TINA INGRAHAM: Finding the Spirit of a Painting

interviews by NANCY GORDON and DANIEL KANY

Artist Tina Ingraham in her studio.
Hannan, 2003
52 x 32 inches, oil on linen
Isla, 2008
40 x 36 inches, oil on linen
Mira, 2006
40 x 36 inches, oil on linen
Ledge and Sea, 2020
32 x 52 inches, oil on linen
Moorings Portland Pier, 2017
36 x 76 inches, oil on linen
Sewing Machine Circa 1953, 2020
24 x 24 inches, oil on linen
Still Life with Blue Pitcher and Gerber Daisey, 2016
19 x 23 inches, oil on linen
Eagle's Journey, 2022
26 x 26 inches, oil on linen
Still Life with Tomato Soup, 2005
32 x 34 inches, oil on linen
Tall Cake on Pedestal, 2011
24 x 29 inches, oil on linen
Tom Paiement, 2021
14 x 18 inches, oil on linen
Wind and Weather Waters Way, 2022
18 x 24 inches, oil on linen

Nancy Gordon: Tina, you began figurative drawing quite young … Tell us about your fourth-grade experience and what you were trying to accomplish.

Thank you, Nancy, for this interview! In Ms. June Lockhart’s fourth-grade class I sat at my desk drawing on yellow notebook paper—you know, the kind ruled in green—how I thought the body was connected, how arms and legs attach to the torso, and how I thought the head was connected to the neck and chest. During free time I incessantly worked it out with a pencil on that flimsy paper, how our bodies fit together. My teacher caught me drawing what she thought were inappropriate nudes and reported this to Mom, who forbade me to draw them in school from then on.

Dancing Figure, 1996, 15  x 9.5 inches, graphite on watercolor paper

NG: How did studying fashion design and art history at the University of Cincinnati help your art?

Because I couldn’t afford a BFA in either painting or music, I chose a five-year work/study course at the College of Design Art, Architecture, Art and Planning to pay for my education. One facet was how to draw the human body. Aside from Freshman Drawing I and II, for Illustration I drew in pen, brush and ink from a live model nine hours every week for four years in preparation for illustrating for newspaper advertising. I also drew croquis (crow-KEE) sketches, a technique for drawing an idea for garment and costume designs. Although both forms of drawing the figure are distorted in varying degrees, my teacher, Miriam Honold, a freelance illustrator in New York City, taught musculature with attention to the silhouette—for instance, what the calf of a leg looks like in outline in various views. I became experienced using the brush, and how to render a garment’s wrap over the body, a perfect education for a portrait painter. Through college I actualized that education at Priscilla of Boston, designing gowns and sketching other designers’ gowns. Through the 1970s and early ’80s I did fashion ads for Jordan Marsh in Boston and freelanced in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Columbia, Missouri; and Ward Bros. in Maine.

Croquis of Mini Dress and Faux Fur Jacket with Bells, 1966-67, 16 x 23 inches, ink wash on paper

Art history was a fathomless source of information for my major but it was a great background for a painter, too. Art history reproductions devoted to figures’ silhouettes, based on clothing, influenced my work.

My college designs were influenced by identifying a cloth by how it was painted in reproductions. I’ve experimented over the years with various weights and weaves of linen and cotton dependent on the size of a painting and the surface effect I want. I make my panels for small paintings by mounting different weaves of muslin on wooden supports. The surface for Peonies was prepared by gluing raw-edged linen over a wrapped muslin panel for heightened texture.

Peonies, 2019, 11 x 11 inches, oil on double mounted linen

NG: “I’m a figurative painter, no matter if I’m painting a figure, still life or landscape,” you said in our conversation. A compelling statement. Please explain how you apply “figurative” to other subject matters.

The anthropomorphic qualities of nature are there if one looks. I think of an exhibition of Monet’s landscapes I saw years ago. The curator wrote about the figurative undulations of Monet’s painted hillsides and valleys. My original study began with the figure, and so in my psyche, my subject matter relates to the figure, such as a loaf of bread having an avoirdupois or the musculature of a person’s back. A donut reminds me of the wrapping of flesh around an armpit. An indentation, dimple or stem’s source in an apple reminds me of how I might paint a nostril or navel. An overturned cup reminds me of the supporting structure of a mouth on the skull sitting under the nose. Clamshells are ears. I see reclining figures in a bunch of tied radishes, carrots or beets. Trees are standing figures. Salmon steaks are legs and bellies. Right now I’m looking at broken pieces of a bowl, and one white ceramic surface reminds me of a smile. It goes on and on. Pears are torsos. Some have hats!

NG: Fair to say your early career was figurative drawing?

Before color film I was fascinated with portraits by watching Mom work as a color artist painting transparent oil colors over sepia-toned portrait photographs. In 1993 I learned what the term figurative artist meant when I was a resident at Vermont Studio Center and studied with artists in residence. Marjorie Portnow, a landscape painter, informed me that I was painting in the figurative tradition. Hugh O’Donnel taught an intensive figure drawing workshop. We worked from the model six hours daily, throwing charcoal and graphite dust into wet acrylic paint onto huge sheets of primed paper. I studied a second week with Barbara Grossman, known for her pastel figure drawings, who taught drawing and oil painting classes from the model.

Heather Standing, 1995-1996, 17 x 14 inches, charcoal on wove paper

NG: What is it about the human figure that fascinates you?

Throughout a lifetime, its complexity and incredible beauty.

NG: What encouraged you to teach yourself to work in watercolors, pastels and then oils?

Because my early work had been in pen, brush and ink, water-based paint was the obvious transition into color. While on summer fishing trips, I taught myself watercolor with the instruction in John Pike’s book Watercolor. I later increased my knowledge in a continuing study class with Marsha Donahue before it became MECA. I also studied Ettore Maiotti’s Watercolor Handbook. I sold my watercolors in summer festivals for several years and moved on to dry pastel because the colors are the most permanent of all mediums and I wanted the challenge of mastering them. My last pastel works were done in 1991 with a group of dance paintings I did in cooperation with Portland Ballet Company. It was a constant battle against a year’s work of accumulated dust I tracked through the house. Added to my allergies, it was a health hazard, and I began painting exclusively in oil.

Valley in Snow, 1990-91, 22 x 30 inches, watercolor on paper

NG: You also spent a lot of time in Maine on fishing trips in Washington County. Is Maine where you began to paint en plein air?

Watercolor paints were easily transported with fishing gear. I painted from cabin porches and in several instances I did sunsets from one of the outhouses that faced a beautiful inlet at the Norway Pines House on Lake Sysladobsis.

My first exclusive plein air painting trip, was on Monhegan Island in 1990. I hadn’t been there before, and didn’t know the terrain or hiking involved. It was trial and error working in the open air, and I went poorly prepared for the adventure. I used an aluminum tripod easel typically used for watercolors. I thought I could make it work for oil paintings. I brought large canvases. I had no established system to work from a portable taboret or palette, so I used a TV table, and because that was low, a fold-up chair from my cabin. I hiked two trips daily with unruly gear and quickly learned to stash half my gear overnight in sequestered spots. Memories of large wet canvases catching mosquitoes and high winds at Whitehead and Blackhead promontories are still clear in my mind. From then on I went prepared with small canvases, a Jullian half-box easel and other supplies in a backpack.

NG: You spoke with great reverence about the time you spent studying with American portrait artist Dan Greene from 1982–86. How did this affect your work?

My work ethic. He stressed the importance of preparation, measuring and mixing paints on the palette with a palette knife. Previously I mixed with a brush—hard on brushes, and a waste of paint that resulted in unclear mixtures. With his independent study of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City he devised recipes for what he believed were paint mixtures for various skin tones. By his example he taught the importance of independent study beyond class.

I had rented a historic home in North Salem, NY, where I lived with my three children, cared for through the day by my hired sitter. I was in the studio by 8am, premixed my palette for the model’s 9am arrival, and then again at 1pm. Ten weeks of concentrated studio work filled the summer of 1986, as I worked from two different models each day for two weeks, and repeated the schedule with two new models. I returned to Maine with 10 portraits that were pretty bad; but I continued painting from willing sitters—Premalata Gupta from India; another friend, Tess; and many others—for samples. Then I advertised for commissions. That’s how my profession really began: adherence to a work ethic, and honoring process.

Tess in Red, 1997, 27 x 22 inches, dry pastel, acrylic, marble dust on wood panel

NG: Recently you went to Lyme, CT, to see American painter Lennart Anderson’s retrospective. What important role did he play in your painting life?

I studied with Lennart in graduate school from 1994–96. His teaching comprised a series of Gestalt experiences. When he visited at easel in class, he sometimes made statements about my work. Weeks later his comments grew meaning that pertained to what I was doing in the studio. It was self-realized learning prompted by his single comment. He was not always one to compliment, but instead comment, even if it meant the hurting truth. In a drawing class, he passed behind and said, “That’s a catastrophe.” I turned to confirm it was my drawing he had addressed, and I said nothing. Several days later I looked at that same drawing of a seated woman, and realized the measurement from hip to thigh was hugely out of proportion with the rest of her body. He taught, “A good drawing makes a good painting.” I learned the importance of measuring and drawing at the beginning and end of each painting day.

Heather Standing, 1995, 40 x 30 inches, oil on linen

Even more now, after standing before his retrospective at Lyme Academy, not since I saw his last exhibit in 2015 have I been as inspired. It reinvigorated my passion for the slow movement of tonal shifts, particularly from studying his portraits and his Street Scene, 1961. His personal commitment that he not paint a work that would embarrass him is a stabbing reminder that there are some painting images of mine on the internet that I wish would disappear. He emphasized the importance of exploration: Measure. Draw. Simplify, and look at master paintings.

Lennart was a living master of painting the figure. He moved to New York during the time of Abstract Expressionism and was confronted with the question of whether or not he wanted to continue doing that kind of work. He felt Degas was the abstract expressionist of his time because passages were undefined, unexplained, and sometimes a painting was left without resolution, which was its resolution. Through our friendship I was inspired to look at a painting for passages as to how they were painted, why was a decision made, and how was it resolved.

NG: The last time you visited Lennart’s studio had a very special sadness …

Lennart met the monumental challenge of painting through the progression of his macular degeneration. The last time I visited him in his studio, I sat briefly for him while he checked the measurement of where my eyes were in relation to my chin and top of my head. He looked through a magnifying glass with the left lower corner of his left eye, just an inch in front of me. Holding up his hand, he took a measurement with his thumb and fourth finger, and said, “Yes, I thought so. Your eyes are in the middle of the head.” The last canvas he was working on was very large of three figures.

Lennart Anderson in his Harpswell studio, 2007.

NG: Paintings are “resolved” as opposed to “finished”?

Painting is a journey. In my mind finish pertains to a task. “I finished my homework. I finished the job! Practiced over time, however, the doer may arrive at eventual plateaus of resolution through the journey. A baker changes her recipe over years of trial and error until she arrives at the best cake ever.

I start with an idea or an approach to my subject matter and dive in with an intent. I measure, look at art books, visit a museum, do studies. I move things around or replace objects in a still life and rework the painting countless times. This forms a kind of movement of paint and it all starts to meld and make sense visually. When I am touching a painting less, I know it is entering the realm of resolution—and I look more and paint even less. I may take it home, hang it on the wall and ask myself, “Would I buy it?” Or I question who would want it. I look at it in a reverse image to see discrepancies and there are often many, because my eyes sometime cheat me into believing it’s right, because I’ve seen it that way for weeks, months, even years. If I let it, the painting falls together on its own. It falls apart when I impose my will on it. When I have nothing more to offer, I let it be. We reconcile.

Angled in Light, 2014-2020, 36 x 76 inches, oil on linen

NG: What’s tougher for you: starting or finishing a painting?

Moving toward the end is the most difficult because it requires restraint. This is true even when I’ve previously committed to a set of directives. For instance, when I limit myself by painting a saltshaker or a portrait head in three hours or less, I know every brushstroke will count and I accept the painting’s result as a record of my process, because the process is the resolution. This informs how I will paint other one-session paintings, a seated portrait or an open-air painting.

Claudia, 1995-96, 19 x 15 inches, oil on linen

NG: You taught at Bowdoin College. Subjects?

Painting I and II, Drawing I, and I taught independent study in painting my last semester there.

NG: While at Bowdoin, you were commissioned to paint a portrait of former Maine governor, Bowdoin professor (and president) and the hero of Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain. How did you approach it and build life into it?

For his likeness, I used the traditional grid to scale up and transfer his image from a 20- x 16-inch black and white photograph onto a 36- x 30-inch canvas. I wasn’t content with just using the photograph. I researched biographies, diaries and videos for his history and was intent on building what I learned about his character into the painting. He shared the beliefs of Harriet Beecher Stowe, his friend, and he presented Bowdoin’s board of directors with his desire to make the college coed. I wanted it to appear as if I had painted him from life. The following is an excerpt from my writing about painting life into his portrait while I was living in Italy:

I discover the light is not ideal on the first floor. It takes days to move my studio upstairs to the bathroom where I have full length glass doors that pull in the best morning light that reflects off the bathroom’s white plastered walls. The palette perches on a rattan night table. The paint tubes are on top of the washing machine. The easel stands in front of the bathroom sink. The gridded photograph is on another easel and when I take a break, I crawl out from under the adjoining easels for escape. When I want to see the work in process, I step backward and take care not to fall into the bidet or off the veranda beyond the open doors.

I paint five hours between drawing every morning and afternoon. I look into a mirror at his reverse image for inconsistencies in Joshuas likeness. Unwanted dry paint is scraped off with the side of the palette knife. Its blotted if wet. I redraw. Build again. The web of paint layers, the pentimenti, scintillate. Because I see through them, his image seems to shift. The effect is similar when I paint a seated portrait from observation, when my brush follows the sitters every movement in pursuit of new information. The painting dries and grows increasingly transparent over time, and reveals layers of life. A discerning viewer can trace the process of building life into the painting.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, 1999-2000, 36 x 30 inches, oil on linen

NG: You also taught at MECA from 1989–93, then called the Portland School of Art. What did you teach?

In Continuing Studies, I taught painting the portrait head, figure drawing and watercolor.

NG: Any amusing/interesting class situations that come to mind?

A model, hired by the school, arrived for class just as it began with no time left for us to talk first. While facing the students and introducing class, I saw awe open on their faces, and turned to see the model, disrobed and seated nude on the model stand. She hadn’t been aware that my class was Painting the Portrait Head.

In a watercolor course with many various-aged students, we sat in a circle and I asked each to reveal a story about their life that had discouraged their creativity. "Why had they stopped painting?" I asked. Each student had a heartrending tale to tell. Teachers, friends, family and work-related events had broken each one’s self-confidence in some jaw-dropping way. That was one of the best classes I’ve taught.

Cheryl, 1995-96, 18 x 15 inches, oil on linen

NG: You moved around A LOT … 50 different moves, which can be an adventure or rather unsettling. How has all the moving informed your work?

I’ve painted in over 20 different studios. Once the studio was a stabilizer when I moved my residence into three different rentals while I maintained one studio for 16 years. Aside from being costly, in some ways it has been frustrating, reorganizing and establishing new routines, sometimes a year away from painting. The transitions, however, offered new friendships and museums to visit, and led to experimenting with directions in my work. The challenges have taught me about working in various light sources. I learned to keep an open mind about what might be available for workspace. While I built our home in Cumberland during the summer of 1989, I painted in a basement classroom with above-ground ideal north light windows at Lunt Road Elementary School in Falmouth. It was cool and cost just $100. Our rented house was across the street, and my children played at the school’s playground!

NG: How did reading the 1986 publication Endurance: Shackletons Incredible Voyage move you forward?

In the ’80s, after I raised my children, I wanted to begin a new life and earn a more steady income. A Myers-Briggs test assessed my strengths as (1) an actor, (2) a lawyer and (3) an artist. Each required I extend my education. I loved acting and singing but although I worked to project my small voice, I had terrible stage fright. Best I ever achieved was understudy. I considered law because injustice enraged me, but it required more undergraduate credits and I was in my 40s. Moving forward as an artist seemed the riskiest because I couldn’t be sure of a steady income.

Marsha Donahue recommended I read the true story. In the book, during Ernest Shackleton’s 1914–17 trans-Antarctic expedition, his ship, Endurance, sinks after breaking apart from changing ice conditions. The last chapters of the book describe Shackleton and two of his crew as they climb over dangerous mountain terrain to reach the whaling stations on the inhabited side to find help. Faced with starvation, exposure and nightfall, they risk their lives and create a human sled, link their three bodies together, and slide down the mountain unsure of where it will lead. They arrive unharmed at the whaling station. Inspired to take a risk, I began my search for MFA programs, and wound up at Brooklyn College where I continued figure painting, and began painting still life.

Boiled Eggs, 1996, 16 x 20 inches, oil on mounted muslin

NG: Fair to say that you love challenges and adventures?

Yes. Some challenges have dismantled me for a time, but in the end, when faced squarely, they have motivated me to make new discoveries. I’m aware that I am the happiest when I’m learning something new, and challenge initiates adventure. Like moving to Subic Bay, Philippines, with my former husband and our young family in the mid ’70s, and striking out on my own when I moved to Italy in 1999 without knowing the language. Both experiences introduced me to new cultures and many new friends I will never forget.

This highly visual and interesting statement by you is featured on the Greenhut Galleries site:

How I paint: A look through a viewfinder divides my vision of the subject into fractions, and I clearly see where strong contrasts meet. I mark those on the canvas with charcoal. I grind paint onto the palette with my knife, and, with broad brushstrokes, I weave large amounts over the canvas with a hunt for an overall spirit. Varied textures describe my search for spatial relationships. Distance or foreground is implied with thin washes or scraped off paint. Thick paint may identify form, middle ground or detail. As I filter through cognitive, physical and intuitive practices, my engagement with the work ceases being a record of my process. The painting materializes with a spirit of its own.

The following five questions refer to the above statement:

Daniel Kany: You talk about a “hunt for an overall spirit” and write “The painting materializes with a spirit of its own.” This sounds like two different parts of the process: The first is an artist-driven search, and the second is the resolution that seems to be—ultimately, at least—separate from you. Please tell us more about that.

I begin with an idea and know the process might veer from what I had first imagined. I honor a painting’s evolution because I’m aware no two paintings are alike in process. It’s like tacking in a sailing vessel. Aside from the destination, the captain is aware he will need to dock elsewhere if winds divert his course, in which case the crew disembarks, explores and, with a restocked inventory, continues to the original destination, and with a wealth of new information.

DK: You map out points of strong contrasts on the canvas. Is that more about getting things rolling, or do they tend to play a compositional role through to the end?

Both. Not always strong contrasts; they may be markers—like latitude and longitudes on a map, and where they cross indicates something significant—where objects overlap, perhaps. That’s what I search for when I look through a viewfinder. The next step is where do I put the first mark on the canvas: in the middle, to the right or left, above or below the middle? It’s determined by what I want in the painting. Am I homing in on a still life, or do I want an across-the-room view? The decision determines the first mark’s placement in relationship to the four sides of the canvas. Actually, the composition begins with the four sides of the canvas in relation to its surroundings, before I even touch it.

Vessels and Light, 2022, 24 x 27 inches, charcoal on linen, in process

DK: What about your palette? Your individual works tend to have a tonal and atmospheric consistency. What is the role of your palette in balancing contrasts, light, atmosphere and color?

Thank you, Dan, for your thoughtful questions! My palette is where I think. A well-organized palette, with the paints arranged left to right, light to dark and warm to cool, organizes my thinking and saves time in creating the tones I want. Color is inside the tube and it becomes a tone when it is squeezed from the tube onto the palette. There begins its conversation with everything around it, the subject matter, other palette tones and the environment. Neutrals are big actors. I mix them, warm vs. cool, early on. If they work side by side on the palette, I know they’ll work similarly on the canvas. I watch for a cool tone’s transition into a warm tone. It’s usually a matter of very close relationships to describe form. Contrasting tones confront and create stops that stabilize a composition. Similar values of different temperatures create fluidity through the painting.

Yarmouth Town Landing, 2022, 18 x 24 inches, oil on linen

DK: What is the role of your palette in balancing contrasts, light, atmosphere and color?

As far as atmosphere goes, I’m very much aware of it, like a camper. Am I in blistering hot air, and feeling the humidity when the sky suddenly darkens before a thundering storm, or enjoying clean cool air? My perception helps establish the overall tonal structure of the painting and determines the mixtures I create within that structure.

I’m cognizant of the tonal difference of distant trees compared to those in front of me. I’m intrigued by the changing quality of light when I look directly into a window and see its visual effect on the darkened interior. The effect of one’s perception of light quality is created by intertwining temperature choice, tool use and paint viscosity. It helps to have a studied skill with various processes of painting to understand that the amount of paint, its fluidity and how it is applied also help to achieve that specific atmospheric effect.

Bath Bridges, 2008, 12 x 16 inches, oil on mounted muslin

DK: How do you begin building a painting?

With a large brush loaded with paint. Like one is vacuuming, I exhaust the paint by pushing it over a large area of the canvas. I continue to push warm tones against cool tones with loaded brushes and want an overall tonal structure for the work, the groundwork for later choices of where I may glaze, or build up more paint. At the end of the session, I will mark with charcoal over the paint to reestablish placements of key elements and begin to describe form. I look for areas of continuity where tones agree in value, and for areas of contrast. If paint builds in unwanted areas, I scrape, blot and sand until I work back toward the original surface. Then I will either leave it as is, if it works. If it doesn’t, I build thin layers of paint in a grisaille/glazing process.

DK: Are there paintings you’ve seen that have inspired you?

Oh, so many. These stand out.

In the fall of 1998, I stood before Pierre Bonnard’s View of Le Cannet, View over Rooftops and wept. There is everything in the painting—a distant mountain, or maybe its water; village rooftops of clay; and a man tilling his garden with a plow pulled by a donkey. I love that painting.

The Land of Cockaigne by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, I saw at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich in 2000–01. I understood it as a statement about gluttony and eating as much as one can because of fear of starvation. It opened my awareness to the socio-economic content of Bruegel’s work.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche covers an entire wall at the British Museum in London. It was as if I was there about to witness her execution. I returned multiple times to study the painting’s internal light while I was painting the portrait of Joshua Chamberlain.

The Eucharist, one of the Poussin’s Seven Sacraments, is in a circular room at the National Gallery in Edinburgh. Poussin’s skillful placement of Judas in the fall of a great long shadow on the far left on the canvas depicted him as if hesitating as he left Jesus and the disciples.

The Morgenthau Plan by Anselm Kiefer. I was not aware of this painting until I first viewed it at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Kiefer’s vision of how fields in Germany might look in reparation after World War II is a monumental work. It’s painted in a limited palette with impassioned brushwork and thick paint. It filled me with hope.

Every time I visit The Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, I search out Dans un Cafe á Paris by Lois Mailou Jones. There is so much heart and a simply masterful still life in her painting.

NG: Writing … another area of great interest to you. Tell us about the Tanya Whiton course and your memoir. How does it feel to look back?

I took her Narrative Elements I and II classes in 2021 that have helped find my way through material I had been struggling with for years. I rewrite from journaled and documented writing about painting experiences I have had since 1991. With new information about the mechanics of narrative presented in class, I’ve evolved my work into an art form, a memoir about my life and work in Italy from 1999 to 2002. I want the reader there with me, so I relive those experiences when I write. It’s sometimes painful and other times exquisite to be there again.

NG: “Tango,” one of your memoir segments, is nearly complete … Will you share an excerpt?

My introduction to dancing tango after having recently arrived in Perugia, Italy:

“Tango on an Umbrian Floor”

We took a dark corner of the large room, and Judith began to undress her left foot and don one tango shoe. Open-toed, dangerously high-heeled, with a strap that connected the shoes open toe to a perpendicular strap, buckled just below her ankle. Looked pretty lethal to me. I surmised, different shoes were worn on the dance floor, and it must be so for men too. She explained the soles were soft, supple leather and easily maneuvered while dancing. I was miserably embarrassed when I smoothed the sole of my cloth-toed square-heeled boot over the other, a subconscious reminder that I was not dressed appropriately.

I could not avert my eyes from Judiths shoes. Wide open black mesh stockings skirted by a slit hem emerged above them. There were glitters all about her, in her hair on her body suit, black. Fur draped behind her on the back of her chair. Her Ava Gardner self-emerged and I listened.

Self Portrait in Black, 2001, 22 x 18 inches, oil on linen

NG: And the book you’ve written on teaching art, what areas does that cover?

Each chapter of The Language of Color, A Painters Handbook includes the use of limited palettes, defined terminologies, exercises and discussions. Its purpose is to teach the exploration of mixing desired tones in oil paint, while at the same time the student learns and uses the language of color theory while working on the palette. It can be used in a classroom, painting with a partner, or for self-study. This is an originally designed course of study that I have been augmenting since 1999. I’ve incorporated my teaching, “It’s on the Palette,” into the book. I’ve met with my editor and we are pushing forward to publication.

NG: What’s next?

I’m working on still life paintings now. I have drawing studies for large multiple-figure paintings I’ve wanted to do for several years, and can now move the canvases because I have access to a freight elevator. The canvases are ready! I have an exhibition June 2023 at Greenhut Galleries in Portland, ME, and will send new work to Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville, DE. I’ll continue my memoir.

NG: Whom do you wish to thank for your growth as a painter?

Reaching Woman, 2007, 17 x 14 inches, charcoal on paper

Those I’ve mentioned in this interview, plus:

  • My three children, their spouses, my former husband and his wife, and my four grandchildren who continually surprise and inspire me with their creations and insights
  • John Demos and Kelly Lier, present owner and co-owner of Greenhut Galleries and Cove Street Arts, Portland, ME
  • Peggy Golden, former owner of Greenhut Galleries
  • Crew at Greenhut Galleries
  • Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville, DE
  • Johanna Moore, Lone Pine Projects, Gardener, ME
  • Chris Polson and Joe Calderwood, Twin Brooks Stretchers, Lincolnville, ME
  • Photographers: Bernard C. Meyers, Salt Lake City, UT; Kenneth Woisard Photography, East Blue Hill, ME; and Andrew Etsey, Brunswick, ME
  • John Ciccolini, Creation Web Design, NJ
  • Jesse La Fountain, videographer, Portland, ME
  • My collectors
  • Students and the supportive artists, writers and editors I’ve met through the years

. . .


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