Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hey folks I hope that everyone had a memorable Memorial Day weekend to honor those who have defended our country, and our freedom.  This is a video of a painting that I made over the weekend

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Life is wonderful!!!

"Some people call me a trouble-maker.....Wrong!  I'm a bitch who speaks the truth and won't put up with your shit!"

Hey everyone!  I hope that you are well and happy....I am.  i have to be, I just told someone else to get off the pity-potty, and rejoice in life:

Wish I would have made better choices in life, and wish so much trauma and things that were just out of my control didn't happen. How little mercy, compassion and understanding the world gives- only blame, shame and added guilt. I know in my heart I want to be a good mother and person, how different I wish things were!What the hell, ______! You are a mother?? Sorry, no nice words here, time and life are fa--aaaa---rrrrr to precious to lose. I guess I have to write one of those SNAP-OUT-IT!!!!!!First of all, congratulations!! I can't have any children.....but then
this isn't about me right now....and it's isn't about you either.... it's about your baby!!!! Lucky lucky you!!!! You DO still have choices, like the rest of us, every day, every second.
So....start making some choices, right now....and make sure that they are some damn good ones! Decide right now I am going to make a gratitude can start with the fact that you are still alive in this beautiful world....c'mon, you're artistic.....LOOK around you...there is beauty to discover EVERYWHERE....For starters, you live here, in a free nation...we are not living in the middle of a war zone with bombs going off all around us
I know it sounds like I'm being harsh to you, and the others readers are probably thinking that I am a total bitch, but I don't care.....this type of talk worked on you once before and I'm willing to bet it will again.....I am writing this on the wall because that is where you put it. If you didn't then you'll have to message me or call me, but I'm still going to lay it down like this on the phone. We all have made bad choices in our lifetimes.....mistakes, and you know what???? It's perfectly human and to be expected....though I would not call a baby a mistake.

and I know what I'm talking about, I used to have a huge problem with depression, and not even a great therapist nor medication worked or helped until I made the DECISION to get pro-active with my life and get a handle on it, me, my depression, I had to come to terms that I was and am in fact bi-polar (dare I write this where everyone can see it? Nope, I turned 50 this month and when you turn 50 you don't care what other people think about you! I would almost say that I would trade your baby for my bp, but the bp, once I decided to let it, became something that actually opened doors for me.....yes, I agree with ________, trust in God, or greater power, what ever you want to call him, her or it, but you have to work at life as well. I guess I've said enough, again call me if you want....I love you, God loves you, knowing you, a lot of people love you and care deeply for you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I don't have a current picture of "Fighter" to post, but I have been working on it quite steadily the last few weeks.  Something new has been happening a lot lately.....I'm gaining more and more confidence in myself  and my work.  This to me is quite astounding.  I have never forgotten Ron Sherr (my painting instructor back in the early 90's at the Art Students' League of New York) telling me that the one thing that I lacked was confidence.  And I remember the fear that it struck in me...instead of seeing it as an observation that could lend itself to helping me, I saw it as....... a death curse.  I thought that because he said that, I would be cursed with a lack of self-confidence for the rest of my life.  It has taken me a loo---ooo---oong time to believe in myself as an artist, but also as a human being capable of living a productive, prosperous and successful existence.  I was telling one of my students today in class that a couple of years back I had been listening to an audio-book, Success is a Choice, by Rick Pitino.  The senctence "positive thinking is a discipline" was a total newsflash to me.  I thought that positive thinking was something that might or might not happen around 2 in the afternoon, maybe once every 2-3 weeks.  I had a pretty serious and monumental problem with negativity.  It took a really good therapist, a lot of positive thinking and even some good meds to help pull me out of the dungeon of self-doubt.  Oh and building a belief in something wonderful, good and powerful that could nurture and sustain me, my soul.  All this stuff is what helped to create "Fighter", which to me tells the story of this most personal battle.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Painting Peonies alla prima with a palette knife....from start to finish! we are with the blank canvas, getting ready to paint the peonies which are behind to the left.

.....and here I am, all eager to get started!

Here is the start...directly on the white toned camvas for all of you Incamminatites.  (That's we who paint at Incamminati, art school started by Nelson Shanks)  When I was still in Florida, as a Mennonite, pre-Incamminatite, this is how we (Nike Parton and students) would start a painting.
Here is the start of laying in color, relatively thin with the palette knife. 

Closing in on the gaps, and then adding more definition to the flowers and the foliage.

Time to go mow the lawn!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Just came back from a road trip with Karl, my husband.  We drove to Harrisburg to drop off "Miranda" to the State Museum of Pennsylvania for the 2012 Art of the State show, which opens June 16th.  We ate at a restaurant, and I met a man that I asked to photograph for a painting that I want to do, that involves four people.  Can't wait to start it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The latest update of my portrait that I am finally finishing after starting it two or three years ago.  The young woman sat for me the first couple of days, and then I worked it from photographs.

Ugh!!!!!!  This makes me sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I was just thinking about this painting the other day, wondering what I had done with first formal still-life painting from when I was around 16-17.....someone commissioned me to do it for a wedding gift, and then turned it down.  I was so depressed that I threw it away and a friend of mine retrieved it from the trash!!!!!  Wish I still had it!!!!   Well....sorry...can't get it on here for some'll have it see it on my facebook page

Thursday, May 17, 2012 was is some of my art collection as promised in afore-mentioned post.
portrait of me by Pilar Cruz

This is a portrait of me done a little more than 20 years ago, when I was about 28.  My friend, Pilar Cruz, from Nelson's (Shanks) class had come over to my apartment (414 West 56th Street, NY NY) and painted me one Saturday or Sunday evening.  I love this little portrait (14" x 14" appr.).  She was one of my closest friends back then, and we are friends again on Facebook.  She is a singer/musician  now., and you can hear some of her music here:

Nike Parton, watercolor on paper

This is a watercolor (appr.18" x 24") by my first painting instructor, and mentor, Nike Parton of Sarasota, Florida.  I think that it was painted in the late 70's when I was studying with her.  She died about three years ago.

This is a print of Nike's....she would make them into cards and then send them to me at least twice a year, for Christmas and for my birthdays.  I have about 15 of them.  I loved her dearly, admired her talent and passion for art, and wish that she was still alive so that I could call her up and tell her what I was up to.  She is the person responsible for getting me to the Art Students' League of New York....where I met Nelson, Pilar, and so many, many others.
Dianne Rappissi, oil on canvas board
Dianne was the second administrator of Incamminati, and the whole time she worked there, about a year?, she secretly yearned to be a student there......she eventually got her wish!  She was a very good student, and now lives in Denver, Colorado.  I was visiting her in Massachussets and we went out painting together, and then exchanged a painting.

These two paintings were done by Darren Kingsley, who was actually one of my instructors....figure drawing, graphite....for about two years.  I found these in the trash bin, and rescued them.  When he discovered that they were being picked out of the trash he started breaking them, and them putting them in the trash.  Everytime that he would come over to my house, I would hide them, so he wouldn't know that I had them.  Then one time. recently, he came over for Thanksgiving, and I fessed up to him about the paintings.....he said that he had already been told about them by some other person (rat)....he had known that I had them and that I hid them everytime that he came to visit!!!

this is a palette-knife portrait painting that Kerry Dunn did, and then gave me for taking care of his cat, Bodacious, one Christmas, so that he could go down to Florida to visit his family.  Kerry is now an instructor, but when Incamminati opened 10 years ago, he packed his belongings in his car, and moved up here to study with Nelson...................and lived in the car for a couple of weeks before I found out about it, and informed him that he was living with my husband and me in Germantown.  It was timely...he was getting a cold, and was getting pretty ripe for a shower!!!

This is a 24" x 12" oil painting that Lea Colie Wight did, and exchanged for one of my paintings.  No tidbits of information here, except Lea is one of the instructors at Inc, and is a very nice person.  We both have our studios on the 4th floor of the Wolf Building where Inc. is located.

Dan Thompson painted this, and gave me it for my 50th birthday....thank-you Dan!  Dan and I are very good friends,  and I studied drawing and painting with him for a number of years.  This is a 16" x 12" oil painting on canvas.

This is by my bff, Natalie Italiano, a "duotone" sketch that I fell in love with, and traded one of my paintings for.  Nat just finished a year-long project of painting 100 alla prima portraits of teen-agers in her area of Haddonfield, New Jersey.  Now she is getting ready to write a book about the experience.  She is responsible for getting me into two galleries this month.....she's a multi-tasking, talented, go-getter!!!  She was also responsible for getting me to start a blog.  She has a million ideas a minute!

These two paintings were done by Snehal Page, when she was a student at Inc.  She was a pleasure to have as a student, and lived with Karl and me for the last year that she was here in the States.  She moved back to India at the end of the school year(last year).  I still miss her, but she is coming back for a visit this month because she got accepted into the International Portrat Society Competition 2012.  She entered last year, but she got rejected....she didn't care, she just wanted to say "I am here!"  That became the title to my self-portrait that I did this past year.
"I am here!"  60" x 24"

This is a collage that my friend, Richard Swartz, made, as a gift almost 30 years ago.

this is a self-portrait that I did some years back, and Nelson helped me with it.  He actually stood behind me looking into the mirror, and reaching over painted the face for me!  Always a great learning tool to watch the instructor work, and I was left with a gem that I got to keep!

This is one more of my paintings that Nelson helped with when I was at Incamminati as a student......and it's mine now!!!

............and don't even think about stealing this collection.....I have two nasty pitbull things that will bite your hands off if you try!

8:00 a.m. in my studio, getting ready to work on the portrait of Mehgna Varma.  Carpooled with Joe Dolderer, another one of my talented artist friends here at Incamminati.  I love talking about painting with him, and we have a lot of fun when we are together......uncanny...there is about a 30 year difference in age between us.  The painting above is one of Joe's...gorgeous right? the easle

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hi everyone!  Welcome to the new members that have joined my blog!  I taught level 1 color study today,     mentored an artist friend, and then painted for a few hours in the afternoon, before I had to attend a two hour instructor meeting.  One of the highlights of the day is that my dear friend, Dan Thompson, gave me a painting that he did!  I will post it tomorrow!  I'm thrilled.  I have quite a collection of art from different artists,, mostly my colleagues at Incamminati, but also a collection of woodcut prints of birds from my dearly beloved mentor and teacher from my teen years, Nike Parton of Sarasota, Florida.  She knew Henry Hensche, and taught me the palette that I have been using for almost 40 years.  It will be fun to show these here on my blog.  I have a really cool palette-knife self-portrat by Kerry Dunn, two beautiful landscapes by Darren Kingsley, a stunning portrait by Natalie Italiano, and a beautiful nude by Lea Colie Wight.  Whew!!!  Guess I just picked out my blog project for the weekend. Also, for the week-end I have to deliver my painting "Miranda" to the State Museum of Harrisburg, the painting shown above that I thought would go here???  but the computer had its own idea....
Good night, everyone!  I have a full day of painting tomorrow.  I need to work on my painting of Mehgna Varma, pictured above.....the very lovely daughter of my friend and past student, Jay Varma....another most excellent artist, and photographer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just remembered this little mash of Mennonitism and Facebookism:
When I was in 10th grade, a guy (you know who you are!) that was sweet on me asked me to go on a date with him. “YKWYA. I can’t….my parents will only let me date Mennonite guys.” “Ask them anyway,” pleaded YKWYA, “This is me that is asking!!!”
We were already good friends, he was such a great guy, and he was so insistent, every day asking me if I had asked them. I finally mustered up the nerve and asked my parents if YKWYA could take me out on a date. They surprised me with their answer. “He can come to church with us on Sunday, and come for dinner afterwards.” Our church was not overly conservative, not by Mennonite standards, but this was a private part of my life, that I did not overtly share with others……my parents knew this, and also knew the true meaning of a relationship, intimacy….so, if he wanted to date me, let’s test him out. How mature is he, how open-minded is he, would he be willing to meet me (and them) on my (and their….) terms?
But YKWYA surprised me even more…….he asked what time he should show up at out door!!!
Sunday morning arrived, and YKWYA showed up, knocking on our door, flowers in hand, and early enough to come in and meet my parents!
I don’t recall the church service, nor Sunday School, but YKWYA made his presence known, was polite to everyone, and even joined in with the four-part a cappella singing of the Mennonite hymns.
Sunday dinner My dad poked relentlessly at YKWYA with his humor (as I knew he would…), engaging him in his favorite game, let’s-see-how-much-you-can-take!!!
All way around, YKWYA proved to be a perfect gentleman, (as I knew he would), and better yet, he was, or at least appeared to be, completely at ease, and maintained his authenticity….something I truly liked about him.
I never, ever forgot this event in my life, and the older that I got the more I treasured it, and the more I wanted to just contact YKWYA, just to let him know how much that meant to me, how impressed I was even into the present.
I got my wish….I found YKWYA on Facebook. We “friended” each other on Facebook. As soon as I could I relayed this timeless chronicle in my life. I got to tell him how that stuck with me, and perpetually impressed me about his character.
His response after all those years? “You were worth jumping through all those hoops!”
He was, and still is, my kind of guy, and I hope that you are reading this….you know who you are!is what I remember…..

Monday, May 14, 2012

I worked on the self-portrait of myself in "Fighter" today.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Latest update on "Fighter".....someone loaned me their father's boxing gloves, which are draped on the mannequin.

Friday, May 11, 2012 here is another story about growing up Mennonite.....
In my junior high biology class some of the students managed to get the (Mennonite) teacher off the lesson at hand, and discuss what he would do if his home was invaded by a rapist/killer/ get the picture.
The students knew that this would prove to be too tantalizing for Mr. You-Might-Know-Who, and that he would predictably feel obligated to set a good Christian stance for his young impressionable pupils. He had been set up….they just wanted to get him off the boring biology chapter that was putting quite a few students to sleep.....and allowing others to engage in delicious daydreams of being at the beach. (This was Sarasota, Florida.)
"Mr. You-Might-Know-Who, if you don't believe in fighting of any kind, then what would you do if someone broke into your house, and started raping your wife?"
Mr. Y-M-K-W thought for not one Menno-second. His students souls were at stake. He had to leave a lasting, Mennonites-don't-fight-back impression!!! And ("God, please help me!") what would the principle and the board of trustees say, if this would get back to them!!!!! (And, by God (A-men!) it would!!!) It would hurtle through the ole Mennonite grapevine so fast that even God couldn't stop it!!!
“I would stand beside them and pray…..”
My hand shot up, I couldn’t help it….that wasn’t what my mom ever, ever told me to do!!!!
My mother, the indelible Audrey Metz (Frey, at the time) (you don’t mind me using your name, Mom, do you?.) was, and still is, an independent-thinking woman….she couldn’t help that….her father was a Mennonite preacher. She had been taught to lead a good orderly directed life, to stick to the principles. So she did….her own! (She was the first woman in our church to stop wearing a covering… know…the sin-sifter. The little netted cap or (ick!) the floral lace “covering” that showed the world, and especially your congregation that you, as a woman, were subservient to God and those of the male persuasion…..)
“Yes, Robin?” (did I detect a quiver in his voice? Did he know just then, (knowing my mother very well…Mennonite grapevine thing and all) that something radical and shocking would erupt out of my mouth????
“My mom told me that if that ever happened to me….I was supposed to KICK HIM RIGHT IN THE BALLS…RIGHT WHERE IT COUNTS!!!!!” (imagine being the teacher… this horrific postulation would come to your ears in slow-mo……from one of your students…from a supposed-to-be submissive female
Poor Mr. You-might-know-who…..the classroom reverberated with shouts, cheers, and laughter. He had been set up, again, and we were way off-subject….once again.
(was that the sound of the principle, with Mennonite trustees in tow, marching down the hall to the biology lab?)
Just realized what week-end this is…how appropriate!!! Happy Mothers’ Day, everyone!!! And Mom… rock!!!!!!

I have to tell this to's too funny!!!
As some of you know, I grew up as a Mennonite, and grew up in a Mennonite home, went to a private school run by Mennonite.
One day in my 6th grade math class taught by an Amish woman, Miss Mast, who was nicknamed lovingly "Speedy", the boy behind me, who was always causing troubl...e during class...or trying to.....was picking on me. I finally had had enough and turned around and popped him one right in the face, knocking his glasses off! Little Mennonite girl confronts the bully!
Miss Mast, who had her back turned to the class, working out numbers on the blackboard, did not see the he tattled on me!!!! "Miss Mast, Robin just hit me in the face."
As some of you reading this may know, Mennonites and Amish are taught resistance from retaliation, at least in the physical sense....
Miss Mast, without turning around, still busily, and Speedily, crunching out her numbers, replied without one Menno-second, "That's OK, ____, you probably deserved it!"
I am not an advocate of fighting back (nasty moves based on fear), but Speedy had just forever implanted herself in my did the boy in question, of course......I had a crush on him.....that was perhaps my way of showing should have punched me back!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I worked on "Genesis" today....took the palette knife to it today, to help accentuate the lights.  And, yes, the vote is in...the title is "Genesis". 
It's official....I have 10 of the palette-knife paintings in the Rutledge Street Gallery in Camden, South Carolina...  Thanks to my sister, Wendy, for the idea of doing these paintings....and to my friend Natalie Italiano, who actually suggested that I do this earlier....but  I just wasn't ready!!!

Here are the paintings that they have: