Private art collection in Berkeley

My collector painted her walls to match my paintings!

What a trip! I’ve been traveling for over two weeks now, visiting my friends in California. Lucky for me I have been able to stay as a guest in beautiful homes and settings from Marin county to Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Berkeley. Recently I spent a few nights with my collector in Berkeley and had the joy of not only visiting her, but my paintings as well. This year’s theme for me has been a wondrous retrospective, as I’ve revisited so much of my past art and have been so inspired by my earlier paintings.

Cape Cod painting retreat

Cape Cod painting retreat

Wow! Talk about creative juices flowing. I just returned from an off-the-chart inspiring painting retreat in Cape Cod with my two painting buddies… Laura Levine and Clay Fried. We took off the day after our art opening at the New Haven Public Library Ives Gallery, with my painting group, CALM. The three of us went on the same painting retreat last year, and i hope it becomes an annual Cape Cod art inspired trip every year.

I perched in Truro which is likely the most gorgeous spot on Cape Cod. The light is completely magical on the Cape. Being a slender slice of land flanked by two bodies of water, the reflected light creates luminosity wherever you look. If you’re an early riser like me, you can catch the glorious sunrise over the ocean on the vast beaches. One can also see sunsets on the bay side. Cape Cod offers glowing vistas from just about everywhere — from undulating sand dunes, ever changing shadows and sunlight, incredible cloud formations, cliffs and ocean views, and classic rustic Cape Cod houses and gardens. Everything calls out to be painted. 

Painting alongside two accomplished painters, Clay Fried and Laura Levine, my week in Cape Cod was as an inspiration on many levels. I painted more in the last week than during the entire last year! May this be a kick start to a fruitful year of creativity and painting.

CALM art opening

CALM art opening

My painting group had a wonderful art opening on June 26th in New Haven at the New Haven Public Library, Ives Gallery. Our group that we call CALM is named after the first initial of our first names: Clay Fried, Abbie Rabinowitz, Laura Levine, and Mark Patnode.

We all went to art school together nearly 40 years ago where we studied together with the same teachers. Several years ago we got together after many years apart, and started painting together. We are pleinair painters and enjoyed finding locations in the CT area where we could meet, paint, critique, and inspire one another. We had discussed having a show together and finally found our venue when we were accepted to show in New Haven at the Ives Gallery as a group. Inspired by nature, we titled our show Nature Calls for CALM.

Matting and framing – the business of art

As far as I’m concerned it’s never too early to prepare for an art show. Even though it’s still just May, and I have a full month to get ready for my show at the end of June, I hate panicking prior to an exhibit doing last minute preparation. Along with this show, I am also planning on relocating to Hawaii later this summer. Simply put, I am in the midst of a big project that includes packing, storing, and choosing which possessions to keep, ship, sell, or let go of. Getting ready to move 6000 miles away is quite a process!

Matting and framing art
I narrowed down which paintings that I want to show, choosing to exhibit my watercolor landscapes for my painting group’s show Nature Calls in New Haven. Of course watercolors need mats and frames.  I hadn’t cut mats in a while, but I warmed up after cutting several mats using my trusty Logan mat cutter. The first few attempts were rejects but I got the hang of it after awhile. A jaunt to Ikea was in order to pick out some more of the neutral silver frames I like. Now I’m feeling more or less ready to show in June, and am delighted to see how my watercolors look matted and framed. They were gems already, but behind glass and framed, they look stunning. Hope some of you get to see the show opening June 26th in the New Haven Public Library, Ives Gallery.

Preparing mats and frames for the New Haven Public Library Ives Gallery show Nature Calls, opening June 26th with my painting group The Calm.

Instagram: My new hangout!

Ok, ok already! I have finally taken the plunge and decided to embrace social media beyond just Facebook. Even though I’m a 10 year fb veteran, I am now sharing my art regularly and connecting with other creatives primarily on Instagram, and secondly on Twitter. It’s been a toss up as to which platform to embrace. I mean after all, who has that much time to delve into the cyber world for hours each day? Wouldn’t you rather be painting or pursuing your bliss in the real world? Although I do admit to being somewhat passionate about connecting online and social media has proven a superb way to stay connected with dear friends. “Likes” are fun to get and new followers do give a slight adrenaline rush. 

I did a bit of research and found from other artists that Instagram wins hands down as the best platform to go with. And it really does make sense. Instagram is after all a visual platform and it’s where art fans and artists like to hang out. It’s also not limited to the 140 character post, so I can describe my art in more detail if I want, or comment on someone else’s art. 

I intend to share my process more and record the steps I take making my art. Today, for example, I spent hours just framing watercolors for an art show coming up in June. Watercolors take on a new meaning altogether when they are matted, framed, and set behind glass. They become more of the gems that they already are! 

For front row seats check me out:
Instagram: @abboriginal69
Twitter: @Abbie_artistInstagram screengrab


Abstract Paintings: Gems from the Past

Digging through my past art work this week, I uncovered some hidden gems. I found a group of small abstract paintings that I painted while traveling in Europe after art school. I have been revisiting abstraction in my art lately and it is a timely thing to rediscover the direction I had been going with my abstract painting. I have gained some new ideas, insights land inspiration from observing my own artwork. What a blessing! I am so thankful to my younger self.

My art is my journal.

sketchbooks imageThis past month has been a trip down memory lane. My parents were both artists and big believers in never throwing anything out, at least as far as artwork goes. As a result I have held onto plenty of paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks. Some date back to highschool or earlier. Needless to say, I have stacks of paintings, drawings and mountains of sketchbooks.

However, my parents’ house where I have stored my art, has been sold. I need to either take my artwork with me, place it in storage, sell it or throw it away. Thus, I have taken on the task of taking inventory of all my art. I have photographed nearly three hundred of my paintings and drawings, as well as titled them, noted the medium and recorded their sizes.

This has been an amazing process. It has helped me organize my art and eliminate artwork that no longer needs to be saved. It stimulated me to convert my website to a marketing site, so now I am able to sell my artwork to friends and fans who have always wanted to own my art. I dropped my prices and I have been selling more of my art. It’s rewarding to know they are going to people who have followed my career as an artist for a long time. My aspiration has always been to inspire others through art. It’s wonderful to know they are going to homes where they will be much appreciated.

I have also had the pleasure of tracing my path and observing my growth and stylistic changes. My artwork is a record of my life starting in high school, spanning through art school, my years living in San Francisco, my job as a waitress, views from cafes in the Mission district, hikes in Marin, Oakland hills, travels down the Pacific coast, as well as my journeys to Brazil, Europe, Asia, my master’s thesis, and my recent trip to India. Indeed, these sketches and paintings are the journal of my life.

What a gift that I can gaze back on this visual record of an amazing, adventure filled life. Not all moments were happy. My paintings also reflect lonely times and emotional struggles. It’s just that it’s all there to view. This has been an opportunity to gaze back on the past with an eye on the future, and note that my art always mirrors the present.


‘Unmarried Women’ a portrait series

I’ve been sorting through older artwork that has been stored at my parents’ house for years. Here are four drawings from a series of oversize portraits from 25 years ago or so. I called this series Unmarried Women. The sizes are 4’x3′.

Writing, Stories about my Art

Empty Easel, gouache on board, 7.5x4

Empty Easel, gouache on board, 7.5″x4″

I am going through a major overhaul of my website. While placing my artwork for sale on my site, I am also taking the time to write a brief story and memory connected to my paintings. In doing so, I realize how my artwork is indeed a visual journal of my life.

I can recall a specific time, my thoughts and process, where I was and who I was speaking to at the time I produced a particular work of art. I am thrilled to put these memories into writing so that I can share the words and stories that accompany these visual records of my life. 

You can read these stories if you click on the images of paintings and drawings in my new online store.

Watercolor Collage Workshop – Fall 2016

Watercolor & Collage Workshop
November 2016
After a demonstration showing some basic watercolor techniques, my students experimented with watercolor by painting from observation or by simply playing with the medium to see what it could do. The second half of the workshop they then recycled their artwork by creating collages with the paintings. This became a process in balancing control with releasing control, allowing for an entirely unpredictable outcome. As usual, I learned from my students as they revealed their unique creative skills and vision that they offered to the class.

Thanks Marie for showing how blowing through a drinking straw spreads color in fun linear patterns. I was the last to learn a simple trick that most kids learn in school.