Tag Archives: Philadelphia

More Remodelings

Do you remember this painting? I did it in the plein air event on June 14, 2015, in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

Plein air version.

Plein air version.

But, I took the painting home and I couldn’t get happy with the result. I had felt somewhat constricted by the “necessity” of painting what I saw. If nothing else, I finally realized that for me, plein air means looking at what I see in front of me and letting it take me along, not necessarily painting exactly what I am viewing. Valuable lesson.

Anyway, I took the painting home and got to work. Over the next couple of days here is what emerged. I was a lot happier with this version.

“It Will Take All Day To Get There”

Now the painting is gone – sold at the show I went to this past weekend. So I’m glad I kept going with it.

Plein Air

I spent last Sunday in Chestnut Hill, a Philadelphia neighborhood near my house, participating in a plein air event. Now, the timing of this event was not the greatest for me, being as it was a few days before my second cataract surgery. My eyesight was quite confused – when you see 20/20 in one eye and 20/800 in the other, and your close-up vision is also a bit shaky, well, maybe painting is not what you ought to be doing.

But, I went ahead anyway. I want to try this type of event whenever I can. I haven’t been able to do much plein air as I had wanted to so far this summer, once again due to my sight.

Forty artists or so were participating. We were assigned a block along the main street in this section of town, Germantown Avenue. I was in the 8300 block on the east side. I chose a view looking south – an intersection a little bit down the hill. I set up my table and got to work. Once I had the painting pretty well set up, I moved into the shade (it was a very hot day and as the sun moved, I did too).

I enjoyed the experience. I think I’m gradually getting an idea of how plein air and I can work together. I did feel restricted by adhering to the elements of the scene and not adding or amending as I would if I were just painting along free to go anyway I wanted. What this told me is that for me, plein air makes a great starting point, and then I want to embellish. Good. I learned something valuable.

So here are some stages of my painting. I plan to do some changes to it back here at home as soon as my eyes heal a bit more (I had the second surgery yesterday and so far, things have gone well with both eyes). I want to simplify some sections and make some additions to turn it into a landscape that’s partly real and partly straight from my own head. I’ll have to see where it goes.

And here are some photos from the reception – they displayed all the paintings done that day.

More Reality, Mine and The Other One

More of those 8″ x 10″ paintings inspired by everyday scenes I captured with my little point and shoot camera.

A Winter Memory

Last December my husband, son, and I took a trip into Center City Philadelphia. It was right before Christmas and a miserable day – cold and pouring down rain. I took the pictures for this little book all on that day – and all of them taken in the vicinity of City Hall. It’s an area very familiar to me – I worked for quite a few years in this section of town.

Every sight and every location have layers of meaning for me. I tried to express that feeling in this book.

After it was finished, I sent it to my son.

Here is the text of the book – if you want to read it all at once.

Center City

Street lights on
at lunchtime.
The newsstand an oasis.
Shake off the raindrops
buy a magazine to read on the bus.

The light changes.
Sweep around the curve and accelerate away down the shiny street.
Rush up to the curve turn the wheel veer off and around.

The light changes.
Stop, foot hard on the brake.
Glance up and down
lines of traffic
opposed, suspended.

The light changes.
Imagine that you stand on this corner all day.
Know that you would not see the end of it. There is no end to it.

If you have no umbrella today,
you will very shortly feel the lack of it.

Everyone is anonymous on a rainy day.

There is a pattern here,
what does it mean?

Arrange it.
Assemble it.
You decide.

The flow of cars on the street.
Low clouds crowding tall city buildings.
Skinny rain-polished tough black trees, leafless, dripping.
The bowling alley sign.
You will not get tired of this view.

The bus moves into the curve.
Awkward. Inelegant. Taken for granted.
Absolutely necessary to the city.
A confident roar. The bus pulls away, triumphant.

The city
neatly arranged.
All the questions have answers
and can be found somewhere on the map.

The rain comes down harder and harder.
Run or be soaked.

Headlights streak the wet streets.
The buildings endure the weather.
The people hurry through it.
What is it that you said?
In the city.

Seemed Fitting

I made a trip to the clay shop this morning. It’s not too far from home, but it’s in an industrial section of Philadelphia very different from my neighborhood. I am familiar with the area from the years I spent driving around the city when I worked for a local bank. It’s nice to renew my acquaintance with parts of the city I don’t visit as much these days, and we had a beautiful sunny Saturday for this errand. A very pleasant trip.

I found the clay I wanted, some glazes, some tools, and I ordered some clay I have never tried before – I like to buy something unknown every time I order art supplies. Keeps my mind thinking of new ideas to have untried materials to work with, I feel.

So I left this little figurine outside the shop. The building is a multi-story former factory set right up on the sidewalk – a large-scale building. I had to reach up to put the figurine on the window ledge. I like the way she seems to be surveying the street. And it seemed just right for the clay shop to have a clay figurine, for however long she stays there.

Peace and Hope, Leaving Some, Taking Some

This morning I went to Lorimer Park for my exercise, despite the light fog and a look of rain in the cloudy sky.

I decided to leave the rail trail and go along the interior paths. We had a torrential rainstorm last evening and they were a bit tricky to navigate – lots of washouts. This happens because the park slopes steeply down to the Pennypack Creek.

Anyway, I thought I’d take a figurine along and see if there was a place for her on a path on the other side of the park.

I found just the perfect spot on a gatepost in the fence separating the park from the Fox Chase Farm, a working educational farm that’s right next to Lorimer.

I reflected on how lucky we are to have this park and this farm here – because they are set right in the middle of a very densely populated urban area. You’d never know it when you’re in the park and looking out at this view.

I felt a sense of peace in setting this figurine here. The day was quiet and and the view almost monochromatic. Not many other people had ventured out – I’d only seen a few people in the hour or so I was there. The only sounds I could hear were the birds, the creek, a little bit of breeze rustling the leaves, and spatters of drops falling from the trees. It makes a real difference to me to experience this feeling and I am grateful for it.

Lorimer Park information
Pennypack Park information
Fox Chase Farm information

Rush Rush Hurry Hurry

That’s the name of this collage. I made it some time ago – I’m not sure exactly when – but it must be six or more years. I sold it and it’s gone from me in the original, but I still have this image of it. Why am I mentioning it now? Well, I was going through my pictures of past works in order to do some organization, and this one caught my eye because I was just in the same area in Center City Philadelphia as is depicted in the collage. My husband, son, and I were walking around City Hall right before Christmas on a rainy day, somewhat as these people seem to be doing. Traffic, people, signs, lights, tall buildings, everything and everyone competing for space. It is energizing just to stand on the sidewalk among it all.

I must have felt the same way when I did this collage – I especially like the delivery truck and what it has to contribute to the scene!

"Rush Rush Hurry Hurry"

“Rush Rush Hurry Hurry”