Review: Dancing with the beast album by Gretchen Peters


Gretchen at GOLThere are lyrics, and there are muse-inspired-words-as-gifts-from-the-heavens LYRICS. And Dancing With the Beast by Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter and singer Gretchen Peters is an album for the ages. It really taps into the zeitgeist of these tumultuous times, with nearly every song a mini-story of it’s own, told from different women’s vantage points. If you love ballads, this girl’s your girl…

There is darkness, I won’t lie, on this album, but it is the kind that rips you apart, sends you to hell and back. And when you resurface, you are changed. And lighter. Like when you exit a sad, sorrowful movie, tear-stained, into the sunlight, appreciative for your situation and circumstances.

Not familiar with Gretchen? Rick Bayles of Americana UK sums her bountiful songwriting skills and the breadth and depth of this latest album best:

 Peters’ great strength as a songwriter is that she’s not afraid to take on the difficult subjects and not above shining a little light into those darker recesses of the soul. While others might write happy songs about new love or bittersweet reflections on past affairs this artist will readily take on old age, prostitution, child abuse – let’s not forget she first came to prominence as the writer of Martina McBride’s controversial single ‘Independence Day’, celebrating an abused wife fighting back; a song that went on to win Song of the Year at the Country Music Association’s awards in 1995 and earned Gretchen Peters a Grammy nomination. This new recording once again deals with the difficult subjects; these are adult content songs written for a thinking audience by an intelligent artist. The fact that they are also beautifully played, sung and produced is the icing on a particularly enjoyable cake.

Don’t take my words for it, or Rick Bayles’. Listen for yourself at her website. All I know is, it is MTPB: Music to paint by.

Disclaimer 1: Gretchen is my sister-in-law and her husband and band mate, sublime musician and composer-extraordinaire, Barry Walsh, my brother.

Disclaimer #2: I consider myself musically illiterate, having been kicked out of piano lessons taught by a widow whose sole income was teaching piano to the little children of Packanack Lake, NJ.

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Royal Wedding and Diana’s Legacy


CaptureI am not a die hard Royal fan or follower. They are human, not to be put on a pedastal. That’s not to say Princess Diana’s wedding didn’t influence my choice of gowns for my first wedding, or that the day she passed remains one burnt in my memory to today. Or that, upon her death, I was moved to send a heartfelt letter to her sons. No doubt one of millions, but there you go.

Today, I rejoice, thinking upon her life, her legacy. And I am struck by the fact that she would be so happy over this occasion. And it seems, her legacy has come full circle. I wish the newlyweds all happiness and urge them to carry on in her name and burn brightly in this world, shining lightness and joy to all the darkest corners of humanity in memory of Diana and her legacy.

I don’t have a work of art to add to this post yet, but have no doubt this occasion will inspire one! Stay tuned and it will be added in days or weeks ahead.

Godspeed, beautiful couple! May your lives be filled with joy and happiness and may you bring same to our world.

 

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First Holy Communion


First Holy Communion

It is May and my brain was fixated on this rite of passage of every Catholic school child everywhere – the sacrament of First Holy Communion. I worked on this painting in multiple layers which obscure hidden secrets and symbols. It is mostly in oil over acrylic, with subtle gold leaf inlay, charcoal, graphite, ink and woodcut imprints.

I have been working on this painting for a good long while and it is finally birthed! “First Holy Communion” is an abstract painting in the vein of sacred art or religious artwork, but with an abstract twist. It is one of those that HAD to be painted. The muse beckoned… I already had the title in mind when working on this and it holds some deeply personal meaning to me in some of the symbols and images hidden within.

It is painted on Strathmore 400 140 lb (300 gsm) acid free cold-pressed paper, 18h x 24w. The original artwork is available for sale via Saatchi, along with high quality art prints and canvas reprints in limited sizes. Other merchandise and other print sizes are available through Fine Art America.

If you love this painting but would like to make an art acquisition of something in similar vein but using different colors, think about commissioning one of your own for your personal art collection or as a truly unique gift for someone special. I have limited slots available so why not ask?

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Watercolor poppy


Watercolor poppy LRThe journey this small watercolor postcard has enjoyed!

I don’t mean it’s left my confines, but as a very small work, I have misplaced it on several occasions. I love this little painting and in general love painting poppies. I used India Ink and watercolor to create the stark contrast between the delicate, paper-thin blossom and the stark black seed center.

Though this original is tiny, as a print it packs a giant graphic punch as in this mockup of what it might look like as living room decor:

watercolor poppy

Fun, huh? With a little imagination, and a click on one of these two links, you can purchase a fine art print or canvas print in sizes up to 40″ wide.

Saatchi – highest quality fine art paper or canvas prints in limited sizes.

Fine Art America – more size options and soft goods too (i.e. shower curtains, throw pillows, notecards, cellphone cases, weekender tote bags, journals, zippered carryall pouches, beach towels, etc.

The 4 x 6″ postcard original is for sale (now that I’ve found it). If interested in it or another unique but similar original in a different size, contact me!

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I hope you dance


I hope you dance“I hope you dance” is a mixed media collage art work using the sheet music of the beautiful song made famous by LeeAnn Womack and penned by Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers. My painting uses the iconic ballet dancer’s graceful en pointe image against a background of pinks and red tissue and washi papers.

You know, I was fortunate enough to see the charismatic, adorable and talented Tia perform it live at the Bluebird. I already loved the song and was so moved at her performance, I had to express it in some way and out came this painting.  Head over here for the back story on Tia’s inspiration in writing this song and the gorgeous music video of I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack.

Check it out as a design element in a beautiful home interior: hope you dance

Like this image? I’m afraid it’s only available in print these days. You can purchase it from this site. The good news is, if you really, really, really love it, you can even score other goodies such as note cards, yoga mats (yes, you know you’d love one), beach towels, hell, even shower curtains! So head on over and get your credit card out!

PS: If you absolutely must have an original along this same line, contact me to explore a commission for that once-in-a-lifetime gift for the special someone in your life.

 

 

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Trumpet vine blossom


Trumpet vine blossom was created in my early years as an artist. I was painting en plein air in the backyard of my Nashville home in the late afternoon.

It remains one of my favorites and takes me back to those early days. It’s finally been uploaded and is available in fine art print and canvas copies via Saatchi at this link.

Other merchandise — cell phone cases, note cards, hell, even yoga mats — are available in this imprinted design at this link. Because everyone needs a trumpet vine blossom imprinted round beach towel, right? I joke, but it looks pretty striking as a throw pillow. (See the examples)

Trumpet vine blossom art licensed watercolor painting print by contemporary artist Maura Satchell

Trumpet vine blossom art licensed watercolor print throw pillow by contemporary artist Maura Satchell

 

Trumpet vine blossom watercolor painting print by Saatchi as wall art.
This floral watercolor painting looks nice against this background! Fine art print available from Saatchi.
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The Druid Tree


The Druid Tree - 36 x 48 x 1" canvas wrapped acrylic painting by Maura Satchell, Artist. All rights reserved.

The Druid Tree – 36 x 48 x 1″ canvas wrapped acrylic painting by Maura Satchell. All rights reserved.

Though this particular work of art was painted several years ago, painting this was the closest I’ve been to a religious experience while painting and creating artworks ever. Hear me out.

I often get lost in my work, time escapes me on a regular basis and when I’m alone in my studio painting and creating, I sometimes forget to eat, sleep, etc.

But in making this particular piece of art, I had a truly out-of-body experience. It was one of several larger paintings I was completing for a solo show I was preparing for. That I was listening to Dave Matthews Band may have helped, but no alcohol or drugs — illicit or otherwise — were ingested during the creation of this painting.

Why a simple tree? In druid times and within the Celtic race, trees were held as sacred. In my own life, particular trees hold special meaning and symbolize the lives of loved ones born or passed on. For that reason, this work is near and dear to me.

Minimalist in style, I love how the silver trunk reflects the light and casts an otherworldly glow on the canvas, as if alive.  I indicated it was not for sale and happily scored not one but two commissions from it. Fine art print and canvas copies are available through Saatchi, and other merchandise — duvet covers, shower curtains, note cards, you name it, are available here.

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