Thursday, December 17, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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I was so lucky last weekend--I got to paint so many gorgeous, interesting-looking people. Is this girl beautiful, or what?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tahlia and Freya


While I was painting human portraits yesterday, someone asked if I paint horse portraits. I would LOVE to paint a horse portrait! In the meantime, here is a painting of Tahlia and her horse, Freya.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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If you know me, you know I looooved painting this one. Sign-up has begun for half-hour portraits at this weekend’s show in Croton, so if you’d like to reserve a time in advance, just send me a message.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Portraits for Holiday Gifts

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It’s that time of year again—I’m painting half-hour portraits for holiday gifts! If you’d like a portrait of your children, yourself, or your pet to give to a loved one, just let me know. We can schedule a sitting any time in the next few weeks, or contact me to reserve a spot at the Croton Artisans Holiday Boutique, where I’ll be painting Dec. 12-13.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

And now for something completely different.

©Geneve Hoffman Photography
I recently had my first knitting pattern published! Here is Fat Kitty. Isn’t he cute?

When the editors at Storey Publishing asked if I was interested in contributing a knitted-toy pattern to their newest One-Skein Wonders book, I was thrilled. I let the idea percolate for a few days, but it was pretty quickly apparent that the project was going to be a cat. (No surprise there if you know me or my family.)

It took a few tries to get the right kitty. The first yarn I tried was a super-soft baby alpaca. It was nice and fuzzy, but that kitty was a little too squishy. Then there was the face. The first couple permutations had wide-open green eyes—nice, but not the feeling I was after. Also, just as one tiny brush stroke on a painted portrait can completely change the facial expression, one single embroidery stitch can make a kitty’s face change from sweet to crazy. (Yes, I know that’s what real kitties do, but it’s not what I wanted here.) Sleepy eyes were a nice solution, and a lot easier to embroider.

And then I found the perfect yarn. Well, I had discovered it a few years ago at the farmers’ market in Union Square. I’ve been trying to buy only wool that is grown in the U.S., and Catskill Merino Worsted is one of my favorites. Soft, squishy, but still sturdy and a bit rustic—it’s one of those yarns you just have to keep touching. Plus it’s hand-dyed right on the farm in the Hudson River Valley, and the colors are wonderful. My Fat Kitty is made with Warm Gray, but I can see him in Dusty Plum or New York Twilight #10. (Plus I just like to say the color names.)

Fat Kitty appears in One-Skein Wonders for Babies, published by Storey Publishing.

And you can learn more about the book here:


Monday, October 12, 2015

Late Summer Evening, Michigan

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As the crow flies, this spot is just a couple miles west of home, on the way to Hilhof Dairy, the organic farm where we buy our milk. I love their milk; I love this land. I also love Brutus, the 150-pound Great Dane who lives at the farm. He’s young and a little playful; I try not to get him too worked up.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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Wow, I’ve been lame about posting paintings. I’ve been busy, but I do have a little backlog of paintings to get up on the blog. Here’s one of my all-time favorite subjects. I believe I’ve painted this lovely girl four times, and I certainly hope we’re not done. It’s so much fun to see her grow and mature from one portrait to the next. Hopefully some day soon we’ll put together a collection of portraits of her and her brother; I’d love to see them all together in one place.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August is Artist Appreciation Month

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I love, love, love painting this boy and his sister. (I believe this is the third time?) More on that in my next post. But for today, thank you to the creative people at Patience Brewster for alerting me to the fact that August is Artist Appreciation Month. If you aren’t familiar with the name, Patience is the artist behind her company’s handmade Christmas ornaments. (Her illustrations are also exquisite.) Patience is passionate about sharing the stories of other artists, and her blog can be found here.

So what better time to write a little bit about the artist who has had the greatest impact on my own art, Hananiah Harari. Born in Rochester, NY, in 1912, he was already in his eighties when I began taking life-painting classes with him at the Art Students League in NYC. Though he was quite a bit shorter than I (and I am not that tall), he was a towering figure when it came to art. His work ranged from murals for the WPA in the 30s, to political illustration that got him blacklisted in the 50s, to precise realism and trompe l’oeil, to the semi-abstract style in which he painted when I knew him, and which I loved best.

His class was always full, he always wore a suit vest and bow tie, and as he made his rounds of the studio he always had something useful to say. How liberating it was to have a teacher who encouraged us to loosen up, to experiment, to go ahead and make the eyes two different colors. A three-hour portrait demonstration that he painted remains the single most instructive class I have ever had, possibly in any subject. My style is not yet as loose as Harari’s (hopefully some day), but I owe to him my ability to see all of the colors hiding in a face. I count myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to learn from him. 

Hananiah Harari’s work hangs in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, among others. And lucky me—one small piece hangs in my home!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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I had a lot of fun painting this girl. It was a good challenge to keep up with the many emotions that flitted across her face in our half hour.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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OK, time to start posting some recent portraits. I had so much fun painting this girl. And I loved her reaction: “I look like a doll!” I can see it….

Monday, June 22, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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This portrait is from last Saturday in Princeton, a visiting professor from Spain, whose lovely wife I also painted. I’m so bummed I forgot to take a picture of her portrait! Painting this weekend was a challenge, as the light was pretty bad. I like having some shadows, but I also like being able to see the face I’m painting. At any rate, I’m happy with how this turned out, though it was a struggle.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cranberry Bog


One of my favorite spots in the world… There aren’t really any cranberries growing here, but this beautiful little bog gets a cranberry color sometimes, and that’s what we call it. Occasionally in the summer you can sit on that far hillside and watch a beaver or two swimming around down below. This painting will also be at the Farmhouse show tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tahlia’s Field

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This is a larger version of a view I painted last year. I do miss my Michigan fields. I’ll be showing this painting as well as some others at the Farmhouse Show in Middletown, NY this Saturday. Reception is 1-5:00. This should be a lovely group show, in a wonderful location. Plus it’s a gorgeous area for a hike before or after the reception…

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cocktail Hour


This baby’s a big one for me—24x36”. Nearing the end of a winter’s day on our wonderful marsh, before the snow came. I took lots of photos from this spot this winter, at all times of day. Evening and early morning were my favorite. I ended up painting early evening, with its promise of a warm house to return to, and a glass of wine. “Cocktail Hour” will be hanging at the Triumph Brewing Company of Princeton show as of April 14. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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I looooved painting these sleepy eyes. Everything about this portrait was fun, actually—from skin tone, to delicate nose, to dark beard.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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I had to take this photo with my phone, so it’s a little grainy. (If anyone knows how to take a better photograph of artwork with an iphone, please let me know!) So, as a general rule, who do you think is best able to hold a little smile for half an hour? I think that I now have enough anecdotal evidence to state with confidence that pre-teen girls win this one by a mile.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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I painted this little sweetie last weekend. She wasn’t quite convinced that it was ok for me to be be studying her so intently, but luckily for her, half an hour can only stretch on for so long. Look at those big brown eyes and stray curls—isn’t she cute?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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Painting babies from life is sometimes a bit of a challenge. This portrait session required biscuits, stories, big sister, music, peanut butter cups, mom’s lap, not mom’s lap, and a little bit of free range. But it was fun, and I’m pleased with the result.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Half-Hour Portrait

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This little beauty is cousin to the last two boys I’ve posted. Can you see the resemblance in the eyes?