Rear View

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Summer Bliss, Bavaria. 12×16. Stebner oil on linen. Price on Request

These first six months in my Hereford studio have been productive and happy. Scarcely a day slips by without a painting session. New students have found their way to the door. It’s a lovely life-rythmn.

Falling leaves finally turned to snowflakes as we had last week. The beauty of studio painting is that I can be in any place in any season with the scroll of the computer mouse. Taking position in front of the easel, I might as well be in the boarding line at the airport and lifting a brush is a safe landing anywhere I want to be.

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Wellies and Wheelbarrow, 16×20 Stebner oil on linen, price on request

This week was a time to revisit favorite memories while welcoming students and a favorite client, returning for new Stebner’s for his collection and gift giving.

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Afternoon Aperitif, 12×16 Stebner oil on linen. Price on Request

Snowy January afternoon warming by the fire on a farm in the Auvergne. A sunny June on the bavarian Chiemsee. Strolls in a walled secret garden in Burgundy. Or watching a Burgundian gardener.

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Paisley, Peonies and Iris. 16×20 Stebner oil on linen. Price on Request

Finishing the second of these two garden folk, I realized something was going. I’d painted two out of three of the subjects from the back. I first questioned my inner world for doing so, but then realized it’s the mystery of what isn’t seen as much as what is that draws in the viewer. You can follow these gardeners safely into their private worlds without being confronted face to face. You can look through their eyes rather than into them. That’s another subject for another season.

Who dares follow me to Burgundy or Provence to see France through my eyes in June? Time is running out!  Click here or contact me directly to open the door.

 

 

Filling the Stocking

French hen, 4x6 linen panel

French hen, 4×6 linen panel

Those of you attending my Holiday Open House this Saturday will enjoy new gallery lighting. No more shifting paintings from shadows to the light! That along with some other little spruce-ups will make my thirty-fifth holiday open house even more pleasant than before.

The house has been astir with preparations. There are just a few last brush strokes to complete but that’s just the beginning of any art event. Boxes of new frames from all over the country arrived last week and the week before and I’ve been filling them with new paintings as time permits. This week will be packed with taking inventory, hanging the show and the final spruce-up. Squeezed in between was a trip to Sharon Weiss Gallery in Columbus on Saturday to deliver new paintings. She and I have some fun plans for the new year to introduce Stebner to more of her central state art collectors.

Serenity, Giverny. 20x24 oil on linen

Serenity, Giverny. 20×24 oil on linen

If all this wasn’t enough holiday excitement, there’s another little jewel to fill the holiday stocking. In five weeks Jim and I will be back in France celebrating the first year of our marriage(a ceremony that occurred 24 years after we united forces). Call it what you like- a postponed honeymoon, anniversary vacation or holiday getaway. All I can say is that we can’t wait! As often as we have gone to France, it will only be the second time we have gone together, just the two of us. The first time was our first trip to Paris the same time of year, some fifteen years ago.

So please come Saturday and find gifts you can’t find anywhere else. As my friend Josh so graciously recently said on Facebook:

My extremly talented friend Bruce Stebner has made yet another fabulous trip to the south of France and has many original paintings of the region ready in time for Christmas… Instead of the typical gifts of ugly sweaters or electronics that only last a few years and come from China, give instead, the gift that lasts generations, The gift of one of a kind works of art, by a local master. Who’s skill and artistry bring forth works that wont add to landfills but will appreciate, be appreciated, and bring beauty for centuries… ((grin)) (Ok thats a bit thick, but get over it the guy is good… )

Standing Tall, 20x30 oil on linen

Standing Tall, 20×30 oil on linen

 

Good Things, Little Packages

Duet, 4x6

Duet, 4×6

Since returning From southwest France in October, I’ve been able to paint most every day. Hindsight is 20/20 in more ways than one. As an artist, I discover much of the beauty I’ve taken in while traveling after-the fact. At least I assimilate most as I paint my memories. I must say, in hindsight, I’m excited about the freedom I see in my new work.  It feels fresh and free.

Limeuil, France 4x6

Limeuil, France. 4×6

With the holidays approaching, I am preparing for my thirty-fifth holiday studio sale(at least that’s how I count it-I could be off a year or two). Besides paintings, faience pottery and stoneware garden structures that you’ve all come to anticipate, I’m offering a special collection of miniature paintings at a special price; $100 each, framed! That price is my thank you to loyal supporters over all these years. But buy now; the price goes up after the new year.

If you can’t make one of these events, feel free to make a purchase via mail order.

Are subjects you’d like to see in miniature? Make comments in the comment box. I love to hear from you!

HOLIDAY CALENDAR

Friday , November 14, 5:00-7:00 Guest Artist Chentini Gallery, Evaporator Works, 46 Ravenna St. Hudson Ohio

Saturday November 29th 11:00-4:00 – 35th annual Stebner Holiday Studio Sale

Saturday afternoons, December 6, 13 and 20- Open Studio hours for shopping.

Kitchen Dresser 4x6

Kitchen Dresser, 4×6

Govern Bedroom, 4x6

Govern Bedroom, 4×6

François' Clock, 4x6

François’ Clock

Window Light, 4x6

Window Light, 4×6

The Gloaming, Brittany. 4x6

The Gloaming, Brittany. 4×6

Beynac, Medieval Delight. 4x6

Beynac, Medieval Delight. 4×6

Agnes Kitchen. 4x6

Agnes Kitchen. 4×6

Bordeaux Evening. 4x6

Bordeaux Evening. 4×6

Success Unexpected

 

Peaceful Times, the Perigord. Stebner 30x40 oil on linen.

Peaceful Times, the Perigord. Stebner 30×40 oil on linen.

 

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

 

Henry David Thoreau

 

10620553_10204206482980856_1105625780484781155_nHere in my sixth decade, more and more, I find myself surrounded by remarkably comfortable cushions of success. Labor day weekend was one of them. The most delightful assortment of people, familiar and new, arrived throughout the afternoon to see my art show, “Blissful Bounty”. As much as I love the act of painting, there’s a marvelous fulfillment in seeing viewers response to my canvases and watching my paintings find their home. I’m just a facilitator in that process. Success.

My good health report earlier that week. Success.

Making final preparations to return to France next week, I realize that I spend about two months  a year discovering and sharing the beauty of that special country with others. Something that I only dreamed about as a child has come to fruition beyond my imagination. It still fills me with boyish glee to pack my bag and anticipate the adventure. Success.

Packing one more art event in the days before departing, I’ll be at Chentini Gallery in Hudson, Ohio tomorrow, September 12th, from 5-7 or so, as a featured artist for the monthly town art walk. If you missed Blissful Bounty on August 30th, why not take in the Art Walk? Laura Centini has done an amazing job creating her own jewel of a place. I’ll have more paintings as well as my easel in tow, painting a new canvas. Lovely people, places and art all in one spot are just one more success unexpected.

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SANTÉ!

Patois Garden, 10x10 oil on panel.

Patois Garden, 10×10 oil on panel.

The big week is here. My Double Header. Tuesday I had blood drawn for the PSA test which would determine my future health course. So much was depending on this test result, in my mind, that I must confess it was the singular nervous moment of my cancer journey. Maybe I was still just subconsciously remembering the bad test of March. However, when I sat down in the chair and felt the tourniquet tighten around my bicep, as the needle entered my vein, a premonition came over me that everything was right. The number was going to be next to nothing.

Of course I couldn’t wait to find out. So by Wednesday afternoon, when I hadn’t heard anything, I rifled an email off to Dr. Abouassaly. How many doctors answer your email within an hour? Je suis très Dr. Abouassaly. But he had nothing to offer. In my germanic need for efficiency, I wanted that report in hand by Thursday when I saw him. Rattle-bang-boom, text and call mania, and by Thursday morning at 10:00 I had tracked it down and trekked back to Labcorp, leaving the lab with the results in hand. Seated in the car, the drum rolled in my mind as I opened the envelope. Trumpets fanfared as I saw >.1 on the value line. According to Dr. A, that puts me out of the need for further treatment! It was a upbeat checkup that afternoon. And an intimate celebration that night at Larry’s, our favorite hang out.

Now it’s Friday and almost time for lunch. Focus is on prepping for the studio sale tomorrow. I’ve run inventory, priced and framed the last two paintings. Know anyone looking for a large painting of french countryside? I have some yummy brushy ones to offer! All sizes really. Including the paintings done en plein air in France this past June. Whether you’re purse has padding for a painting or not, I hope you’ll bring a friend and stop by. Corks will pop and light snacks will be waiting. Help me celebrate a successful summer of travel, surgery and sun.

Make a comment below and I’ll give you a special discount in the event one calls your name!

IMG_5501THE WAY I read a letter’s this:
’T is first I lock the door,
And push it with my fingers next,
For transport it be sure.

And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock;
Then draw my little letter forth
And softly pick its lock.

Then, glancing narrow at the wall,
And narrow at the floor,
For firm conviction of a mouse
Not exorcised before,

Peruse how infinite I am
To—no one that you know!
And sigh for lack of heaven,—but not
The heaven the creeds bestow.

Emily Dickinson

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.

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…

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

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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Square Paintings in a Turning Wheel

Several of you have inquired what I’ve been up to since my last blog almost a month ago. Obviously, not writing!

Time Out. 30x30 oil on linen. available. Contact artist.

Time Out. 30×30 oil on linen. available. Contact artist.

My activity has been as varied as the weather. Lots of time with Jim between fruitful painting sessions. Day trips. Breakfast in the garden. Dinner with our inner circle.  All in all, delightfully energetic convalescence for both of us. I’m totally amused by the recent, slight side effects of my hormone block. This morning we laughed about  hot flashes. “I’ll bet being married to a man, you never thought you’d have to deal with a spouse in menopause!”, I quipped.

Summer in Brittany. 12x12 oil ob linen. Available. Consult the artist.

Summer in Brittany. 12×12 oil ob linen. Available. Consult the artist.

And it’s the height of summer, so I’ve been trying to keep up with the Mother Nature in the garden between rains.

Happy Sails. 12x12 oil on linen. Available.

Happy Sails. 12×12 oil on linen. Available.

Most poignantly, as we anticipate the celebration of my sixtieth birthday and the birth of our first grandchild in the coming weeks, we are ever aware of the great mandella turning. A poignant  cantus firmus drones under all the other joys of life, reminding us that Jim’s mother’s heart is beating her through the final hours of this life. She will, more than likely, only be with us in spirit on August 31st, when we celebrate what would be her 93rd birthday.

All this was inspired by an entry I read this morning on Facebook, posted by Patricia Darré, a metaphysical, French author I follow. Her words are always salve for the wounds of Life’s chaos. Forgiving my translation, here’s what she posted.

Question: Hello, I would like to know “the spiritual point of view” for people with disorders like Alzheimer who no longer recognize their relatives, or people in a coma. Are between the two worlds? Does it serve their evolution?

Answer:
The “bugs” and degeneration of the physical body are both included in the “genetics” we choose in our incarnation, as I explain in the book, or are made useful for one’s evolutionary path even if here and now, we do not quite understand their purpose or reason.
This is not because a person does not recognize his surroundings, or is unaware that his soul is not connected. If the brain can not hear you over the soul, it gets you nonetheless.
We then communicate mind to mind, heart to heart … Know it.