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.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Bouquet By Window" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Bouquet By Window"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on gallery wrapped canvas  (48"x24") From the archives

"Tonight I'm at a Fairfield Inn in Orange Park, FL, fifteen minutes from The Corse Gallery in Jacksonville where I'll be attending Barbara Flowers' "Lunch & Learn" session all day tomorrow. 

Last night I was so exhausted that I didn't share with you about the wonderful article to appear in The Naples Daily News paper about me along with photos of my paintings.  A very good writer/author from the Naples Baptist Church submitted the article to our newspaper to appear in yesterday's edition, advertising for last night's big Art Show and sale.  Other artists were written about too but I was featured in a very special way. . . . every artist's hopeful wish.

Well,  IT DIDN'T HAPPEN . . .  .  a glitch happened and the article never went to print.  First thought was "OH MY, WHY" and then the Spirit within accepting that God didn't want that article printed or it would have been.  Who knows why but I do know that I will continue to listen and follow this Inner Voice.  It has never let me down and always leads to true success with great peace and contentment.  I believe there is something of significance I am being taught here and about life on this path.  The word "ego" comes to mind.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Clementine In A Glass" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Clementine In A Glass"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on canvas  (8"x10")  SOLD  last week at The Naples Art Museum fundraiser, "Incognito"

"Am I Blue"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on gallery wrapped canvas  (30"x30"x1.5")

"Tonight was the "An Evening of the Arts" fundraiser for the Baptist Church of Naples and I'm happy to report that two of my paintings sold.  I entered ten paintings in the Show after all, not five.  And, the most wonderful surprise . . .  "Am I Blue" was awarded the "Best Of Show" ribbon.  It was a delightful evening.

Tomorrow, Friday, I'm driving over to Jacksonville, Florida to attend Barbara Flowers "Lunch and Learn" all day event on Saturday at the Corse Gallery.  

Today has been such a good day but very busy and I'm almost too sleepy now to type.   Good night and Blessings to you all.   I love to view each of the wonderful works of Art on your blogs."

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Brass & Tangerine" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Brass & Tangerine"

© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen  (16"x12")  From the archives

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

"In the midst of winter I discovered that there was in me an invincible summer."
                                                                                                                    Albert Camus

"It surprises us.  We know it's a fluke.  We know it won't last.  Happiness?  Contentment?  Joy?
      And not jut a quick flash of joy, of contentment - as when we are lifted up on wings of song - or by prayer - or by a spectacular sky - or because of a daisy blooming in some field.  But a sense that in some way we are going to be able, after all this, to be happy?  Whoever would have thought it?
      That assurance, too, may slip away.  But it will come back.  Perhaps each time it will seem less like an astonishing stranger, someone come to visit us in disguise.  No, it is real - this fecundity, this extended daylight, this warmth, this beauty of a summer evening.  Even in the wintry distress of our pain, we will believe in summer.
      Summer has it's storms too.  But they will pass.  Maybe they will clear the air and bring the world fresh and clean to our attention once more.  It is Life calling to us."

Today's affirmation
"In the midst of winter I will entertain the possibility that summer will come."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Mixed Roses" Oil Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Mixed Roses"
© Nora Kasten
Oil painting on linen on board  (15"x30")  From archives

"Mixed Roses" is one of five paintings I'm offering in the Naples Baptist Church "An Evening of the Arts" show and fundraiser.  It will take place April 14, 2011, at the church."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Old Fashion Roses" Pastel Painting by Artist, NORA KASTEN

"Old Fashion Roses"
© Nora Kasten
Pastel painting on sanded paper on board  (24"x24")  From Archives

"This pastel painting is one of five paintings that I'm offering to the Naples Baptist Church "An Evening of the Arts" being held on April 14, 2011."

Friday, April 1, 2011

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

 "A Grand Bouquet"
© Nora Kasten
Oil Painting on linen on board  (30"x30")  From archives

"This is one of five paintings I'm offering to "An Evening of the Arts" being held at Naples Baptist Church on Thursday, April 14, 2011.  It is a lovely painting but somehow I couldn't get a good photo."

Below is a page from "Healing After Loss" by Martha Whitmore Hickman

"Dying is a wild night and a new road."  -  Emily Dickinson

      "One of the things so astonishing and costly about losing a loved one is that, while the sun continues to rise and set, newspapers continue to be delivered, traffic lights still change from red to green and back again, our whole life is turned around, turned upside down.
      Is it any wonder we feel disoriented, confused?  Yet the people we pass on the street are going about their business as though the earth has not opened and swallowed us up, dropped us into a world of insecurity and change.
      It is, as Emily Dickinson says, "a new road" - for us as surely as for the one we have lost.  It will take us time to learn to walk that road.  Time, and a lot of help, so we don't stumble and fall irretrievably.  Those who have had their own experiences of loss will probably be our most helpful guides - knowing when to say the right word, when to be silent and walk beside us, when to reach out and take our hand.  In time, we  will be helpers for others."

Today's Affirmation

      "I have entered a new country.  I will be patient with myself.  I will look for companions of the way."