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.


Dec 24, 2012


While driving from St.Michaels to Tilghman Island I saw things moving on the far side of the cornfield.
I did a u-turn, stopped the car, grabbed my camera, and walked across the road. I figured the zoom on my camera might work; you know, take a high def photo and get a closer image via Photoshop.
 The Group of Whatever spotted me, and started moving in my direction. I got so excited that I forgot to check my settings, so the contrast was way off. The good news is that they weren't carnivores.

Dec 15, 2012


Judging by how many paintings the Nigerian collectors attempt to buy, you'd think the country  would be awash in museums and galleries.
                  I wanted to share some exciting emails I've gotten via my website.!!
Usually I roll my eyes and ignore. On these I got curious and irritated , and decided to trace the source. 
So, if you don't already know...
Put the IP address on Google search, and whaddayaknow, if it starts with 41 its from Nigeria.
                    There may be a few artists left who are unaware. I hope not.
                              (And I don't mean con artists and scam artists)

Dec 13, 2012


In this case, paving paradise was a good thing for me. 
It was Paint St Michaels, Oct. 2011. An excuse to get myself out of the studio and take to the streets.
I did some driving around and nothing did it for me. I turned, (who me? walk?) behind a realtors' building and got roundly told off by a dog on the roof next door.
well well well she said

BACK LOT DOG    12x16   oil on board    Margery Caggiano
There's a lot to be said for being able to sit under the hatch-back of a car and paint.
There was a competition involved, but I didn't enter it for a lot of reasons.To close to home was one.
Mostly, I knew that it was not an acceptable "plein air" painting and it was too new a subject for me.
It's hard to explain how you sometimes want to sit on a painting and not show it. 
My intuition was on the mark. I did submit it to a few other competitions later and was rejected.
So here he is again, I presume a male-all bark and not a lot of bite.

WOOF   8x10  oil on canvas   Margery Caggiano

Nov 15, 2012


"Dear Artist,
 as Art Direction, we wish to show you our appreciation for your intellectual and professional activity contributing to the assertion and development of Culture in the World. The Event has got to XIII  Edition “Salento, Porta d’Oriente” Award, dedicated to Neptune, the God of Sea and Water and to the IV Edition of Special Award for Human Rights dedicated to Spartacus, the symbol  of the idealist hero, able to fight in the name of freedom. We are glad to include you among those screened candidates receiving these prestigious Awards. We will bestow them on 15th (Saturday) December 2012 , in Lecce at the ancient Theatre “G Paisiello”, where the world-famous Master Tito Schipa’s precious piano is treasured. The prestigious Awards are not the result of a competition among Artists, but they represent praises for your daily efforts ensuring lifeblood not only to your inspiration but also to all international Community."
This was received today, and only the first paragraph of a page of BS,along with 2 PDFs of more BS.
Bottom line, and you can bet your bottom dollar (sorry) that there is a bottom line under the pretentious sludge, is,send them $260 Euros to be included in blah blah blah.About $330 US.
Some of it is so absurd as to be funny, but the sad part is, there are artists out there that will do it.

Sep 25, 2012


This post was going to be about French Easels, therefore the title. Heavy to carry, frustrating to set up.I suppose it becomes second nature to the experienced traveler, or Plein Air painter however.
Speaking of which, I did a post on that subject many moons ago, suggesting that Plein Air painting led to Van Gogh's suicide. I think if he had a French Easel available, (after all he was in France at the time,) he would have shot himself a lot earlier.
However, as the twisted mind of Fate would have it- I found myself wishing I had thought to bring along my French Easel instead of my porchade box on a tripod. Although it was a lovely Guerrilla Painter box, and as it happens, Himself (Carl Judson) showed up, nice, but the fact remains that the day was a disaster.
Stay with me, all who yearn to join the profitable ranks of the Plein Air Painters.
Easton Md held their usual well attended annual Plein Air Painting competition in July. The hottest month of the hottest year, when the humidity and the temperature try to outdo each other.
This may be why the week long extravaganza of painting, showing and selling has been so successful.
Only the determined know what it takes to show up and survive.
Determined to paint well, determined to sell, win a prize, or buy a painting.
I was not one of the painters, but as a local I decided to try an open to anyone event named Quick Draw.
You set up and paint in a restricted area for 2 hours, 10 til 12 only. They should name it High Noon.
Your painting on its easel is lined up for a block or so and judged at 1 PM, and you're expected to have it in a frame. Meanwhile the streets are swarming with art aficionados.

Now mind you, I'm a studio painter. You know who you are.
Along with my porchade box, tripod, and crap-cart, I had a huge white Utrecht umbrella. I found a subject within the designated painting area, set up on a comfortable overcast morning, and got to work on a 10x8 panel. Piece of cake. Yeah, sure.
The umbrella was a little much to be clamped on to the tripod, but OK until it started raining. It was not waterproof. Foolish me. It rained so hard that my subject, the sweet porch with geraniums and a wicker chair, started to fill with people.
Meanwhile rain was running down my neck and down the surface of the painting. I had a half hour left, said ----- it, put my brushes away and took out my painting knife. Wiped off some, laid on some.
The Red Door  Oil on Board  Margery Caggiano
Come to think of it, if I'd used my French Easel, I'd still be folding the legs and blah blah blah.
Bottom line -sold in 5 minutes. Now what do I do?

Jul 13, 2012


After that clever title, what can I add?
I once swore that I would never paint puppies, flowers or babies, and here I am, guilty of all 3.
Gardens, like life, start out full of freshness and promise only to be ravaged if not savaged.
 How can I hate a deer for thinking my budding day lilies are lollipops.? Easy
Do I keep flowers, babies and pets in a glass bubble.Together? More mayhem.
There is nothing to be done.
ALTHEA  Oil on Linen  18 x14  Margery Caggiano
Who said I paint therefore I am.? Is it a higher form of-ugh-scrap booking?

Apr 24, 2012


I never thought I'd want to paint a four month old baby. I couldn't imagine doing something that would have personality (babies don't have a lot, right?)(wrong), or imagine that I could avoid doing a too cute or sentimental portrait of an almost newborn. A challenge however, not to mention a commission.
Challenges are good for my painting, and commissions support my habit.
It had to be done from a photo of course, and assuming that like a lot of babies, there was only peach fuzz for hair, I suggested a hat of some sort  for color or texture. When several photos arrived by email, I was pleasantly surprised. I did become somewhat cross-eyed attempting to paint crocheting.
 I think she has pizazz- and a happy grandmother.
So here's Lily, cute? Yes. Adorable? Certainly.  Fine Art? Who cares.
                                            LILY           10 x 8"                    Oil on Linen
                                                        Copyright  Margery Caggiano

Apr 15, 2012


I could call this post The Revenge of Paint Your Pet. Or why chicken is a favorite entre.
In my last post I didn't include an obvious, I thought, aside for the student. That is, you'll be working from photos, so don't bring your pet to class. Especially if they're not a cooperative species.
In a vain attempt to confine and transport his pet, this student was humiliated, but not (fatally) wounded.
He should have photographed his dear bird while it was nesting. So it shouldn't be a total loss, he'd get eggs.
Actually, I think it's a rooster.

Apr 7, 2012


For anyone who paints, or wishes they could, this is a workshop for like minded people.
The Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD
The dates are Sat May 5th and 12th, 10-3 Bring Lunch. Music. Coffee tea and me.
Any level of expertise, or none at all . Any medium that you're comfortable with.
Why paint a landscape, or a still life when you can paint something you love?
You may love a fetching landscape, but when it comes to fetching, what better than a dog.?
(You can teach a cat to fetch but trust me, it pisses them off.)
Does a landscape adore you? Follow you around? Sleep with you?
Better yet, when it comes to a portrait of your pet, no one will say
"There's something wrong with the mouth".
I remember every cat or dog that I've had in my life, but never hung their picture on the wall, even if I had one.
I recently repainted my beloved Bo, and find it a comforting, rather than an upsetting reminder.
See earlier blog The Perfect Cat
BO  R.I.P.       24x18  Oil on Linen     Copyright Margery Caggiano

Feb 10, 2012


                                      Hiding in plain sight. Under our noses, so to speak.
What better disguise than to pretend to be helpless?
To be adorable, or funny, or subservient?
They sleep in our beds, eat special food, wear handmade sweaters, get their teeth cleaned, their nails trimmed, and are hopefully, bathed on a regular basis.
If no one else likes the way we smell, they do.
They have absolutely no shame, and secretly adore a private bath, or a bath of privates, at a formal dinner. They enjoy the power of pooping anywhere, knowing their owners have to bag it or else.
They are everywhere, look around.
In paintings, in Broadway shows, in restaurants, in special parks just for them.
WOOF    Oil/Canvas    8x10       Margery Caggiano
There is one wise species that can't be fooled.That knows.

Jan 22, 2012


I'm reminded of Abby Hoffmans' Steal This Book.
You can steal a book, but stealing a painting is a whole nuther thing.Unless it's a museum heist of old master, it's uncommon. Not exactly shoplifting.
An exception would be looting, which was the dessert as first course when the Third Reich attempted to devour Europe.
Intentional copying, however, can be a learning technique, such as Van Goghs' copying of Millet and others. Or a teaching technique, where a student, with prior permission, can set up in front of a painting at the Met, or the Louvre, and learn by copying.
A procedure I would not aspire to under any circumstance.
Then there is out and out copying, with someone elses' art tacked on the wall as reference, but given a few twists and turns in the hope that no one will notice.
An amateurs approach, and the painter is therefore destined to remain an amateur.
There are levels of influence in art. To be influenced by a teacher, by an artist you admire, by what you see and hear, and to filter the input is to eventually find your own way to express yourself. In a perfect world.
There is "After", or "Homage To" meaning to imitate a technique or subject and especially, acknowledge the source.
Come to think of it, I've never seen a painting with "after DaVinci" in the title.
(I'm not going to get into copyright issues etc at this point)
The dirty word in art is plagiarize, from the Latin for kidnap. To pass off anothers' work as your own. In particular, in order to profit.
For those of us that have spent a lifetime learning and practicing and exploring and working to improve, knowing that the best painting is always the next one, plagiarism is particularly galling. Rise above it? Nah.
Since I've recently been involved in a venue that permitted it, even though it wasn't my painting, I've decided to opt out of any future involvement in said venue. So there.
Since this blog is about influence, inspiration and old masters, I'm inserting, for lack of a better idea, a favorite artist and a favorite painting, one of a series inspired by a cigar box.More on him next time.
                             Dutch Masters II                       Larry Rivers

Apropos of nothing in particular:
A note to Googles' GMAIL  spell-checking dept: Although your suggestion to spell Van Gogh as Van Gosh, while accurate and amusing, is not something I'm going to do. Sophomoric.

Jan 10, 2012


I found this on the internet years ago and couldn't part with it.
I know nothing about it otherwise.
So what else is new?

Jan 4, 2012


Syd is in his prime. Tall (at times) dark, and handsome, with an aquiline nose and startling blue Paul Newman eyes.
He's hopelessly in love however, with an older woman. She is, as well, small and shall we say ...pudgy, with too much eyeliner and a volatile temperament.When she's happy, she runs. When she's really happy, she drools. Not a pretty sight when there are missing teeth.
Syd has tried everything in an effort to be near Millie, but is roundly rejected, even spit at. In desperation, he tried jumping into bed with her, big mistake. So he's reduced to stalking her, which doesn't help his case. If she could open the front door, he'd be out of here in a hummingbird heartbeat.
Maybe he doesn't know he's been neutered. Maybe he doesn't know she has. Either he's not very bright, doesn't care, or is just plain lonely.
Rescues are like the Gump box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.
Syd (nee' Sagwa) was picked up on the street about a year ago, terrified, starving and flea-bitten. Labeled by the shelter as a Siamese.
Millie (nee' Camilla), a Dilute Tortoise, had been in the shelter for six months, "left behind" by a family that moved, or something. At seven plus, she was considered elderly and therefore not easily adoptable.
Last March, feeling cat-deprived , I signed for Millie, saw Syd watching me with those eyes, and said what the hell. She tore around the house, in heaven. He hid wherever he could.
On the advice of my vet, I tried confining him (Syd, not the vet) so that he would know who was feeding him. Good move.
So Syd turns out to be a purebred Natural Mink Tonkinese.Wow.
Millie, his lady love
Postscript: Millie still snores, but her bad dreams have stopped.