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“As the nature.com study acknowledged, scientific analysis can’t account for artistic creativity.”

This graphic from foodpairing.com suggests compatible flavors for pumpkin. (Photo: The Foodpairing Co.)

As many of you know I love the fusion of Science and Art. I came across this article that looks into the Science and Art of food pairing. It is quite fascinating. But still there are factors as in ‘just like my mom used to make’ that indicate we also taste with our hearts.

I recently had a very interesting food matching, maple pizza served by Jed’s Maple this past weekend. OMG was it good. I got the recipe card from them. It will make a great appetizer or dessert.

Thoughts on unique food matching you care to share?

This fall soup successfully combines pumpkin, Gruyere cheese and sesame seeds. (Photo: Amy DeWall Dadmun)

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The summer has been good for plein air painting here in Vermont.  I organized a group of painters this summer to create plein air paintings for an exhibit held at the MAC Center for the Arts that was done in collaboration with Memphremagog Watershed Association and the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District (OCNRCD).  The final exhibit not only had lovely plein air paintings but also lots of educational material from OCNRCD about the conservation practices such as grass waterways, riparian buffer planting, strip cropping and pasture rotation.

On the last day of the exhibit the artists gathered for afternoon tea and an Artist talk where we shared “The Joys and Challenges of Plein Air Painting”.  There was a lot of enthusiasm for this and we had a proper tea party with china tea cups, cucumber sandwiches and scones with strawberry and cream.

Afternoon Tea all set for Artist Talk

Drinking tea an d talking art










Well, you know how I enjoy the fusion of science and art.  In the process of preparing for this talk I found out that it was a few technological advances that gave a boost to plein air painting.  First in was availability of paint that could easily be brought into the field.   After setting up shop in 1766 William Reeves (UK) began selling the first water soluble dry cake watercolors. By 1780 a bit of honey was added to the formulation to make the paint pliable for manufacture in various ways. Honey is a natural humectant, attracting and retaining moisture.

Secondly and perhaps most importantly, John Goffe Rand (1801-1873) patented the first collapsible metal tube for artist’s oil paint on September 11, 1841. He had traded off his European patent for the tubes to appease creditors.  At the time, the best paint storage was a pig’s bladder sealed with string; an artist would prick the bladder with a tack to get at the paint. But there was no way to completely plug the hole afterward. And bladders didn’t travel well, frequently bursting open.  I must say that would be enough to keep me from plein air painting.  Now the impressionists could abandon the studio and its confining academic painting techniques.  This gave a big boost to plein air painting and certainly one of the reasons the Impressionists are credited with championing plein air painting.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir said, “Without colors in tubes, there would be no Cézanne, no Monet, no Pissarro, and no Impressionism.”

Finally, it was during the mid-19th century that the box easel, typically known as the French box easel or field easel, was invented. It is uncertain who developed it, but these highly portable easels with telescopic legs and built-in paint box and palette made it easier to go into the forest and up the hillsides.  In present time, there are many variations of this portable easel.


Contemporary Plein Air painters live in a great time.  To say plein air painting is ‘catching on’ is an understatement.  This, I believe, is the golden age of plein air painting.  In a world of forgeries, cheap knock off from China and ‘anything is art’, plein air paintings have a unique authenticity and freshness.  I am now energized for the season of plein air with the Plein Air Palm Beach group of artists.

Interesting article, Water and Light about John Singer Sargent, the famous watercolorist and plein air painter and his use of photography. I’ve always maintained that artists of all eras used what ever tools were available to them. Some contemporary artists disdain the use of photography as a tool painting. Or claim that the camera gives a flattened image, but of course never explain this statement. In reading this article I imagined that Sargent was making small watercolors in his travels and wondered if he would have used a cell phone camera instead if he had one available. What are your thoughts as painters or photographers about the art of photography and painting and the fusion of both. 

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September 30th, 2017 2-4 PM

Meet me at the MAC and join me for Afternoon Tea and an Artist Talk.
Join Donna Walsh and the artists of Plein Air Northeast Kingdom for an Artist talk with panel discussion and Afternoon Tea. You will find the plein air artists to be quite a social bunch so even our talk will be a social event.

Free and open to the public at MAC Center for the Arts, 158 Main St. Newport VT 05855

Here is some info about the exhibit:

The MAC Center for the Arts and the Memphremagog Watershed Association will host an art exhibit featuring farms and waters of the Memphremagog Watershed. Resident artists and visiting artists at all levels are painting at many sites around the Northeast Kingdom through the NEK Plein Air painting group to document today’s landscapes that contribute to tomorrow’s history. Painting sites include views of local waters and views of soil and water conservation practices at four farms that are working with the Orleans County Conservation District.

This exciting art project includes highlighting strip cropping and grassed waterway in corn fields, grazing and laneways in pastures, and Riparian Forest buffers conservation practices that reduce soil erosion by water; increase infiltration and available soil water; and improve habitat, water quality, visual quality of the landscape and farm community relations.
Strip cropping is arranged on cropland across the general slope so that equal widths of grass strips are alternated with annually tilled cropped strip. Grassed waterways are generally planted to perennial grass in annual crop fields and are constructed to convey runoff from low spots where concentrated flow areas where ephemeral and gully erosion control is needed. Artists and community members will learn about these local field based conservation efforts and all the participating farmers will receive a framed print of one of the paintings.

I run a group for plein air paintings on Pixels aka Fine Art America.  There are some beautiful plein air paintings that the members post.  Take a look at http://fineartamerica.com/groups/plein-air-painters–all-painting-media.html?tab=artwork

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Grassy Waters

Grassy Waters 9 x 12 Acrylic on Canvas Paper .  This one was very well received when I posted it on Facebook.   I have been trying to do some daily painting to implement what I have been learning lately.  In this one I was focusing on the Cape Cod School of Art.

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Th13087514_10154453059525348_4355556754880952771_ne May edition of Plein Air Magazine had a wonderful article about Plein Fun Fest, here in our back yard! Honored to have been included in the ” Winner’s Circle” of awards, along with such talented painters and friends.  I was co-chair of this event so happy to see it work out so well

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ocean-Inlet morning sunBut I broke my wrist..  I was just getting to Ocean Inlet, was in the parking lot.  As i get out of the car my foot turn over and down I go.  Of course my painting buddies say “Is it your painting are” and when I say “no” they tell me to stay and paint.  But the pain got the best of me so I
took a few pictures and did this one at home in the studio.  Not right away of course.

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These are the paintings from my Adriatic Cruise.  I was teaching watercolors aboard the Queen Elizabeth.  These were some of the places we visited and were the subject of the watercolor classes.Greek Temple in Corfu Gibraltar Dubrovnick Seville Croatia Venice Sicily

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Artist Reception for "Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air"

Artist Reception for “Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air”

My weekend of Art & Culture began with the Artist Reception on Thursday April 10th, 2014 for Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air, the exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach that showcases the artwork of the group I co-founded, Plein Air Palm Beach (PAPB).  This is an exhibit I have been working on all season. 


It is runs from April 11 –June 7th, 2014 and can be seen during regular hours of the Cultural Council; Tuesday –Saturday 10 AM – 4PM.  It is a joint project with the Cultural Council and Plein Air Palm Beach showcasing the work of local area and visiting artists.



We painted out in the 10 different locations, chosen from the members’ favorite places to paint in Palm Beach County, over the course of ten weeks, between December and February, going to a different location every week.  Sometimes the weather did not cooperate but that did not stop the hard core artists.

During the course of this project, over 80 different artists participated and well over 200 paintings were produced.    Not only was I a participating artist and organizer of the paint-outs, but together with Ralph Papa, co-founder of PAPB and Nichole Hickey, Director of Artistic Services at the Cultural Council, I helped plan the actual exhibit.  So by the time the opening reception rolled around, I felt like a celebrity walking in on the red carpet. The natural high and floating feeling I got from this Artist Reception will keep me going for awhile.

The Reception


The artists I work with in PAPB are tremendous and all have been very supportive and encouraging during this project. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach, as usual has been very professional and is always a pleasure to work with.  I have been an artist member of the Cultural Council for the past two years and highly encourage other artists to consider becoming members as well.  It is so nice to have professional organization working for arts and culture in our area.


The second part of my arts weekend was my participation in the Atlantis Spring Fling Art Show and Sale.  It is a very nice community event that includes an art show.  It was fun to be with a group of artists and have a chance to show my work and even made a sale.   With two other exhibits ongoing besides the above, most of my work is currently out being shown in exhibit.  Not really a bad problem.  Thus, I brought mostly artwork from my cruising travels to the Spring Fling Show.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not painting enough but when I pulled together my work for Spring Fling I realized I had quite a few paintings.  Side benefit of preparing for a show and sale like this is that it really helps to get the artwork inventory organized.  Besides it was fun to be chatting with other artists and Atlantis gave us a nice dinner to boot.


Finally, on Palm Sunday, I attended Seraphic Fire concert of Haydn: Last Seven Words.  A good friend and I have season tickets and originally we were supposed to attend on Thursday in Boca, but that turned out to be the night of Cultural Council artist reception so we decided to reschedule to Sunday in Miami.   The weather and traffic tried to thwart my plans; we encountered heavy rains and, at one point, a sign saying all lanes on I95 closed.  So we had to get off and take the scenic route to Miami Beach.  No problem, but we made it with only a minute to spare.  The anxiety of the weather and traffic melted away as soon as Seraphic Fire began to sing.  I was transported for a brief time to a place of sheer pleasure and beauty.    After the concert, we took the scenic route back part way as the traffic was still snarled on 95.  However, by now the sun was out, and we got to enjoy the ride and each other’s company.


My weekend immersion in art was complete.

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