Stebner, in Your Words

5.5"x12" Stebner oil on panel.

5.5″x12″ Stebner oil on panel. $295, unframed.

Well, the next two weekends I have art shows. April 27 is Artsyism, a show for northeast Ohio artists which supports autism. The following weekend, May 3rd is my spring open house at my home studio here in Akron. I’ve been painting up a storm as well as creating new stoneware garden structures for the events. Here are some samples of what will be available.

A new offering will be some giclée prints of some favorite paintings for those who want a Stebner but can’t fit an original in their budget right now. You can even custom order most any of my paintings in about any size, as a matter of fact! Just ask for a quote.

On another subject, I need your input as I try to expand the Stebner audience. Would you kindly take a moment and answer these questions for me? I’ll be ever so grateful. I’ll even give you a $20 discount coupon towards your next painting or garden structure for your time, good for one year from your posting.

 

Brittany Springtime. 5.5"x12" Stebner oil on panel

Brittany Springtime. 6×8″ Stebner oil on panel, $200 unframed

Red Gate, 6x8 Stebner oil on panel, $200, unframed.

Red Gate, 6×8 Stebner oil on panel, $200, unframed.

 

Just Wondering. 11x14 Stebner oil on linen. $475, unframed.

Just Wondering. 11×14 Stebner oil on linen. $475, unframed.

Lenten Fasts

Self-Portrait, February 2014. oil on panel 11x14

Self-Portrait, February 2014. oil on panel 11×14

After a tease of sunshine and 60 degrees over the past couple days, fickle March has rallied her north winds and is blowing one more snow on us. All part of the lenten torment: giving up pleasure and offering deeds of discipline are not optional in such weather: they are imposed. I’ve expressed my opinion about Lenten sacrifices in past years here, but let me just say that I’d already declared that my sacrifice for this year would be to clean up the trails which have collected behind me like the wake of a motorboat or Hansel’s bread crumbs over the past months. That’s precious time I could be painting, so no questions about the validity of my spiritual sacrifice!

Nevertheless, I fear writing a blog about cleaning one’s own mess bears the possibility of emptying out all my faithful blog followers I’ve struggled to collect over the past three years. Hence, I offer, instead, a peak at some of the work I’ve done this late winter as the piles of paperwork, wood dust and painting rags collected. This collection will be seen at two upcoming shows in late April(Cleveland, Ohio) and early May(Patois Studio, Akron,Ohio). More can be seen in the gallery of my new website.

Hope of Spring, 11x14 oil on linen

Hope of Spring, 11×14 oil on linen

Summer Pleasures, Normandy. oil on linen 20x24

Summer Pleasures, Normandy. oil on linen 20×24

Olympic Winters

IMG_0685This has not only been the winter of the 2014 Olympics, but also a winter of olympic snowfall. Since our wedding weekend January 9th, the snow has been relentless until this week. The March-like mud, revealed by its recent melting, will be covered  again before too long; we know it’s not over yet. So how does one keep sane, much less redeem such wintertime? Build a new web site, for starters.

Luckily for me, it’s not quite as complicated as learning French. But, all the same, a painfully frustrating learning curve. To augment my bumbling through the process alone, along with an all-to-brief forty five minute session with a trainer,and in order to avoid brutally mutilating the monitor and keyboard in my fits, I called favors to web-savy Laurent, across the ocean in Alsace. Thank God for such friends and Skype!

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But wait, it’s not just a new web site, there’s a new blog for helping my painting students, too. This has competed with my painting time, to say the least. And painting is a jealous mistress.

The past week’s painting time  has been both a creative oasis and a mini-vacation back to winter in Bourges last January. Dramatic late afternoon light falling on a house at the foot of the remarkable cathedral captured on film there has finally transformed itself into a painting. Recalling winter in that lovely town a year ago ties a romantic thread around these last weeks of February-and winter, itself.

Every passing day draws us one day closer to balmy breezes and our first meal in the garden. And painting en plein air again! Oh, the web site? A few pages remain to be built but you can see it by clicking here!

ENCHANTED APRIL

Winter Roses. Study for the afternoon.

Winter Roses. Study for the afternoon.

Who remembers the 1991 movie “Enchanted April” in which a group of disenchanted Londoners  collect in a Tuscan villa for an escape from the gloom of a dreary London winter? What they find is more than a vacation in the sun. The human experience they encounter is what I crave for the participants in my “Artistic Adventures” trips to France this June. I make the offer and see whose soul resonates with it. Then plan a French country getaway just for them.

6x8 oil on panel. Road's End. Stebner

6×8 oil on panel. Road’s End. Stebner

Though not disillusioned, the promise of six or more inches of snow tonight calls for mental escape. This trip has been my winter obsession; create a French fantasy for my small bands of travelers which will forever enrich their lives with memories fine enough to dispel any long winter storm.

Happily, all of the characters are in place for this two act “Enchanted June”. And the stage is set: a favorite converted mill in Normandy for the first group, followed by a stone house in Burgundian wine country for the second.

Victoria's already dreaming of cooking vats-full of coq au vin in this kitchen!

Victoria’s already dreaming of cooking vats-full of coq au vin in this kitchen!

How lucky I am to have a gallery of French memories, beyond tourist monuments,which includes waking to the aroma of yeasty baguette from the patisserie around the corner, hearing the cookoo call, and painting or lounging by a brook where fishermen, a stones throw away, are catching their evening meal. As much as I anticipate my travelers experiencing the things I love about France, I know it’s the things unexpected, the detours and turns in the road, which will give their trip its own unique flavor and make our trip a true artistic adventure. The human element is the crust on the pain au levan I can’t wait to bite into!IMG_2314For a reminder, click here to watch a great trailer about Enchanted April…

ORCHID MANIA

IMG_4942Mania is hardly a word I would have ever associated with my career in January. Survival is more like it. That’s why I usually take off for France after the holidays. Business is just plain s-l-o-w. But this year, no. Besides deciding to get married, I was invited to participate in a wonderful event at Cleveland Botanical Garden: their annual Orchid Mania. It’s a unique event which features area designers creating vignettes which feature what else? Orchids!

IMG_4965I’ve had a great time not only making new colleagues, but accepting the challenge of a preselected background color and a small 6×10 foot space. Besides featuring my paintings and stoneware houses, I drew in that Stebner element of whimsy with a real French door opening to a trompe l’oeil canvas panel of our foyer. One of you readers owns a smaller version of the same painting. If that wasn’t enough to make you smile, add a painting of a young orchid gardener seen through a leaded glass window. Not to mention a certain study peering out of the open drawer… My kind of fun. My kind of Mania. I hope any of you in Ohio take time to see the show.

IMG_4954Especially on Wednesday evenings, when many designers will be present and the garden will offer special dinner menus and cash bar to add another layer of festivity to the event. Over a dozen top notch designers have united to present the inspiring show, with nonstop assistance from the perfectly lovely staff at the botanical garden. There isn’t a better way to beat the cold winter blah’s and blues than to refresh yourself with the promise of fresh blooms of Nature.

See you there!

Fond Memories

patoischristmaslaurentWith my final Studio Holiday Open House coming tomorrow, I was inspired to do some little 5×7 paintings of animals from the Nantucket Fair this September as well as painting from a swan photo sent to me by my French friend and teacher, Laurent, who is a very talented photographer. He created the little holiday greeting for me, too! Enjoy online, or adopt one for your own home.

Just Pecking Around, 5x7 Stebner oil on linen panel

Just Pecking Around, 5×7 Stebner oil on linen panel

Foie Who? 5x7 Stebner oil on linen panel

Foie Who? 5×7 Stebner oil on linen panel

Tranquility Stebner 5x7 oil on linen panel

Tranquility Stebner 5×7 oil on linen panel

Happy Times, Warmer Climes

IMG_1567IMG_1574Being vegan for 10 months since Jim’s aortic coarctation has had no real moments of regret, but holidays and celebrations require redefining: and that includes how to escape turkey on Thanksgiving and prime rib or ham on Christmas. Thanksgiving was resolved with a trip to balmy San Francisco, an international food haven, visiting our friends,  Melody and Stacey, who have no problem with alternative cuisine. May I say, turkey can’t hold a candle to the ecstasy of walking the Golden Gate Bridge on a sunny day.

Returning to a frigid Ohio December, I’ve escaped by painting some small pochades of favorite scenes of summers’ past, from Brittany to the Chiemsee. As the year wraps up, with two Saturday afternoon Holiday Open Houses to go, my heart is warmed by the full life I’ve experienced, to date, the crisis of this year included. Jim and I are still savoring our morning and evening rituals, health restored. Oh yes, my PSA is now down to 0.4. Santa brought me just what I wanted.

Sunny Days in the Perigord Stebner 6x8 oil on panel

Sunny Days in the Perigord Stebner 6×8 oil on panel

Brittany Revisited, Stebner 6x8 oil on panel

Brittany Revisited, Stebner 6×8 oil on panel

Changing Winds, Stebner 6x8 oil on panel

Changing Winds, Stebner 6×8 oil on panel

Sunny Reflections, Stebner 6x8 oil on panel.

Sunny Reflections, Stebner 6×8 oil on panel.

 

 

Au Lapin Agile

Monmartre; Lapin Agile 11x14 Stebner oil on panel

Monmartre; Lapin Agile
11×14 Stebner oil on panel

IMG_0904In the midst of my first holiday event, the snow began to fall, on cue, Saturday afternoon. After we closed shop at the end of the day, I sat at the computer and found myself time-traveling to Montmartre, where I spent some wonderfully chilly days last January. Void of tourists, the artists’ square was all but abandoned, save a handful of the heartiest artists and a lovely black dog, who reminded me of our friend Laura’s Mirabelle.

The week to come will find us in warmer climes, mounting Knob Hill or Twin Peaks rather than Montmartre. We’ll spend Thanksgiving in San Francisco with musician/theater friends who live there taking in Chinatown, Union Square, theater and, if time permits, a drive up the northern coastline. Will it trump the romance and history of Monmartre?

48 Hours and Counting

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IMG_4822In less than 48 hours, my holiday studio sale will be in full swing. Things are fairly well under control. My last two frames arrived from Atlanta this morning while we were doing a little decorating. Set-up is well under way. Even the unloaded kiln seems inconsequential. My concern is the city. You see, our gardeners came yesterday to clean up for the winter so the grounds look all neat and today. But not the street. Ours was to be leaf-swept today and there’s no sign of a machine at work. I called the city and Jim called our councilman, who is amazing. If Russ Neal can call the sweepers to arms, we’ll be able to put on a great holiday event. Maybe I should warn you all to wear “tennies” as my erstwhile mother-to-be in-law flustered before I married her daughter by the stream in their backyard. But no, that’s water long over the dam and there’s always some way to park on Dorchester. So come one, come all on Saturday and see what my hands have been up to since the summer. New paintings. New pottery. New garden structures. Perfect Presents.

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