it takes a while, sometimes

it takes a while, sometimes, to see what you want to change about a painting. There is a wonderful vineyard view, with rows of vines tailing into the distance, going over little hills and up into the ridge beyond. I wanted originally to push the colors into an unrealistic color “way” to see if it might spark some new direction or way of seeing, but, ultimately, I just found it sad. Who wants a sad painting around, especially in these times—it practically repainted itself! Below, the old version, then the new. This is 12×12, and, hey, if you wanted it in your life, contact me! My walls are full!

Art Escape Italy challenge

Art Escape Italy recently presented a self-portrait-during-the-lockdown challenge. If you won, you would get a free workshop in Italy in 2021. What’s not to like about that?! I had been to one of their plein air workshops in 2016, so I knew they chose quality instructors and great venues. This was a “stretch goal” for me, to accept the Art Escape Italy challenge, but I figured it was worth it, since the worst that could happen was nothing and the best that could happen was to win a workshop!

It was fun to try, and my first selfie in oils. Although it makes a lot of sense to paint yourself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable as it feels narcissistic or something, so I haven’t done it much. If you don’t want to bother people to sit for even a photograph, much less an actual painting, you yourself are always there…  

They had about 150 entries. I did not win, but was close! The winner was a stand-out and I admire that portrait. Here’s Art Escape Italy’s blog post.

Micaela Marsden self-portrait
selfie 2020

Painting in the Time of….

I won’t finish that title —but you may think of the author Gabriel García Márquez. We must find and connect with the things we love and take joy from. Everything is helpful, from simple pleasures like a morning cup of coffee in your favorite cup to the more complex and absorbing occupations you may assign yourself. Connect with friends, get exercise, write a virtual letter. I challenged some of my painting friends to a Wolf Kahn-style effort. I’m not sure I really accomplished that. I was inspired by a photo I took of some clouds at sunset after a rain right here in the suburbs. You don’t have to be limited by what your landscape really is— take what is working and inspiring for you, and discard what is not. (see reference photo below)

painting

I’ll keep working on this and I think I see what direction it needs to go now. However, any suggestions are welcome!

mosquito in oil paint
why do insects love oil paint?
clouds after rain
this was my inspiration photo

SF Botanical Garden

there is a free day at the SF Botanical Garden once a month, but I rather accidentally ended up there on the free day! I happened to have my painting kit with me and so I thought I would find plentiful subjects there. I wandered around the 55 acres for over an hour, ending up near the main gate where there were some magnificent crabapple trees blooming. I have never had a lot of luck or skill at painting flowering trees, but they were so beautiful I had to try again.

It was pretty late by the time I got back around to that location, and the sun was streaming over the lawn from a low point, making these great shadows that are really fun. It seems the trick is to simplify the trees, just making them into shapes.

unforeseeable results

alla prima – over another painting. why does this work more frequently than when painting on a blank canvas?? Maybe it’s more freeing, since you feel like the original, no matter how hard you worked on it, wasn’t working and so whatever you do will be better than ditching the canvas? It still needs a little work, but I like the rough and fresh quality of it, so hope not to ruin that. Wish me luck!

A little blast from 1959—Fiat Nuova 500 Coupe

At my mechanic’s recently, I saw a really sweet old car, just seven years older (and way more interesting) than my first car — a 1965 Fiat. He allowed me to take a photo or two, and I ended up making a painting of it against an abstracted version of his shop.

What’s special about this car? It was the first Fiat Nuova 500 Coupe to be exported to America. In Italy, they had a different standard for placement of the headlights, so to comply with U.S. standards, they moved them to the right height without re-tooling the body. Result: the Frog-eyed Fiat!

This painting is now a part of the family of art and music at the Argonaut Garage! Thank you Jason!

my fiat looked like thisNot nearly as much fun, but it got great gas mileage when it ran! (Even better when it didn’t!)

a garden within a garden-tribute to Monet mural

A friend of mine came up with an idea to create a mural in her garden just in time for her son’s shower. She thought it would make a nice way to bring her garden together. There were lovely flowering plants springing up and in pots and hanging, but there was a sort of “blank” place just in the middle – the back wall of her neighbor’s garage. 

We had both recently been to the Monet: The Late Years at the DeYoung and found them lovely to be among. So, we thought, why not, let’s paint a Monet-ish style garden, we have two weeks…  

She ordered the canvas, got the paints, we consulted with our muralist friends about types of paint, and we figured out how to hang it. 

Well, we both got very busy. I went out of town, she was actually in the middle of deep cleaning in her storage. We started on the following Monday, five days before the shower. My friend mixed blues to make an interesting sky and off we went! Then she got engulfed in preparing her house for the shower. I wanted to make sure the mural happened, and didn’t want her to worry about that on top of everything else, and I’m pretty good at doing things quickly, so, I thought, why not! Things often take a bit more time than you think they might, of course, so Roz’ daughter-in-law, Shawna, came to help paint, putting in some of the water and all of the lilies, which was great. Somehow, we got it completed enough to be complimentary to her lovely garden, and Thursday evening Tim helped me finagle it behind her plants and we got it mounted behind the trellis. (I think we broke a couple flowers—sorry!). 

The mermaid seems to be raising a toast as she emerges from the pond! 

It was really fun, thank you Roz for having great ideas! 

The completed mural: (wobbly bridge appearance caused by assembling four photos)…in place in the garden:

Show in Anderson Valley

With one foot in Alameda, one in Mendocino County—I will be joining two artists in a show at the Scharffenberger Cellers in the beautiful Anderson Valley. I will be bringing some urban scenes to balance out the bucolic!

Join us at:

SCHARFFENBERGER CELLARS Tasting Room
8501 Hwy. 128, Philo, CA 95466 (707) 895-2957

Woods, Wine and Water
Explore the Intertwining of the Wild & Human

Maeve Croghan, Debra Lennox and Micaela Marsden

November 17, 2017 – February 15, 2018
RECEPTION FOR THE ARTISTS!
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 PM
AT THE SCHARFFENBERGER CELLARS TASTING ROOM