Not Local

Last summer I was drawn to the Georgia O’Keefe show — Visions of Hawaii — at the NY Botanical Garden. It was interesting to see the work of a serious artist, painting as a guest of the Hawaii Pineapple Company. Though well received at the time, the work felt somewhat constrained and it seemed to me that it took her time to warm up to the subjects and the place. From the show, I moved on to the Conservatory, which completely captivated me, and I decided to do a series of paintings featuring exotic plants.

Of course life and art intervened. I had imagined setting up my easel in the conservatory but learned that they don’t allow that, so shuttled back and forth to take reference photos. I was also lucky to travel to Berkeley, California over the Christmas holiday and photographed many plants that are exotic to us growing quite happily all around.

By the time I began work on paintings for the Spencertown Garden Show, I had a treasure trove of reference photos and spent most of the winter huddled by the space heater in my frigid studio painting tropical plants. It also took me awhile to warm to the subject. I quickly learned that the most interesting thing about many tropical plants is the hidden worlds revealed through their leaves. But a garden show must have flowers, so I focused on those, keeping my images small. Maybe this winter I’ll come back to this warm place and paint the dramatic paintings that are waiting to burst into a larger format when I’m ready.

For more information, click here.

Book Review: The Fresh Honey Cookbook

I write occasional book reviews for the wonderful website: The site is a treasure-trove of CSA sources, restaurant reviews from around the country, news, and links to all kinds of resources for eating local.

I encourage you to hop over and check out the review “in situ.” I think you’ll enjoy the journey.


Transforming Loss into Art

FB cover orange poppies.jpg

I spent this past weekend at the Rotary Home Show in Saratoga. Traffic was fairly slow and on the second day I was working on a plan to weed out excess work so there would be less to transport at the end. My reveries were interrupted when a bright-eyed woman stopped and complimented me on my colorful work. She actually looked carefully at every single painting and then walked away. The third time she came back, she asked to purchase these two paintings. As I wrapped them up, I joked that as an artist I couldn’t afford to buy art. She replied that she couldn’t either, but her mother had passed away and she had decided to use her legacy on art. “She loved art and I know that she would approve.”

More Shows!

The last few months have been a whirlwind, with the pace continuing into the holidays. This summer I volunteered to work with a wonderful group of progressives on Pat Strong’s NYS Senate campaign. Though Pat won our town, she lost to a well-entrenched incumbent. Thankfully the NYS Senate flipped, so it will no longer be the place where anti-corruption legislation goes to die.

It seems like the campaign ended just as the fall shows ramped up. Once I get through next week, I’m looking forward to settling down and getting some painting done! Here’s a rundown of where to find my work over the next couple of months..

Two Pumpkins.jpg

The Saratoga Federal Credit Union has a small gallery space that’s managed by the wonderful organization, Saratoga Arts. About 12 paintings will be on display during business hours.

Dates: Now until January 4.

Winter Willows.jpg

The Saratoga Arts Members Show is a wonderfully eclectic collection of work. My entry this year is this landscape of willows vibrating with color. My mother always pointed to these neon branches as a sure sign of coming spring.

Dates: November 10-January 4. Opening reception December 1.

Shore-Rainbow chard on blue.jpg

A great place to shop for holiday gifts for creative people, Arlene’s Art Materials now has a rotating schedule of shows at their R Gallery. I’m thrilled to share a mix of old and new paintings/local food and landscapes through the month of December.

Dates: December 6-29. Show opening December 6 from 5:30-7:30.

blank notecard-holly with white envelope.jpg

Just came back from Merriman&Pfister, a wonderful gift shop in Delmar. They will be carrying a full line of Farm Share Studio cards and prints. Besides my work, there’s an incredible array of beautiful holiday merchandise by local artisans!

epson-You Are Here-print.jpg

Just dropped off this painting, You Are Here at the Albany Center Gallery Member Show which runs from December 7 - January 19. The opening reception is Dec. 7 from 5-8 pm.

Upcoming Shows

The days are suddenly shorter and there’s a cold wind blowing in from the north, just in time for Fall shows. This year I spent the winter, spring, and summer in the studio. It seemed super productive at the time — but now the walls are empty. Ten paintings are on their way to the ASA Landscapes for Landsake Show and I’ll be sharing two small landscapes at the Spencertown Academy regional show. Here are the invitations. Another small landscape will be donated to the Silent auction at the MHLC Gala. Would love to see you there!

Landscapes Poster.jpg
2018 JURIED SHOW poster 8.5x14 2018d 2.jpg

Connection between gluten insensitivity and Roundup?


Each month I get my happy chickens and eggs from Longfied Farm, a sheep farm near Altamont. Nestled in a small barn near the house is a huge stone oven, where owner, Gary Kleppel bakes the bread that they sell at the Delmar Farmers Market. Now a full-time farmer, Gary recently retired from teaching Ecology at the State University at Albany. HIs book, Emergent Agriculture, is a hopeful look at the link between small farms and sustainability.

Gary’s not the kind of guy to float conspiracy theories or embrace food fads, so I was stunned by his recent blog post, which links gluten insensitivity to Roundup. Who knew that Roundup (or glyphosate) is widely used to dry wheat before it is processed into flour? What this means is that every commercial wheat product you eat, from crackers and pizza dough to pasta, has been sprayed by glyphosphate. It doesn’t get washed off because the point is to dry the grain. Glyphosphate can interfere with digestion and has been linked to a whole raft of common and increasing human health issues. Is it possible that the reason for the surge in gluten intolerance is not modern versus ancient grains, but instead the invisible chemical stew that surrounds us?

Get the whole story here: Are you really gluten intolerant? Or have you just been eating too much Roundup lately?


Portraits are hard to do!

Girl with Bird.jpg

I was approached about a portrait commission during a recent show. I hesitated because I don't really "do" portraits. I had painted a genre-type painting that included a figure, which a lot of people seemed to like, but I wasn't very confident about capturing a likeness where it mattered. I reviewed a lot of snapshots and spent some time with a charismatic young girl whose ideal pet is an African hissing cockroach. Eventually we settled on a photo of the girl feeding Birdeelee, a rescue who had become imprinted and would hang out on the patio waiting to be fed.

I struggled with just about everything. Getting the head to be that of a young child. Dealing with the background, which needed to have some reality but also needed to "step back" to give focus to the figure. The light in the photo was indirect, so I didn't have any obvious drama. As a result, I looked at a lot of impressionist portraits along with John Singer Sergeant -- a did the best I could. Now on to landscapes!

Book Review: Wisdom of the Last Farmer


August 1, 2018

A celebrated organic farmer of peaches, grapes, and nectarines in California, David Mas Masumoto is also a gifted storyteller and chronicler of the considerable challenges and rewards of organic farming. Masumoto’s memoir, Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Harvesting Legacies From The Land (Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2009), is a tribute to his father, whose dogged persistence created the “perfect peach” celebrated by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse. It wasn’t an easy path.

To read more visit the book reviews at: 


Book Review: Heirloom Grains

If you're an avid baker, wanting to take your bread baking to the next level or perhaps a locavore looking for the next food frontier in taste . . . or if you’re simply interested in learning more about the grains we take for granted, then Sara Pitzer’s Homegrown Whole Grains, Grow, Harvest & Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn & More(Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA, 2009) deserves a place in your library.

To read more visit the book reviews at:


Book Review: The New Bread Basket by Amy Halloran

I can remember the moment a fresh local ingredient changed my life as a consumer. It was an apple, sampled from the tree during an excursion to Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, near Albany in upstate New York. Besides being crisp and juicy, the apple’s flavor exploded and then lingered on my tongue, like nothing I had ever experienced. It led me on a path to eating almost exclusively from farm stands, farmers markets, and CSAs: fresh and local became a guidepost.

Amy Halloran’s aha moment was an oatmeal ganache cookie bar made from oats and wheat grown near where she lived in upstate New York’s Rensselaer County. She set out to find the source of the flavor and fresh grainy taste. The New Bread Basket, How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf (Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, Vermont, 2015) is the outcome of her quest to investigate the regional grain revival happening in New York State and New England.

To read the full review and other great stories, visit


Book Review: What DO Philosophers Eat?

I’ll admit to skipping over the philosophy section when browsing bookstores. On the book buffet, philosophy sits there next to seitan or black-eyed peas – virtuous, yes, but surrounded by more enticing, tastier options. But Philosophers at Table, On Food and Being Human (Reaktion Books, London, UK, 2016) by two American professors of Philosophy, Raymond D. Boisvert of Siena College in the Capital Region of upstate New York and Lisa Heldkeof Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter, Minnesota is a welcome surprise.


To continue the buffet metaphor, this book is kale salad with quinoa, sweet potatoes, and pepitas — bright and packed with ideas but readable and not densely written. The authors set out to challenge the common separation of soul and body, a central theme of modernity with roots in the Enlightenment. It’s a big project in a small book packed with sparkling prose and new ideas.

Philosophers at Table allows us to see food as a way to restore the connections within ourselves and between others. You can read the review at the wonderful website: KnowWhereYourFoodComesFrom.

Mysteries Buried in the Kitchen...

Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Maratin

It's been awhile! But though I haven't been posting, I have been busy. I'll update my paintings soon, but in the meantime, here's a book review I did for a wonderful site: KnowWhereYourFoodComesFrom. I recently helped the publisher clean up expired links and was amazed at the depth and breadth of local food coverage. Looking for a CSA near you (even if you live in Bozeman, MT)? Check. Traveling and want to find a good farm-to-table restaurant or farmers market? Check. So I was thrilled when asked to contribute a book review. 

Reviewing Sasha Martin's memoir, Life from Scratch, was a joy -- starting with the very first page. She's an engaging writer with a passion for food. She writes a successful blog,, which started when she decided to expand her horizons in middle America and cook a meal a week from every country in the world. But though the memoir that grew out of the blog, it is much deeper and more meaningful. It became an intensely personal exploration of childhood trauma, confusion, and loss. You can read my review HERE.