Tuesday, November 23, 2010


oil on canvas paper
This is a plein aire painting of a small portion of the Governor's backyard in front of windows facing the Susquehanna River. Most of the trees had lost their colorful foliage, but many of the shrubs' colors were still brilliant.

Monday, October 18, 2010


painting right before our easels were toppled by the persistent winds

The two days of painting outdoors on this beautiful farm in Newtown, PA were challenging. The workshop was run by Valerie Craig, a wonderful plein air artist from the Philadelphia area.http://www.valeriecraig.com/index.htm I had been looking for a workshop to attend and Valerie was recommended to me by a high school friend, also an artist. http://www.danireel.com/

The setting and scenery were perfect. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the autumn colors were glowing. BUT, the temperature was cold and there were gale force winds blowing non-stop. Easels were toppling everywhere. I lost all my turp. Luckily ,Valeri had some to spare. In spite of the constant pressure of holding my easel in place. I managed to do 3 paintings. There were at least 12 of us, and the teacher made several trips around the area to comment on individual paintings and to demonstrate. I got a few tips from her.

One was to mix my colors with a knife and not the brush. In that way, you can place a dab of the color on the canvas to check it against another color. If it's too warm or cool or too dark or light, you can more easily remove it. She also encourages you to mix a lot of a color, so as not to run out of it. Trying to match a mixed color is difficult.

I approach a painting observing light and darks. She suggested determining the warm and cool colors as well. I wish there had been more of a discussion about color palettes and composition.

At the request of workshop participants, we reviewed and critiqued each other's paintings. These critiques would be more beneficial if the teacher and students were not so afraid to offend. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience and look forward to painting en pleine aire again, hopefully without the gale strength winds.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


acrylic on canvas
This plein air paint session started out about 9:00 with my selecting the No Parking side of Market Street in Camp Hill. What that meant was that there was parking on the other side of the street. I chose what I wanted to paint--one of the charming stores in Camp Hill; but the by the time I finished setting up my easel and squeezing out my colors, the cars and delivery trucks began to park their vehicles right in front of my subject matter. Reluctant to pack up and move, I fixed my eyes on some rooftops, where no cars would get in the way.
I consider myself a closet abstract painter. I love non-representational art of all ilks--abstract expressionism, geometric, color field. I admire artists who can create beautiful works without relying on representation. I've tried it, but I am still in love with the real things around me, so once in a while I attempt to simplify or abstract objects by emphasizing their geometric shape.
In this painting, I have focused on the almost flat geometric shapes of the cut-off buildings, their rooftops, umbrellas, signs and pole. Strong sunshine and shadows and minimal modeling of these shapes helped me to do this.. Also, the overlapping and arrangement of these shapes helped me to create an "almost" abstract painting.

Monday, September 27, 2010


acrylic on masonite
What a joy it is to be outdoors on a beautiful morning in a tranquil setting, painting with eleven other artists-all of us stretched out in various spots along the West Fairview shoreline. It is quite a pleasant sight to see.
My painting, though begun en plein air, was changed significantly when I got back to my studio. After consulting a photograph of the exact section I was painting, I could see that I had awkwardly placed my island and the background buildings on the masonite board. I lowered the buildings, raised the island and added some foliage from the shore.
Our plein air group has described a plein air painting as one that is done mostly on site, with perhaps some finishing touches in studio. This painting, though inspired by the setting, was done mostly in studio from my photograph of the site.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


oil on canvas
I was an art history major a million years ago. There were several artists who became my favorites and Paul Cezanne was and still is one of them. He has been called the"father of modern art", because he began to challenge the notion that 2 dimensional paintings should render depth[ which is 3 dimensional] as realistically as possible, using linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, vertical position, etc. He and, later, most modern artists felt that the canvas was 2 dimensional and objects in the painting should reflect that. He "tilted" tabletops, which brought objects to an almost upright position. He outlined many things which tended to flatten objects. He loved shapes and colors and clung to representationl rendering of things, but latter started to fracture and flatten things, like rocks and mountains.
I am a representational artist. I can't shake my love of things, people, and vistas around me. Though I love recognizing geometrical shapes in all things around me, I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to paint in a non-representaional manner. I like abstract work and respect artists that paint this way. I like Cezanne's still lifes because they combine "modern" ideas and techniques, but still depict the beauty around him in a recognizabe way.

For my painting, I assembled some of my things, some of which resembled objects from Cezanne's paintings. I tilted the tabletop, so as to see more of the shapes . I used a flowing drape and tablecloth to lead the eye around the canvas. I did not concern myself with realistic shadows and used dark lines to separate some of the things on the table. The colors are unrealistically bright. It was fun to paint in this carefree manner. Of course I had Cezanne to lead the way.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


acrylic 12"x16"
I did this painting for a CALC chocolate theme art show. The word "chocolate" immediately got my "juices flowing". I took my camera to The PA Bakery in Camp Hill, explained my mission and took several pictures of various chocolate baked goods. I bought some to have the real thing in front of me while I painted [my excuse]. I decided to paint the tray of cookies. My inspiration was that they looked like they were moving, jostling for position on that tray. I try to create the feeling of motion in my still life paintings, a little excitement, so as not to appear staid or dead. I titled this painting, "Hey, Get In Line Like the Rest of Us".
PS. I finished eating the cookies way before I finished the painting and, in fact, remained hungry the entire time I worked on it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


It's so rare that you see wash hanging on a line to dry. For me this scene brought back memories of my childhood. We had a washing machine, but no dryer. There were four families, all related, living in the apartment house my grandfather built. Each family had a window facing one telephone pole with four clotheslines hooked up-two for the ist floor apartments, two for the top floor apartments. The lines were on pulleys attached out of each of the windows to the pole. Hanging out the wash in the wintertime was a challenge-wet clothes, cold hands. Pulling it back in was hysterical. Every article of clothing --stiff as boards.
I will be exhibiting this in the New Cumberland Art exhibit at the Third Street Gallery in November.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


on Arches Cold Press Paper
I was rummaging around in some portfolios and found several of these lithograph prints I did over 25 years ago. At that time, I was attending classes at Millersville University working for my art instructor certification for grades k-12. I am amazed at how fresh and clean these prints still are. The black ink on white paper really help convey the mood I was inthen--frustrated, tired travelling to classes, homework, housework, three children, up late and early, reading old news.
The tree in Despair, I drew from a huge, dying, old mulberry tree in our back yard with a gaping hole in its side. It was limb heavy to one side and we had the limbs wired in a way to support each other, but a huge thunderstorm with heavy winds began to topple it. It was so close to the house, we had to have it removed. My final drawing left out its leaves and branches, forshadowing its final demise.
The art professor, Dr. Nelson[if I remember correctly] had us printing the "old fashioned way". We inked our drawings on massive, flat Bavarian stones, lifted them on to the bed, laid the paper on them and pushed these thick slabs through the press . Of course, at 42 or so, I was the oldest in the class. Never had any advanced art classes--so I was happy to get an A in Lithography--the only one I received for the art classes.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The weather was a beautiful this morning in Liverpool, PA--not too warm, with a slight breeze blowing. I set up my easel on the side of the road and proceeded to paint the view in front of me. The morning sun was shining, creating nice shadows on the road. It took me a while to construct the scene on my canvas. I took pictures from the same spot, as I always do, for future reference. I seem not to finish a painting, before my legs and back start to bother me. I laid in some lights and darks and perspective lines, etc. In about 2 hours I packed up and left.
I was happy with my color palette and was anxious to work on the painting when I got home. I loaded the photos on to my computer and began to study them, looking for the best one with the details I needed to complete the painting. I was about to print a couple of them and decided to delete one I did not need at all. Then disaster!
Somehow I deleted the whole folder. All my reference photos--Gone. Nowhere. Not in the trash bin or any other folder, AND I also had deleted them from my camera.
I looked at my poor unfinished painting and tried to recall more details, but to no avail. Liverpool is almost an hour away--don't have the time to go back--I'm really disgusted with myself. I put the pathetic little painting aside, but if I'm still mourning over it's sad state, I may make the trip back up next week--or not.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Another morning painting en plein aire. A small group showed up at Italian Lake in Harrisburg. Not the most impressive or scenic lake I have ever seen, but the lilies were blooming in the warm morning sun. So I chose to paint them up close.

Friday, June 11, 2010

TheBurg Newspaer Cover

Recently I received an email from Linda and Ted Walke mailto:Walkgallery@galleryatsecond.com
Gallery at Second
608 North Second Street Harrisburg
which said that through judging by both the gallery and TheBurg newspaper, my artwork above, Spice Awaits, had been selected for a future front cover of the newspaper.
They congratulated me for this selection and honor of becoming a featured artist whose work will be seen by tens of thousands fellow Pennsylvanians.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A group of friendly, talented artists met in Willow Park in Camp Hill yesterday to enjoy the great weather and to paint. There were plenty of interesting and beautiful subjects around us. I set up shop in the gazebo--no bugs there. A passerby suggested that I was not really painting en plein aire, because I was cozy and comfortable in this enclosed area. In spite of his humorous observation, I pressed on. My view was cropped by the parameters of the gazebo. Just fine with me. It kept me focused on the one area.
This was only the second time I have painted outside in the last 30 years or so. It was very enjoyable.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Ricky came to visit our son, Chris, from Davie, Fla, close to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Ricky is our grandson through marriage. Ricky has just finished 7th grade. He brought some of his school artwork for us to see.
The first is a drawing of a sneaker, very well drawn with lots of details. The second was a project that involved drawing something creative, using a specfic word. He manipulated the word, water, to look like it was flowing from a jug held by hands of 2 races--nuturing a plant or seeds. Very creative and well drawn.


A peaceful scene
My daughter called one evening to tell me that my grandson, Ryan, had just brought home a painting he did in art class. I didn't even know he took art as an elective. I had painted with him when he was pre-schooler, just as I did with Caroline, his sister. I well remember taking them to the town pool one summer day. I brought colored pencils to occupy them during adult swim. Children were not allowed in the pool at that time. Ryan started to draw the concession stand and included some of the details, like the clock. As soon as the whistle blew, though, he was off to play in the pool. Ever since, I assumed that he had stopped doing art when he got heavily into sports as had his sister.
Ryan is a terrific football and lacrosse player. He is as fast as the wind and it's a joy to see him perform on the field. But what a special joy it was for me to see the result of his "performance" in art class.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


acrylic on canvas

I saw this red house standing alone in green field under a bright blue sky while on my way to Wildwood Preserve. It's hard to forget so vivid a picture, so the next bright sunny day I drove over the Harvey Taylor Bridge into Harrisburg and retraced my route till I found the house again. I took several pictures of it and of other homes in the area. There were row houses in the vicinity and I assume that the red house was once a part of a row of homes. You can see that the one side looks like it had been sliced. As it is now, the red house stands alone, looking tall and proud.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Last night the History channel ran videos captured by those in and around the collapse of the Twin Towers. I was watching it with my 19 year old granddaughter and her college friend. Caroline and Lindsey were 10 years old at the time the Towers were struck and collapsed. Both of them have visited New York and the site often since then. Both were intently interested and horrified by what the videos showed. I decided to show them and explain my painting, which mirrored the scenes they were seeing on TV. The photo of this famous scene was in all the newspapers the day after 9/11.
I was struck by the fear and dazed looks on faces--the papers everywhere--people helping each other. Mostly I was struck by how the ash and dust coated everyone's clothes and faces, camouflaging all ethnic, racial, and religious differences--the figures looked like sculptures to me. I wanted to paint them, but I was too distressed by the horrific event to pick up a brush . So I put the newspaper away and found it 7 years later. I contacted the photographer, Gulnara Samoilova http://gulnarasamoilova.com/ and got her permission to paint her amazing [ and courageous] photograph. I am so honored to have sold this painting to the mother of an Iraq War soldier who had returned from his 2nd tour in Iraq. He was feeling that his service was not understood or appreciated. She gave it to him as a thank you and as a reminder of the reason for his mission.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Elaine Wilson http://elainewilson.yolasite.com/ and Barbara Warfel http://passeri-warfel.com/ in front of one of Barbara's paintings

Laura Basso has renovated and reopened the Third Street Gallery in New Cumberland, PA. Her gallery is sparkling clean, freshly painted, inside and out and the paintings, ceramics, and sculpture are artfully displayed.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception was well-attended. I mingled and chatted with several artist aquaintances and friends that I had not seen in a while.
Several of my paintings, large, medium and small were on display.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


608 Second Street
Harrisburg, PA

The ArtHouse Lounge Gallery Exhibit
Second Street
Harrisburg, PA

Both of these exhibits are currently running for a couple of months. My husband and I went to the opening of Gallery@Second. It was extremely crowded. The Burg Show included paintings by local artists of scenes, etc. of Harrisburg. My entry is of a hostess awaiting customers for the restaurant, SPICE, on Second Street. I took a picture of her while dining there early one summer evening. I liked the contrast between the dark interior and the bright sun-lit street.
The owner of ArtHouse Lounge, Jason Piper, wanted "summer-like" themed paintings for June and July. He claims that customers are often relieved when they see representational paintings like mine because they easily understand and relate to them. He likes a variety of styles and subject matter in his gallery.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Orange is my least favorite color. But for some reason I purchased orange/rust and pink outdoor cushions for our porch. I decorate with paintings on the outdoor walls. I found this painting that my granddaughter did when she was 3 or 4 years old. We painted together then. I loved this painting, because she 1.] kept her colors clean-most children overlap too many colors and they become muddy 2.] such a great composition- can be viewed in any way--accidental of course 3.] what great movement and abandon--inherent in a young inhibition-free child. Her painting is sitting on a small easel right next to my pink and rust cushions outdoors--looks great.

She is nearly 20 years old now. Sadly she doesn't paint any more--full of inhibitions--a by-product of aging and an uninspired, underfunded art program in the Catholic school she attended. Other interests develop and take over-she plays women's lacrosse for the University of Florida now--pretty exciting, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My Pleine Aire Painting

I hadn’t painted outdoors for almost 50 years. I never found the time outside very productive. I was always fighting the wind, bugs and shifting light. Still I recognized the value of observing real depth and true colors. So, when I saw a one day workshop, Painting Alla Prima, offered, I said why not? In truth it really was only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Perfect. I called and registered.

In preparation, I purchased a WalkStool and a couple of small canvases. The day before the workshop, I called to check on the teacher’s name and where we were to meet. I left my name and number for him to call. He called. He sounded young. Very young. Younger than my youngest son. Oh well, I like young people-had worked with them before retiring from my teaching days.

It was then that I learned that I was the only one who signed up for this workshop and would I mind if he brought his fiancee along. Hmmm, not what I expected, but it was a beautiful day and I really wanted to paint outdoors. OK. We arranged to meet at a local coffeehouse at 8:45.

At 9:20, after I had approached at least 2 young couples, asking if they were my teacher and his finacee, they arrived. They both were very young, about 22 or so. Of course, they needed to get coffee and something to eat. [I had had my breakfast at 6:00 a.m.].

He informed me that we were going to Wildwood Preserve in Harrisburg. I had never been there, so I was excited to see a new place. We discussed the route and agreed that going over the Harvey Taylor Bridge would be the best way to go from Market St. in Camp Hill. I was to follow them. Naturally, I thought that since they agreed to cross over the Harvey Taylor Bridge to Harrisburg from Camp Hill, that they actually knew how to get to the Harvey Taylor Bridge from Camp Hill. Foolish me.

Instead of going straight on 21st from the light on Market and 21st, which leads you directly to the Harvey Taylor Bridge, they turned right on to Market, went through Camp Hill, through Lemoyne, wound down toward the Market Street Bridge, along the river in Wormslyburg, then left, then right to an entrance on to the Harvey Taylor Bridge.

Around 10: a.m., we arrived at Wildwood Preserve. After a search for a visually interesting spot to paint, unloading the cars, carrying the supplies to the spot, setting up our easels and other supplies, we were ready to paint. I surveyed the area, plotted out my composition and loosely swooshed on my shapes, light, middle and dark areas. It was about this time [10:30ish] that the instructor discovered that he had left his paints at home. His fiancee and I offered the use of our acrylics, but he wanted his oils. He left to go home to get them.

About 11:30, he returned. He came over to see how I was progressing. I had my large areas blocked in with lights and darks. He liked that I had not used a pencil to draw in the shapes. Still at my side, I was about to block in the trees and some of the foreground when he, hesitantly, began to offer his approach to a painting. I was beginning to sense that he was not that thrilled with my beginnings. Okay, fine, I’m interested in his process and approach to a painting. Alla Prima I, belatedly learned, was a method whereby paint is applied quickly, in a direct, expressive manner. The painting would be completed on site in one session

Using his oils, he demonstrated applying a unifying color, red in this case, all over his canvas, thick and quick. Then he applied the colors of large areas over the red, letting some of the red show. Next he plopped in the some trees, etc. His brushstrokes were loose, the paint thick and the exposed red paint unified the composition . Very nice.

He then suggested I do the same-cover my existing painting with red paint and begin again. Naturally I was skeptical, explaining that, although he was familiar with his process and knew where to go once the red paint was applied, I did not know where to go. He persisted and said he wanted me to get out of my “comfort zone”. I said that at 69 years of age, I deserved to be in a “comfort zone”. He smiled [ he was very sweet]. I think he knew I was not annoyed just enjoying a fun moment with him.

I got out of my comfort zone and applied the red paint to my canvas and attempted to paint the rest of the scene, leaving some of the red showing--very Fauve-like. Now it was 12:00, lunchtime. I unpacked mine. They had none. I looked at them and said, “ The signup sheet said PACK A LUNCH” More smiles.
I resumed painting , but by this time, I had just about had it with the wind buffeting my canvas and tipping over my easel, the passers-by weaving around our easels and paints . The strong winds had turned cold and we[ the fiancee and I] were losing feeling in our hands.

Around 1:30, 3 hours after we had started painting, we packed up, walked back and loaded up the cars. We said our goodbyes and nice to have met yous. I went home, put my “out of the comfort zone” painting on my sturdy, studio easel, printed up the photos I took of the Wildwood scene for reference and resumed painting “alla prima” indoors.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


This is my last seaside painting for a while. I did 9 of them, large and small. It's time I looked for other subject matter.
This is one of the many spectacular sunrises I photograhed this winter. I have never painted a sunrise or sunset, even though, living on the Hudson River, facing west, I saw beautiful sunsets almost every night. As breathtaking as they are, I always considered them gaudy. But I just had to paint at least one. I approached it like an abstract color field type of painting and just went for it. Using my photograph to keep the color as close as possible to the actual scene, I mixed my colors, wet the canvas and swept the paint across it, trying to mimic the movement I saw in the sky.
I noticed that the foreground in the above image appears darker than my painting. I did suggest some light hitting edges, but my camera and the transfer to the blog did not pick it up.

Monday, March 1, 2010

TREE BY THE ROAD By Cecelia Lyden

acrylic on canvas
I found this tree in Boiling Springs one early spring afternoon. Is there anything more "lively" than a tree with all its branches and twigs exposed. A friend suggested that I paint the tree as it looked in all the seasons. I thought it was a great idea, but when I went back that summer, the same tree looked like a large lifeless lump--was not inspiring. I may try to find and paint it this fall.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Acrylic on Canvas
Please visit my website.
It's been mighty cold here in Fort Pierce, Fla, but I managed to stay out on the terrace for about an hour to paint these palm trees. It's going to warm up this Tuesday. My paints and canvases are ready to go.

Friday, January 8, 2010


acrylic on canvas
Please visit my website:
This is a small painting I was able to complete before the frigid weather hit Fort Pierce, Fla. this past week. Graceful palm fronds swaying in the wind are both challenging and inspiring to paint. I hope to be out painting some more next week when the weather warms up again.