Monthly Archives: March 2014

Weekend Work: Spring Sunlight & Shadow

untitled one, michaela harlow, michaelaharlow.comSpring Sunlight, 2014 – Michaela Harlow- Pastel on Paper (24″ x 19″)

It’s been a wild weekend. Correction. Let me expand on that. It’s been a wild week. Wild weather. Wild schedule. Wild mood swings. However, many things have been accomplished and I am both satisfied and grateful. I am especially appreciative to my wonderful supporters, collectors, friends and family. Thank you.

 Spring thaw has begun in earnest and the seasons are truly changing now. Things are stirred up and unsettled —internally and externally— and I feel like I’m either balancing on thin ice or struggling to move in knee-deep mud. It’s Rasputitsa season and with all of the snow and rain we’ve had over the winter and early spring, it’s going to be long and ugly one. Of course, deep within the forest —beyond the reach of human disturbance— spring thaw is incredibly beautiful. No emerging trash, no rutted roads, no discolored snowbanks and no anxiety about changing schedules; in the forest, there’s just melting. And the things I find emerging —glistening in sunlight and glowing in shadow— are fascinating.

untitled two, michaela harlow, Spring Shadow, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – Pastel on Paper (24″ x 19″)

I finished two, larger pieces on paper this weekend. There’s still a bit more tweaking to be expected here and there —some obscuring, some softening—- but more or less, these pieces are compositionally complete. One pastel was inspired by a morning walk on Saturday; dawn’s early sunlight dancing on partially melted, peachy-pink puddles. And the other was drawn from a walk through the hemlock stand on Sunday; all moody and green-brown with birth and decay.

Two things at once  Sunlight and Shadow, side by side

Posted in Uncategorized

Matting & Prepping Outgoing Work for Shipment & Delivery

little left from before in frame - copyright ‘Little Left from Before’, ready for this week’s home delivery

This has been a busy week for the matting, framing, packing and shipping division of the studio! ‘Little Left from Before’ was framed about a month ago and is awaiting a home delivery date this week. And this past week, two pieces sold and are ready to head to their respective homes. One piece, ‘Brook Trout Dreams in Winter’ is painted on floating panel —to expose the painted edges and raise the work away from the wall— and requires no additional framing. But all work on paper requires some form of support. Pastels —due to the dust they can produce— require a particular style of double layered protection with an inner ‘shelf’, called a ‘bridge mat’.

Here’s a look at the process of matting ‘Winter Window’, from start to finish, beginning with foam cutting and ending with plastic wrapping. This piece will be packed and then ship to Los Angeles later this week, where it will be framed.

Today, we cut ten bridge mats and fitted 6 pastel paintings in 8 hours. Although the process speeds up a bit with practice, there are many more pastels to go, with more than three years worth of artwork waiting to be matted and framed for exhibit and sale. Much work to be done!

foam board backing Cutting foam board backers

mat cutting process Face mats

fitting and higing copyPlacing pastels within the bridge mat

checking fit of mat Checking fit, measuring and repositioning before hinging the pastel at center with archival, linen tape

packed in plastic sleeve Unless a piece immediately goes inside a glass-faced frame, it is placed within a clear plastic bag and sealed shut until it can be framed

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend Work: Freeze & Thaw

Freeze & Thaw, 2014 Freeze & Thaw, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – 15″ x 12″, Pastel on Handmade Paper 

This week, inventory, image uploads, pricing, gallery research and panel prepping have occupied the bulk of my time. There have been a number of changes to the ‘Work on Panel’ page; including newly formatted images and updated inventory with titles, dates and sizes. More work will be added as images are available. I’ve also begun to update the ‘Work on Panel’ page. Pricing is not included on the gallery pages, as I discovered a quirk in the template which will only allow me to create pricing with thumbnail images. I don’t want to sacrifice online viewing, so eventually, there will be a separate page for pricing/availability on the ‘Purchase’ page.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday were largely devoted to studio work. One of the pieces I created, ‘Freeze & Thaw’, was painted in pastel on handmade, deckle edged paper. As promised, below is a photo of the edges. The texture of this paper is quite rough —recommended for use with watercolors and other wet media— demanding that I press and blend the pigments in order to work them deeply into the surface. It’s interesting how something as simple as a change in paper can create such different results.

Freeze & Thaw, 2014 (Deckle Edge Revealed) These new, deckle-edged pieces will demand a different matting and framing style

Posted in Work on Paper

Taking The Train & A Day In New York

I visited my friend Jeanne in New York last Saturday, and I had a wonderful time. I wish I’d made reservations to stay the entire weekend —I hope to eventually catch up with a number of friends in the city, and if I missed you this time I apologize, but promise to return very, very soon— but I needed to get back to VT for a couple of appointments early in the week, so this was just a day trip. One of my most important goals for 2014 is to get out of Vermont more often; to spend time traveling and exploring and to seek inspiration in new places, things and experiences. New York was a great place to start.

It’s been a long time since my last visit to New York. How long? I’ve been trying to figure that out exactly, but I think it’s been nearly a decade. In the past, I traveled to NYC frequently; usually by car or airplane. This was my first trip into the city by train, and it was ridiculously fun. Why did I wait so long to do this? Why do I always need to be in the driver’s seat? Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the ride —not to mention the view! I’ve always loved traveling by train in Europe —especially through Ireland— and it’s so much easier than dealing with the hassle of parking in the city. I took Amtrak from Union Station, New Haven, CT to Penn Station, NYC, and what an easy trip. The train ride alone filled me with visual inspiration!


I was surprised by how much I’ve forgotten about New York, but I couldn’t have asked for a better guide to the city than my friend, Jeanne. After stopping for cappuccino and scones, we made our way to the High Line —the highlight of this trip— which I’ve been dying to visit for years and years. I wasn’t disappointed. Even at winter’s end, it was starkly beautiful; all tousled blonde and burnished, blowzy remnants. Perfect in the brilliant light of a sunny, mid-March day. I can’t wait to return and see this living work of art in spring, summer and fall (when I imagine the show really peaks with all of the ornamental grasses and autumn foliage). Beautifully Burnished Decay at The High Line

Situated above Chelsea with a view of the river, The High Line feels like a slice wild meadow in Manhattan. So many of the plants are native to North America, and almost all of them are species I’ve planted in my own garden and/or frequently use in my design work for others. I felt right at home. What a delight to see artwork and beautifully designed seating areas included in this walking park. High Line, I am in love.

Rubi_Neri's_Before_a_Framework_at_The_High_Line_New_York Rubi Neri’s ‘Before a Framework’ at the High Line


Lillith_at_Gitane_michaelaharlow.comThe Lillith at Cafe Gitane 

I’m already looking forward to to my next trip. Thank you so much for a great day, Jeanne. It was so good to see you and to be back in New York again.

photo 5

Posted in Out and About