Friday, December 30, 2016


Perhaps nothing has changed as rapidly in recent years as the shape and use of telephones.  I still have one that looks like this but it has no dial, just buttons.  I loved the sound of the old dials as they swished and crackled into place.  So many detective movies used those sounds to create tension.  A phone call is certainly not what it used to be.

Check out this teaser for DIAL M FOR MURDER

Nancy Herman
12" x 12"
Oil on Stretched Canvas


Thursday, December 29, 2016


Today's painting is of an old mixer.  The styles of appliances change almost every year and we know how old we are by the image that fits our first purchase.

Nancy Herman
oil on stretched canvas

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I hope you are having a joyful holiday season.

I have been busy cleaning out my house for an upcoming move.  As a result I will be offering paintings at ridiculously low prices to the people on my blog before I take them anywhere else.  These are paintings I have kept because I liked them and thought they would be good for specific places someday.  Now I find those places never actually materialized and they have to go.
This Toaster is from a series of work I did of kitchen items.  I will be offering the whole series in the next few days.

Nancy Herman
oil on stretched canvas
12" x 12"


Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I have not been blogging lately as I have been unusually busy with art shows and rehearsals.  Yes REHEARSALS!  I am making my stage debut in the Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet's performance this weekend.  I have never had any desire to perform.  I don't even like going to my own art openings, but when I was asked if I wanted to be in the Nutcracker I decided to give it a shot.
Last night was the first dress rehearsal and I have to admit I had a great time getting dressed up with fake braids, eye liner and my tiara!  As you can imagine at 77 I am not a key figure in this production, in fact my part is completely superfluous and largely decorative, but I do a few steps here and there.  I had no idea how difficult even that would be and was in a panic the first few rehearsals, because I had no idea when to begin or what exactly to do and it has to be done exactly at the right time of course.  Things are a bit better now but I could still make a perfect ass of myself at any moment which keeps me on my toes, so to speak.  Luckily with all the young talented people on the stage no-one is really looking at me which is a comfort.  Here I am trying to look like the Russian Princess I am playing.

If you love the Nutcracker as I do, this performance will certainly bring you to tears as the children are adorable, the teenagers deliciously skilled and the stars thrilling to watch...and who knows you could see me make a fool of myself.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Nancy Herman
6" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Nature is showing its colors before the grey of winter sets in.  In Merion it is a glorious display everywhere you look.  Here is the scene as the sun lights up the trees on Merion Road and Sycamore Streets.  I pass here almost everyday and it never ceases to delight.


Sunday, October 23, 2016


Nancy Herman
12" x 9"
oil on canvas board

On a 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, 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.

It will be in an upcoming show sponsored by WOMEN'S CAUCUS FOR THE ARTS titled INSIDE OUT, IF I can find it.  If you happen to know of its whereabouts let me know pronto.

Friday, October 21, 2016


For some reason the thick paint on this canvas doesn't show in the reproduction but if you like think paint, marigolds and petunias this one is for you.

Nancy Herman
oil on stretched canvas
12" x 12"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Another old favorite on the Auction block.

Nancy Herman
14" x 10"
oil on stretched canvas

Sunday, October 16, 2016


It's been a long time since I posted on my blog.  I have been busy finishing the illustrations for the book I told you about way back.  It is finally finished and as soon as we find a publisher I will let you know all about it.  Meanwhile if you know any publishers for picture books for middle school age kids or a little younger let me know.

I am cleaning out all paintings that I have been keeping for a long time just because I could not part with them, as I must make room for more people in my house.  This is a story in itself but in the meantime here is my first selection.

Nancy Herman
11" x 14"
oil on stretched linen

It is at auction here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sun Through Peach Colored Zinnia

Zinnias are the most carefree, glorious, summer annuals.  Every year they cheer on my vegetable garden with their happy faces.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


While I get my painting act together...meaning,  "will I or will I not ever get outside and paint".  I will be posting a photo a day.  I love the way sun lights up almost anything, but especially the way it shines through leaves.  Here is the beautiful Chard in all its glory with incursions by bugs providing a view of greenery in the background.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I have signed up for several Plein Air experiences as you probably have noticed.  It has been too hot on most of these occasions to finish an oil painting outside so I have had to resort to working from photos to finish work.  I am trying a new idea which is to work from my iPad and print out the results.  I will print the work on archival paper with archival ink.  Here is my first attempt at this idea.  See what you think.
Since the IPAD records what I do and then plays it back really fast I could not help but want to set it to music. Here is a link to the short video.

Nancy Herman
signed archival digital print
8" x 10"


Monday, August 22, 2016


This was the view I finally settled on from all the beautiful vistas at Chanticleer.  This field of yellow orange flowers went on and on reminding me of the possibility of life as a garden of Eden.

Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board


Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Last Wednesday I went to Chanticleer to paint in the garden.  It was very hot.  I carried my bag of supplies around looking for the perfect spot to paint, but there were so many beautiful places that after 2 hours of pure pleasure, I ended up taking pictures and exhausted, took refuge in my air-conditioned car and went home.

Here is a video of my experience. I plan to return and paint when the weather cools down a bit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Continuing to paint at farmer's markets I visited the Bryn Mawr Farmer's market on Saturday and captured these squash.  They have such strong shapes and colors they almost paint themselves.

Nancy Herman
oil on canvas board
8" x 16"


Tuesday, August 9, 2016


As part of Plein Air painting sponsored by the Wayne Art Center I visited Eastern University in Radnor.  You may remember I posted a video that I made there using my iPad a while ago.  Here is the painting I made from the shots of the campus I took with my iPad. Since I notice the link I posted for the video doesn't work, here it is again.

Eastern State College is a place that seems to have been built all at once, unlike most colleges that develop over time.  All the buildings match and there is an orderly way to drive around the campus taking in all the sites.  There are shady spots to rest and paths lined with trees to wander on.  It is a University dedicated to "the preparation of undergraduate, theological and graduate students for thoughtful and productive lives of Christian faith, leadership and service."

Here is a spot that seems quite conducive to contemplation.  I spent a lot of time contemplating why the reflections did not exactly mirror the scene, but because it was so quirky I enjoyed it all the more.

Nancy Herman
16" x 8"
oil on canvas board

Monday, August 1, 2016


This is the time to really experience the season and warm your heart for those cold grey days of winter.  The smell of flowers, the hum of bees and the drone of cicadas, the whole chorus of summer is upon us.  And of course there is the real taste of fruit and vegetables, especially if you have your own garden and can pick them fresh.

These peaches are from a farmer's market at 36th and Walnut, of all places.  I brought some home and they were delicious!

Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

IPad Play

Today I went off to my second day of the Wayne Art Center's Plein Air excursion.  This time it was to the Water Wheel at the Eastern University.  I had only a little trouble finding the place as Google maps are not always exactly right I'm finding.  Since it was such a hot day I didn't think I would be capable of finishing a painting outside so I decided to take along my camera and my iPad and see if I could do something interesting with the iPad with a back up of photos to work on at home just in case.

The first thing I didn't do was bring a chair so I had to sit on the ground.  Luckily I had a mat to sit on and had sprayed for insects so it was only the problem of a possible back ache to worry about.  The second thing I didn't do was bring my iPad pen so I had to work with my finger. This is a bit clumsy as you can imagine.

I could see this was going to be some rough going but I made a few attempts at getting the scene and managed to work for 2 hours without feeling too uncomfortable.  When I got home and put the potential video into Final Cut Pro I realized it was vertical and the Final Cur Pro screen is horizontal..oops so there would be a lot of space left over on either side of the image.  I decided to simply create something with four versions of the painting, which needed all the help it could get, to see how the parts would come together.  You can't beat symmetry for interesting shapes, no matter what else is going on.  The finished product had a rather oriental look so I added this music by Kevin McLoed.

And here it is already in Youtube and ready for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Well, it sure is summer now.  My vegetable garden is beginning to produce much more than we can eat, the flowers are bursting out of their buds and the butterflies are back.  Not as many butterflies as I would like to see, however.  I've only seen one Monarch in spite of planting lots of Milkweed and having many Butterfly bushes.  There are some Swallow Tails, both black with blue spots and yellow with black.  I caught one on the Butterfly bushes in this painting.  I love seeing them flit around the garden tasting everything.  What a little paradise a garden is!!

Swallowtail, Buddleia, and Umbrella
Nancy Herman
8" x 16"
oil on canvas board


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trout Quintet, Franz Shubert

Franz Shubert in his short career, (he died when he was 31), composed a great deal of beautiful music.  Here is a link to his Wikipedia site:

The Trout Quintet is the popular name for the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667. The work was composed in 1819, when he was 22 years old; it was not published, however, until 1829, a year after his death. 
This is a translation of the first 8 measures which only use three instruments.

Here is link to the music.  Once again the lowest part could easily stand alone. The finished piece looks and sounds like a jewel.

First Violin

second violin



Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Intermission from color music for today's post.

This summer I am once again trying some plein air painting.  You can see how easy it is for me to forget what a mess it was last time.  This is a rather long post but if you are interested it is an example of what it is really like to paint outside in new places.
The Wayne Art Center is sponsoring some paint-outs at various places in the area followed by a show in September and I am also joining some HTown Plein Air Artists to paint in farmer's markets and farms for a show in November.

My first Wayne Art Center excursion was to Androssan Farm.  I printed out my Google  map and off I went last Wednesday. I was able to find the place, no problem, turned into the drive marked Androssan right on schedule and drove up the very long drive over dirt roads and past rolling hills and various structures that definitely were not Androssan.  I finally got to what looked like a palatial estate but there were no other cars there and it seemed deserted, so I drove on.  Along this road were huge new estates slightly smaller versions of Downton Abbey overlooking plenty of territory with more construction going on.  Doubling back since I was a bit early I figured the old estate must have been the right place.  I pulled up near the entrance and decided I would paint the large Sycamores that lined the road.

As I started to get out my supplies a woman and a pure white pit bull walked into view.  She looked at me inquiringly so I explained that I was part of the Plein Air painting group from Wayne Art Center.  I didn't get out of the car.  This did not ring any bells with her but she shrugged and said nobody told her what was going on.  Just then a truck appeared and she said it contained the estate manager and he might know what was up.  Luckily he had an inkling that the plein air painters were actually at the "farm".  I followed him down and around more dirt roads over much beautiful scenery with deer loping in front of the car.  We finally arrived at a bunch of farm machinery, some run down buildings and an old stone house.  This was it.  As we got out of the car I asked the estate manager, who reminded my of a character out of  the TV series "Justified" if there was a bathroom handy.  He said he didn't think so but he would check.  There was not a bathroom functioning but there was a hose to get water. mmmm, this was going to be interesting and probably a short visit.

Other people began to arrive and we wondered around introducing ourselves and searching for something to paint.  There were some fine looking black Angus staring out from various places and I took some pictures with my phone.  I finally settled on a spot that had a fairly level place to put down my supplies.

I had decided to try out some pen, ink and water colors for a change as they are a little less messy if they fall all over the place.  I had just completed a pen and ink sketch when it began to drizzle all over the paper causing the ink to run.  I waited a bit hoping it would stop but instead it really started to rain so I dashed for the cover of my car moved up to my spot, threw everything in and drove off down the road.  I was glad at least I had some photos.

Since I went out at another exit than I went in, I had no idea where I was and it was really pouring.  So much so that I had to pull over for a while.  I did ask whoever answers questions on my phone where I was and how to get home but their instructions did not seem to fit the situation I found myself in.  So after the rain let up a bit I just started driving.  I finally found something that looked a bit familiar as well as a Starbucks.  How welcome it seemed.  I went in, had a mocha latte with soy milk - one of my favorite fast food treats and consulted my phone again.  This time it was able to guide me home.

This painting then is not really Plein Air it is Plein iPad.  I have made it a bit more bucolic than it really is I think but the more I looked at those sweet faced cows the more I felt they deserved an ideal place...and maybe for them it is.

8" x 16"
Nancy Herman
oil on canvas board

Monday, July 18, 2016


I know I am jumping ahead quite a bit to get to Mozart after Bach, perhaps I will go back and catch the several geniuses between at a later date.

This is probably Mozart's first Minuet.  Since he composed his first Symphony at the age of 8 it is not impossible that it was composed when he was 6.

How can that be?  My tentative conclusion is that music is actually floating around somewhere in the ether and when a young brain is primed and open for it, that brain catches it.  Considering that once it is caught and written down and performed it moves a great deal of people this doesn't seem so far fetched.  Why then should some composers' work move people more than others?  Perhaps the very best composers have a superior catching system?

What do you think?

Here is a link to the sheet music and if you click on"listen" you can hear the music.

I think the bottom part is so beautiful that it could easily stand alone.

Top part of Minuet

Bottom part of Minuet

2 parts together


Saturday, July 9, 2016


Yesterday I mentioned that the color emphasis in all the music I have translated seems to be on the golden mean.
Here is a lovely video about ideal proportions.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Albers and Fugues

While thinking about fugues and what Albers had to say about how one color changes another I began to wonder if staggering colors in a sequence would hold the colors together in the same way that it holds the notes together in time.

This is an example from Albers' color course of the way one color can be changed because of what surrounds it.

The small color in the center of the two adjacent squares is the same.  In this example you can see the way our perception of color is changed by the colors surrounding it but it is always happening no matter how subtle it may be.  When two colors touch, our perception of them changes.

Here is one of the first wall hangings I created.  It is now in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I am showing it because it illustrates very well how one color changing another can hold a sequence of colors together.

60" x 60"
cotton fabric, hand sewn

Here is an inset to show the way the colors change.  The solid colors change the prints underneath.  This is not a great photo as it is not only a change in the amount of black and white but a color shift as well.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bach Fugue and Albers

I did translate the first 7 measures of a Bach Fugue #XX.  Several problems immediately became apparent.  The first being that of course Fugues don't come to a tidy place to stop after a few measures like most music.  In fact the very essence of a Fugue is that is goes on and on without a pause and yet we remain interested because of its masterful construction.  I did find a place to pause after 7 measures but it was not something Bach would have wanted to happen.

The second problem is that fugues often begin with the soprano line alone and only after several measures does the bass line enter the scene.  This leaves a lot of black - the color I chose for rest - at the beginning of the piece.

HERE is a link to the Fugue I chose so you can hear the music. (click on 'listen')  You'll notice there are a lot of small lines of color as the fugue moves along at a rapid clip.  You might also notice that in this piece as in the others I have translated into color there is a pretty clear accent on the golden mean.

Soprano Voice

Bass Voice

 Two voices together

Tomorrow what I learned from Fugues that translated to my work with fabric.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Finally we are up to Bach in my very truncated history of music.
I have chosen a simple piece, THE MINUET IN D minor as it is easy to see the color relationships and it is a simple but satisfying 8 measures.
Go HERE to listen to the whole piece.

Top part

Bottom part


It would not be fair to present Bach without a fugue and in fact the ideas that hold a fugue together inspired a great deal of my work in fiber so next post I will present a fugue.  I have not created one yet so it may take a while.  Meanwhile I will search for a simple but beautiful one to work on.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


The next composer I would like to translate into color is Henry Purcell.  Working around the same time as Corelli, he was none the less using more notes and a more complicated palette as a result.  Corelli was in Italy and Purcell in England.  Did they ever get to hear each other's music?  Unlikely.  How things have changed.

I have chosen to "translate" the first 8 measures of Purcell's Festival Rondeau, this time C is Green.

Go HERE to listen to the music.

Here is the top part.

 Second part.

Third part.

4th part

Whole 8 measures of Purcell's Festival Rondeau