make this spinner.  I started by recycling a Lazy Susan that was part of an old  storage system in my kitchen. I cut off the unwanted protrusions that held the containers and recycled an old piece of wood to make the double arrows.  To make the spinner, I recycled an old closet doorknob. The knob not only serves as the spinner, but it also ensures that the (lighter) Denial arrow will always land on one of the addiction regions. Finally I added a dollar store mirror to finish off the center.   I love the fact that the image in the mirror will not spin, so it will be a constant even as the wheel moves.

    I have included mirrored elements in many of the works in this series to do two things.  First, to add visual interest.   Second,  to enable viewers to see themselves in these pieces so that they will process them on a deeper level.   My intention in including this spinner piece in the A&R series is to introduce the idea that denial increases vulnerability to addiction[s], whereas acceptance not only reduces it, but can also aid recovery.

    I'll post another image of the piece when I'm done with it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this piece and its intent.  If you want a chance to spin it yourself, come to the show at Mulberry Art Studios (19 - 21 N. Mulberry St., Lancaster, PA) in October.   I'll be at the gallery to talk with attendees at the First Friday opening on October 3rd (5 - 8) and during Lancaster's Fall Art Walk on the 4th (10 - 5) and  5th (noon - 4).  You can also contact me to arrange to have the show come to your area.

September 16, 2014

New Work for the New Works Show

F&M Stained Glass - 28 x 28", Oil on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
As I shared in an earlier post, I'm going to be blogging about getting ready for my new show, New Works Big & Small by Tracy Feldman

This is one of the new works I created in the last couple of days because I needed another piece to include in my Reclaimed series.

     This series grew out of the general techniques I used to create my Rouen Cathedral series.  However, these abstracts are painted/constructed upon the bones of earlier paintings.  I used tape to preserve glimpses of the original images, laying it down
to create a new pattern.  

"F&MSG" underpainting
       These images demonstrate the evolution of the image -- from the original underpainting, to the image getting taped up to create the "stained glass" panels and the dividing lines, to the completed work. The work I chose as the underpainting was something I created years ago in a painting class I sat in on at Franklin & Marshall College.  It was taught by a wonderful painter and painting teacher, Scott Wright. He encouraged us to be freer in the way we approached painting, including doing things like painting works in the flat and then later stretching them on canvas.  

      While I loved the class, and thought the work was somewhat interesting, I didn't like it well enough to include in a show.  So it languished for years.  I spotted it when looking for an underpainting. It intrigued me as a candidate for an underpainting because I could use both the unfinished and painted parts to create an underpainting with a large contrast in value. I also loved that parts of a scene of F&M would be preserved.  So I stretched the canvas to preserve the range in value and bits of the original work. 

      As you can see below, the first step to creating a "stained glass" work (a term invented by a 7 year old painting friend of mine), was to use different widths of tape to define and divide the "panes" in the overpainting.  You can spot the different widths because each width of tape was a different color.  

    Underpainting w/tape
  • Here us an interesting painting tip if you ever decide to do your own "stained glass paintings":  Use a putty knife to burnish the edges of the tape and then paint from the tape into the "panes".  If you fail to do this step, paint will be much more likely to bleed under the tape lines, looking quite sloppy.
     At this point I needed to make a decision about the colors of the panes.  I chose a 3-color harmonious group: yellow-green, violet, and yellow-orange.  I knew that I'd be able to combine them together to create vibrant neutrals, and to add white to extend the range of values (dark to light) when needed.
Completed Work

  • Here's another tip:   Don't panic if your overpainting colors look bizarre against the tape, and don't panic if the work looks very sloppy before you remove the tape. 
  • Also, if what you see revealed in the "lines" isn't exactly what you wish, remember that you can use paint to make the modifications you want to get the image that you want. In this piece, I used white paint to clean up some of the marks that sitting around had left on the canvas.  I also used it to change the demarcation between the dark and white underpainting.  For example, having the white lines arrow down into the dark areas seems to me to be much less jarring that  leaving a sharp division between the two areas of the painting.
  • Finally, like with any abstract, don't feel tied to the original orientation you chose when you started the work.  You won't really know until you complete the piece how you want the work to be oriented.  In fact, if you look carefully at the work in progress and the completed image, you'll notice I rotated the work at each stage of the painting process.  
      I really like the completed piece much more than I did the underpainting.  The colors I chose and the neutrals I created with those colors seem to create a mid-century modern aesthetic in the work. I intend to put the work in a floating frame for the show. 

      I'd love your help with making some decisions about how to frame the work. I don't know whether I want to leave the outer part of the frame natural, which would be consistent with a mid-century modern feel, or to paint it black. If I leave the outside neutral, I probably will paint the inside area of the frame black. If I paint the outside black, however, I think it would be best to use a color from the piece as inspiration for the "float" area.  

     I really would like to hear your comments and thoughts.  I'd also love to see you at the show.  I'll be there at Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, PA for First Friday, October 3 , 5 - 8 and during Lancaster's Fall art Walk: Sat., 10 - 5 and Sunday, noon - 4. 

September 11, 2014

I have a major show coming up in October!

     I have been working to get up the courage to start showing my work again.  Fear had caused me to put off finding out about Lancaster's Fall Art walk until after the Labor Day holiday.  I assumed that would be OK because the event usually is in mid October.  But, I was wrong.  Instead, it's the first weekend in October, so I was late for arranging a place to do that.  Even so, I contacted my old gallery and asked them if I could participate in their group of artists who were showing during the event-- even if I couldn't be listed individually in the event literature.

     When the gallery owner, April, got back to me while I was driving to pick up my husband, Arny, I discovered some discouraging and some surprisingly lovely information.  She first shared that while she'd be happy to have me participate, she wasn't sure I'd want to do that because Fall Art Walk no longer was drawing the huge crowds it used to draw. However, she went on to share, Lancaster's First Friday gallery walk still was a big draw.  Not only that, but an opportunity had opened up for next month that she knew I could do, and she'd like to make available to me.  One of the shows that was supposed to open in one of her major Gallery spaces, and run all month, had just cancelled.  And, she was wondering if I'd want to do that -- despite the time being so short and the fact that I did not yet have a theme for the show.  I told her I'd have to talk with Arny about that, and get back to her.

     As I was finishing up my drive to get him, a theme came to me for a show: New Works Big and Small, by Tracy Feldman.  I realized that since I last had had a major show, my work had been evolving and could be broken into three major series -- plus be filled in with a number of the smaller, affordable works I had been producing as part of my dailypaintworks activities.  Over the next few weeks, therefore, I'm going to be blogging about the work I'm going to be doing to get ready for the show, including stretching and framing completed works, and finishing/creating works that I ideally want to include in the show.  So, keep checking this blog site to see how I'm progressing, and to get some instructional "how to's" about reframing pieces, making and stretching finished canvases, and making shadow box frames for works in the show that I believe need them.

     I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and advice. 

September 9, 2014

Mmmm Ginger Golds!

Mmmm Ginger Golds --  10 x 10" acrylic on canvas by Tracy Feldman
   This is the third in my series of paintings that is inspired by things that cheer me (and my heart).  In this case, what cheers me is being able to appreciate something lovely for the short time it is in my life.

    Now is early fall, and one of my favorite seasonal apples have started appearing.  They are ginger gold apples.  I love their look, their crispness, and their sweet/tart taste.  Earlier in my life (before recovery), having these lovely apples become available would have been a bitter sweet experience because I'd constantly be thinking, "Don't enjoy them too much. Don't get too attached to them because they're going to be gone soon".

      Now, my pleasure at having them is no longer tinted by such unneeded musings (unneeded sources of pain).  I can just enjoy them when I have them, and paint them to let myself enjoy them in another way. That is why I call this piece Mmmm ... Ginger Golds! I hope you like this little paining as much as I enjoyed painting it.  Tell me what you think.

     As usual, I'm going to be posting this little piece on my Dailypaintworks.com gallery site, and am putting it up for auction.  If you are interested check it out here.   This is the third in my series of paintings that is inspired by things that cheer me (and my heart).  In this case, what cheers me is being able to appreciate something lovely for the short time it is in my life.


September 4, 2014

Waterside Panorama

Waterside Panorama, 7 x 14", Acrylic on Canvas, by Tracy Feldman
     This is my second in a series of paintings that I am doing of places that bring me peace when I am there.   Although the exact location is the water view from the cliffs beneath Turkey Point State Park in Maryland, the view is meant to be an iconic representation of any of the waterside places that I love.   I love hearing the water lapping on the shore and walking along with very few people around.  That desire to more quietly commune with nature while at the shore is one of the reasons we love the west coast of Ireland, and one of the reasons we love visiting what we call "the beach" (the east coast's Atlantic beaches) in the off season.  Being at these places in the summer can be exciting, but the throngs of people running and shouting and the traffic jams don't inspire the peaceful feeling of calm that feeds my soul.

       I think that using a panoramic (whose dimensions are twice as wide as high, or vice-versa) is a perfect way to capture the feel of such a view.  I also love the fact that now my iPhone can allow me to so easily create a panoramic photo that I can use for a reference material.

     Once again, I'm putting this work up for auction on my DailyPaintworks website.  Check it out if you are interested in it.

September 1, 2014

Spiritual in New Castle, Delware

Spiritual in New Castle - 14 x 11", acrylic on canvas,
by Tracy Feldman

     For the next week's worth of paintings, I'm going to be producing works of things that feed me spiritually.    Today's little painting is of a place that I have visited numerous times over the years.  Each time I'm in this building, its quiet simplicity and beautiful light take my breath away and fills me with great peace.  This is even more true if we happen to be there when the late day sun pours into the sanctuary.

      The subject of this painting is the sanctuary of New Castle Presbyterian Church.  New Castle, Delaware is a historic little town right on the Delaware River.  It was the first place William Penn landed in the New World.  But, it's history even pre-dates English settlement of this part of the US.  In fact, the oldest building in New Castle dates from when the area was a Dutch colony.  The building I painted today was built in 1707.   I love its simplicity, dark wooden pews and large windows with deep window wells.  I am so grateful that the church's original simplicity has been preserved for over 300 years; and I also am grateful that the congregation still keeps the door to the sanctuary open for anyone who wants to visit (like me and my sweetie).

     I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I enjoy visiting this place.  I'd love to hear your comments.  As usual, I'm going to be making this piece available by auction through my Dailypaintworks.com web gallery.  Because the piece is somewhat larger, I'm starting the bidding at $35.


August 21, 2014

Painting With the Girls

Wedding Day Abstract, 16 x 20 " acrylic on canvas board  by Tracy Feldman
 Tuesday,  I had another great painting day with friends.  This time, I painted with "the girls" -- a name given to my neighbor, Nancy, and her granddaughters by her husband and son.    Nancy's grandchildren, Beth and Allie, are 11 and 9 years old.

    They were here for the week, and spent a lot of it filling Nancy's driveway and sidewalk with a wonderful series of vivid chalk drawings.  So I thought they'd enjoying doing some painting with me, and offered to do that if they had time.  Nancy wasn't sure if they could fit it in.  But, when the girls expressed an interest in seeing my abstracts, I suggested that maybe they'd enjoy it if we each could create an abstract painting based on what we'd talked about.

    ​ I assumed the abstract technique that another young painting friend called the "stained glass" technique would be one they'd want to use, so I for my own piece, I'd  already chosen an old piece that meant a lot to me, even if the image didn't quite jell enough for me to share it with my family.  It was a painting I did of my nephew Joel at his wedding to Aparna.  That's why I call the piece, Wedding Day Abstract.  I knew when creating the abstract that I wanted to use a simple blue wash over the portrait to contrast with the warm underpainting.  So I placed the tape in ways to let both Joe's and Aparna's faces and wedding outfits peep through.  But when I was done, I realized that it needed something more.  The values of the two layers were too similar.  Also, while I loved bits of the bride and groom's faces peeping out of the work, I realized that they so drew the eye that the overall composition was lost.  So  I added bright white spatters on top of the piece, and I loved the broader range of values, shapes, and depth that resulted.  Originally, I thought I'd want to have it displayed in the landscape format, but after I signed it, I realized that when I did that the elements of the face were still too prominent, and the spatters were less interesting, so I decided that the best way to display it is it now is (rotated 90 degrees to the right).

    Until I had added the spatters, the girls were less interested in using the "stained glass" technique than I was.   In fact, the first works Beth and Allied produced,  Vibrations and Giggles, used a direct painting approach.  These first pieces are wonderfully vibrant.  I love the glazing technique Beth used to create her work. It allowed hints of the vibrant underpainting to shimmer through the sheer washes of color -- adding such depth, and yes, a vibrational quality to the work.  Allie's Giggles has an almost perfect (75/25%) balance of warms and cools that really make her piece sing.

Vibrations by Beth S, age 11

Giggles by Allie S, age 9
Sunset by Allie S (and Tracy F)

      I thought they'd only do one piece, but after seeing what I was doing using the "stained glass" technique topped by spatters of cool white, they too wanted to do their own versions of a "stained glass" painting.  It was fun looking through some of my old representational paintings to use for the basis of their abstracts.    
A Bit of Everything - by Beth S (and Tracy F)
        I explained how to use the tape to preserve some of the under-image in the lines created by the tape, and basically left them free to do what they wanted to do. It was so neat to see the different ways (from me) that they applied the tape.  In creating her new abstract, Sunset, Allie used the tape to create a closed crescent in the upper right quadrant of her piece. Then, as you can see to the right, Beth put her own stamp on using tape in her work.  Small pieces to create a lovely ladder-like structure off center on the piece.  The linear elements and cool green and reds she chose to use in her over-paintings contrasted wonderfully with the warmer, rounded shapes that dominate the underpainting. And adding the cool splashes of white give a much needed value lift to the work.

     Something that is neat about this painting day is that the girls insisted that their Granny (Nancy) join in the fun.  At first, she seemed a little hesitant because she'd never created a painting before, but an idea, and title, struck her early on, and she created a really neat little abstract that was inspired by trip they'd taken to see our local minor-league baseball team, The Lancaster Barnstormers.  The work is inspired by the image of how the light from the end of game fireworks reflected off the audiences' hair.  A very good first effort indeed.

Girls at the Fireworks by Grammy Nancy

As usual, I'm putting my work, Wedding Day Abstract,  up on my DailyPaintworks Gallery site.  . So, if you are interested, check out the auction for it by clicking here.  I'm afraid that Nancy's, Beth's, and Allie's lovely pieces will stay in their own private collections for now.

July 26, 2014

Being Inspired by Summer's Bounty

July Onions, 8 x 10", Acrylic on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
One of the things I love about living in our area is the number of local farms that include a "truck farm" section.  In that section, the farmers grow a larger variety of crops that they grow specially to sell on a retail basis to individuals.  Sometimes they truck the bounty of these gardens into town to sell at larger farmers markets, and sometimes they sell them right at the edge of their farm, so individuals need to come to them.

     Lancaster County has the richest farmland in the US, and the nature of our farms is greatly influenced by the "plain people" who farm around here.  The ones who depend on horses to plow their fields have to keep their farms small (for example farms here average 78 acres vs 241 acres in Indiana and 433 acres in Oregon).  Another difference is the commitment to diversity of what is produced, even in the farms' cash crops. On one farm, you might see a cornfield next to a soybean, and/or grain, hay,  melon, pumpkin, or potato field.  It is also typical for farmers to include among their cash crops tobacco, orchards, and fields left in grass so that their dairy cows can graze.  And we don't have the only rich farmlands in this part of the country.  Maryland and southern New Jersey are also famous for their truck farms.

    In summer, therefore,  I'm able to stop by many different farm stands to see what is good -- knowing that what I get will have been picked that day.  These lovely onions are from such a road-side farm stand in Maryland, just over the border from Pennsylvania.  I bought them specifically to paint -- my Arny is NOT a big onion fan, but we will eat them in some form.  I loved their vibrant colors and shape.  I even loved the fact that the dried roots were left on the onions.  It reminds me of their (and all of our) dependence on the earth for sustenance.  I felt a little "bad" buying these lovelies in Maryland, instead of my county. I didn't feel "bad" because our farmers are doing badly -- they are actually thriving.  But, because we in PA are prohibited from bringing certain types of consumables into our state.  It's actually alcoholic beverages because liquor here can generally only be sold in state stores,  Many ignore that rule, going over the state line and avoiding paying PA taxes by buying booze in stores as close to the border as the farm stand I went to.  Vegetables never were protected in that way in PA, but it still felt a little like I was being bad when I got my veg.  It kind of gives you a good picture of how rule-following I tend to be :).

     When I got my non-contraband onions home, I realized that I wanted the painting I created to have a somewhat modern vibe, so I placed them on vivid warm and cool placemats and took a lot of photos to determine the best composition and lighting for the piece.  I love how the colors of the shadow marry the elements of the piece (the onions and the placemats).  Hope you enjoy.  I'd love to know what you think.

    As usual, I'm putting this little piece up for auction in my Daily Paintworks gallery.  Check it out here, after July 27th if you might be interested in it.

July 24, 2014

Doing More Artwork With Young Friends

Accidental Petroglyphs, 12 x 12", Acrylic on Canvas, by Tracy Feldman
Wednesday, I had another painting day with a young friend.  She's the 7-year-old daughter of my husband's colleagues that I mentioned earlier.  I noted that for a while she's been a devoté of Pollak, but she had taken a painting class this summer that opened her to doing other things.  She particularly liked the technique using tape that her instructor had called the stained
Untitled 7/22/14, 16 x 20", Acrylic on Canvas
 by Catherine W.
glass window painting.  I suggested that to make the piece more interesting that we start with one of my old paintings that I didn't want to keep, tape a pattern over that, and do the stained glass technique over that.  While doing it, we had her experiment with using different brushes and a palette knife and creating texture.  I could tell that she got more and more comfortable as we went along because she became willing to go to my paints and choose new ones that she liked -- without waiting for me to get them for her.  We then went to have a snack, she finished up the last few "panes", and took the tape off.  We worked together on that too and we both stood back and looked at the resulting piece. I asked if she thought she was done, or if she wanted some paint dribbled on the piece. She loved that idea and we searched for what color she thought would be best.  We chose one, and I got it ready (not too thick or too thin to dribble).  The resulting pattern combines dribbles, and spatters, and drops, and I really thought it turned out great.  Thank you guest artist, Catherine.

    I also worked on a piece while Catherine painted.  I chose another piece that I realized I didn't want to keep, a smaller 12" square one and used the same tape technique as I did with Catherine. I liked it when it was done, but decided to show Catherine that you could use your fingers as brushes to dot paint on a piece.  As soon as I did that, I hated the result, so I tried to wipe it off.  However, I didn't realize that some of the underlying "pane" paint was still wet, so everything smeared.  So I had to wipe off as much as I could; unfortunately the result was a muddy mess.   I worked harder to dry the mess, and then I started again with the tape, and did a much simpler over-painting technique; I used a single color to define the "panes".  The result was OK, but it needed something more, something of a much lighter value.  Thus I laid simple geometric patterns on the stripes left from the earlier underpainting.  The value ranges were better and I liked that my geometric patterns created the impression of being  petroglyphs.  That is why the I call the piece Accidental Petroglyphs.

   As usual, I'm putting my work up on my DailyPaintworks Gallery site.  Go to it by clicking on its icon to the right). So, if you are interested, check out the auction for it.  I'm afraid that Catherine's lovely piece will stay in her own private collection for now.

July 17, 2014

Summer's Bounty as Models

Mmm ... Tomatoes, 6 x 12", Acrylic on Canvasboard by Tracy Feldman
We are going down to visit with our niece and her family for a few days.  Since it is full summer and we are coming from the place in the US with the richest non-irrigated farmland, we asked them if there was anything we could bring.  My niece asked for tomatoes, and so I went to a roadside stand to get them.  They had lovely, red beefsteak tomatoes, and green tomatoes, and I decided to get both in case they thought it would be fun to make fried green tomatoes (made famous in the movie of the same name).

       After I got home I realized that I also had some low-acid (oranger) tomatoes and some cherry tomatoes that I had just gotten at our favorite Amish farm stand, and looking at all their luscious colors, I thought about what a beautiful painting it would make.  I was particularly pleased because I realized  with the addition of a paring knife and a yellow-green cutting board, these lovelies would make perfect models for a painting.  Thus, I went out onto my deck and set up the still life.  I really love the the way the glass top of the table I was sitting them on created the impression that my still life is floating on water. I also love the idea that my tomatoes will have a career before they come to a tomato's typical end (on the top of a fork).  I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did painting it.

     As usual, I'm placing this little work in my Daily Paintworks gallery for sale. It will be initially place on auction -- starting out less than I'll sell it for at a show. So if you are interested in checking it out and bidding on it click here.

July 15, 2014

Painting abstracts with Young Friends 1

Organized Chaos w/Metallics, 10 x 8", Acrylic
on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
This is another in my series of abstracts that rescued earlier works that I didn't particularly like.  As with an earlier painting in this series, Layered Levels of Cool (posted on June 24, 2014), I started out creating this abstract by using tape to preserve colors from the original representational work and then splashing colors in an abstract pattern over it.  Then, I lifted the tape to reveal the reserved colors.

       As with Layered Levels, to increase the visual excitement of the piece,  I chose to use colors in my initial abstract layer that were visually opposite from those preserved from the underpainting.  However, when I lifted the tape, I still wasn't happy with the piece, so I decided to swirls thick layers of metallic paints over the rectilinear "lines" created by the tape. I used different items to deliver my paint swirls and squiggles. I also chose to use metallics from different color families for each of my linear calligraphic elements.  Those two decisions combined to help the viewer distinguish each calligraphic layer from the next, and to create more order and depth in this seemingly chaotic abstract.  That is why I call this piece Organized Chaos w/Metallics.
Delia's Ghost Eye on my Studio wall.

     A fun fact about this  little abstract is that it started out being something I did while working with my 7-year-old niece, Delia. I had promised her we'd do art together.   I suggested that we might want to take one of my old representational pieces and use tape and paint to create an entirely different, abstract painting.  She wanted to paint a piece that was more representational, and so I was the one who did the multilevel abstract.

    Delia created two pieces when we worked together -- an etherial abstract, and a work that started out as representational, but evolved into something that also has a fairly abstract quality.  She worked hard that day, and seemed to have a good time.  To the right is Ghost Eye.  She only used black and white over a light blue ground to create her piece, and used a brush technique that I really like because it added lots of texture and depth to her piece.  I don't have a picture of Delia's first piece, because she took it home, but   she gave me Ghost Eye, and as I promised, I hung it in my studio.

      Next week I'll be painting with another young friend, Katherine, who is the daughter of a couple of my husband's colleagues. She's also about 7. She's been painting for a while and originally was a Pollock follower, but this summer she participated in an art program that introduced her to realism and pointillism. It will be interesting to see what she wants to work on when she's here.  I'll post what we do then.

    As usual when I produce a little work, I am making it available on auction in my gallery on the Daily Paintworks site.  If you think you might be interested in it (or just want to check out the gallery) check it  by clicking here.


June 30, 2014

Toys in Farmland

Toys in Farmland 1, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8",
by Tracy Feldman
Last weekend, one of our local towns held its annual Garden Show -- where local people open their gardens to be toured.  It raises money for their historical association.  We attended it, and discovered that one of the participants not only had lovely plants on display, but a wonderful collection of children's pedal tractors that he bought and lovingly restored. With the magic of paint, I slightly relocated this Massey Harris pedal tractor in front of the distant Amish farm because I loved the composition it made and the way the red of the tractor sang against the beautifully tended lawn of its owner.

I haven't decided if I'll make this part of a series.  What do you think?  Hope you enjoy.

As usual, I have put this little work up for auction in my Daily Paintworks Gallery.  Check it (and the other works for sale) there if you are interested.

June 28, 2014

Lancaster County, I Still Love You

Amish Barn in Sun and Shadow, 8 x 10", oil on canvas, Tracy Feldman
Recently, I've been doing a lot of paintings of interesting things in places that are not my home county.  So today I'm sharing a little oil I did of one of the very typical scenes we see in Lancaster County.  I call it Amish Barn in Sun and Shadow.  Our county is the one that the Amish first settled in in the US (arriving around 1730) from southern Germany and parts of Switzerland.

The Amish still live in our part of Pennsylvania in sizable numbers, and like their forefathers, farming -- including dairy farming -- is still a major way they earn their livings.  The old order Amish don't use electricity (for the most part), so their barns still are designed to easily house the cows and the hay, etc. to feed them without needing to have a lot of fancy (electrical) equipment to hoist the hay into the hay lofts.  Thus, an "Amish barn" is distinguished partly by the fact that it is either built into a hill, or a hill is simulated by creating on one side of the barn a ramp on which the hay can be brought in for the winter.  This barn has one of the simulated hill entrances.  Like with other Amish barns, the far side of the barn is on ground level to make it easy for the farmers to bring their cows and horses in.  Notice that this barn also has another typical "Lancaster County" feature: silos to ferment and preserve corn for cows to eat in the winter months. Because the Amish don't use big farm equipment, the average size of a Lancaster farm is small (only around 86 acres), so when you have a long view of the countryside anywhere in our county, you will see scores of silos and Amish barns.

I painted this barn because I love the contrast of warms and cools as the late day sun shines on the barn that is silhouetted agains the steel gray of storm clouds.  Hope you enjoy it.

As with all others of my small works, I'm posting it for sale on my Daily Paintworks Gallery site.  So, if you are interested in this little oil, check out the auction there.

June 27, 2014

The Pride of Chelsea

The Pride of Chelsea, 8 x 10", Acrylic on Canvas, Tracy Feldman
I love doing work that has a twist, or at least more than one way of reacting to it.  This is another small painting that was inspired by our recent trip to Michigan.  Chelsea is a small town that was close to where I spent my summers when I was a child.  When we were little, and we were visiting from New York, Chelsea seemed a lovely, sleepy little town that we'd visit if we were sick (the doctor was there) or for a treat (the soft ice-cream place was there) or to compete in its annual town fair.  
It also is the home of a home of Jiffy corn bread mixes.  I never noticed the plant when I was a kid because there were so many other places to look.  But, as an adult, I discovered that the humble little corn bread mix that I have used so many times always was made there, and still is to this day.  Considering how many manufacturing jobs Michigan has shed gives this little plant even more pride of place in this town than it ever had -- even after Chelsea got a dusting of Hollywood when the actor and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels opened The Purple Rose theater and the Chelsea Grill in town.  That's partially why I named this work The Pride of Chelsea.  The second reason for the name comes from the car I included in the foreground.  It's my impression of a Corvette that was passing in front of the plant when I was taking the reference photos for this work.  Michigan is such a car state because Ford and General Motors and Chrysler (and all their sub companies) dominated employment in that state.  Thus Michigan folk are even more likely than the average American to be car buffs, and owning something like a classic Corvette tends to be a major source of pride.  Look at the outline of the driver in this car, even if there's almost no detail: the casual drape of the left hand over the steering wheel and the lounging posture of the driver seem to me to shout, "I am so cool (or at least my car is)".

But, the subject of the painting wasn't the only reason for this piece.  I love the classic one-point perspective where the lines of the buildings and the railroad track all go to a single vanishing point.  I hope you enjoy.  I'd love to hear your impressions.

 As I always do with my small works on this site, I am making this piece available for sale (by bid or direct buy) from my gallery on Daily Paintworks.com.

June 26, 2014

The Grill King

The Grill King, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8"
 by Tracy Feldman
We recently got back from visiting family in Michigan.  On one stop on our journey, we visited northern Michigan to spend time with my sister and her husband.  While there, we had a number of lovely meals grilled by my brother-in-law.  My husband sometimes kept him company while he grilled, and snapped a great photo of him making one of those great meals.

 I loved the contrast of darks and lights and the cools and warms in Arny's photo. So I decided to paint it. My brother-in-law is a great cook inside, as well as on a grill.  But for me this little painting captures the pleasure and pride that so many guys have when they can go outside and cook over an open fire -- even those who might never cook inside in the kitchen.  That is why I titled this work The Grill King.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed the chicken he was grilling.

As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

June 24, 2014

Once Again For Something Completely Different

Layered Levels of Cool, 10 x 10" Acrylic on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
I have been painting so many realistic paintings recently that I decided to dip my toe back into abstraction.  For the basis of this piece, I used a painting I did several years ago of the closeup of dark clouds at sunset.

     In the original photo, I loved the swirling darks and bright shot of orange against a shot of clear, mid-range blue sky.  The bright orange hue was created by the late day sun glinted off the edge of the super-dark clouds.  However, when I got the image down on canvas, the resulting piece just didn't click.

    So, when I was looking to do a layered abstract, I loved the idea of using this painting as the base for something completely new.  By covering sections of the work with tape, I preserved some of what I liked about the earlier piece -- the color and value (dark vs light) contrasts -- while creating a new image on top of the piece.

     In Layered Levels of Cool, I used tape to create a set of very sharp "lines" on top of the original.  Then, I swirled cooler, lighter, whites, greens, and yellows over that.  Lifting  the tape allowed me to recapture the very dark, cool blues, and the very warm orange of the sunset-lit cloud edge.  I then went back and put some of the mid-depth colors over a few areas of tape-created "lines" to mess with the depth perception even more.

     I really like this piece, and hope you do too.  One of the things I really like about it that isn't obvious from this photo is that the original canvas is an inch and a half deep so the image pours over the sides

    As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts too.

June 21, 2014

Of Dappled Light and Sandhill Cranes

Of Dappled Light and Whooping Cranes
This little work is another one of the images that I've painted based on things we saw on our summer trip to visit family.  This guy was regally strutting through a wooded area.  I loved the way the dappled light made the base of his neck and part of his back seem to glow.  I also really liked the warm and cool contrast of the colors.

Sandhill cranes are rare birds in many parts of the country.  People come from far and wide to see them wintering in parts of Texas, then in the summer they retire to the cooler climes of places like rural southeastern Michigan.  As a kid I didn't appreciate how special it was to see them because of the pedestrian setting we'd see them in: a grassy, abandoned farm field easily spotted from the back of my Aunt's Ford 150 pickup.  As an adult, I realized how lucky we were to have these relics of an ancient time grace the Waterloo recreation area.  Hope you enjoy this picture as much as I enjoyed once again viewing this old friend on a warm Michigan morning.

As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece. I'd love to hear your input, and your own memories of these elegant relics of the past.

June 12, 2014

Of Serendipity and Yellow Lady Slippers

Yellow Lady Slipper, 10 x 8", acrylic on canvas
by Tracy Feldman
I got inspired to create this little painting on our annual family trip to the mid-west.  Carol, a self-taught naturalist, and niece of my brother-in-law, Lenny, took us on a nature hike in the Waterloo Recreation area.  The primary purpose was so Lenny would be able to photograph a blue-winged warbler.  The bird never showed itself, but the trip wasn't wasted.  We had a great walk and just happened to be during the time when Yellow Lady Slippers were in bloom in a swampy area by one of the lakes.  What serendipity!

     I had never seen a yellow lady slipper before, but I've loved this relative of orchids since I first saw a pink lady slipper when I was around 4 years old.  We were visiting the cabin of family friends at the eastern end of Long Island. Today it might be hard to imagine, but in the 1950's much more of that area was pretty wild.   After the long drive we took to get to the cabin,  I was disappointed by how small and simple the cabin was. But then I spotted the pink lady slipper  at the edge of the property. Its delicate beauty captured me immediately and my fascination was only increased when our friend  Ken,  told me how lucky I was to see it since they were so rare and special.  That moment ignited a life-long love of flowers and nature. 

Pink Lady Slipper
      I took a number of images of the yellow lady slippers on the walk, and I may paint other of the images later.  I painted this image first because I love the mysterious nature of the out of focus foliage in the back, and how the dark values make the yellow of the slipper seem to glow.

     On the right is an image of pink lady slipper that I found on a forest service website , so if you want to learn more about these lovely, threatened wildflowers, check out the site.  Notice how the hood and leaves are proportionately so much longer than the "slipper" in the yellow lady slipper.  But, both are still beautiful.

   As usual, I'm posting this little painting for sale on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site.  Check it out there if you might be interested in this piece.

June 6, 2014

It's Your Close-up, Peony

It's Your Close-up, Peony, acrylic on canvas,  8 x 10", by Tracy Feldman
     This little painting is a close up of one of my favorite late-spring flowers: a peony.  It's not one of the ones from our yard. We are traveling on our annual "great midwestern trek" to visit our families, and once again our peonies are blooming without us.  My husband photographed this beauty at Ann Arbor, Michigan's Arboretum.   He used one of the new toys for his camera: an extension tube.  It allows you to focus much more closely on objects than you can with a standard lens.

       I love how viewing objects from very close can give them a more abstract quality.   I also love the intense hues of this lovely peony.  I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed painting it.

    As with all the small paintings on this blog, if you are interested in buying It's Your Close-up, Peony, you can bid on him on my Daily Paintwork's gallery and auction site, or buy him directly on the site.  I hope you enjoy and would welcome any comments.

Peony Garden, Ann Arbor Arboretum, Ann Arbor, Michigan (2014)

May 31, 2014

Strutting His Stuff

Strutting His Stuff, 10 x 8", acrylic on canvas,
by Tracy Feldman
This is a little painting I did inspired by some old photos I found.  Like with "Barnyard Bully Boy",   I didn't believe that the setting in which I captured this great blue heron showed him to his best advantage.  So, I pictured him, as I would have preferred to see him: purposely strutting along the edge of a body of turquoise water whose hue would make his warm body visually pop against the background.  I've always loved these large birds.  They remind me of officious clerks in a Dickens novel -- looking purposefully elegant, but sometimes behaving in the most ridiculous ways.
     I can vividly remember one time that I and a large crowd were captured by the site of a great blue who seemed intent on suicide by fish.  He was in the process of trying to swallow a huge fish he had just speared. It was much wider than his neck.  He tossed it up in the air, expecting it to slip right down his gullet.  Unsurprisingly, it stuck like a cork in a bottle. But, our blue was not deterred from his task.  He spent at least a quarter hour trying to swallow that behemoth -- seeming to almost kill himself in the process.  In the end, all the bird's inelegant gyrating did have a good effect.  He downed the fish and lived.  We all cheered.  I hope you enjoy this picture of his brethren as much as I liked painting it.

       As with all the small paintings on this blog, if you are interested in buying Strutting His Stuff, You can bid on him on my Daily Paintworks gallery and auction site, or buy him directly on the site.  I hope you enjoy and would welcome any comments.

May 28, 2014

Barnyard Bully Boy

Barnyard Bully Boy, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8",
 by Tracy Feldman
Years ago, when we were visiting Bunratty Castle Park in Ireland (by Shannon Airport), we saw this remarkable rooster strutting around. I loved his look -- so puffed up -- and  I had always wanted to paint him, but I lost the picture I took of him.

    Just the other day I found a group of old photos and there he was.  I still found him visually compelling, but the dusty farmyard in which he strutted his stuff was uninspired.  So I painted him, but simplified the background to let him shine.  As I worked on him, I realized that he had protrusions under him that looked like they were made of claw material -- which made him look even more like a tough.  Thus, the name of the work was born: Barnyard Bully Boy.  I hope you enjoy it.

   Tomorrow I'll post another small work I did based on the old photos I came across.

    As with my other small works, I'm putting my bully boy up for auction in my digital gallery on Daily Paintworks.