Sunday, June 24, 2012


Dearest Readers,

In the Center Street Studio
I’m blissing out here in my Rutland Vermont studio. See 33 seconds of studio snaps at

Last Week's Leafy Wings and Golden Heart
My wing paintings are becoming more abstract and muscular. Pardon me, but they are taking flight from safer ground to increasingly unknown places.

Wings 2 This Week

Wings 3

I was gifted a membership to the Chaffee Art Center in town by my friend Michael Beale. Now I am taking an open model figure drawing “class” there on Thursday nights from 5pm-8pm throughout the summer. $5.00 per session. Rotating models. The Chaffee is just three houses from my studio. Can’t beat it, and I’m getting practice drawing the human body with a group of local Vermont artists.
Week One

Week two

 I’m making an effort to meet other artists in their studios while I’m here. It’s a small state and easy to travel around. I usually take the mountainous “scenic routes”. Friday I visited the painter Leonard Ragouseos who has a studio in the woods in Newfane in southeastern Vermont. We talked about his very large ink drawings on Yupo–a type of mylar. Gorgeous!
Leonard Ragouseos in Newfane, VT studio

 On Saturday I stopped in to see the fabric artist JudithReilly who has a studio in her home in the middle of Brandon in central VT. 
She stopped calling herself a quilter because she said people expected geometric patchwork bedspreads. Instead, she creates landscapes and layered “paintings” using bits of fabric, batting and a darning foot on her sewing machine that allows her to draw with thread over the surface of her fabrics. Amazing color, artistry and detail.
Judith Reilly in her Brandon, VT studio
 Last Saturday, I volunteered to help the artist Paedra Peter Bramhall transport a large digital photo montage printed on canvas to a gallery in the Pop up gallery district of Winooski, near Burlington in northwestern Vermont. 

On the down side, three days of over 90 degree weather was hard to take in this un-airconditioned upstairs apartment and studio. 
Kane Portrait_Day12_Overheated_11x17_Charcoal-on-paper_2012

 I bought a big box fan from Wal-Mart for $15.88, and Etta got my little table fan. 
We’re back to good weather- 80/59 degrees today. 

Band Concert-Main Street Park–Rutland, VT
  I leave you tonight to the strains of Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever playing outside my window. It’s Sunday evening and the Rutland City band is wrapping up their regular Sunday summer band concert in the gazebo in Main Street Park nearby. They always conclude with this crowd rousing number:

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Dearest Readers,

Rutland, Vermont Studio 6.14.2012
After much dipping into and pulling back of my toes from the waters of my home-made Vermont studio, I’m now drawing, painting and writing. It’s a relief. I’m never sure what the big hump is initially that I need to get over, but once overcome, I’m a free bird in my creative element. I’ve finished a new drawing of leafy wings surrounding a golden heart.
Heart Cradled in the Nest of Loving Kindness

An abstracted version is in progress. This week’s portrait depicts the feeling of being “even” balance and calm. 
Portrait #11-"Even" (fearless portrait technique)

I learned this two-handed, two-color “fearless portrait” technique this week from friend and Atlanta artist Ginger Birdsey, who spends her summers in the lovely, dark, and deep mountain woods of Ripton, VT– home of poet Robert Frost. Here's how to do it: Stand or sit in front of your paper with one color drawing tool in the right hand and another color in the left. Begin drawing your face from memory, moving both hands and both colored tools at the same time-I repeat at the same time. This seems to free the mind from its worries about perfection. Make minor touch-ups when it is complete. Voila!  Dog Etta came with me to Ginger’s place and romped around a pond leash-less, sniffing bear and wild smells while we spread a blanket over the damp earth and ate our lunch of tomato soup, spicy chicken salad and crusty bread. Thank you, Ginger!

I wake most days at dawn to the raucous sounds of a family of crows with babies that flap and dive around my upstairs apartment. They have an aerie high in a pine tree across the street. They caw, croak, argue and chatter until late afternoon. In an occasional pensive mood, they almost sound like geese with a rhythmic raspy honk.  I tried to ignore their presence. I surrender and honor them instead.
"HeArts of Rutland" Community Artist Project for Flood Relief
One Heart in Situ at Fire Station

I’m walking a lot. Shops, restaurants, supermarket, post office, pharmacy and even a small Wal-Mart are easy to get to on foot here. Last Sunday at noon, Etta and I walked to a show of thirty fiberglass hearts painted by volunteer artists that will be auctioned in the Fall to benefit the victims of the 2011 floods from Hurricane Irene. They will be displayed outdoors throughout the city during the summer.
The community project is called HeArts of Rutland.
Fagan Family Home-90 East Street, Rutland VT

My studio/apartment is two and one half  blocks away from the James and Elizabeth Dunn Fagan family homestead at 90 East Street–my maternal grandparents house and stewpot of childhood memories. It was sold in the 70’s, but still exudes a gravitational tug that pulls me into its field of dreams. The poem Daredevils is set on the sweeping veranda. The rockers exist now only in my mind.


Mommy held me on her lap during summer storms.
We rocked on the porch after dark
Tossed by the wind, sprayed by the driving rain
Like seafarers on the bounding main
Cresting, rocking, diving,
Laughing at lightning as it ripped down the black wall of sky,
Shrieking on cue when the thunder cracked–
Riding that lifeboat up and down
Faster and faster
Wrapped in each others fear and joy.
We dipped and dived until the next blade of fire
Lit up the yard, the triple-decker swallow house,
And every leaf on a row of lilacs.
For a startling moment, the magic of the cosmos
Slashed through the safe life,
And turned my mother and I into daredevils.

I leave you readers with two poems written at dusk...the magic time in Vermont. The pre-night silence for me falls like a blanket wrapped around homes and machines. It is a thing in itself, soothing and surprising–descending invisibly. I often stand in the partial light marveling at where this essence has come from.

 Be still. Hear this walking breath
In-then-out astride my rhythmic steps.
Walk along the ridge of Grove Street
Where the brown shingled mansion
With the gambrel roof
Meets the stand of black pines
That muster there like sentinels
Strong and brave.

Oh Spirit of Quietude,
Allow this hallowed mountain town
To wrap its orange silence
Around my stone wall,
Up to dusky clouds,
And out beyond the distant peaks
of Pico and Killington
Spotlit in sunset
Forever and ever Amen.


Something is in suspension here.
Loud words are muffled.
Motors have been put to bed.
Crepuscular winds roll through the maples
Reciting the mystery of oxygen–
Whistling a tale of deep weightlessness–
While something unspoken is
Holding its breath.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Dearest Readers,

Green Mountains Near Rutland VT in the Distance
Etta James and I are in Rutland Vermont for a three month summer art encapsulation. We drove up from Decatur at a leisurely pace, stopping to stay with friends Ann and Mike in Raleigh, 

Semra and Roman off to the Clinton Hill Co-op Pre-School
and a week in Brooklyn with my daughter, Semra, her partner Erik, and my three year old grandson Roman.
17 E. Center Street  Rutland Vermont
I’m cacooned in Rutland Vermont in an unfurnished upstairs apartment carved out of the back of a big, brown shingled Victorian home, circa 1890. I’m nestled amid dormers and gables, up a steep, skinny staircase under a massive gambrel roof. I have my own entrance, doorbell and mailbox. It’s old up here, somewhat Spartan, but clean.

Morning bedroom

Morning bedroom-North light

Kitchen-West light

Bathroom-East light

Funky old bathroom sink
 Artist friend Michael Beale (beneath my life/death wings), 

 and Chris and Ellada, the home owners downstairs 

have given me some furniture, a futon, pots/pans, two plates, and two sets of cutlery. I’ve turned the living room (originally a bedroom) into a studio and tarped the floor. 
Cecelia's Vermont apartment-studio
I’m rarin’ to start painting more wings in my series on transformation-enablers, and more self-portraits of those 89 days of recorded feelings on my face from 2010. Here's the latest portrait of feeling cold earlier this week in 40 degree morning weather. (It actually felt good).
#10-Feeling Cold
There’s also the conundrum to solve this summer of arranging and creating a quilt of the 89 companion hankie portraits. I've arranged and re-arranged them in a variety of ways...not satisfied yet.
Option #1-test sample

Option #2-test sample

Option #3-test sample
Somewhere in the quilt I hope to incorporate a life-sized replica of my Catholic School jumper. That blue gabardine uniform had a tiny breast pocket that was the grammar school’s allowable display-device for these colorful embroidered family handkerchiefs. 

Academy of St. Aloysius Grammar School Uniform from Memory

Rutland Vermont is lush after a mild spring and a week of cool rain. The statue of the Revolutionary Green Mountain Boy in Main Street Park hasn’t moved an inch since my childhood here–still overseeing the concerts in the bandstand on the green. 

In nearly a week here I've visited cousins Elaine and Moira Flanagan, friends Linda Morgan and Glenn Horgan, and touched base with my web designer Andrew Christie at Café Tera downtown.
Cousins Elaine and Moira Flanagan
Linda Morgan and Glenn Horgan
Andrew Christie-Web Designer
I ran into Maryann Belfore, a high school classmate in Price Chopper, and nearly bumped carts with my cousin Mary Margaret Fagan in Hannafords. I signed up for a Rutland Library card and received it in my mailbox two days later. I’m official!

I should mention before closing that I caught a few art shows while in NYC and a five-person spooky/funny contemporary circus from Sweden called Cirkus Cirkor at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). My daughter had tickets. We left early when Roman got too scared, but it was darkly wonderful. 
Balancing a chainsaw-Cirkus Cirkor
The Cindy Sherman retrospective at MOMA is outstanding. It closes June 11.  I also spent an artistically inspiring afternoon on the odd-numbered side of West 24th Street in Chelsea between 10th and 11th streets cruising the big-name galleries. Metro Pictures featured new work by Cindy Sherman to piggyback with her MOMA show.  
Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures-Untitled

Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures-Untitled

Anish Kapoor’s heaps of concrete dollops blew me away at Gladstone,
Anish Kapoor at Gladstone
 and Francesco Clemente’s paintings at Mary Boone were quietly spiritual. 
Francesco Clemente at Mary Boone

Francesco Clemente at Mary Boone-The Artificial Princess
Francesco Clemente at Mary Boone

These were a few of my favorites.