Monday, November 22, 2010

Brave in Winter

Here it is the tail end of autumn and we've had a day-long snow storm.  All the annuals are gone, but this little pot of alyssum and a brave geranium are hanging in there. This pot caught my eye, and when I look at the snowy patio, these summer soldiers are retaining their color and bunching up to stay warm.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They Put Me on the Table

My dad loved jazz long before I was born. As a little kid I knew who all the jazz pianists were and could sing the songs. I remember my grandparents putting me up on their dining room table where I would dance and dance. They laughed and clapped their hands for me.  I was probably two -- wouldn't you call that "positive reinforcement?"

Here is a spectacular jazz performance by Anita Baker and James Ingram.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hey, Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

When merchants put out their Halloween stuff, have you ever noticed how quickly the panicy Christmas season arrives?  If you mix Halloween with Christmas you get "Hallomass, which makes no sense at all. 

I don't ever plan to slip-slide into that trick. As a pledge I have created a greeting card -- pumpkins covered with snow.  And who should feel all sentimental about this? George Winston and I.  Here's something to sooth our minds as we celebrate Thanksgiving.  (You can purchase this magical card at  )

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crazy Antics in Mickey Mouse Storybook

This adorable book presents several adventures of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto illustrated by the staff of Walt Disney Studios.  The well-known author, Maurice Sendak, has written a fascinating introduction.  (You can take a look at this book here:   )

When I was a little girl, my dad occasionally brought black-and-white movies home for my little brother and me.  I have no idea what his source was, but they came with a big projector and huge reels.  He loved cartoons and had been asked by the Disney Studio if he would like to be part of the Disney team.  Here is what those "movies" looked like.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where Do I Start? Is There a Map?

I am convinced that from the beginning, there is a thread that weaves itself  through our lives.  We don't have any idea what it will be, but it gets there.

This is a digital collage I made yesterday.  The first thing is to find images that are cool.  Intertwining them is lot of fun. Giving the work a title is really the hardest part for me.  I love putting jazz with the works I create.  I should start with that instead of the other way around.

Here are two people deeply related by DNA and sharing the talent that runs in those mysterious strands.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blue Geisha

Created with India ink, pen and watercolors, this young woman has an inner life that no one can see.  But here is a video that gives a glimpse into her heart.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vampires Eating My Toes

Maybe after the neck, vampires finish the meal with little bloody toes.

This is a drawing I did on a 1944 book page that just happened to have the words "...vampires eating my toes" in the middle of the page.  How could I resist?

Friday, August 20, 2010

You're Already in Trouble

Starting with the Impressionists, artists have gone beyond what is visible to the eye and have plowed deeply into the inner workings of their subjects.  Especially with portraits, it is crucial to bring out the inner feelings.  How does an artist show the passion of her subject?  Here I have heightened the feelings of sexual hunger with burning cheeks and an aura that could never be seen with the naked eye.  Passion is hot and uncontrollable.

Here is a wonderful trailer from "All the Pretty Horses" where lust and love have dire consequences.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Green Dolphin Street

"Lover, one lovely day,
Love came, planning to stay;
Green Dolphin Street supplied the setting,
The setting for nights beyond forgetting..."

Green Dolphin Street (1947) is a historic drama film starring Lana Turner that was based on the historical novel Green Dolphin Country (1944) by Elizabeth Goudge. The title song "Green Dolphin Street" (sometimes given as "On Green Dolphin Street") is a song written for the film by Bronislaw Kaper and Ned Washington. This song has become a jazz standard.  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Someone Like You

The song "Someone Like You" expresses our deepest feelings for that one person to love.  This artwork was originally done in acrylic paint on canvas.  It is now in my shop as a signed fine art print.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kitchen Man

I took this photo in my kitchen after hearing the saucy, sassy lyrics of the  song “Kitchen Man” recorded in 1929 by the legendary jazz and blues singer Bessie smith.

Here an excerpt from a recording for the Public Radio series "Riverwalk Jazz," featuring The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and guests—singer Catherine Russell and pianist Dick Hyman at Pearl Stable, San Antonio, TX, May 2010. 

Halfway through the video Catherine Russell sings.

Madam Bucks
Was quite de-luxe;
Servants by the score,
Footmen at each door,
Butlers and maids galore!

But one day Dan,
Her kitchen man,
Gave in his notice, he's through!
She cried, "Oh Dan, don't go,
It'll grieve me if you do."

I love his cabbage, crave his hash,
I gotta have me some of that succertash,
I can't do without my kitchen man!

Wild about his turnip tops,
Like the way the man warms my chops,
I can't do without my kitchen man!

Anybody else could leave
And I would only laugh,
But he means that much to me,
And you ain't heard the half!

Oh, his jelly roll is so nice and hot,
Never fails to hit the spot,
I can't do without my kitchen man!

His frankfurters are oh so sweet, 
How I like his sausage meat.
I can't do without my kitchen man!

Oh, how that boy can open clams,
Nobody else will ever touch my hams,
I can't do without my kitchen man!

When I eat his doughnuts,
All I leave is the hole!
Any time he wants to,
Why, he can use my sugar bowl!

Oh, his baloney's worth a try,
Never fails to satisfy,
I can't do without my kitchen man!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jazzy Summer Breezes

Is summer ever complete without a day at the beach?  It is especially cool if you are with the one who has your heart!

George Benson and Al Jarreau's rendition of "Summer Breeze" is so smooth.  Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

September Sun Goddess

When a painting doesn't turn out the way I want it to, I shelve it until I learn something new -- some way to improve it.  This was one of those cases.  I took my original portrait into Photoshop and turned into a fiery September goddess.  Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis enhances her power.   

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Straighten Up and Fly Right

So the BP Oil guys think they can fix the gusher! Popular pre-bop jazz crooner Nat King Cole wrote the song “Straighten Up and Fly Right”. The lyrics are totally appropriate for the BP crew.


1919-1965. Crowned long before Elvis. The King Cole Trio was a popular pre-bop jazz group (with the definitive "Route 66"). He had huge pop success as a crooner of the 50s/60s: "Ramblin' Rose", "Nature Boy", "The Christmas Song"... "Send For Me" was great rock and roll, but he didn't pursue that road. His 50s NBC variety show was controversial, not for its innocuous fare, but because he was black. Father of Natalie Cole, who duetted on "Unforgettable", via the alchemy of digitalia.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Are You In or Are You Out?

Jazz festivals are happening all over the world — yeah, right now! Musicians form groups and fill the air with cool sounds. Everyone loosens up and lets the music get deep inside. This is an abstract print of an original painting of mine. It’s all jazzed up for summer!

Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis.[2] Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. The seven-piece group provided Lewis his first involvement with jazz; he would later join Cleffs drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio.

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with "The In Crowd", "Hang On Sloopy", and "Wade in the Water". All three singles each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the 1970s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

Lewis still lives in Chicago, Illinois, the city of his musical roots. He has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

—Source: Wikipedia

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer and Sambas

What would summer be without the bold big sunflower?  And how could it be summer without the samba played by Brazilian Eliane Elias?

Eliane Elias (eh-lee-AH-neh eh-LEE-ahs) (born March 19, 1960 in São Paulo, Brazil) is a Brazilian jazz pianist, arranger, vocalist and songwriter.  She is one of my favorite jazz pianists.  Her mother was a classical pianist who had a huge collection of jazz records.  When Eliane was a little girl she grew up listening to jazz music being played in her home.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Listen -- Is That a Blackbird Singing?

This abstract print was inspired by both the melody and the lyrics of this Beatles's song.  I hope your heart will be renewed by the depth of their meaning as expressed in the simple lines of the artwork.

"Blackbird" is a Beatles song from double-disc album The Beatles (also known as The White Album). Blackbird was written by Paul McCartney, but credited as usual to Lennon/McCartney. McCartney was inspired to write it while in Scotland as a reaction to racial tensions escalating in America in the spring of 1968.

McCartney explained on PBS's Great Performances (Paul McCartney: Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road), aired in 2006, that the guitar accompaniment for "Blackbird" was inspired by Bach's Bourrée in E minor, a well known classical guitar piece. As kids, he and George Harrison tried to learn Bourrée as a "show off" piece. Bourrée is distinguished by melody and bass notes played simultaneously on the upper and lower strings. McCartney adapted a segment of Bourrée as the opening of "Blackbird," and carried the musical idea throughout the song.
— Source: Wikipedia

Here is how the print looks in a digital frame.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Night in Sicily Godfather Style

In the film “The Godfather”, Michael Corleone married his first wife, Apollonia, in the medieval town of Taormina. This abstract print celebrates that night and foretells the turmoil that encompasses the mafia family.

Here's an incredible jazz rendition of the theme from "The Godfather" played by Harry Connick, Jr. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Very Thought of You

“The very thought of you and I forget to do the little ordinary things that everyone ought to do.” I’m living in a kinda daydream, I happy as a king, and foolish though it may seem that’s everything. The mere idea of you, the longing here for you you’ll never know how slow the moments go until I’m near to you. I see your face in every flower, your eyes in stars above it’s just the thought of you the very thought of you my love.”

Monday, July 5, 2010

Slip Out the Back, Jack

My original painting entitled "Slip Out the Back, Jack" takes its name from Paul Simon's song "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". Rosemary Clooney's rendition is awesome. What a jazz legend! I thought you'd enjoy seeing vintage photos of her in a video. The song was included on her 1977 album "Nice to Be Around".

Here's what Wikipedia says:

"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" was a 1975 hit song by Paul Simon, from his album Still Crazy After All These Years. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" broke in the U.S. in late December 1975 becoming number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on February 7, 1976, and remaining there for three weeks. It was certified gold on March 11, 1976, and remained a best seller for nearly five months. The song also topped the adult contemporary chart for two weeks.

Written after Simon's divorce from first wife Peggy Harper, the song is a mistress's humorous advice to a husband on ways to end a relationship: Just slip out the back, Jack / Make a new plan, Stan. Studio drummer Steve Gadd created the unique drum beat that became the hook and color for the song consisting of an almost military beat. The song was recorded in a small New York City studio on Broadway.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Entrepreneurs at Work

This print is called "Entrepreneurs at Work".   Surrounded by buildings where all the lights are out and no one is working, there is an upstairs office in the center building where someone is still at it.  That's how it is for those of us who call ourselves entrepreneurs.  In spite of the economy, we push on because for us there isn't another way.

Here is a clip from one of my all time favorite films -- "The Fabulous Baker Boys" starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff and Beau Bridges -- three "entrepreneurs" who can't give up.

After this video, other options will show up to hear Pfeiffer sing.  Click on Part 2 to hear more.  So good!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are You Being Naughty?

In 1929 jazz pianist Fats Waller wrote "Ain't Misbehaviin'.  By this time it is considered a jazz standard.  Since this drawing has an air of naughtiness to it, I thought it would be fun to title her after Waller's song "Ain't Misbehavin'.   Hope you enjoy this rendition.  He wrote the music with  Harry Brooks and the lyrics are by Andy Razaf.

No one to talk with, all by myself
No one to walk with, but I'm happy on the shelf
Ain't misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.

I know for certain the one you love
I'm through with flirtin', it's just you I'm thinkin' of
Ain't Misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.

Like Jack Horner in the corner
don't go nowhere, what do I care
Your kisses are worth waitin' for . . . Believe me.

I don't stay out late, don't care to go
I'm home about 8, just me and my radio
Ain't Misbehavin', I'm savin' my love for you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Are You In Love Today?

I can't tell you how many times I have listened to the Philippe Saisse Trio playing this song entitled "If I Ever Lose This Heaven". There are times when I find that I have gotten out of my chair and am dancing. Jazz is wonderful way to unleash the creative powers within.

This print expresses that feeling of being so in love with someone that the only way to describe it is "heaven". Here is the tune. It is for my pleasure and yours and it's okay with me if you dance!


This next video is up close and personal.  Saisse talks about making the music for the "Body and Soul" cd. Amazing that such smashing music can come from a basement studio, which is shown here in 2006. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Slow Boat to China

After spending a couple of years in the Orient, I returned with a love for all things Asian -- Asian films, books, woodcuts, pottery and art. Here is a drawing portraying one of those elegant Chinese women.  She's dressed beautifully and has an air of sizzling sophistication about her.

This YouTube video of Gary Cooper features the song from which the title of this print is taken.  He was dashingly handsome and I can see him falling desperately in love with this woman.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Morning Coffee

I  have sketchbooks filled with mostly pen and ink drawings -- some are enhanced by ink washes.  This is a sketch of a coffee mug we have had for years.  Can't begin to count all the delicious brews that have been poured into this stout little clay vessel and sipped out.

I came across the sketch the other day and decided to give it a pop look.  Now it is trendy and modern and even has graphics. 

For your pleasure and mine, I have added an old tune performed by Frank Sinatra -- I remember hearing this as a little girl.  At that time, coffee was percolated.  You put water in the pot, filled up a small metal basket with ground coffee that had tiny holes in it, put on the lid and set it on the hot stove.  The lid had a glass dome so you could see the coffee percolating up through the basket with the coffee in it.  You could tell when it was done by the color of the coffee.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Secrets About Writing the Perfect Love Letter

Still waiting for that love letter?  Here's how to get just the one you want!

There is an old song written in 1935 called “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter”. It starts with these words—I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter And make believe it came from you….
I created this pen and ink drawing on an old book page with text that  includes the words "letter", "postmark", "sat at home", "his-might-have-beens"... and it reminded me of Sinatra's song and that gave me an idea for the title of this artwork.  Thought you'd like to hear ol' blue eyes pour out his heart.  

Here are the lyrics:

I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
And make believe it came from you
I'm gonna write words, oh, so sweet
They're gonna knock me off my feet,
A lotta kisses on the bottom,
I'll be glad I got 'em

I'm gonna smile and say:
"Gee, I hope you're feeling better."
And close "with love" the way you do.
I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
And make believe it came,
I'm gonna make believe it came from you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blue Geisha

My print entitled "Blue Geisha" reminds me of all things Japanese.  Remember the film "Memoirs of a Geisha"?  I hope this video brings back fond memories of the love story.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How You Doin' ?

Whenever Joey on the TV program “Friends” was interested in a woman, he would put on a cocky grin and ask, “How you doin’?”

My painting of this offbeat, strutting male blackbird is on the lookout for a sultry springtime mate and uses Joey’s seductive line continually.  Don't think the girls are going to fall for it!
This is a one-of-a-kind painting.  You can buy it on my etsy website


Hang On Little Tomato

I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the mirror on the door and sketched this first portrait of myself -- I was about 30.   Looks pretty serious, but it takes intense looking to get yourself flowing through your eyes, down your arm, into your hand and onto the paper.

Now, so many years later I wanted to give it a title--which is tricky business--and the song "Hang on Little Tomato" happens to be the tune that I find myself humming.  Here is a video of that song -- she begins to sing about halfway into it.  See the lyrics at the bottom.

The sun has left and forgotten me
It's dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I'm gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion
Somebody told me, I don't know who
Whenever you are sad and blue
And you're feelin' all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you'll find
You gotta hold on, hold on through the night

Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it's dark
And not a bit of spark
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you'll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something's coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wow -- Look At These Changing Portraits

Since I usually paint on really large canvases, I thought I'd try a tiny one -- 5 x 7 inches. Here is an optical trick.  If you paint big on a small canvas, it makes the size expand and vise versa.  Paint tiny and the canvas will appear very small.

I found this vidio of changing portraits and thought you'd enjoy seeing them.


Isn't that cool?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Skylark an Impressionist Painting with Andre Previn at the Keyboard

Entitled "Skylark" this is an impressionistic style painting done in acrylics on a 5x7 inch canvas panel.  She was inspired by the song of the same name.
I love Renee Olstead's version of this song, which she sang on her 2009 album of the same name.  The lyrics are by Johnny Mercer; music is by Hoagy Carmichael.  This is considered a jazz standard and was published in 1942.


Skylark, have you anything to say to me?
Can you tell me where my love may be?
Is there a meadow in the mist
Where he’s just waiting to be kissed?
Skylark, have you seen a valley green with spring
Where my heart can go a journeying
Over the shadows and the rain
To a blossom covered lane?
And in your lonely flight have you heard the music?
In the night, wonderful music.
Faint as a will-o-the-wisp, crazy as a loon,
Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon.
Oh, skylark, I don’t know, I don’t know
If you can find these things,
But my heart, my heart is riding on your wings.
So if you see them anywhere
Won’t you lead me there?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paintbrushes by the Dozen

I have learned that buying quality brushes is the best way to go. Inexpensive brushes will always be a disappointment. Either the bristles will fall out or the brush won’t hold its shape.

Some of these brushes are over 15 years old – no, probably more like 20 to 25. You can see how the texture of the canvases has worn down some of the original shapes.

I keep my brushes on my studio desk. They have two psychological effects. They are a delight to see, but they also incessantly prod me to paint something new. In either case, they are my tools and they must be sturdy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Do You Keep the Music Playing?

"How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" was the inspiration for this portrait of a young woman. By all counts, it is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. It was composed by Michel Legrand, with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman for the 1982 film Best Friends. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 55th Academy Awards.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Taking Care of Business Greeting Card

Selling on is a full time delight.  As an artist I am always looking for new projects to create.  When I am researching greeting cards, I find most of them aimed at people in their 20s and 30s.  Many are very childlike in their designs.

This newest card of mine called "Taking Care of Business" is particularly for the goal oriented woman -- the woman who has plotted her course and is working to achieve her purpose.  That's not to say she doesn't have needs for whimsy and a bit of mirth, but this creation is designed to carry her life theme into her casual correspondence. 

You can click the image of the card to see a bigger view.

Do you like it?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bookplates --- Ex Libris

A cloudy February morning is a perfect time to sort through my books. Not one of them has an original bookplate that is really mine. By this time in my life, I should have designed my own bookplate. I am an artist after all and a book lover.

Doing a little research, I found that a bookplate is also known as “ex-librīs” [Latin, "from the books of..."]. It’s usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner. The earliest known examples of printed bookplates are German, and date from the 15th century.

Bookplates typically bear a name, motto, device, coat-of-arms, crest or a badge. None of these ideas would appeal to me. But art would. The image above is a collection of vintage bookplates that I digitally collaged together just for fun.

This a clip of that utterly charming film called "84 Charing Cross Road" with Anne Bancroft.  Of course, Netflix has it

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I dread the days I have to wrestle with someone on the phone. Today, I had to make an appointment with a doctor’s office which had been closed over the holidays. Since that time, they have had a phone message saying they wouldn’t be open until Feb. 9th. I have called several times just to see if the message was correct.

This morning when I spoke with Her-Highness-the-Appointment-Maker, she said there was no such phone message and I had misheard it. Here is an instance where a husband who has spent his entire life in business is very useful. I had him listen to the message to validate my point. Turns out she will now have to get permission for my appointment from my insurance carrier, which will take approximately two weeks. That puts my visit with the doctor a month out if I’m lucky.

Now what is the point of being rude to a patient? Okay, maybe she is at the end of her rope. Maybe her husband is in love with his receptionist. Maybe her kid is being a bully at school. Maybe her daughter is sixteen and pregnant. Maybe she totaled her car. Whatever the circumstances she was crabby today.

Here is one of my recent ACEO original cards entitled "Don't Mess With Me" that shows her feelings and mine. If she’d only realized that we had things in common, she might have acted been more cordial.

Monday, February 8, 2010

You Just Tango On

I love the scene from “Scent of a Woman” where U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino), dances the Tango with the beautiful Donna. Slade and his young companion Charlie, find themselves at a restaurant, observing a beautiful young woman (Gabrielle Anwar), waiting for her date. The blind Colonel takes her for a tango on the restaurant's dance floor. This abstract print from my original painting seeks to capture the depth of passion in the Tango and the powerful feelings of the blind Frank Slade. I have used army colors and black for Pacino along with yellows, pinks and reds for his dancing partner. The paint is put down with bold strokes to express passion and the movement of the dance.