Welcome to Wickstrom studio's blog. You can follow this blog, and also our studio21south art gallery blog, to keep up with what's going on around here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Portrait Day

Sunday, as part of the The Clark Museum's free family day, I'm doing15-20 minute portraits in charcoal for $20. Here's a link to some portraits I've done recently, to practice. I'm kind of nervous about putting my head on the chopping block, to borrow an 18th c. french image, so please come by Sunday and keep me distracted. By the way, it's also a great time see the new Pissaro exhibit, and it's free of charge on family day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Virtual vs Reality

One of the surprises this year- and there have been a few- has been the success of my virtual gallery on ETSY. (see the thumbnails next to this post).

Last year, just for fun, I started showing my artwork through ETSY, the "handmade" internet marketplace. I had no expectations. It seemed like a good way to get the new work out there.

A year later, I have sold many paintings and drawings on ETSY, and I'm thrilled every time I get an email for a new sale.

But success for an artist is also defined by how many people see the work. In one year I've had over 100,000 page-views of my work on ETSY.  Amazing! No matter how hard Jaye and I work at our studio/gallery, studio21south, we are content to see a small crowd of art lovers at our openings.

I also realize that, compared with online viewing, standing in front of an actual painting is a totally different experience.  I know that I cannot feel the same thing looking at a reproduction of, say, a Sargent at the Clark museum, as when standing 3 feet away from the actual work. When I see somebody looking- really looking- at a painting at one of our shows, I am grateful. After all, that's why an artist makes art- to share the experience.

I can read that 100,000 people saw my work, and that is thrilling. Actually seeing people respond to an individual painting is a more satisfying measure of success for me. Hopefully for the viewer as well.

Friday, November 19, 2010

to blog or not to blog

the internet is made for artists. so easy just post something. but finding the time to "blog", that's another story.

when i go to cities, i like to take a pad and charcoal along on the subway and try to come up with something. the people come and go, so there's a fair amount of imagination and memory involved. it's embarrassing  to get caught sketching somebody's portrait, so you try not to be too obvious.

they say that the great french painter pascin had his own method to sketch incognito. he wore a  baggy overcoat and drew on a small pad in his pocket, without even looking at the drawing.  hard to imagine how he did it, or how that didn't draw more attention to him.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's New? What's Old?

A collector once said to me, "It seems you paint duplicates of your most popular pictures".

Rude? Yep. But he had a point. I do like to return to favorite spots. I wouldn't exactly say duplicates

The old factory housing up the road from the Beaver Mill is a theme I've played with many times. But the sky is always different. Sometimes there are leaves on the trees. Sometimes there is snow. The light is never the same. It's why I like to paint outdoors, to respond to what's at hand.

Monet (I can think of many others) painted the same tree silhouette at Giverny time after time.  I wonder if anyone ever asked if he was painting duplicates of his most popular pictures?

So, here are a few views of the mill houses near the beaver mill, one which my dear art teacher, Judy Mason Froerich purchased recently (spring view).  I hope I'll get another chance to paint out there again soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010


it's been a busy summer, and in my various pursuits- producing a monthly cartoon strip for ask magazine, hanging 2 shows at studio21south, shows in becket and williamstown, and trying to get some time in to paint, etc- i have been negligent of posting on my blog.

our "commonplaces" show in june was a big success. here is a painting compsed on a sunny berkshire afternoon, which sold. it's one of my favorite places to paint, the hills around sloan road, and i'm sure i'll be back painting there again soon...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Le Pont Royal a Paris, Temps Variable

There's been some interest in paintings i've done in Paris, mostly along the banks of the Seine.  These go back a few years.  I'm feeling ready to brave the subway crowds with my gear and get out there again. It takes a lot of "sans gene" to schlep easel and wet paintings through the metro, and it takes "sang froid" to stand out on the quai. But there is something so amazing about that place, the colors, the bridges, and the history... it's almost worth it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

years ago i lived in jersey city, and the bus stop was just under my bedroom window. i remember at the time being very interested in japanese prints.
this painting was composed looking down from the window, partly from observation, but because the figures were constantly moving, it's partly made up.  it's one of the reasons painting from life is so challenging, surprising, and occasionally rewarding.
i'd never shown it anywhere before, so it was fun to pull this painting out and hang it in our "snow show" at studio 21 south.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


exciting news from the berkshires... an agricultural sale on etsy to a collector in new york . 

i did this cow painting in the muck,  looking over a barb-wire fence, a few years ago.  there were flies and interesting smells. Cows move around, which presents a problem. but as they all kind of take the same pose it makes for an interesting drawing puzzle. the thought of what i would actually do with a cow painting didn't occur to me until later.

i haven't been back since, but now that there is a market, maybe i'll pay those cows another visit.  now where did i put those rubber boots?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Here's a winter sketch from beautiful North Adams, painted from the kitchen window of my friend Katherine's house. Thanks, Katherine.

There were those blue shadows and the subtle tones of the houses... not much to say about it, really, except that it was a joy to paint.

Just added to my Etsy gallery...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Autumn Hillside, Berkshires

The end of autumn begs to be painted; those last bright days, still warm enough to stand in the sun for a few hours before the storms arrive and winter sets in.

There is so much going on, colorwise, that it's hard to be selective and to simplify. There are winter's violet trees, and still quite a bit of red from the oaks and a few stubborn maples. And what to make of the green fields, who still think it's summer?

I'm posting this painting and much of my smaller work on Etsy, my virtual studio gallery. I just started in January, and it's been a lot of fun so far.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Dog in Winter

Sometimes you just don't want to go outside to paint in the snow. Sometimes, when you are a dog for example, you just want to curl up in a chair and hope that nobody makes you go out into the snow.

Bob, the bichon, has been a faithful model over the years. Though he does tend to shift now and then, once he's settled in he really holds the pose.  Also, the standard pay for a model is $12-20 an hr., but Bob is willing to sit for an occasional scratch behind the ear and dog biscuits. What a guy.

I just posted "Studio Dog" to my Etsy site, so you don't even have to come to the "snowshow" at studio 21 south to buy it!

Monday, February 1, 2010


My painting of the day:
a not quite "plein air" painting - mais non!- because i did it from the front seat of my car. the disadvantage of this is that things fog up, and you can't step back. but it sure beats standing in a slushy puddle in the middle of the street.
and yes, i could have taken a photo and worked from that. lots of people do, and they seem to like it. i'd rather...

This one will be on view at our snow-show at studio21south. hoping it's dry by then.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Claire Obscure

i attend drawing class religiously. some artists will tell you they have "mastered" drawing. really? yes, they took life drawing. for a whole year!

i prefer the more humble michelangelo, whose dictum was "always a student". or hokusai, whose dying words were "if heaven had only granted me five more years, I might have become a real painter."

the routine for life class is pretty much the same wherever you go. some gesture drawing- say 2 minute poses- to get you drawing freely. the poses get progressively longer, and by the end of the night, there are half hour to one hour poses. that's when i put the charcoals away and bring out the oil paints.

so what am i after? freshness, expressive line, brushwork and subtle color are qualities i admire in the masters. this is what i'm trying to get.

a very exciting week for painting sales for me. 3 advance sales of "snow show" landscapes to my dear collectors in canada, and a collector in ohio bought 3 life studies from my etsy site.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Bit of Alright!

one of my dear friends who has sat for me a few times is none other than the illustrious british born ben barker benfield, author and scholar.
in addition to being very supportive with my work- (ben and linda collect paintings)- ben wants to use one of the portraits i painted for the author picture in his newest book, "Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility," with university of chicago press.
thanks, ben!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

good news! more money for doctors without borders, who are saving lives in haiti.
i'm happy that people seem interested in my figure work, which i've been putting on my etsy site. tonight a collector in ohio bought 3!

Social Experiment 101 - Haiti Fund Raiser

just a little report on my little fundraiser for Haiti on ETSY .
2 small paintings sold this weekend to collectors in Boston and Hawaii, and 2 donations were made to doctors without borders! it feels great to turn my work into something really useful. here is one the paintings.

Snow Show!

so what's going on... the next 2 weeks are all about getting THE SNOW SHOW! hung in my (fantastic) loft. i'm so excited to be showing the work of many artists i've known over the years- people whose work i really respect and admire. See my links, most of them are there...
I'll be posting images of their work, for now here's a little painting of my own invention that will be in the show, unless it sells on my etsy site first... (our opening feb. 13th! save the dates!)