Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"The Magi" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"The Magi"
Oil Painting on linen on board  (30"x24")
In the collection of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Moriarty

"The Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA will feature "The Magi" on the cover of their Worship Order this coming Sunday, December 11, 2011.  Blessings to the congregation and many thanks to them for choosing my painting."


Friday, December 2, 2011

"Floral Delight" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Floral Delight"

Oil painting on linen on board  (10"x8")
Recently purchased by John and Jerri Ramsey of Carmel, Indiana
From The Brown County Art Guild, Nashville, IN

"I hope this page from Martha Whitmore Hickman's "Healing After Loss" is helpful to you.  It's just what I needed today."

"I was beginning to do better.  I thought I was doing better, but a few days ago the holidays just hit me." -  This was from a widow, contemplating her first Christmas alone.

"Memories are always there to hook us, to make the grief fresh again - birthdays, anniversaries, summer vacation -- any occasion of "the first time around" without our loved one.  But the Christmas holidays, the Hanukkah observances, when the whole world seems poised for celebration, are among the most difficult times of year for survivors of loss.  Each of us has a time-honored list of things "we always do" - go to services, hang the stockings, light the candles, share traditional foods.  They are part of our identity and our joy in being alive in a world together - and now one of the key people with whom we shared that joy is gone.  Is it any wonder we cringe from the thought of the holidays?

We will get through it, and probably better if we can talk about it with others who are feeling the same loss.  Reaching out to others for whom this is also a difficult season (especially the lonely) will help, and will express the deeper meaning of the season."


"I know this will be a hard season for me.  I will take one day at a time.  I will acknowledge when grief hovers close.  And I will try to be open to times when joy may surprise me, too."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Color Me Red" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Color Me Red"
"Color Me Red"  Framed oil painting on linen on board  (30"x30")

"Now in the wonderful collection of BRENDA HALE KELLEY"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reading from "Healing After Loss"

"Cut Roses"

"I want to share with you Martha Whitmore Hickman's meditation for today, November 11, from her book "Healing After Loss".

"Deeper and deeper we burrow into our grief.  Desolations pile on one another.  We wonder if we shall ever see anything on the horizon but this gloom and sadness.

Then one day, in some moment of quiet reflection, we find ourselves Thinking of Something Else!  Is it possible?  

We will move back and forth many times - back into the dark woods and forward again into light.  After a while we will realize it is all one world, that feelings of joy and sadness enrich each other - as a person who has been mortally ill has a new appreciation for the beauty of starlight, the taste of orange juice, the caress of love.

Is it all right?  Is it being disloyal to our lost loved one - to savor our life afresh?  Are we in danger of forgetting?  Not to Worry.  We would as soon forget to breathe."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Roses, Outdoors" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Roses, Outdoors"
Oil painting on linen on board  (14"x14")    November 8, 2011

"This painting took far too long to complete so it may look labored but I've decided to declare "victory" and move on to the next.  Laboring over a painting never makes it better.

Life is very good here in Naples, Florida with many days at the beach.  Today, I'm going to a beautiful spot on the East Trail and am hoping to get some good photos."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Nora 10/2011" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Nora 10/2011"
Self Portrait, Oil on linen on board  (18"x18")  October 24, 2011

"Time for a self portrait that doesn't show grief and agony.  Today is good and I am happy!  The grief took it's toll but I took the artist's privilege and left out all those wrinkles . . .  .  "

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"October Sunset In Naples" Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"October Sunset In Naples"
Oil painting on linen on board  (6"x6")  October 23, 2011

"Well, of all things, a friend has introduced me to jazz music recently and I like it!  It's Sunday morning, jazz music coming from the computer and this little painting has come into being."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Happiness Is . . ." Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Happiness Is . . . "
Oil painting on linen on board  (18"x18")    October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

"White Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"White Roses"
Oil painting on linen on board  (24"x36"   October 17, 2011

"It's time to declare victory on this and move on. . . . it's feels good to be painting again."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oil Painting "Red Rose" by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Red Rose"

Oil painting on linen on board  (18"x12")   October 9, 2011

"I skipped over "Painting In Progress" to paint "Red Rose" today.   The thing that I learned today is that the many linen canvas on boards I have in stock all need a primer coat of gloss paint.  I really like to paint on a slick surface and this isn't it.  I'm not discouraged though, since I'm just happy to be painting again."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In Progress Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

Painting In Progress II
Oil Painting  (24"x36")
"Painting, moving along with this painting very slowly . . . . .but finally I'm painting again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting In Progress by Artist, NORA KASTEN

Painting In Progress
Oil painting on linen on board   (24"x36")  Began August, 2011

"This painting in progress began almost 2 months ago and it is the first piece to work on while at my "Painting Retreat, 2011".  Progress reports will follow and it is so good to be back at the easel again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Archive Oil Paintings by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Strawberry Cheesecake"
© Nora Kasten
Painting, Oil on Linen on Board  (12"x12")

"Floral Delight"
© Nora Kasten
Painting, Oil on Linen on Board  (10"x8")

"These two paintings shipped to The Brown County Art Guild Gallery today.  Two paintings delivered to that gallery last month have sold and these are replacements.  

Painting is still non-existant for me so all the paintings delivered to the galleries now are from the archives.  The Gallerie du Soleil here in Naples Florida recently took nine of my works from the archives and I am most honored to be represented by this fine gallery.

To all my dear friends who have called or e-mailed recently, checking on Nora, it's really good to report I'm feeling normal once again and can honestly say "I'm OK".   I realize it's time for this blog to get back to the art and just let go of the grief.  There is so much to be thankful for today and life is good. . . .  certainly, daily walks on the Marco Island beach is one thing I really enjoy.

My precious granddaughter, Macy, posted this (below) on her facebook page and I think it is good.  You might like it too if you're missing someone."

"Missing someone gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Glass Of Red Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Glass Of Red Roses"
© Nora Kasten/2011

Oil painting on linen on board  (12"x9")     August, 2011

"This is the third painting I'm delivering to The Brown County Art Guild in Nashville, IN on August 28, 2011.  I'll also be delivering the painting "Seven Cousins" to my good friends and the cousins grandparents, The Vaughts, that day also.  I'm leaving on my motor trip to Indiana tomorrow morning.

There are two small homes I will see on Monday, August 29 in Plainfield, IN.  I'm not convinced that buying another home is the right thing to do now but it can't hurt to look . . . see what options are available to me.  One thing to consider is that summer here in Naples, FL is much nicer than Indiana.  Also, it looks like it will be a long time before my home here in Naples sells and I really don't want two homes at the same time.

I would like to share that today was an especially good day for me and very much appreciated."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Home Tour

Oil Painting (30"x30")

Oil Painting (12"x24")

These two paintings along with one more will be delivered to The Brown County Art Guild, Nashville, IN on August 28, 2011.

"I've learned that the virtual tour of my home for sale has stopped working so I'm posting another link below"

Virtual Home Tour

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Oil Painting "Glass Of Red Roses" by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Glass Of Red Roses"
©  Nora Kasten 2011

Oil painting on linen on board  (12"x9")    August 13, 2011

"It is one year ago, today, that my Beloved Karl died.  And today is the day I begin painting again. . . . .  here is today's effort.  I found that signing the painting was hard for me to do and felt very awkward.

This small painting was painted using a brush and palette knife.  I also used the grays that Barbara Flowers has on her palette, trying to tone down my colors.   The grays are from Gamblin and they are:  Portland Grey Light - Portland Grey Medium - Portland Grey Deep.

Sincere thanks to all of you who have accompanied me through the darkest year of my life and have given me hope so many times when I couldn't find it on my own.  Saying "thank you" is not enough, I realize, but my thanks are genuine and heartfelt for you all."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Fresh Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Fresh Roses"
Oil painting on linen on board  (16"x20")

"This painting is hanging in a guest bathroom that I intend to let go with my home / when and if it sells.  The beautiful black gallery wall is gone and restored to it's original color.  The house and garage are cleared of the things I am keeping except for clothes and personal items.  One wall in the garage is lined with paintings and frames that I want to keep.  The big Hughes easel will be gone by next week.  Here is a link to the multiple listing and virtual tour of my home.

Before returning home from the recent trip, I was able to visit with all four of my sons and with many of my Indiana friends.  While in Plainfield, Indiana, I looked at some condos with the thought of maybe buying one.  I'm so unsure of what to do now that probably renting would be a better option for me.  It's for certain that I won't do anything until "I have the I know that I know" from my Inner Presence. 

Being away from here for a while was good but the loneliness and sadness still eat away at me.  I talked to a counselor yesterday who says this will not continue and to expect good things to happen gradually that will ease this suffering.  He says  "Be kind to yourself during this time and if you can't paint, just don't do it.  If there is no joy in painting now, why are you forcing yourself?  You'll know when and if it's time.  Seek, look into and try new things." . . .  .  Actually, nothing really seems to mean anything to me now.

Last Friday I canceled out of The Sheldon Fine Art Gallery here in Naples and brought home five paintings.  They still have six of my paintings and I intend to have them back soon.  I plan to take one or two paintings to the Brown County, IN gallery the first of September but I need to be free of painting obligations right now.  It surprises me because I always thought that I would paint up to the end. 

My Beloved Karl is gone eleven months and thirteen days today.  Will after a year gone by be the time of healing?  I'm so thankful for the years we had together and yet it's so hard, still, to go on without him."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Road Trip, Flat Rock NC by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Flat Rock, NC, home of Barbara & Jack Schreihofer. 
The last three days spent here with good, wonderful friends has been a balm for my soul.  Barbara is an artist, not of paint, but of the landscape using the most beautiful flowers. . . . .  hundreds of flower beds, designed to perfection.

It is such a disappointment that I couldn't transfer the photos of the Koi Pond, Rose Gardens, all the Flower Beds and so many Potted Arrangements.  Hopefully, I can figure out how to do that later.

I'm leaving in the morning but don't have a definite plan yet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Road Trip for Artist, Nora Kasten

"Last Friday, July 1, I started out from my home in Naples, FL on a road trip. It was not planned but I just wanted to get away from the sadness and loneliness.

The IPad is with me, not the laptop, and I don't know how to insert photos or for that matter to even post normally. I would appreciate any and all help.

Friday, July 1, was good to spend some time with my son, Jasson, and his wife, Tish.
Saturday, July 2, I arrived in Cumming, GA for a 3 day visit with my son, John, and his family. I have been in awe of the beauty of this place.

Saturday, July 2, John and I drove up to Cleveland, TN to meet my dear niece, Cathy, (John's cousin) for a 3 hour visit at the AppleBee's there. I gave the painting of her dad and I that I painted a few years ago from an old photo. My brother and I were 12 and 10 years old when the photo was taken. John and I got back home at 6pm to a wonderful dinner Colleen had prepared for all of us. The best brisket, ever.

Tuesday, July 6, (today) I'm leaving for Flat Rock, NC to visit with good friend, Barbara.

Paintings on Nora Kasten Website:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Sweet Dreams" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Sweet Dreams"
Oil painting on linen  (30"x40") From the archives

"This painting was done from a photo of my granddaughter, Macy, when she was nine years old.  She will be nineteen in August.  Macy was asleep on our overstuffed living room sofa, not this brass bed.  She did have bangs but her hair is brown and straight.  The only thing true to the photo was my favorite orange afghan."

"After reading Bill Whalberg's blog a while ago,, I am inspired to write also.  My Beloved Karl died August 13, 2010 and it's been ten and a half months.  Concentrating is still hard and makes painting difficult.  For several weeks now, I have been eliminating everything superfluous in this house and in my life.  I'm obsessed with giving away, throwing away and have made umpteen trips to the Salvation Army drop-off.  Last Friday, I listed the house for sale.  It certainly isn't the best time to sell but it's time to be pro-active in getting through this season of grief.  Now that I've decided to sell the house, I wonder if that was the reason I was (and still am) so overwhelmingly obsessed with the clearing out of so many things.  My Inner Spirit assures me I am doing the right thing but the sadness persists.  I have to force myself many times not to think of my Beloved Karl because the tears are still so close to the surface.

Writing down some things helps and one thing (along with many others) that came to mind was "I must fully accept, mentally and emotionally, that Karl cannot be with me and I will be at peace with that.  Others have come through aching grief and sadness . . . .   I will too."  
It's shameful to me that I am still not functioning emotionally very well."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oil Painting "Watermelon For Snacks" by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Watermelon For Snacks"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting with palette knife on linen  (18"x20")  Completed June 3, 2011

"It's good to be back at the easel today and I'm not concerned how the painting turned out.  Of course I always want to do better but that's not the main concern for now.  

I've had an attitude adjustment that has helped.  Also, another thing learned that for me to function as a normal human being and not on the emotional roller coaster, I must get a good night's rest. . .  .even if I have to take a 5mg. Ambien to do so sometime.  I believe taking meds to cope with grieving can only be a band-aid and may even prolong the process.  

Well, here this widow is in beautiful, sunny Naples, Florida and though I have not walked on the beach very much in years past, now I find it to be good therapy.  Walking from 6pm to 7pm is a great time because it's still sunny and warm but not the hot noon day sun.  There is always a wonderful breeze and I like to walk splashing in the water,  just at the edge of the Gulf.  I am Blessed."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Roses In Vermont 2010"
© Nora Kasten 2010
Oil on linen  (10"x10") For sale at The Brown County Art Guild, Nashville, IN

"The art world still seems so far away for me but I am not without hope.  If this continued grief is self pity (and I think it must be),  my heart will surely accept the loss of my Beloved Karl soon so that  a new life without him can begin.  He died nine and a half months ago and though I have some days without tears, they still erupt too often.

Last week I read (listened to on the IPad) Joyce Carol Oates "A Widow's Story"/March, 2011.  Her beloved husband, Ray, died in February, 2008.  I'm not experiencing guilt but other than that our lives and emotions during the first year of being a widow seem to parallel, even the things we've done.  The book was very depressing for me to listen to but toward the end she firmly states "The value of suffering itself, physical pain, emotional and psychological pain, is there any purpose to it?  Then at the end she says, "Though I am writing this memoir to see what can be made of the phenomenon of grief in the most exactingly minute of ways, I am no longer convinced that there is any inherent value in grief.  Or if there is, if wisdom springs from the experience of terrible loss, it's a wisdom one might do without."  Oates words inspire me to get on with the new life God has for me. . . . .  but what is it?"

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Run For The Roses" Art by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Run For The Roses" 
Art Exhibit, May 7, 2011

Featureg Artist

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Watermelon" Beginning Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

Beginning of "Watermelon" Painting
"I blocked this in one afternoon, over a week ago and not sure if I will get back to it since the watermelon is long gone to the trash.   My interest turned to fashion and design and below is my latest creation."

"A page (below) in the May issue of Town & Country magazine was my inspiration.  I had this pink linen Lauren blouse that I liked but didn't like to wear because the linen fabric wrinkles so badly.  It doesn't show in the photo but the fabric for the skirt is 100% cotton, quilted squares . . .  and yes, I laundered the fabric before cutting out the pattern.   For this leisure wear evening dress, the wrinkles won't matter to me.  Do any of you watch the Food Channel?  There's a cooking program called "Semi Homemade".  That's what I'm calling my new dress, Semi Homemade."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oil Paintings by Artist, NORA KASTEN, to Sheldon Fine Art Gallery, Naples, FL / "Run For The Roses" Show

Visual arts
Opening this week

“Run for the Roses,”
 exhibit by local artist Nora Kasten, 9 a,m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Saturdays, today through May 10, Sheldon Fine Art, 460 Fifth Ave. S., Naples. 639-6255

Ten Paintings Delivered to Sheldon Fine Art Gallery

"These paintings were delivered to Sheldon Fine Art, on Fifth Avenue today for Saturday's show, "Run For The Roses".   Saturday, May 7, 2011."

Friday, April 29, 2011

"A Small Bouquet" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"A Small Bouquet"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen on board  (8"x10")   SOLD

"This small painting recently sold at "Sheldon Fine Art Gallery" here in Naples, FL.  A painting sale is always a good picker upper and today is GOOD!"

A Page from "Healing after Loss"  by Martha Whitmore Hickman

"We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full. "       /   Marcel Proust

     "There is no skirting around the suffering of grief.  If we are to incorporate this event into our lives, we must walk through the center of our suffering with our eyes open.
     We may be tempted to do otherwise - to save ourselves from this pain.  
     It doesn't work.  What we try to avoid will stay, demanding it's due, the pain compounding like unpaid interest as we add to the burden of loss, the burden of trying to hold the pain at bay.
     To be sure we can take "breathers" as we're able - and we need to, to keep our emotional health intact.  It is a fine balancing act - when to seek diversion and when to let the full measure of loss declare itself.
     We find this out by trial and error.  When the pressure begins to build - a sense of being pushed by an unspoken agenda - it's time to release that pressure by being present to our sadness.  Sometimes a friend can listen, without trying to gloss over our grief or burden us with well-meaning advice.  A grief group is especially helpful - people who understand that we need to talk about it - again and again and again."

Today's  Affirmation

I will be present to my grief, it is my only way to new life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Gilgore Italian Art Collection, 1850 - 1925

Dr. Sheldon G. Gilgore & Irma Gilgore 

"Yesterday, I attended a lecture by Irma Gilgore at her museum of 19th century Italian art here in Naples, FL.  It is a grand, elegant, contemporary museum and located in Eagle Creek of Naples . . . .  just three short miles north of me here in Fiddler's Creek of Naples.   I've lived here for over eight years now but only learned of this museum and Irma last fall after Karl's passing.

It was then that I talked with Irma by phone.  ( Irma is a wonderful contemporary/abstract artist and her work is shown in New York City at Walter Wickiser Gallery).  At the time, another artist had recently told me about Irma, the museum and that Irma was a recent widow too.  Irma offered kind words of encouragement to me but those days were just too dark and bleak.

It was just last week, when I was so downhearted, called Irma and she invited me to the lecture that was scheduled for April 27.  My artist friend, Nardena Sullivan, joined me and we both were simply astonished at the grandeur and the wonderful works of 19th century Italian art that we were privileged to view.  A magnificent collection of sculpture, paintings, furnishings, etc. was almost more than the human eye could behold at once.

Maybe I've left the best for last.  Irma Gilgore, herself, is just that "herself".  She is very attractive, even in her seventies, and vivacious is an understatement for her.  Mostly, she is smiling and putting forth a wonderful wit.  You just can't help but love Irma, immediately.  With her unique personality and vast knowledge of her art collection, the tour and lecture was made so memorable for us all.  I am deeply grateful for yesterday afternoon.  Many thanks to you, Irma.

Please click on Dr. Sheldon Gilgore for his obituary in The New York Times.  You will learn so much more about this fascinating couple.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Testing The Water" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Testing The Water"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen  (18"x18")  Created in 2007

"This painting "Testing The Water" was created during a very happy time and I'm happy to post it today.  

A week ago last Sunday night (4/17), after a very good week-end attending Barbara Flowers' "Lunch & Learn" and an evening with my youngest brother and sister-in-law, I came into the house and immediately the uncontrollable, sobbing tears started.  I had fought the tears and sadness for so long but this time I just gave into them and would ride it out, for however long it took.  Well, it was Wednesday morning before I dried those tears of grief and was exhausted with the burden.  At least the overwhelming sadness had lifted.

Just yesterday, while sitting in the car, eating an Oriental chicken salad from Applebee's, my eyes . . .  . and heart were suddenly opened and I was so aware of how the trees and sunlight all around me were truly beautiful and aglow.  My soul was filled with Joy.   It doesn't sound like anything spellbinding but I know that I reached a second milestone, eight and a half months since Karl has passed.  Remembering, the first was at four months."

A Page From "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman

"He did not say:  You will not be troubled, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted: but he said:  You will not be overcome."                  __Julian Of Norwich

    " Sometimes we feel that we will be overcome.  When we are tired and the future looks grim and mined with occasions for potential grief, we feel as though it will be too much for us.  We won't be able to "take it" anymore.
     But the weeks go by and we haven't crumbled yet.  We've been sad, even despairing, continuing to see the future as bleak - but we haven't been overcome.
     And after a while a sturdy confidence sets in.  Look what we have been through!  Look what we have survived.  And if we've done it so far, why not tomorrow, next week and next month and on those occasions which are bound to come when we feel, once again, that we may not make it through? 
     But look!  --  we have!  And we can again."

Affirmation For Today

I am strong.  I am saddened, sometimes tired, discouraged.  But I've made it so far.  I will not be overcome.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Yellow Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Yellow Roses"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen  (24"x20")  Painted April 30, 2009

"Yesterday, I found this painting in my studio closet, brought it out and framed it in one of the new black floater frames.  It was painted two years ago and there is a lot of palette knife work on it.  Maybe I'll hang it up, maybe I won't."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Orange" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on oil primed linen on board  (36"x24")  April 23, 2011

"This is my first large painting using totally the palette knife for the oil color application.  Although I've used the alkyd oil paints in the past, "Orange" was completed with Gamlin regular oil paints.  The roses and fruit came from Publix.  I like the painting better on my easel than this photo."

"I'm in awe . . . today is my 74th birthday."


Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Spring's Promise" Oil Painting by Artist, BARBARA FLOWERS

"Spring's Promise" by  BARBARA FLOWERS
© Barbara Flowers
Oil painting on gallery wrapped canvas  (36"x36"x1.5")

"Here is Barbara Flowers' beautiful painting "Spring's Promise" that she painted at The Corse Art Gallery, Jacksonville, FL on Saturday, April 16, 2011.  The painting is on my gallery wall now and it brings me so much happiness . . .  .  thank you, Barbara."

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Spring's Promise" Oil Painting by Artist, BARBARA FLOWERS

"Spring's Promise"  BY   BARBARA FLOWERS
Painted at  Corse Gallery,  Jacksonville, FL   April 16, 2011
Barbara with her finished painting "Spring's Promise"

"On Saturday, April 16, 2011, I was privileged to attend Barbara Flowers "Lunch & Learn" at the Corse Gallery in Jacksonville, FL.  Thanks to Barbara and another precious lady, Ellen Cleveland, the day was indeed very encouraging for me.  I was assured, with certainty, that God is indeed directing my path and each day is precious . . . . .  even though my Beloved Karl is no longer with me.  All things truly are working together for my Highest Good.

Now, I am the happy, grateful owner of "Spring's Promise" and was able to bring the wet painting home to Naples.  Barbara didn't know that I had already bought the painting before she finished and titled it.  She couldn't have known how fitting and apt the title "Spring's Promise" was for me and my heart overflows with thankfulness.

All the photos were taken with my IPhone and turned out ok but as soon as the painting is dry enough, I will set it up for a professional photo and share it with you.

The notes, below, are just as I jotted them down while Barbara was painting and lecturing.  There is no definite order but I hope you will find value in them."

Photos & Notes for "Spring's Promise" by  BARBARA FLOWERS

Notes taken at "Lunch & Learn"at Corse Gallery, Jacksonville, FL, April 16, 2011

All equipment is on wheels and she uses a laptop with monitor in her studio. 
Spotlight is a photo lamp.
Sculpture stand from Utrecht
Paints with plastic gloves, half sheets Viva towels, Kleenex and uses "Lean" medium

"You can paint anywhere but it must be a dedicated area."

Barbara and Jerry sleep in the small guest bedroom because the master bedroom is her studio.

Her home studio is the master bedroom since it is large enough for her to step far back and view the painting on the easel as she paints.  Uses a glass palette.   Her studio has an expensive air filter system and a smaller fan blows fumes toward the filter.  Color corrected lights installed above easel.  

Barbara hates north light because it is boring and always the same.  She loves the sunny, east light in her studio.

Barbara paints everyday- but maybe not on Sunday.  She was a foreign language correspondent and still likes to aways be "dressed and ready to go" so she is always fully attired and groomed as she enters her studio to paint.

"What enthuses and inspires you is what you paint and make it your own.  Turn off the internet - which means to stop copying others artwork."
"If you're painting what your teachers have told you - you're not painting your own painting."

Barbara painted in a realism manner before coming to this loose painting style.

"Pick out something quickly and just paint it.
"When painting florals, one painting germinates another painting.  Listen to your voices."

Recommended book to get:  "No More Second Hand Art"

Buys paint from Dick Blick

Uses pre stretched gallery wrapped canvases

"Not every paintings turns out.  Go to a new canvas - don't keep working on a bad painting."
"Don't be stingy with paint . . . . paint like a millionaire."
"If you're miserly with the paint, it shows on the painting."

Uses large tubes of Gamblin paint.  Also Holbein's Radiant Blue and Radiant Turquoise.

Titanium White, Cad.Yellow Lt., Cad.Yellow Med., Cad. Orange, Cad.Red Lt., Napal Scarlet, Quinacradone Red or Cad.Red Dk., Gold Ochre,Terre Verte, Chromatic Black, Trans.Red Oxide, Manganese Violet, Aliz.Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Viridian, Sap Green, Permanent Green Lt., Portland Gray Deep, Portland Gray Lt., Portland Gray Med.

Concepts:  Different surfaces, Harmonies, Limited palette, Calm, Less is more, New ideas, Not always the same, Big versus small, Everything with palette knife, etc. 

"You don't have to do the same thing everyday.  Always grow, the masters did.  Interpret the scene with your own concept."

"Under every good painting is a good abstract design."
"If you're sold on your painting - stick with it, not what someone else likes."
"Don't think about sales - it's disastrous".
"Always respect others opinions but do your own evaluation - you're the author". 
"Variety is the spice of life". 

"You'll never learn more if you do what you did yesterday".
" Today's concept is about color."

"Look at your paintings in different light, in different rooms."Today, she is using gallery wrapped canvas (36"x36"x1.5") with a thin wash of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

Setup is a vase of red tulips, a bowl, pears and plum.

"Don't be a slave to the setup."

Says she is going to paint what she knows and sees.

Begins with a block-in sketch using thinned paint and a brush.  
Uses a ruler to mark center of canvas

"No detailed drawing".   "While working, you may have to adjust."  "Angles rather than round"
"Always hold brush at the end."
"Some drips can occur while sketching.

She feels that pears are just wonderful to paint!


While sketching in the tulips she says "Don't get hung up on anything now."
Mixes colors with turps for sketching and adds colors for variety.
Only uses oil paint - not acrylic.

"Every painting, you learn something new."  "You can always change your mind."
"If you do something in one place, do it in two other places to make three."  (She's speaking now of running tulips off the canvas) 

"Oil painting, you can always go darker but not lighter."
"Painting is about massing in - not drawing."
"Lines takes you down a tight line."

She is using a scrubbing method with the brush as she masses in areas.

Barbara is very good at painting and narrating what she is doing at the same time.  Am I ever fortunate to be here!

"Painting is about shape - not things so painting will be much more elegant."
"Think about shapes and connecting."
"Painting is about dividing up into unequal and abstract shapes."

She is scribbling and scrubbing with the brush to get rid of sketch lines.


Using a large palette knife, Barbara is laying down dark red on the sketched tulips and says that she is still in the blocking in stage.  "It's about layering."

"Putting your arm behind you while painting keeps you out of trouble."

I notice she flips the palette knife to use both sides and moves quickly from tulip to tulip.  She says "The flow is working."

Doesn't usually mix colors in advance but is mixing some starter colors now.  She calls this "Color Path mixing".
A lot of scraping the paint on the canvas.

"Starting the background color always takes a little while."
"Mix color with knife as you go to get color variations."
"The first little area is a starting point to determine how the painting will go."
"Make a decision now!  Maybe change later."
"My paintings are a little bit about realism and a little bit not."

Barbara is applying the paint quite thick
Scraping  (find the form - lose the form.  find the form - lose the form)
Is using a lot of neutrals

"I'm the artist and it's my story to tell."
"Put your local color in and then the darks, lights, shadows, halftones, etc."

She's thinking complimentary colors
Wipes the palette knife often - brush too

"Making prints take away the value of the original painting."
"When a spot requires too much attention, it's best to leave it right now."
"There's something to be said about speed."
"Just get in there and get it done.  Don't -------- around."
"There is no right or wrong place to start."

When someone asks Barbara if she is going to show us how to do drips, she replies
"A drip is just thinned down paint."

Barbara really gets excited about the painting as it progresses.  She walks around, back of us all to view the work several times.  It was great to hear her say . . . .
"Wow!  That looks really good, you guys."

"We as artists, keep evolving."

She's creating a painting and not concerned with thick or thin texture.
She is using a J16 palette knife and also showed us a squared off small painting knife.
Has added the handle to the pitcher (vase).

"Never frame a painting for your house - frame for the painting."

Lava soap for keeping liner brushes hairs together.