Thursday, June 10, 2021

Loving Day and Pride

 The world open is0pening up again and we're welcoming back the Pride Parade and the Evelyn Davidson Water Table at First Presbyterian Church. We've been serving water to thirsty marchers since I don't remember exactly but a long time.  It's the best way to see the parade.  

Lately there's been a debate over who gets to march. Nobody asked me but this is what I have to say.  Twenty-five years ago it took courage for a police officer to come out and I was deeply moved to see a group of officers marching under a Pride Banner.  I'm sorry that that won't happen this year.

Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?"
Andy Warhol said, "I want everybody to like everybody."
Does that sound silly?  Inane?  It's certainly aspirational--

This month we celebrate Loving Day, the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the aptly named 1967 Supreme Court decision that vacated the two 1-year sentences of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter Loving who each pled guilty to a law criminalizing marriage between persons of different races, on the grounds that the Virginia statutory scheme violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

The decision was relied upon in U.S. v. Windsor, which granted Edith Windsor a marriage exemption of $363,053 after her Canadian-wed wife passed away and the IRS denied her estate tax refund striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in the process.  

It was most recently cited in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee’s statutory definition of marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment and recognized a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.

Here is part of the Supreme Court decision--I think by Justice Kennedy.

These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

An Invitation


I have a drawing in this show, and I'll be speaking about it at a Zoom event tomorrow at 7 ET! I hope you can come.

Lost and Found: A Personal Vision

The New York Artists Circle is thrilled to announce
An Exhibition and Series of Four Inspiring Roundtable Events and More!
Our Spring and Summer programming is based on our curated online show.
Lost and Found: A Personal Vision
The NY Artists Circle presents the work of 117 selected artists who reveal what is truly important in their lives, as they cope with waves of loss as well as surprisingly positive personal change during this Pandemic time. They give us a wide-ranging array of personal explorations on the theme of Lost and Found, from the concrete and tangible to the sheer existential.
Exhibition dates: May 1 – Aug 31, 2021
Go to The show is divided into four unique sub-themes focusing on different aspects of what is Lost and Found: The Personal, The Iconographic, The Societal, and Artistic Discoveries. Each offers thought-provoking and inspiring reflections on our shared human experiences during a Global Crisis.

 THIS Wednesday June 9th at 7-8pm ET
(Stay for Our Inspiring Artist Discussion! which follows for 30 minutes from
8:00-8:30pm ET)

Wed June 9th at 7-8pm ET
These artists explore multiple interpretations of the Pandemic in objects, metaphors and symbols, from anxiety and grief to recovery and new beginnings.
(Stay for Our Inspiring Artist Discussion! Which follows for 30 minutes (8:00-8:30pm ET and is optional). Poet Jennifer Franklin will read "March", her heartfelt, illuminating and powerful view at the beginning of the pandemic -  March 2020.  Jenna Lash will read a poem she wrote for this event.


Meeting ID: 858 1075 6508      Passcode: NYAC

Exhibition link:
Please share this Press Release with anyone who might be interested.
Looking forward to seeing you at our events!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

You're invited for a studio visit

I'd love  to show you where I work.

My studio was once our daughter, Jessie's bedroom, before that a nursery for Jessie and baby Sam. 

In 1981 Arthur and I bought a loft--an empty room with a kitchen and a bathroom in a former warehouse on the edges of the meat-packing district; not the new chic meat-packing district but the original where meat was actually packed.  We had a little girl and the baby we were expecting was gender unknown, so we made that big room into a two bedroom apartment. When the baby turned out to be a boy and got too big to share a room with his sister we built another room for him.  

When our children grew up and moved out our apartment grew as well.  Suddenly Arthur and I each had a room of our own.

For thirty years I worked in a studio on Broadway at 81st Street.  It was upstairs from Shakespeare and Company, on the same block as Zabar's, walking distance from the kids's school. So in the beginning I'd escort them, then they'd make me leave them on the corner, then at the subway, then one day they didn't want to wait for me and they took off on their own. 

I loved my studio--it was full of light, facing east and north with big windows.  I'm sorry I never took pictures, but here's a view of the view from my drawing table by my studio mate, Susan Cohen.

 Working there, with few distractions, I was a real nine-to-fiver and I churned out a lot of drawings. Over the years a series of lovely people, I was joined by beautiful artists to share the rent and work together.  But the landlord or the city kept hitting me with a real estate tax bill that eventually became too much and I said to myself, "Hey, I live in Greenwich Village!"  And I had a room of my own.  So I moved downtown.

This is what it looks like.

Here's my drawing table with a work in progress. The windows look east at my neighborhood.  

Here's a detail of the table and my pens and inks. I like having everything right at hand but this all takes up a lot of space, so I just ordered a wheeled cart from the Container Store. It'll be good to have the whole table for working.

 Here's the North facing wall.

Looks kind of busy, doesn't it? The wallpaper is William Morris' "Willow." He said, "Have nothing in your home that you do not believe to be either beautiful or useful."  I really love this pattern.

The big painting is a view of factories on Tom's River, NJ. It came from my aunt and uncle's attic.  

On the left, 

from top to bottom, my diptych etchings titled "Iowa Wheat Fields," portraits of my dad and my Aunt Jan; my grandfather commissioned portraits of all five of their children as a gift for my grandmother, and at the bottom. another diptych, two Adirondack chairs.

On the right;

A poster Arthur gave me--a woman at her easel, dressed to the nines, just like me. Below that, a mono-print from my League classmate, Martha Bloom.  On the left, from the top, a page from a book about ladybugs, another diptych by me,"A Bald Eagle and a Red-Tailed Hawk," and a gold leafed image of men in a boat, that my mother bought for me in the market place in Istanbul. 

My studio assistant. I don't know what I would do without her.

Here's the west facing wall, a workspace within what was the closet. Above it I hung  my Joseph Cornell inspired boxes displaying my children's shoes.

 It's all blue and green with orange accents-those are the fabric remnant mementos of the Gates project. 

On the wall at the right is a framed Winsor Newton calendar with their charming ink bottle labels. 

 It's for July 1976-our wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately, the ink runs, so I don't use it in my work.

On the bulletin board I've posted  several meaningful sayings like,

"Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final"   Rilke

And, "I decided that the only thing I could do that was nobody else's business was to paint.  I could do as I chose because no one would care." Georgia O'Keeffe

And, "The serious problems in life are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost.  The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.  This alone preserves us from stultification and petrification." Jung

And, from Haydn's "Creation,"   “Now Chaos ends and Order Fair Prevails”

  I'm still waiting for that to happen.

Here's the south wal; scraps of what was once the wallpaper on our kitchen ceiling which I chose because it looks like Alma Thomas's painting Big Red.  On the top shelf is my collection of little black collage books.  I've just completed number 23, and that will be the last because the company has stopped making that particular little book.  I thought it might be a crisis but I found another book that might be better.

And finally, behind the door, my rack for over-sized books.

I miss my studio uptown and the concentrated, focussed way I worked there.   I even miss my ride on the 1 train but often I'd just be getting a drawing going and I'd have to close down and go home to start dinner and I didn't like that. Now I have the distractions of the kitchen, the refrigerator, the husband--but I can put a pot on the stove and go back to work while it heats up. I can greet a drawing first thing in the morning and check on it after dinner, and before I go to bed, and in the middle of the night if I can't sleep.

When I told Barry Kostrinsky, the founder of Artists Talk on Art about this he said, "It sounds like a bed time story, like, "good night painting, good night brushes, good night lamp." Maybe I should write that?

Some artists keep their surroundings pristine and uncluttered.  I say less is a bore, although I reject the term clutter--I stick with William Morris-everything here is either beautiful, useful or dear to me.

Thanks for dropping by.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

a good idea

Don't you love it when someone says, "You know what would be fun?" and someone else says, "Yeah, let's do it!" and they get a lot of other people together and share their ideas and get to work and then something magical appears? That happened this week in my neighborhood. Well, it took a few years but...

 Here it is  

 Little Island. a four acre public park built on pillars and the remnants of pier 55. I'm afraid my pictures don't really show the wonderfulness.  

Go to 

and see videos of the amazing construction process.  I think it's kind of Tolkien-y, with those giant mushroom supports.

 From 6 am until noon you can just walk in; in the afternoon when it gets crowded you need to make a reservation but it's still free. I visited Monday morning; I followed the winding trail past gardens and open sloping lawns all the way to the top and saw from there the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge!

On my way down the path I ran into two artist friends-Regina Silver  and Norma Greenwood. Regina had already started a painting with her tiny watercolor set.  Here it is.

This miracle took more than just a few people and a good idea--architects, engineers, financiers, landscape architects, electricians, plumbers, gardeners, -all working hard just to makes something nice or as Barry Diller said, “ to build something for the people of New York--a space that on first sight was dazzling, and upon use made people happy.” 

I think there's a special grace about the act of saying, "Yes, let's." Or, "That's a good idea-how can I help?"

I've seen this happen before.  Michael Bloomberg will always have a place in my heart because when Christo and Jean-Claude went to him, after twenty years of struggling to get approval for their plan to erect an extravaganza in Central Park, he said, "Sure, let's do it!" 

And our city and people from all over the world rejoiced in the Gates.

I desperately wanted to be part of that project but had no idea how to apply. How did I get in?  Well, that's another story.

Around 1995 the artist and arts educator Barbara Ellman looked at the art world and said, "This feels like  an exclusive club." Lots of artists complain about that, but what to do? Barbara gathered a few artist friends and said, "There must be a better way." They kept meeting and talking and now we have the New York Artists Circle. Here's our story.

We are the New York Artists Circle (NYAC), a group of professional visual artists who connect to share information, opportunities, skills and resources. Exhibiting and selling artwork are priorities. Since 1996, we have built a collective bank of expertise through monthly meetings, an active listserve, a dynamic social media presence, and a group website. We support our members in their professional growth, fostering groundbreaking ideas, fresh approaches and innovative collaborations. Working together in community helps us to meet the challenges we face in our solo practices, proving that there is strength in numbers!

Learn more at

The New York Artists Circle listserve posted instructions for signing on to the Gates and I was all set.

I spent a magical two weeks, standing guard over my assigned area, keeping the curtains unfurled, answering questions, shoveling snow, and thinking and getting inspired. 

 I thought, if Christo and Jean-Claude can do this, I should be able to hang some art on the walls of my church.  I asked our pastor, Jon Walton, if we could start an arts program and he not only agreed, he urged me forward, saying, 

"A church in Greenwich Village should serve the artistic community." So we started Art at First, and held shows in the Great Hall.  Now we're expanding to include the performing arts as well.  We've got big plans, so watch this space for further developments. 

and, by the way, have you met our new neighbors?

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Serendipity and Synchronicity and Diligence

 You know how when you learn a new word and suddenly you see that word wherever you go?  Is that synchronicity?  When I got the news that Arthur and I had a brand new granddaughter and her name was Sunny I was on a Zoom chat with my friend, Sunny Buick. 

In the following three days I saw two Sunny's in the credits of TV shows. 

This morning I heard a new word; duplicative--that is, of or meaning  a duplicate and I heard it agin this evening.  I expect to hear it constantly for the next week. Is that synchronicity or coincidence?

Then there's serendipity. I've been thinking about how sometimes images fall into place and I feel delight and my work almost does itself.  Sunny gave me a few thoughts on Serendipity from her journal-she spoke so fast I'm not sure I got it all down but I think she said,

"Opportunity aligns with readiness; Luck and preparation create magical alignments or miracles."

This spring I planned to submit work to an open call for a gallery show.  I was all set with the drawing of my choice when I read the fine print-a size limit of 20 inches in any direction.  Oh, NO!  When I work small I can't get all the details in and the work just doesn't enchant.  I thought I'd have to give up.

But I dragged out an old portfolio with a collection of pieces I didn't know what to do with and came up with...

The Bear and the Bison.  I've always loved these two portraits but never knew how to finish them. This time I just put them down on the starry sky and the golden wheat field and that was it. Now they're hanging at Gallery Sitka in Shirley MA until June 1.

Thank you curator, Beth Barry!

This conflict between diligence and inspiration takes me back to my class with Leo Manso at the League.  I've told you how he looked at my detailed pen and ink drawings and said; 

"I can tell you're a conscientious person, but nine to five isn't ART."  

What I don't remember in all the years that I've re-told that story is that he also said, "I see a lot of skill here but..."  Was he saying I should throw every thing away and start over? I couldn't do that but I looked hard at what I had been doing and wondered how much thought I was putting into it. That was a turning point for me, and I recorded the struggle in the little book-notebook, sketchbook, journal, diary, talisman that I started to carry with me everywhere. 

There are some great quotes here in many different handwritings, all jumbled in with cut out images, doodles, clippings for me newspaper.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind."  "The happy accident favors the informed mind." 

"Diligence is the mother of good fortune." then in my own words-Diligence is driving me crazy.

"If it's not working check the balance, size, shape. Repetition--is it subtle variations on a theme or boring repetition?"

"Attention is an act of will." 

for LM "Art should be psychologically relevant, aesthetically pleasing and well-crafted."  

"Art should be revelatory. "

"Joseph Cornell pursued connections through emblems and symbols. Conjunctions of ideas, sympathies, aesthetics, histories, interests and practices"

"What's good and what's not? When it works I really don't know why. " 

"Unexpected poetry in the most basic alterations of physical materials"

"The imagination. the unconscious"

"The skill gets in the way of revelation"

"The dizziness that comes from too much possibility"

"effortless unity, tired subjects redeemed by fresh context"

"delight in the act of seeing without trying to immediately trying to reach a conclusion about what you are seeing"

all the time I was staring at --and playing with--this drawing, Lady Cecily Heron by Holbein.

One more quote: "When I'm crosshatching doing handiwork that doesn't require intense concentration the mind is free to wander focused but free--keep a pen and ink drawing going at all times-record the ideas when they come in..."

I can work for hours covering the paper with tiny marks and then something happens that feels beyond my control; like the way this pelican found his way to this table.  So, diligence is fine in its place and so is spontaneity.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

I hope you can come see another presentation of Fragile Earth tomorrow evening! 

New York Artists Circle presents:

Fragile Earth / Artists Talk On Art 

Please join us on Monday, May 17th 6-7:30pm ET
For a Special joint NYAC / ATOA Event

Five artists showing in Fragile Earth: Artists Respond to Climate Change will present their work and discuss their relationship to environmental issues.

Fran Beallor • Pauline Galliana • Eleanor Goldstein 
Jenna Lash • Barbara Sherman

    Thursday, May 13, 2021

    Contemplating Loss and Joy through the Prism of our Favorite Beatles Songs

    My work is currently in an online show titled Lost and Found on the New York Artists Circle website . 

    "The New York Artists Circle presents the unique visions of 117 selected Artists who explore and reveal what is truly important in our lives, as they cope with waves of serial losses and change during this Pandemic time. 


    Besides submitting artwork we had to write 40 words on the subject. Here's my piece and what I wrote.

     We’ve lost the freedom to just go.  To protect our health and that of our neighbors we’ve settled in, turned inward and explored ways to travel, connect and explore with our imaginations and the help of the internet.

     I found a new music platform and tuned in to the Beatles station--I enjoyed a full day of Beatlemania--almost every song in no particular order.  Oh my goodness, what happiness; so much variety, so many different moods and they all made me feel great.  I danced while I drew and while I fixed dinner.

    I was in the tenth grade when the Beatles arrived on our shores, March 1964.  We had lived through the assassination of President Kennedy the previous November; we needed a little joy and boy did they deliver. 

    I asked my brother Alan what was his favorite Beatles' song and he said, "Anything in "Revolver." Up 'til then I thought they were bubble gum and I preferred the Stones."

    Excuse me?  I had no idea he was so discerning. He was twelve, so what did he know?  If the early Beatles were bubble gum it was the very highest quality bubble gum.

    When our granddaughter, Molly, was in the first grade her class learned a Beatles song every week.  It seems the Beatles' vocabulary works very well with the early reading curriculum. That's a lot more fun than Dick and Jane. Molly's favorite was "Black Bird;"

    Black Bird Above Snow-Covered Red Hills
                                                                            Georgia O'Keeffe
    She would play it on repeat as she fell asleep at night. It's a lovely lullaby. If you google it you can learn what Paul was thinking as he wrote it. When she gets older I'll show her Wallace Stevens' "13 Ways to look at a Blackbird."

    And then Ringo made an appearance on A Late Show to respond to Colbert's Questionert.  

    Steven Colbert said, "OK, you can hear only one song for the rest of your life-"  

     Ringo didn't think it over, he just said, "'Come Together!'"

    "Come Together" is on "Abbey Road," the Beatles' last studio album. I've always loved this image and someday I'll put it in a drawing. Someday.

    It was a time of turmoil for the Four, with artistic and financial disputes and Yoko Ono. As George put it, “Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘sign this’ and ‘sign that'."

    I can't speak for Ringo but I felt sad when he spoke of making "Come Together, "

    "Because of the way it goes and because working on it--John was being John."  He said, "It's been forty years..."

    December 8, 1980.  

    My friend, Robin, said "Of all the assassinations we lived through, that one felt most like a violation."  

    The day after we heard the news, "Imagine" came on the radio;  I started to weep and Jessie, age 17 months and just beginning to talk, toddled over to me and patted my shoulder saying "Awww." It was a sign that she was developing empathy, a tiny moment of joy.

    This past Tuesday morning I called my brother, Rob, to share the news of the death of the great Lloyd Price, one of the godfathers of Rock and Roll, who sang what I consider the definitive version of Stagger Lee.  My dad taught me to do the Lindy to that song and Rob sang it as a lullaby to his three daughters, so this was a moment we needed to share.

    Rob said, "I'm out looking for something to shoot." He has the perfect job for him; he drives around the Champlain Islands shooting scenes for the local paper, The Islander.

    "I've got nothing," he said, "I feel like I've done everything at least a hundred times."

    I said, "Well, you know, a cliche is an oft-told truth.  There's nothing new, you just have to find a new way to look.  So, what's your favorite Beatles song?" 

    "Hmmm, well, Norwegian Wood.  That's pretty good.  Also, Back in the USSR."

    "That's one of my favorites, too."

    "Yeah you had the album [The White Album] and listening to it stretched my little mind.[Rob is 7 years younger than I] I had thought the Russians were terrible and here they were, glad to be back home, loving their home, just like me."

    Back in the USSR is said to be a parody of Chuck Berry's "Livin' in the USA" and The Beach Boys' "California Girls;" I prefer to call it a tribute.  

    Then Rob said, "Oh, shit!  Hold still--hold still!"  and we hung up. He must have found something to shoot.

    He took this yesterday; I'd love to believe he was telling the clouds to hold still. 

    I've had a great time this week roaming through Beatle land, asking people their favorite song. Everybody has one, even if they say they can't choose.  Each song brings up memories and places me where I was upon first hearing it.  Arthur loves, "Here Comes the Sun," which I've programed as my wake-up call.   Nancy says "So many great Beatles songs--hard to choose but 'Let it Be' is up there for me. "My friend Fran said she couldn't choose, then said, "Michelle,'' "Yesterday" and "Yellow Submarine." Since I'm working on an underwater scene, I'll add a yellow submarine. I've already done an Octopus's garden.

    We were talking about Lost and Found, sorrow and joy.  Happy memories often come with sad ones. Have you ever laughed at a funeral, when the speaker tells a story and the dearly departed is suddenly with you? You then begin the process of incorporating the loss and your memories so that you can carry on.  

    My friend, novelist Alexandra Marshall, is writing about the losses she has suffered.  She said, 

    "Yes, loss accumulates. I think of loss as an aquifer running beneath us, each loss distinct but joined and amplified. In my one life of repeated loss, the only “help” is the ability to create, a gift for which I’m so thankful." 

    I look up the word aquifer to be sure of its meaning.  It's an underground layer of permeable rock containing water.  So, a solid foundation and a source of life sustaining water.  

    Thank you, Lexa.

    George  said about Here Comes the Sun, "Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, so by the time spring comes you really deserve it."  That goes triple for this spring of 2021.

    Tuesday after my talk with Rob as I walked across 14th Street a man came towards me, singing loudly.  I thought I heard the word "sun."  I thought if he were singing "Here Comes the Sun" that would be too perfect but he was singing "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow," which will do.

    Loving Day and Pride

     The world open is0pening up again and we're welcoming back the Pride Parade and the Evelyn Davidson Water Table at First Presbyterian C...