Emerald Necklace Series
It was a natural for me to begin a series of lush
paintings on special sites of the Emerald Necklace. I asked Simone
Auster the director of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy to accompany
me on a photo shoot of her favorite and most significant locations
of the Emerald Necklace park system. We spent a morning and drove
to seven locations for the shoot. It was such a wonderful morning
last June—sunny and so quiet as we went along the Emerald
Necklace from the Rose Garden, through the Fens, Brookline and
out to Jamaica Pond—just
brilliant! I have always admired the work of Fredrick Law Olmstead
and have felt so privileged to live in Boston with such a magnificent
public park system.
“What artist, so noble…as he who with far-reaching conception of beauty and designing power, sketches the outlines, writes the colours, and directs the shadows of a picture so great that Nature shall be employed upon it for generations…” — Frederick Law Olmstead, SR., 1852
This body of work began germinating in 1995 while
I was establishing my studio at the Brickbottom artist building,
artist lofts/studios which formally had been an A&P bakery and
cannery building in an industrial area in Somerville, MA. As
a landscape painter, it occurred to me that I would need to bring
a “patch” of a green garden with me in my new studio. I purchased
wonderful statuary, garden ornaments, trees, and an assortment
of plants to create, initially, an atmosphere of an urban garden.
This was a start, and for the five years I was painting there,
my interior was a respite in an urban/industrial setting. I began
offering plein air painting workshops at the Boston Public Gardens
and dedicated myself to painting en plein air whenever the weather
permitted! When I moved my studio to the South End I created
my own “urban garden” adding bistro chairs to my interior vignette.
This body of work began germinating during a trip to Palm Beach in March 2003. I was enchanted by the lush gardens and landscapes. The statuary and elegant architecture exclusive to Palm Beach captivated me. I stayed at the magnificent Brazilian Court. The grounds and fountain plaza were breathe taking and inspirational, especially at night. This experience was the inspiration for “Nocturnal Fountain.”
I photographed various views of the grounds, Pan’s Garden as well at the Four Arts which were magnificent. I also was drawn by, and recorded, many of the private home’s plantings as well as the Breaker’s landscape.
Once back in my studio, I reflected on the compositions of each picture and began the cropping process to create new compositions. I realized that I wanted to capture these stimulating images in a monochromatic format, choosing ink and washes on archival paper. I call these works “ink vignettes.” The paintings are dramatic and yet have a visual ease to them.
Henry M. Flagler had an extraordinary vision and hired the architect Addison Mizner to create and design his vision. The results of their collaboration are pure visual magic. The small town became one of the most elegant, beautiful and architecturally important places in the world. I am grateful for their generosity and talent that created such a glorious and stimulating place for a painter.
I will visit often for renewal and inspiration.
Summers in New England are spectacular and pass far too quickly! Knowing how beautiful our summers are and how short they seem, when winter envelops this area, I decided to take advantage of a summer schedule that allowed me to paint to my heart’s desire. It was my goal to be plein air painting each sunny, glorious day and that is just what I did!
“Summer Series” is a combination of gouache paintings and ink vignettes on archival paper. In August, I spent four days at a friend’s farmhouse in Jaffrey, N.H. It was majestic viewing and painting Mount Monadnock from a variety of locations during this retreat. June through July brought me to Gloucester and Magnolia for three days, Amesbury, Plum Island in Newburyport, Ipswich, Marblehead, Manchester by the Sea and Beverly Farms. What a summer of divine weather and visual delights!!
The Marsh House, Ipswich, Massachusetts
The phone rang with an impromptu invitation to visit a friend on the North Shore. It was a glistening sunny clear warm morning. As the conversation evolved I learned my friend had been painting at the Marsh House in Ipswich, MA over the 4th of July weekend-what fun! We decided to bring our paints and swimsuits and leave early to enjoy the day.
Once in Essex, Nan and I stopped at a farm stand to purchase a pot of "marigolds" for our hostess (they later became the subject of a marvelous still life painting!). We passed the sign for Cranes Beach and past the wonderful apple orchard until we came to a dirt road and found the markings to follow to the Marsh House- what spectacular views of the marsh, salt water inlets, islands and the ocean. It was majestic.
We watched as she put together a magic breakfast
fete of strawberries, eggs, breads & jams from the apple
orchard and rich hot coffee with fresh cream. Ah the joy of getting
an early start to the day!
Marigold, Nan and I cleared the remains of breakfast and set up our paints and easels. What a day. The light was perfect, the sun beat down on us as we painted the afternoon away—sipping iced tea, sunbathing and conversing. I finished one painting and got a great start on another—I knew I needed to return and was fortunate to have the time and invitation that week.
Marigold and I got an early start and decided to visit the catering commissary of an old friend Ariade Clifton in Essex to collect a picnic lunch on the way to paint at the Marsh House. We arrived at 10:30 a.m., and quickly found my spot, set-up and painted until lunch. We then leisurely dined on meats, cheeses, French baguettes and wonderful seasonal fruits. I finished my second painting and set up a diptych. The expanse was so glorious I wanted to capture it in a bigger way. I painted until 3:30 when without warning the sky blackened, opened with an outpouring of rain accompanied by thunder and lighting. I painted through as much as I could without damaging the painting.
The experience of painting through a storm was exhilarating- I wanted to finish and that desire created an adrenaline rush- the threat of the road flooding and the possibility of my auto being stuck in the mud was quite real and was my motivation to stop.
The outcome of this experience was a fantastic movement of color, rapidly changing on the canvas, creating tremendous atmosphere. I loved the drama of that afternoon and capturing it on canvas was a thrill!!
There were a number of things that had to happen-quickly in order to secure the house during the storm and until we could revisit. We accomplished all that was necessary and gingerly drove the auto off the dirt road out onto a paved one and continuing back to Boston. What an incredible day- so invigorating and exciting to see so much change so quickly the color, light, sky, water, air and landscape in a flash had darkened and became dense. I completed that painting in August. That was it.... I was entranced by the beauty of the Marsh House and began a series of seasonal paintings.
In September I was accompanied by another
art friend Mark for a photo shoot. To prepare for the colder
fall weather when I would be unable to paint for an extended
period outdoors. When we arrived that Saturday morning I was
amazed at just how colorful the lush green marsh grass now
was golden in color and the texture had gone from moist and
lush to dry and thick brush. The reds, golds, oranges and tawny
browns replaced the blues, greens, purples and mauves of July-
the change was inspiring! I will continue to return to the
Marsh House and continue to paint the mesmerizing expanse.
Dune Shack Series
“The Great Beach is not only a metaphor. It exists geographically as the wild backshore of Cape Code, and I am lucky enough to have lived and painted there every summer for the last twenty-seven years.” — Jan Gelb
One week in the Margo-Gelb dune shack/Fine Art Work Center, Peaked Hill Trust Artist-in-Residence, Provincetown, MA
My journey began July 18th as I packed my rental car with all the supplies and provisions for my "dune" stay. A dear friend hosted a soiree in Osterville, and sneak preview of the film Unconditioned Love about Henry Henshe and Hans Hofman's painting school in Provincetown.
Saturday, July 19th—I purchased my perishables and traveled Route 6 to Provincetown. At 11:30 I found 555 Commercial Street to visit with a lovely friend. She and her friends toasted to my success and "return" from the dunes. Neil, the PHT caretaker, brought me to the dunes. Murray Zimiles, his son, and a guest greeted us at "Boris." They helped me get my belongings/supplies to the shack—it was amazingly well stocked.
The views were absolutely breathtaking! I relaxed, cooked and settled into the pace of the dunes. I found the silence rejuvenating. The outhouse, water pump, and kerosene lamps were challenging. I derived a new respect for running water, electricity, and our forefathers!
As I sat on the bench in front of two large windows, I realized the panoramic expanse was hypnotic. The wind blew and whistled through the door and windows. The field of tall grass moved and rippled, the humming birds, osprey, and sparrows became my neighbors—this peace is what I was seeking—it provided the environment to create.
Sunday, July 20th—Michele and Neil hosted a birthday party for artist, Adaline, at a nearby shack "Zara." This was reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century salon. Writers, artists, actors, singers, and dune enthusiasts gathered to enjoy great food, drink, and wonderful conversation—I learned so much about the dunes and the art community in Provincetown. What a civilized say to start my week in the dunes!
Monday, July 21st to Thursday, July 24th—Studio time—no distractions! I had mentally prepared by approach to painting the natural beauty of the diverse landscape surrounding me. The shack had decks on all four sides of the 9' x 16' structure, creating four views plus variations. I began by painting the interior and then the view from the large (northeast view) windows facing the ocean in black ink and washes. Then I painted the southeast view. Rosa Rugosa (sea roses) surrounded two sides and were sprinkled over the landscape throughout all my views. The dunes were 30 feet tall in areas, tall blades of grass and shrubs abound, creating tremendous texture and layering leading to the ocean. Tireless opportunities to paint here, the light was amazing, and the colors changed dramatically during the days. As a tropical hurricane approached, the vivid colors from sunny days faded to muted deep hues.
The solitude of this experience was remarkable and enriching. I was undistracted and free to paint, write, read, walk, explore, and truly experience the unique life of the outer cape dunes. I will always relish the experience—I was stretched and renewed.
July 20, 1997
The sun set spectacularly at 8:10 p.m. and the full glowing moon rose shortly after. It was amazing at opposite ends of my tiny shack. The sky and earth celebrated with me. With color, shape, and forms which illuminated in the dark, still night. MAGIC! I felt so safe, tired, and free in my world for one week."
—Anne Fitzpatrick, journal, July 1997
Boston Globe Article, Endangered Habitat, June 10, 2004
Le Morvan - Paintings from Burgundy
“The Morvan converses with the soul. It speaks of peace, silence, life that is neither a matter of detachment or withdrawal but rather one of promise and opening.” — Jean Serevin, Academy of the Morvan
Thirty days in la Bourgogne / le Parc Naturel
Régional du Morvan.
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