Painter of the mystical, otherworldly, sensual, and whimsical.

I'm a painter living and working in the beautiful finger-lakes region of Western New York State. I am also an avid gardener and nature lover, so the lush green rolling hills, gentle streams, and majestic lakes that surround my home in this world often appear in the fantasy worlds of my paintings.

Many of the pieces draw inspiration from folk tales, myths and legends. These "teaching tales" were what drew us together around our hearth-fires for centuries, and I believe those stories still carry power.

I enjoy looking at these ancient tales, through my eyes, and painting what I see, no matter if it's beautiful or disturbing. But what's more fun is when others can see those same paintings and find something within of value that speaks to their soul directly. I do not plan for this, but am honored when it happens, and, oh, yes, do love hearing about it every time that it happens. It reminds me that maybe we are not so different after all.

Glad to meet you, and please enjoy the paintings!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have Yourself a Leyendecker Christmas

"Artists to Watch Out For" is one of the favorite things that I do for the Blogosphere.  It's my gift to the world, and my way of sharing historic and contemporary art and artists that I love but that you may not have seen in a standard college art class... and if there's one that says "20th Century Christmas," it's J.C. Leyendecker.

I'm not alone.  When fellow painter and blogger Clinton T. Hobart listed his favorite Christmas illustrations, I saw three different Leyendeckers made the list, with one earning the added distinction: "one of my favorite illustrations ever." A realistic painter himself, Hobart writes, "J.C Leyendecker has always been my favorite for Holiday Illustration."

Leyendecker's impact on the Golden Age of Illustration is immeasurable.  His influence on the later Norman Rockwell is something often forgotten by history. Saturday Evening Post cover illustration was almost synonymous with this man until Rockwell followed in his footsteps.  The entire opus of his life's work includes over 300 covers for the Post alone...  Obviously, the holiday covers are a very small tip of a giant iceberg.

 This Flickr Collection is copyrighted, but enjoyable.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


St Luke, Portia. "Clever Fox." 2008. Mixed media on paper. Original available.

"Has anybody here seen Kelly?" 
~ C.W. Murphy, (Music and Lyrics) 1908.

The husband opens the Yuletide cards from that day's mail.  The envelope is the nondescript "holiday red" of every card this season... but my eyes light up and I start giggling like an 8 year old chasing a Siberian Husky in a blizzard.  Husbeast looks at me.  The eyebrow ...happens.

"It's from Cookie!" I shriek.  Yes, I'm 8 all over again.

"How do you know.?"

"I'm psychic!  I always know!"

Eyebrow grows steely.

"IT'S A FOX!!!"

Saturday, December 14, 2013

19 Acts of Kindness, plus one.

Image by Google Images

Yesterday, I had the joy of sharing a great find called "the Best Drug of All," by Craig Arthur James.  This gem is a beautiful reminder of the subtle power to be found within arms reach, every day, through the simplest acts of kindness.  I love this stuff.

Let me put it in perspective:  it's so cold outside that the air feels like a thousand tiny knives stabbing into your flesh, and you know the only way to make them stop is to get someplace warm.  The commute to work can be deadly if you haven't practiced the skill of driving on slick roads.  The dark feels endless, and spring is only a promise held in the heart.  Depression kills. So, yes, I love this stuff, not only because I'm a sap and a romantic, but also because it gives me hope and a little extra faith in humanity.  "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt (att.)  

Maybe an angel knew that I needed just a little extra encouragement today, and so these 19 more ways to light that candle found their way to me.  So much joy and love!  Does the cold and dark of mid-winter bring you down, too?  Maybe you'll find a way to smile (and send ripples of happiness out to others around you!) with these 19 Peculiar Acts of Kindness by Tanya Lee Markul.  For a nice, even 20, please, for me, encourage others to do the same, and keep it going.

Remember the umbrella story from the Best Drug of All, and understand that compersion (ie: joy because of another person's joy, or sorrow over another's sorrow) is part of what ties us together as a human tribe. Why keep this precious gift to yourself?  It's not limited, it will neither wear out nor deplete with repeated use. In order to light a candle for another, one was lit for us first. Each lights the next. When enough glow together, the collective power can light and warm an entire church. I've seen it, felt it, and it's still magical to me.

It's as magical as human compassion... or two umbrellas, in the right hands, on a rainy day.  Now it's your turn. Keep it going!  

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Best Drug of All

Artwork by Ralph Solonitz

Give a man with a warm soul, like Craig Arthur James, two umbrellas, and the miraculous will happen. His short story, "The Best Drug of All," published at Screwball Universe City, reminds me of the goodness to be found in the simplest deeds, often within arms reach. Being a superhero or a miracle worker so rarely requires powers beyond those of mortal men. Sometimes, it's something as simple as an umbrella on a rainy day.

To love is to be vulnerable

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis
For more love, and 21 Lessons They Didn't Teach You in School, check one hell of an entertaining online creative hub, "celebrating the Art of Being Alive," Rebelle Society.