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Friday Odds and Ends

Just a quick little blogcast in which I talk about the MAC’s Area Art show and my entries into the show–which ones make it and one that didn’t. I also talk about the books and the progress on book four.

Check it out and have a great day!


French Kissed Sunset

From time to time I like to share my process and latest paintings here.  This one was especially fun.  “French Kissed Sunset” started out as a photograph taken by a friend and collector at his place in France. It was a gorgeous sunset and I asked Peter if I could use his photograph for a painting.  He agreed and then we discussed his favorite artist–JMW Turner.  After the conversation, I knew exactly which Turner painting Peter had in his mind. The challenge was made and accepted!  Could I paint something that would remind Peter of a Turner painting? Our styles are so different–so very different.

I love challenges that make me think. As many of you know, I usually start my paintings with a gray scale or value study before I lay down the paint. My concern with this painting was that the gray value study was that I would not be able to get the painting as bright as I wanted it in the final stages. So I decided to start with a series of glazes to set the value and tone of the painting. Here’s the result.

While I was playing with the glazes, I was breaking down the basic color that I wanted in each area.  I changed up my palette–I used Michael Harding Brunt Umber, Amethyst, French Ultramarine Blue.  I didn’t grab my Michael Hardings Cadmium Yellow because it was buried on my table and I did the glazing for my class.  I used instead Gamblin’s Cadmium Yellow. After having used Michael Harding paints for so long and their reputation for high pigment content, I was really disappointed with how dingy the yellow was in this first and second pass.

While I worked, I had in mind values and how I wanted the land to lay, placement of trees and all that good stuff. The sky and its reflection in the water were the star, so as I worked, I was also thinking composition. Here’s a black and white of the first pass glazing:

Not bad, but I wanted that water and sky to sing.

The second session I decided that I would use brushes and lay on a thin layer of paint. As I anxiously waited for my Michael Harding Cadmium Yellow to arrive, I ended up using the Gamblin Cadmium Yellow again.  I thought maybe the medium I used to glaze with might have interacted with the Gamblin paint and dulled it. Here’s the result of the second process side by side with the black and white photo to check values.


I definitely did not like that Gamblin Cadmium Yellow.  It was not doing what I wanted. I looked at the black and white, and even the lightest value was too dark.  I over-played the trees too, but I wasn’t worried about that as I was going to paint them over again anyway. I was still playing with composition and placements too.

So, the last stage was my palette knife and laying on some thick paint. My Michael Harding Cadmium Yellow arrived, and I changed up my palette a little too.  My palette consisted of Michael Harding French Ultramarine, Brunt Umber, Alizarin Crimson–which I mixed to make the “black,” Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Amethyst (which I also mixed with the Brunt Umber to use in the dark land mass), and Lapis Lazuli.  Well–that Yellow Cadmium of Michael’s made all the difference as far as I’m concerned!

Here’s the final painting–and you can tell I wanted an O-shaped composition, keeping the eye of the viewer in that O of reflection and sky.

The blue on the right is the Lapis, making it a warm blue.  The Amethyst is the purple next to it. While certainly not a Turner, there was some inspiration taken from Turner’s work.

The happiest of all endings:  Peter, my friend and collector, loved it! It will be shipped to hang in his home in France where they can compare the sunset de jour to my painting every day!

How cool is that?!!

My Open Letter to Senator Brown

Dear Senator Brown,

First allow me to say thank you for your service and your pledge to thoroughly vet President-Elect’s nominations to his cabinet.  Each requires a thorough vetting.  Each should be reminded that running government is not like running a business.  A Trump administration will certainly show us why corporations and business should not be so interwined with government.

I’m writing you today to ask that you and a bipartisan coalition form a leadership committee during the investigation into Russian hacking to sway the outcome of our elections. The framework of the Constitution provides for a powerful Congress. Checks and balances prevents each branch from becoming a dictatorship.  In this interim time, between President Obama leaving and President-Elect Trump’s inaugration, the Congress needs to come together to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow for foreign countries to interfere with our elections. Our nation has instilled many democracies in foreign nations and insured that their elections were just and conducted without interference.  What kind of message are we sending to those countries if our Congress does not step up and lead?

Senator, this is a crucial time.  It is a time to set the petty differences between parties aside and realize that we have been attacked by Russia.  This interference with fake news and hacking into email servers/databases is a form of cyber warfare. Our Congress should not be standing idiolly by or showing a weak support for the investigation. Senators Schumer, Reed, McCain and Graham is a strong start, but I urge all of Congress to stand united behind these four senators. The last eight years of obstruction has shown me that the power to govern does not rest with the President. It is the Congress that holds the power.

Our founding fathers realized that America was uneducated when they framed the Constitution. One would hope that our education system had improved over the years. One would have also hoped that our acceptance of all races and all religions would have grown beyond the division that still exists. We need to bridge these gaps.  We need to stand up to our enemies and send a strong message that we will not tolerate interference in our government nor our elections.

Do not expect President Obama to lead any more than he has done. His call for the investigation is as far as he can take it without it looking like he is not willing to relinquish his presidency. These are waters not yet navigated. It is Congress’s duty to take up the torch and insure that our rights and our government is protected.  I urge you and the Senate to form a Select Committee to conduct a speedy investigation and to outline the steps needed to insure an election can be conducted without foreign intervention.

If the worry is that the nation will become even more divided, that should not enter one’s thoughts. The country has been divided in the past and will be divided in the future. During those times of divide, it was strong bipartisan leadership that brought the country together. It was a common enemy.  This investigation has nothing to do with President-Elect Trump and his reality TV chaos or his need for absolute power. This situation has everything to do with an electorate that believes in the Congress and its ability to govern.  If this government fails to restore our faith, then it is certain to fail our hopes and dreams for a strong America.

Linda Riesenberg Fisler

Thank You!

Thank you for registering for the workshop over on Paypal.

Linda will be in touch with you shortly.

We look forward to meeting you!

Nasty Woman? Nooooo!

Let’s get something straight right away. I’m a feminist who didn’t vote for Trump. That’s probably no surprise if you know me well enough. But there is something a little more disturbing to me and I want to address it.  It’s probably too late, but you won’t see me adopting a label that I think degrades all women. It was said in a degrading, intimidating way. It’s a label I don’t want to be associated with–even though some weaker than me may attribute it to me.  But that is their problem, not mine.

What is that label?  Nasty woman.

Here’s why I don’t want to have anything to do with it. First of all, it is associated with a person who dehumanizes woman. I don’t want to dehumanize woman. I want to build them up. I’ll be the first to say it, ladies–we tear each other apart enough without the help of men.  You know we do. WE are harder on each other than any man can be.  We see a successful woman and there is a legion of judges negatively assessing her and usually without merit or cause. We need to remove the emotions and stick to the facts.  I don’t have to personally like a woman to praise her accomplishments.

Secondly, nasty woman is negative. Do we really need any more negative descriptors? Doesn’t Feminist do that enough?  Nasty woman doesn’t describe the powerful women I know personally.  There is nothing nasty about them.  Nasty operates and gains power from fear side.  And yes, I know some women who operate on that side and they truly are nasty women. I don’t associate with them. I choose the associate with powerful women who come from and truly operate from love.

You may not understand the fear and love side I am talking about, so let me explain a bit about that. Gary Zukav wrote a book called Seat of the Soul.  It is a wonderful book that shares a message that literally describes how you find the seat of your soul-how to find the foundation that feeds your soul.  If you angry and fearful or want more insight, I suggest that you read this book during these highly charged times. It may require some heavy thinking and you may find it a bit confusing as you start into it, but soul work isn’t suppose to be easy.  Hating is easy.  Being fearful is easy. Having courage and staying positive is hard work!  But I digress.

Fear side behaviors are things like selfishness, using others, lying, manipulation, violence, brutality, domination, impatience, withdrawal, judging, ridicule, name calling, sexual harassment, and just plain being nasty.  Some of the emotions that come from this fear side are anger, rage, vengefulness, loneliness, spite, despair, grief, regret, greed/lust, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, the inability to see truth and lethargy.  All these things can lead to negative karma. Most of these emotions occur unconsciously or stems from an irresponsible choice. It is also a very human response.  It may be your first reaction. They are done without analyzing and are typically a knee jerk reaction. These reactions, emotions, and behaviors lead a person to unauthentic power.

An authentically empowered person is incapable of making anything or anyone a victim. An authentically empowered person is one who is so strong, so empowered, that the idea of using force against another is not part of his or her consciousness.–from the Seat of the Soul

You have a responsible choice. You have choices. You can stay in the rhetoric and label yourself something that I think preys upon those fears.  And yes, I understand it is a rallying call.  I understand that we don’t think we are a nasty woman. I understand that some may even think this is a compliment.  But those who are living on the fear side of emotion (whether male or female) are doing nothing but keeping themselves in that negative spiral of fear. They live in fear of themselves and others. So why in the world would I want to label myself something that draws on negativity? I don’t want them judging me without knowing me. I don’t want their prejudice. I want them to discern how they feel about me and my work.  Frankly, nasty woman is a turn off. It puts up barriers. No thanks.

Now, you may argue that Feminist does the same thing. I disagree. Feminist tells people I’m a strong woman with ideas who has been working her entire life to make life better for all people. I don’t use this label or descriptor as a weapon or wear it like shield. I’m not a martyr. I use this word to honor the women who fought for the rights I have today. I use this word to define my space on this planet. Feminism is complicated, and far more positive in my mind than any descriptor that resides in fearful behaviors or emotions.

I have enough to fight for without invoking fear or introducing myself in a negative way to those who prejudge me based on their own negative karma. Ladies, we have enough hate against us and we don’t need to use a negative label.  We attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

So, in light of all that transpired over the last week, allow me to describe the successful woman I know with words that I think are much more powerful and positive.

Dauntless women, audacious women, adventurous women, gutsy women, courageous women, gallant women, fearless women, resolute women, energetic women, tenacious women, tough women, capable women, strong women just to name a few.

These are my cohorts in sisterhood.  These women don’t tear other successful women down. These woman hold their power and don’t give it away to fearful, aggressive people who call strong, powerful women nasty.  These women use all their power to equal the playing field for all of us. These women don’t tear other people down when they aren’t looking. Pick your favorite descriptor from the list and use it. Own it and the positive energy that it brings. After all, if we are going to label ourselves, let’s label ourselves with something that attracts positive energy.  There’s already enough negative energy to last ages.