"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Three Months Later ....

and I am still painting! I can hardly believe that my last post was over three months ago - I don't know how time flies by so quickly. I have been busy keeping my galleries supplied with paintings and doing a lot of painting just for the pure joy.

A Moment of Disciplined Pleasure / 11 x 14 / oil on linen panel
This month Reinert Fine Art  opened a second gallery in the mountain town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina and Rick Reinert invited me to participate. He sent me this photo of the entry wall during the grand opening with five of my paintings so beautifully hung:

And the absolutely wonderful Roux & Cyr International Gallery of Fine Art in Portland, Maine, is celebrating the season with a small treasures show. The three wild running bunny paintings are my contribution and I am thrilled to report that two of them have already gone to wonderful homes.

I feel so fortunate to have these wonderful galleries displaying my work and making it available to the art loving public.

On the home front, my daughter, who has been living and working in Amsterdam for over a year now, was home for the Thanksgiving holidays. As a surprise for me, and all the way from the Netherlands, she carried a selection of powdered pigments ground in one of the last industrial dye windmills operating in the world today! I am so excited to have them and have been experimenting with how to use them in my work.

Pigments from the De Zaansche Molen windmill, Zaandam, the Netherlands
I would like to express a note of thanks to several of my blog followers who noticed my prolonged absence and were kind enough to send me emails telling me so - thank you Hilda, Julie and Vic. It does feel good knowing that my work was missed. You have warmed my heart, especially during this very special Christmas season and I am deeply appreciative. In fact, it was your concern and your words that inspired me to post again today. I have certainly missed following your blogs in this time period and intend to catch up as soon as I can. I need the inspiration that viewing your work provides to me!

Thank you to all for following this blog and reading my musings!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Nude Study

Nude Study / oil on linen / 12 x x12
What a great model.

 I am running on empty today and promise to reply to all who commented on my last post and to visit your blogs as well just as soon as I can. Many thanks to all who visit my blog and take a moment to comment and tell me your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ballerina #42

Ballerina #42 / oil on artboard / 20 x 16
Why paint large ballerinas you may ask. Several years ago a friend of mine confided to me that she often thought of herself as the ballerina she thought she wanted to be when she was a little girl. I found that to be a fascinating remark and set out to paint mature, accomplished women as they are but also living out a childhood dream. The ballerinas took on a life of their own and I discovered perhaps there is some humanity, elegance and truth in their large forms. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I have enjoyed painting them.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

More Big Ballerinas

Ballerina #41 oil on linen / 12x16

Ballerina # 40 oil on canvas / 16x20
Ballerina # 39 / oil on linen / 8x10 / SOLD

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wild Burro Family

Wild Burro Family / 12x16 / oil on linen board

Perhaps painting animals will shake my summertime blues? This little black baby burro was one of the cutest babies I have ever seen - photo was taken at wild burro auction in San Diego a few years back.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Doldrums and a Few Sales

I didn't realize until yesterday just how long it has been since I have posted a new painting on my blog. What triggered my realization was that I spent the day in my studio scraping off a multitude of old, unlovely paintings and gessoing canvas after canvas. Needless to say I have been in the doldrums and, although I have been painting consistently, I have not been happy with my recent work. I have signed up to take a portrait painting workshop in October and hope that will help to jump start my efforts. In the meantime, I will continue painting and see if I can recover some of what I have lost - I believe it is spontaneity and fearlessness that are lacking in my work. I have been through times like this in the past and my solution has always been to keep on painting, take some new instruction, watch art videos and never give up.

I received notification of sales this week from two of my galleries and that has helped somewhat to buoy my spirits. It is always encouraging when a complete stranger feels passionate enough about my work to purchase it for their home. I also sold an older painting off my website.

Del Mar Down the Home Stretch - This painting sold off my website and found a permanent home in Washington DC

A Hint of Merriment - Sold through the Reinert Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina

Winter Cows - Sold through the Roux and Cyr Gallery in Portland, Me

The new owner was kind enough to send me a photo of Winter Cows hung in her lovely home!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reno Portrait Society and an Explanation

Kristi / oil on toned board / 9x12

Kristi / oil on toned board / 12x9

Kristi / oil on cardboard / 10 x 8
A family emergency that necessitated a long trip to Florida has kept me from painting for the last several weeks. Just prior to that trip, I received some very good news from Jason at the Reinert Fine Art Gallery in South Carolina - both of my large paintings sold within a week of their arrival at the gallery! That was some very exciting news! Here are the two SOLD pieces:

A Haze of Possibilities / 16x20

Galloping With the Light / 18x24

The quick sales got me all fired up to finish the new steeplechasing painting that I had on my easel at that moment - about 50% done. But before I could even pick up a paint brush, I had to drop everything and leave town. Getting back a few days ago, I found I just could not recapture the prior excitement that I had about the partly done piece  and ended up ruining it in grand fashion! Sadly, it was unceremoniously consigned to the trash heap.  Normally I would be kind of upset about something like that happening but I made up my mind to just begin again. Hopefully this time I can carry it through to completion.

Yesterday morning was life painting at the Reno Portrait Society - the first time I have been able to attend in weeks and weeks. As our model for the day, we were fortunate to have Kristi, who agreed to pose in the nude. She is so professional, researches her poses before arriving, needs very little direction and gives us a quite a challenge. She provided us with three different poses - each about 40 minutes - and the above three efforts are my results.

Over the next few days I intend to visit my favorite blogs and make my presence known once again - it feels like I have been away for such a long time and I have a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Visitor from Amsterdam and a Visit to Cantor Art Gallery

My daughter, who is living and working in Amsterdam, flew back to the US for a business trip and was able to spend a few days with us in Reno! She was here and gone in the blink of an eye it seemed but we did have a chance to show her around the Lake Tahoe area, enjoy some home cooked meals and talk about her European life while eating Belgian chocolates until the wee hours of the morning. I have missed her terribly and now that she is gone again, I miss her more than ever.

When it was time for her to leave, my husband and I drove her to the airport in San Francisco for her return trip and then we continued on to Palo Alto. Even though it was still quite cold and breezy with merely a hint of Spring in the air, everything is riotously blooming and the air is filled with perfume from all the flowers. California can be so beautiful. I wanted to tour the Linear Accelerator but unfortunately it has been recently closed to the public. We were able to spend some time at the Cantor Museum which is on the campus of Stanford University. They have a nice selection of paintings, many from artists I was seeing for the first time, and an extensive collection of Rodin sculpture.

Cantor Museum entrance

Deborah Butterfiled's driftwood horse Viktoria. It is larger than life and is actually cast in bronze - quite remarkable!

A portrait of his wife by William Merrit Chase. Her face is so softly and lovingly painted - she is breathtaking.

A little ballerina sculpture by Degas. The upper  little pastel on the wall behind her is also a Degas.

Study for a portrait by Thomas Eakins - about life size.

Portrait of a young boy by Robert Henri

Italian devotional painting from 1518 - I fell in love with the faces!

A young Napoleon - I have forgotten the artist but the portrait is arresting in life.

Rodin The Thinker
I am yearning to get back to my easel!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Big and a Little and the Gallery of Small Works

Untitled / oil on linen panel / 18x24

Untitled / oil on linen panel / 12x12
I am really honored to be included in Rick Reinert's new Small Works Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. There are some really incredible artists represented there - I have to pinch myself when I see my name listed with theirs! Here is the link to the new website: Reinert Fine Art-The Small Works Gallery

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Distinct Sense of Self or Ballerina #38 et al.

A Distinct Sense of Self / oil on linen panel / 12 x 12
 And trying my at hand a a few tiny pieces - a wee 5x7 nches! They are quite a challenge and require smaller brushes than I generally use.
A Potpourri of Possibilities / oil on canvas / 7x5

Hidden Variables / oil on canvas / 5x7

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Haze of Possibilities and the Way a Horse Sees

A Haze of Possibilities / oil on linen panel / 16x20
Having painted this composition with a trio of horse and jockey combinations before without satisfaction, I determined to try it again.

I learned some quite interesting facts about equine vision this week. Horses do not see the same way humans do - they have only color receptors for the blue and green spectrum and cannot discriminate reds - apparently much the same as a person with red-green color blindness. The theory is that this may cause the horse to rely more on contrast to judge distance to and height of an obstacle when calculating take off. When a horse is approaching a jump he will see it in sharp focus, but will lose this focus around 3 meters away and may not be able to accurately judge distance to the jump. He will perceive the jump differently from his rider not only because of the difference in color perception but also because he has a much wider field of vision due to his eye placement. This adds to the importance of the connection between the horse and rider as they approach a jump.

Having long been fascinated by the interaction, partnerships  and cooperation that are established between man and beast as they interact together during moments of great intensity, it is part of my underlying drive to paint steeplechase as a way of expressing this relationship.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Chronicle of the Horse

The Chronicle of the Horse Art Gallery section / February 16, 2015

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Beth Rasin, President and Executive Editor of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. She asked if she could feature my painting Final Approach in the Art Gallery section of her beautiful and informative magazine. This is the result. I feel so privileged to to be part of this excellent publication. Many thanks to Beth for her support of equine artists and for including my work in her magazine.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Question of Balance

A Question of Balance / 12 x 12 / Oil on canvas panel / SOLD
A rather lively wild hare!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Steeplechase Racing!

Untitled / oil on canvas panel / 12 x 16

Untitled / oil on canvas / 9 x 12

A few smaller works as I am trying to create a body of paintings for the smaller works gallery!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fine Art Connoisseur

Ballerina #14 / oil on linen panel / 18x24

This is one of the paintings currently in my solo show at the Roux and Cyr International Art Gallery in Portland, Maine. I decided to post it here again as my work at the gallery was noticed by Jeffrey Carlson, editor of the Fine Art Connoisseur online magazine. Jeffrey wrote an amazing piece on his response to my ballerinas and included photos of several of the paintings that are currently in the show.

Jeffrey makes lyrical statements such as "Smolensky's paintings of ballerinas offer visual harmonies in a pastel palette of robin's egg blue, mauve, and rosy pinks. Not just the observed, but the felt reality, makes its presence known." 

This little article, written by a person unknown to me but who is a force in the contemporary art world, has affected me deeply. Perhaps I am reading more into it than I have any right to, but having him reflect and write about my work in such a personal way has nudged my inner spirit just a bit and infused it with a new found sense of surety that I have never felt before. Thank you, Mr. Jeffrey Carlson - I am indebted to you.

Here is the online link: Susan Smolensky-Fine Art Connoisseur

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Working on Titles and a BIG Thank You to Sandra!

Untitled / 12x12 / oil on canvas panel

Untitled / 12 x 16 / oil on masonite

Untitled / 8x10 / oil on canvas
Untitled /10x8 / oil on canvas
I am working on titles for a group of paintings that I am still working on. Titles are very important to me and I would like to have the titles reflect my ideas and thoughts about this project, giving it a sense of cohesion. Hopefully, I will get a chance to give this some thought in the coming weeks.

And a huge hug and very big thank you to my art blogging cyber friend Sandra Busby who paints absolutely sparkling glass and wonderfully emotive teddy bears! She was kind enough to feature my work in her bi-monthly newsletter with a link to my site. I am thrilled! Thank you so much, Sandra!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Good News x2 !!!

And the good news is....the Roux and Cyr International Fine Art Gallery in Portland, Maine, is showcasing my work with a focus on ballerinas during the month of February. This is my first solo show and I am as excited as can be! The Art Walk event is on Friday, February 6th from 5 to 8 pm. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that the weather is clear and not too bitterly cold! Thank you so much to Susan Roux and Paul Cyr for giving me this incredible opportunity.

And speaking of good news, I have been invited to participate in a new gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. This gallery plans to open by mid-March and will focus on smaller works. I will post more news regarding this opportunity as we get closer to the opening date. I was told that the art market in Charleston is second in the US only to New York! Wowee! What a great art start to 2015!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life Portrait

Warren Ronsheimer / oil on canvas / 14x11
Another Wednesday morning life session - this portrait has it all - big glasses, a well trimmed beard, a colorful jacket, good light and shadow! I was a happy camper!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Shonnard Family

Shonnard Family / oil on canvas 16x20 
Something about the start of this triple portrait called to me as I viewed it on my easel and so I decided to bring it to completion using a reference photograph that I took during the session last Wednesday morning. I generally don't go back to portraits I do from life for several reasons - one is that I consider my oil sketches done there to be a learning experience and to stand alone as such and, secondly, photographs never have the same color, intensity of shadow or nuances of expression that are apparent when painting from life. And many of my previous attempts to complete life portraits in the studio have resulted in pure disaster. My Wednesday morning goals are usually to try to capture a likeness, depict something of the character of the model and to bring what I have learned back to my studio work. That being said, I decided to go ahead and finish this work and I am happy with that decision. I would be very interested to hear what you think! Here are a few close ups:
Detail 1

Detail 2
 And a quick still life (it has been ages and ages since I painted a still life) as I just love the color and vitality of this arrangement.
Exuberance of Appearance / oil on Masonite / 14x18
I just found out that two of my Christmas paintings are being featured on a website that originates out of New York called Cricket's Crush as Holiday Gift Ideas for The Art Collector. Here is a link for those who might want to check it out - Cricket's Crush
Pretty exciting stuff!