The Art Fly

“The Art of Silverpoint”

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DaVinci angel

Silverpoint Drawings

I’ve been drawing in the Renaissance-era medium of silverpoint since the mid-1980s when I worked as an assistant to a fine woodworker, who was also a fine artist.  We would break up the work day by exploring this medium – preparing traditional silverpoint formulas with rabbit skin glue and whiting, heating the mixture, and applying thin layers of it to leftover wood panels. An uncoated support won’t do since the ground must give the silver something to attach to as it is dragged across the surface. We made holders for the silver rods, and wooden cases to contain these and a few prepared panels. That Old-World apprenticeship was highly satisfying!  Here’s a great link:  for history, resources, Renaissance and contemporary artists, questions, etc.

I got in the habit of copying faces from the masters of that period in art history.  These are some of my earlier works, this one inspired by a detail from a DaVinci painting.




I was constantly experimenting with tinted grounds, then adding details in white or color pastel.  This was inspired by a Dutch artist, whose name I don’t remember.










Mona Lisa, after DaVinci’s.  This is 7 x 5 inches.












A 7 x 5″ face of a Renaissance boy, based on a Boltraffio portrait.













I love the headwear on Jan Van Eyck’s models.  This is based on a portrait of Arnolfini. My original image is 12 x 8 inches, mounted in a frame that I made specifically for it  (photo upon request).  I was experimenting with a mottled background in this piece.









More great headwear, this time inspired by a painting of Rogier Van der Weyden’s.  Years back, I created a large series of silverpoint drawings based on these masters’ works.  This evolved into a series of accompanying decorative paintings, where I took great  liberties in expressing my love for this era.  The images are familiar, but with a twist.










This is a larger, pretty recent drawing that was inspired by a Durer portrait.












This is one of my favorite drawings, not based on the Renaissance era but from today. He is a fellow named Maximov, a mason’s assistant, wearing a knit hat on a wintry day.


I thought I’d take you down one of the paths on my art journey so far. That’s something we all have…a unique journey, one road always leading to another.



A Fresh Start!

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Sculpture New Hope 6

New shows!  New Work!  New Website!  I’ve been Spring cleaning and giving myself a fresh start after months of preparing new work for back-to-back shows in the past six months. Meanwhile, out with old notes, and files, and stuff and in with who knows what?  We’ll see what emerges!

Quick Recap: April brought the opening of SCULPTURE New Hope 2013 (there’s an Opening Night photo). I’m thankful that my bamboo labyrinth “Journey” and bamboo mosaic “Possessions” were selected for this popular show, giving me the chance to exhibit with so many interesting artists! This is a new venue for my natural mosaics, as they are sculptural wall-mounted works. There’s still plenty of time to see it at the New Hope Arts Center before May 18th. You’ll love it!  Kids will love it too!

In March I had a 2-person show at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ called “Breathing the Same Air” where I introduced my latest landscape paintings to this gallery. Most of the landscapes were from NJ-PA locations: Washington Crossing, Stockton, Peace Valley Park, and my own back yard in Solebury, PA… They were accompanied by silverpoint drawings of intertwined vines, flowers, animal skulls, beach stones, seashells…an assortment of natural elements. The previous show that I spent many months preparing for was about another natural element – bamboo. This show was called “Expressions in Wood, Glass, and Bamboo” and that was also held at the Artists’ Gallery, back in September 2012.

Right now I’m enjoying the ease of working with my new website, thanks to Caryn at Lantern Glow Design.  It’s a great relief to have this in her capable hands.  She’s always ready to help when I need it.  That’s good because the training wheels are still on…

It’s a new day!  I’m gathering steam for lots of new ideas, and will let you in on them soon. As always, your comments and questions are welcome~

Many Thanks for subscribing to my blog!



“Works in Wood 2012 – Opening Night”

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There was bumper to bumper traffic on the floor at Saturday’s opening of the 2012 Works in Wood show at New Hope Arts Center! I didn’t get to see everything on display but will return to have a good look at the works, with space enough to walk around them! If you aren’t able to visit the show, which runs until December 9, check out the video by Bob Krist at New Hope Arts.

“Works in Wood 2012”

Posted on by Norine

It’s that time of year again, the 2012 national Works in Wood show opens on Saturday evening, November 10! This year 48 wood-loving artists have been invited to exhibit their furniture, vessels, sculpture – and, in my case, bamboo mosaics. One of the 4 works that I’ll be exhibiting is at the top of this poster – “Gateway to Dreams.” The others I have in the show are…


“The Birth of Ideas”

“Pipe Dreams”

Please check New Hope Arts for all details. You’ll be fascinated by the diversity of objects – elegant and fanciful objects, modern and traditional, innovative and expressive. Discover the beautiful work of these fine artists who love their craft and have been dedicated to it for many years… We hope to meet you here. Get yourself to Works in Wood at New Hope Arts!

2012 American Bamboo Society – Honorable Mention Award

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That’s me with broken arm pointing to the appropriate passage in my bamboo labyrinth. Photo is courtesy of my good friend, Bucks County photographer Joseph Zogorski.

My bamboo works-in-progress are on hold until my radius is healed and strengthened. Consolation prize: Thrilled to report that I’ve received an Honorable Mention award by the 2012 American Bamboo Society Arts & Crafts Awards Competition. There will be an article about my bamboo mosaics in a future issue of Bamboo magazine. I’ll keep you up on that!

For now I’ll be continuing to do landscape paintings with my non-dominant left hand, and some right hand use. It’s pretty amazing how much muscle control you could develop quickly, by simply working them; not without pain though! From wood mosaics, to silverpoint drawings, to paintings – I consider myself fortunate to be able to turn to any of these forms of expression when I want to – or need to.


Posted on by Norine

Bamboo labyrinth
41″ x 41″

“Journey” is the focal point of the work that I created for the September show at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. This is a bamboo labyrinth, symbolizing a life journey, with the twists and turns, trials, and hidden layers of the human experience. Labyrinths are symbolic pilgrimages, having spiritual or religious significance. These paths are located all over the world, and have been depicted on ancient coins, pottery, basketry, and floor mosaics for about 4000 years. Unlike mazes, wherein the traveler is faced with multiple paths or dead-ends, a labyrinth has a single, possibly difficult, path that always leads to the center.

Follow the bamboo path to the center, and notice along the way that I’m also letting it serve as a sampler to show some of the many directions I could pursue using bamboo as a design element. Let’s stop here for a minute… It’s too apt a symbol to pass up – because two days ago I broke my right arm, a most important tool of the trade! My radius is being held together with not a thorn but a metal plate.

Check back here for the paintings that I’ll be doing for the next few months, with my left hand, and my right when I can manage. Until then, I hope during the month of September you can take a scenic drive along the Delaware River. Stop into the Artists’ Gallery at 18 Bridge St., Lambertville, NJ to see what Charlie Katzenbach and I created for our show “Expressions in Wood, Glass, and Bamboo.” It will be up until September 30.


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Bamboo, painted poplar discs
16″ x 16″


In this work, I wanted to show the beautiful flexibility and strength of bamboo. I used a knife to split a piece of bamboo into thin strands of varying widths. The strands had to be flexible enough to insert into two holes and bend into elegant arcs across the panel.

Beginning on September 7, I’ll be pairing up with Charlie Katzenbach for a month-long exhibition of our “Expressions in Wood, Glass, and Bamboo” at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey. There was no time to follow the path of each and every idea I had, but the ones I did finish illustrate the many separate directions I could explore. I’m still just tapping the surface of how to use bamboo as a mosaic design element. “Jubilation” will be on display at the Artists’ Gallery for the month of September. I hope you’re in town for the show! If not, check back here where I’ll be adding photos of the event.

I clean my mosaics with a feather duster or a brush with soft, long-haired bristles.

“The Birth of Ideas”

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Bamboo Mosaic
40″ x 16″

Detail of rings from “The Birth of Ideas”


Yes, I should’ve been blogging about it! As my September 2-artist show approaches, I’m running out of time, but not ideas… So, here’s the first finished mosaic (unframed as yet) in this new group – it’s the start of many ideas that will be translated into bamboo and wood. This is what ideas feel like, little seeds popping open, expansion, bursts of creative energy, openings for expression…

It is tedious work, but I love doing it, and finding ever more ways to show the beauty of bamboo. Each piece matters, and is sculpted in some way, first some rough shaping on band saw, followed by hand-tooling and finishing. Early on in this mosaic, I sanded all the large rings nice and smooth – but then found that that wasn’t working for me. It took a while before I realized the work needed more texture, more contrast to the smooth, elegant strips of bamboo. I took the rings and re-worked them in a controlled way, using the band saw. This takes a good amount of time to do by careful manipulation of the rings to achieve a certain texture while running them through the saw. Don’t try this at home! It’s between your skills and the blur of an eager blade with millions of tiny teeth! I do everything myself, from start to finish, including building the frames. Nope, they’re not built yet.

The mosaics I create between now and September will be included in my 2-person show with fellow co-op artist, Charlie Katzenbach, at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ. All details will be posted soon!