Soup Prep - Chef Dean
oil on board, 6 x 8" framed in silver and gold tone frame
for purchase info click here
Often times I tell my art students to "trust in the process" and not to judge their painting too soon, especially while they are in the midst of creating it. I’ve said in the past it’s like baking a cake and trying to eat it when it’s half baked - it doesn’t taste good.
It’s easier for us to understand the cooking process when it comes to creating a meal. Planning the menu, buy the ingredients, prep the food, cook or bake, waiting time and then knowing when it’s done. And then.... yes enjoy eating it!
There are many similar steps and stages when it comes to creating a painting with the exception of one. The "Cook Time" or the "Create Time". For instance, you do have to plan and purchase materials. Find a place to create, whether a studio or a kitchen table. You'll also need some instruction, even the basics like mixing and applying paints. And surely what would be helpful, like in a recipe you are given the time it takes to prep and the time it takes to cook or bake. But that's not the case when it comes to creating art.
"Create Time" is the one mystery element. It's the one ingredient that is truly different for every artist. How can I tell my students that an exercise will take exactly one hour. Sometimes I'll try to set time limits and on occasion it will work but for the most part, I've come to the conclusion - a painting will get done on it's own time. We truly don't know how long it’s going to take to create a piece of art. For some it could be thrown together in minutes and called finished for others the "cook time" could take hours, days maybe even years.
But what if we savored and embraced that "time of simmer" - the "process time". What if, with patience and with a listening heart, we lean more into the method than the end result. I mean we aren't planning to eat our painting like we would a meal, so why can't we just take the time to listen to our heart not a grumbling stomach. What if we apply the phrase "Trust the process" to mean both trusting you will be satisfied with the end result AND enjoyment while in the midst of creating it.
So perhaps the next time you are in the middle of painting a painting whisper to yourself “ embrace the simmer” .....and I will do the same.
"Tomatoes on the Vine - Kitchen Prep - Chef Dean"
oil, 16 x 20" -
Winner: Honorable Mention 2017 Biannual Juried Exhibition at
Wethersfield Academy for the Arts, Wethersfield, CT
for purchase information
For an experienced chef who knows just the right time to add the ingredients to a soup or a sauce, he begins by activating all his senses. He smells, sees and hears the sounds during the cooking process and knows exactly when to move to the next step. At first it could be the sound of the onion coming in contact with the heated oil - he listens for the sizzle or the pop. Or perhaps he’s waiting for the stock to reach a slow boil before adding in the seasoning.
As students of art our senses need to be engaged too. Of course we don’t take this literally when it comes to tasting our paints - we aren’t tasting anything - that would be gross! But when it comes to creating art "switching on" your senses is part of the creative experience. Sight is the obvious one, but how about smell, touch and hear?
To this day I can still remember so clearly the smell of the wet watercolor paper when I first learned how to paint. During my college years my instructor had us wet the entire sheet of paper in the sink, place it on a board, staple and tape it down. As the paper dried the smell would disappeared and then I knew it was time to start painting. Some say it smells like wet dog, others say glue or adhesive, even unbaked bread - yeasty smell - for me it I can't really describe the smell but what I did know is that it triggered an internal sense of "NOW. Now it's time to create!".
Recalling an instructor's exercise at the Yale British Art Center for art educators, the facilitator placed several pieces of fruit on the table and asked us to create a still life using the art materials supplied. I thought to myself - I got this.. But it wasn't until she had us close our eyes for a minute and she cut open the orange and asked "can you paint what you smell?" Just being more aware of the smells around us can influence our work. The orange sphere on the paper just became juicier, the lemon yellow made you pucker your lips and yes .. just about taste it.
I believe our sensory awareness plays a key roll in our artistic growth and development and the more we paying closer attention to the ordinary things around us in our everyday environment the more we connect more deeply through the expression of our art.
Back in the kitchen with Chef Dean as he's preparing a meal or getting ready for a cooking class all the senses are awakened. The sweet aroma of the hand-picked basil drifts through the air, the freshly cut onions releases an all too familiar odor and maybe a tear or two, and the vine ripened tomatoes, still warm to the touch from the afternoon sun. As Chef Dean incorporates these ingredients into a stainless steel pot over high heat, is when your mouth begins to water as you breathe in sweet aroma of an Italian kitchen ... in essence, he just creates a masterpiece for the palate!
Here's a quick little impromptu clip of my students finishing up their paintings in our 4 week beginner acrylic class. Such a fun class - my students are the BEST!
Over the summer Becky Butler, the Director at Arts Escape and I developed a new class format - well it's actually a blend of two classes I've been teaching. - We took the best parts of "Paint Nights" but creating a step by step instructional lesson of one painting and extended it out to 4 weeks. - 2 hours sessions. Within those 4 weeks I incorporate much of the lessons from the traditional beginners acrylics class - such as color mixing, brush techniques, canvas preparation and so much more. It really is the best of both worlds and It makes this art teacher so happy because not only do I get to see my students progress over the 4 weeks but I love the friendships that have been formed. I have students who come early to help set up and students who'll stay late to clean up -
We have new dates and paintings and lots of mini-lessons scheduled for September and October.... Plus... I'll be teaching this same format at Artsplace in Cheshire -
For more information on our NEW fusion class - go here -
Thanks again for reading my blog and I hope your day is bright and colorful!
Wonderful day at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT with my two students - It was a quiet day. A few passers-by - we enjoyed the warm light that peaked over the ivy covered wall. The light framed the colorful purples, blues and violet color flowers so nicely in this elegant sunken garden. The garden with a extra long gazebo sits directly across from the main entrance of the Hill-Stead Estate.
Afterwards we made our way inside to tour the home which was designed by Theodore Pope Riddle and her father. Theodore is one of the first female architects in America. She attended Miss Porter's boarding school, fell in love with Farmington CT and convinced her parents to move there from Chicago. At one point they ended up purchasing over 3000 acres of land in the area. Such a wonderful and fascinating story of this family, their home, their hospitality, their amazing art collection and now a museum for everyone to enjoy! We are so fortunate here in Connecticut to have folks willing to invest, preserve and share our state's history.
Just a little thought.... in my little mind... but what if more people took the time to learn, appreciate and enjoy all the fascinating history that surrounds us... right in our own backyard... maybe it would give them a fresh perspective, maybe we could just forget about the not so good news that can just drag us down and learn to fall in love with our quaint little charming New England state.... I have!
What an honor and privilege to work with Lisa Leonardi and her crew The Room Doctor of Madison, CT, to be apart of the home staging for an exquisite luxury home in Deep River - “ Breezy Day on Griswold Point” - rests on the rustic wood mantle of this fieldstone fireplace in the second more intimate living room. -Decorated in earthy neutrals with lots of textural elements to touch.
-and the second painting - “ Autumn Swing” hangs above the mahogany fireplace in the game room - next blog post will be about this painting - ...
Here's the link to the zillow listing to see this amazing home and how Lisa and her crew tackled this sizable project.
September 8-9, 2018 - On the Green- Glastonbury Art Show - Booth #34B
September 22-23 - Introduction to Plein Air Painting Workshop, Cheshire, CT
September 28 - Oct 1, 2018 - Arts Escape Fundraiser Art Show, Southbury, CT
October 5-8,2018 - Fall Gathering of Artist, Litchfield, CT
click here for more info on shows
plus weekly class in Cheshire and Southbury - click here for more info on website
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." - Albert Einstein
Just like the way the wind swirls the clouds in the sky or moves the water into waves - I think that's the way my imagination works. Working behind the scenes, as I go about my day, my imagination begins to weaves together experiences, ideas and visions. And the more a painting idea circulates around in my mind the stronger the vision and the deeper the conviction is to make it come forth.
How "Breezy Day" came together really transpired back a few months ago... let's trace the roots of it's beginning.
In June, I began preparing for an upcoming class in acrylics for beginners, part of the lesson required teaching how to paint clouds. so what did I do... I painted clouds, lots and lots of clouds. Just practice.. then paint right over them the next day and start again. Searching how other artists painted clouds, I watched a few videos and then back to the easel. Clouds have become a recent obsession, you might say.
Fast forward to a few days into August we had one rainy stormy day after another - hazy hot humid and lots and lots of rain..... But as I dropped my mom off at Bradley airport that morning - kissed her good-bye the sun came out peaking around the billowing clouds. I headed south on 91 - picked up my gear at home- packed a lunch and back out the door to Old Lyme. Yes.... chasing the clouds all the way!
Even though that day's plein air study didn't thrill me... the vision was becoming clearer and on a much bigger scale.... like a few feet bigger! The distance sailboats and the wooden sailboat in the foreground made its way onto the canvas based off of the dozens of reference photos from our trip to Mystic Seaport Museum in June for the annual Wooden Boat Show and searching the web.
As each idea worked it's way shape by shape, brushstroke by brushstroke onto this large canvas the energy and momentum and vision crystalized and the palette knife made the waves sparkle..
But deep down... what anchored this vision, I would have say faith. Faith that it would all come together, faith that what I saw in my imagination was canvas worth - because faith is the belief in things unseen.
... and in the next post I'll share with you where this painting, "Breezy Day" made it's first debut! ....and the story continues...
keep creating .... make your day colorful and bright!
Here's a photo and quick clip of a recent trip with the Madison Art Society- Wednesday Paint Out at Ann P.'s place on Griswold Point Lane in Old Lyme. Got there late, had to work quick and my umbrella was ready to take flight.... of feeling little like Mary Poppins you could say.
But the view was gorgeous - And my painting intention: focus on clouds. Today I didn't want to paint from a photograph I want to actually attempt to capture these forms as the quickly shifted shape, size and color! OOhhh so challenging ... but so worth the exercise!
Happy painting .... keep looking up and enjoy how beautiful our surroundings are .... when we take the time to observe... slow way down... and just appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
lots of love,
If you're at all curious, which my husband is.... this where I was painting and the view across the mouth of the CT river looking at the Lynde Point Lighthouse... and of course he asks... can you fish there?
Afternoon spent with my mom and daughter in one of our favorite places stony creek - we had hot dog from Thimbleberrys and watch Bear play in the water. Before he ventured into the water he enjoyed let the water glide up underneath him cooling his belly .. but not enough to cool him down. It wasn't until V took off her shoes and encouraged him to go a little deeper into the water, watching his mama head into the water up to her knees... swung open the door of permission ..... and WHAM... he felt the freedom of swimming around with just his head out the water. It's always a good time watching a dog swim, paddling around with a big grin on his face. And of course the BIG SHACK-OFF after his afternoon dip!
Great day, great memories made!
P.S. Classes and Shows coming up! Click here for more info on classes and here for more info on upcoming shows.
Here's my piece from our day at Brooksvale Park in Hamden CT. I wouldn't consider this a finished piece - it's still work in progress but I thought it would be great to talk about the difference between process vs. product.
I was just talking to one of my students in an acrylics class and after the first lesson she wanted to make it perfectly clear to me that she didn't need to finish her painting. She want to learn the process of how to paint. I love this insight from someone who is just starting out.
Often time we and that includes me feels that WE need to finish a piece. But it's when we can slow down and enjoy the process and learn new techniques or develop or skills observing and hand coordination ... we truly grow. Not everything has to be a finished product but if we can reflect back on the process of when we were creating the piece can we answer a few questions like... what did I learn from this? what could I have done differently? Did I try something new? .... you can ask yourself lots of questions about the piece, inquiry can be your best teacher.
keep painting and creating- enjoy the process - it's a marathon not a sprint!
Big hugs, Linda
Brooksvale Park is located off of Rt. 10 in Hamden CT - New Haven County - click on the map to zoom into get exact location
This was a fun project to be apart of with Kirsten Floyd - KF Interior Design, Hartford CT and my daughter Veronica who is Kirsten's summer assistant. A print of my Golden Radiance over Stony Creek Harbor sits above the fireplace mantel in the model home of the Pennington in Farmington, CT.
With the blues and neutral accents the room brings a wonderful sense of New England coastal charm. The rest of the model home is gorgeous. A kitchen that is light, bright and air. Two bedrooms, 2 full baths and a den. This photo was taken before the staging was complete - to view more check out KF Interior Design instagram page here.
Custom Prints Can be a great solution!
Looking for a unique work of art for your home, office or perhaps you're an interior designer looking to compliment your design theme with a work of art. Most of my paintings whether available or sold could be purchased as a quality reproduction on canvas or paper. High quality prints of of my work can sized larger or smaller fit any space, Send me a message, let's start the conversation... I would love to help.
Sept 8-9, On the Green in Glastonbury, CT
Sept 28- Oct 1- Heritage Village Country Club, Southbury, Ct
Oct 5-8 - Litchfield Firehouse, Litchfield CT
Receive my latest paintings and blog updates in
15 Helen Drive
North Haven, CT 06473
Keep in Touch
Sign up to get the latest info on events, classes, workshops, shows, and sales