Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cross Road There is No Planet B

WE would love to see you at the opening reception where there will be a huge ice sculpture of a glacier which will be melting before your eyes, Lynda Enfante-Lyons and her partner Graham Dane super talented artists will be a part of this art installation with post cards to Alaska. Please try and come on one of these dates and see a very special art installation take part in poetry and a Q&A with Fran Ulmer about global warming.  Sandy Hill conceived this art installation to bring community attention to global warming and especially how it affects Alaska.
  Bless her heart she had been collecting hundreds of newspaper articles about climate change; scientific articles, political articles, actions to take, art and more. I was asked to create some artwork from these raw materials so I took the box home labeled Scientific Evidence, honestly I did not have any inspiration until last week then it came to me, this triptych is made from the newspaper articles and beeswax which the art is literally  melting. 

The science of global warming  and newspaper headlines does not offer much good news the scientific data is bleak and confusing.  I decided the best approach was to make an emotional appeal, temperatures are rising, weather is getting more unpredictable, sea levels are rising, out planet is getting hotter! 
First we need to stop being in denial and we need to stop now! Then we can address the issues we are at a Cross Road There is No Planet B!

 The Glaciers are Melting
 Tales of a Warmer Planet
 The Bad News! We're On Fire!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Angel and the Skull

The Angel and the Skull
Original Oil
Judy Vars
24 X 30

VANITAS painting which translated means vanity and reminds us that this earthly life is temporal but there is another aspect to our existence. This painting holds a psychological meaning, the flowers represent that life is short and transient, the angel gives us hope, the skull says we will all become dust one day and the three wise monkeys remind us to be of good mind, speech and action.

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