Love, Lust and Desire

by Susan Abbott
McGowan Fine Art in Concord, NH will be featuring three of my "journal" paintings in their Valentine's Day exhibit "Love, Lust and Desire". 

"Thaw", 8" x 8", oil on board

 "Early Spring", 8" x 8", oil on board

"Waiting (Dunbarton Oaks), 8" x 8", oil on board

Art for Land!

by Susan Abbott

I hope you can join me at West Branch Gallery in Stowe on Thursday, October 4th from 6-8 pm for a special one evening event in support of the Vermont Land Trust. Twelve artists have created twenty-two unique paintings inspired by the Bolton Backcountry, a 1,200 acre hiking and nordic skiing paradise that the VT Land Trust is protecting from private development. Have a glass of local wine or beer, enjoy some tasty hors d'oeuvres, see some wonderful art --and have a chance to purchase a painting at a one-time special price to benefit the VLT Bolton project! You can find out more about the Vermont land Trust's effort to preserve the Bolton Backcountry here.

Exhibit at West Branch Gallery

by Susan Abbott

 My exhibit "A Place Apart" opens at the West Branch Gallery in Stowe, VT on Saturday, August 25th from 6-8:30 pm. It features sixteen new paintings inspired by the small towns and working landscape of rural Vermont.

You can see the show online here.
Directions and hours are here. Please come to the opening and say hello!

About "A Place Apart"
I moved to Vermont almost twenty years ago for the most impractical of reasons, love at first sight. Driving through a small town in the southern part of the state, in the early morning, on my way to somewhere else, I caught a glimpse of a stream running through the backyard of an old clapboard cape. Suddenly I was back in my childhood, in a time before the creeks in my own town were culverted and the yards subdivided. The Vermont I saw from a car window looked like a memory of home, and I was hooked.

Two decades later, I’m still attracted to what I see here every day, to our common, work-a-day patchwork of small towns, dirt roads, village greens, barn yards and back fields. Looking carefully at these ordinary places, landscape and memory intersect for me. While I paint, color, light, and shape combine with subject to compose a mood and a meaning.

In these paintings, the mood may be melancholy, the meaning ambiguous. Both mood and meaning in my landscapes—images of old houses, old farms, old towns, old trucks--have to do with age and time. Like many Vermonters, I value the old. Even when a barn has outlived its purpose, we respect its venerable presence and want to see it endure.

The Japanese concept of “wabi-sabi” has helped me understand why I find these old, ordinary, and sometimes broken-down places so beautiful. Wabi-sabi embraces the aged, the imperfect, the modest, the subjective, the natural, the seasonal, the private, the mysterious. In Vermont, I find wabi-sabi everywhere I look. In my painting, I find beauty in the ordinary, and try to hold on to the changing, the disappearing, the memory, and the first glimpse.

Studio Views

by Susan Abbott
I've been working this month on a new series of oil landscapes in preparation for a show this August at West Branch Gallery in Stowe.

This is my new easel from David Sorg, which will be helpful for the larger canvases I'm about to begin. No cranks to raise or lower--it's counter weighted, and slides up and down easily. A boon to my posture!

Mia likes to lounge around close by my brush while I'm trying to prepare canvases. I've been gluing linen to wood panels, then applying Art Board's excellent acrylic gesso. (That's a painting by Euan Uglow in the open book.)

Still life props and favorite postcards: Tom Thomson, Vincent Desiderio, Gerhard Richter, Catherine Murphy, Vermeer, Linden Frederick, John Sell Cotman. (Like most painters, I have eclectic tastes.)

New paintings I'm working on are images of New England summers--and not so far removed from our December weather, which has yet to see a lasting snow. Hopefully this week the cold white blanket of Vermont winter will arrive, and be the view from my studio hibernation until a Bahamas workshop in February.

My VT Flood Relief Art Sale Update

by Susan Abbott
November 2012 Update: All of my painted photos of Vermont towns are now sold, and over $5,000. donated to local flood relief efforts. Thank you to everyone who purchased! I'll be posting more of these soon on my Vermont blog.

In the words of the latest issue of Burlington, VT newspaper "Seven Days":

"Artist Susan Abbott is selling hand-painted photographs of Vermont towns that she created for her blog, Let Me Show You Vermont. The gaily colorized images of iconic roads, buildings, farms and landscapes would be brilliant keepsakes of the state even if they didn’t benefit flood-relief efforts. The matted, one-of-a-kind 8-by-10-inch photos are $225 each and appear to be going fast."

And they are going fast! So far we have sold sixteen photo/paintings, and raised $3,500. for flood relief. There are seven more left, including "Moretown" (a village hit very hard by the flooding), shown above. I have over 200 towns to go, in my quest to paint and draw all over this beautiful state, and will continue to offer sales as donations as long as there is a need to help flood victims, so stay tuned...meanwhile, you can see the online art sale here.

Vermont Flood Relief Art Sale

by Susan Abbott
See the online sale here!

Hurricane Irene tracked directly over my home state of Vermont on Sunday, August 28th. After twelve hours of torrential rains, waters poured down our mountains and rivers rose quickly, jumping their banks and inundating homes, businesses, and farmlands. Over 300 roads and bridges were damaged, including all of the highways that span the southern part of the state from east to west. Vermonters are working hard to recover, but they will need some help to rebuild.

I'm happy to be able to offer all proceeds from the sale of over 25 original hand-painted photographs to aid the relief effort here in Vermont. These images were created for my blog
"Let Me Show You Vermont", a project that's taking me on a sketchbook tour of all 251 Vermont towns. Unfortunately, many of these places were damaged by Hurricane Irene. Your purchase of one of the pieces in this series will be a generous donation to Vermont's recovery. And then come up and visit this wonderful state!

Plein Air in Provence

by Susan Abbott
Painting in Provence was as exciting and challenging this summer as it always is. I especially enjoyed working on a series of plein air oils--you can take a look at them (as well as watercolors and sketchbook pages from the trip) here. As always, my students were a pleasure to travel with, and worked as hard--and drank as much wine-- as I did!

A Summer Painting

by Susan Abbott
I'm working this summer on a commission--a large still life triptych that is a return for me to the "Dream Table" series, this time in oil rather than watercolor. I'll be posting vignette details of "Spring to Summer" as I work my way across the tabletop. On my studio desk you can see some of the bounty of art books and postcards I brought back from Paris a few weeks ago, which I'll be perusing frequently in the future for ideas, technical help, and inspiration.