Wednesday, December 14, 2011

About Babush

Michael found Babush under a bush, thus her namesake.

Alone, terrified and screaming (more on that soon) she was a tiny thing that fit in the palm of my hand. That is, after Michael refused to retrieve her declaring that she was spitting and hissing while trying to hide amongst the leaves. Impatiently, I fished for her in the underbrush and there emerged a miniature nightmarish wild cat.

A cute and adorable kitten, she remained physically endearing into adulthood. However, her personality developed into something similar to a spoiled celebrity. Pushy, demanding, cranky and often crossing the line into psychosis, she developed an unnerving habit of chasing her tail while letting loose a horrific scream. This would be followed by inconsolable growling and various means of blood-letting for anyone trying to provide comfort.

I'm not sure if this was a method of commanding attention or letting off steam from a period of irascible brooding. She would often silently slip behind me as I was busy painting. I have no idea how long she sat watching me, but sooner or later that ghastly scream would pierce the zen and nearly send me through the canvas. To observe Babush is to first hear the ferocious growl followed by the tail slowly moving toward her face. From the corner of her eye she spots the tormenting appendage and then savagely chases and attacks it. I often feel scabs of her own making.

This behavior has prompted unending trips to the vet. A clean bill of health is always the final diagnosis along with offers of kitty-cat prozac and sympathetic statements such as "that's because she's a tortie", as if that should explain everything. Have you ever read the internet joke about administering a pill to a cat?

My friends shake their heads sadly murmuring "that is no pet." As the years pass and she ages the symptoms diminish...somewhat. We've spent ten years tolerating each other. If our pets offer the mirroring principle, I've had lots of introspection into my own unexplainable angst. Yup, she's a nutcase but she's my nutcase and I adore her passionately.

Hoping you have a pet to love,

Portrait of Babush, oil on canvas, 11"x14"

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Captivating Marshes

(NOTE: my apologies for the short previous post that you received. I had just begun to put down my thoughts and *BING* the blog published. Don't know if it's Google's new dashboard or my keyboard.)

I've become fascinated by the local marshes and bogs here in upstate New York. The wintry sky colors, the elegant leaning of the tree trunks, the still, reflective waters and the overall calmness. Some of these bodies of water are created by beavers and you can actually spot their well-constructed dams built with intertwining branches and downed logs. Amazing engineering for a critter that's considered a rodent.

These little oils on canvas are the result of hiking along wooded trails that lead to these enchanting landscapes. Because the subject is new to me, I have no idea what to title them. Pink Sunset? Yellow Repose? If you have any ideas, please send me suggestions or leave a comment. They're both 11"x14" and are available for purchase.

With appreciation,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gift-Giving Alternatives

Bummed out by the cookie-cutter gifts at the big box stores this past weekend? It's so ho-hum (yawn). However, if you'd like to purchase some distinct and unique artwork from me for holiday gift-giving's the deal:

First of all, it's not too late to order a customized pet portrait. All I need is a decent photo to work from and, if you're local to Saratoga Springs, New York, I'll come and photograph your pet myself. If Muffie has passed on, that's okay, just send me as many photos as possible and I"ll work from those. Contact me for size and price details. Yes, you can afford it. Such an thoughtful, special and amazing gift that will last a lifetime. Thrill the pet lover in your life (you'll probably make them cry with joy)!

I take installment payments. Always have, always will. I understand you. It's like layaway at the big box stores without the hefty hidden fees. See something you like or have an idea for a custom painting? Contact me and we'll work out the details together. I want to make it easy for you.

Some people are especially difficult to shop for. If you're uncertain about what someone would particularly like from my collection of original oils, Giclee Fine Art Reproductions, or gift items...consider a gift certificate. The recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness as they get the EXACT gift they'll adore.

If you can think of another way I can help you with your holiday shopping, please don't hesitate to contact me. I appreciate your suggestions and I'm here to provide the best service that I possibly can.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Monday, November 21, 2011

November in the North

So much gratitude is in order to those of you who have wished me positive thoughts and good wishes via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and any other internet platform I've overlooked. I sincerely thank you for your good thoughts directed my way. It's spiritual...thoughts become things and such...I so appreciate and love you all.

You've also asked how I'm doing in the cold weather after moving up to the north land from Florida. Don't forget that I'm a native New Englander and I'm doing...okay. Yes, it's an adjustment. However, a brisk walk in the night air that filled my lungs with the pungent scent of late fall produced an unexpected nostalgia for playing Ringolevio in the streets of my childhood memories. Today my earlobes chilled on a hike through the local swamps as I observed the sun setting low in the sky way too early. Football and couldn't be more appropriate here in stark November.

Dare I tell you that I can't wait until the big snow? When my dearest declared that snow was white and what was the big deal - ha!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Studio on Beekman Street

If you're as impatient as I am, you understand the wait is excruciating. The day eventually arrives in it's own sweet time and action pervades my good sense. On an recent episode of NOVA the genius of Einstein revealed that time slows for those of us to choose to be in motion. Huh?

Landscaping has been frost-bitten but you get the gist of the loveliness of the street. Each merchant chooses and nurtures the plantings themselves.

My signage is on order. This is my track sign from last summer and it'll have to do for now.

This is the view looking in back toward what will be the man cave of print production and gift item creation.

Looking out to the street. Lighting is a work in progress. I love the cool daylight fluorescent lights for painting but we'll need some tracks to light up the artwork.

Officially, we'll be open on Tuesday, November 15th. Taking advantage of a good dinner crowd, we plan to be open until 8:00pm in the evenings as is the rest of the street. Experimenting with schedules for a couple of weeks will determine a permanent open time.

The address is: 70-B Beekman St. in Saratoga Springs, New York. If you can, please stop in - I'd enjoy meeting you and showing off my paintings.
Gratefully, Sharon

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Breeders' Cup 2011

Here's a few of my personal Breeders' Cup connections as experienced via my long summer at the Saratoga meet:

Think names aren't important? Sometimes they're everything. Stopshoppingmaria became an instant fan favorite at Saratoga even before she broke her maiden which she accomplished easily in her second start by over nine lengths. She became the talk of the two-year-old fillies. Not a bad second place finish in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf either.

Some of the owners of Turbulent Descent (there are several and some are first timers) came into my booth to see my artwork but I wasn't there (argh)! Michael did his best to coax them into returning to meet me. Their excitement of being at Saratoga with such a nice filly was understandable, but a few did come back. When we were in California many years ago, Michael galloped a couple of horses for Turbulent Descent's trainer Mike Puype - most notably, Old Trieste. The two of them had a few minutes to chat when Mike P. also visited my booth. The next day Turbulent Descent blasted the field in the Test Stakes. The gang had to be so disappointed with the trouble she experienced in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing fifth.

Early one morning I was photographing reference at the Oklahoma training track. A very amiable boyish-looking man walked up to me and introduce himself - George Bolton. Okay, I'm embarrassed that I didn't know who he was at first but quickly assessed his connection to Stonestreet Stable. We discussed The Factor and he invited me into the paddock that afternoon to photograph a filly he was extremely high on - My Miss Aurelia who was running in the Adirondack Stakes. In the paddock, George was too busy to talk to me as he was engaged in crowd control and ambassadorship, but I did manage to invite him to my booth. Unfortunately, he never made it. But his filly won the Adirondack and she also won the BC Juvenile Fillies convincingly.

My Miss Aurelia prior to winning the Adirondack Stakes.

Last year I had the honor of creating the commission of Big Drama as a gift for his owner, Harold Queen. Winner of last year's Sprint Eclipse Award and last year's BC Sprint, this year he didn't repeat and finished seventh. I still enjoy my personal connection and loyalty to this professional racehorse. Just love him.

BC Classic winner Drosselmeyer looked small and thin to me as he was brought to the paddock for the Sword Dancer Stakes.


This gal, however, looked magnificent...

Havre de Grace on her way to her victory in the Woodward Stakes.

So there you go. From the artist's perpective.
Love to all the horses who ran their best, Sharon

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Life Drawing Class

Big perk: life drawing class with a nude model sponsored by the Saratoga Arts Center. Time-honored method of honing drawing skills that's been practiced for a few hundred years or more by the great masters. Volume, line, form, negative space, direction, etc. not to mention depicting personality and mood are the challenges for wannabe draftsmen (and women).

I'm a bit rusty. It's been several years since I've had the opportunity to participate in life drawing class, but I promise you, I'll get better.
Love, Sharon

Not bad Mom, but you may want to consider composition so that next time
you don't cut off the head and feet.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

Change is revitalizing. I'm feelin' it. My alter ego peeks from around hiding places with a shy smile, not sure if a reunion is appropriate yet. We've got time to get reacquainted so I'll not rush it. After all, I thought she was lost to me forever.

Michael and I married on Halloween. It was always a time for great celebration. Within the sanctity of long, long relationships that have weathered the world, last night was an opportunity to honor the crazy, off-beat humor that is our foundation.

Costumes ran the gamut...a treat to see who or what would arrive next.

Our wonderful friends and hosts with the most, Old Man Steve and Snow Mandy.

Brains, more brains...
Love, Sharon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Sound of Change


That's the sound of change infiltrating the unwary, the unprepared. Like it or not, change is a natural law and comforting in a lip-biting sort of way. One sure thing to know in life is that nothing remains static and change in all forms is inevitable.

I welcome change. I enjoy being immersed in a constant state of flux. Is it a characteristic of the artistic temperament or just my own restless personality?

I've moved out of Ocala, Florida. As much as I adored hanging my hat there, my suitcase now sits on a shelf in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Although my Florida-bred cats may take issue, I'm thrilled for this drastic change. As a native New Englander, I'm embracing the change of seasons in myriad ways.

There is a long list of reasons for this decision. But that was then and this is now. Let's get on with the work, the play, the events, the new friends, my goals and the looming opportunities. I'll share with you what I learn along the way.

I know you're wondering...yes, I've purchased a warm down coat and the accompanying warm accessories.

Love, Sharon

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Got a Fever

I'm honored to be chosen by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association (FTBOA) to design and paint the 10th Anniversary Horse Fever prototype presented by the Marion Cultural Alliance. Because I was asked not to share the latest design with you before the big reveal, I will tell you that his name is "World Champ". He illustrates the thoroughbred industry here in Ocala, Florida aka The Horse Capital of the World. But I've said too much...

It's safe to give you a peek of  "the herd" at the warehouse:

Laboriously being liberated from their shipping crates.

"World Champ" suspiciously eyes his transport to the FTBOA.
Here's the original "Champ" prototype, still looking great after ten years. He represents the racing silks of 14 prominent thoroughbred breeding farms here in Marion County. Posing in front of the FTBOA offices, he was also sponsored by the FTBOA who also sponsored the first Horse Fever project and...who also
The flip side of "Champ", photographed at Double Diamond Farm.
"Above & Beyond" was painted by moi for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America for their annual White Horse Awards. He represents the heroic backside workers at the racetrack. A & B took me to the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park in '04.

I also designed and painted "Cultural Champ" who was the foal belonging to the original herd. He represented the major cultural aspects of Marion County and Ocala, but I'll be darned if I can find a photo of him!

"It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster's shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters." - Stephen King

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Big, Really Big Purchase

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) is providing the tents for the artist vendors this summer at Saratoga. The new tents measure 20'x20' instead of the standard 10'x10' size and are also complete with a floor. This is a big bonus as the issue of keeping the rain and mud at bay during storms (some are extended) is a dilemma. I"m excited as I'll now have plenty of exhibit space for my large paintings and giclees. Which reminds me...

I'm gathering all my pieces, especially the large ones, to bring to my new and spacious booth. If you've been considering purchasing one of my large, and I mean big, original paintings or giclee fine art reproductions, now would be a good time to save on expensive shipping if you're in the Florida area or within close proximity to the I-95 corridor. I can personally deliver as I make my way up to Saratoga.
Click on the title under the image for details...

The Four Elements

Vying for Position

Mirror Image

Blue Blinkers

No Blinkers

"Collectors are happy people." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Where the hell am I going?

For certain, I'll be in Saratoga Springs, NY for the entire race meet, July 22nd through Sept. 5th. If I've appeared vague regarding my immediate plans to any of you, accept my apologies. The spiritual gurus instruct about the importance of maintaining secrecy when intending and visualizing. Eliminates the well-meaning from undo influence and frankly, relieves the pressure as paths veer off their original course. No explanations required.

Purging through all those photographs last week became more than good housekeeping. Surprising emotions emerged. I got all existential. The past appeared happier with fun times with more adventure and closer relationships. Clearly, I was following my bliss and living a passionate life. Or was I? From a position of struggling to survive the financial hardships of the recession (and still recovering) is anything looking better than what is, including what was and how I now perceive it?

My Saratoga landlady has offered the apartment to us beyond the end of the race meet. I'm considering. The cool, clean air and pungent earthy scent of autumn may clear this undefinable bleariness. So, my dear readers, I may stay longer at the fair.

"Go for it now. The future is promised to no one." -  Wayne W. Dyer

Friday, June 17, 2011

Old Photos of Us (really old)

I finally did the inevitable: cleaned out the old 35mm photographs that were stacked in the studio closet as tall as I. Purging to the nth degree. I've been intending to do this for...well...several years. Shoe boxes filled with photos I thought I would need for reference forever. There was a time when, as an artist, if I wanted to paint a starting gate I required lots of decent photos of a starting gate. Not so much anymore with the instantaneous internet availability of almost everything. Not to mention digital cameras.

So, I thought I would share with you the ones I deemed worth saving. Maybe even in a couple of these blog posts. After all, 10+ stuffed shoe boxes have been honed down to one medium size carton. They're the best of an arsenal.

Here I am ponying one of Michael's fillies at Bay Meadows in '93.

Michael galloping one of his own horses on the Oklahoma Training Track
at Saratoga in the mid-80's.

Don't you love this? Michael training babies with his Irish friend John at a ranch in Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco. They made their way down these magnificent cliffs and galloped on the beach. One time I went with him and there was this guy jumping up and down like a crane with his parachute glider. The young horses were wary but curious and they all made their way past without incident. That's Michael in the blue jacket.

Gold panning in Alaska in the early '90's.

I went on an all-girl camping trip in Arizona with a couple of my best girlfriends. On a very remote section of road on the Apache reservation we came upon an area littered on both sides with a vast amount of animal bones. So eerie and I was mesmerized with the scene of destruction. The margarita in the plastic cup added to my morbid fascination.

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us. - Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Even Too Hot for a Gator

The heat is on. It's time to curtail some outdoor activities when the indigenous wildlife look for refuge. No relief on the river unless you don't mind jumping in the water with the gators. Our summers in Florida are the equivalent of northern folk's winter cabin fever.
If you keep a watchful eye, you can watch these eyes as the alligators stay afloat in the cool waters of the Silver River.

There's always someone who doesn't mind the ninety-eight plus degree sizzle. Good thing hunting is prohibited when you're sporting that big fat meaty tail.
This Little Blue Heron quietly bears its discomfort in the stifling heat. Still pretty despite the agitation.

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” - Stephen Wright

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Last Weekend

This is my last weekend at VoilART! Gallery + Studio. It sounds so final and I'll share some of my feelings with you. At first I felt remorseful. After all, gallery partner Jackie Schindehette and I worked long and hard to promote, market and create a welcoming space. VoilART! is a lovely art gallery.

However, after a recent successful weekend in Lexington, Kentucky I realize that my gypsy heart shines brightest when taking my show on the road. And on that note, I'm looking forward to the opportunities of engaging in more shows, festivals and invitations to display my work throughout the country.

The best news is that Jackie will continue the mission of presenting beautiful artwork at the gallery in downtown Ocala. The name will change as she transitions into her own new business venture, however, the gallery will remain in the same location. I wish her flaming success and encourage you to visit and support her.

I'll be at VoilART! on Friday & Saturday afternoon. Yes, we're both offering a 25% discount on any sales in the gallery until May 31st. But please don't feel pressured...just come on down and sit for a chat. I'd like that. Oh, and we'll probably both be in the gallery on Sunday goings on downtown that I won't divulge, you'll just have to check it out for yourself. I promise, it's big.

“We're drinking my friend, To the end of a brief episode, Make it one for my baby, And one more for the road” -  Johnny Mercer

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hi Ho! It's High Hope!

This coming Sunday, May 22nd, I'll participate as a vendor at the High Hope Steeplechase in the Kentucky Horse Park. After a year hiatus due to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the steeplechase returns with legions of fans and great enthusiasm.

 This is the most scenic steeplechase I've attended. The Kentucky Horse Park is beyond amazing. Simply horse heaven.

 The parade of the Woodford Hounds is a traditional spectacle.
Just don't call them...dogs.

Have you ever tried tailgating at a steeplechase? It's great way to make friends and the aficionados go all out by creating their own themes complete with costume and decor. Think "Out of Africa" or "The Great Gatsby".


I created this painting when I last attended High Hope. Aptly titled "High Hope", it's an oil on canvas, 24" x 30" and I'll be bringing it  with me.

So, if you're in Kentucky (instead of Baltimore) make it an afternoon with the family for lots of fun, activities and people watching (you never know who you'll see). And of course, do stop by my booth to say hi and see my latest artwork.

Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too. - Lawrence Bixby