Friday, March 21, 2014

A review of my work

What a treat to wake up to the Seattle Times newspaper review about my work! I don't know writer Nancy Worssam but she seems to understand my goals as a painter... Yay! Read the entire review here.

A review of “Paintings About Trees,” comprising works by Barbara Benedetti Newton, Monte Shelton and Darin Clark, at Jeffrey Moose Gallery through Saturday, May 3, 2014.

The landscapes by Barbara Benedetti Newton are suffused with gossamer colors. Newton began as a colored-pencil artist, won numerous prizes and became a well-known teacher and writer about the form. She then began experimenting in pastels and more recently in oils. In these media, too, she has won numerous prizes and become a known authority, masterfully capturing the diffused light of the Northwest.

The pastel and oil landscapes on exhibit are impressionist renderings. For some pastels she adds moisture to achieve a wash that gives the works a diaphanous quality. Yet within these works she often includes hard-edged elements more precisely rendered.

There’s a lovely gauziness in her oils, too, where shapes and colors flow into one another. In these paintings she plays with the paint, sometimes feathering it out, at other times carefully defining each element of the landscape. Look for the bursts of color in many of the paintings, bursts like subtle fireworks that are powerfully effective.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Retired Guy finally cleaned off his desk and got back to me regarding these financial docs.

Otherwise, life with Mr. Cheerful and Agreeable is good. My focus is on our 2013 tax return prep and decisions for the new house so I didn't get to the easel at all last week.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

digging counts, painting doesn't

Good news today! Apparently, digging weeds out of the peonies counts as steps.

Since my 70th birthday last October, I've been wearing a Fitbit. Rarely do I make the "goal" of 10,000 steps per day. A 25 minute dog-walk gives me 2,500. A shopping trip to Costco is about the same. Yesterday I accompanied Annie and Retired Guy on their walk for a whopping 6,000 steps.

Today I dug in the garden for several hours and my Fitbit said it was 3,500 steps. Yay! Standing at the easel painting for the same amount of time is viewed by fitbit as comparable (in steps) to lying on the couch snoozing. Digging is good.

Monday, March 3, 2014

an attitude adjustment

 The Signature of All Things  |  pastel  |  15 x 18.5

In January I wrote that I suspected my life would change once Jay was retired. I anticipated helping him navigate the transition to his new life but surprisingly, I am not needed for that. He is loving retirement and is Mr. Cheerful and Agreeable. He is giving his full attention to the meetings and legwork to get our house plans submitted and to start the building process in the spring. Our project is in good hands. With Jay around to help care for Annie, I expected to have more time to paint. These days, they are together constantly beginning with a long morning walk. She accompanies him in the car for most errands. I am dogless, the house is quiet and I could be painting uninterruped for hours if I was motivated.

Instead, I have needed to take a break with a cold but it did give me the opportunity to read Elizabeth Gilbert's book, The Signature of All Things. I loved it and became curious about the title of the book, wanting to use it for the name of my latest painting.

I discovered Signatura Rerum (The Signature of All Things) by the German mystic and theologian Jacob Boehme (1575-1624).  In his book, Boehme discourses at length on one of the fundamental laws of magic: the law of signatures, the concept that every object in the real world has some hidden meaning, and particularly how these signatures interact. Interesting.

OK, I'm done with my cold and lack of motivation. I'm giving myself an attitude adjustment.