Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lady of the Sea

LAH-DE-DAH, lah-de-dee
Lady on a yawl slid into the sea
Fell from grace
Off the bow did she.
Called for help not once but three.

Bobbed fore and aft
 Like a piece of debris
 Clung to a shell

Towed pell mell
 During this embrace
Wore seaweed lace
Drank algae tea.
Who could it be
On this ominous race
Might be you; hope not me
Lah-de-dah, shell-shocked she
Our lady...
Lady of the sea.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Liquid Feet

AMPHRODITE rules the sea
Her consort, Poseidon, thinks it's he
Encircling the sea with her blue liquid feet
She flows onto her seahorse to see who she'll meet.

I, on the shore, straddled a dolphin
Crashed through the breakers for frolic and laughin'
I giggled and grinned 'til off fell my feet
My ankles and calves to make it complete.

Where are my limbs? I can't stand anymore!
 Amphrodite answered– with thunderous roar
" I saw you enter my cobalt door
I've never even seen a girl before.

Just seals and dolphins–such a bore
The more I see you, the more I adore
I am the personification of the sea
And you're the splashing image of me."

She called me Rhode; poured me a treat
Cool foamy water replaced my feet
Now I float with my new found mother
And swim with my dolphin, for he is my brother.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jellfyfish Hash

I WISH I WERE a jellyfish
Wish, wish, wish
Back and forth, back and forth
Swish, swish, swish
I'd wear a conch upon my head
For flash, flash, flash.

 Should Sharky want his favorite dish
 Jellyfish hash
 Thrash, slash, crunch, mash!
As if I were a piece of trash
 I'd sting him on his face and lash
He'd definitely get a rash!

Then high-tentacle it outta there
Dash, dash, dash.
Retreating from the gloom
 And doom.  Zooooooom
To my meduszoan bloom
And crash, crash, crash.

Monday, October 31, 2016



THE NUMBER SEVEN HAS A HISTORY of being useful for mankind. The cognitive psychologist George Miller wrote a famous article in 1956 about our capacity for processing information. His thesis was that the amount of information or numbers which people can process and remember is often limited to seven, (plus or minus two.)
Of course, seven is not really a magic number. But it really does get around. Many things come in sevens: the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, Seven up, the Seven Seas and the Seven Dwarfs. Seven is also probably the most popular number. Studies have shown that when asked to pick a number from one to ten, most people will pick Seven.

That's six examples of the ways that seven has been invoked over the ages. There are more, but I am stopping at six because I know from reading George Miller that our digital span is about 7 and I want  readers to be able to remember the most potent use for the number 7. I learned this some years ago from my boss, who used to remind me of it every day when he came back from his seven-mojito lunches. He would invite me into his office, where I would actually have to witness him ask God to grant him the power to get rid of a rival senior partner. He earnestly, if tipsily, prayed that if God did this one thing, he would never ask for anything else. My boss didn't want much–just to be able to dial his enemy's telephone number and when he answered, press the number seven to cause his instant death. By the way, I was being paid an extremely generous salary to listen to this. (I might add that this is why I do not like working for others.)

I wondered why my boss had picked seven to do his killing for him. I started doodling to see if I could understand his choice. I discovered that if I slant a 7 to the left, it looks like the scythe that the Grim Reaper slings over his shoulder. If I draw it upside down, the top could be the blade on a guillotine. If I draw it obliquely, its point could be used for piercing like a spear or arrow. A seven is indeed more frightening than the well-rounded 8 or 3, or 0 with their cozy interior space .

I rooted for my boss for a while because I felt this would be a good power to have. With some direction from me, and the right telephone numbers, we could get rid of much of the evil in the world. But then I thought, I can't believe I am even thinking about  this. 

So, one day after one of my boss's repetitious afternoon rants, I calmly did my duty. I returned to my office, dialed his extension and then...pressed seven. That's right - I "sevened" him!

PS. If you don't like this post, please don't  seven me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Kernel Panic

Kernal Panic, digital painting

You'll never guess where I am!   It's colorful, wild, hot and artsy (in a Brice Marden meandering-line sort of way.) I'm here because of a  frightening computer malfunction.

While writing love letters on my computer,  suddenly big, black. scary, primal letters appeared on my screen. I usually take all things technical in my stride; I ignore them. However, this time I couldn't because the primitive type plastered itself slowly but steadily down my computer screen like some evil Barton Fink-esque kind of wallpaper, as if might consume me.  Its slow progression gave me, an alarmist in good standing, time to think and I came to a dismal conclusion. 

 It was the end of the world and it was either  God himself, Putin (sore about an illustration I did of him), or one of Trump's 400-pound hackers, sitting on a bed hacking away.  Whoever it was, he was communicating a primitive and cryptic message on my computer screen.  I believed, the expanding unrecognizable print marching down my screen might be an ancient  Biblical  tongue, the  Russian language, or hacking. Suddenly, at the top of the screen, a header appeared in English. Though blurred and written in a basic and  unfamiliar hand, it finally came into focus. It read, "KERNEL PANIC."  That's when my computer froze. Everything stopped  but those two words which kept multiplying and spreading down the screen–an ersatz army attacking.


I didn't know exactly what the words meant, but they struck me as serious.  I called for my live-in techie, but he apparently had slipped out to buy a new pocket protector for his pens. In his absence I did what any red blooded artist facing annihilation by computer would do: I grabbed my paints and sketchbook, cracked open the computer, crawled in and started painting the wiggly anarchy I witnessed inside.

Moving along the innermost primordial slime of colored wires and other exotic, twirling electrical arthropods, I painted my way to the bottom of the problem. It was just as the print on my computer screen warned:  KERNEL PANIC!  Sure enough, there in the depths, all aglow, frightened to death, and tied up with the many different colored wires was Kernel, and, yes, he was panicking. He looked like an ear of corn, but for the fact that he was screaming.  His  contorted face could have given the screamer in Edvard Munch's
painting a run for the money.

I told Kernel he could stop panicking  because the doctor  (my techie), would arrive any minute. While I was trying to cheer up Kernel, techie returned and called down a life saving prescription.

"to avoid crashing or hang issues, make sure you're exiting Scratch Live before disconnecting or turning off your Rane Scratch Live USB hardware interface (SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4, TTM 57SL and Sixty-Eight). Call me in the morning."

Kernel was paralyzed with terror, so I did the "Rane Scratch" thing for him. Much to my surprise, Kernel calmed down almost immediately.  The scream melted off his face, the mysterious  writing disappeared  from the screen  and the Kernel started doing his job again–whatever that might be.

I waved goodbye to Kernel, climbed gingerly out of the computer's entrails trying to  avoid any residual "hang issues" (they don't sound so good). I admonished my techie that he should never leave the premises again and resumed writing my love letters. 

Sent one to Kernel too, just to keep him in good spirits.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Guild - 5 Forty Five, Ft. Lauderdale

IN ADDITION TO THE MAKING OF ART, one of the best things about being an artist is the artist's reception at exhibits.  That's where I get to meet all sorts of wonderful art lovers and talk about my paintings and art in general with them. 

Susan and George Curri at Botanically Correct

Above is a photo from my solo show, Botanically Correct at The Guild 5 Forty Five, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  That's George Curi, my self-declared number one fan and collector. Behind us is my painting, Wings, the poster child for Botanically Correct. 

 I love the amber glow of this shot from the house lights and the confusing proliferation of hands surrounding us. The hand on my shoulder looks as if Wings is emerging from the canvas to give us a giant hug, but it is actually George's hand. The hand between George and me looks like it's George's but it is Wings' painted hand. The fingers on George's shoulder look like Wings' fingers tapping George on the shoulder,  but they are mine. And  then there's Wings' hand to the right of George which looks real enough to pinch him.

And so it goes, just as I have always thought, art and life being interchangeable!

George emailed me the day after he first viewed my work:

" I loved your use of color.  It was so bright.  I felt so cheerful in your gallery.   Especially, in contrast to the darker pieces featured in the adjacent galleries. You really are a true inspiration.  A very rare, but wonderful quality to possess."

Thank you, George!

A better look at the botanically correct Wings, The Man Under My Bed and Loose Ends. They are   currently being exhibited at the Good News Cafe, Woodbury, CT and can be purchased there through October 3.

Wings, acrylic on linen, 36 x 30" $3,500

The Man Under my Bed, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24," $4,000

Loose Ends, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24," $3,500

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Sneaker Graveyard

Dr. Mac, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

SWIMMING UP FROM SEVEN FATHOMS UNDER Candleberry Lake* at a speed so fast he would leave Michael Phelps far behind and probably get the bends, a young diver, trembling with excitement, breaks the surface and sputters to his mates, "Hey, there must have been a sneaker factory here at one time; I found hundreds of sneakers in one spot." When I hear him say that, I breathe a sigh of relief. No one knows the truth–the real truth. The diver's assumption is plausible, but it is wrong.

It is plausible because Candleberry Lake was not always a body of water. It used to be farmland at the base of Candleberry Mountain. In 1926 Connecticut Light and Power Co., in order to create hydroelectric power from the Histrionic River, dammed the river, flooding the surrounding farmland. In doing this, the utility created the extremely deep, 18-mile long Candleberry Lake. Local legend has it that if you dive down to the bottom of the lake you will find old roads and farm houses with families preserved as they were at the time the land was flooded. Some say there are entire preserved families sitting at the dinner table with their food-laden forks poised halfway up to their mouths. Other unfortunates still sit in their easy chairs knitting. This is why our young diver thought he had found (and indeed might have found, had there been one located in the vicinity in 1926) a sneaker factory.

But that is not the case. No, there never was a sneaker factory there. What the diver found is much more sinister. It is the sneaker graveyard. I might add that this final resting place for sneakers was not there when the land was flooded. I am one of an elite group of five people in the entire world who know how that sneaker graveyard came to be. And only three of this select circle are alive today. I feel I must share what I know of the events leading to the creation of the sneaker graveyard before this knowledge is lost forever. Therefore, I have decided to reveal what I have been concealing for so many years right here on this blog. Depingo's readers deserve to know.

Although I cannot reveal his name, I can tell you that some years ago a good doctor and his family lived on the lake. He was a surgeon, scholar and gentlemen, loved by all who knew him. He worked hard in New York City healing patients 11 months out of every year. He saved many lives and made many patients whole again. But when he was on vacation for the month of August... well, that is a different story.

The good doctor, escaping civilization, would drive up to his manse on Candleberry in full doctor drag, including an F. Tripler suit, cashmere socks, pinstriped shirt punctuated with gold cufflinks and a Countess Mara tie, and highly polished Bass Weejuns. Upon arrival, though, he would divest himself of this costume with haste, as if wearing it were the final human indignity. He shed it faster than a snake sheds its skin. However, while snakes shed in order to grow and advance their form, the good doctor would shed his last remnants of domestication in order to return to a wild state. Upon doing so, he immediately became feral.

This formerly manicured doctor quickly donned his summer wardrobe, which he had designed and manufactured himself. It consisted of three items: cut-off, shredded khakis (not much better than a loin cloth really); a rope which he tied around his waist, belt-style, to hold up the cut-off khakis; and a pair of tennis shoes. He wore these items for the entire month while he toiled at landscaping, building stone walls, making furniture and various other projects. He also swam, ate and slept in these three items for all of August. (OK, some nights he took the sneakers off for sleeping,)

Quite frankly, the doctor's wife was beside herself. She didn't know what to do with her severely devolved husband. She knew, though, that she wouldn't allow his shorts to go into the wash with the rest of the family's clothing. This did not present a problem for the good doctor. The one time he felt his garment needed washing, this brilliant inventor of surgical implements and procedures designed an operation for cleaning shorts. He tied one end of his rope/belt to his khakis and the other end to the stone dock and let Candleberry do the work. The lake swirled them around in its waters and its whitecaps beat them up against the stone dock. When the doctor felt they were clean (which was not very long), he put them on wet. The morning sun dried them in conformity with his body and at least they were somewhat cleaner. They didn't look so great, but he didn't care.

One of the neighbors was a kindly grandmother from an extended Italian family that summered on the peninsula. She had a hammertoe that bothered her and asked the world-famous trauma doctor if he would take a look at it. He needed an office, so he set two canvas-covered folding chairs on the dock, washed his hands in the lake and examined her while dressed in his summer outfit. It was comical to see patient and doctor sitting on the dock, she with her hammertoed foot resting in his lap on top of the torn shorts. She didn't seem to mind; in fact she seemed very grateful. When she asked how much she owed for the visit. the doctor replied, "Do you make clams casino?" She did indeed; in fact the dish was her specialty. The following day she delivered a tray of homemade clams casino, hot from her oven, for the doctor's lunch. Good thing, for by this time, his wife had decreed that he was not to come to lunch without a shirt on. Because a shirt was not part of his summer wardrobe, he enjoyed his clams casino while sitting on his favorite tree stump, accompanied by Peter, and Taffy, his cocker spaniels.

Word spread throughout the Italian summer community and he saw many more patients on the dock. He never had to don a shirt because he had a steady stream of clams casino, lasagna and pasta fagioli coming in daily.

There came a day when the doctor's daughter, who was coming of age, requested that her father put on proper clothes (perhaps at least a shirt) to meet her date when he came to pick her up. The doctor said, "I'm not putting on clothes– just tell him I'm the handyman." She was quite concerned about this antisocial turn her father had taken. She hoped his behavior was within normal limits for vacationing surgeons. Maybe this is how surgeons relaxed ... or was it? Maybe ... it was something else ... something far worse! Then, on their last night at Candleberry before the family returned to New York for school and work, she followed him and saw what he was doing. She actually witnessed it with her own eyes!

Before the ceremony started, her father sat quietly on a willow twig bench he had made himself and stared across the lake. Then, he slowly rose and moved toward the end of the dock. Was he carrying something in his arms? No ... it couldn't be. Yes! She could see them clearly now, for unsuspecting that he was being watched, he had moved into the moonlight. There were two of them and they were both badly decayed. You could almost discern the souls separating from them. The odor was unbearable even in the fresh, pine-scented night air. With a hint of hesitation and what looked like regret, the doctor raised both hands high over his head and heaved his decomposing, moonlit burdens to their watery doom. They sunk promptly because he had filled their orifices with rocks and bound them with their own laces. Then he waved goodbye, went up the stone steps to the house, took a long, hot shower and carefully laid out his full doctor's drag for the next morning's ride back to New York. Through careful observation, I learned that he repeated this morbid ceremony annually.

In retrospect, I believe that the doctor actually was very fond of them. After all, they were his sneakers.

*About Candleberry Lake, Candleberry Mountain and the Histrionic River: I changed their names so as not to get my father ... er ... um ... that is, the unnamed doctor, into any trouble.PS. I wonder if anybody has discovered the cigarette "factory" adjacent to the sneaker graveyard yet?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Madame Garden Party

Cropped Image of Madame Garden Party, acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 inches
Click to see entire image

MADAME is a party girl. Her full name is Madame Garden Party. Let’s face it. She gets around. She has been in two gallery exhibitions and one museum exhibit already and she only came into existence last year. She’s probably one of the most popular paintings I have ever made.

I am not sure what makes one painting more successful than another.  I do know, though, that at my last exhibit Madame stole the show. Gallerygoers told me that they could not take their gazes off her, that she drew them in with her one exposed eye.

Despite her name, she can’t even attend Garden Party, my solo exhibit opening on April 14 at the Gallery at Westfield Broward in Plantation, FL, with the other paintings in that group. We had to pick her up early from this month's Out of Thin Air exhibit at The Guild 5 Forty Five  in Fort Lauderdale because she needs to get to the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, NY,  where she will be part of the 75th Regional Juried Art Exhibition. That exhibit will run from April 15 through August 13.

I try to give all my paintings an equal share of my skill set which consists of both traditional technical skills and my own non-traditional personal vision, which lets me see and paint things in my own idiosyncratic manner.
However, only one will be basking in the limelight at the Arnot Museum for the next four  months,

Apparently, Madame got what she needed to be the star !

Monday, June 13, 2016


Foxglove was painted in my Manhattan studio which is surrounded by concrete, steel and glass high rise buildings on three sides.  Since my studio is on the first floor, I have a small garden on the fourth side  (somehow the builders missed that little piece) I nurture the garden, commune with nature and study it there while dreaming of a better place. When I bought a lakeside, wooded home in Connecticut, I named it Foxglove.

 Foxglove  depicts humans and animals coexisting in a natural utopian democracy. The animals function as symbols and provide subtle clues and playful suggestions about the  meaning of my work. Viewers have a  glimpse into a more perfect, peaceful  world––a world in which they are can find beauty in places where they never before thought to look.

You can find more paintings of my imagined world on my website. If you see one that you love, you can  purchase it by  contacting  me on my About page. Please have a look -

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fresh Start Thursday

DJR, digital painting #1

IT'S FRESH START THURSDAY (FST). When you see a post marked FST, you know I will be showing you something that I never did before, or if I did do it, not very often, and I definitely didn't show it to anyone and I'm not that great at it, but that didn't stop me from doing it. (That's gotta be a FST for longest run-on sentence I ever wrote.) Hey, even Picasso had his "bad" days. However, if someone gave you a "bad" Picasso, would you say that you didn't want it? Today's painting is my first iPad painting ever. I drew and painted directly on my IPad with colors and brushes from out of thin air. I didn't (and still don't) really know how to use iPad painting programs. The original art stays in the ether, but if you like it, I can make a print of it for you or of any of my paintings for that matter. Just let me know.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Pills, Pen and ink on paper with digital color, 7 x 5 inches xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


BILLY is frilly
and Willy's so plain
Don't see how Willy
can get rid of pain.

I pay the big bill
when I've got a chill
for it's more than a thrill
to cure what's ill.

Ate a cheesesteak in Philly
Got cramps willy nilly
Bill was not there, so I took a Willy
Turned my cramps into a dilly.

It may sound silly
to like Bill over Willy
Which  makes me a pill
Like Billy and Willy.

Rx - If reading this has given you a headache, take two Willies and  call me in the morning -
Dr. Susan

Sunday, May 15, 2016

She's Leaving Home

Leaving Home, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24 inches

IN LEAVING HOME, I have focused on the concept of “wings,” as reflected in insects, birds and even human beings. I combine elements of reality and fantasy in ways that shed a new light on the interrelationships between humans and the natural world around us. Sometimes the division is clear; on other occasions the two worlds melt into one.

Detail of the Village, right corner of canvas

Above you can see a closeup of the village that she's leaving (lower right corner) with parents waving goodbye It looks like Chagall himself painted the village, but he did not. It was I!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Paper Gown

Paper Gown, pen and ink on paper, digital color

I WALKED INTO the fancier-than-I-usually-go-to -party and spotted my doctor, the love of my fantasy life. I tried to act nonchalant, but when our eyes met I blushed all over. This is one of the disadvantages (other than having people thinking you're a vampire) of being a fair-skinned redhead. You wear your emotions on your skin.

I had had many pleasant conversations with my doctor in his office while he examined me. My first visit had been an emergency necessitated by stomach pain. He actually saved my life by putting me into a cab to the hospital in time for the life-saving surgery I needed. Apparently, an ambulance would have been too slow. I live today not only for him, but because of him.

Over the years I have devised a strategy to neutralize my emotional response to my annual physicals. I dig my fingernails into my scalp.  (See above) I need the agony of nails in flesh to cancel out the ecstasy of his touch in order to appear even remotely normal. You can imagine how I feel when he says, "Please take off everything but your underpants and slip into the paper gown. I'll be back in a minute." Once, I thought I caught him studying my face. (He might have been looking for indications of brain deficiency) but other than that we are just two people in a pleasant enough, though strictly doctor/patient, relationship.

But back to the night of the party. He maneuvered his way through the herd of socialites towards me. Without a word, he guided me into a more private part of the townhouse. Finally I got a, "Hi, so nice to see you, Susan." He put his arms around me, pulled me toward him so that our bodies touched and then hugged and kissed me for what I suspect is not an acceptable length of time for a mere greeting.

"Why Susan, you're hyperventilating, your heart rate seems a little high, your forehead is hot and your cheeks are flushed," said the doctor. "Are you feeling all right?"

I replied, "I feel a little weak in the knees."

In answer he said, "Take off every thing and slip into the paper gown. I'll be back in a minute." He disappeared but, almost as an afterthought, stuck his head back into the room and said, "Oh, and please remove your underpants. "

That didn't slow down the heart rate!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Coming Out

Sketcchbook pen and ink drawing- Girl Smoking

Digital drawing - Girl Smoking Flowers 

Painting, -  Coming Out, acrylic, acrylic on linen, 36 x 24"

COMING OUT, will be  exhibited  at the Gallery at Westfield Broward, Plantation, FL in my solo exhibition, Garden Party,  which opens April 14. I invite you all to attend.

It is is yet another  example of my being inspired by an old sketchbook drawing. The sketch of the smoking girl is the basis for the painting. 

The first sketch shown above is the original drawing.  On the second sketch,  I layered translucent flowers over the original so I could see both the girl and the flowers clearly. This became the working drawing which guided  my  painting. After building up many layers of paint for the girl and the flowers, I painted the insects, wings and unraveling pupa. I then added cut paper for texture

As the the butterfly in the painting  is "coming out" of her  pupa, so is the painting "coming out" of the drawing.

To see more sketchbook-to-painting work follow this link:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Swan Lake

Walking the Swans, acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 inches

NOW THAT SPRING has sprung, we all start acting a little kittenish. That is all very well and good for kittens and maybe even people, but when swans act kittenish, it is a remarkable theatrical event. I will block it out for you.

Playbill: Mr. and Mrs. Swan rule the lake  at Foxglove and I am merely one of their subjects. I am blessed to have the best seat on the lake, Foxglove Cottage, front row center, from which to observe the spring drama.

Orchestra: A startlingly loud cacophony of thunderous crashes and cracks. The orchestration ascends into a clashing, frenzied crescendo. That is the ice on the lake breaking up, pulling away from the shore and crashing into big ice chunks. It eventually melts and drifts.

Cue Swans: Swans can be seen in the distance swimming in the small channels of water between ice chunks.

Orchestra: Suddenly all is quiet but for a gentle, soothing, lapping sound. The ice has vanished. There are whitecaps on the lake and a slow, swelling underscore of birdsong.

Enter Swans Left Front Stage from the air: Swans are chasing each other, flying low, at eye level, in tandem, just short of ramming into each other.

Enter Swans Right Front Stage from the air: Swans are still chasing after one another, flying low, at eye level, in tandem just short of ramming into other. (Repeat the above two stage directions every day for two weeks, three times a day)

Swans Center Stage: Scenery: Deserted, wild peninsula. The swans are very tired after all that flying and "catting" around. They lounge on the peninsula for hours a day, grooming themselves meticulously and hissing at each other. They are not angry; they are mute and hissing is the only sound they can make. They think it is okay though, because "hiss" sounds like "kiss." Mrs. Swan has gotten herself so white and fluffy that when she sits, her feathers plume out and flutter as if she were wearing a ballerina's tutu. For now, she feels she is "in" Swan Lake, not "on" Swan Lake. She is beautiful and is getting ready for her big date. The one where she and Mr. Swan mate.

She has already constructed her throne-like nest where she will sit atop her future cygnets for 35 days, keeping them warm while they are encased in eggs. The nest is very large, gold in color and made up of twigs and other salvaged natural materials. Mrs. Swan is a very good architect and builder. Her nest looks like a wicker chair without the back and is just as strong.

Choreography: Mr. Swan provocatively struts around the peninsula while Mrs. Swan and I watch transfixed, becoming more enchanted every minute. Suddenly his movement becomes jerky and more frantic and he breaks into what looks to me like James Brown doing the funky chicken. Perhaps, Mr. Swan does the funky swan. Whatever the dance, it is irresistible and Mrs. Swan joins in. Finally she backs into him and they peacefully stay in that position for some hours.

After the date, Ms. Swan retires to her nest thinking, "He is the only swan for me. I'm glad we mated for life" and Mr. Swan has a cigarette. No, only kidding, he goes for a swim.

Second Act, 35 days later:

Orchestra: A barely audible cracking and shuffling noise. The cygnets are hatched. Mrs. Swan, carrying five of them on her back, immediately waddles into the lake, slides them off her back and they all swim away in a line. They call on us here at Foxglove for daily visits, but never again return to their birthing nest. In fact, they never return to the peninsula at all except for one or two fall "swan song" picnics for the sygnets, who must now leave Swan Lake and find mates and lakes of their own.

Final Stage Direction: Now, only the hushed sound of flapping wings can be heard as the sygnets disappear into the sunset...forever.


Saturday, March 19, 2016


xxxxxxxxxxxxRiptide, mixed media on linen, 50 x 40 inchesxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A RIPTIDE AND I have a great deal in common. Strange as that may seem, I can explain the   similarity:

A riptide  is a strong current of water that flows away from the shore. As a painter, I, like the riptide, produce a strong current of energy that flows away from  the shore–the shore of “everyday.”

If you are a swimmer, the riptide will pull you away from the safety of the shore. If you are a viewer, my paintings will pull you away from the safety of "everyday" and into the unknown.

I serendipitously happened upon the above image for Riptide while standing on the balcony of my  Fort Lauderdale studio. The balcony is poised over the Atlantic Ocean and is closed off from the studio by glass doors. While looking through the doors I realized I was in a strange new place.  I could clearly see the ocean and sky (reflected on the glass) along with the studio and bedroom spaces beyond the doors, including more double doors, and the furniture beyond that. This confusing yet beautiful image of land, sea and air superimposed on one another enchanted me. I was caught in the current, a riptide if you will, and pulled away from the safety of "everyday."

I hope you will all join me  at my solo exhibition, "Out of Thin Air," on Saturday night, March, 26, at The Guild 5 Forty Five  in Fort Lauderdale.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Enter, wood, metal, hardware, paint 8 x 8 inches

SOME PHOTOS from my  solo exhibition, Bucolia,  in Miami at Meeting House where the gallery is as beautiful as the art.  The show was curated by Moira Holohan, who in addition to being  a talented curator is a talented artist in her own right.  Since we couldn't find the right word to describe my paintings for the show, we coined the word Bucolia from  the words "bucolic" and "melancholia."

In addition to medium and large scale paintings, my sculpture, Enter, was displayed as well as a series of digital paintings entitled Going to Pieces

Going, digital  painting , 24 x 30 inches

The artist and studio assistant

Golden Lady  (left) and Out of the Woods

Fairfield Porter Gone Bad (right)

Alice's Aura (left) and Entropy

Exit , pen and ink, 8 x 11 inches 

Enter sculpture (center) and   Bi-Directional (far right)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Stranger in a Strange Land

Dead birds in crocheted dresses.
Sacrificed butterflies entombed forever.
Maggot-infested severed cow heads.
Sharks suspended in formaldehyde.
Soiled dainties in glassine bags.
Nothing at all?

Where am I?
A torture chamber?
Barnum & Bailey's Three Ring Circus?
A House of Horrors?
A nightmare?
A horror film?
I am on the cutting edge...........

at New York University in a mid-ninety's art program in a graduate school not for the faint of heart. That's what passed for art in those pluralistic times. Only the most resilient of figurative painters got out alive. I did and I hope the other two did also.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Footnotes, gouache on paper, 8 x 11," New Yorker cover proposalxxxxxxxx

THE LATE GREAT Jack Potter told me, if you do the illustration right, there's no need for words!

I think I nailed this, Mr. Potter.!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Body and Soul

Full House, acrylic on linen, 40 x 30 inches
I RECENTLY PAINTED my best friend, Kenneth Feldman, who I call Feldy. At the first session: I sit him down in a possible pose, studying intently every feature of his face, body and posture. I take into account all of this physiognomy and store the information in my brain. But now I must mix it with the intangible "patina" of Feldy, such as his personality, wit, intelligence, background–indeed, his soul. If a painter attempts to portray a person by considering only the body without taking into account the soul, she is no different than a house painter.

While we are deciding on the right pose, Feldy mugs. He pulls his lapel, which sports a boutonniere, up to his nose and smells the flower. I love this pose and and tell him that this is the way I want to paint him. Curiously, Feldy says "Please don't paint me that way. I'll look too fey." I am not sure what he means, but choose another pose. Even though he is a delightfully lighthearted and amusing model, I choose to show his more serious side.

In my mind I have blended his "patina" with his physiognomy, so I feel I am ready to block in the paint on my canvas. This involves exploring the shapes of his face and body and constructing them with paint, running my brushes up, around and over the various facial forms to "flesh out" the paint rough. I round out the cheekbones and forehead, I build up the volume for his nose and lips, and I darken around his eye sockets so they will appear sunken–on a lower plane than the rest of his face.

I continue the block-out of all of Feldy - his neck, shoulders, torso, pelvis, legs, right down to his feet. All these anatomical parts are merely shapes. But through my exploration and manipulation of them I know that I will reveal Feldy's soul. His essence, not just his form, will be reflected in his portrait.

Feldy patiently subjects his body and being to my artist's gaze. The work on the paint rough progresses smoothly and quickly. For me, the purpose of a rough is simply to get the paint onto the canvas. At this point I do not concern myself with any likeness these embryonic paint splashes might have to my model. However, in this instance I am struck by the remarkable resemblance between the painting and Feldy.

After that first day, I could not work on the painting for ten months. Sadly, almost immediately after, Feldy was diagnosed with late-stage melanoma. I did try to help his body though, trying to restore or at least maintain what was left of his health, by escorting him to and from doctors, keeping him company while he was being treated, transporting him to and visiting with him in hospitals, bringing him meals, newspapers and clothing.

On one occasion, I even bathed him when a nurse was not available. I was struck by the similarity between running a warm washcloth over his physical face and running a brush over his painted face. Toward the end, Feldy had to be moved to a hospice. While he was there, I realized that I had been so concerned with his body that I had forgotten the importance of his soul. Sadly, I then had to watch his soul drain out of his body bit by bit until it was gone.

His rabbi told me that I shouldn't feel so sad about death. It is not the end. Our bodies are just temporary homes for our souls. Therefore, we should view our bodies as just short-term rentals. He assured me that the spirit of Feldy lived on.

Soon after the funeral I got back to finishing the painting. Although I usually use multiple layers of paint when finishing a painting, Feldy's required very little finish because the rough was so "right." While working on it, I remembered that Feldy didn't want me to use the pose with him smelling his boutonniere because it made him look too "fey." I finally looked the word up in a dictionary and learned that the first definition given is: "chiefly Scottish: fated to die, doomed; marked by a foreboding of death or calamity."

Still, the spirit of Feldy lives on.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Anti-Bridezilla

The Anti-Bridezilla, acrylic on linen, 36 x 36 inches
MY COUNTLESS PEN AND INK children have one flesh and blood sister–Nicole. She respects her brothers and sisters, finds them pleasant enough as siblings go, but nevertheless is rather standoffish and aloof. She would never think of reading about them, let alone telephoning them. You can't get around it, there is always rivalry among siblings. Because I frequently post about my pen and ink children, I had better write about the flesh and blood one as well.

Coli is a beautiful, smart, accomplished and successful young lady. She has always been industrious and enthusiastic about everything with one exception -- her own wedding plans.

After she became engaged, I could see that she was disinclined to do anything about actually planning a wedding. She was not looking into a reception hall, invitations, a photographer, a band, flowers, food--none of that. (In her defense, she was living in Chicago but wanted to get married in New York.) Seeing no alternative, her father and I took it upon ourselves to get her started. He looked at photographers' portfolios, I visited potential venues and together we started prowling around at night listening to bands. When we showed her the work of photographers we liked or brochures from reception halls that we thought perfect, or sent her CD's featuring fabulous bands, she would say, "Sure, they look OK, why don't you just go ahead and pick one of them."

I figured that with this casual attitude, she had probably not given any thought to a wedding dress. But I was wrong. She told me that she was definitely not going to wear one of those veil "thingees" on her head. Also, she would get a bridal gown, but she was planning on wearing boots with it. Upon hearing this, and worried about a potential fashion disaster, I made appointments for her at three bridal boutiques in Chicago and flew there to "advise" her (really to make sure she kept the appointments). At boutique number one, Nicole thought the first dress she tried on was fine and said that was the dress for her. I explained that it was unusual for a bride to buy the first wedding dress she saw–and besides we had two more boutiques to go to before she made any decisions. After reluctantly trying on a few more dresses, Coli told me she still wanted to buy the first one. She said, "Let's cancel the other appointments and go to lunch." Coli is a very persuasive person. Just say, "yes" to her, and nobody gets hurt. So we went to lunch.

While we were eating, I asked her what she thought about our exciting dress–buying experience. She replied, "The saleswoman could have had more teeth." At that point, I knew I was dealing with the anti-bridezilla. When we shopped for attendant's dresses, I found that Coli had chosen all anti-bridesmaidzillas as well. They had agreed among themselves to wear black dresses, but when we got to the boutique, they were shown petal pink dresses first. They thought the dresses were beautiful and selected them instantly, without looking at any others. As for the flowergirlzilla's dress? We bought that there as well. Guess how long that took and how many dresses we looked at–30 seconds and one! Then we went to lunch.

For the wedding and reception, her father and I selected the Snuff Mill at the Bronx Botanical Garden. We went there many times to fine-tune all the ceremonial, food, music and floral arrangements. Once, when Nicole was in town, she actually came along with us. The manager declared her the most relaxed bride he had encountered in his 30-year career. At one point while we were discussing the menu, he asked Nicole for her input. Yawning, she said it didn't really matter to her–anything would be fine. The manager had to ask her if he was boring her. "No," she replied. "I'm just tired."

My husband told Nicole and her fiance they should select a song that was meaningful to them for their first dance as Dr. and Mrs. Brandell. After some weeks passed, he said that if they didn't make a selection soon, he would pick one for them. They never got around to it, so my husband chose their wedding song for them. The experience was unforgettable and their song, as meaningfully picked out by my husband, was indeed Unforgettable.

For their first dance as a married couple, Nicole and Brian came onto the dance floor and started dancing in a graceful and dignified manner to "their" song, as my husband proudly told everyone that he had picked it. But then just a few bars into the song, something strange happened. Jayon, the lead singer, yelled, "Cut!" and the music stopped. The singer said "You know what? Brian and Nicole just do not look like an Unforgettable type of couple to me." And then the band started playing That's What I Like About You by the Romantics. Nicole and Brian, neither of whom was really a dancer, started to perform an ambitious, perfectly-choreographed, raucously funky dance. They had been secretly in touch with the band to arrange it and had a co-worker of Nicole's who had been a professional dancer work out the choreography in order to be able to do their Dancing with the Stars-quality routine. They and the band had conspired to keep it a secret from my husband, the grand inquisitor.

Other than showing up, the big dance fake-out was Nicole's sole contribution to the wedding. And it wasa great one. Everyone thought it was hysterical. It totally set the tone for the rest of the evening. Everyone, regardless of age or infirmity, was on the dance floor all evening, gyrating to a band that was in a delightfully deep funk groove. No tummlers needed that night.

About a week before the wedding, Nicole rang me up and said that she had just tried on her wedding dress for the first time. She said she looked OK in it but thought no one would even know that she was the bride because she wouldn't be wearing a veil. Upon hearing that, I sprang into action. I immediately went to Suzanne on Madison Avenue and had a veil designed and made up virtually overnight so that people would know that Coli was the bride. I did not concern myself in the least with such petty details as the exhorbatnt cost of the rush order because–

I am Bridezilla!

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Inside My Mind,  gouache on paper, 8 x 10"

Contents of my Mind Arranged,  gouache on paper , 8 x 10 "

JUST CALL ME KALEIDOMIND. I have chosen this name for myself because of my creative process, which is analogous to that of a kaleidoscope.

You've probably never looked inside a person's head unless you are a neurosurgeon or maybe a radiologist. But in this post you will be able to see inside one for the first time–my kaleidomind. When you view the top image  you are seeing a painting of the inside of my brain. All of the images, colors and starry shapes I have stuffed and sucked into it, store there, and carry around with me constantly are on display. They are not heavy, they're my images.

Notice you don't see any words in there. That's because I am an artist; I breathe, eat, sleep, walk and think images. I don't need words. I don't even assign names or meanings to my collected images. They are just shapes, colors and textures to me, with no more significance than anything else that comprises my palette. These images shift around in my mind, for years sometimes, depending on when I first acquired them. As they assume this or that juxtaposition, I imagine they are rehearsing for their debut in a painting. For the moment, though, they are merely biding their time in my mind–waiting until I let them out.

Although these nameless objets d'art residing in my head are highly conducive to painting, they wreak havoc with my civilian life. The unnamed objects are not so good for conversational purposes. I have on more occasions than I would like to recall had to use one of the few words that I can consistently remember–"thingee." I use it in much the same way as a universal solvent is used. I am reduced to describing anything and everything with my universal solvent. I will mention this "thingee" or that "thingee" when I am talking about an object which I could draw accurately and precisely in a heartbeat but the name of which I cannot recall for all the paint brushes in China. Strangers I regale with such fascinating repartee sometimes take my friends aside and ask in hushed tones if I am the village idiot. "No," my friends will reply, "she's the village artist." It's worth the humiliation, though, not to have words and meanings get in the way of my production of art.

In the second painting on you are viewing the very same contents of my mind that you have already seen in the first painting, only after said contents have been filtered through my creative process and disgorged onto a canvas. If you examine the two closely, you will see that the individual images are the same except for placement and size. Well, maybe they are slightly distorted. It's more crowded than a New York City rush hour subway in there and just as bumpy. You will also see that my visual language is not at all exotic. It is comprised of everyday objects, including lobsters, women, umbrellas, bottles, bikinis– words to you, but "thingees" to me.

I was born painting and since then I have created paintings in the same way. After capturing and storing numerous images in my mind, I use my mindoscope (located next to the medulla oblongata) to rotate and record, shuffle and re-record them many times over to create my work. Although I have repeated some of the same images throughout my painting life, they are never combined in exactly the same way, just as a kaleidoscope's pattern, even though using the same pieces of colored glass, is never repeated.

My kaleidomind differs from a kaleidoscope in one important way. The kaleidoscope's content of shards of glass is fixed, while my kaleidomind's shards of images are constantly increasing in number as I add new ones every day. (I have to paint; otherwise my overcrowded mind would explode!) It is virtually impossible for either me or my precursor, the kaleidoscope, to form the same pattern or composition twice, even were we to attempt to do so. And why would we want to? There is so much new ground–background and foreground–we have to cover. Through this process, images of ordinary, everyday objects (or bits of colored glass in the kaleidoscope) end up confronting each other in unexpected, sometimes jarring and always extraordinary juxtaposition.

At this very writing, there are two extremely pushy shapes bouncing around inside my cranium and giving me a headache. Ouch! That hurts! They are trying to split my head open and escape. One of the shapes thinks that it is a bird and is trying to peck its way out. The other believes itself to be a bottle, or perhaps, in its more Freudian analysis, a womb, leading it to so believe that it has an inherent right to be born. Excuse me momentarily while I disabuse those "thingees" of their escapist notions–the one in which they think they can exit my mind prematurely and the other in which they assume that they are something other than shapes. Until I am ready to crank up my kaleidomind and shake, rattle, and roll that "bird" and "bottle/womb" out of their compartment in my mindoscope, that is exactly where they'll stay. While they remain captive, I, a seasoned artist, will explain to them that they must stay put until they have acquired depth and perfection. Then and only then can they emerge as part of my personal vision, set free and spilled out onto a canvas as part of an enriched, painterly whole.

That "thingee" depicted in the second painting--the girl? She matured, developing a lovely patina, until it was her time to become part of the painting. She could just as well have been a spider on its web. (I especially like webs because what looks more like a kaleidoscopic image than the beautiful refracted shapes and lines of a spider's web?) The girl simply did her time in my mind and then suddenly emerged from an abyss in my memory. Then I twirled her around in my mindoscope until she landed in her place on my canvas. She fell into place without any psychological hoopla. After all, she's just a shape.

Fittingly, the analogy I draw between my creative process and a kaleidoscope is itself based on one of my earliest visual memories: looking at the living room of my childhood home through the multi-faceted cut-glass, decorative sphere atop the "thingee" (which I only much later learned was called a newel post). This vision, one of the most splendid refractions I have ever seen, was perhaps first in my visual vocabulary. I will carry it with me always, use it in my art, and pass it on to my viewers–whose visages I will simultaneously be storing in my kaleidomind.

And so it goes, on and on, around and around, back and forth, up and down, and finally . . .out!