Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from NYC

Out with the old, in with the new?

"Pinwheel 1"
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches

This old woman was in her window, looking down at the goings-on in the street below, in this case 9th Avenue. I really enjoy the 9th Avenue Food Festival, and for many years I would see this same woman, in her window, with this brightly colored pinwheel stuck in her flower box. As the years passed, the bright colors on the pinwheel faded and finally it disappeared altogether.

The same can be said for the NYC urban landscape. Scenes like this one are harder to find and for me, it captured the New York of my childhood days. People hanging out on stoops, window ledges or copings. If you don't know what copings are, they were low brick walls surrounding the apartment houses where I and my friends grew up and played. Residents would come out and sit on these copings, chatting with neighbors while they watched their kids play in the street, games such as skelly, "You're It", and hopscotch. In the summer they'd wait for the Good Humor truck or Steve the ice-cream man drive up the block, ringing his bell for the kids who came running, quarters in hand, for that Italian ice or popsicle. This painting brings back those kinds of memories for me and for many others who have grown up here.

This is the time of year that I take a few moments to look back and remember, the year just passed and the years gone by. I also look forward to the year to come and think about the paintings I want to paint and what I hope to accomplish as an artist. I've been plugging away as a painter for many years now and I still love what I do. And I love my hometown. It is not an easy place in which to live. It's become more and more expensive to live here. So many changes, some good, some not so good. But this is where I want to be and I'll keep painting what I see around me for as long as I can.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and sending you a big thank-you for following my blog. See you in 2011!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holiday Wishes

Ho, Ho, Ho

Photograph taken on December 11, 2010 near Union Square

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and I think this photo would agree. Snapped this photo of these merry Santa's on their way to their next destination in a Santa Pub Crawl that took place on a cold and cloudy Saturday in December in NYC. They were all over the city, in the subways, on the streets and of course, in many of the bars and pubs. I don't think this photo will become a painting any time soon, but wanted to share it with you and send wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Iconic Empire

Reflections on the ESB

"Empire Reflections"
Oil on canvas
14 x11 inches

A few months ago I exited the subway on 18th Street and Seventh Avenue and looked southward. It was a sunny day, late in the afternoon, and reflected on the facade of a newly erected glass building, was the Empire State Building. Wow, that image got my attention. I often noticed reflections of this building all around town and it was high time to do a reflection painting. Truly a beloved symbol of New York City, one I've painted more than once. I noted the time of day and a few days later headed back to the same site with my camera. Took a bunch of photos and this painting is the result. There are a lot of details in this smaller scaled painting and I loved the color variations that the multi-colored glass facade created. It just seems I can't turn around without finding something that inspires me to paint in this city. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Artful Sunday afternoon in LIC

White walls and small paintings

Photograph of small works at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery

Spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon attending the opening reception at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in Long Island City. This new gallery space is large, light and nicely laid out. In the main gallery and entrance, my friend Donna Levinstone exhibited her spectacular pastel cloudscapes. She achieves a real mood with her work and her handling of the medium is top-notch. In another gallery a small works salon show was on view. I enjoyed meeting several of the artists participating and talking about art. The reception was held as an open house type of event, running from 2 - 7 pm. Friends stopped by and we left at 5pm to have dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in the neighborhood.

The next day I received a call from the gallery telling me that my painting "LIC-P.S. 1" had sold to a local resident and collector who had stopped by after I had left. Nice news indeed, considering the current state of the economy and the effect it's had on everyone, artists certainly included. The gallery sold several pieces at the opening and that was heartening to hear. They are off to a good start and are a welcome addition to the Long Island City community.

"LIC-P.S. 1"
Oil on canvas
10 x 10 inches

Monday, November 29, 2010

Long Island City at dusk

A rooftop view

"LIC Rooftop Night"
Oil on canvas
14 x 11 inches

A recently completed painting to share with you today. With all the show biz stuff happening the past few months I have been able to find time to do some painting after all. This piece was a commission for a young couple living in the neighborhood. They had seen an exhibit of my work several years ago and contacted me about a painting that had been in the show. As it had been sold we talked about doing another painting with a similar subject and I took a number of photos to show them. After some more back and forth, they decided what they really wanted was a painting of the view from their rooftop, where they spend many pleasant evenings, weather permitting. This is the painting that resulted and I'm very pleased with the result. I have been itching to paint more night scenes as there is a definite atmosphere and mood that develops with many dark colors punctuated with punches of light.

In this scene, the industrial aspect is of the "old" LIC neighborhood is portrayed with the factory building in the foreground. The eye is then drawn towards the waterfront with the newer developments that have cropped up in the past decade. Finally, the eye is drawn to the Manhattan skyline with the ever iconic Empire State Building lit up in the early evening light.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Small Works show at Jeffrey Leder Gallery in LIC

One show closes, another one soon to open

"LIC/Jackson Crossroads"
Oil on canvas
10 x 10 inches

Today, on the last day of the exhibition, "Triple Play...", I delivered a bunch of paintings to the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, a new addition to the Long Island City art scene. My friend Donna Levinstone, a wonderful pastel artist, will be having a one-woman exhibition of her pastel landscapes, the second show in this new gallery. If you would like to see samples of her work, check out her website.

Donna very kindly told the gallery director about my work and I was delighted when he made a studio visit and selected 16 small scale paintings to be included in the Small Works Salon exhibit accompanying Donna's show. 10 artists works will be exhibited, with a variety of styles and mediums on view.

The opening reception is on Sunday, December 5th, from 2 - 7 pm. The Jeffrey Leder Gallery is located at 1105 44th Road, 3rd Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101. For more information and directions contact:

The show runs from December 5, 2010 through January 9, 2011. Hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday,11-6.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Walking Tour of "Triple Play..."

Who knew?

"Flatiron II"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Last Saturday we enjoyed an "in-gallery walking tour" of the Gramercy Park and Flatiron districts led by Alfred Pommer, long-time NYC walking tour guide. Lot's of interesting facts were uncovered in the course of the talk. In this painting, the obelisk is the Worth Memorial, named after General Worth of the War of 1812 fame. He is buried there and the city of Ft. Worth is named after him. The wrought iron fence surrounding the monument was made of swords. Who knew?

"NAC Gramercy"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

The stately National Arts Club was built on a double lot owned by Governor Samuel Tilden, who actually won a presidential election by popular vote but lost the election due to fewer votes in the electoral college. Who knew? He was also fearful of uprisings after prosecuting members of Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall machine and had a tunnel built under the mansion leading out to the street a block away, just in case a fast getaway was necessary. Who knew?

"Flatiron-Bird's Eye View"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

The fabulous Flatiron building...rumor has it that a group of Italian investors now own the building and in several years time offices might be converted to condominium residences. True or false? Time will tell. Recently finished reading a marvelous book on the history of the Flatiron and the real estate climate of New York in the early 1900's. I highly recommend Alice Sparberg Alexiou's The Flatiron, The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose With It. A terrific read!

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Triple Play" exhibit online

American Art Collector Magazine has featured the exhibition on their website as of November 1st. So if you are an out-of-towner or cannot make it to the gallery in person, you can still see the exhibit. Looking at art online is definitely not the same as seeing the real thing of course, but it is still an opportunity to see the show.

"Triple Play: Flatiron/Gramercy from 3 Angles" can now be viewed online at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

American Art Collector features "Triple Play" in November issue

The opening reception on the evening of October 21st was a real scene. The gallery was packed, the noise level was high and there was a lot of excitement in the air. People kept streaming in, well after the 8pm closing time. I learned that in Chelsea where so many galleries are now located, Thursday evenings are when many people come out to do the "Chelsea Walk", going from gallery to gallery to gallery to gallery...

We have gotten some nice publicity on the show thus far. A write-up on the exhibit is featured in the November issue of American Art Collector Magazine, pps. 206-207.

Town & Village, a weekly newspaper serving the Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village, Waterside, Gramercy Park, Union Square, East Midtown Plaza and the Kips Bay areas of Manhattan ran a cover story, "3 artists see new sides to the city". Off to a good start and it's been nice to talk with people about the work on view.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another opening, another show

Opening reception Thursday, October 21, 6-8 pm

3 images from the exhibit. From left to right: Florin's "Flatiron-Bird's Eye View", Trueblood's "City Towers" and Pyzow's "Scheffel Night". Just an example of 3 of the 42 paintings and prints on view in this collaborative exhibit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Triple Play: Flatiron/Gramercy from 3 Angles" On View

The show is up and running!

Stopped by the gallery today to check out the show and it looks wonderful, better than I could have hoped for. The paintings and prints are grouped in such a way as to complement the work of three artists and makes for a fascinating "tour" through the Gramercy Park and Flatiron neighborhoods. Here's the press release. Hope to see some of you at the reception on Thursday, October 21st. Now to decide what to wear...



October 19th – November 24th, 2010
Reception: October 21st, 6-8p
Special Event: November 6th @ 2p: an in gallery walking tour of the exhibition by NYC tour guide Alfred Pommer

Franklin 54 Gallery is pleased to present a collaborative exhibition project by 3 New York City artists: Sharon Florin, Susan Pyzow and Emily Trueblood of paintings and prints that depict two New York City landmark areas- the Gramercy and Flatiron districts.

Sharon Florin has been painting and capturing NYC architecture for many years and they are expertly executed with a realist’s eye yet full of personality. They are detailed, rich and inviting – she captures the heart and feeling of each piece of architecture bringing the intimacy of it to life. Sharon’s respect and love for the architecture and NYC come alive in her paintings so we as the viewer can step in and enjoy so many aspects of the city.

Susan Pyzow’s paintings are strong and a bit eerie though quiet and still - components that make them intriguing along with her use of lush color and heightened contrasts. She draws us as viewers into the “light in the window” that is a beacon. The pieces are real but painterly and we are welcomed into her suspense hoping she will let us inside and reveal the secret. Susan will also have prints in the exhibition along side her paintings.

Emily Trueblood’s linoleum cut prints are clean, sharp and architectural. The imagery in these pieces whether shadow, shapes or angles are simple and striking. Her limited palette accentuates these handsome pieces and repeated use of the window variations keeps the eye moving in and out, up and down. Masterfully composed, they invite us to a fresh interpretation of these NYC buildings.

Each artist has her own technique and vision yet together they portray the richness of these neighborhoods. All three are award winning artists with works in numerous private, corporate and museum collections. Printmakers Susan Pyzow and Emily Trueblood also exhibit with The Old Print Shop in Manhattan. Sharon Florin has exhibited with Franklin 54 since it began in 2004.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

One more week until showtime!

The countdown begins

Cover for catalogue for "Triple Play: Flatiron/Gramercy from 3 Angles"

The cover of our catalogue features my painting of the Flatiron, a painting by Susan Pyzow of Scheffel Hall at night and a linocut of Emily Trueblood's wonderful water towers. I think we chose these images because they are our personal favorites.

After a lot of painting, printmaking and planning our exhibit will open next Tuesday, October 19th with an opening reception on the 21st. Speaking for myself, Susan and Emily, I can say that we are all excited to have our work on view at long last at the Franklin 54 Gallery. During the past year we met several times at my studio to work on a catalogue for the exhibit. With the wonders of technology - a Mac, iPhoto and 3 talented artists, the end result is something we are pleased with and the art really stands out on the pages. Catalogues will be for sale at the gallery.

Last week we three distributed our brochures to places in the neighborhoods whose subjects appear in our works. Everyone we met was extremely enthusiastic when learning about this collaborative effort. Doing the legwork is part of the business of show and we are doing our best.

Packing up my paintings and delivering them to the gallery later today. The die is cast, let the show begin!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whimsical Irving Place

Bricks and gargoyles galore

"Irving Place"
Oil on panel
6 x 6 inches

Thought I'd share this painting with you today that will not make it into the upcoming "Triple Play: Flatiron/Gramercy from 3 Angles" exhibit. There is just not enough room in the gallery for all of the work we'd hoped to exhibit. My original thought was to create a series of small paintings on panels of these two neighborhoods. Might still go forward with this idea as I have plenty of ideas for paintings. As it is, only 2 of the small 6x6 inch paintings will be on view.

There is a fascinating multi-colored brick building on the northwest corner of 19th Street and Irving Place that I pass by regularly and I'm always enchanted by the many gargoyle-like stone figures adorning the facade of this apartment house. This painting features two small bearded and robed gents, standing with noses in the air, embedded into the brickwork. Just why they adorn this building I don't know, but they are certainly whimsical.

Two weeks until showtime and I'm excited that this project will finally be installed and on view. Our catalogues look great and we've been doing our utmost to get the word out about the exhibit. If you're in the neighborhood, hope you can stop by! Opening reception is on Thursday, October 21, 6-8pm at the Franklin 54 + Projects Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, Rm. 403, Chelsea, NY. To read about the backstory of this project and to see some of the artwork featured in the exhibit just click here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Opening Reception for "Florin at Warburg" Thursday

Memories and art

"Winter Sunlight"
Oil on canvas
26 x 36 inches

Thursday, September 30th, is the opening reception for the exhibit at Warburg. It was an interesting experience picking out work for this particular show in that it is not in a traditional gallery space. I looked through the racks in the studio and when I saw this painting I knew I wanted to include it. Many of my paintings evoke a memory for me, and often for others who love this city and have either grown up here or have been transplanted and subsequently smitten.

I created this painting back in the 1980's and remember the day I took the photograph that was the inspiration for it. When my parents were alive, they used to enjoy spending a Sunday afternoon on the Lower East Side. We'd eat lunch at Ratner's or Katz's and then stroll and shop in the stores along Orchard Street and the surrounding streets. We were walking around one late afternoon in the winter (we would go in all seasons) and my eye caught this window of a tenement with the winter sunlight catching some of the faded architectural details. As one's sense of smell can often evoke a long-ago moment or memory, so too can a painting. This one brought back a happy memory of a day spent with family in the city I love best.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2 Upcoming Exhibits in Tribeca and Chelsea

I'm dancing as fast as I can

"The White Restaurant"
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 inches

Getting ready for two shows simultaneously is a challenge, but so far things are moving along. I paid another visit to the Tribeca office of Warburg Realty on Monday and delivered 3 more paintings as there were still some walls that needed work. One of the paintings I selected to exhibit is "The White Restaurant", a painting of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame restaurant also on Hudson Street just up the road apiece in the West Village, north of the Warburg office. This exhibit has been fun in that I've been able to put together an eclectic mix of work from different times in my painting career, unlike the upcoming "Triple Play" exhibit in October/November where I will be showing all new work created specifically around the theme of the Flatiron and Gramercy Park districts.

The shelves in my studio will have plenty of gaps as the work from this summer's PikNik exhibit on Martha's Vineyard is still out of the studio as well. Some paintings have sold, some will be returned, but for now I'm enjoying the space on the shelves and wouldn't be at all unhappy if a lot of the paintings found new homes and I could use the shelf space for new work. An artist can dream...

To read an article appearing in CityBiz List online about the Warburg exhibit click here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Florin + Warburg Realty

Art and Real Estate

Card for exhibit with images of paintings "The Cable Building" and "G.E."

It has been a busy time as I am gearing up for two exhibits this Fall. Today I installed 18 pieces in the Tribeca office of Warburg Realty Partnership Ltd. The artwork is scattered around the space, some on large walls and others tucked away in nooks and crannies. A business involved with New York buildings seemed like a good match for my work. I picked out an interesting selection of artwork, some old, some new. I actually had a painting that had been done a number of years ago of a building located around the corner from the office which I dusted off and hung.

The New York Mercantile Exchange Building, a real beauty, sits just across the street from the office. I had painted and sold the painting I had done of that building awhile back so I made an inkjet print and hung that as well.

Inkjet print from my painting "New York Mercantile"

The exhibit will be on view through December so if you find yourself in the neighborhood, drop in and take a peek. The office is located at 100 Hudson Street, corner of Leonard.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gordon's Novelty

A Vanishing New York

"Gordon's Reflections"
Oil on canvas
12 x 9 inches

This painting, "Gordon's Reflections" was done several years ago. I caught the reflection of the novelty store in the windows of Just Bulbs, a store across the street. Both stores have "vanished" from the neighborhood. Gordon's has been boarded up and Just Bulbs left the area several years ago.

A blog I follow, "Jeremiahs' Vanishing New York", has recently written about Gordon's and the novelty businesses that have disappeared from the Flatiron district. I sometimes share my paintings with other blogger's when they write about a place that I have painted. Such was the case with "Gordon's Reflections".

One of the upsides of blogging is that I have found other like-minded individuals with interests common to my own, blogging merrily away. Being a painter of the New York urban landscape and capturing the sights before they vanish has been an enduring theme in my work. There are several others who are trying to capture and share their thoughts on a city that they once knew and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York is one.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gramercy Park South

The last painting for the upcoming October exhibit

"Gramercy Park South Snow"
Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

Today's painting is a new one and my last piece for the upcoming exhibit, "Triple Play: Flatiron/Gramercy from 3 Angles", at the Franklin 54 Gallery, October 19 - November 24. Another snowy scene from last winter's snowstorm. I liked the contrast of the snow against the old brownstone steps and wrought iron railings.

I had hoped to paint several more small paintings for the show, but as the gallery is only so large we have limited our works to 14 artworks from each artist, 42 artworks in total. That will make for a nice selection of work. Our brochure has arrived from the printer and looks fabulous! Will be gearing up to do a mailing soon.

The business of art takes as much time as the making of art these days. I would much rather spend my time in front of the easel painting my little heart out, but I've learned over the years that artists really need to be proactive in "getting the work out there," not an easy task but a necessary one. Here's hoping all the hard work will yield results.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Urban Event" exhibit at PikNik

Spent several days traveling with friends to New Bedford, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard in Massachussetts with a quick visit to Newport, Rhode Island on the way home. The reason for the trip was to attend the opening of the exhibit on Martha's Vineyard where several of my paintings were on view. The gallery is an eclectic space with a big yard area and a shop out front, with the gallery in a separate building in back. My work was hung on a mirrored wall - this is not your typical white box space, as well as outdoors for the opening. The reflections upon reflections made for an interesting display. Many good artists in the show and I enjoyed seeing their take on the urban landscape. The Martha's Vineyard Times ran an article on the exhibit which you can read here.

It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and to visit cousin's who live on the Vineyard. As this was my first trip there, I found myself captivated by many of the areas we saw, but I most enjoyed wandering around and looking at the doll-like houses of the Tabernacle area. These small, candy-colored cottages are decorated to the nines in Victorian gingerbread, each outdoing its neighbor. Took a bunch of photos and might do a painting or two, as they were just charming.

Photo on Martha's Vineyard

Checked out a number of galleries as well as shopped (my friends are intrepid shoppers), had some fine meals, and enjoyed the ferry ride to and from the Vineyard. On the drive home we made a stop at Newport, RI and visited Rosecliff, designed by Standford White, one of the fabulous mansions dotting the coast. This is one town I have to go back to visit as seeing the architecture of the gilded age is totally my thing. All in all, we crammed a lot into a 4-day trip and to top it all off, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, couldn't have asked for better.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A little NYC in Martha's Vineyard

An "urban" vacation

"LICConstruction II"
Oil on canvas
10 x 10 inches

The trucker came today and picked up the paintings that will be exhibited in the group show "Urban Event" at the PikNik Gallery on Martha's Vineyard. As people go to places like the Vineyard to escape the cities, it's interesting that a show of the urban environment will be following them on their vacations.

"Remembering the Bottom Line"
Oil on canvas
24 x 30 inches

Ten of my paintings were selected by the gallery director - street fairs, water towers, reflections, LIC, landmark buildings - all subjects covered in these paintings. I'm curious to see how my work fares away from the confines of the city. Surf's up!

For more information about the show and the gallery click here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Broadway's original Lord & Taylor

An elegant store for the ladies who shopped

"Zig Zag Broadway"
Oil on panel
6 x 6 inches

An intimate painting of Broadway around 20th Street. This Flatiron district has some wonderful buildings on Broadway as well as the side streets radiating off the main drag. Lot's of architectural details to be found. The original Lord & Taylor's department store is the building pictured on the left-hand side of this painting, which will be in the upcoming fall exhibit at the Franklin 54 Gallery in Chelsea. Artist Susan Pyzow will be exhibiting a painting and etching featuring this building and Emily Trueblood will have a linoleum cut on view. As you can see, we three artists have been drawn to many of the same sites and showing our work together will make for an intriguing exhibit. Our catalogue is almost complete and will be sent off to print in early September. Meeting in my studio several times over the summer to work on the layout and then capping it off with lunch at a local LIC diner has become something of a "tradition," one that I hope we can continue in some fashion after our show is up and running. Also, thanks to my friend Sandy, designer extraordinare, we now have a beautiful brochure designed and in production. Exciting times and working with other artists on this collaboration has been a wonderful experience.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pete's Tavern on Irving Place

O'Henry wrote and ate here

"Pete's Tavern"
Oil on canvas
24 x 24 inches

Another new painting in the hopper for the upcoming Fall exhibit in Chelsea at the Franklin 54 Gallery. Pete's Tavern is located on Irving Place, a street running from 14th to 20th Streets. A cozy haunt in Gramercy Park, Pete's has a nice, old-timey wooden bar with the restaurant located in the back rooms. Black wooden booths, tiles on the floor and numerous photos on the walls create a nice ambiance. The noted writer O'Henry lived in the area and frequented this restaurant often, sitting in a booth and and working on his stories. As I walk by Pete's Tavern fairly often, I wanted to try to capture it on canvas. It's been around a long time and I can't imagine the corner of 18th Street without it.

Meeting with the other two artists in the show this week and our catalogue project is almost complete. I'm very happy that we were able to capture this collaborative effort in print and I know we have a very interesting exhibit on our hands. As an added plus, Alfred Pommer, a popular New York City tour guide, will be conducting a "walking tour" in the gallery as a special event. He'll talk about the places depicted in the artworks hanging on the gallery walls and it will be a great introduction to these neighborhoods, should folks want to then hit the streets and see the actual places on their own. I'll post more details about this event soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Metropolitan Life Reflections

A stately sentinel on 23rd Street

"Metropolitan Life Reflections"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

I've been missing working on a new reflection painting when I came upon this view of the Met Life building several weeks ago. Took a few photos and settled on this view. Just love the undulating forms and limited palette used in this painting. I've painted this building several times over the years and never get tired of this subject and as I'd never done a reflection painting, it was high time that one came off the easel. Another in the series I've been working on for the upcoming Gramcery/Flatiron show in the fall. Still have to come up with a good title though, and would welcome any ideas for a really catchy show title. I'm sharing this painting with you today because of the cool colors, blues, whites and grays. The current heat wave is getting to me and everyone else here in NYC so I hope this painting might be a refreshing change of pace.

Off to buy a new Mac computer tomorrow as mine is 6 years old and starting to falter. It's worked hard over the years and served me well, but it's time for an upgrade. My friend Sandy was visiting the studio yesterday and when she saw my monitor she told me the colors on a new screen will look much sharper and more saturated. Hadn't even thought of that. It will be interesting to see how my paintings look once I'm up and running with a fresh new system.

Keep cool everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

19th Street Carriage House

We're having a heat wave...

"19th Street Carriage House Study"
Oil on panel
6 x 6 inches

Smack dab in the middle of a heat wave I thought I'd share this snowy scene with you. I LOVE THIS HOUSE! A former carriage house on 19th Street in the Gramercy Park area was refurbished into one of the most charming residences in NYC, in my humble opinion. Passersby often stop to look it over, point out different details and just smile when they see this place. I know I do. I remember when the small carriage house was a boarded-up ruin, painted green and yellow and covered with graffiti. Happily that is no longer the case. Two buildings were combined, bricked in red, with white wood trimmings and wrought iron details. There are two small iron horses on the facade in homage to the building's former days as a stable. A lovely tree in front of the house is covered with pink blooms today. The photo that I worked from was taken last winter just after a snowstorm. Try to imagine a cold, blustery day filled with sunshine and snowy sidewalks. Sending cooling thoughts your way.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Union Square Park

Greenery, art, produce, memorials, politics and more...

"Union Square"
Oil on canvas
24 x 24 inches

Something a little different today, a street scene. I recently completed this view of the southern end of Union Square Park, a major hub from 14th to 17th Street. A wonderful farmer's market takes place on the northern end several days a week with the southern end filled with tables and booths of crafts and the like. While I was working on this painting there was some discussion in city government circles about the possible need to limit the amount of street vendors/artists allowed to set up shop in this park as well as in other areas of the city. An ongoing debate. Union Square drew thousands of people together in protest during the Civil War and then again to memorialize and mourn just after 9/11. Back in the bad old 1970's, you were wise to steer clear of Union Square as it was a dirty and dangerous area. Today, the park and the surrounding streets are bustling all the time. I honestly believe that 14th Street between Fourth Avenue and University Place is congestion central. All those NYU students among others. But, it does make for a lively neighborhood to be sure, and I'm glad that Union Square Park has come through the dark times of former years to be a very pleasant place today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


National Association of Women Artists 121st Annual Exhibition

"Flatiron - Bird's Eye View"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

The National Association of Women Artists is holding their 121st Annual Exhibition at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park and I received a call that my painting has won an award. Always nice to hear. The reception is on Thursday, June 17th, but I stopped in on my way home to check out the show the other day. I'm sorry to say that something went very wrong with this exhibit. Whoever installed this large show should never be allowed to wield a hammer and nails ever again. The work was hung haphazardly, some walls were chock full of paintings with little space between each work, other walls were bare or sparsely covered. No rhyme or reason for pieces hanging next to one another. A real disappointment for the artists in the show. I've been a member of this organization for many years and this is the first time this has ever happened. Artist-run organizations have their ups and downs to be sure, and a lot depends on the leadership and the volunteers involved. NAWA really dropped the ball on this one and I can only hope that things get sorted out by the time the 122nd Annual rolls around next year.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Wrought Iron of Gramercy

Turn of the century

"Gramercy Park West"
Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

A new painting just off the easel. Work continues on the Gramercy/Flatiron theme for the upcoming October show. Today's scene is of a close-up section of a lovely row of homes on the west side facing Gramercy Park. Nice, decorative wrought ironwork. There is a challenge in painting these architectural details. Just really enjoy the feel of this area of the city. The hectic pace slows a bit when walking the streets around the park.

As for the upcoming show, I met with the two other artists last week and we're busy working on the layout of a small catalogue of the works in the show. Nice work! Emily Trueblood's linocuts and Susan Pyzow's paintings and etchings really capture the neighborhoods. Each of we three artists has her own unique style and it's fascinating to see how we've handled this subject. It was a real treat to see everyone's work and to try to decide how best to place the images. We're meeting again in a few weeks time and I think we're going to have a fantastic exhibit when all is said and done.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finding "other venues" to exhibit

Ansonia Pharmacy Art Program Goes Kaput

"Ansonia Pharmacy"
Oil on canvas panel
4 x 5 inches

As a working artist, I am always interested in learning about places to exhibit my work. As so often happens, I find places that are outside the usual gallery environment. The Ansonia Pharmacy Windows was one such place. Located on the corner of 10th Street and Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village, the two windows of this neighborhood pharmacy offered artists a chance to exhibit their work directly to the people passing by and especially for the people living and working in the neighborhood. It became something of an institution. Many viewers would take a moment to go inside the pharmacy and jot down a comment in the artists' guest book and often, sales were made. I was fortunate enough to exhibit in the windows and it was always a wonderful experience. Sadly, the building was sold, the rents jacked up and the pharmacy was forced to relocate. They were able to stay in the neighborhood, moving just several doors down, but the art program has been eliminated as the windows do not offer the same space as in the older location. So, once again, my New York changes, and something is lost.

Here's a link to an article about the Ansonia's move.

On another note, once again I will be exhibiting a painting in a non-traditional space. This time it is a group show through OIA, Organization of Independent Artists. "Aspects of the City" will be on view at the New York Law School, located at 185 West Broadway, from May 24-June 25. Since the subject so suited my work, I decided to participate in this exhibit.

"LIC/Short Triangle"
Oil on canvas
15 x 30 inches

Monday, May 24, 2010


30th Anniversary Show and Sale

photo of one of the studio walls

Sunday's open studio event went very well indeed. A number of family, friends and collectors came by and really spent time looking, and in some cases purchasing "Florin's", which warmed this artist's heart. The trains were running on schedule, the weather cooperated and it was a fun event. I've been getting great feedback today and I'm glad I was able to pull this event together. After 30 years in the studio the show was almost a "period after a sentence." Now to do more work and continue on the tradition, here in LIC.

Monday, May 10, 2010

30 Years in LIC

30th Anniversary of SJF Studio
Open Studio and Sale Event

Photo of studio circa 1980

The place where I come to paint, a sanctuary, a space to create – my studio. In honor of this very special 30th studio anniversary, I invite you to join me on SUNDAY, MAY 23, 12-5 P.M. for a special show and sale celebrating this milestone. Browse through the paintings done over the years and take advantage of a special 30% discount on a large selection of paintings. If you’ve ever wanted to own an original “Florin” or would like to add a painting to your already existing collection, now’s the time. Payment by cash, check or credit card with a PayPal account accepted.

I will also be arranging studio visits by appointment only on Thursday, May 20 and Friday, May 21 for those who cannot come on Sunday. Just send me an email and I'll set up a time and give you traveling directions.

Thought I’d share my journal entries circa 1980, 30 long years ago…

May 9, 1980
Excitement! I can’t take this. Feel ready to burst. Will check out a studio in LIC tomorrow. And, if it’s halfway decent, I’ll take it!

May 11, 1980
I think I’ve got me a studio! Checked one out in Long Island City. Good feelings. A skylight. Place to work. Artist I spoke with seemed nice. Rent reasonable. Will meet other artists during the week. Hopefully get it right away!

May 12, 1980
Met other artists at studio. Paid my two months rent and I’m in and feeling much more than elated. Many ideas. Can’t wait to begin work. Light is right. Can work there after job for a few hours. Just want to get it set up and going.

Looking forward to seeing what the next 30 years will bring!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Art in a mansion and on stage

"NAC Gramercy"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Today's painting is of the National Arts Club on 20th Street on the south side of the lovely Gramercy Park. According to the NAC Fact Sheet, the mansion was built in the 1840's, acquired by Samuel Tilden in the 1870's and was given an overhaul by the famed architect Calvert Vaux (one of the designer's of Central Park). In 1906 it became the home of The National Arts Club. The building is a designated New York and National Historic landmark and I enjoy walking past this vestige of old New York regularly. I tried to capture a part of the facade, with the beautiful terra cotta work and the reflection of the trees in the park reflected in the large front window. The facade underwent much needed restoration not too long ago. Many art organizations host their annual exhibits in what was formerly the grand ballroom as well as in the downstairs galleries. The building's interior has been used in many movie productions over the years, most notably the ballroom scene in "The Age of Innocence." It's always a treat to have one of my paintings hanging on the walls of the NAC, and I felt it only right that I do a painting of this architectural delight.

Now on to the subject of art and the theater. There are two fascinating plays on view that I highly recommend. The New York Theater Workshop, located off-Broadway on East 4th Street, features a delightful new play written by and starring the very talented Claudia Shear ("Blown Sideways Through Life", "Dirty Blonde"). The play just started previews and I was lucky enough to see it this past week-end. An art restorer working in obscurity in Brooklyn, is given the rare opportunity to work on the restoration of Michaelangelo's sculpture David. Art, life, inspiration, longing...all themes are explored in this insightful, well-crafted, and often humorous play. After the play, as I walked uptown on 2nd Avenue with my friend Debbie, we found ourselves walking behind one of the actors we had just seen in the play. That's what I love about New York. An actor can be performing onstage one moment before a live audience and then just casually walk the streets unobserved and unnoticed.

At the other end of the spectrum we go from Michaelangelo to the artist Mark Rothko, the subject of "Red", currently playing on Broadway. From the opening scene, which has the talented actor Alfred Molina who portrays Rothko sitting quietly contemplating his large red canvas, one is transported to the artist's studio, listening as he expounds on his ideas about art and life to his young studio assistant, also an aspiring artist. A great scene finds both the master and the apprentice priming a canvas onstage! If you find yourself in New York this Spring, treat yourself to a show, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gramercy's 19th Street

The Block Beautiful

"19th Street Block Beautiful"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Another new painting in the Gramcery - Flatiron series. Today's painting features 19th Street between 3rd Avenue and Irving Place. Known as "the Block Beautiful", there are varied and lovely brownstones, renovated carriage houses and small apartments lining the block. Looking up I often notice many north light facing windows, testament to the time this area was a hub for artists and their studios. I daydream that one day I might live in one of these apartments, but the prices being what they are, there's not much chance of that happening anytime soon. The Ashcan artist George Bellows former home is on the block and these days one can see the occasional rock musician or actor strolling by. I have several paintings planned of this block which I will be posting in the next several months. The building in the foreground of this painting, featuring the two jockey statues, currently has a "for sale" sign outside. If you'd like to live on "the Block Beautiful" it can be yours for several million dollars.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Metropolitan Museum turns 140!

A place like no other

"Sunday at the Met"
Oil on canvas
12 x 9 inches

When I read today that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating its 140 year anniversary, I just had to dig up this old slide of a very old painting that I did way back when of the Met. People are hanging out on the front steps of the Met on a Sunday afternoon, much as they still do today. To be lucky enough to live in a city where this museum is so easily accessible is truly a blessing for any artist or art-lover. My friend Lou used to work at the museum and he invited me to see some of the big blockbuster shows on Mondays when the museum is closed to the general public. What a rare treat to see a Van Gogh exhibit up close in an uncrowded gallery and not have to stand on my tippy-toes, craning my neck just to catch a glimpse. But, there is so much to see and many of the quiet nooks and crannies allow the visitor the opportunity to just soak it all in.

Photo of Met interior

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I'm partial to the architecture of the Beaux Arts period in architecture and the Met is a prime example. This photo is a painting idea I have in mind. I love the graceful arches and contours of this truly elegant building. As the woman who bought the painting wrote to me, the Met is part of our bones and of our hearts. Awhile back I bought a watercolor of the reception area of the Met. I saw the painting and was totally entranced. So not only is there great art inside the Met, but it has inspired artists over the years as well. The Met is truly a work of art!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cherry Blossoms, Roses and more...

"Botanical Path"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Spring has sprung. With all of the wonderful warm weather this past week I couldn't help but notice how quickly the trees are budding and blooming. A spot of particular beauty in this busy metropolis is the the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The famous Cherry Walk will be in full bloom in late April/early May and the Cranford Rose Garden follows soon after in June. I've spent many a happy hour wandering the BBG, taking photographs and painting all types of flora, fauna and the people who visit. As much as I love painting the architecture of New York, I always try to find some time to explore other subjects as well.

"Cranford Rose Garden"
Oil on canvas
18 x 24 inches

This painting of the rose garden is one of the first paintings that I exhibited publicly. A woman came up to me at the reception and told me that as a child she lived across the street from the Gardens. She also mentioned that it hadn't changed in 40 years. I did this painting way back in 1979 and I'm sure when I go this year to visit once again, the roses will look as beautiful and lush as they have for years.

Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

This painting is currently hanging in the room of a friend's young daughter. Perhaps she'll be inspired one day to pick up a paintbrush too. If you have a chance, hop the subway and head out to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this spring. Click this link to check out their website here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Week in Review

Some interesting news...

Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Read that the Brill Building on Broadway was granted landmark status this week. Hurrah! Always great news to see some of the older, architecturally significant buildings saved and cherished. My city changes so quickly and so many buildings disappear that it's comforting to see some of the old favorites remain standing. The art deco facade is enchanting. And let's not forget all of the FABULOUS music that flowed out of that building over the years. A lot of talent walked those halls and pounded those piano keys and it is a true New York landmark to be sure.

Another interesting tidbit. The other day a friend sent a wonderful video of a short D.A. Pennebaker film of the long gone 3rd Avenue El train, set to music. It was filmed two years before the El was demolished in the 1950's and shares a glimpse of a New York that once was. To view, click the link

And, to wrap it up, some art show news to share. I will be exhibiting several paintings in a Martha's Vineyard gallery in August. Spoke with the gallery owner who has chosen an interesting selection of work for a group show themed "the urban landscape." A good fit with my subject matter of choice. Happy to see some of my paintings "go traveling" this summer. More info to come.

A good week, all in all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Final weeks for "Urbanesque"

Citicorp Showcases in Long Island City

Installation of 9 LIC-themed paintings

The show in the Citicorp lobby showcases is coming into the final weeks, ending at the end of March. When deciding how to install the show I decided that each of the 4 artists would have one window each for their work and the final 2 windows would be group exhibits of one piece representing each artist. I think the idea worked well and the response to the show has been good. My 9 LIC-themed paintings were hung 3 across and 3 down, and that is the way I always envisioned them - LIC quilt.

"LIC/Meeting at Brooks"
Oil on canvas
12 x 9 inches

Always nice to sell work and this painting will have a new home. A gentleman working in the building purchased this painting as he has eaten at Brooks for many years and the subject was meaningful to him.

Installation photo of 3 of the 6 showcases on view

Women in the Arts Foundation artists are represented in this exhibit. For more infomation about this organization, check out their newly designed website

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gramercy Tavern

Fine dining on 20th Street

"Gramercy Tavern Reflections"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Here's a new painting that I'm really happy with. The Gramercy Tavern on 20th Street is considered one of the finest restaurants in a city jammed-packed with thousands of restaurants, one of the jewels in Danny Meyer's restaurant crown. I've had the pleasure of eating here on two special occasions, not a place I can afford to frequent on a regular basis, that's for sure.

In this painting I was taken with the construction-looking type guy lounging outside this fancy eatery, having a smoke, while the diner's inside enjoyed fabulous drinks and food. A little New York juxtaposition, a subject I enjoy. Figures are often not as prominent in my paintings as in this one, but I have to say I had a great time working on this painting, trying to get the subtlety of the skin tones just right. I spent many years studying at the Art Students League of New York painting and drawing from the model but you wouldn't know that to look at most of my work. So this painting was a nice departure for me and I'm looking forward to exhibiting it in the upcoming fall show.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Old Town Bar

Travel back to 1892

"The Old Town Bar"
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches

Just got the dates for the upcoming fall exhibit of the Gramercy/Flatiron District show at the Franklin 54 Gallery in Chelsea. October 19 - November 24, 2010. I've been working on this project for awhile and now that a definite date has been set it's full steam ahead. Looking forward to this show because it is a collaboration with two other artists, Susan Pyzow and Emily Trueblood. We've all found inspiration in the streets and places of these two neighborhoods and will have paintings and prints on view.

Today's painting is a new one, the Old Town Bar on 18th Street in the Flatiron district. Great old neon sign, marble bar, old wooden booths, tiled floors, green and white striped really do feel as if you've stepped back in time when you enter this establishment. One could almost see the ghosts of the old New York politico's from Tammany Hall on 17th Street strolling over for a pint and some deal-making. A little taste of Olde New York.