Dreaming at MOMA


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I’ve had very mixed feelings about AI (artificial intelligence) and how it will affect an individual’s creative process.  I personally am a big fan of letting ideas swirl around in my own head. I am always somewhat amazed with what eventually comes out on paper or canvas.

Frankly, I rather like the surprise and the process of art the way it is. The piece  changes and evolves as I work.  But this is rather the point with the new installation at MOMA which uses AI in a similar way.

This past summer, I took a trip to NYC to revisit some of my favorite museums to see if anything stimulated my own creative process.

I went to The Morgan Library, The Met and MOMA.  And at MOMA there was a mesmerizing installation, Unsupervised by Refik Anadol, which dominated the lobby exhibition area right inside the museum from the sculpture garden.

The piece was fluid and moving, constantly changing in color and shape. It was not a loop, but an evolving creative process. The observers were mesmerized. I came back to visit it several times.  It was new each time I returned–different colors and forms and movements.

The piece is a complex interpretation of the collection of MOMA’s 200 years of art. I read several articles and interviews with the artist once I got home trying to better understand. Working with MOMA, the artist put information in to an AI program he created that would use the visual input to create its own flow of images.  Part of the point is that this is how artists have worked for centuries…viewing other artists work and growing their own line of output from a personal interpretation along with other environmental and spiritual input. I know from personal experience that is true.

I’ll have to think more about this one, but it was intriguing. I’m still not sure I understand it completely.  Is this where we are going from where we have been? I remember thinking when computers were first introduced that this won’t be a big deal. I was a graphic designer and could not imagine a machine taking over part of the process.

I was wrong.

Curated Dreams, (MOMA, Refik Anadol, Unsupervised) 30 x 24″, oil

Room with a View


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The first time I went to Burnham on Crouch in England, my husband introduced me to The White Harte. This was his sailing town by the River Crouch.  And The White Harte was his pub, favorite restaurant and, once we were traveling as a pair, his go to place for accommodation.

We had a favorite room on the back of the Inn.  It faced the parking area, but was also very quiet.  The front rooms faced the seawall, the hotbed of all the activity in this sleepy town that came alive when everyone came to compete in the sailing races on the river. The pubs and clubs flowed out along the river.

The historic hotel became home.  My Beloved Brit knew all the staff and the owner.  I even could borrow an ironing board they would set up in the kitchen for me to prep our clothes for the fairly formal dinners at the various yacht clubs during the regatta week. I truly loved it there.

One year, we made our usual reservation for the “back room”, but when we arrived they told us they had put us on the top floor, up very steep steps and facing the river.  They had given our preferred room to an elderly couple.

I was not sure at all about this new accommodation as we climbed the stairs that were more like a ladder…with our luggage.  But when we entered the room, I saw this view and gorgeous light.  I forgave them immediately.

This painting was a labor of love.  Challenging in the light and various shades of grays and white and blue.  The soft reflections in the glass gave it real depth and character.  And I played with the colors of pillows and our luggage on the bench in front of the window to find balance.

i will really miss this painting sitting on my easel.  What a joy to come in to the studio each morning and see this.

But then again,  I’m already thinking of what my next subject will be.  An artist’s joy.


“The Window, River Breeze”, 30 x 24″, Oil


The Regatta


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Some of my favorite memories of England revolve around following my still very British husband to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex on the East Coast to watch the sailing regattas. He has sailed on large yachts and small boats, and always loved the camaraderie and the competition.

And for my part, the fun was being a spectator on dry land on a glorious cool August day.  For many years you had to walk down the long path from town between the fields and the river to watch the start of the different classes of boats.

Everyone lined the riverbank, binoculars came out and cheers or groans went up from the supporters.

This is pretty much how it looked for years.  I referenced some of my older photos, changed some of the colors on the clothing so it drew the eye down the line, and tried to capture the sense of the weather…always on the cusp of changing. It’s England after all. Summer is almost over before it arrives.

Glorious memories, and I get to relive them in the studio.  I am a very lucky woman.

The Regatta, 30″ x 24″, Oil



Summer’s End

The summer went by quickly, but I am always happy to reach the fall. Two small paintings I did this summer, though, help to celebrate the passing of the seasons.

Rolling In, 10 x 10″, oil on canvas

Reflections, 10 x 10″, oil on canvas

Winter at the Beach


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With two more months to go until our new home would be ready, we moved in to a small condo at Ocean City, Maryland this past winter.  It was isolated and quiet in the months of December and January. I spent many mornings walking along the beach or just sitting in front of the fireplace staring out at the bay from a cozy warm living room.

And then one morning, there was a forecast of a strong storm building.  Within the hour, I could see it coming from our western bay facing window and decided ocean side was the place to be. Tides were high. Clouds were rolling in. Drama!

I walked that beach until the wind got too fierce to hold my camera upright. I took as many photographs as I could in that short window of opportunity.

When I got back inside, and looked at what I had, I couldn’t believe my luck.  The clouds were rolling.  The surf was blowing. And the water and wet sand made a mirror image of the dramatic sky.

Finally, we moved in to our new home and my studio! I could begin on “Water’s Edge”. It was a huge challenge to paint, especially the movement and reflections, but with patience and concentration, thin layer of paint over thin layer of paint, I managed to capture the feel of the ocean completely taking over the beach. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Water’s Edge, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas.


Walking the C&O Canal



In the late autumn of 2022, we were in the process of moving.  My studio had to be packed away when we sold our condo and we had 5 months to go before our new home was ready. I couldn’t imagine that long without painting. I decided the solution was to walk the C&O Canal and look at images that would work in graphite, conte and charcoal, a much more portable medium than canvas and oils.

And so four 11 x 14″ drawings were born, done on a make shift dining/drafting table in our temporary quarters. It was lovely to work with light and shadow, and I have always loved that canal.

Each lock has its own personality. And there are long stretches of easily walkable paths between the locks.

The C&O stretches for 184.5miles, from the Georgetown area of Washington DC to Cumberland Maryland. My favorite stretch is from Lock 7 at Glen Echo to the Great Falls Tavern in Maryland. In my younger days I would bike from one to the other and then return to Georgetown.


Now, I get the same joy parking at different locks and spending an hour or two strolling along the curves of the canal. It never disappoints no matter the season.

Crescent, Towpath on the C&O

Twist, Towpath on the C&O

Allee, Towpath on the C&O

Amble, Towpath on the C&O

Autumn Stroll on the C&O Canal


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Autumn is absolutely stunning in the DMV area (short for DC, Maryland, and Virginia). It’s always a pleasant dilemma to decide where to take a morning stroll.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park stretches from Georgetown in Washington DC, along the Potomac River, bordering West Virginia, all the way to Cumberland Maryland. A favorite starting point of mine is the Great Falls Visitors Center in Maryland.

The park is stunning. With its twists and turns, the tow path tucks between the Potomac River and the canal, bringing surprise vistas in to view with each turn.

This day last year was half way in to the peak fall foliage of early November, but still warm enough to tie your jacket around your waist, grip your water bottle and take off.

Especially on weekdays, it never seems to get overly crowded, but always has enough walkers and bikers so you don’t feel too isolated walking alone.

The November light is stunning, captured in the branches and the low, leaf strewn  water of the canal. Everything seemed luminous and translucent. Capturing the layers of light, shadows and reflections was a challenge and a joy.

Wetlands:Towpath In Gold, 30 x 40″, oil


A Winter’s Project

This past winter I was lucky enough to get a lovely commission for two paintings from Gallery50, my long standing gallery in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

One was a large 60 x 40″ canvas that would feature Barnett Newman’s Air Heroicus Sublimis at MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art in New York City).  For the other, which was to include a school visit, I chose one of my favorite galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC that revolved around Degas’ The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer. This painting would be smaller and more intimate in scale. I had an earlier photo I had taken that I would rely on for angle. But it needed to tell a story. It needed the children.

I ordered the stretched canvas.  The 24″x36″ came almost right away.  The 60″x40″ took over a month because of 2022 supply and shipping issues.  But I had plenty to do in the meantime.

I started going through my photo files.  I have lots of reference from years of museum visits, but choosing the perfect combination of gallery angles, art and figures took time and thought. The dining table in front of the fire became my workshop. It was January.

I sketched, erased, ripped up the tissue and started again.  I always want to tell a story in these gallery scenes. With all the activity of a class assignment on the left of the smaller canvas, I wanted to balance the scene with a younger child fixated on Degas dancer. She is oblivious to the chaos around her.  I finally penciled it on to the canvas.

For the Newman gallery scene at MOMA, I wanted to include a variety of museum goers.  I like to balance the different characters, and the young girl working on her notebook was the perfect foil for the man on the right looking at his phone (by the way, that is my husband–this is a typical shot of him after he’s viewed the gallery with me and I want to linger in the space longer…he’s a very patient man). The small lettering on the sketch are color notes to myself.

Still waiting for the larger canvas to arrive, I began to work color on The Little Ballerina.  I went on line to make sure the Degas gallery at The Metropolitan Museum of Art looked the same now.  Covid had kept me away for a couple of years.  I was surprised to learn that they had put a new skirt on the dancer. It is now longer, fuller and a beautiful pale ivory blush, different from what I had in my older photos. There is a wonderful Met video on YouTube explaining why they decided to do it and the process they used.  Fascinating.

And so it begins.

I made real progress on the Met piece, and then the larger canvas came in.  I work in layers of color with some drying time between sheer passes, so it was a good time to set one aside and start on the other scene at MOMA.

And then there were two.  I did work back and forth, getting to stages where I wanted some drying time on one as I moved to the other.  It was well over two months of this back and forth process. The snow outside my studio window turned to early spring skies and birds chirping. It was March. I can only work 4-5 hours a day with breaks.  The concentration is intense.

And finally, they were both finished.  And I changed my mind minute to minute as to which was my favorite. Usually the one I last worked on. I am very pleased with them both.

After several weeks of drying time, they were ready to take down our stairs and to carefully pack them both in to the car for delivery to the gallery.


The Little Ballerina, 36 x 24″, oil on canvas


Heroic Vision, 60 x 40″ oil on canvas

A Walk In The Park


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Like many of you, I have spent the last two years of the pandemic treasuring special places where I felt safe, but free to walk and fill my lungs and spirit with nature. What better place than a National Park.

Within a quick half hour drive of my condo in Alexandria, VA is the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park at Great Falls, Maryland. It has plenty of parking with a gorgeous trail on the towpath that runs between the Potomac River and the old C&O Canal.

This happened to be a late summer day and everything was hot and lush and filled with sunshine. Insects were buzzing, birds were singing. The park never seems to be very busy during the week, so it’s the perfect place for isolated walking where you don’t feel completely alone. There’s always at least a few fellow walkers.

Since I started this series of wetland paintings, I’ve come to the conclusion that each area has complimentary but unique characteristics that change with the location, the season and the weather.

But the reflections are always gorgeous, the variety of flora fascinating, and the sense of rebirth and transition takes my breath away. Nothing can be more important than preserving these resources for future generations.

Over the many years I’ve lived in the Washington D.C. area, I’ve always considered the C&O Canal towpath one of my go to places to refresh and renew. This is a special walk in a National Park close to home that I have returned to again and again over decades.

Wetlands, The Towpath, 40 x 30″, Oil

An Adirondack Pond


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Most people think of going to the Adirondacks to ski (think Lake Placid) or see the fall colors, but when you have the right guide, early summer is spectacular.

We went to see my sister Deb who lives near Saranac Lake, New York and teaches at Paul Smiths College.  The area is gorgeous, and she knows the secret of how to get to some very special spots. And June was the perfect time to explore.

She was familiar with my Wetlands series that address climate change, and when I told her I was looking for new reference from a northern perspective, she took on the challenge.

We left MBB (my Beloved Brit) behind to a quiet day on his own in our little rented house, and Deb and my older sister Ginny went out in to the countryside to find the perfect scenes.

I never would have found these hidden spots on my own, but with her expert knowledge of the area, and a deep love for her local countryside, we drove off and then walked to some spectacular hidden gems. The one I chose to paint is an enchanting pond where her students work on analytical and inventory studies of the environment. Can you imagine a classroom that looks like this!

This painting was a challenge…almost monochromatic in shades of green and indigo. The mirrored foliage in the dark water was particularly daunting.  But I loved it.  I’ve never mixed so many shades of green for one painting in my life.

I love this painting for so many reasons.  It recalls the perfect day with my sisters after the long covid year.  I got to see my youngest sister’s world beyond her public one.  And I got to relive it all again in this painting.

Wetland in Green,  30 x 40″, Oil