What’s New for March/April 2015

Treman Marina, August oil on canvas, 12x12"

Treman Marina, August
oil on canvas, 12×12″

Treman Marina, August will be included in ART OF FRIENDS 10 at the First Unitarian Society, 306 N Aurora St, Ithaca NY. The show runs March 12 – April 16, with a reception on Saturday, March 21 from 4-6 pm. This is the tenth year that Diane Newton has gathered together the work of her ever growing network of friends who are artists. It is an eclectic collection of diverse media and styles, and always a treat to see and be a part of.  I painted this small boat scene last August at Treman Marina, and made some corrections in my studio afterwards. It was done entirely with palette knife.


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What’s up in February 2015

Well, I’ve been away for a while, meant to get this posted before leaving, then meant to post from the road, but managed to forget to bring along my thumb drive with the required images. I spent the last month in Florida, painting the sunrise In Sarasota and taking photos of exotic birds. Much fodder for new paintings. Oh, well. First things first: These two paintings are up at the State of the Art Gallery until the end of this month. They are part of the series that I did from August Through October around Cass Park and the Marina.

Orange Maple at the Marina, 14x18", oil on canvas

Orange Maple at the Marina, 14×18″, oil on canvas

Friday Behind the Hangar, 14x18", oil on canvas

Friday Behind the Hangar, 14×18″, oil on canvas

Secondly, I have two paintings of French street scenes from the series that resulted from my trip to Paris and the South of France last spring. They are hanging in Decorum Too in the Dewitt Mall and will be up for several months. I went with a group of painters, photographers, and a cyclist, organized by Terry Plater.  We painted in the mornings, and toured various points of historical and/or artistic interest in the afternoons. I worked on these paintings in my studio, using acrylic sketches done on site, and photographs for reference.

Fountain at the Clock Tower Square in Sainte Dionisy, 14x18", oil on canvas

Fountain at the Clock Tower Square in Sainte Dionisy, 14×18″, oil on canvas

Courtyard in Calvesson, 14x18", oil on canvas

Courtyard in Calvesson, 14×18″, oil on canvas

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New paintings November 2014 at SOAG


4 Trees & a Bush, oil on canvas, 14x18", sold

4 Trees & a Bush, oil on canvas, 14×18″, sold

I am a little late in posting my news for November, as this is the last week for the member’s show at the State of the Art Gallery, and I have three new paintings on display. They must be good, because two of them will be going to new homes at the end of the month. So… this is the last chance ever to see them, unless you are friends with their new owners.

Four Trees and a Bush is the second plein air painting of the Summer Dozen this summer. I went up to the Cornell Arboretum, with the Fair Weather Painters, and painted the view from across the small pond. I was not very pleased with it when I was done, so there were extensive revisions to make in my studio.I liked the way I painted the trees in the top half of the painting, but the dark reflections and pond scum of the bottom were not working to make a composition. My inclination was to call this one a scraper and toss it, but being busy, it stayed on the wall long enough for me to realize that if I invented the tree reflections, I would have a nice play between the vertical elements and the horizontal/diagonal elements. I also eliminated another bush that I painted just because it was there, adjusted the

Four Sailboats, Treman Marina, 16x12, oil on canvas, sold.

Four Sailboats, Treman Marina, 16×12, oil on canvas, sold.

intensity of the ground cover around the pond, and voila, it just snapped into being.

The second painting, Four Sailboats, was a fun painting for me on a very hot July day at the Treman Marina, looking back across the marina towards the bath house. I was painting with the Fair Weather Painters again. It was very congenial company. I loved the way the white sailboats were lined up, reflecting in the water. As in the painting above, I chose a very small segment of a large landscape, and totally avoided putting in any sky, so it is clearly just about those four boats. It was a new subject for me, and the perspective of the boats was tricky, but I managed to stay loose, and free in my mark making.

The third painting was done in September, after the weather turned rainy and chilly. I almost canceled out of that painting session, but this time, I had put out an invitation for the Fair Weather Painters, and I did not want to miss an opportunity for congenial company. After a rainy start to the day, the sun came out, and I set off for the marina. No sooner did I drive down Cliff Street, but it started drizzling. I was still hopeful that it would pass. When I got to the Marina, it was still drizzling, but there was a patch of clear sky over Lansing, The wind seemed to be blowing from that direction, so I was hopeful. I settled on this scene because I was intrigued by the way the land swung around the water in the marina. The lack of sunshine created a situation where the colors were soft but intense. Damp, gray, with a ferocious wind, I was painting very quickly, spreading very thin applications of paint with the largest palette knife. I was wearing

Beyond the Marina, Cold and Wet, oil on canvas, 16x20

Beyond the Marina, Cold and Wet, oil on canvas, 16×20

several layers of fleece, and a raincoat, but the wind was sucking the heat out of me. After a bit, I was shivering, but I wanted to at least cover the canvas once. By the time I was done, I was seriously shaking  and my teeth were chattering noisily. I couldn’t believe that my companion was still painting in the field beyond. I hastily threw my things into my car, made arrangements to meet for some hot soup and headed off to the Island Cafe on Taughannock Blvd. to warm up. I was pleased with the way this painting turned out, and made only very few minor revisions in the studio.



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October 2014: Multiple Show Venues

This month, In addition to my show at the Moosewood Restaurant being extended for another month,  I have work at the State of the Art Gallery in Ithaca, and at the George Waters Gallery in Elmira,

At the State of the Art Gallery, for the month of October, I am showing one piece which is a memorial to Renisha McBride.

For Renisha McBride oil on canvas, 18x24"

For Renisha McBride oil on canvas, 18×24″

Renisha McBride

On November 2, 2013, Renisha McBride was coming home from a party when she crashed her car and needed help. It was 4:45 AM, and her cell phone was dead, so she went knocking on doors in a Dearborn Heights, Michigan, neighborhood. She banged on the windows and door of Theodore Wafer’s house loudly enough to wake him. He came to the door with his shotgun, and without opening the screen door, shot Renisha dead. He claimed self-defense, he was frightened and thought she was a burglar trying to break into his house. Renisha McBride was only 19 years old. She was an African American young woman. After the initial shocking news, there were the usual media reports trying to show flaws in Renisha’s character. Was she drinking? Had she used drugs? Why was she out and alone so late at night? There were the usual reminders that Michigan was a “Stand your ground” state where it was not a crime to shoot someone if you felt threatened – even if you had no objective grounds for your fear. Then, there was a long silence on the matter. I was beside myself with anger that here was another young black person’s life tragically cut short, and no one cared. There were no protests, no petitions to sign. It seemed as if there would be no justice. This painting springs from my outrage. If Renisha had been white, would she be dead? I once ran out of gas in the middle of the night and knocked on doors looking for help. It never crossed my mind that someone would shoot me.

In this case, it did not take a riot to finally get an indictment. Theodore Wafer was tried, and in August, 2014, was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 17-32 years in prison.

Dyer Ave. (NYC), acrylic on canvas, 20x20

Dyer Ave. (NYC), acrylic on canvas, 20×20

I also have one piece in a group show at the George Waters Gallery in Elmira, NY. It is the last painting from the urban forms series that I started  in 2013, and I think, the most successful in that genre.

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Perspectives on Life, at the Moosewood

Perspectives on Life, Paintings by Diana Ozolins  

Resistance 18x24 oil o/c

Resistance 18×24 acrylic

Through the month of September, 2014, I will have a series of paintings exhibited at the Moosewood Restaurant. This was a great opportunity to show several series that span a number of years. In the Cafe, there will be the most of the environmental disaster and political upheaval series – food for thought, along with information packets about the issues portrayed. In the large dining room, I have enough space to spread out the second Schoodic series, as well as paintings done at the St. Lawrence and some recent plain air paintings done in Ithaca. The following is the artist statement that explains this show. The Moosewood Restaurant is located in Dewitt Mall, corner of Seneca and Cayuga Streets in Ithaca, NY.

Artist Statement

I chose the pieces for this show with a mind towards balancing celebrating the beauty of life in this exquisite world, and keeping a thoughtful perspective on the outrageous violence and destruction that we humans can inflict upon nature and each other.

Fire and Ice 16x20 oil/canvas

Fire and Ice 16×20 oil/canvas

Half of these paintings portray political upheaval, natural disaster, and violent acts. I ask myself, how can life go on in a place where at every moment one can anticipate death; where people live in rubble, and have no way of meeting basic human needs for food, water, sanitation, education, freedom of movement and employment. People are fleeing unspeakable conditions, only to die on the way or to crowd into even more horrid conditions. In Ithaca, there are many families in diaspora, bringing with them stories of survival in conditions of war and oppression, having rebuilt their lives here. It seems that the capacity for inflicting misery on fellow human beings is only increasing. We commit thoughtless acts of violence against the natural world as well which endangers the beauty and resources that we take for granted but need so much for our survival and well being. Incredibly resilient creatures, we have a capacity for survival, but we are coming dangerously close to reducing the ability of the earth to sustain us. Do we have the capacity to change our ways? I paint these images to come to terms with the turmoil and despair that the daily news can stir up within me. I display them to keep these issues in the collective consciousness of our community.

Bill & Jack's Sunset #2 20x27 o/c

Bill & Jack’s Sunset #2 20×27 o/c

Clinging to life with little to no hope is not what life is meant to be. There is so much more possible by way of beauty and joy, music and laughter. The world is rich with resources to fill our basic needs and satisfy our desires. That is why the other half of these paintings celebrates the beauty that abounds in nature. Nature should not just be a balm to sooth our wounds or an elixir to make our spirits strong. We are not by nature weak and wounded creatures. We evolved within a system, though harsh and rigorous at times, that abounds with the resources we need for a beautiful life. Nature provides nourishment not just to grow strong bodies but also to please our palate. It provides not just materials to clothe and house us but to do so with art. We can continue to list the benefits, but it is more important to remind ourselves that we have the responsibility to treat the earth gently, not take more than it has the ability to replenish, and to distribute the resources equitably so that all can benefit.

I hope these paintings can help us think carefully about the way we use the world and whether every interaction with our neighbors and strangers is conducted with dignity and respect. Then, as you dine on the Moosewood’s fine cuisine, I hope you enjoy the beautiful landscapes.


Permanent link to this article: http://ozolins.com/perspectives-life-moosewood/