Tuesday, November 15, 2016

From Caravaggio to a White Bird in a Golden Cage

This painting has a long story, I am going to repeat it here as I remember it. This painting is huge Greg had started a few years back and was intended to be of a desperate tragic woman in an iron cage symbolized as his mother, the eight iron bars represent her children of which Greg was the oldest. His mother died under tragic circumstances when he was just a boy. 
Greg’s vision was to have a Caravaggio type dramatic painting that expressed the bleak sadness he had as a child and his mother's circumstances as a trained classical pianist (symbolized by the ballet slippers) stuck in a ghetto with 8 kids and an abusive husband.
I always thought this painting a little coarse so one day last summer while visiting him I said; hey Greg I can finish that painting for you. He called me a week later and told me to come and get it. I brought home this huge heavy canvas about 5 'x 4'  looked at it and asked myself are you crazy? Well we all know that is a rhetorical question, yes I am crazy.

  In the process of trying to complete his painting and his vision (which I now know is impossible) I found thoughts wandering to the lyrics of the song, White Bird in a Gilded white bird must fly or she will die. I wanted to change her iron cage into a gilded cage, and make her younger and prettier; I just couldn't help myself my ego got in the way. I changed the iron bars to gold, I changed her face from a desperate woman to the saddest girl in the world, I added cycles of the moon, I painted fire flies for little points of light, gave her a boob lift, and even added a moth for good measure the only part of the painting that I didn’t touch was the golden ballet slippers.

I wanted to rewrite Greg’s childhood to a happier one with some hope. When Greg saw it for the first time he was taken off guard!  I know he expected it to resemble his original idea and I felt like an asshole for stepping on his painting and his Caravaggio theme. 
It is unclear to me if he really liked the painting after I got a hold of her and changed everything, but he was very gracious his comment was; I can say this, it went from a painting that would be not liked by most people to a painting that would appeal to a broader audience. He comically commented as to how now his mother's boob is pointing at his face after some discussion he sent me home to add a key to symbolize that there was a key to his mother's cage.
I delivered the finished product to him on Thursday.  

This is a heartfelt gift for my friend Greg . . My association with him has enriched my life more than I can express. He was one of my greatest art supporters, biggest critic and great friend besides. Every time I saw him I asked, how are you? He always said "better now that you are here" and it magically made me feel better. I know he has many, many devoted friends but he always made me feel most important and loved.

As I write this Greg's journey in this life is coming to an end, if the amount of people on this planet that truly love you is any indication of a successful life then you my dear friend are a superstar. Thank you for being in my life.

Sunday, August 07, 2016


Encaustic wax - Mixed Media
21 X 21

112,000 MILES

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Magic Hours Between Night and Day on Solstice Eve

Still Life on My Deck
24 x 48
What is your favorite time of the day?
Do you love sunrise surprises? Do you enjoy the noon hours white light?
Or the early evening hours with their glorious sunsets?
June 21st holds the honor of being the longest day of the year. In my neck of the woods 
(Wasilla, Alaska), that day provides us with twenty hours of daylight. This extravagant length of hours 
seems to slow time and confuses our understanding of morning, noon, and night. 
It’s been my tradition is to stay up all night on this Summer Solstice. I’ve heard it said that Alaska 
is an insomniac’s paradise. Suffering from a bit of insomnia myself, 
I can attest to the difficulty of trying to put oneself to bed when the sun is still shining. 
On the solstice, I don’t even try.
My personal favorite time of the day this time of the year has always been the window of 
magic hours from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. The sun goes down slowly during this period, 
displaying a long and glorious sunset. The light remains in a suspended state somewhere
between day and night. 
Old Sol hovers just behind the horizon, casting a filtered light of lavender as a 
Prussian-blue sky and crimson shadows give the scene an otherworldly glow. 
I often sit quietly in my secret garden next to my lake carefully observing the various elements of my
surroundings. Because I am an artist, I mentally translate the colors I see into pigments 
and am inspired to attempt to capture the essence of what I am experiencing. At these moments 
I think of something Vincent Van Gough wrote to his brother, Theo: 
"One of the most beautiful things by the painters of this century has been the painting 
of darkness that is still color.” I feel like one of those artists as I sit and contemplate how to capture 
the magic of the midnight sun onto canvas—how to paint the darkness that still has color.
For now, I’m content to enjoy the midnight sun, as soon enough it will be night most of the day. 
But the long winter’s night is magical, as well. Oh, the sights you can see: the Milky Way, the aurora, 
nighttime so clear and clean you can see planets and galaxies with the naked eye! Sunrises, sunsets, 
and bliss, “oh my.”
At the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year), it’s my tradition to remain snuggled in my 
new flannel pajamas all day long, no matter what. Tradition is a cozy thing.
Blessed Solstice to Everyone

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tornado on the Plains

Original Oil
Judy Vars

Dr Freud, Dr Freud calling, I'm not just sure why I painted a tornado, I have never experienced a real one. But holy shit a huge tornado must be a terrifying experience! The fury of powerful winds swirling around leaving indiscriminate destruction in it's wake.  We all know people like that, some of them came to mind while I was painting this tornado. Beautifully scary and it's for sale at a low post tornado price.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bee and Flowers in the Window with Red Drapes

Bee in the Window with Red Drapes
20 x 24
Judy Vars

Come and take a sentimental journey with me do you remember as a child staring out your grandmothers window? Fresh flowers placed in the open window sill bringing a touch of nature inside her small but cozy home. What is about doors and windows that is so endlessly delightful? If the eyes are the window to the soul then and the home and hearth represents our soul then it stands to reason why these kinds of paintings are so heart warming. 

This was painted with oil and to make the window trim look even more rustic and dimensional I used encaustic beeswax, to put the whipped cream and cherry on the top I found this old shabby chick frame. I hope this window painting warms your heart and brings you joy.