Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mag's Cat Cigar Box



Mag's Cat Cigar Box
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6.5"X4.5"X4.5"
American Bach Soloists' "Messiah" at Grace Cathedral with my childhood friend, Mag tonight. We grew up knowing each other's cats and dogs. She owns a painting my mother made of our cat, Alexander. And now she is going to own a painting I have made of her current cat. Old friends, cats and dogs remembered, Handel's "Messiah." It's feeling a lot like Christmas around here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Family Blend Cigar Box





Family Blend When the Cows Come Home Cigar Box
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6"X6"X3"
"Cows are notoriously languid creatures and make their way home at their own unhurried pace." (Thank you "The Phrase Finder") Family Blend starts around here next week and I, for one, can't wait. The days will start getting longer on the same day they arrive.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Love Story Cigar Box


Love Story Cigar Box
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6"X6"X4"

I do like the idea of a "Love Story." My all time favorite books and movies involve finding love in one way or another. I mean, nothing holds a candle to finding and holding on to love.
Speaking of love, I stopped by my local See's Candies store this morning to stock up on chocolates. I know Mary See is long gone but they still manage to hire the sweetest people who act like they mean it and never fail to give you a candy to sample. A simple gesture that makes my day every time. We all could be nicer to one another if we tried.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Race Day Cigar Box 2



Race Day Cigar Box 2
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
4"X8"4"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Race Day Cigar Box



Race Day Cigar Box
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6.5"X6.5"X2.5"
Imagining a summer morning in Maine. Soft, warm, still. Downright dreamy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

San Francisco Bay Cigar Box



San Francisco Bay Cigar Box
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6"X8"
Dark and stormy. Even the dog is reluctant to leave the warmth and comforting clutter of the studio where painted cigar boxes are proliferating.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jackson and Harry



Jackson and Harry
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
7"X5"
A little levity goes a long way in December. Glorifying my neighborhood pets in paint does wonders for my frame of mind. Out with the highfalutin analysis of art. In with the simple celebration of Life.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Once Upon A Time


Once Upon A Time
Oil on Wood
12"X12"

Any thought of weeding out old books is over. Leave stacks of anything around long enough and they are bound to become an art object.
In yesterday's New York Times travel section, "A Book Lover's San Francisco" sealed the deal. Makes me proud to be a San Franciscan.
And who remembers back to 2004 when the Adobe Book Shop in the Mission arranged its books by color? (Hear and see the story on NPR.) I went to see it and still have photos clogging up my photo library, a potential inspiration for a painting some day?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jackie's Orchids



Jackie's Orchids
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6"X4"X4"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Robusto Cows



Robusto Cows
Oil on Wood Cigar Box
6"X8"X3"
You know Christmas is coming when a new idea takes over. It started with the old cigar box that my friend, John, used to keep museum specimens in. I returned it to him painted with his birthday egret. (See "The Gift" posted November 17th.) Then I saw the enchanting painting fellow painter, and continuing inspiration, Elllis Heyer had done and that sent me right to the cigar store to stock up. It is always satisfying to transform a discarded item into a work of art. Liberating and lighthearted. Something from nothing. And back again. Isn't that the story of our lives?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cookbook Collection


Cookbook Collection
Oil on Wood
10"X10

It's that time of year. When inside is where we want to be. Where it's warm and worn and memories of winters long gone are embedded in old hand-me-down cookbooks spattered with the batters that added spice to our childhood.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

San Francisco Bay November 22, 2010

San Francisco Bay November 22, 2010
Oil on Wood
12"X12"

SOLD
Storms have been putting on a light and dark show for days now. It's been thrilling to watch, and energizing to have change in the air. I have been a bit of a thundercloud myself. Brooding about the meaning of it all. I have a lot of paintings in my studio. They are all for sale. Make me an offer I can't refuse and one could be yours, or a gift for someone special. Come by and see what's here. Paintings from Maine, Sonoma, and San Francsico Bay. Not to mention books, birds, and bovines. Come see.
Contact me at susan@susanlandor.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sonoma Vineyards

Sonoma Vineyards
Oil on Wood
12"X12"
SOLD

The skies have been putting on quite a show the last few days. Sonoma was all yellows and shades of grey this weekend. And back in Sausalito, the sky is changing by the minute. Mesmerizing.
Last night I watched "Herb and Dorothy" a documentary about the Vogels, two ordinary people who built a world class art collection and then gave it all to The National Gallery. I love that they just did it. Without rules or anyone telling them what was good. And that they only bought what they loved and could afford, which wasn't much on meager salaries, and that they didn't care about making money. They GAVE it all away. Not only is the film thoroughly entertaining, but the underlying message about art being accessible to the likes of you and me was just what I needed at this moment when I am a little dispirited about the elusive nature of art promotion. One could spend all one's time trying to get attention. Or. One could hunker down and paint.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Painting: Books in the Bedroom

Books in the Bedroom
Oil on Wood
12"X12"

SOLD
Books in the bedroom, where they belong. My mother's painting from 1969 a quiet presence in the background. Her creative spirit lives on. An on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Susan Landor Keegin Painting - The Gift


The Gift
Oil on Cigar Box
6"X9"
NFS
The older we get, the less we want or need things of any kind. Some time ago my friend, John, gave me some old cigar boxes to paint on. Today is his birthday. So I spent the morning watching egrets fishing in the Mill Valley wetlands near his house. And then I came home and painted the old box imbuing it with new life. Egrets are for some a symbol of wisdom. I just like the way they move and go about their daily business of survival, oblivious to their amazing grace and beauty. I could say the same about my friend, John. A little reminder that life is about living and loving the world around us. Which is pretty much all any of us want when it comes to birthdays.




Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Em's Old Books

Em's Old Books
Oil on Wood
8"X8"
SOLD
Back to books. When Fall rolls around, a soft afternoon light fills the void left in the childrens' vacated bedrooms. I often think I should "clear out the old energies," as my mother used to say. But I like the nostalgia that clings to a stack of their discarded books. Memories of a full house come to life. And for a fleeting moment I feel the presence of family all around.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Satsuma Orange


Satsuma Orange
Oil on Wood
6"X6"

SOLD
Sitting outside on a warm, balmy Saturday afternoon, it was this Satsuma orange that grabbed my attention. Small round shape, rich orange color, and dark green leaves, exuding goodness and the promise of juicy insides. After I finished the painting, I ate the fruit, every bit as satisfying to eat as it was to look at.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lynn's for Lunch


Lynn's Cat
Oil on Wood
6"X6"
NFS
After spending way too much time questioning the meaning of life, I took a little lunch and myself over to my sister's house yesterday. We talked and ate and laughed at each other's antics while her two big black cats, who slink around and settle themselves artfully on chairs and stools watched, pretending to be disinterested. They move in slow motion and only when the mood strikes, exuding calm, as if there is no urgency anywhere in the world. I came home refreshed and happy and determined to lighten up.
On the wall of my studio there is an old envelope on which is written:
"Purpose of Life is to grow in Wisdom and learn to love better."
Below it, on a post it is:
"The purpose of life is to live it."
Words to live by.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Little Sailboats Racing

Little Sailboats Racing
Oil on Wood Panel
6"X6"

SOLD
So earnest in their pursuit of the breeze are these little sailboats outside my window. As if there were nothing more pressing this November morning than sailing along the Sausalito shore. Soothing to look up and catch them punctuating my view.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sausalito Waterfront

Sausalito Waterfront
Oil on Wood Panel
6"X6"

There's nothing like an early morning walk along the shore with a great friend to start the day off in a positive direction. Feeling connected to the bigger world through friendship with a like minded soul dissolves self doubt and replaces it with a healthy dose of optimism. Much needed medicine after last week's dip into despair and disillusionment. The sun was even shining, the bay glistening, and possibility was in the air.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Raccoon Straits 5

Raccoon Straits 5
Oil on Wood
12"X12"
SOLD
Yesterday evening the sky turned positively peachy. It had been a little too warm and muggy all day causing me to call, "earthquake weather." It wasn't, but I continued to wander around in the fog of flu thinking I would never again do anything but sleep. Dusk brought on the luscious hues of sundown, while the sailing class optimistically waited for a breath of air to power their race.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nicole Krauss


Last night, despite feeling fluish, I tore myself away from the Giants game and headed for Herbst to hear Nicole Krauss at City Arts and Lectures. I arrived just as the last inning was unfolding, so I ducked into Max's to see the end play out. People had been watching a big screen set up outside City Hall which was bathed in deep orange light.


After the last pitch, everyone spilled into the street, cheering.
Inside, Krauss talked about her themes of joy and loss and human connection. About the burden of inheritance, uncertainty, and how we wonder if we will ever be fully known.
The celebration was still in full swing when we left Herbst at 9p.m. Perfect strangers sharing a moment of glee.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Raccoon Stratis 4


Raccoon Straits 4
Oil on Wood
10"X10"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Raccoon Straits 3

Raccoon Straits
Oil on Canvas
24"X24"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Racoon Straits 2

Raccoon Straits 2
Oil on Wood
10"X10"

It rained all weekend, often obscuring the view of Angel Island and Belvedere altogether. An interesting challenge, to paint what is and isn't there. The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Raccoon Straits

Raccoon Straits
Oil on Wood
8"X8"
I'm not a morning person, so it was just luck that I awoke in time to see this magnificent fog and light show right outside our bedroom window earlier this week. Years ago I thought I should make a daily painting of this view for a year. I should. Maybe I shall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

California Cows 4

California Cows 4
Oil on Wood
6"X6"
The California Cows, all three paintings (see previous posts), are headed for the Bolinas Museum's 22nd Annual Mini Show.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jury Duty

Jury Duty
Pen Sketch
It's never convenient to be called for Jury Duty. But once there, it is all there is until you are set free. I brought a sketch book and spent the time drawing. It was good for me to do just that. Who knows, maybe a day of drawing figures in a court room will influence the next paintings. Our courts are housed in a remarkably friendly building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is pink. Built around an atrium. Light and airy, furnishings are rounded, beautifully refinished woods, well maintained and lovely. It rained yesterday so buckets were placed here and there to catch the leaks. So human. Just like home. A thoroughly pleasant place to the spend the day. But I am glad that in the end, my name was not called for the final jury. Just sitting through the jury selection process and seeing the defendant and lawyer, a nervous young prosecutor trying to win, whole families in turmoil milling through the halls, the understated drama of it all, was sad and now I am exhausted. Even good architecture can't counteract the grim reality of wrecked lives. Tomorrow I will paint again and try to refill the optimism coffers.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Egret for Garcias

Egret for Garcias
Oil on Wood
8"X8"
This is for my dentist, Richard Garcia. Like the bird, he is wise, patient, and has good judgment. He is also skilled and has a sense of humor, welcome traits in any doctor. His practice is a family affair. His wife and daughter work with him. Patients are treated like friends of the family, for whom they care in every sense of the word. That's what goes on inside, while just outside the windows egrets go about the business of living which is said to be a good omen and in any case is soothing to the patient in the chair.
I owe more than I have been charged. Thus. This painting is for the Garcias.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10-10-10


10-10-10
Oil on Canvas
14"X18"
10-10-10
Oil on Wood Panel
10"X10"

Awash in weddings. New York never looked so aglow as it did this weekend. The sun shined. Inside and out. Trees blushed barely red. And we bathed in the presence of our children and our dearest friends. To love. And be loved. Everything else pales in comparison.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memorial Bowl

Memorial Bowl
Oil on Canvas
12"X12"
Just inside our front door, I keep a glass bowl full of water in which I float flowers in memory of my mother and father. The mere act of taking a moment to find something blooming in the garden, picking it, and placing it in the bowl brings them back to me. Today the bowl holds gardenias from the garden of our friends, Peter and Dyan. All day the house has been filled with the sweet fragrance of summer, memories of my parents, and the generosity of enduring friendship.

Friday, October 1, 2010

City Shore

City Shore
Oil on Wood Panel
8"X8"

Inspiration is everywhere you are. Yesterday on the spur of the moment, my neighbor Mary and I darted into The City to see the Fisher Collection at MOMA which had been held over, seemingly just for us. Large paintings, sparingly placed in big open spaces, with only occasional museum goers passing through the galleries like dancers choreographed to augment the art. Dreamy. Soothing. Satisfying. The last 50 years of amazing art. Afterward, I couldn't wait to get home and start painting.
As if that wasn't enough, in the evening we went to see the Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay at the De Young. Whiplash. From Modern mostly American Masters to the older, European ones. Seeing Van Gogh's "Starry Night" in real life was to see it for the very first time. Rich, dark blues, luscious paint oozing from the surface. I came home thinking. Paint. Just paint.
Then this morning. The fog was in, the City was shrouded in a vast array of grays with occasional warm rays of sun shining on the water. I walked along the shore with my generous friend and fine painter, Kristen, sharing ideas about art and life while taking in the grandeur of the scene and exercising our dogs all at the same time. Like the song says, "is that not the way...to start out the day?"


Thursday, September 30, 2010

California Cows Coming and Going

California Cows Coming and Going
Oil on Canvas
18"X18"
I am so filled with ideas and inspiration I don't know if I'm coming or going. Yesterday I went to see the Christopher Brown Show at John Berggruen's Gallery. I had the place all to myself. So luxurious. I studied Brown's big paintings for a long time hoping I could learn a thing or two. When I got home I found a great video online in which Brown describes his approach in perpetual pursuit of attaining the "exhilaration of discovery". I came away with the usual refrain: "Do what you want. No fear."
In the evening my great friend, Joanne, and I went to hear Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) at City Arts and Lectures. The place was packed and everyone was laughing from the get go. Kalman and Handler are both irreverent and inventive, and full of fun.
They were promoting their book, "13 Words" which will be out Oct. 5. But mostly they were spreading the gospel:
"Live it up. Do what you want. No rules. No fear."
So here I am. Loving my cows and California's parched landscape. Having the time of my life. Doing, learning, and doing some more. Off to see the Post Impressionist's Show this evening.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September in Sonoma - New Season

September in Sonoma
Oil on Canvas
18"X24"
It's not that I haven't been painting. Just before leaving Maine I took a workshop with
Henry Isaacs. Now I am trying to integrate lessons learned with whatever it is I do. Which is what, exactly? Disintegrating in the process. All to the good in the end no doubt. We will see what comes of this not so comfortable exercise.
I almost gave up on the above after seeing Maira Kalman's marvelous show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco. She is what she is and does what she does. No excuses. With humor and joy and beauty mixed in. She says, "There is a strong personal narrative aspect to what I do. What happens in my life is interpreted in my work. There is very little separation. My work is my journal of my life." Her objective is to figure out "how to live and how to die." That's what she does all day long, stopping to have a few snacks along the way. She walks the streets, photographs what she sees, and makes sense of the chaos with words and pictures. So? Isn't that what I do? Is that not a lofty goal? Or at least enough? Banishing Insecurity and self-doubt from the kingdom.
See Kalman tell it like it is on Ted.com.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

California Cows 2

California Cows 2
Oil on Wood
6"X6"
Like the squirrels gathering nuts, when Fall comes, I want to store up ideas. Searching for inspiration anywhere I can find it. Last night I went to hear Jonathan Safran Foer at City Arts and Lectures. Not only did I love his first two books, but he's married to Nicole Krauss who wrote my all time favorite, "The History of Love." Read it. And then read it again.
He said he writes to "create an emotional/aesthetic atmosphere." He's interested in "what's visible, what's invisable, what's lost." That struck a chord. To keep in mind while painting. My next assignment.
Then he quoted someone who commented upon the birth of his baby, "Everything is possible again." Oh my. Does that ever touch my heart.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

California Cows


California Cows
Oil on Wood Panel
6"X6"
California here I am. Right back where I started from. It's good to be home.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Em and Ben

Em and Ben
Oil on Wood
14"X11"
I love the light in their apartment building hallways. And I love them.