Saturday, December 26, 2015

Two Dogs in the Morning Light

Christmas is over.  The family are all back to their own homes.  Jake and Bay miss their doggy friends and all the food that is spilled on a holiday.  The house is quiet again. 


Two Dogs in the Morning Light
Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on Gesso Panel

$250.00




Friday, December 18, 2015

CONNECTIONS



At this time of the year we gather together with family and friends to celebrate the end of another year.  We feel connected by traditions to each other and to the years that have gone by.   To me the faces found in the computer seem to be saying something about these connections.  When one person is afraid their energy is transmitted to others.  When someone smiles it lights up others.  We are closer than we think.
https://youtu.be/b3wBfymtUuA

Friday, December 4, 2015

Shabu Shabu

Winter is here, there's a chill in the air, the days are short and it's time to huddle together to keep the body and soul warm.  Here is a recipe for my family's version of Shabu Shabu the Japanese dish that is a great way to have a big party dinner and celebrate being together.

Here is a 2 minute video to get you in the party mood.  Every time I use Final Cut Pro I learn some new tricks.  In this one I tried to use as many transitions as possible, pretty much willy nilly as the whole thing is just for fun. I took the videos and stills with my phone as I was waiting for my selections to cook.

As you can see there is a lot of milling around necessary when eating this dinner, that's one of the things that make it a friendly affair.

It really is a matter of shop and chop as the cooking is done by your guests.
First you need one or two hot pots that plug into the wall and keep broth boiling at the table.  Next you must go to an Asian market with as many people as you can for more fun and suggestions - have lunch there if you can.  If you live in the Philadelphia area I recommend the Asian market at 69th Street for an interesting experience.  You will see lots of food you don't find at the chain super markets. I usually go with my dear Daughter in Law, Martina, who suggested this meal in the first place and knows what she is doing.

Buy greens of all sorts, chinese cabbage, spinach, bok choy, scallions, fresh garlic, ginger and cilantro and whatever else looks good.  Mushrooms of all sorts are a must and a nice variety of noodles - the fat ones take a long time to cook, so don't get too many of those.  Then on to the meat and fish department.  They often have frozen or fresh meat sliced thin which is perfect or if you don't like meat get some cod, halibut or salmon or any similarly textured fish.  There are also dumplings in the freezer you might like to include.
Next in the grocery area get Korean Barbecue Sauce - hot and not, soy sauce, chili sauce and fish sauce.  Don't forget some firm tofu for the vegetarians.

Now on to the chopping, again get as many people involved as possible as there is a lot to do, but the good news is you can really do it all yourself if you have to, and it won't take more than 45 minutes.

First put a big pot of water on the stove and as you are chopping put all the parts you don't use (ends of cabbage, little knobs of ginger, onion discards etc)  into the pot to make a starting broth.

Chop garlic, ginger, cilantro and scallions and put them each in separate bowls for the table. Then get to work on the vegetables.  They should be in bite size pieces. Same with meat, fish and tofu although if you get the meat sliced very thin it is ready to go.  If the fish is frozen it doesn't fall apart when you cut it.

About 15 minutes before you want to sit down to dinner turn on the hot pots and put the boiling broth into them.  Put all the things you have chopped in bowls on the table and get people set to eat.  I suggest you seat those who like meat at one end of the table and the fish and tofu guys at the other to keep the hot pots just right for each.
What is really great about this meal is that you get to cook what you want.

Each person starts by putting a nice selection of what they like into the bottom of their bowl.  Chopped garlic, fresh ginger, scallions, and cilantro are a good start with soy sauce, hot sauce, Korean barbecue or fish sauce.  (I am allergic to MSG, so if you are, only use soy sauce and plain hot sauce.  It is still delicious.) Everyone puts some vegetables and protein into the hot pot and in a very few minutes each dinner is served by scooping out the cooked food and putting it into your bowl.  Usually several people put stuff in and share the result.  You continue putting things in and taking things out, adding boiling water from time to time when the broth gets low.  If you have lots of broth of course you can add that but as things go along the broth in the pot gets very flavorful and adding water is okay.

That's it.  Good luck and if you try it please let me know how it all turns out.




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

AUTUMN 2015


AUTUMN 2015
Nancy Herman
20" x 24"
oil on canvas

I have not been posting lately as I have been working on this larger canvas.  Autumn to me is the season of emotional ups and downs.  The trees and foliage are breathtakingly beautiful but you know it is all going to end in the bare grey and tans of icy cold of winter.  No more sitting on the porch watching the sun go down before dinner.  The sun is down before you are finished work.  The light is dramatic when it is out but it all points to only one thing..the end of nature for the year.  In this canvas I have tried to capture all these feelings.  It is a further step in the new direction my painting seems to be heading.  What do you think?

$1500.00


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sincerely Yours

Hope you had a delicious fun Thanksgiving.
 
The holidays remind me of the old days when friends were far away and we used letters to keep in touch.  Now a quick line in email or text takes their place.  But there was something about getting those well thought out words in script that was quite wonderful.  Here is my tribute to the personal letter.  As you may know I have a romance with the postage stamp and over the years I have amassed quite a collection from strangers and friends.  We take for granted this very small art form representing our heros, villains, occasions and simply the joy of nature often done in fine lithography.   Here is my tribute to the personal letter created in postage stamps and cancellation marks.

SINCERELY YOURS
13" x 19"
Nancy Herman
archival digital print of a collage of postage stamps

$150.00




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

AUTUMN 2015

Since I have been sending out a monthly newsletter I have been giving the news more thought.  Why is it that the news consists of disastrous things that happen in the world?  Every day wonderful things happen as well.  These stories are usually presented as "human interest" if at all.
I am taking a personal stand for good news starting today.  This fall was a real stunner.  Autumn in the Northeast is always nature's inadvertent gift to humanity before the grey of winter sets in, but this year the combination of lots of rain in the spring and warmer weather in the fall left us with color that was spectacular and long lasting.  Even now as I look out my window the sun is lighting up the brilliant red of the trees in my yard.
So here is a short story hot off the presses.

PENNSYLVANIA HAS RECORD BREAKING BEAUTY IN FALL MONTHS!
Watch video for on the spot reporting!

https://youtu.be/bFWTUzlyjcs

The opening shots are from my yard featuring my two Katsura trees, which not only turn a brilliant yellow, but smell like burnt sugar in the fall.  The remaining footage is from Chanticleer gardens.


Monday, November 16, 2015

RED TREE AND YELLOW WALL


RED TREE AND YELLOW WALL
Nancy Herman
12" x 12"
oil on stretched canvas

I have been somewhat besotted this year with the autumn colors. This is a scene from somewhere in Chestnut Hill.  I wanted to paint it to express that wonderful feeling of surprise when you come upon an especially luscious tree in the fall.

This image does not display the texture of the painting.  My scanner is broken and after several months of using masking tape to hold it together I think it has finally given up.  Anyone have a good scanner they can recommend?

$500.00




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

FADING AWAY


FADING AWAY
Nancy Herman
12" x 9"
oil on canvas board

On a recent trip to New York on the train I caught this old house on my camera as we sat in Amtrak comfort whizzing by.  I will add it to my "From the Train" series.  You can see the series by going to my web site www.nancyherman.com, then to "paintings" and then to "From the Train".

What is it about properties that are falling apart that is so fascinating?  Certainly for me part of the interest is in speculating about what is happening inside...are people still living there or has it been taken over by rodents and insects?  What is the ladder doing on the roof?  I also am fascinated by what happens over time to structures once lovingly made by humans.  How long will it take for nature to completely destroy this structure?  As the paint peels and weathers, the doors fall away, vines climb in and out of the windows and graffiti does its own climbing, the house does in its way become more and more beautiful, reassembling an abstract painting.

$250.00


Thursday, October 29, 2015

TABLE FOR ONE


TABLE FOR ONE
Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

Eating alone in a restaurant can feel awkward and lonely, while eating alone at home is just fine, especially with a good book to keep you company.  But how does eating alone in a restaurant feel when you are the only one there?  What do you think?

Giving the series 21st Century Artifacts a rest while I dive back into life outside the computer.  I have the collection of Faces so far on my website.  Go to "paintings" and then scroll down to FACES if you are interested.  http://nancyherman.com

Monday, October 26, 2015

WHOSE ON TOP


WHOSE ON TOP
Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board

Here is the latest in the series 20th Century Artifacts.  These computer seers are very versatile, turned upside down the triangle between the face appears to be a face.  These all seem quite pleased with themselves.  They should be, as I had to use very small brushes to give them life.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

MARDI GRAS


MARDI GRAS
16" x 8"
Nancy Herman
oil on canvas board

Next in the series 21st Century Artifacts, Mardi Gras, these faces are warning of something.  I guess Mardi Gras can never be quite the same after Katrina.

Monday, October 5, 2015

WHISPER DOWN THE LANE


WHISPER DOWN THE LANE
Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board

Why am I, an artist who has spent hours painting nature outside and in the studio now painting images actually created by the computer?

 Since I spent the majority of my life with not even an idea of using the computer to help me create or communicate, my sensibilities were not influenced by the digital world at all during their formative years.  I have followed my bliss as Joseph Campbell recommended from one discipline to another, painting outside from nature, painting translations of music, making fabric wall hangings, collages of stamps and in recent years making videos on the computer.  For me the computer is a tool to help realize what my imagination wants to produce.  With these faces found in the computer however I am surrendering to the digital world.  Willingly giving myself up to whatever these faces want to tell me.

 For all my working life I have wondered what art really is.  Inspired by great works and disgusted by trivial gimmicks I have always tried to find the answer to that question.  Now I see that a computer can randomly spew out images that actually tell a story.  What is that about?  If I had not "seen" the "story" it would not exist and if I had not selected the colors to illustrate the story and carefully transformed it in paint it would not exist for others to see.  Is the artist, like the concert pianist just performing from a score they have composed? When the score is "nature' their performance is confined by that.  When it is abstract are they performing without a "score"?  There is a great deal of speculation about how the digital age is changing how we relate to each other and how we learn.  While I paint these faces I ponder some of these questions as they continue to whisper their digital messages.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

OO LA LA


OO LA LA
Nancy Herman
Oil on Canvas Board

If the colors look familiar in this piece it's because this is FATIMA AND THE COYBOYS turned upside down.  Interesting these 21st Century artifacts have many sides to their stories.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fatima and the Cowboys

Here is the second in the series 21st Century Artifacts, FATIMA AND THE COWBOYS.


FATIMA AND THE COWBOYS
Nancy Herman
16" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fleeing Terror

One day, after applying several filters to some stripes while playing in Photoshop, I was surprised to find faces peering out at me.  I found these faces quite arresting as they were all connected and formed a pattern even though they were each a little different, much like humans.   After playing some more I found that it was possible to 'find' faces using other shapes and the results were, to my mind quite interesting.  I would go so far as to say I felt they were trying to tell me something.  This sounds a bit crazy I know and so I turned my experience into a children's book - JOE AND THE ADOBIANS - because children are allowed to have crazy ideas as they can be assumed to grow out of them.

Now after a year or so has gone by I still am interested in these faces and have decided to paint a series of them.  Crazy or not these computer people have something to say and I'm going to let them say it.
(If you went to the link for JOE...the voice on the promo is my grandson Luke Herrine.)

Here is the first one.  I am calling this series 21ST CENTURY ARTIFACTS.


FLEEING TERROR
Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

City Scape

I have two paintings in the Show at the Wayne Art Center presently.  In these work I have been concentrating on simplifying shapes and color to get the essence of what I want to say.


CAUGHT ON THE CORNER
Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board


CAUGHT CROSSING
Nancy Herman
18" x 24"
oil on canvas board

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Altoon Sultan

Here is another of my favorite bloggers, Altoon Sultan.  She blogs about her paintings, the nature on her farm and her favorite places.  I enjoy her thoughtful writing and her interesting work.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September Newsletter

No art shows to report in August, but September began with a bang Wednesday as I traveled to the Metropolitan Museum in New York  with two friends to see China, Through the Looking Glass.  This show closes on Sunday, so if you are anywhere near Manhattan I highly recommend it.  It is a multi media extravaganza filled with ravishing costumes and art.

As soon as our little group emerged from the elevator into Gallery 980, we were in a dark room with black shiny walls and red lights.  Some of the more spectacular scenes from Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor were showing on huge movie screens and Sakamoto's score for the movie, Open the Door, played throughout the space.  We were suddenly enveloped in a dream world, and like dreams we lost our ’selves’ to the magic of the experience.  The references to Alice in Wonderland were quite apt as the sensation of falling into another time and place was thrilling.   Our own images were reflected in the black shiny walls making me feel a part of the drama and wishing I were wearing a kimono.  



The display of gorgeous old Manchu robes were echoed by modern designed, absolutely fabulous costumes created by well known designers.  Mirrors were placed to perfectly show all the angles of the costumes and give the sensation of many versions of the scene incorporating the art with the movie. The mannequins all sported wonderful head pieces created specifically for this show by British milliner, Stephen Jones incorporating the 12 imperial symbols. Even many of the spectators had beautiful Asian, and South American faces whose high cheek bones flowing through the dark rooms along with us amplified the dream- like feel of the whole experience.



This combination of sensory input could be overwhelming, but for me it was just the right mix to crack the shell of everyday and leave me open to enjoy the beauty.  This is a tricky business.  I hope more museums incorporate this kind of theatre as tastefully as the Met has.  The whole show is curated by Andrew Bolton. Wong Kar Wai artistic director and Nathan Crowley production designer.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was only one floor of the exhibit and there were two more. Here is a link that describes the others which were all quite wonderful.



     
We saw the John Singer Sargent show as well but I was not particularly interested in it, after the rich experience of the China show.  I do admire the way Sargent moves from rich darks to the light on the faces of his portraits making their features sing.

However, I did find fascinating the show Navigating the West, George Caleb Bingham and the River.  This is a show about his 40 year obsession.  Bingham painted many, many paintings of the same subject, basically men on a boat traveling down the Mississippi.  How he financed these paintings and what he chose to include and omit is very interesting.  There are sketches of the characters and an infra red study of one of the paintings showing how it evolved.

It was a very full day but well worth the trip.


See you next month.  Thanks for tuning in.

Best,
Nancy

Who did that?

Dear friends,
My computer sent out a blog from May just now with no help from me.  Sorry.
Best,
Nancy

Saturday, August 29, 2015

FLOWERS - Anthony Riley

A good friend and fine musician, Bob Loy, asked me if I would be interested in making a video of a song he recorded with Anthony Riley.  
Anthony's story is a sad one, chronicled here and in many other publications -http://articles.philly.com/2015-06-09/news/63189019_1_battle-round-best-street-performer-the-voice
Bob was in the middle of recording many of his own songs with Anthony when he died.  This is a lovely piece called Flowers.  This is not the official version.  It is an exclusive preview for you faithful followers.   After working with the music for a couple of weeks I find it very moving. Is it the back story, the lyrics, the tune, the voice?  Let me know what you think.

Here is the video -https://youtu.be/ahKFNHs2MOc

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sheila Vaughn

Here is another blogger whose work I have come to really enjoy, Sheila Vaughn.  She is from England and when I first encountered her work she was painting landscapes of the countryside.  Recently she has been working on self portraits and paintings of people.  She never stops investigating new ideas and her paintings are fascinating.  Take a look at her latest.

http://artat.blogspot.com/2015/08/miracle.html

Thursday, August 6, 2015

other blogs #1

I am working on a large painting of my garden and one dog.  It will take a long time so I am going to be checking out other artist's blogs and sharing some interesting ones with you.
Here is my first choice.  Not necessarily top of my list - just the first one I came across when searching the internet with the words 'favorite artist blogs'.  I never saw this work before or read Jolie's blog before.   I just decided to dive in along with you into unknown territory.  I found her style engaging.  I hope you do too.  I will include blogs of friend's blogs and artists who I feel I know just from reading their blogs along with others I find for this exercise that are immediately appealing.

Let me know what you think.

Jolie Guillebeau



Monday, August 3, 2015

CROSSING


CROSSING
Nancy Herman
12" x 16"
oil on canvas board

I have often wondered if people living in the city are eventually turned into robots because they live in among the hard edges all day.  It is no wonder so many are able to deny climate change.  They are isolated from the climate except for stray moments between subway rides and taxi cabs.  Why should they believe nature could be the one to bring us down when it is so easily ignored in day to day living.

$750.00


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

8:30 Monday Morning


8:30 Monday Morning
Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

This guy, waiting for a ride with his lunch in his hand looks ready for the week ahead.  

$150.00

Monday, July 20, 2015

CAUGHT ON THE CORNER #2


CAUGHT ON THE CORNER #2
Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

Caught in the hard edges of today's world these two men find companionship on the corner.

$250.00



Thursday, July 16, 2015

FRIDAY FIVE O'CLOCK

The next in this series about people as part of the environment, caught as it were in the angles of the here and now.  The great rush at five to escape work and get home.


FRIDAY FIVE O'CLOCK
Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

$150.00



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Caught on the Corner

While I try to find a way to make or find a kind of reverse stencil to create soft patterns in water color, I return to oil paint with a renewed appreciation of its properties.  Oh how thick and forgiving it is!

For a while I have been contemplating the way people are attached to their environment.  The time and place we live forms us in so many ways.  I have been dealing with this idea in each painting that includes people but have decided to push it a bit further.  Can I say this in a few simple shapes, carefully choosing the color to enhance the feeling of place and time?

Many times when cruising along the streets in Google maps I come across 2 or three men or women standing on a corner talking.  I always wonder what brought them there.  Here is the first in a series of paintings about that.  I have made the paint very thick, almost like lacquer.



CAUGHT ON THE CORNER
Nancy Herman
9" x 12"
oil on canvas board

$250.00

Friday, July 10, 2015

more experiments

One more painting with individual wet spots before I spray the whole page with water.  For this one I created various flower like shapes with water and dropped in colors to see what would happen.  After it was semi dry I washed over the whole thing with water and when it was dry I added ink.


Now it is really time to spray the whole paper and see what happens when I add some drops of color.  It is really interesting to watch the colors run into each other but when they are dry it is not so interesting, so you never really know what you are going to end up with.   At least I don't yet.  With this one I added lots of colors willy nilly then wiped some of the color out with a crunched up paper towel.  I wish I had some sort of sponge that was cut into shapes so I could wipe out definite shapes.  I will have to make something to do that.  Here I simply added some brush strokes in different colors to see what kind of patterns I could create.  What I like best about these two paintings is the soft light that results from the over all wash. (Can't fit the whole page in my scanner)


So this time I sprayed the whole page and just kept dropping in colors, moving the paper around so as to make the colors run this way and that and did not use the brush at all.  This is definitely fun.  Is it art?








Thursday, July 9, 2015

More water color experiments

Since I am trying to find out what water color does I have decided to forget images, at least for a while, and just examine what happens when I play around with my new colors.

Every water color instructor suggests that it is important to be able to produce several distinct shades of color with ease.  So since I love squares  I decided to start with a simple symmetrical arrangement.  That keeps me calm and I notice the whole idea of water color has gotten me quite nervous.  I imagine it has something to do with being an old dog who is afraid of new tricks.

Here is my first square experiment.  I first wet each square and then added the color, thinking this would make an even coat of paint.  As you can see I was wrong about that.


I did manage to get at least 3 or 4 levels of color.

Next I decided to play in each square.  The first third of the squares I dropped a color into the center of the wet square, then went around it with another color and surrounded that with a third color.  This was fun to watch as the colors blended willy nilly.  The next third of the squares were solid, taking up one of the colors in the mix next to it.  In the third squares I blended 2 colors trying to bring the whole thing together somehow.

As you can see, although it has a certain cheery quality it really could use more of an overall compositional drive.  Some darks and lights would help.  I could do that but I think it has had enough of my meddling.


Tomorrow - no squares - wet the whole paper- yikes!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

3 water colors

As you know I am in the process of trying to figure out what kind of water colors I want to make.  The first one I did I wet the whole paper, made a loose water color of the scene and then after it was dry put a pen and ink drawing over it.


ALIUM 2015

Next day I went outside and decided to start off with the pen and ink sketch.  I had a new selection of calligraphic pens that I was eager to try.  I sketched in the drawing with the pens and then using a rather larger brush then I wanted to (because that was what I had) I began to fill in the colors.  The pens, which I had selected because they were supposed to be water proof, were not, so all the water colors turned a bit dark and the lines fuzzy.  After the paint was dry I went in again and did some more pen and ink.  This is a scene by my pool.  The whole thing has gotten so fussy I'm not sure that is even visible.


BY THE POOL

Things had gotten out of hand so I decided to simply play with the colors and pens at this point.  This was a lot of fun.  


DANCE
water color on Arches cold press
9" x 12"
Nancy Herman

$100.00


Next day I hunted around my studio until I found a small water color brush, made a sketch and painted very carefully these 4 tulips that I have been longing to paint since early spring.  Nothing loose about this and no pen and ink.  Today I will try another version of this scene.  I have to admit this was also a lot of fun.  So where I am heading I do not know.




YELLOW TULIPS
Nancy Herman
water color on arches cold press
8.5" x 11"


$125.00





Friday, June 26, 2015

BLUES NOTES


BLUE NOTES
Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Nature is always fighting for more of what it needs.  Here the plants thrust into each other for a little more sun and then when it gets too hot they hide to preserve themselves.  I have painted the foliage almost the same tone so that they are united in the struggle.  

$150.00

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Alium

This year I had a bumper crop of beautiful Alium.  I didn't get around to making any oil paintings of it....at least not yet, but I did experiment with a water color.  I have been thinking about making some water colors for some time and have now assembled all the supplies I need to get started.  I think what I want to do is very loose water colors with pen and ink, after considering many methods.  This is my first stab at it.  The water color does not end abruptly on the sides as it does in the photo but blends into the paper as in the bottom and top.  My scanner isn't wide enough to include all.



ALIUM 2015
Nancy Herman
10.25" x 12.5"
water color and pen and ink

$125.00


Friday, June 19, 2015

WHITE HOUSE WITH RED FLAG


WHITE HOUSE WITH RED FLAG
Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

This is the painting I would have painted in the afternoon of the competition if I had more time and energy.  I like the way old buildings are juxtaposed with bits of nature in Chestnut Hill.  This building had flags flying from lots of windows creating a festive air.

$300.0