Monday, January 31, 2011

iPad hard case original Contemporary artwork from

iPad hard case original Contemporary artwork from

Hello there!

"Seashell and sand, study 2" by Hilary J England, oil on hardwood panel, 8" x 11"

Why, the sun is shining today--Hello there!  We've missed your bright presence in our area for the last week, so you are a welcome sight and sensation!

I've started doing my preliminaries for my newest painting, and in the meantime, I'd like to leave you with the second study of seashells, to compliment your thoughts of warm weather, summer, the beach, and fun days!


Saturday, January 29, 2011


"Seashell and sand" by Hilary J England, 8" x 11" oil on canvas panel
Unbelievable!  MORE snow!  This has to be the snowiest winter in quite a while, and the skiers are just starting to break out of their shellshock and come to--so we've been seeing alot of travelers.

I've got a mountain of snow to the left of my drive so high, they could literally go skiing on that!  I'm not going to fuss over it though--it is what it is, and there's no use bitchin about it.  So, work as usual.

Since my mind has been drifting towards the ocean, and the warm weather to come.  I am going to start posting some of the studies I have done at the beach, and some I'm doing of shells as still life paintings. 

Again, I will continue on this thread until I get it out of my system.  My Dad always said I have "tunnel vision!" 

So, I hope this little painting can help you to conjure some warmer thoughts!

Friday, January 28, 2011

All snowed and crowed out!

"Foggy field with crows" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas panel

Well, it's snowing again, wet, slushy snow, but it's coming down pretty persistently...enough to be irritating when you are outdoors.

This is the last of the crows for a while...I am snowed out and crowed out.  Now, on to something else to study...I decided not to do any detailed studies of the crows, because, (a) honestly, they don't interest me that much that I would, (b) they were more interesting as part of a "larger" picture, a backdrop to what else was going on, (c) my winter cabin fever seems to have lifted, so on to something less morose.

I am setting up for my next painting in my series of young adults, so I have alot of preliminary ideas I'm fine tuning, and will get the sketch together and onto the panel probably sometime tonight or tomorrow.  In the meantime, I've decided to do some quick studies on something decidedly brighter than crows--seashells!  I guess my mind is moving back to the beach, since it's been a few months since I've been there, and I do miss it.

So, enjoy the soggy, slushy weather if you are here in the Northeast USA!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New painting

"A brave new world (for the love of Baby)"  by Hilary J. England, 26" x 30" oil on canvas

This is painting number four in the series I'm doing about young adults.  This painting was a process of sketches, a few thumbnails, some reference photos, and mostly flying par coer. 

I really enjoyed this painting, until I got to the dreaded midway plateau.  It was mostly physical discomfort, cold feet, old equiptment, semi frozen paint and chunky medium but also the added stress of starting to get uptight when I reach that point of the impatience in general, since I long to be done with it, and my anxiety of whether I'm staying true to the vision of what I had in mind, but also, has that vision's like skipping off the path and finding yourself in a bog.  Not good.

This painting has many meanings to me beyond the obvious.  The very young mother and baby girl are alone...the empty chair  and the large door symbolizing the absence of Father.  Baby looks for Father, but he is gone.  The delicate candlesticks show it is just them, and the candles have not yet been touched, showing they have their full lives in front of them.  The atmosphere around them is hazy, dreary and dark, yet they are entwined tightly together and rendered in high key, to show their love and unity, and Mother's protection of her infant.  Mother has skipped to the drumbeat of the world, as shown by her makeup, and now, she has reached this place, and she must bravely go forward from this point, for the love of herself and the love of Baby...There is more, but it is highly personal to me, so the rest of the story is yours to finish and adapt into your own concept.

There seems to be a glut of "Ross" like painters out there...who wear L.L. Bean, speak very slowly and pronounce each word carefully, who loathe to show any emotion besides super PC, but that's certainly not me.  I prescribe to the old school of flowing and passionate emotion, and being of a wild heart and nature. I try to keep things tame in my paintings, because I feel that the recognizable qualities of order and coherency are a better representation of what the deeper meanings behind my artwork are.  It's a kaleidescope of may see one thing in the representation of the painting, I see another, and someone else sees yet another thing.  That's the way I roll...

This painting will be in the coming exhibitions, as well as in process for a limited edition print series.  So, out to the studio...and time to begin again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cold and Smoky

"Winter dusk" by Hilary J England, 9" x 12" oil on canvas panel

It's dank and smoky in my studio today, so working has been a bit difficult.  My kerosene heater is smoking like a chimney, for some unknown reason, so this causes me to have to stop what I'm doing, and ventilate the area, letting all the cold air back in, so I feel like I'm on a bit of a hamster wheel today.

The painting I'm working on his hit the plateau most of them hit, where it's at its midway point, and it can either go all downhill, or I can break through and really get that complete feeling and expression I'm looking for...this is the difficult and most important time for the painting...whether it will live or die, sink or swim.  I find myself getting a little frustrated and "fiddling," since I've been receiving alot of distractions today in the form of nonessential, time wasting phone call interruptions, etc.  So, I'm inside for a minute to steady my mind, warm my feet, and shut down all distractions.

So, I'll leave you with yesterday's study, since it was so damn cold, it was a very quick one!  It's called "Winter Dusk," and it's 9" x 12" oil on canvas.

Hope you enjoy it♥

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mandy Moore - Only Hope

Feeling quite sentimental tonight...I've always loved this song by Mandy Moore, and the whole sequence.  She looks and sounds so angelic, that watching her makes you think that there can actually, if even for just a fleeting moment, be purity in this world.  

I've finished another two small studies, and am still frustrated by the weather.  My studio is literally frozen solid, and now that we are having a heat wave for the next few days (projected to go up to 37 degrees--woohoo!!) I can set about "defrosting" it.  In other words, hauling all my paintings in progress, paints, mediums, etc., back out there.  Fun!

So, rather than complain about the gypsy studio I have going right now, I'll just be thankful to be able to get back out into my space, barn rat and all (yes, he's still there) and get painting.  I have two big exhibitions coming up, and I really need to be completely prepped for that.  I don't like rushing, and I don't like "loose ends..."  That must be the irrepressible perfectionist in me.

So, I'll post the new paintings tomorrow and the next day, but in the meantime, enjoy beautiful Mandy Moore, and her heavenly voice ♥

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Winter Wonderland

"Lonesome crow in the storm"  by Hilary J. England, 9" x 11" oil on hardwood panel

We awoke to another Winter Wonderland this morning; six inches or so of fluffy snow--and to the grumbling of the local world.  The postmistress and company were particularly agitated...I could hear their complaining through the walls of my office, but I don't mind.  My mind is numb to all the's become a commonplace obstacle.

I like the snow, and the isolation it causes.  The streets get quiet, and people just stay indoors.  I suppose a hundred years ago they would sit about and knit, whittle, or just tidy up and enjoy a good discussion by the crackling fire, but now everyone lays about watching the tube, playing videos, or, what I'm doing, pecking away at my keyboard.

If I dress in layers and stay nice and warm, a good, calming trek into the woods is always conducive to inspiration.  But, the feet are a particular problem when the snow gets a bit deeper.  Cold, wet feet always translates into discomfort and misery, and my hiking boots are waterproof, just not to this depth (of snow).

I have given up trying to keep up with all of the snow tracked into the thing about this old house, was the builders didn't have the foresight to put in a mud room.  That would have done wonders...

Well, out to the studio to work on some bigger paintings.  Hope you enjoyed the one above!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mushy and slushy

"Blackbird in blooms" by Hilary J. England  7" by 7" oil on canvas

It's definitely been a mushy and slushy couple of days, with more snow supposedly coming tomorrow night...I kind of have enough years under my belt to accept the dog days of winter, so this doesn't bother me too much!  What bothers me is sharing my studio with a brazen barn rat, who, everytime I get it nice and warm in there, decides to come out and do whatever barn rat business he has to do, right in my peripheral vision--gives me the "willies!" 

I don't want to kill him since I feel that is mean, but I get to thinking, what if he has buddies?  What if he is not alone, and that is not the same guy I'm seeing?  What if there is a hoarde of them?  Yikes!!!   That just repulses me, so I am in a quandry.  I have seen him, and he is pretty unique looking--he has a thick black coat that looks pretty different, so I'm hoping he is the only one.  I just don't want him to go insane and run up my pant leg or something, haha!

My Dad has a "have a heart" trap, but it's for a raccoon, so it's huge, and wouldn't contain this little critter.  Apparently, mouse/rat sized "have a hearts" are hard to come by, because when I mentioned this to the local purveyor at the hardware store down the road, he looked at me as if I had grown a second head.  "Why wouldn't you just kill it?" was his question.  Ah, he just doesn't get it, and it's really not the poor fellow's fault.  I ask myself this question as well, but I am just very squeamish about killing anything, especially an animal.  Just an eccentricity, I guess.  But, I'll not open that can of worms...

Anyway, above is another quick study of crows/blackbirds.  It's called (simply enough) "Blackbird in blooms" and I did this one on a 7" by 7" canvas, in oils. 

So, out to the studio, and I'm hoping my "friend" stays in his own quarters in the dark recesses of the unfinished barn.  I'm not into being Captain Ahab today, so I'll just pretend he doesn't exist for right now...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Out of synch

"Raven in a thicket" by Hilary J. England, 11" x 14" oil on canvas

I'm feeling a bit blue today.  I don't know why, but I slept a long time and even after showering, didn't seem very motivated...I got everything done I intended to, but I had this nagging fatalist feeling in the back of my mind...the old, "what is all of this for" hopelessness that sometimes rears it's head on me.  I try to not think about it and just push myself to complete what needs to get done.

Problem is, this feeling usually runs parallel to a general irritability which makes me want to withdraw from everyone, and just be left alone, and it's no one's fault, just my own freakiness working it's attitude.  I try not to let it show, but it's a transparent thing, so best thing is just to retreat alone into my studio and let it work itself out without involving anyone else in it....

I'm pissed about a few things, and it's the usual menu of bullcr$p.  I feel like I'm on a hamster wheel sometimes, with the same stupidity cropping up over and over, and this makes me depressed and angry.  So, I'm trying to enjoy a cup of coffee, make some dinner even though I feel wretched, and force myself out of the funk by not indulging the dark thoughts. 

I've done a series of studies that I didn't post before, but they definitely reflect some of the angst and loneliness I feel from time to time.  The first, which is above, is part of series of 4 I was looking to make into large works, but up to this point I have not done that....I may still, but I don't know if I really want to stay in the frame of mind to do these darker paintings, without making myself totally insane.  So, for now, they remain studies...

Now, out to the studio for some more alone time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fuel - Innocent

Satan, you know where I lie

Gently I go into that good night

All our lives get complicated

Search for pleasures overrated

Never armed our souls

What the future would hold

When we were innocent


Angels, lend me your might

Forfeit all my lives to get just one right

All those colors long since faded

All our smiles are confiscated

Never were we told

We'd be bought and sold

When we were innocent

Yeaaaaaah Yeah

This prayer is for me tonight

This far down that line and still ain't got it right

And while confessions not yet stated

Our next sin is contemplated

Never did we know

What the future would hold

Or that we'd be bought and sold

When we were innocent, innocent

When we were innocent

It's so cold...I finally had to bring it all in tonight, since my studio is a frozen, barren tundra.  I'm in my office, with my outdoor easel set up, working like an elf in these little quarters.  Sniffing fumes and smoking cigars...

I looked out the window, and the snow is gently falling again...but I won't drown in the snow.  The aroma of odorless spirits is noxious...but the sweet scent of cloves makes me feel good.  Happy Birthday!! Or, is it Happy Un-Birthday?  Whatever....

Still the snow is falling.  I'll be o.k. in the morning.  What do ya want?  Maybe it's cabin fever...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Frozen fingers

It's been brutally cold, and will likely get even colder in the overnight--but, I am prepared!  I have been hauling my wet paintings, and palettes into my office in the main part of the house, so that the paint doesn't get "funny" with the frosty temps.  This is not really a bother when I see the flipside of the coin--thick, clotty paint, and frustration.  No thanks!

I am about half way through my new painting, and it's moving along at a really good pace.  I also have two smaller paintings going, but these are really just "exercise."  I like to paint little still life paintings, quick studies, just because.  They are cathartic little brain candies...kind of like knitting!

I wasn't able to get into the City today, as planned, so tomorrow is the goal.  The curator for the gallery I was going to meet wasn't able to make it today--she's a sweetie, and I know she is very busy, always on the go putting stuff together, so this didn't ruffle my feathers at all.  Tomorrow works better anyway...

All in all, it was a good, productive day--the karma was good, the brain juices flowing...hoping to keep the groove going over the next several days and get all the work done~

So, that's that for now, and off to enjoy the chilly evening with some dinner, and a good, old flick!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another snowy day~

I am awaiting the snow...but that is not a bad thing (I know people will cringe when I say that).  I love a good snowy day, just like I love a good rainy day.  There is something so peaceful about the snow, the purity of the flakes, the gray skies obscured by the white gales.  I like to glance out my window as the wind gusts and causes drifts around the landscape, while my little potbellied stove struggles to keep the cold out of my studio.  I feel safe and warm inside, like a pioneer in a wagon or a primitive cabin, or even an Indian in a teepee.  I enjoy seeing the snow start to creep under the barn door, and the wind ruffle the blanket I have hanging as a barrier over that ramshackle old door.  Yes, I know I'm a bit strange...but that's ok.  So is everyone in their own peculiarities...

I'm still working on "A brave new world."  I need another few full days of studio time, and the snow actually buys me that.  Here in this "neck of the woods," everything basically shuts down now even with the threat of snow, so I have that to fall back on as an excuse for no interruptions, no need to take anyone any where, no danger of people showing up unannounced (unless they are stranded, and that is not too likely), no errands to run.  Everyone sort of hibernates, and everyone is very o.k. with that, even expectant of that. 

Tomorrow's N.A.W.A. opening on Fifth Ave is starting to look further and further from the possibility of accomplishment.  I see the chances of my attendance to that reception growing remote as this supposed storm front begins to envelope the next few days.  I was looking forward to it, but I accept that Winter is a capricious season, and Old Man Winter gets cranky pretty often, and when he does, we all have to obey him and stay put.  

So, I'll throw another log on the fire, and a few pieces of coal, brew up some more coffee, roll up my sleeves (put on my Jets hat) and get to work!

Enjoy your snow day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A difference of opinion...

Long day, but not bad.  I attended an artist's reception today, since I had won the "People's Choice" Award of First Place, and, being asked at Christmas time, to attend the awards ceremony by a former committee member, I decided the cordial thing to do was to go ahead and attend, but once I got there, I began to think otherwise!

I walked in, and I was very much given a cold shoulder, for real.  Apparently, the Association that mounted this exhibition didn't agree with the Curator/Juror who judged the show, and were rather miffed that I, an outsider, and a brand new "Club Member" had won the show.  Plus, the old dragon ladies that were running this institution, were not thrilled with my painting.  I stood behind them, and listened to their comments, all the while giggling to myself, since they didn't have a clue as to who I was, as they had never met me.

I heard the words "appalling," "shameful,"  "arrogant," and other adjectives, along with this exact sentiment "This painting makes me uneasy--what was the juror thinking?"  Another older woman looked at it and said, "I don't like this painting at all.  The way these young girls are looking is very menacing, and it's just not a nice painting."  One of the womens' husbands disagreed, saying, "I really enjoy it.  It's a very different take on figurative work than I have seen.  I also like her treatment of the girls' hair, it has nice texture."  Both women looked at him as if he were nuts, and then he looked rather sheepish, and walked on.   As the younger people came in, they automatically and instantly gravitated to it, admiring and discussing, and I also sat back and enjoyed that.  I knew they would see the truth in it.

As I was standing there, a woman of the press corp stood in front of me, and stared for a long time at the painting.  She turned to me and smiled, and said, "I just love this painting."  So, I said, "Me too."  She nodded and looked back at it, and said, "So, do you have a piece in this show?"  I just smiled and said, "Yes, that would be it."  Her face lit up, and she broke out into a huge grin and said, "YOU did this?  I love it!" And we both laughed knowingly. 

As we got to talking, she told me she saw the show being hung, and she was there and excited when the painting was juried as First Place.  She told me the Juror, a professional with a very impressive career behind her (I'll not mention any names here), also loved the painting, and that made me smile.  Neither of these women knew me, they had just seen the work, and the work spoke to them, and the work spoke for the art was a success.

As word filtered down through the show who I was, not one person of the official committee came forward and introduced themselves to me, or even congratulated me.  I noticed that my painting was situated in the back of the exhibition, where it was somewhat obscure, not in a place where the winning painting would be placed.  Instead, in the view of honor, was the second place painting, a very tame painting of a few onions on a lace doily, of which the vested ladies fawned all over, "What gorgeous treatment of the lace," and,  "Really, this lovely painting should have been the winner." 

I actually rather got a kick out of the whole situation, since it made me feel very good...actually, it made me feel great.  My painting had done it's job, which was to provoke a reaction, whether positive or negative, you couldn't ignore it, or just walk by without actually being drawn to it.

I also noticed the comments were not of the technical prowess of the painting, it was rather of the subject matter.  I had abandoned the high art tradition of making these girls submissive, shrinking violets, who cannot meet the gaze of the viewers, as most women are portrayed in art.  Men can look you square in the eye, but according to our ancient and idiotic traditions, a woman should be demure and meek in a painting...I say, "Bullshit."  My girls are girls of the 21st Century, and if they want to meet you squarely in the eyeball, and be in your face, so be it.  And, that was the crux of the problem.  I broke with tradition, and these old dragons were quite insulted with it.

When the time for the awards came, they basically shoved the check in my hand, and all but told me *not* to elaborate on the painting.  I was really amazed by this point, but didn't care.  The final insult came as I was getting ready to walk out the door...

A tall, thin, elderly lady with rheumy green eyes and an angry red slash of a mouth approached me.  She was decked out in an elaborate fur jacket, with pearls at her throat and wrist...she was so stereotypical, it was almost a laugh riot. 

"Ms. England?" she sniffed, and when I acknowledged, she went on.  "My name is &*&^^*&*, and I am head of the exhibition committee.  I have been curating all of our shows for the last 25 years.  I would just like to voice a....'problem' to you.  While we were hanging this show, this, er, painting of yours, apparently was still wet somewhere, and your painting 'soiled' one of our ladies' sweater.  You must be sure if you plan to submit any further paintings to our group for exhibition that it is fully dried." 

And then she stared at me.  By now, my annoyance was aroused, so I said, "Are you trying to say that you damaged my painting?" I looked at her in the eye and said this quite pointedly.  She was taken aback, and in surprise, at the tables being turned, said, "Uh...NO!  No!  That's not what I meant!"  I folded my arms across my chest and said, "Well, what do you mean?  This painting was fully dried, so perhaps she had paint from another work she handled?  And what does she mean putting her hands all over the picture plane anyway?"  At this point, she knew she had lost, and she said, "I'm sorry.  It must be a misunderstanding," and she just turned abruptly and walked away.

I had been standing there with a small group, and we looked at each other in amazement at the exchange, and then we all  burst out laughing.   I traded info with a few people, and with one woman in particular, since I really enjoyed talking with her, and she also paints, so we made a plan to get together with a few of the other local artists I know and do an informal model session.

So, all's well and end's well!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Schedule 2011

Well, as today is January 7th, I would say after a week of getting my act together, that 2011 is in full swing!  I have an opening reception tomorrow night at A-Forest Gallery, New York City, for the "Values" exhibition, an People's Choice/Best In Show Award to receive Sunday afternoon at the City Hall Rotunda in Bethlehem, PA at the opening reception for the Palette Club show, another opening for the N.A.W.A. Associates Exhibition on Wednesday, January 12th, and literally half a dozen other shows in the works for the next few months--busy, which is good!  For a full schedule of my upcoming shows and exhibitions, check out the new page I just made on my website:   http://www.fieldsendart.exhibition-info.html/

I have started a new painting, and I really am feeling this one, so I am anxious to get out to the studio and work on it.  I've got the studio some new insulation, so it's a tad warmer than it was--and that makes all the difference--the difference of freezing your buns off, and having stiff paint and stiff brushes, or having a nice, warm, juicy flow to everything...

So, that's it for now.  Check back as I'm hammering things out, and I'll let ya know!

Carry on- Beginning Life in Lockdown

“Study of dramatic back lighting” oil on wooden panel, 16” x 16” Strange Times Beginning Life in Pandemic Lockdown Life in ...