Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, new year...

Nicole Cummings England, September 24th, 1973---December 24, 2010

Yesterday was Nicole's viewing, and what a hard day that was.  We started off with all of the kids crammed into the car (like the good old days!), and we set off to New York.  We had to make a "pit stop" in Manhattan to drop off some of my work for an upcoming show, and we did not anticipate that we would be sitting for *two hours* in the helix by the Lincoln Tunnel.  So, imagine a carload of teenagers whining about their asses being sore, having to use the bathroom, and being hungry, and being bored.  I was ready to RUN through the tunnel on foot by the time we actually got near to it!

The City was still poorly cleared and cleaned after the blizzard, so it made for monstrous traffic and parking became like the legendary unicorn...we did manage to find some illegal parking, and Mark stayed with the car as I used the young muscles to carry my work to the gallery.  After a much needed bathroom and food break, including a dirtywater dog for Mark for his post as parking spot "watchman,"  we started out on our journey again over the Brooklyn Bridge.  With traffic moving steadily at a crawl all the way through to Staten Island, we arrived nearly seven hours after we started our trip, and we were frazzled and just grateful to be out of the car by that point. 

We stopped to gather with the family before the second viewing of the day, and enjoy some light dinner together.  Her parents were holding up as best as can be expected when enduring a tragedy of this magnitude.  Her mother is an elegant, and beautiful woman, and Nicole and she were so similar, it is amazing to behold.

We arrived at the funeral parlor, and Mark went out to find some parking, as the number of mourners and friends, even at this final viewing, was overwhelming to the point of having to open up the adjoining rooms to accommodate everyone.  Luckily, Nicole's was the only wake for that time in that funeral home, so that all of her well-wishers packed every last seat, spot and crevice of the place.  There had to be at least a hundred people at this particular viewing, and several hundred during the course of the day.

The flowers were so amazing, literally a hundred different beautiful arrangements, some monstrous in size, down to a few, small delicate orchids with a dainty vase and beautiful sentiment, and they filled every last spot along all of the walls, fanning out from her coffin.  The scent of the flowers was overwhelming at first, and made me cringe...that sickening smell of sweetness, in association with funerals, always repulsed me until I can get over my aversion and adjust to it.

Nicole lay in a beautiful, pink lined coffin that was pearlescent gray, with rosebud handles, looking like Sleeping Beauty.  She was so beautiful still, even in death, with long blonde hair spread out, and a look of deep peace and serenity on her lovely porcelain skin, a hint of shimmering pink on her lips.  My emotion overwhelmed me at the sight of her, a mixture of disbelief, pain and this can't possibly be true, it can't possibly be the end...and it's not.  The look of glowing acceptance on her cool cheek bolstered my knowledge of her residence in Heaven...she was with God, and she was released from this mortal world.  No more pain, no more suffering, and she will always be young, always be sweet and beautiful...

My sister had pinned a delicate, pink antique crystal brooch to Nicole's pretty white sweater, and the beauty of it made me smile.  Nicole was always such a stylish woman, she would be pleased.  I touched her smooth, relaxed hand as it clutched her crystal rosary, and whispered my final good-bye to her...

I hugged my brother and the boys.  They were holding up, and were grateful for the large outpouring of love and support.  My brother seemed dazed by the whole event, but put his best face forward, and greeted everyone with dignity and gratitude.

Today was her burial, early this morning, but we were unable to make it back.  Her parents understood, hugged us "goodbye," hoping that will keep in touch even though Nicole is gone now.  I promised her Mom that we would, and she looked deep into my eyes, with her beautiful blue eyes filled with tears, and for that moment I looked into her soul, and felt the depth of her pain, and all I could do is hug her and weep...

And so, we said good-bye to our beloved Sister. 

It's New Year's Eve, and I am very subdued, and yet, hopeful for the happiness that 2011 will bring.  Life is a mixed bag, and for the huge, sad events that happen to us, there are many, many good ones too.  We shoulder on, we remember our dear ones who left us, and we go forward and build happy bridges to the new people that enter our lives...our sister Nicole left us this year, but my sister Dale gave birth to a new baby girl, named Nicole, for our dearly departed, and we now get the privilege of moving through the new circle of life, and the pleasure of watching these new people grow into our the end, life is Good, life is a Gift, life is a Blessing.

And, with that thought, I look forward to 2011.

God bless you all, and have a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"The Kiss"

"The Kiss" by Hilary J. England, 2010, 16" x 20" oil on hardwood panel

I finally was able to finish this painting, after MUCH struggles...but, I am very happy with the results (just need to adjust the photo since it is way too high key due to the circumstances I photoed it under).

This painting is number three in the continuing series I'm doing studying youth, and the impact of their circumstances, and the struggles they go through as they come of age.  In this painting, I conveyed the pain, shock and disbelief of being betrayed by a good friend, the dawning realization of what acts had been committed, and loss of innocence that accompanies that first shocking betrayal.  In the end, I watched how they sorted out their differences, and how the friendship was cooled, and I saw how Noelle was altered, and a little less of a girl, and a little more wordly because of it. 

I worked through my own issues to complete this, having lost my sister-in-law less than a week ago, and Christmas in the midst of it, and to add to the mix, having a flu that left me so drained, I could barely get out of my pajamas.  I decided that no matter how I felt, I still had to move forward with it, and with this series.  I have another four to complete, and then I'll see if I feel I have finished with that particular subject matter...maybe not!

My mind is somewhat scrambled, since following Nicole's death this week, we've had some MORE bad news about another family member, and I feel like I'm being dashed against the rocks emotionally.  My brain is resisting the absorption of all of this negativity, and when it gets over-loaded, it has a tendency to short-circuit and shut down. 

I need a few days to regroup, and recover from the sadness of the upcoming funeral before I start deciding on what subject matter I want to tackle with the teens, and how I'm going to compose it, light it, etc.  I usually mull these things and sketch, and also write out, my ideas.  I'm not too formal in doing tight-assed preliminary drawings (that's right--be shocked, Myron!), and kind of do some loose sketches, get the main design elements together, find an emotional center that I connect to, and pretty much go from there...and, usually, some internal cut off switch just lets me know when I have completed it.  Simple stuff?  Nah, not really.

So, that's that for now...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowy peace

The East is being hit by a blizzard tonight...but not us.  I know my friends in New York are seeing up to 20 inches of snow, but here, the snow has circumvented skirted the mountains, gently touched the edge of the pine trees, and left us a pocket of flurries...a light snow dusting covers the grass, and nothing more.

Yesterday, Christmas Day, was a riot of noise.  My parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and Gabby and the children arrived, and the kids dove in to opening their gifts.  After all of the hysteria of that, we sat around in the kitchen, eating and drinking, and recalling good times of Christmas past, and had many laughs, and again, a tear or two.  We enjoyed each other's company all the more, it being recognized as precious, in light of Nicole's passing the day before...

After everyone was gone, and the house was quiet, Mark and I began the clean up, and quite exhausted, we both went directly to sleep.  This lingering sickness reared it's ugly head at night, with aches, congestion, sore throat, etc., and along with a general malaise in my mind, sleep was hard to come by.

We arose early today and headed out to Church, which was quite empty, since of the approaching snow and recent holiday, but the message was comforting, and I was glad I made the little effort to get there.  I got home, and everyone just quietly went to their own little corners of the house to do their own activities...Mark and Anthony sat to watch football, Noelle to play on her new iPhone, and I headed out to my studio, for the first time since the day before Christmas Eve, to do some work.

As the fire crackled in my little potbellied stove, and the snow gently fell, I felt such a peace wash over me.  It was like a little pocket of Heaven, a moment frozen in time.  In that moment, I felt a radiant love in the midst of the mental queasiness that had been hanging over me for the last few days.  Then, as quickly as it came, it evaporated, and I stood there, in front of my easel, and I could just feel the paint jumping out at me, the colors blazing, with a sense of urgency...As if all of my fears were tied into that painting...the ridges and swirls of colors, the smooth expanses of creamy hues, and I felt an appetite arise in me that became as big as the room itself, and again, I felt peace.

I don't know what this New Year will bring, none of us do.  Sadly, I have reached some sort of proverbial "hump" where I don't really look with excitement toward the New Year, more like with bated breath and a bit of trepidation, but I won't do that.  I staunchly refuse to let fear creep into my life...An old friend of mine used to say, "Do all you can do, and then stand."  That's what I plan to do. Stand, not cower.

Nicole's wake is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, with her burial on Thursday.  It was a long, suffering journey for her, and now, she has reached her destination, the Heavenly realm.  I pray for the strength to go this last distance with her earthly remains, as the parting point for us here, and we will meet again in the next life...that thought brings me comfort, and shores me up for the difficult next few days...

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Devastating Loss

It's Christmas Eve, and I'm very exhausted.  I have been battling a flu that won't go away, and I woke up to very sad news I have been dreading...  My sister in law Nicole, has died.  Her battle with brain cancer is over.  She was called home to Heaven this morning of Christmas Eve, and she is now with Jesus. 

Even through all of her suffering and her struggles, she was so strong, and so beautiful.  She fought death for  months beyond what anybody would give her.  She entered hospice in early September, and she amazed everyone with how she survived.  She wanted so much to be with her boys, my nephews.  She fought through the pain, to the very threshhold of death, and stilled and poised, there she stayed for over three months. 

My brother and her parents are devastated, as are we all.  Even though we knew how gravely ill she was, every day she stayed alive was a gift, and somehow gave us a strange hope...a hope against hope...even though we knew what the end was predicted to be, still we prayed and prayed...first for the cure, for her miracle, and in the end, for the release from this mortal pain. 

After much consideration as to what we should do, we decided to go ahead and gather for Christmas Eve dinner, and we will gather for Christmas day dinner as well.  We decided that we would have a rememberance of all of the wonderful times we were blessed to share with Nicole, in honor of our girl, who was taken much too soon from this life.  We shared alot of laughs, and also tears.  It was hard to be around the table, thinking of earlier, happier days, and know she will not be there again...not in our earthly lifetime.

So, until we meet again, sweet Princess, you are in all of our hearts, always.

Rest in peace, Nicole, age 37 years, and 3 months, to the day. May flights of angels see thee to thy rest.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Sometimes a painting is just a pleasure, and you sail through it on a calm sea, completely in tune with your brush, and it is such a triumph.  This painting I'm working on is not. 

I can understand that not all paintings will be as mentioned above--if they were, we would never grow as artists.  I had to come into the warm and take a breather, since this new painting is giving me a fit.

It started off as usual, but now that I've hit the middle ground, it just isn't "gelling."  The eyes are staring through me rather than at me, and since I'm working in such a high key, the midtones are completely gone, so I have to create my own three dimensional visual "bridge" that really isn't there...that's called improvising, and if it isn't done right, because there are no perceptual visual cues for me to go on, it changes the dimensions of the I'm walking a very fine line. 

My plan of attack is usually to start working on another area of the painting when I get stuck.  I usually walk back about 10 or 15 feet, and look at as a whole, and see what needs to be adjusted, and get to it.  Today, I woke up feeling yucky, it was cold out and I wasn't tolerating it well, and the face, which is one of the main composition components of the painting was just glaringly annoying me, the tones were wrong, the dimensions off, and too many fussy little things going on too early in the painting,  so I went berserk and just basically painted out the whole thing--got rid of all details, and started again with big design components...

So now I'm in here...feeling crabby, and taking a breather.  We've had a row, my painting and I, so now I need to be away from it and sulk for a while.  Soon, I will go outside and make up with it, but just not now.  I need to clear my head and get warm ;-)

Yes, I know it sounds psycho, and maybe to an outsider it is, but to me, it's how I operate and communicate to the Muse...sometimes we are friends, sometimes not.  It's a very real thing, and once you leave your "zone," or can't find your way in, it's a problem.  So, I'll clear the head a while, another cup of coffee...

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Young Model"

"Young Model" by Hilary J. England 16" x 20" oil on canvas

The last two days at the Art Student's League have been productive.  I was able to complete this above painting in about three hours, (four hours time with several 5-10 minute breaks).  Although I must admit to working with some inferior materials, when the world hands you lemons, break out the salt and tequila!  In other words, I tried to make the best of it.

 She was a good model, easy on the eyes, although, for me, I was literally on top of her in my easel position, and due to where I was, she was almost completely in shadow, again.   I seem to be always in the area where the model is always in shadow, which really forces me to see the warm and cool tones in the flesh, or else she would come out looking like a  solid blob of gray with a few flecks of yellow here and these studies are very good for me in that they really force me to see beyond the obvious.

I knew Joe would be back after being absent the night before, and as is his way, he can be brutally frank when he critiques, but for some reason, he seemed to be happy about things--maybe he was in the Christmas spirit! 

I had skipped out last week to go see the tree at Rockefeller center with Noelle, Jill and Trevor.  We ate some food at the Brooklyn Diner, which was quite festive and done up for the holidays, and then off to the tree...encountered some rats in the subway, but, heck, they're entitled to stay warm too! 

So, that's it till next week.  New model, new painting.  I'm also working on two new paintings in my studio, and have put off any landscape work due to the holidays and it being brutally cold out lately...heck, I just can't muster the Under Amour right now...I will after New Year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cozy winter days and a new painting

"The Thinkers" by Hilary J. England 18" x 24" oil on hardwood panel

I have been spending the afternoons and evenings playing chess with Anthony.  I enjoy that time we spend together, as we take out the wooden chess board, and all the neatly carved pieces.  He is a young man now, and I am flattered that he doesn't find the time with me boring.  We laugh and he usually beats me, but I am proud of his intelligence, and getting defeated in chess by him only makes me more proud, and not bitter like he jokes it does!

This is the newest painting in my series revolving around Noelle.  It's called "The Thinkers," and it was a very interesting painting to complete.  I really had quite a gusto for it, and I didn't feel any stagnation through this process.  Some paintings just flow so easily, others come kicking and screaming.  This was a pure stream of thought, and the creation of it was very harmonious and satisfying. 

I enjoyed the girls "mugging" for me, playing at sophistication in their 14 year old minds.  How deep and complex and devilishly simply all at the same time.  The playfulness of it masked the very adult way they try to take they are in the early stages of young adulthood, and they wish to be "older."  Sigh....

So, I tried to convey that, how complex and strangely simple they are, and of course, not let their happy youth get lost in the impishness of their age.   A unique balance, but I feel I caught it at the right moment.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back home

Sorry I didn't post a little sooner, but this last trip really took it out of me.  Barcelona was beautiful and chic, and the Galeria Con opening went smoothly and was very enjoyable, but I was literally stomped by jet-lag and depression, so that even all of the beautiful sights, sounds and smells of the city did little to lift my spirits...I did have internet access and should've blogged, but I couldn't bring myself to...I just couldn't.

As I sat down by the Mediterranean over the weekend,  watching the huge breakers wash over the shoreline, I thought of my family back home, enjoying Thanksgiving, and I felt sad.  Not about missing the turkey, or even about missing the gathering, but about how time has changed so many things for us, how we've all grown up, apart, and we've all moved away.  My parents are old now.  We've lost loved ones.  People have entered and exited our lives.  The kids aren't kids anymore.  WE aren't kids anymore.  So much has happened, and rather than being in the midst of it, being away from it made me see how far we've come, both in a positive, yet scary way.

This brought tears to my eyes, in the realization that everything changes, inexorably, constantly moving forward, ripping and tearing along the way, leaving bits and pieces, sometimes whole sections, behind.  I felt nostalgia when I thought back to holidays of the past, when we were all together, and there was a feeling of safety and home.  It seems gone now, hollow...and that made me feel even further away than I was.

I thought about Nicole, and the pain washed over me in a wave bigger than the ones in front of me.  I can't help her.  I can't fix her.  I can only hold on to my memories of her, young, gentle and lovely, not the present reality, and allow the grief to run it's course. 

Many changes happened this year, and this trip caused me to remember rather than to forget, as it was on the anniversary of a few of them.  I guess if I wanted to forget, I should have went back to Paris ;-)

Anyway, the holidays are rapidly approaching, and that just means one thing--hold on to your wallets!  Santa is coming with his big, red sack, that contains a Shopvac in it, to suck all of your money out...spoken like a real Grinch!  Actually, I do love the holiday season very much, the good times with family and friends, the cheerful decorations, the food and parties, even the season's first snowfalls, and the peace of seeing the countryside blanketed in pristine white.   Yes, I do love the holidays.

I am working on three new paintings in the meantime, as I have two shows coming up that I need to complete my work for, plus still going to ASL to paint with Joe, so busy days ahead.  I will post as the new paintings are finished.

Ciao for now, and God Bless.

Friday, November 19, 2010

League Time

"Andrea at the League" oil on canvas 16" x 20" by Hilary J. England
It's been interesting time at the ASL, and I love being there.  I understand as the "newbie" in the class, I had to get my fair share of ribbing and also the worst "pole" position when it comes to our easel assignments, but I think the pranking went to the outlandish, so far over, I actually just burst out laughing at the absurdity of the entire situation:

I was basically working in a "phone booth" on this painting above.  Not in a literal sense, as we don't have phone booths in the classroom, but I was physically boxed in between three painters, all working on tremendous canvases, so I would have to step out between them and peer at the model, and then scurry back into my "cave" and paint.  This made tonal judgements quite difficult, since I did manage to position my palette out into some dim, precious light, but when I went back into the "cave," I had to rely on faith that my initial brushstroke and color/tonal choice was the correct one, since I was nearly in the dark, and painting in the dark is quite a hurdle to overcome.  

Plus, if this wasn't handicap enough, the young Spaniard behind me, working on his six foot canvas that was literally an inch from my back, began beating on his painting with a mahl stick, in some new method of trying to achieve texture, so I felt as if I was in the middle of some tribal initiation, and with this insanity going on around me, I just couldn't help but to laugh, as it truly was bizarre and funny! 

Anyway, all hurdles and handicaps put aside, I did manage to blaze out a coherent painting in four hours, with breaks.   It's called, quite simply, "Andrea at the League," and Andrea enjoyed it, and so did I. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day of rest

Wow...I forgot how much commuting takes it out of me.  I used to drive to New York and back four, five or sometimes six nights a week when I had a young family to support, and now that I haven't done that in five years, I am wiped out from it.   But, the end result is the big picture, and working with Joseph Peller makes it worth it.

He is a tough guy, with rigorous standards, and I wholeheartedly appreciate that.  No slacking with him--but he is even and fair about it.  Even though he is strict, I can see he has a good heart beneath the gruff exterior, and that puts me at ease.  Besides,  discomfort is the catalyst to change!   If he sat around telling me how wonderful and amazing my work is, I would have absolutely no reason to change anything about it...and that's NOT the reason I am putting myself out there...I want a growth experience.  You don't go to the gym and lift the same amount of weights for years if you want to get results!

Anyway, the commute wasn't quite so bad on the way in, since I decided against sitting in the parking lot we call the Lincoln Tunnel, and went over the George Washington bridge, and down the Henry Hudson Pkwy, so it was a nice, speedy trip in.  The ride home was pretty good until the poor fellow speeding along in front of me on I78 hit a big buck that jumped from out of nowhere on the median, showering my car with chunks of bloody deer meat and stunned the hell out of me, but I was able to knock the big piece off with my windshield wipers without missing a beat or pulling over, and had Mark pick the smaller pieces of deer meat out of my grill, wiper blades, etc. when I got home.  THAT is the reason I don't use a nice car to commute with.  The guy that hit the deer totaled out his car, since the deer was pretty big, full rack and all.  I felt bad for both the guy, and the deer.  Rotten timing.

On a brighter note, I got word via phone call yesterday that "Alejandro on a swiftly tilting planet" won first place in the most recent exhibition I entered it into...that is always a nice thing, and some prize money to go with the honor of it, so I was very happy to hear it.  I'll post more details as they come along. 

When I get a chance, I'll post some of the work I have completed at the League.  As for today, I think I'll take it easy, enjoy some r&r, and work at my leisure.  Have a nice day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Up and running

I am up and running this today...actually, I got quite a bit done, which makes me feel relieved...I had a large list that was starting to grow even larger...that never sits right with me!

I dropped off my one painting to a local venue I'm going to exhibit in, and after some confusion on the part of the organizers, was able to deliver the artwork with no problem.  It is "Alejandro on a swiftly tilting planet," and it will be on display in the Bethlehem (Pennsylvania USA) City Hall Rotunda through January 9th, 2011.

As for the other two paintings that I have going from that series, they will be going first to N.A.W.A. NYC, in Dec./January, then to Red Dot NYC in March, then off to Europe and Japan for the Summer and Autumn of, I am busy, busy, busy!

I spent a lazy night last night, lying on the couch after dinner, the house completely still--both kids upstairs either on their computers or chatting on their cells, and Mark was napping before work; it gave me time to just zone out, while Chorkie decided my fingernails needed to be nibbled and groomed...she is the funniest little dog--and she literally puts me into a trance when she goes into her grooming mode--she washes her own face with her little paws, and that instantly strikes me dumb, like a great white shark getting put into a state of catatonia by grasping it's's immediate.  She is the most relaxing mini dog to watch as she goes through her routine, and then ends up, all 6 pounds of her, sprawled on her back like she owns the couch!

I watched the old 1927 German silent film "Metropolis," last night.  It was quite an amazing film, but I think the scene that really threw me "for a loop" was the scene in which "Maria" has become the Machine-Man, and performs this eerie, spooky and erotic dance as the Whore of literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!  Brigitte Helm had this lanky, blonde waifishness about her, and as the reincarnation of the Whore, she does this darkly contorted, pseudosexual "horror show" dance, in which she incites the men into a homicidal frenzy of sexual's really an astounding scene, and one that is timeless in it's effect...

I also watched "The Walking Dead," and brother, that is just a yucky, Zombiefest!  A totally guilty pleasure!

Anyway, my painting in Berlin has grown legs, and will now toddle over to another exhibition, which is wonderful.  I heard from Infantellina this morning, and I will post the details of this new exhibition.  I am also now looking forward to going to Barcelona in two weeks for the "Square Foot--Rhapsody in Barcelona" international exhibition at the Galeria Con...

So, it's been a busy and fulfilling week...even got to go to the gym with Gabs!!!  Nice....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Resistance to Change

It's been a while, yes.  The last few weeks were tumultuous, but they usually are...choppy seas rather than smooth sailing, yet the hurricane seemed to wind itself down to an afternoon thunderstorm--roared in quickly, and left just as fast...

I spent the last few days in New York, at the Art Student's League.  I was very much looking forward to taking a class with Joseph Peller, as I admire his work and can relate to it.  To me, education is an ever, ongoing process, you just never stop learning or perfecting yourself or your skills...I looked to him since I enjoy his painterly method of working, and would like to broaden my own skills with his perspective, so I very much anticipated being in a public learning setting again.

I arrived early, looking to link up with Jilly, but the weather was not cooperative...the rain was driving, and lugging my equiptment all over Manhattan made for a sort of comical, farce like atmosphere of everything, so I decided not to be an ignoramus, and rented a monthly locker, since my time at the League would last until a minimum of Spring.  Parking is also always an issue in Manhattan, so, thinking I was quite the winner of the chess match, triumphantly brandished a coupon I printed online to the local parking attendant, only to find out I was at the wrong address!  Wrong address, right company to my dismay...I was at the parking garage one block away from the one I printed the coupon for...but, the attendant was sympathetic, and decided he would honor it anyway, for a $2.00 "processing fee"  haha....his idea, not mine.  I probably would have offered him $5.00!

I was disoriented and, being the "new guy" in the class, I didn't know anyone, so I found a little nook in the corner of the cafeteria to just catch my breath and dry off.  I looked around and my heart warmed at all of the creative characters that populated the little lounge...I felt quite at home!  Everyone was friendly, and curious, so I soon met some new classmates. 

After sitting about for an hour, I got restless and decided to hop the subway down to South Ferry and meet Jilly...she would be off work soon, and I could kick around down in Battery Park since the rain had slowed to a light, foggy mist.  I decided to check out the Ferry terminal, since I had not been in it since it had been remodeled after the tragic accident on the pier.  I felt a twinge of sadness as I walked through the crowd, and looked about.  The terminal was unrecognizable to me--the old, weathered wooden benches, the throngs of pigeons that did not care about the humans, the groups of homeless that used to stay along the entrance to keep warm...where did they go?  Had they been ground into Soylent Green?  When did New York solve the homeless problem, and why didn't we share that secret with the world?  The new, shiny Ferry matches the new, shiny, hi-tech City...the feeling of the City is gone to's been wiped clean and sanitized, left all sparkly and antiseptic and generic...the Walmartization of the globe....Ripley's Believe it or Not escaped the confines of it's was a disappointment.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't feel like the old problems we had as a City were something to "pine" over...but to wipe away all traces of the original flavor of a city, and replace it with "made in Taiwan," loads of rules, signs, and plasticity is Orwellian in my book, but, "my book"  is just my opinion, so it really matters NOT...

The rain picked up it's pace, and I ducked into Starbuck's for my 3rd cup of coffee of the day, and a mini vanilla scone.  Unfortunately the Starbuck's was take out only, so I was forced to find a building to hide under, with the wretched smokers puffing miserably away in the cold, wet of the day.  I thought amusedly back to the time when you could smoke without being dragged outside the walls of the city and executed...for all of our micromanaging, have we found ANYONE who can conquer the grave?  Only one, and He was the Only one! We can stop smoking, eat 100% right, do everything 100% right, and get hit by a bus...what do we do about the injustice of that?  Outlaw buses?  Outlaw cancer that strikes the health fanatic that never smoked, drank, did drugs, did anything?  When do we stop outlawing, and start being free to live our lives again?

My feet were thoroughly soggy, as the rain ran down my face in slow rivulets.  I walked around like a person in a dim dream, lost between two worlds, a ghost of an era past.  I saw the new buildings, the old skyline gone, the new regime had ordered everything well...I was a relic of another decade...that knowledge might have made me sad, but it didn't.  It stood for many things, and all of them were good.  It was a testament to time, and change, no matter how we resist.   I was flexible enough to come this far, and strong enough to endure, and mostly, that I wasn't alone, and I never would be.  That was the most amazing knowledge of all....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strange evening

It was a long day, with a strange evening to conclude it...shocking, especially for the kids.  As Anthony and I rode into Tamaqua to pick up the girls, it was a beautiful, clear evening.  On the other side of the road, a Police patrol car straddled the shoulder and left lane, sticking obtrusively into traffic.  I could not see if he had a car pulled over, but the whole scenario just struck me as odd...but we thought nothing more of it and drove into the town.  After a disconcertingly bad attempt at double parking (hey, I'm a country bumpkin now!) we doubled up in front of Subway, chatting as we waited for the girls to come out.  After some hurried re-arranging of the car, we gathered everyone and started home.  The girls were chock full of chatter, and we listened as they talked on and on. 

As we approached the area of the earlier police car, we now noticed that there were two police cars instead of one now blocking the road, on a very dangerous bend.  It was now nightfall, and Rt. 309 is only 45 mph in that area, so between the glare, the bend, and the confusion of the police car facing oncoming traffic, I became somewhat disgruntled at what this officer could possibly be thinking, with his car stopped in oncoming traffic blocking the road.  Did he want us to stop?  Was it some kind of a drunk stop on a Tuesday night?  I slowed to a near stop, unsure how to proceed.  I looked to the right, to the shoulder, instinctively, and it was there I saw the reason for the blockage...a dead man laying broken in the road.  I immediately gasped out, "Oh my God," and the two girls immediately followed my gaze...and both screamed and started panicking.

I tried to drive by as quickly as we could without endangering the police that were in their cars blocking the road, but it was enough for all to get a full view of the poor soul.  He lay in a position I've never seen a human being in, like a jack-knifed truck.  He was face down, yet somehow his face was tilted so that you could see his lifeless eyes.  The amount of blood was tremendous, all about him, and his salt and pepper hair was matted with it.  He was wearing a grey flannel and blue jeans, and his legs looked like broken twigs.  I felt so intensely sorry for him, my heart wrenched.  He had been walking along the barricade, and he had been hit and left, like so much garbage, or a deer.  But, he was a person.  He was someone's.  Even if he was, at worse case scenario, a drifter, he was still a man...and it was an extremely sad thing to witness.

The girls were silently weeping in the back seat, and Anthony tried to shake off the shock with platitudes and small talk, but by the end of the ride, we were all silent and red-eyed.  Again, the girls experienced a life lesson together, and again, I had to explain the facts to them.  They were a little more sober minded this time, a little more mature about the reality they had witnessed...the horror.  It was no movie, no video game, and he wasn't laid neatly in a coffin in the funeral parlor.  They saw the grim reality of a highway death.  And so did I. 

So, I am grateful today for many things, especially for the gifts of life and health we have been blessed with.  Never ever take those things for granted, for they can be gone in the blink of an eye, as they were for that poor man.  Life is unpredictable, and we should respect that thoroughly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moonbeams and shooting stars

It was just about the finest day since the dawn of time.  The sun was high, the colors brilliant, the air crisp and clear, and the vibration from the earth was perfectly pitched, like a tuning fork.  I went out into the perfect day, and the energy filled me like I was plugged into a socket.  I was able to get much done, although shamefully no en plein air work.  I would've been too antsy for it, I believe, since the wind was slight and gentle, gleefully stirring up the crispy red and gold leaves, and I would not have been able to concentrate for the joy of it.

Tonight, the night is clear as glass.  The cool autumn temperatures accentuate the moonbeams and the stars hanging in the firmament...a night so clear you can see the cosmic dust scattered through the sky like glitter.  I like to sit in the chilly dark, smoking my cigarillo.  It smells even better in this weather.

I was so excited to begin my new painting, I could hardly contain myself.  I have envisioned the entire series, and have even let the "cat out of the bag" by telling Jayson, my rep, so now I am most definitely committed to it.  I hope to have the entire series done by Christmas, in time for the shows I have scheduled for after New Year.

Barcelona is speedily approaching, and I am looking forward to the exponer, and to spending some time exploring Spain...

But for now, let me bask in the sly, melancholy wit of "Smiles of a Summer" by Ingmar Bergman, and enjoy his genius.  It's critic's pick tonight, and there have been some amazing films for our enjoyment.  Thanks TCM!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Incredible flow of thought

I've begun my second work in my newest series, in spite of some very strong forces externally that seemed to be in a cosmic conspiracy against it--that's partly a joke, and partly true, like most humor.

Noelle was a reluctant model/specimen...she doesn't like being observed much, as it makes her feel self-conscious, at least more so than a fourteen year old would normally feel...but she has been good about it.  I have also obtained permission from a few of the teens she kicks around with, although rather than a direct study of them, they are more of a "phantom" much of this work is being done par coer/in studio, rather than on location...lots of studies on location, but no real direct, finished work.

I am pretty charged up to move through this's exhilirating to begin embarking on a new love affair!  I like to shake off the old, and move on to the fresh, new thought processes...and getting those thoughts and feelings thoroughly translated onto the canvas.

So, I may post some photos as I progress along, but, in all honesty, that is not likely.  I like nothing, and then I usually operate in the opposite very well;  I have that down.

So, dream exciting, earth-shaking dreams....I know I will.

Halloween Thoughts! Fright Night 1 - 7/11

Ah, we are approaching Halloween, and love it or hate it, it's that time of year where the mind sort of drifts towards things of the occult, and the nature of that. Since I was a child, I was always fascinated with good and bad, Heaven and Hell, and the forces of nature that propigate that. I had a special fascination with vampires, and no, not the high maintenance, MTV and "Twilight" types, but the old school, dark, evil, truly primeval and hideous vampires, and vampire fokelore. But, then again, I was also obssessed with Greek mythology, LOL.

Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" both the book, which I read countless times before I was even 10 years old, and the movie, which had me transfixed with delicious horror when I was around 10, was the the quintessential prototype of what I thought vampirism was, and I had carried that idea with me until I hit around 19 years old, and I read the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I was immediately in love, a little guiltily, with how these vampires still had a hand in their humanity, yet retained that nauseaous death about them. I could handle that compromise, that balance. I wasn't truly the purist I thought myself to be!
Years later, and I still have a guilty softspot in my fascination with vampires, probably a remnant of youth, but when the annoyingly and cloyingly saccharine vampires of "Twilight" were introduced, it was, almost, all puns intended, the final nail in the coffin. They had made vampires into a franchise, with the "Twilight" series as the pinnacle of it, literally the Super Walmart of the vampire stereotypes. It was enough to make me barf! So, I let the fascination go to sleep, like so many other things you leave behind.

Ah, but then, the other day, I remembered my all-time favorite, sexiest on screen vampire, HANDS DOWN. I smiled, and took a trip down memory lane, with Jerry Dandridge bringing me back to greener pastures...I remember watching Chris Sarandon, and my heart literally melting in my chest, by how incredibly good looking, charismatic, and just damn HOT he was in "Fright Night." The movie had a really enjoyable story line, stuck to most of the vampire "rules" about sunlight, crosses/crucifixes, and the plain old downside of being evil, and has just the appropriate touch of 80s campiness to be what I consider the ideal vampire movie!
Plus, I think this scene in "Fright Night" is just so damned sexy, whew, it's like eating hotsauce straight from the bottle!  I love the play of virtue and giving into decadence, and how even Amy's hair reveals she is going wild, and "blossoming;" how she is making the wrong choice, but she runs and embraces it...there is so much that can be read into the scene, but, that's not the purpose of this post :-)   Start the scene at about 1:40 in, and just ENJOY ;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Painting/First of Series!

"Alejandro/a swiftly tilting planet."  by Hilary J. England 18" x 24" oil on harwood panel

It's been a while since I have posted...that monster  "depression" had reared it's ugly head, and I found myself too listless and too resistant to blog.  I forced myself to continue painting, to continue to ponder, to force myself forward, and that was a titanic battle in itself. 

My sister in law Susan died last week of ovarian cancer...not my sister in law Nicole, who battles on in hospice against her brain cancer, but Mark's sister, who was just one week shy of her 47th birthday.  She fell ill last year over the holidays while visiting us.  One night, she didn't come down for supper, which was uncharacteristic of her, since she was a vibrant, jolly, good-natured woman, and enjoyed socializing over dinner.  Barb, my mother-in-law, questioned whether she may have a stomach flu, and since it was the season, we all agreed.  Mark and I then went off to Paris a few days later, and they went on their way back to Florida.

But, before Susan could make it home, she was beset by a pain so terrible, they had to stop in South Carolina and bring her to an Emergency Room.  Here, it was discovered she had Stage 4 ovarian cancer, and she began her short, but torturous battle.  She had massive surgery, many complications, and ultimately, by August of this year, the cancer had spread throughout her lungs, and she was deemed "terminal."  Mark flew out to Florida on September 23rd, as she was not expected to live for more than a few more days; she was on a ventilator against her wishes, and they were going to remove her from it.  They did, on September 25th, and she lived valiantly for a few hours, and then went on to eternity...

That very day, as we waited anxiously for news from Florida, during that timeless, breathless wait of three hours, my niece, Nicole, was born in Los Angeles.  Firstborn for my sister and her husband, they named her in tribute of my ailing sister in law Nicole, and in New York, from her sickbed, she wept tears of joy when they held the phone with the baby's newborn picture up to her face.  It was such an overwhelming day for me...

In the midst of this, we were suffering on a different front at home.  My daughter Noelle was dealing with some very severe bullying issues in school, and she was, as were we all, completely bowled over by the enormous tension of  these bullies relentlessly sending death threats on her telephone, Facebook page, etc., while we were going through these events of life and death.  It got so bad, and the school administration refused cooperation, that we had to withdraw her from school, and enroll her in a charter school.

This large tidal wave of events had knocked me down, rolled me, nearly drowned me...nearly, but not quite.  I leaned heavily on prayers and just the knowledge that this storm will pass, as all storms do.  I found myself washed up on shore...scraped and bruised, but not drowned.

This painting was done in the midst of all of this turmoil.  It's called, "Alejandro/on a swiftly tilting planet."  It is a summary of the pain and isolation Noelle felt, we all felt, during this time.  Noelle and her friend had found a dying mouse on the sidewalk, and in their youthful thinking, felt they would save it.  Apparently, it had been mauled by a local cat, and abandoned.  It lay, gasping and crushed, in the kitchen towel they wrapped it in.  After several hours, they had refused to give up, and so did the little mouse. 

But, it was apparent it was dying, and I caught them just at the moment of his death...They were confused, and angry at why they couldn't save him.  It was a moment of lost innocence, and they had looked at me with hurtful, blazing eyes, for an explanation, one I could not give them...I could only tell them, "this is life, fair and unfair, seemingly without rhyme or reason, but in the end, we will know all things, we will know why.  It may seem a long time to wait, but patience is a very necessary virtue, since if you have patience, you can endure to the end, without bitterness." 

I painted them against the backdrop of a tilted, broken garage door, which I felt added to the confusion and vertigo they were feeling about being confronted with death, the only amount their young minds could grasp at this point.

So, this is the first in my series, surrounding the passage of innocent youth.  "Alejandro" is 18" x 24" oil on hardwood panel, gallery wrapped. 

hilary j england paintings

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well, I have been feeling recharged with the advent of Autumn, and the kids going back to school, and my household returning to "normal" with a set routine.  I never do good without structure as my wild mind has a way of getting wayward with the "freedom", and I was beginning to flounder at the summer's end.

I began a new painting series, as I just couldn't resist it.  I went outside the other afternoon to photo some new paintings, and, God forgive me, I'm a squeamish coward, I saw a "dead" mouse lying on the sidewalk.  I shuddered, and made a mental note to have Mark or Anthony pick it up (I don't do "dead," puke, crap, garbage, or any other "manly" patrol duty).  Neither were home, but would be within the hour, so I just went about my business like it wasn't there.

The kids arrived home from school, with Taylor in tow, and they all immediately noticed the mouse.  Anthony just breezed by it, issuing his usual greeting, and went into the house looking for food, but all of a sudden I heard an outcry of squeals and exclamations from the girls.  The mouse, it seemed, was still alive.  Yes, upon inspection, there it was, in the throes of death, breathing rapidly, every now and then barely moving a little paw.  I was thoroughly horrified at that point, and revolted.

I told them to get away from it and to let it die in peace.  They yelled at me for not offering a solution, to save this helpless, dying creature.  The rumpus aroused Anthony's curiousity, and he came out, slice of melon in hand, to see what all of the fuss was about.  Upon inspection, he announced it was beyond help, and offered to "mercy kill" for us.  He would simply step on it.  This of course, got him chased out of the yard.

I went into the house, to begin dinner, unable to offer any help.  As the minutes ticked by, I realized the girls were very quiet, and went outside to see what they might be up to.  I know my daughter, and she always has had a very morbid curiousity when it comes to death, but also a very strong compassion when it comes to animals, so I knew the lure of this injured mouse was too powerful to let her go that easily. 

I found them outside, at our patio bar, in full nursing mode.  They had this mouse, whom they had named "Alejandro" laid in his "sickbed," which happened to be one of my kitchen towels (YUCK!), and were treating him with Neosporin.  The scene was a wry one, and I had to smother a smile, yet they were really hellbent on fixing this mouse! 

I sighed, and explained that all the Neosporin in the world wouldn't save "Alejandro," and sometimes, you just have to learn when to say have to learn when to let go. 

At that, we had Anthony take "Alejandro" away, but, their fervent effort, innocence, and expectation really touched me.  It brought back such a flood of memories of what it was to believe the world was good, undeniably, and that all things were able to be fixed, and then the realization that not all things can be repaired the way we want, but sometimes, in the end, it's not what we want, but what we need, and the gift is in that, in the growth of that experience. 

So, I began a painting of that moment, when they looked at me with burning eyes to do something, to help, and they had already begun to grasp the helplessness and reality of the situation. 

This painting series is about growth and innocence lost, and there will be seven paintings in it.

By the way, I am starting number four of the North Atlantic series...I was sidetracked (happily) by a commission, but I have also started that work...

So, that's the update from the newsdesk today!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New painting

"Trepidation" by Hilary J England, oil on hardwood panel, 12" by 12"
I have been really slow about getting things done lately. I have had a tumultuous couple of weeks, and now I am hoping things start to settle down...
This is one of my newest paintings, called "Trepidation." It is 12" by 12" oil on hardwood panel, and it is part of the series I am doing of our relationship with the beach. This painting is the second one that will be exhibited in Barcelona, Spain, in Nov/Dec. of this year.
Well, that's about it. Will post more in another day or two when this "holiday" is over.

Have a good one...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Days

I've gotta tell you, things have been a whirlwind around here, with so many good things going on, I'm just in shock.

Anyway, for starters, I will be exhibiting in Berlin, Germany, at the Infantellina Contemporary Gallery, in their international exhibition, "I am who I am."  This will run from September 25th through October 30th, 2010.

Then, I'm off to Barcelona for the A-Forest Gallery International exhibition, "Square Foot," from November 12th to December 15th, which I will also be participating in.

I have also picked up some new representation, so I am looking at a busy New Year, with three shows in Chelsea, and some more international ones in the works.

So, I am pretty busy, but it's a good busy!  I will post my newest painting tomorrow afternoon, when I can photo and upload it.

Ciao, bella!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fired Up

I watched that old movie "Reds" last night, with Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson (I also noticed Gene Hackman and Paul Sorvino making small appearances). 

This movie really annoyed me to the point of actually changing the channel at one part, because it was so irritating to me...but, when I start something, I like to see it through, so I grudgingly went back to it, all 3 hours of it, and finished it up at around 2 in the a.m....and it was still so annoying, I was actually rooting for the "Hero" to die, so the movie would end!

It was a propagandist, Communist-sympathetic movie...and all I kept thinking about through the end scenes were--Beatty couldn't make any headway in the crush of hysterical Beauracracy which is Communism, amongst other things including extreme violence and brutality against any dissenters, starvation for the masses, etc., so why the HELL do "they" want this system for America?  Because "they" don't really care about the people--"they" want a work force for the so-called "Elite", and F*ck everyone else.  That's what that's about.

Anyway, I've never been the biggest fan of Diane Keaton, but her character was so unsympathetic to me, I was also rooting for her character to die at the end along with Beatty's LOL.  Also, question of the day:  Why do all avowed Atheists starting screaming "Oh God" or "God Help Me" when they are in trouble or crisis?  Just wondering...

So, the movie made me disgruntled, and I woke up thinking about it (which means it did it's job, and provoked a response), and I had a series of little still life paintings I was working on, and in my angst, I created the first (Thanks to Warren and Diane!).  It's above, and it's called "The Angry Lemon."

Kind of how I felt about that movie!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where I'm at

I guess I've been doing too much thinking again...I really try to avoid that, but it's a constant battle...especially when it comes to my art, and Art in general. 

Of course, I have more than my fair share of the requisite self loathing and the mental chaos that generally accompanies that, but I have chosen to corral that, to reign it into the manageable rather than the debilitating, and with that, stick to benign subject matter, and go from there.  Kind of like sticking your toe into a pool to test the waters rather than just jumping in...and finding it to be be boiling or freezing cold.

Initially, I swore off of painting people, since as a bartender for many years, I found I began to loathe the human race, and all of the insanity that surrounded us.  The chaotic karma that came off of people in general tainted me like a drop of poison in a martini...initially the martini felt and tasted good, then it turned to death.   I stuck to landscapes, in the manner of a person that would knit or garden...a very lovely distraction, where I didn't have to have a true deep emotional investment...yet after a while, I did start having that slant, that bent, that initial taste of blood, and then inevitably, I hungered for more.

I found that I couldn't stay away from the emotional investment, like a cat with a mouse.  In this case, I see myself as the mouse, and not the cat.  The emotional attachment and hunger for more stalked lurked in the background waiting to pounce at any given moment...and so, I began to cave in in small increments, a series of small compromises.  At first, I would only paint people at a very far distance, then, with no discernable features, then, only intimate features of those I love, and then, like a drug addict who finally can restrain themselves no longer, I just blasted it all to pieces and went ballistic and didn't care.

My thoughts are, now that the glass menagerie is in shards and splinters, I must be honest with myself, and accept that my period of isolation is over.  So, where do I stand?

I had aligned myself with the Impressionists in a sort of fantasy of thought.  I loved their dreamy use of paint and color, and I longed for their Bohemian "innocence" with a nostalgia I had no vested interest in.  So, as I painted away...I was living in a protective coccoon--trying to keep safe my last shreds of humanity, which the rest had been stripped away, layer by layer, by the world itself. 

But, in going away to nurse my wounds, like most wounds, if they are not mortal, those wounds recover.  Now, I realize, I must choose which road to travel. 

I would say I most align myself with Social Realism, except for one glaring problem.  I am NOT A LEFTIST, NOR A COMMIE, etc.  I feel that the LEFT has become the new enemy of the people, in a sanguine way.  They try to appear to champion the little guy, all the while despising him.  It's like sugar coating a cyanide capsule. 

So, what genre am I, a person who is certainly a "little person" (and I mean more than just stature), who paints the perspectives of the little people, and lives the life of an average Joe?  I am going to be bold and break rank here, and still say I am a Social Realist.

I am painting and recording the lives of Average Joes in our Middle Class, from their perspective, not from an Elitist one.  Not from a position of disdain masquerading as concern, but from an indifferent point of view as a person who is in the barrel with the rest of the squirming masses.  Not looking down, but looking around.  One who knows.  One who is here in the midst...not one who must foray out at night in disguise, to see what it's like to be "one of them."

And so, here's where I'm at.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Here is my new painting, the first in a series of seven, two of which will be going to the exhibition in Barcelona, Spain. 

This painting is called "Contemplation" and it is Gamblin oil on a cradled, primed, masonite support, 12" by 12" (these will all be this size).  Once again, I find myself going back to a square format.  I seem to go through "spurts" in which I like a square format, and now, instead of large squares, I prefer smaller ones.

This painting was done par coer in studio from a series of studies and sketches I did down at the Jersey Shore, of course, my old haunt, Avon-by-the-Sea.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gabrielle and Bronson

Here is my new pastel painting, "Gabby and Bronson", 9" x 12" pastel on paper, by, of course, Hilary J. England. 

This painting was both wonderful to do, since I painted my babies, but it was also frustrating, since I have not painted portraits for a long time, let alone pastels, which can be a difficult medium to achieve accuracy with sometimes, but, factor the issue of 20 year old pastels, which kept crumbling into colored dust as I tried to use them, which was maddening.  Of course, this is my fault for several reasons, but first and foremost, I should have THROWN THEM OUT AND BOUGHT A NEW SET.  Alas, I'm getting cheap and stubborn in my advancing age (Hey, I'm 40 now!).

Anyway, I've really developed such an interest lately again in portraiture, and have decided to do an indefinite series, which means, until I get sick and tired of doing them, which may take a few years, or not at all!  I guess I was kind of sick and disgusted with people in general for a while, and that reflected in my abhorrence of painting them at all.

Anyway, there will be more to come, now that my heart is starting to thaw out on this subject....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday was Noelle's court hearing for her harassmsnt charge.  For you friends who didn't know the story, Noelle is my 14 year old daughter, and she was walking along school property to her friend's house after school with a small group of girls (ages 12-14), when a group of older boy high school students starting yelling obscenities at them, including:  "Hey sluts, show us your titties!"  She yelled back, "Shut up, you look like fucking chipmunk!"   She was summarily arrested for yelling an obscenity.  To be more clear, a female teacher overheard her say the dreaded "F" word, didn't ask her why, supposedly didn't hear the curses and slurs the men had shouted at the girls, and told her she was in "big trouble" for cursing.  Noelle apologized, and thought that was that. 

The next day, she was called into the principal's office, who told her she was getting a three day out of school suspension for using a profanity on school property, under their "ZERO TOLERANCE" school military code.  If she showed up on school property for any reason during her 3 day out of school suspension, she would be arrested.  She stayed at home and served her three days, never going near the school during that time.  She returned to school and thought that was that.

Two weeks later, she was called out of class to the principal's office.  There, she was bullied by the principal and police officer, who issued her a citation in lieu of arrest, for the charge of HARASSMENT (against the TEACHER because the teacher overheard the curse, and her pure and moral ears were offended) and was told by the principal and police officer that if she didn't pay the $250 fine and plead guilty, she would be arrested, or I would be arrested in her place because she's a minor and I'm responsible for her.  She was absolutely terrorized by these two bullies and then sent home.

We didn't know what the hell was going on, and the principal, nasty little wanna be Napoleon that he is, wouldn't tell us ANYTHING when Mark called, just that there had been an "incident" (we assumed a new incident since this was two weeks later) and the police had been called.

After sitting down with Noelle, talking to her friends who were present, and grilling that asshole principal again, we found out this was all a terrible abuse of authority on the part of the school and police department, and got the American Civil Liberties Union involved (ACLU).  They looked over the incident, gathered their information, and took the case.  Yesterday, we went to court, and the school looked like a bunch of bullying idiots (which they are) as did the Police Officer, who in all honesty, was just a slow, dimwitted fellow who was doing what he was told to do...pathetic, if it didn't have the potential to have a negative impact on my daughter's future.

So, now we move forward to make sure the school can't bully it's students like this again without recourse.  The public school system has become a Nazi enterprise (at least in our area), where they our allowed to deprive students of their rights to an education on ANY basis they so choose, and feel that the parents and public are "beneath" them, and they can do whatever they want without any consequences.  This includes young male teachers looking underneath 13 year old girls clothing to make sure they are wearing the right colored underwear and bra....which happened to my daughter on several different occasions this year, as to her friends. 

More to come on that subject!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: A quick morning "hello"

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: A quick morning "hello": "Hello Friends! I have updated my 'traditional' website, with some new paintings, etc. I kind of debated givi..."

A quick morning "hello"

Hello Friends!

I have updated my "traditional" website,  with some new paintings, etc.  I kind of debated giving up a "traditional" website, and had it torn down for a while, to see if it was really necessary or not, being I am linked and listed on so many other sites...after the experiment, I deemed it actually still is a necessary site, so back up it went!

I am dragging tail this morning, but some more coffee should fix that.  Mark made a wonderful breakfast of a nice small omelet with chives, fresh mushrooms, fresh tomato, and fresh mozzarella, along with a nice garden fresh fruit cup, and freshly ground coffee...notice the theme here, FRESH.  I've grown cantankerous, and loathe anything "prepackaged" or "quick."  We have taken small steps to homesteading, such as our garden and herbarium, but Mark says NO to the idea of chickens...spoilsport ;-)

I've got alot of work to do today, and I'm starting to stress about tomorrow...projection projection projection...always that negative thought factory processing up bullshit.  I have made a conscious decision to consistently strike down any negative thoughts that come into my head, and I have to say, I am feeling better for it.  Not running through a field of wildflowers on a mountain slope in the Alps happy, but happy and contented enough!

So, that's the little tidbit for is up and running again.

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: Barcelona exhibition

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: Barcelona exhibition: "I got word on the Barcelona show I was invited to exhibit with yesterday, so that should be an interesting and exciting trip. The show will..."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Barcelona exhibition

I got word on the Barcelona show I was invited to exhibit with yesterday, so that should be an interesting and exciting trip.  The show will run from November 20th to December 4th, with the opening reception being the night of November 25th, from 7:30 to 10:30 pm (which is Thanksgiving here in the US).  I didn't get the gallery information yet, and I am awaiting that confirmation, but I will be heading to Spain for that opening, and for several days before.  Translation, I will be in Spain for Thanksgiving, but the kids understand, and we plan to have a "belated" dinner when I return. 

As I get more information, I will disperse it.  It will be organized by the A-Forest gallery in Chelsea, NYC, and it will be very close to the Picasso museum in Barcelona is the only heads up I have right now.  I do look forward to meeting some of my European friends when I get there, and I suppose I should brush up on my very rusty Spanish (this is aimed at Mark as well).

Again, more to come in the next few weeks...

Plus, I will be posting my newest creations in the next couple of days, but scratch Tuesday and Wednesday, because I have to go to court on Tuesday (yuck) for N and her cursing offense, and I'll be heading back to the beach on Wednesday, to relax after Tuesday, and to do some more painting.  So, look for the new pictures on Thursday.  How's that for specifics??

Anyway, off to bed.  I feel very tired, but I can't extricate myself from the grips of the computer...I must!  Time to dream about the ocean at night, or a long quiet flight over the Atlantic, with the serene darkness seemingly impenetrable, and the comforting path of the airplane on the GPS overhead...and stepping off into the arid heat of Madrid...or of soaking my toes in the Mediterranean, with the soft breeze against my face. 

Good night all!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New portrait

"For Dawn" by Hilary J. England, 8" x 10" pastel/mixed media on charcoal paper

Here is a new portrait I did for my friend.  I enjoy doing portraits alot, and had forgotten how much I did.  I used to do commissioned work, but I stopped in pursuit of "doing my own thing..." maybe I'll start doing some commissions again...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: New painting

Field's End Art by Hilary J. England: New painting: "'The Boot' by Hilary J. England 11' x 14' oil on canvas I've been quite busy, so my posting has been slow. I've been enjoying the fine ..."

New painting

"The Boot" by Hilary J. England 11" x 14" oil on canvas

I've been quite busy, so my posting has been slow.  I've been enjoying the fine weather, and putting it to good use both outside and in my studio...I've made the heat in there somewhat bearable by several large fans around me when I work...providing it's not sweltering, it works.

I move along, painting what I love.  I am pondering a few new ideas for a new series, although I will keep painting the Atlantic, and our relationship with it, since I must have saltwater in my veins, and I cannot stay away from the matter where I live, I will always migrate back to the ocean.  Maybe I'm part sea turtle.

So, I'm working on putting some things together...I'm always plotting and planning, and sometimes it works out, well, you know the rest...

As for the new series, it is still up in the air...more to come as it comes to me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


"The wall at Stonehedge"  by Hilary J. England 8" x 11" oil on canvas
It was a lovely day at Stonehedge today, not an ounce of humidity, not a gnat to bother me, a cloud in the sky, or another soul in sight...another words, a pure delight.  I painted this low, weathered, ancient stone wall, and the array of vegetation around it (in case you can't tell what it is).

I should have been happy, I should have been ecstatic, I should have been grateful, but I was on guard against contrite thoughts.  I have been feeling blue...which is hard and seemingly surreal, when the day is blazing in its perfect glory all around me. 

I looked out at the algae filled ponds, at the little family of Canadian geese, and for just an instant, I was catapulted back in Mickley Road, and Gab was a baby...and the world was still beautiful and new, with all of the promises and happiness yet to be.  It was both wonderful and awful all in the same instant, and then almost immediately gone...and I was left hollow, with the sunlight streaming into my eyes, like a visitor on an alien planet.  I packed up and left then...hastily signing the painting, and looking to outrun the melancholy.

I'm home now, obviously.  Tonight is M's birthday, so I will lumber along with him, put my game face on, and just wait for the reprieve of sleep....

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Painting

"The three amigos" oil on canvas 12" by 16" by Hilary J. England

Here is my newest's more precious to me now, since our oceans are being destroyed by the Gulf oil spill.  How long will our beaches remain beautiful???  It's a sad and scary thought....

Anyway, this will be an ongoing series until the oil washes up on the shores, and then, maybe still. 

This was developed par coer in studio from plein air paintings and studies done at the shore....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Free Speech

I am thankful for the ACLU.  I know they get a bad rap from alot of conservatives, but they are a vital organization for this country.  There are alot of wanna be little Hitlers out there, trying impose their control on anyone they can, or are in a position to, and we definitely need our "watchdog" associations out there to prevent these evil people from trying to inflict their warped and controlling mindset on to the rest of us.

Noelle got a ticket for uttering a curse word in a public argument in which she was being sexually harassed.  Since she is 14 years old, if I don't pay her fine UPFRONT (guilty until proven innocent), *I* stand to go to jail in lieu of her, since she is a minor.  This occured in a school zone.  The schools have gone insane.  The ACLU has stepped in, and will fight to protect her/our rights. 

For that, I am very thankful.  This land that we live in has, unfortunately, become a populace seething with little people trying to Lord over their the old song goes, "Everybody wants to rule the world."  We certainly need our system of checks and balances, which seems to be fading fast in the face of people gleefully giving away our rights in a bid to "own" their fellow mankind.  Remember people, giving away rights and turning people over to the authorities is how every evil civilization came to started with the average man...and spread it's poison from there.  If we reject the ideas of brutality and hatred on a personal level, it can't gain a foothold on us as a community....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blazing Heat!

"Stonehedge water spout" oil on masonite 8" x 10"

It's been a scorcher these last few days...actually had to turn the A/C on so I didn't turn into a mummy while I was sleeping!  I've been pretty busy through it all, with a local high school student tagging along with me to understand what it would entail to be an artist.  This is some new twist on career counseling/"go to work for a day" that has been developing over the last few years.  This was through Jim Thorpe high school, not my own personal school district, but it was a nice program nonetheless.  She was a very nice girl, but unfortunately, she suffered from seasonal allergies also, so when I took her out into the gardens to paint, we spent the afternoon simultaneously sneezing and getting covered in clouds of pollen...pretty horrible. 

 I went home so covered in the vile stuff, my eyes were nearly swollen shut.  After her teacher picked her up, I jumped into the shower so fast I almost forgot to peel off my coated clothing!  It was a nightmare in that respect (dealing with what Mother Nature chucks at you), but I think that the student enjoyed the relaxing pace of the afternoon, so I suppose it went well in the bigger picture of the day.

I've been preparing for the show I have coming up--framing and registering the paintings, etc.  Even with proper ventilation, my old barn studio gets pretty heated up by midafternoon, so I have to retreat into the cool recesses of either the house or under a tree until the sun goes down...I feel like a vampire!!

Anyway, I've been working alot lately, and feeling pretty good.  I'm looking forward to getting a good deal of work done through the summer, God willing, and just enjoying each lovely season as it comes upon us...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Painting--

"Sunday afternoon at the tide pool" by Hilary J. England, 24" by 30" oil on canvas

It's been a while since I've posted, and for that, I'm apologize.  I really have suffered over the last weeks with depression, and it's been a hard struggle.  I'm starting to come out of it a bit now...

About this painting:  This was done from several studies at the shore.  I did this in studio, and it was a true battle to get it finished, since I was feeling so poorly, I could barely even pick up my brushes.  I couldn't keep focused on the painting, and wound up smoking a cigarette for every 1/2 hour of time put into it...LOL...not a healthy diversion to say the least.

This painting was done from these studies, but also from a very strong image I had in my mind throughout all of this...this middle aged couple, looking so happy and content, enjoying their Sunday, the rest of the world was away from them...I was an interloper, looking into their bliss...feeling happy for them, feeling content for them...wishing to feel their happiness as looking through the picture window of a storefront.

I hope you enjoy it..I do now that it's done.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New painting

"The Lesser Bridge" by Hilary J England 8" x 10" oil on canvas

Alot has gone on since my last blog--most of it is very personal, so I'll leave it there.  It has affected me very deeply though, and in that respect, it has driven me even further and more frantically to paint, which is actually a pleasant "by product," rather than shrinking into a nonproductive depression and shutting down.

Anyway, the above painting was done at the Hill to Hill bridge in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  It was a very pleasant day, and I was with my Bethlehem group of artists, so there was a nice little gathering.  I kind of wandered off the path and found this little stone footbridge, bathed in sunlight to the left, yet the murky, muddy little creek was completely in shadow from the large, elegant trees that crowded it's narrow banks.  I found the hollow of the little arch somewhat intriguing, from the vantage point of "looking over the shoulder" of a very large tree...which had a lovely array of ground foliage surrounding it, and ivy creeping up and around it...ivy, which turned out to be POISON IVY, which I had plopped myself down in the middle of!!! 

After this realization, I accepted the fact that the damage had already been done, and to switch locations was I just shrugged it off and went forward with the painting :-)  

So far, no rash...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Down in a hole

"Stonehedge barn and flowerbeds" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas
I've been depressed lately, and it's affecting my work...everything is bothersome and irritating, and it's infuriating to me lately to paint outdoors, since the weather has been so uncooperative, it's like a black cloud is following me around, and it makes me really down.  I have alot of bad stuff going on personally, with Nicole now terminal with her brain cancer, and my Dad hanging on with his leukemia, and then throw in your every day annoyances and troubles, and presto!!  Depression.

I have been forcing myself to go out daily to paint, even though everything in my body screams out "NO!!"  I don't know if helps or it hurts...I guess it helps to get out of the house, but it frustrates me with my own lack of focus, and will to do it, and then I get upset with the results...a bad cycle to be caught in.

Still, I will try to push through this roadblock, and try to envision the light at the end of the tunnel.  It's tough right now, but hopefully, it will all dissipate soon...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Painting Series

"The meadows of Winter Mountain" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas

Today's painting was not too far from home, but I had a bit of difficulty due to two of my brushes falling I was forced to work with on brush only, which, hey, when you're tossed lemons, make lemonade!   Plus, half way through the painting, I got stung by a bee...

Anyway, these are the obstacles you have to deal with when you paint outside...enjoyable nonetheless.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beautiful weather and happy little ducks

The weather here has been superb.  I've been getting alot of painting done en plein air, one a day, but actually would like to step it up to two paintings per day...I know it's ambitious, but if I have the time and inclination, why not?

I painted at the canals in Walnutport today, with a little gaggle of ducks hanging around me in curiosity...which was just fine by me, since they are soothing little creatures, with an occasional quack, and mostly just sitting about preening their feathers.  The tone was so high today, it was as if the entire universe was in high key, the sun blinding, the newly budding trees and explosion of yellows, high tone greens and pinks, in contrast to the brown, murky canal...absolutely beautiful.

Alas, I tried to photo the painting when I got home, but the light didn't cooperate.  So, instead, I'll post the Conte drawing I did yesterday in Bethlehem of our lovely older model Grayce.  She was very cordial to sit for us for a while, and being that I forgot my paints, I was forced to retreat into Conte crayons, which I don't really like, but, hey, discomfort is good sometimes. 

"Grayce"  Conte on Ingres paper, 12" x 16"
I realized when I uploaded and cropped this drawing, it put her dead center, which is not how I put her down on paper--she was located to the right of the drawing, with her gazing profile to the left.  So, it's not me being very boring, just my photoshop is completely out of control!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another day on Hawk Mountain

"Hawk Mountain on an ominous day"  by Hilary J. England  9" x 12" oil on canvas

I spent another day on Hawk Mountain--today it was very rushed, since it was overcast, and the threat of rain was pretty certain.  I enjoyed the time, although it was punctuated by hordes of children--it must have been class trip day!! 

The mountain was very overcast, you couldn't really see very far into the valley, but the gray sky had such a peace about it, although again, no hawks, just a scattering of turkey vultures soaring on the winds fanned upward from the valley floor.

While I was there, my mind was flooded with so many thoughts, I was actually thankful for the repetitive interruptions...the vista inspires my mind to flow, and many times, it seeps into places I'd rather would remain in the recesses of my mind, and makes me feel sad feelings, feelings of regret and loss, of time irretrievable, and I have a struggle on my hands...not with my painting, but to "close" Pandora's box back up again.  The painting actually keeps me in the "here and now," knowing it's something tangible, it's something I'm creating, I'm building, not tearing down, it won't go away unless it's physically destroyed, and it will be "loved."  All very soothing thoughts...

Anyway, I won't post another landscape until Friday, as tomorrow is some figure work....

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