This will be about my views on what it takes to put a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional surface. With a lot of digressing.
Don't forget to leave a comment, or a question if you have one, below the post. Thanks.


Jan 30, 2010



I'm shocked I tell you, shocked. Am I so out of the loop when it comes to even reading about the Artworld with a capital A that I hadn't heard of a Christies' spinoff gallery named Haunch of Venison? Don't believe me? Google it.

Should I also be shocked that Damien Hirst has gotten very rich and very famous by dropping a whole, and large, animal (dead I hope) into a tank of formaldehyde?
( I wonder how and where he signed it?)
Or how about the Brooklyn Museum receiving a million dollars worth of publicity in 1999, displaying, among other controversial works of art, a painting of The Virgin Mary done with elephant dung? Actually, like a lot of other deliberately shocking exhibitions, the publicity raised the value of the art, and in this case, Charles Saatchi, whose collection it was, benefited hugely. Fanning the flames was an enraged Rudy Guiliani, who tried to stop the public funding, and even evict the museum from its city- owned building. Unsuccessfully, I might add. Protecting one of those pesky amendments was paramount. Australia flat out refused to let the traveling exhibition in the country. I like their wine too.
P.T.Barnum (or more likely,H.L. Mencken) said that
" You'll never go broke underestimating the taste of the American public"
I'd like to change that to
"You'll never go broke underestimating the power of publicity"

Jan 26, 2010


REMBRANDTS DOG Oil on Canvas 6" x 6" (c) Margery Caggiano

I regret to say that the original Yorkie, (below), abandoned and ignored, expired on the mean streets of New York City, more specifically, the Lower East Side.

He has been reincarnated as Rembrandts dog.
Maybe a better title would be Dog of the Living Dead.

Jan 23, 2010


When Mr. Mason wasn't counting crows, making mints, mounds, dots, or jars, he came up with a very handy surface to paint on, which, I'm sure, was not his original intention.

When I first started doing "important" paintings, defined as big and non-objective, I used Masonite because it was so much cheaper than canvas and stretchers.

It's a composite wood panel, formed using wooden chips, blasting them into long fibers with steam and then forming them into boards, which are then pressed and heated.(Thank you Wikipedia)
It comes in 4' x 8' panels, and the quarter inch board was used (then) primarily as floor underlayment for tile or linoleum, and was "untempered". The eighth inch "tempered" Masonite has oil in it, and can be recognized by a waffle weave on one side. Not suitable for fine art.

Home Depot and Lowes carry Masonite in 2' x 4' panels. As a courtesy they will make a free cut for you, so one cut will give you an 18 x 24" and a 24 x 30", for instance. If you have a table or saber saw, use a fine blade and you can get all kinds of smaller sizes.
Anything bigger than 30' or so should be cradled with wood strips.
That's how I learned to use the table saw and all kinds of mean and nasty tools.
My husband bought me a set of matching screwdrivers, not pink, for Christmas one year. Wow.
Anyhow.Lightly sand the edges of the Masonite, then seal both sides and edges with a 50/50 mix of shellac and alcohol. "BIN" is a shellac based sealer with white pigment added, an alternative.
Gesso to your hearts delight, but keep in mind that both sides should be done or the panel will not lay flat. Golden makes a sandable gesso, for hard surfaces, if you want even more control of your surface.
Nowadays I sometimes use Masonite to mount double-primed linen on, which is so difficult to stretch. There's no waste either. It also is useful if you have an odd-sized frame- you can cut the Masonite to fit.
I almost forgot. One of Mr.Masons' ancestors got together with a certain Mr.Dixon (the pencil people?) and together they drew lines. So there's your art connection.

Jan 19, 2010


JUANA SINGS Oil on board 24 x 30 (c) Margery Caggiano

This is one of a series of portraits that I consider to be more drawing than painting.

I cut masonite panels, technically called quarter inch floor underlayment, to size. Then lightly sanded the edges, sealed both sides of the panel with thinned shellac, and then applied at least 3 coats of gesso. Again, both sides should be done to equalize the tension, which keeps the panel flat. Finally I sanded to an eggshell finish, which is a lovely surface to draw on. I drew with a hard litho pencil, and finally added just enough oil paint to play with, almost a stain.

This particular portrait was determined by the photos I took. She had been talking, but I liked the idea of singing, and gave her a yellow throat and feathers. Morphing, changing, not yet flying. This is not a new painting by any means, but remains one of my favorites.

Strangely (to me), years later she acquired a parrot, then some fertile finches, then a few macaws.

A bird whisperer

Jan 11, 2010


There's nothing like the attempt to paint portraits that makes you appreciate what others have done. In my estimation, Jamie Wyeth is one of the best of this generation. I especially admire his lack of pretension; that he has the confidence and curiousity and ability to paint everything from seagulls to pigs to pumpkin-headed children. He sure nailed Andy Warhol.

ANDY WARHOL Chalk drawing Jamie Wyeth

ANDY WARHOL-Oil- Jamie Wyeth
And the dynamic Lincoln Kirstein
LINCOLN KIRSTEIN drawing Jamie Wyeth

Jan 5, 2010


This photo was all I had to work with, but I like challenges.
The painting was intended to be a surprise Christmas gift, and I didn't have a lot of time, which can be a good thing.
And because of the lack of detail, I kept it soft and loose, an impression if you will.
I was told by a pleased family that this is how she was remembered.ELSIE LINDNER 7" x 5" Oil on Linen (C) Margery Caggiano