“The Tempest” and “Child with Milagros”

Two new paintings are currently available: “The Tempest” at Arden Gallery in Boston and “Child with Milagros” at Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe.

The idea for “The Tempest” came from two different sources. The first is Shakespeare’s play of the same title and the second from Fiordiligi’s aria of steadfast love in Mozart’s opera “Cosí Fan Tutte”. I wanted to depict hope and strength of character in the face of adversity, symbolized by a figure confronting a gathering storm.

“The Tempest” oil on panel, 20×16 inches
available at Arden Gallery, Boston

If by your art, my dearest father, you have
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them,
The sky, it seems would pour down the stinking pitch,
But that the sea, mounting to th’welkin’s cheek,
Dashes the fire out, O, I have suffered
With those that I saw suffer: a brave vessel―
Who had, no doubt, some noble creature in her―
Dashed all to pieces, O, the cry did knock
Against my very heart, Poor souls, they perished.
Had I been any god of power, I would
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or ere
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
The fraughting souls within her.


~ William Shakespeare “The Tempest”

Come scoglio immoto resta
Contra i venti, e la tempesta,
Così ognor quest’alma è forte
Nella fede, e nell’amor.
Con noi nacque quella face
Che ci piace, e ci consola,
E potrà la morte sola
Far che cangi affetto il cor.


~ Mozart “Così Fan Tutte”

Like a rock, we stand immobile
against the wind and storm,
and are always strong
in trust and love.
From us is born the light
that gives us pleasure and comfort,
and the power of death alone
can change the affections of our hearts.

~ (English translation by Natalie Miller)

“Child with Milagros ” oil on panel, 10×8 inches
available at Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe

“Child with Milagros” is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe. It is part of the group show “GenNext: Future So Bright” featuring contemporary artists working with New Mexican imagery with historical and indigenous roots. The show runs thru March 29, 2019. The painting is available for purchase from the Meyer Gallery in Santa Fe.

Milagros are religious charms used as votive offerings at altars or shrines to aid in the healing of illnesses and wounds. They are often fashioned in the forms of body parts. In this painting, a pair of coral arms and a sacred heart are worn on a necklace.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

Two small works inspired by Shakespeare, summer, lasting love and ephemeral beauty… now available at the Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe.

20160012 (1)
“Hand with W.S.’s Sonnet 18”
7×5 inches, oil on panel

Sonnet 18 

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

~ By William Shakespeare

20160011
“The Birds and The Bees”
7 x 5 inches, oil on panel

“Lady with Arrow, Apricots and Small Monkey”

This is a painting of 'the beloved' - the recipient of cupid's arrow. I was reminded of Shakespeare's words about love being an "ever-fixed mark."

Lady with Arrow, Apricots and Small Monkey"

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

– Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare

“Lady with Arrow, Apricots and Small Monkey”
oil on panel, 20×16 inches
SOLD

“Summertime”

"Summertime"

Sonnet 18
by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And  summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.


The Conspirators: The Artist and Her Beastly Muse

There is a monkey whispering in my ear. Is it a devil or angel, perhaps an alter ego planning dark or brilliant deeds? It’s nothing but a conspiring hairy muse. Shakespeare certainly thought it rascally, chiding the idle and absent muse in Sonnet 100.

SONNET 100
by William Shakespeare

Where art thou Muse that thou forget’st so long,
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend’st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return forgetful Muse, and straight redeem,
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love’s sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
And make time’s spoils despisèd every where.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life,
So thou prevent’st his scythe and crooked knife.

The Conspirators

The mischievous, elusive muse is a myth which remains with us today. In The Oxford American magazine – yes the issue where my painting “Young Woman with a Cupid” is featured (see post here) –  Rick Bragg gets funny and brutal, questioning the idea of the fairylike creature showering us with creative pixie dust.

The accoutrements, the fashion, I can do without, but I have always been intrigued by the notion, the whimsy, that some kind of writing spirit hovers near.

I, myself, have never seen one. But all my writing life I have heard writers speak of it, wistfully, as if it were a lover. “Oh, punkin’, I had planned to write today, but the muse, you see, it just wasn’t on me.”

Because you know that some days it doesn’t come at all, the words, and you write anyway, gaining just inches instead of yards, write until you can’t feel your legs and your family thinks that you might be dead.

If it had a form, this muse, it would be a hairy, goatlike beast, something you pin down with a boot on its neck, just so you won’t be so goddamn lonely during this hateful process. And at night, when you believe you are done with it, it bumps and growls from underneath your bed.
Rick Bragg Laments His Absent Muse