Friday, June 26, 2009

Bird Snake - New Quotation Card Design

Cynthia Emerlye:
Three of four quotation card designs are now finished. Hopefully, I will be sending these to the printer soon. Here is the latest: a watercolor rendition of snake, flowers, birds. I haven't yet decided which quotation will be on this card. Here are some prospects:
  • "For this day's many gifts I give thanks."
  • "Gather ye the fruits of your everyday labors and let them be sweet."
  • "For this is the message ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
  • Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
  • Art is to lift the wings of the soul, and to contemplate the good, the true, and the beautiful, and to lead the excellent life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photoshop Magic

There can be more to creating an image than pulling out paper and paint.

My food blog has presented new challenges in illustration. When cows unexpectedly visited my garden, I wrote a post and need an illustration.

I had a painting of a jersey cow.
And I had a painting of the garden gate.

Could I put the cow in the garden using the magic of Photoshop?

I began by creating a file that had the cow as a bottom layer and topped the cow with a garden gate layer. After I adjusted the scale and position of the cow, I selected the cow and erased areas in the garden gate painting where I wanted the cow to appear.


To read the post on my food blog *click here*

Carol Egbert

Monday, June 22, 2009

AVA Gallery Entries

It feels like time to enter work into some juried shows. Several years ago I was entering shows right and left, and then it got tiring putting together the slides or CDs, sending applications off, then needing to pack and send pieces that were accepted. So now the occasional easy-to-enter show seems more appealing.

Today I entered a couple of pieces into the AVA Gallery Annual Juried Summer Exhibition. This takes place in Lebanon, New Hampshire and has traditionally been an excellent, eclectic show. I decided to enter some of the rectangles I'm in the process of creating. I'll be interested to see whether the juror likes them.

Like any artist I have to remember that each juror in every show has his or her own take on art, so not to feel disappointed if I don't make the cut. But I'd sure like to!

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Quotation Card Design

Cynthia Emerlye:

Two designs down and two more to go.
I have been working on four new designs for my Quotations greeting card line. This is the second one (shown below with a quick snapshot.) In the center will be a quote by Dag Hammerskjold: "For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, Yes." That is, unless I come up with something better before having it printed.

My next step with this design is to digitize it and format it to fit a 5x7 card, lay out the card on Photoshop, and send the file to the printer to have a proof made.

I have already started painting design number three. Its about four movies away from being finished. The one you see here was an eight movie design - more than most.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Studios

I have two studios.  The one below is at home--certainly convenient but so small I can almost touch all four walls standing in the middle of the room.  No room for an easel or any large work and almost no natural light.  And after many years of having a home studio I realize it's way too easy for me to get distracted by household chores, gardening, email, etc. and set aside the painting.

The other studio, below, is at Tip Top in White River Junction, VT.  It is a shared space which I enjoy, has great light and is quite roomy.  There is nothing to do there BUT paint!  So I get a lot of work done when I go there. But it's thirty five minutes away.  

I  think complaining about the studio is a favorite thing for artists to do, because no studio situation is perfect.  The roof leaks, it's too small, too expensive, too remote, too noisy, too quiet!

But, in my case, despite the down side--mostly necessary materials in the other studio--I think I have an embarrassment of riches.  I know I am blessed to have even ONE place to work, no matter its size or convenience.   I remember reading awhile back about a very accomplished watercolor artist who had to give up his studio and was working with his paintings on a large piece of cardboard in his lap.  This enabled him to move the work in all directions and get a good flow of paint going when he wanted to work loosely.  Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!  So, I'm not going to complain.  Today, I am going to my home studio to finish two paintings and I am going to be grateful.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A day at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center

I had a wonderful day yesterday re-introducing myself to my Great Blue Heron over at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center.

I hope to finish it this week as I will again go over to Rutland on Thursday and Friday. I have been thinking about my upcoming show at the Woodstock Sculpturefest and although my original idea was to do some outdoor furniture in marble, I am now thinking about a series of swings using marble as the seat. I plan on hanging the swings from trees on the site of the property where the show will be. As the deadline looms I feel that little ember of panic begin to stir. I hope I will be able to just relax and enjoy the process of making pieces for this show. I have never had a show planned where I didn't already have a body of work ready to show. This sure is different!

-Anne Dean

Monday, June 15, 2009


I've been wanting to exhibit work locally since we've relocated to Vermont, but don't have the time right now to put together a big show. There's a terrific cafe in Hanover, NH called the unusual name Umpleby's which has some nice space for displaying work. I had connected with Carolyn, the owner (an Australian), last fall, but we hadn't come up with a date for a show.

When in Hanover last week I happened to stop by and talk with her. She asked if I might be ready to exhibit starting late in July........I said "yes"! So I now have the happy task of choosing pieces and figuring out a theme. I actually have quite a bit of work ready to go and the space isn't huge, so it feels manageable.

I like the idea of hanging work in a public space that brings a lot of different people in. Having a cup of coffee or tea (and perhaps eating one of their famous Aussie meat pies) and happening on an interesting piece of art seems very appealing. I hope I can provide that experience for some Umpleby patrons!

Barbara Bartlett

Friday, June 12, 2009

Adult Coloring Pages

Cynthia Emerlye:
For about a year now I have been tossing around the idea of making adult coloring pages to sell.

Coloring is a restful, meditative and creative endeavor. When I handed out several of my line drawings to adults last summer, they greatly enjoyed the activity. Online, I have found that there is a large community of adult colorers as well. This idea has continued to germinate in me ever since I realized that, in the process of creating my black and whites, instead of filling in the line drawing right away, I could scan it into the computer and let it stand alone as a creative work.

Since my black and whites go through three stages to completion, the first of which is a line drawing in ink, I got the idea to use that drawing for a series of open illustrations which others could color. I looked this up on and found two types of books already out there. First are the many coloring books by Dover Publications. These are pretty flimsy - not what I was looking for. The other types are spiral bound hard covers which focus on a specific type of drawing: mandalas, cubic designs, abstract adventures, celtic designs, etc.

After investigating what it would take to put together a self-published book of this sort, I am fairly unconvinced that an entire book would work for me financially, given the larger size, good paper, thin market, etc.My newest incarnation of this idea is to sell sets of "Coloring Pages," which would be 11x14 pages on good, heavyweight paper, perhaps watercolor paper, backed with a rigid board and enclosed in a cello sleeve -- something more like a gift. This would fit in a standard sized frame and would make a fun activity for someone.

I haven't decided whether they should be sold individually or in sets. What do you think? Any ideas?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Abstracts at the Perfect Pear

It is hung.  It is such a relief to say those words when an exhibition is finally hung!  

On Sunday, my husband, Rick, and I went to Bradford, Vermont to hang the 14 abstract paintings I had finished and framed for the Perfect Pear Cafe.  Although we had planned on a previous visit where each piece would go, I knew it would need some last minute tweaking.

But Adam and Annie, owners of the restaurant, were lovely and helpful and their two daughters added a playful, whimsical element to the venture.  In two hours it was finished and we were able to relax knowing that it look good and everyone was happy.  

So, please come visit during restaurant hours....  The food is yummy, the view is lovely, the folks are friendly and the drive is gorgeous--who could ask for  anything more?  Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 3 pm.  Dinner is Tuesday through Sunday from 5 pm to 8:45 pm.  And don't forget the Opening on June 20th from 4 to 5 pm.  We'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

12 x 12 Show - Studio Place Arts

A couple of months ago, I met an artist who suggested that I get involved with SPA. Initially, I thought she was talking about a place for massages and saunas.

After clearing the confusion, and learning more about her show last winter at Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vermont, I visited their website with the intention of becoming a gallery member.

The Call to Artists section of the website had details about submissions for the upcoming '12 x 12' Show. On the wall near my desk hung three 12" x 12" oil paintings. Serendipity!

Rather than simply joining SPA, I decided to submit paintings for the show. The process was pretty simple, and with no expectations, I sent off the application later that day.

Two weeks later, the 'We are pleased to include .....' letter arrived.

Yesterday, I delivered two paintings. I'm looking forward to the opening reception Friday, June 19th from 5:30 to 7:30. The show will hang from June 16 through July 25th in the Second Floor Gallery.

To visit the Studio Place website +click here+.

My trip to Barre also included a delightful surprise called LACE. To read about it - visit my food blog by +clicking here+.

---Carol Egbert

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We lost our internet connection for most of yesterday, so my sincere intention to post was thwarted. But this delay gave me another opportunity to take in the amazing wildflower display along Interstate 89. The purple-blue (what IS that color?) of the lupine mixed with pure white daisies is just spectacular.....I'm inspired every time I drive by and I wonder who decides to plant these random magic gardens and I also wonder how many motorists notice and if it makes them smile too.

So many gifts of nature grab my attention. Sometimes I have my camera at hand so I can take a snapshot but this is mostly when I am a tourist. When visiting my daughter a few weeks ago, I fell in love with some wonderful old trees in the Hill Country outside Austin.

The root system was fantastic and it reminded me so much of the ancient trees outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia that I saw in December.

I want to somehow incorporate into some piece of art the fascinating patterns made by the intersecting roots, the wonderful color and texture of the worn wood, and the emotional response I experienced when seeing these trees, so different to the maples, pines, and oaks in our area. I wonder when that might happen and how some of those qualities will come out in a painting or perhaps a 3 dimensional piece. I feel that all these kinds of visual experiences, the roadside lupines or the ethereal trees, will somehow find their way into my art. It won't be today or tomorrow or maybe even this year, but they are stored in my memory and will have their time.

Barbara Bartlett

Preparing for the Woodstock Sculpturefest

My vegetable garden is almost in and I am getting ready to get back into the studio. As I plant the last of my lettuce transplants ideas are swirling around in my head. I will begin working over at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland this month. This is in preparation for an exhibit coming up this fall at the Woodstock Sculpturefest. I plan to do a series on different seating ideas for the garden. While there I will also be completing a sculpture of a Great Blue Heron. See photo on previous blog entry. By going to the Carving Studio there are no household distractions so if the ADHD thing kicks in I can hop from sculpture to sculpture. I'm excited at the possibilities. The challenge is always to keep the ideas alive and actually bring them to fruition.
This weekend I will be attending a wood kiln building workshop down in Massachusetts. Depending on the itracacies of the kiln, I may attempt to build an outdoor kiln up here in which to fire large pieces.

-Anne Dean

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gallery Dreams

Cynthia Emerlye:
Now that fine weather is here and the tourists are seeping into beautiful Vermont, I've been dreaming gallery dreams again.

My thoughts drift back to a time three years ago when I went on a trip to Buzios, Brazil. I spent many days with a Brazilian artist I befriended who took me to see her famous sculptor friend and several other artisans. She wanted to open her own small gallery in that beautiful tourist town (with 23 beaches!,) so I went around with her day after day, exploring possibilities. Eventually, I became entranced by the same dream. How wonderful it would be, I imagined, to rent a small space near the beach with its door opening onto a street filled with European tourists. I could lounge all day in painting bliss and easily support myself, since everything there is sooooo inexpensive. I could even buy the building and live upstairs. Every night would be filled with music and dancing, every day with art and beach and interesting encounters with people from all over the world. Ahhhh.

Unfortunately, this vision gave way to the reality of my life. If I wanted to have a relationship with my children or grandchildren, I could not live that far away from them. I would have to come home. But I still dream similar dreams and wonder how they could come to pass.

One thing I hope to do is to open my own small home gallery. I have a spacious living room which is used rarely. Each winter during my Snowflake party I show that year's work in the LR, which I dub the "Itty Bitty Art Show." Shown here, you can see that is a somewhat hodge-podge deal at present. I have installed some track lighting but my things are not displayed well. Mostly I have simply put things in here that are not currently in other galleries or shops.

I would like to actually paint the walls, take out some of the furniture and design real display areas, and put up a gallery hanging system.

If I create a small gallery of my own, then I can have private shows twice a year or more. I could take advantage of our Vermont tourist seasons (summer and foliage) and even advertise with Twin Farms Resort, which is close by.

This gallery would be open by appointment. I think it would motivate me to keep producing salable work.
Perhaps next year I can be in the Open Studio Tour as well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gridded Landscapes

All good things must come to and end, and so it was with my pear paintings.  I just couldn't get excited about another still life arrangement.  I couldn't THINK of one I hadn't done already!

One summer day when I was working with my dear friend, Lesley Cohen, here in Vermont, we went out plein aire painting and came back with our work for a critique.  After some helpful, kindly, conversation on her part, I realized that maybe realism had had its way with me and it was time to move on.

The next day, I started playing around with the idea of landscape and time and how they might fit together in one place.  What if the paper was divided into sections and the sections became a bit like a storyboard?  And what if the sections overlapped a bit and were broken into by other geometric shapes that made places where small "sketches" of the mountains, the sky, the rain existed?  What if these paintings described places?  What if these pieces described days?  "Storm Day" is the name of this first gridded landscape--and I do have to give a bit of a nod to Piet Mondrian here....  It is a mixed media piece, using watercolor, colored pencil and graphite.  

"Mountain Day" is a similar mixed media piece, using the same materials.  It describes the sights and feelings I had driving from Massachusetts to Vermont and back one winter day to visit my Mom in Bennington.  I tried to capture that beautiful snowy day with dramatic skies and lovely little grasses and shrubs and trees growing through the snow.  I wanted it to have an organic, dynamic impact and included imaginative markings meant to convey the "feel" of living things, the "sense" of growth and promise.

These gridded landscapes were a good connection for me between realism and abstraction.  They gave me the opportunity to observe to remember and to record reality and then to create a new vision out of those observations and sketches and photos.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is it ART?

The impossible questions.  

Were's the struggle?     What's my intention?     Is it meaningful work ?

Some days there is a struggle, with unclear intentions, and the meaning is not always evident.   

The big questions.

What is my art?  Am I a serious artist?  Can painting just be fun? 

------Carol Egbert

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


West Rutland Marble Bench
currently located at the Vermont Arts Council Sculpture Garden

O. K. So I know I’m not alone here when I struggle to find the time to get into the studio. The question for me is why? Aside from the fact that I’m single, therefore all the myriad of household chores falls on me, there are many more subtle reasons that are far more interesting to contemplate. One would be the ADHD factor. As I bounce from one project to another, I wonder why one of those projects isn’t a hop into the studio. Two weekends ago, I participated in the Vermont Open Studio Tour. I gathered all my work I have in my house and brought it to my studio to display. I realized that I had seven different media represented that spanned ten years. Are we back to the ADHD factor, not being able to stick to one thing? I looked around and felt that I really shouldn’t be on this tour. I have done so little current work. I only have one piece in progress and that’s been in progress for the last three years!

Marble Great Blue Heron in process May '09

Well yeah, I did pick stone as a medium, very slow going. Anyway, the initial reason I signed up for the Open Studio was to give me some incentive to get into my studio. However, I took on a community project that took way more time than I thought it would. I’m sure some of you know how that goes. But I knew I had this Open Studio coming up so why did I even contemplate getting into something else. Maybe it’s the focus thing. Keep your eye on the ball! But there is something deeper. I think I have a deep handed down belief that art isn’t a valued enough vocation to spend much time on. If you don’t have a viable business and aren’t making lots of money, why do it. I know, I know, for arts sake. But it all seems so overwhelming to me to create a big business around art. The commitment can be a huge factor. I once did have a ceramics business with many galleries carrying my work. It was exhausting doing everything by myself. I loved making the work, but the wholesale shows, keeping track of orders, packing and shipping were really time consuming. Sure I could pay someone to help, but I was only making about $30,000. a year and that was working practically 24/7. And now there’s the whole technology thing to grapple with. Every time I think about a website or blog, all I can think of is that it’s just one more thing to keep track of and manage, one more thing to take up my time. So maybe the answer is to just dabble in art when I feel like it and if I finish something put it in a show somewhere. Just that!

-Anne Dean

Monday, June 1, 2009

When is it "done"?

Last week it rained. I placed a bucket under the leak in my studio ceiling and listened to the drips as I contemplated the 35 rectangles spread on the table. Some of them seemed to be finished while others were clearly not that far from the beginning stages.

Actually I had believed a few of them were finished when I was working on them in Sydney. But as I looked at them in the dreary (that day!) Vermont light I wondered. And feared that perhaps I had taken some of them too far, adding too many layers of paint! The more recent pieces displayed a spontaneity or accessibility that was lost on some of the others that I had judged as "done." It is so much easier to tell when baking a cake!

I stuck 35 pushpins on the wall and began to hang the pieces up for evaluation. I was right! Many of the earlier pieces seemed dull and overworked. I'd have to figure out how to bring them back, what sort of sanding and re-painting they might need.

And I decided to let some of the "maybe" pieces rest for a while instead of rushing ahead. I needed to sneak up on them after several days and see them with beginner's eyes. Then it might be so clear.

This question of when a piece is finished is almost always an issue for me. I have to curb my tendency to feel that more is better when it comes to making art. Almost always, it will tell me when it's "done" if I only take the time to listen.

Barbara Bartlett