"The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world." ~André Malraux

After a year of intermittant "painter's block"  I am working again in my studio, and feeling in a tentative positive state. Painting is a solitary activity, and as artists, we are often working in a vacuum. Unless we have a show hanging, reaction to the work is minimal. With several pieces underway, I decided that perhaps if I write about what I am doing or am attempting to do, it might act somewhat as a muse for me as well as give me some feedback on the work I am creating -- hence the establishment of this blog. 

As for the blog title, traditional, representational painting is a language for expressing what’s visible. But I feel my work is the most successful, and most interesting, when focused on things not entirely visible. I paint what I see but also what I sense and feel by utilizing my interior and unseen world --- in other words, the invisible world. Plein air work or  studio work from photographs are only touchstones or landmarks which guide me to other inner spaces. By so doing, I find that I am pushing the boundaries between representational and abstract work.

You can enlarge the images in this blog by clicking on them.

Mar 19, 2013

We Went to a Hanging

We went to a hanging on Monday before the snow flew.  Actually John was the hangman, minus black hood, wielding tape measure and ruler. I supervised, but he is the measurer, and mathematician. The hangees were my 21 paintings now on display at Dartmouth Mary Hitchcock Rubin Gallery. It took several hours, because hanging on those track and slide systems, while nice because no tools are required, necessitate a lot of measuring and adjusting. Given the weather -- big snowstorm was on the horizon which is in full swing as I compose this --  people walking by were very receptive to the golden forsythias of spring, and the lush blues of the summer seascapes. Except one old man who walked by with his wife and grumbled "Too much yellow. Grump grump."           

I tried  to get photos of all the work going into the show 
before it was hung. Here are a few which I have not yet put into a blog, which show the results of a long journey towards somewhat abstracted impressionism, or whatever you want to call it. (I dislike labels.) 

Below are  the two largest of the forsythia series. I posted 
the second one sometime in the spring, but it was a bad photo. These are not bad, but the skies are not so turquoise at all, and the real paintings overall are lighter, brighter.

"Trranscendant Joy" Oil on board 24" x 35"
"Springtime's Yellow Telegram"   Oil on canvas   36" x 36"

I was after a very loose and free look, using the forsythia fronds simply as a mechanism to hold the dabbed, layered, scraped, glazed and sprayed paint. I would like to take myself to another level, and learn to do encaustic work with the oils. A future challenge.  

 Among the many seascapes are these little ones.

"California Coastline"         oil on canvas   12" x 12'"

"Striped Sea, No. 2"     oil on clayboard   12" x 12"

These two paintings are clear evidence of the direction in which I am going with my work. I will be working on a number of these in the next months to take to the Nantucket Gallery.

This is the rather cumbersome click and slide hanging system:
            The clear plastic hanging rods slide along the top rail and sliding hooks are     attached to it from which to hang the paintings.                                                                                                                                        
Meanwhile, I was very happy to get the show hung. It has been a long haul, and quite honestly,I was not sure I would be able to get enough new work created in time. But I did. We celebrated with a late lunch at Molly's in Hanover, and then I came home to work on the piles of laundry I have not done over the past few weeks (because I have had no time to do it due to painting and Skidmore 50th Reunion book writing and organizing)  --- lots of sheets and towels from visiting family,the dog sitter and us, and about 3 loads of personal laundry. Also washed the dog-dingied white duck couch slipcover and cushion covers and got that back on. Next chores: a general uncluttering of the house which I have ignored lately, and a real clean up in my studio!

But first--- to enjoy the beautiful late snowfall we are having today. About 10 or 11 inches so far, with it still falling. Sadly, no grandchildren will be able to be here this weekend to play in it, or ski. They were here a few weeks ago and had a great time outside. We miss them all.

Aidan, 12, on board

Eloise, 9 1/2, on marshmallow
Cousins Lily, just 8, and Nate, just 7, at the firepit
Lily on board, first time!
Grampa on A Bloody Mary
Nate on belly
Bob on board, second time ever
Mike on tube


Mar 17, 2013

Getting To The There

My living room/dining room space is filled with 21 paintings standing up against the furniture and on tables, finally finished (last brush strokes this afternoon), coated with temporary varnish, nicely framed (except for some with gallery wrapped, painted edges and those done on cradled clayboard which can be frameless) and ready to go! We will take them to DHMC either tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on the weather. I  think this show is going to hang together very well, pardon the pun. The opening reception is 10 days away on March 28. I hope it is well received.

As I mentioned previously, the title, "Yellow to Blue: From Here to There" references a number of things ... the yellow is the "here" -- 8 forsythia paintings, and the and the 12 blue pieces, are of the sea, and of the "there" -- Nantucket, MA and Barnegat Light, NJ. 

But it is more than that. From here to there also speaks of the constant journey artists have as they evolve from one style, or one place in their vision,to another. You cannot stagnate in one style, one place. I love the pure exploration of materials, the excitement of new discovery: process is everything. Both in the field and the studio, some of my work may be nonrepresentational then the next might be far more representational. This is in evidence in my show, and is because in the past few years I have been evolving. I don't believe one genre is better than another, but focus on whether the end result is solid and well executed, and elicits genuine emotion and connection with the viewer. 

I am finding that that the study of landscape and seascape allows me to edge from reality into abstraction, without losing a sense of time and place. However, I am definitely moving in my mind to a less representational style of painting, and when my hand catches up to my vision, I will have gotten to the THERE... and the show at DHMC shows part of the journey. It is good to be still journeying, evolving, growing, at almost 72!

You Are All Invited
To an Art Opening
“Yellow to Blue: From Here to There”
New Work by
Deborah Frankel Reese
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Rubin Glass Hallway
One Medical Center Drive, Main Entrance
Lebanon, NH
March 19-May 30

Opening Reception Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chilcott Lounge, Level 4
4:30 art discussion and refreshments
5:15 tour of the work of four artists

Bright Reveille 20x 20 oil on canvas

Any of you who are local, I would love to see you there on the 28th. Otherwise take a look next time you are at DHMC.

Mar 2, 2013

My Blue Period

Picasso is not the only one. These past two weeks I have moved from yellow (the forsythia)  into the blue, full steam ahead. I have completed three of the seven seascapes needed, and am halfway into a fourth. I am working with skies in these, more than water, as sky is so often the focus when on the beach. And you can be insane with the colors, which is where my head is this very wintry monochromatic week!

Here is a somewhat better photo of the first one posted last week.

Low Tide at Dawn, No. 1  20 x 20  oil on canvas

And another.

Low Tide at Dawn, No. 2  20 x 20  oil on canvas

 The one above has the colors slightly off, the foreground is much darker. 
And another.

Monotone of the Sea   20 x 20  oil on canvas

I hope to complete one more this size. These will be complemented by the large seascape I will bring back from the condo, and some of my Water's Edge series such as 

Winter Spindrift  16 x 16  oil on canvas (SOLD)

Water's Edge No. 6   12 x 12  Oil on Canvas

 I plan to complete a few more of these before the show hanging on March 18.

I am also working on a painting for the cover of my Skidmore 50th Reunion Yearbook which is supposed to evoke the old campus, the campus we knew. It is proving to be very difficult as there were really no iconic buildings or a green that shout out "Skidmore" from that era, and because all of the photos I have as references are black and white. I am trying..... I also have to take two pieces with me when I go to curate the alumni show at the Tang Museum for Reunion in the middle of the month. And I have nothing new to take.

It is making for some very busy days in the studio. Wish me luck.. .