Saturday, May 31, 2008

cottage retreats

How many of us would just love to have our very own retreat?  For you only,  a place to go to for yoga, for art, to design, to write or to do anything you want.  A good spot for "Book Club" or a spot to go to when you want to get away right in your own back yard.  Take a look at this site.
(Click on cottages- Small pleasures.) Elements of Style posted it and I just cannot stop wanting my very own place to be.  To be or not to be!  I am aiming for my very own studio in the near future!  Click on the one you want and scroll down to see the anything you want rooms.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I have a gift for each of you.  Click here.  I was inspired and signed up for 29 gifts here.  Giving has always been part of my life, but I never thought of giving as a way to bring about change.  Give for 29 days to make a change.  Sign up and join in giving. 

Giving brings about a new face, a smiling face!  Try it and you will see!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

baby check

Babies and checks fascinate me.  I love babies soft skin, the rolls, and the dimples.  Tiny fingers curled, bright eyes, small button nose and lips that will soon give meaning as they say letters to form words, D,Dada.  Why do they all seem to say Dada first? 

Checks also remind me of babies.  This check pinafore was a lovely pale grey check with a white bedford cord collar, cuffs and front, a hand-me-down from a wonderful friend.  On the front was an embroidered bear face.  My baby will be turning nine and when I see a baby, I do a "baby check" and my husband says, keep moving.  ( I illustrated this of my baby girl and her father, my husband. ) He loved the baby years and was an expert swaddler.  He would wrap them so tightly and then proclaim, "See, they like it."

Now he sees a baby and the next day, he will say, "that was a cute baby" and I say, "keep moving!"
Is it just me, or do you do the baby check thing too?   

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

land beside me

Another master-piece by my sister Liz. I am enjoying seeing her work evolve and take on a new meaning. In order to be an artist, the work lies in the actual doing and letting one's work find a way by utilizing new techniques and working them through just as one would with a new exercise or diet. The results finally appear worthwhile. This is one of my favorite paintings that she has done. (Hint, Hint.) I see the calm before the storm in this work. I know that Liz has been working hard to use a limited palette and I love the end result. It is easy on the eyes. What do you see?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

what do you do?

The world would be so much nicer if we wore shirts with words explaining what we do! 

I found this great t-shirt with the above image over here at Veer. What would your shirt say?
My printer has a great sense of humor, and he said his would say, I run around in circles, chasing my tail.  
So tell me, what would your shirt say?  Leave a comment, I know you want to.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day tribute

Many of my illustrations have All-American Flags hanging proudly.  They remind me to be thankful and to remember those that have served our country.

Flags flying on Block Island for an all American Island Parade.

Flags flying high for a parade on another Island, Nantucket, and below on a yacht circling the Island of Manhattan.
Memorial Day tribute 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

agent 99

Thanks to everyone for all your comments and advice.  I feel so much better that I opened that door.  So many incredible ideas and great thoughts for me to ponder.  Ponder this photo from none other than urban grace.  She said that pair of boxwoods makes her smile.  I have a grin from ear to ear.  I feel like I have my very own agent 99.  I love that "Get Smart" steel door.
Good to have an open door for comments and visitors.  Drop in!

green thumb

My quest for plants brings me to the local plant nursery.  There is nothing more inspiring than a trip to a florist full of fresh green plants and items that make one want to get dirty!   This year the plants and the pots seem even more amazing than ever!
Some hard working design devil is tempting me!  Even the gloves this year look fabulous.
The colors, the containers and all the items that make my green thumb start to shake.

Friday, May 23, 2008

upside down haven

Step on up to my stairway to my mid-century modern haven.
We have the blueprints from the Architect. circa 1949.
Nearly twelve years ago, I found the "one page" deed in the driveway which we needed for the closing which may not have happened without that important document.
Sweet Karma.  

Welcome to my stairway to heaven.  The rose bush to the right is tethered on a suspension wire and in a few weeks there will be ravishing roses in full bloom.  Pale and velvety roses.
But these planters need tending to and so many of you seem to love to give advice.  Free advice. One planter has an evergreen, the other is empty.  What about boxwoods or grasses?   Holly bush to the left always has a nest or two in the spring, Paracantha climbs up and in the fall bears orange bittersweet berries.  Any gardening thoughts or advice is greatly appreciated.

Located on a hillside, the view is heavenly.  Upstairs is my kitchen, living, bedrooms and back porch and patio. Downstairs is the hot bed working inferno, my work space, tv, computer and kid heaven.  Eyes on my work and an earshot from devilish angels. Photos taken by my writer buddy.  She has a brand new camera.  It's good to have friends with good equipment.
Thanks for the photos and any advice.  As my mother always said, "If you do not have anything  nice to say, just don't say it."  Sometimes it is still a hard rule to follow and I know I am not alone.  Go ahead and leave me something, like a comment or a hell-0!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

catch of the day

Here is my catch of the day, "Annechovie!"  
Fresh faced beauty, blessed with incredible artistry and a graceful way with words.
Anne has a penchant for creating and inspiring an artful life.  Sound familiar?

Happiness radiates from Anne's work.  Having the pleasure of getting to know Anne is like adding sunshine to my day.  She has been a great friend to talk shop with about paint, and life and all that it entails.  

If you have a minute, here is one of Anne's chairs, have a seat!  Anne has a penchant for chairs.
Anne has a way of making things groovy and fresh.

Matisse also had a thing for chairs.  Anne adores Matisse and this is one of his paintings that

 has inspired Anne.  Anne adores the way Matisse used color.

The photo above is one of Anne next to this urn.  I think this color is so Anne.

Anne also loves to paint urns.
Fresh, cheery and exquisitely stunning!

   Anne was kind enough to say yes to send me some of her work for our annual Holiday school boutique and I sent her back a box of goodies to thank her, and this was my "cheeky" illustrated tin of annechovie's card that I enclosed.  If I knew back then, I would have sent some pumpkin seeds, some headbands, and some fresh coffee beans because Anne loves to have those while she works from seven to eleven.
Picture her at her desk, sporting flip flops, chic headband or pony tail, listening to words or music and painting fresh work!  
I hope you will get to know Anne if you do not already. 
As artists, we are all in this great big pond, swimming upstream together and since much of what we do is alone and isolated, it is always good to know that you have someone who adores you and thinks you are one great catch!  Extra annechovie's for me, please.
Order some Anne's work to inspire you!  Her work may even hang next to Matisse!
Word has it that he adored everything with "anchovy" - having painted on the Riviera it is only natural along with rose wine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

tagged out by "little-byrd!"

Being born and raised in the home town of the "Louisville Slugger" and the "Kentucky Cardinals"- "tagged out" by little byrd seems only like a natural turn of events.   Teaching my own children to play fairly, I will heed my own vice and admit to being tagged, back to home base to share the following.  Care to join me for some peanuts...popcorn and "peeps."   
Here we go.
1.  What was I doing 10 years ago?  

I have a hard time remembering what was I doing just yesterday, but here goes - 
Ten years ago, I had left a glamourous full time career (as a fashion designer in New York City) to work free-lance and more importantly desiring to be the at home Mom to my twin sons.  (Grateful for the excellent caregiver we had for nearly 5 years, the last one was not up to par, and a series of unfortunate incidents gave way to my final decision.)  I did feel incredibly guilty to be walking away from a very nice and cushy salary at the same time really wanting to be the one there for my twins.  
My little daughter was the answer to my sign that I stay on my own course to witness all the firsts.  Luckily, my husband agreed that is was for our "family."  I had no idea what a huge job I had signed up for, a life-time job of Mothering.  One job that you cannot just quit and nor can anyone fire me.  Well maybe they could!  Hard to imagine my baby will be 9 this summer and those twins will be driving, well soon enough.  All those years of being here - priceless.

2.  What are five things on my list for today?
-Greet the day with attitude gratitude for granting me this day and these things to do - and blog about!
-Morning errands to the bank, post office to send artwork off, like sending off a part of me!
-Morning knitting with the "knitsters "which gives me air and gets me out. Scurry home to...
-Work, "illustrate" a pile of work for patient clients-- and give thanks for all of it!
-Hired helper to lend assistance so I do not have a nervous breakdown and to laugh with....!

3.  Snacks that I enjoy?
Love- nuts, raisins, fruit, edamame, yogurt or chocolate! 

4.  Things that I would do if I were a billionaire?
My life per se would be no different - No gold faucets or gold fillings.
Dream to live a simple life in a cottage- to teach art, knitting, sewing, cooking to students.
Long walks, yoga, and paint every day.
Continue to illustrate and have a series of books.  I would support worthy causes to help educate women and children in living an artful life, full of spirit and interdependence.
Women helping children.  (Oh I do that every day already! :)  
5.  Places I have lived;
New York City
Almost Hong Kong (does almost count)
New York Suburb

6.  I have tagged each of you or anyone else who likes to play fair and square.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

tray bien

Being a practical type, trays serve me well.   Not only are they great for serving tea or lemonade, they also are good for collections. Decorative trays become works of art answering to a decorative side. The above tray was painted for a client to give to a Bride & Groom to serve as a memory of where their wedding took place, on the grounds of an exquisite formal garden of great music -Caramoor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

a tisket-a- tasket!

My hand knitted hats!  Circular knitting, aka "Idiots Delight!"

Every summer, I remind myself that the days are longer and with more light - it is always a good time to create.   I love to knit and to make tons of crafty items to sell as well as to gift. Keeping a basket of goodies for newborns, for teachers, and for family and friends is always good.  Filling it up is like stocking my very own little boutique.  I take great joy in completing small projects. As a Mom and an artist, nothing is more rewarding than finishing a project, like something hand-made.  I always look at things and tell myself, "I can make that!"  I love hand-made things.

Children love to create, so lead by example.  (Above Photo from House & Garden -Nov.2005) Baskets provide great storage for my hand-made items and are easy to transport goodies to and from things like our annual school Holiday Boutique.   A tisket-a-tasket, love to know what you are making to put inside your basket, please feel free to share, even if it is not complete.  Perhaps this will inspire you to fill your very own basket of serendipity this summer!  After all - the Holidays will be here in a few months!

Just a few ideas for each of you;

Knitted Hats & Scarves
Home-made Jelly
Board Books - Scrap books
Hostess Gifts
Needlepoint Ornaments
Ribbon covered address books
Hand-painted flower pots
Hand-painted trays
Hand-painted boxes

Have fun!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Have a fine birthday, Dad!

This photo is of my father, on his First Communion Day.  Today, my dear Dad is celebrating a birthday, 81 years young.  In 1945 my father began his business "Paul's Fruit Market" - which still lives on.  Many years, my father was up early to go to the market to shop for the freshest fruits and vegetables.  My mother and father worked hard to provide for our family.  They had taught each of us to build a life simply by being kind,  honest, and hard-working.  Every day my Dad shows me that it is important to show compassion and fairness to all.  More importantly, it has been his display of faith to lead a fine life.  Dad, I will honor you and Mom -everyday!
 He always tells everyone-"Christmas should be more than once a year." 
 Find room in your heart for joy everyday!
Have a fine birthday, Dad!

Friday, May 16, 2008

frame of mind

As an independent artist, I meet so many wonderful people along the way.  Some people possess what I call a great "frame of mind"-  immediately you feel such a fabulous influence.
You know the sort of person who makes everything rosy, the kind who bakes her own pies, hangs her laundry to dry, is always reading the latest book and is just back from a trip or going somewhere.  Those kind of people are what I call simply infectious and who can make something from nothing all so easily.

Please allow me to introduce you to Marnie over at MRR Design.  I met Marnie for a cup of warmth on a cold winter day.  She wanted some art for her web-site for her business of making unique frames, all with fabric and ribbon.  

She gave me a clear and concise idea of what she wanted and she was great at navigating me.  So much of what I do is a work in progress, back and forth til we reach a happy place.  I enjoy that part of beginning with just of few pieces and then pulling it all into an illustration or a painting.  Marnie was kind, patient and great to work with.  
At the time we met, I was clearly smitten with this "blog thing" and feeling all giddy.  Like being in love, my heart skipped a little faster and I was so excited to receive accolades from other fellow blogging citizens.  Well, my enthusiasm must have pushed Marnie to join in all the fun.  Clearly, I am impressed with her craftiness, her joie de vivre and her drive.  Welcome Marnie by taking a peak at her blog and who knows - perhaps you might even need a frame for a graduate or a gift for yourself. 
 They are beautifully made and add a bit of cheer anywhere!

friday fun & games

My parents had a shuffle-board game in the back-yard which looked like this photo, well the game did.  This is a "tear sheet" that I had saved because I love the house and of course the setting.  It certainly looks like a spot where all the kids would want to play.  As a parent, I quite like having kids around playing fun games or sharing healthy food.

My idea of a great friday is one of fun & games to end a busy week.  I have saved this "tear sheet" from a decorating magazine with this lucite top table which doubles as a ping-pong table.  What a fun thing to come home to after a long day at school or the office.  I imagine that this could work if you live in the city and you do not have a garage or a game room to store a ping-pong table.  Our ping-pong table is in the garage.  It is a great way to stay in shape.
On rainy fridays, expand your mind and play a game of Scrabble.  Your turn.  I have always loved the smooth pieces.  Our Scrabble game has a lazy-susan base so all players have the right to view straight and not have to strain their neck. 
Another game we recently have enjoyed playing is "Scattergories."  Take time to have some fun & games and remember it is so not about winning!  Monopoly is fun too, we call it Marathon Monopoly.  We know who always wants to be the banker!
Some people just wanna have all the fun!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Interiors of the heart -Enter Artist David Lloyd

Quiet and Pale - by David Lloyd

Interiors of the heart are captured in the paintings of David Lloyd. These works of art drew me into the space. There is an intimate quality. Just like a child excited to stay at a beach house, running to claim the best room, that is the feeling that overwhelms me when I view these works of art. I cannot decide which room I want to run to first. The soul of a home they say is in that of the inhabitants, but these paintings are the soul of the room, the sum of that home. Like children make a family whole. The above painting is titled "Quiet and Pale."  I would love to be in that space with a good book. The light streaming in, the high ceilings and those comfy sofas look inviting.

Interiors have inspired many artists, architects and designers. Documenting the interior space of a home with a painting is a unique way of handing down from generation to generation a sort of "been there" feel. Clearly, each of us have a special place that we went to as a child, perhaps that space no longer exists, yet the memory of it is painted in your heart. My grandmother's living room was a beautiful "Robin's Egg Blue" and there was a mural in the dining room above the side-board. Fond memories come wafting back to me, of opening the middle drawer, there was a shoe-box lid with crayons, manilla paper and always a supply of chocolate bars. The sense of smell, color, taste and the softness of her voice bring me to that special place that no longer exists.

This painting above is titled- "Shakespeare and Company" - David painted this interior of a bookstore as seen through the window from the street. Inside sits a lone patron. It was the mood of this painting that inspired David to paint interiors possessing a similar quietude.
He believes that this was finished in 2003.  This painting makes me want to go inside and find some rare book, the kind that is no longer published.

David has a small and hopelessly cluttered studio, impractically small and no photo or painting exists yet this is his favorite room. In that cluttered, small space are "Maimeri" oils and "Golden acrylics" which are top notch brands both worth their weight in gold. After all, "you get what you pay for." Perhaps after this post David shall invite us in or better yet, paint his studio.

The three things that David cannot live without in order to live a chic existence are Art which is pretty obvious, Music and a little red 1972 Triumph TR6 Red Convertible.
Zipping along, David's paintings range from 30 minute studies to 30 hour multi-layered affairs. Of course size does determine the time and some he cannot even begin to calculate the miles. Much of the time is spent sitting and staring.  He rarely needs inspiration as he just works through technical exercises and then finds his way. 
He tells me not to wait for inspiration to come, go and find it. What a nice motto.

Do you have an Interior of your heart? Perhaps David will create the sum of its parts for you.
Many of you have an obsession with a chair, a sofa, a chest, or some object that holds your heart. Objects find room in our life and lead us along the journey. They provide a road map to a place and time. Why not have it painted as you would a portrait or a landscape.

Thank-you David for answering my questions, and for allowing me to write this post as well as post the interior paintings from your heart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


"Trust your style" guested me again today over at her blog again today. Pop on over and maybe you will even catch the "bouquet!" Now hurry up before you miss it!

two by two

As a mother of twins, I have a special place in my heart for twins. When babies are en route, friends often think of me to hand paint personalized gift items.  I painted these stools prior to the arrival of twin boys for a friend, also a mother of twins. 

There are two types of people, one who gives me a clear idea of what they want and the other who just gives me creative license to paint what ever I see.  The only word given to me was "not traditional" and so I had great fun painting these stools with a nod to the mod.

Here's the stool for Henry.  I adore the name Henry!
The one below is for Elliot, another wonderful name!
Welcome to the world and may you always step two by two!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

be my guest

I am so honored to be a guest blogger over at "Trust Your Style" today.  Please take a minute to be my guest and check out my sunny post today!

reading, writing, arithmetic and art

Many friends ask, "Did any of your children inherit your artistic genes?"  Well, yes - my eldest son is an artist.  His school schedule is quite intense and currently allows no time for Art Class this year, but he takes time to draw or doodle during math class.  I guess it should bother me that he can still get A's in math and draw.  For you see math and I never quite got along and still, I would be perfectly happy to by-pass math and go straight to the "art" of the matter. Growing up, many friends and family would look at my art work and tell me how "talented" I was.  They never looked at my math and said that, odd.   Here is one of his drawings, he calls it "micro city." Go figure.

Monday, May 12, 2008

bill of gates

Listen up people, I am not talking about Bill Gates, but at $22,500 these would be perfect for him.  A lucky find over at Vol.1.   Says that they are from the 1960's and in good condition.  I am from the 60's and in good condition too.

If I were a bird, that nest certainly looks like the perfect spot to lay an egg or put apples.  
Wonder what the house looked like that went with these gates, it must have been some love nest.  What a grand entrance these pearly gates would make for me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are Mothers.  We can all follow in the foot steps of Mother Theresa and be on our very own mission to answer to a higher calling.  May each of you who provide mothering to your own as well as to other children all of the world enjoy the rewards of this special day.   Let us join hands together, we can unite in faith and strength for a world of peace.  Especially today, on Mother's day.   

Saturday, May 10, 2008

telephone your Mother

Sunday is Mother's Day - so please remember to call your Mother and tell her how much you love her.   If you happen to have lost your Mother or have a friend who is like a Mother, then call her and let her know just how much she means to you.   This has to be one of my favorite photos, shot by Norman Parkinson.   Actually, I can't decide what I like best, the coat, that hat or her chic coif!   Warm wishes to all Mothers!

Frequent Fountain

Living nearby makes it very easy for frequent visits to this incredible fountain located near Tarrytown, New York on the grounds of "Kykuit" a Historic Home part of the Hudson Valley.
This grand estate of the Rockefellers, a philanthropic family of all time will take you back to a time of the American Dream.

The name Kykuit is a dutch word, meaning birds eye view.  Perched high up on a hill, nestled above the Hudson River in Pocantico Hills is a breathtaking vista.  On this day that I went, it was overcast but ethereal.  The garden is well appointed and cared for with statues placed carefully as though they have always been there.  It was  Nelson Rockefeller who had a knack for placement, only fitting since his mother Abby Aldrich Rockefeller founded the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, in New York City.  Clearly she was a woman of strength and vision to amass a collection of modern art.  
 There is a garden tour or a tour inside this amazing home also well stocked with Art and History.  Next time you are in my neighborhood, I would be happy to take you.  This bird is a frequent visitor as the view, the intrigue of that era, and that fountain of youth add years to my day and make anything seem possible.  

Friday, May 09, 2008

green light

I captured this photo in Vermont and was enamored by the green light of the afternoon.  The light and the cast shadows from the trees.  I love the horizontal dappled light in the foreground and the vertical stark trees shooting up to the sky.  Take a walk where you live and notice the light and the way it plays, dances and inspires.  Painting is all about the light and the shadows that the light casts.  I am going to paint this one of these days, or perhaps you would like to give it a try.  I give you the "green light."