Friday, November 28, 2008

Wilmington, VT

This image of Whitingham Lake in Wilmington appears courtesy of artist Katia Gushue who has shared this along with her fond thoughts of summers she has spent drawing and painting in Vermont.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mariella's projects this season

Mariella's Projects, November 2008

I am so grateful to all of you who have written to me about your thoughts on Vermont's waterways. You are inspiring. You are challenging my previously help beliefs about what people hold dearest in such memories.

A couple of people have asked me if I am doing other projects this season along with the Art of Action. Here is a sampling of studio projects currently happening:
I am an ART BARS artist this year!
They are including an image of Listen to the River, 2007, a collage/mixed media work 60 X 40"
in the packaging of the most amazing fair-trade organic chocolate bars. A group show of all the year's artists opens in Ithaca, NY on Dec. 6. The piece is available through IFC or Gallery North Star at $8200.

Group shows for the holidays are being hosted by
1. Gallery North Star in Grafton, Vermont
You can always see a varied selection of my work here. Edward and Kim Bank show collage works and paintings in a spacious gallery in the historic small town of Grafton in the southern-central part of Vermont. Gallery North Star organized a solo show for me last summer. Edward Bank created a fun 10-minute DVD showing my working process outdoors and in the studio. I love the original music he and Joe Terlizzi wrote and performed for the soundtrack available for download from their site
"Forces of Nature" (Plattekill Falls) 2007, Mixed media collage on wood panel 50 X 38" $7500.

This collage is a piece based on several paintings and drawings of this much loved location. My collage technique allows me to explore texture and color using papers I draw and paint on them both before and after gluing them, so the surfaces are quite active and layered. Finished pieces are sealed and framed like paintings rather than shown under plexi. This work in on a wooden panel. I work now on stretched Belgian linen as well.

2.) Elena Zang Gallery where I am thrilled to be showing with Judy Pfaff, Joan Snyder and Mary Frank who are all my heroes and mentors. Elena shows my collage/mixed media work in Woodstock, NY. Pictured below is Falls in Talullah Creek, 2007 22 X 30" POR

3.) Chace-Randall Gallery in beautiful Andes, NY
Gallerist Zoe Randall is showing a selection of watercolor/gouache paintings on paper. I am pleased to show with printmaker Rimer Cardillo and artist friend Inverna Lockpez and others.

Pictured here is a watercolor/gouache painting made on-site at Plattekill Falls. A painting that is not retouched in the studio can be called premier coup. So this is a plein-aire premier coup.
Matted and framed, it is priced at $2000. at Chace-Randall.

This work is a perfect example of my reaching towards visual abstraction based on the geometry of observed nature. I feel it is one of my best paintings-- and I have done MANY- of Plattekill Falls. I kept it in my own collection for a few years, but there's another one I'm keeping now.
I go to Platte Clove and paint there often. I also serve as chairperson of the artist friends of Platte Clove Cabin at the top of the Falls for the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. For further information about the Artists & Writers cabin residency in Platte Clove:

4.) and now for something completely different.... for a thought-provoking show called "MEND" at the Proteus Gowanus alternative artspace in Brooklyn, I am restoring a "Widow's Quilt" from the depression era. Found in Vermont in tatters, this amazing intricate Log Cabin pattern will require the replacing of almost every piece within the 80 fabric blocks. Obsessive??? Me??? You think so??? You can check in for updates as the mending process unfolds.

Teaching plans:
Four Fridays in February, a Drawing and Painting Skills Workshop at the Woodstock School of Art in Woodstock, NY I'll be back again for two summer workshops on outdoor painting and art-making hand skills.

Adirondacks! A 3-day plein-aire intensive in July celebrates the beautiful northern lakes district. We'll work on water surface and how to translate geological forms into paint.

Special thanks to the spiritually charged and politically active people who invited me along with 13 other writers and artists for a 5-day intensive November residency at The Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. This is one of America's leading artist colonies and the only one to have a social justice component in their mission and programming.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A beautiful stream has been described by Clair-- I could just imagine it from her words. There was a similar intimate waterfall in a brook near my family's home in North Danville. The stream came around a perfect bend and the water spilled white into an oval pool. There were 4 tall cedars providing a sort of viewing booth made of tree trunks. Forty years hence, 3 of the trees still stand, and annual floods have re-shaped the pool, but the place still has big magic for me. Above is an image based on this small waterfall-- a collage 38 X 50" called Roy's Brook.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Talk to the People of Vermont

Talking to the people of Vermont about waterways in the Green Mountain State has quickly brought me to the conclusion that there is passionate feeling and deep-seated attachment to every distinct kind of water place imagineable. I have collected about 20 surveys from internet and phone interviews, and in-person canvassing, I have heard from people of all ages, from 6 to over 80. I have sought out former residents of the State because there is a diaspora of native Vermonters and we are fervent in our love and longing for our home state. Here are some results:
To my surprise the small and intimate bodies of water lead the popularity contest. Quiet brooks, small streams, and trout fishing holes are prominent in people's thoughts. I have three waterfall lovers responses. Like me, they love the shapes, sounds and drama of a waterfall. The big lakes are mentioned as well, with Willoughby and Lake Champlain cited most frequently. Rivers are being described too, The Winooski in Plainfield, Sleeper River near Danville, the Connecticut River and the Gihon River in Johnson, VT.
Because as an artist I specialize in moving water, I am opening to the possibility of working with a small brook/waterfall location such as Buttermilk Falls near Chester. I am considering a lake location, maybe Willoughby for its massive stone cliffs, a river location such as Emerson Falls and a waterfall site. Moss Glenn Falls on Route 100 is a favorite that is well known to everyone but I haven't seen it come up on a survey yet.

I would be pleased to discover any other water locations that people find important in their lives. Readers and viewers, please be so kind as to contact me with any suggestions you may have. If anyone hasn't yet taken the survey or would like to direct a friend to it, here is the address:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Skinnydipping, one of those precious freedoms!
Local residents of Westmore are united in their desire to keep the South Beach nude swimming area clothing-optional. Having been a big fan of this place and the age-old practice of swimming naked, I add my vote to those who say KEEP IT NAKED!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The first wave of survey and emails are coming in and they are interesting indeed. I am hearing from several people who live elsewhere and keep Vermont in their hearts. Such letters have come from as far away as Kabul, California and Quebec. I am reading memories of soft summer days on the Sleepers River --and a heartbreaking story of a beloved cat who accidentally drowned in the Winooski River. Vermont Waterways have an ever present element of danger. Nature is not always kind-- I work with this tension in my paintings. The survey includes mentions of lakes and ponds, a waterfall, and two rivers so far. Landscape Photos: Willoughby Lake in Westmore, my Dad, artist John Bisson in his boat on Shadow Lake, Concord, VT and Emerson Falls near St. Johnsbury, VT. some of the places that have been mentioned in survey responses.