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Getting into the impressionist thing

And trying to incorporate more color and light. I’ve painted these recently and love the way, in both, the light is captured and reflected in a myriad of colors.

Nashville's Centennial Park
Nashville’s Centennial Park

The one to the right, The Parthenon at Nashville’s Centennial Park, is from memory of my time taking art classes at the Historic Art Studio there on the park’s grounds. My husband claims he’s never seen a sky that brilliantly pink, and maybe he’s right.  I know here in Florida I see sunrises that lush and think I recall such glowing skies in Tennessee too. If not, well, then, consider it artistic license and too bad!  If you love this and want to purchase the original, email me. If you’d like a copy, either in print or canvas form, as a decorative pillow, duvet, bag or even a shower curtain, jump over to this link where those and many other products are available.

City by the Sea
City by the Sea

This one, “City by the Sea,” is of a fictional place in my memory of time spent in the south of France on the Mediterranean. I wasn’t there long, but it sure left a wonderful impression on me. Like the one above, you can purchase prints, other items from this image here.

 

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The Nashville Skyline Painting

So, I started this painting for my very first show in Nashville.  It was spring, 2010 and itNashville at night painting by Maura Satchell was to be one of about 25 original paintings for my month-long show at the fine Nashville restaurant The Mad Platter, located in the Germantown section of Music City, across the river from the state capitol.

Nashville at Night, as I’ve always called it, was not the largest painting on display there by any means. That honor went to a 36 x 80 inch work that was (happily for me) acquired within a couple of weeks of the opening by a private collector.  NaN did not sell.  I’d priced it very high, figuring if someone wanted to acquire it, it would have to be at some cost. While I could paint another similar to keep on hand, it wouldn’t be the same as that very first one, painted just before the traumatic and city-defining 2010 flood.  In fact, the show was to open that Sunday, May 2 and had to be postponed by one week’s time.

Nashville at Night has been with me through several other shows since.  It now graces a wall in our home in Florida and I’m so very glad I was able to keep it.  I’ve recently been commissioned to do a similar painting of New York City for a collector overseas.  Looking forward to the opportunity and will present the final product here for your viewing pleasure.

PS:  If you like this particular painting, fine art print copies and canvas copies are available through the following online sites:

In original format from Fine Art America
In a standard format from Saatchi’s online gallery.

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Special time for music in Nashville tonight! !

Tonight’s a big night in Nashville.  Hell, every night is these days, for the most part. Funny, I pick up stakes and move to Florida just as the town becomes the hottest thing this side of the Pacific!  But I digress.

Tonight will be huge in Music City USA. It’s the night four new inductees join the 192 existing members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  And who might those newcomers be?

I’m writing here to celebrate Gretchen Peters.  I consider myself  musically illiterate (and those who know me would agree). So my judgment might not hold much weight. But I’ve been a huge fan of Gretchen’s work for more than a dozen years, thanks to my musician brother who turned me on to her.  He’s always been generous about sharing like that and has never steered me wrong before!

Back to Gretchen, though.  She’s kick-ass brilliant.  Seriously.  And not just about music.  The girl knows her classics and, even more important, is one of the most intellectually curious individuals I know!  And when it comes to her music… it’s exquisite.  And her voice…

If you ever get to hear an angel sing, well, you’ll swear it’s this girl.  Here’s an example of the whole package she offers.  It’s a song called Five Minutes from her Hello Cruel World album.  Though I love all her songs, I think this is my all-time favorite.  The lyrics, her voice, and the gentle keyboard accompaniment just make this song a beautifully wrapped gift to all who hear it!

I love the fact that Gretchen’s the only female in this year’s bunch of songwriters to be inducted. In fact, very few women are included in this elite crowd at all!  I may be wrong but it looks like less than a dozen women altogether, less than 10%. I googled (yes, using it as a verb) but could not find the exact number.  Those female inductees I recognize include:

Aside: Putting this list together gave me a “holy shit” moment!  I mean, I know Gretchen’s amazing, but when you consider the few peers…

I’ve been fortunate to see Gretchen perform many, many times over the years and each time, I’m struck anew by her glorious pipes.  And each time, her lyrics get to me.  They’re as rich as fine tapestries, woven together with threads of gold that only an artist as deep as the universe itself could pull them together. When I leave her performances, I’m absolutely spent and overwhelmed.  But in a wondrous way.

In performances where she shares the stage with husband, Barry Walsh, there’s a magic that audiences can’t help but enjoy. The twosome is adorable, punning and cracking the audience (and each other) up. But when they make music… sublime.  You saw it in the above link.  Here’s an example of their chemistry together in a far more light-hearted tune.

Gretchen at the mic with Barry Walsh on keyboards.
Gretchen at the mic with Barry Walsh on keyboards.

I really wish I could be there tonight, but things are hectic here in the Sunshine state.  So I penned this blog partly in homage and partly to immerse myself in the grandness of this lady of fabulousness.  If you’ve never had a chance to check her out, I urge you, do so. Find out where she’s playing and get there. You won’t regret it!

You can learn more about this chanteuse, buy her music, and catch her on tour by visiting her website.

Now that I’m done raving about Gretchen, tell me about your favorite songwriters. I may be musically illiterate, but I still like to listen!

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Empty Sky book release update

So, we’re getting closer to a firm release date.  It looks like late August when all is said and done.  In time, I hope, for Labor Day reading opportunities for folks lucky enough to take some time off then. I’m hoping readers will head to the beach for a beach vacation with my book in tow! Or trek to a cabin in the mountains, armed with some good reads, including Empty Sky.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Whatever the case, Empty Sky looks like it will be available in paperback form in late August. We are working on a book release locally, as well as book-signing events in Nashville and Asheville too, since both of those locations are front and center in this book.  Nothing is firm yet, though, so stay tuned!

The front cover of the novel Empty Sky by Maura Satchell
The front cover of the novel Empty Sky by Maura Satchell
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So in addition to painting… I write

Empty Sky novel front cover
Cover for the fictional novel “Empty Sky” scheduled for release in late July, 2014. The cover image uses one of my paintings.

I’ve been writing all my life.  My first poem, about bears, was at age five and all through childhood, teen years, and in adulthood, I’ve written poems to process my feelings.  I later delved into stories and fiction.  In college, I’d write term papers for others and loved taking on such assignments of my own.  I majored in Mass Comm and worked as a reporter covering local, national and even international stories at times.  I loved being in the thick of it, but didn’t appreciate the paycheck and eventually sold my soul to corporate America after a time, lured by the security and extra zero’s in one’s paycheck.

In 2004, I co-wrote a screenplay “Empty Sky” with a fine Nashvillian named Paul Lopes.  We tried, unsuccessfully to market it and with Paul’s full approval, I took the story and crafted a novel out of it.  The 3oo-plus page fictional work sat gathering dust until late last year when Four Pillars Media Group came knocking.

We’re in the final stages of bringing this book to press and I am so excited!  It’s like emerging from a long slumber to actually hold the paperback proof copy in my hands, finally!  It is in post-editing now and is slated for release in July!  In case you are wondering what it’s about, here’s the synopsis from the back of the book:

“Grammy winning producer Matt Buckley has an enviable career in Nashville and all the material trappings success can buy. But his personal life is a mess and the death of his father sends him into self-destructive freefall. A chance meeting with a stranger who’s just lost his own son inspires Matt to get his act together.

 After taking some positive steps forward, Matt meets and falls for April, a struggling musician and single mother of two. Emotionally damaged from a troubled past of her own, April is understandably reluctant, given Matt’s history and reputation. But with courage, love and humor, the two manage to work through their personal baggage and trust issues toward a life together and a fairy tale ending… or one would think.”

In case the cover looks familiar, it incorporates one of my own paintings!  I wasn’t sure, but now that I’ve held it in my hands, yeah, I think it works!  More importantly, in testing it out on others, they like it too!

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Preview of the Provence Breads show

Here are a few samples of the preliminary hanging of the Provence Breads & Cafe in Hillsboro Village for the Village Art Walk tonight.  One of my signature larger works is absent in this pic as it was still at the Tennessee Art League, but it will be in the show tonight along with the rest.  Hope to see local Nashvillians there as the weather is going to be simply perfect!

Provence Breads & Cafe – 1705 21st Avenue South, Hillsboro Village, Nashville.

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I love my bro’s words re: his love’s/wife’s nomination for Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

I love my brother’s words regarding his love’s/wife’s nomination for induction into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame:  http://ow.ly/5n8fG (click news link) #yayGP #yaylove

For the record, though, he’s a great musician himself and is putting out solo album #2 now.  Check him out:  www.barrywalshmusic.com

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My husband thinks I’m a witch! LOL

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OK, to be fair, he’s not entirely off base.

I mean, on the front door, we have this smartass window sticker we bought when in Glastonbury (UK) this past fall that’s a spin on the Neighborhood Watch signs that every good whitebread neighborhood posts.  Ours reads “Neighborhood Witch.”

Then, there’s the pot of pampas grass boiling in the big corn pot on the stove.  You can’t smell it, but there’s a definite scent of Fels Naptha Brown Soap wafting in the air.

And finally, there’s these glass jars of liquid on the dining room table, shown above.  To the uninitiated, they COULD resemble witches tinctures and such. If you look closer, though, and are familiar with the color chart below, you’ll figure out that they are artists paints.  Mine though are non-toxic, environmentally pure as the driven snow, and all natural.  Really.

You see, I’m entering a juried art show this coming weekend where the emphasis is on “green” – the movement not the color.  So… I figured what better way to “represent” than to create works using all-green materials, right?  And as you can see from the chart, I do have an array of colors to work with, though, ironically, there’s a dearth of green in these…

Oh, and the pampas grass boiling on the stove?  It’s for the paper to paint on, silly!

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2010 in 100 words, more or less

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I gotta say, this was an excellent year for me personally and professionally!

I dove headfirst into art this year, reorganized and formalized my studio, and by chance scored my first solo show at an upscale restaurant in Nashville for six weeks from late June to Father’s Day.  Great timing except Nashville’s millenial flood took place the weekend of my scheduled reception.  Most I knew were fortunate and suffered no or minimal losses but many areas were devastated.  My reception ended up closing the show, more or less, but still a nice crowd and healthy sales meant I could claim professional artist status!   At year end, my art is
hanging in several venues in Middle Tennessee and a few more people are puzzled by the name “Moesse.”

A mid-year turning point meant transitioning from Hazel King’s tutelage to more independent study, and the formation of Collaborative Artists Network (Nashville) – http://www.thecann.org – with fellow painters and dear, dear friends.  A more personal turning point came when I took a stand against a loved one, ending a pattern of enabling.  By year end, I’m glad to say, it was proven to be a good decision for all involved and things are looking up on that front.

A wedding in October was special partly because I got to talk to Canadian superstar Bryan Adams and tell him David and I were married to one of his songs (which I’m sure he hears ALL the time).  What made it stellarly special (my phrase in case ya couldn’t tell), was that my dear, great and wonderful brother Barry married the love of his lifetime(s), Gretchen.  I used the plural because, yeah, their spirits have been dancing this love tune for centuries.

Another wedding in November, this time in England, meant a stellar trip across the pond, celebrating the union of two young people, spending great time with David’s family, touring the southwest region, and freezing our butts off.  All before jetting back home just in time to beat the U.K. version of Snowpocalypse!  While there, I discovered snoods, Primark’s cheap but cozy for a season offerings, and an Indian import store offering huge zippered bags on the cheap to lug home our dirty laundry.

December was a blur with unpacking, preparing and mailing out more than a dozen Christmas parcels to friends and family from afar, a few parties, and yes, prepping for and pulling off a New Year’s Day open house. I did little painting, but put at the top of the blog two abstracts that I did that I’m very pleased with.

In closing, know that I’m eagerly anticipating great things for 2011, for two reasons.  First, I have this weird thing for prime numbers (I think because I was born on the 13th in 1959) and 2011 is about as prime as you can get, baby!  Second, my dark-haired brother was the first newcomer to step foot through the door that day, followed by his male black lab, Nigel.  I’m told Scottish tradition says that if a dark-haired male is the first to cross the threshold New Year’s Day, it bodes well for the year.  I’ll take all this as a good, hopeful sign for more good things to come.

Here’s hoping you experience all good things for 2011.
MWS

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Painting on the porch in the rain

There’s something about porches, don’t you think?  When you are able to let go of the critical “I should be elsewhere” mindset and just hang on a porch doing whatever.  If you’re like me, you find it liberating and reinvigorating.  To me it’s the ultimate “Hominid’s revenge” where we who stand on two feet and have opposible thumbs and think and plan and scheme, can come in close contact with the great outdoors without … you know … really being out there!  Where mother nature can rain down in all her splendor but we stay dry.  Where mosquitos and other bugs of all kinds swarm around hoping to feast on our fleshy skin and red blood.

God bless Lucilla!  That’s all I can say… Despite her cosmopolitan ways she had the foresight to add on a splendid and expansive porch to her Sylvan Park home, complete with screening, high-end ceiling fans and a bug-proof flooring barrier too.  So outside on the porch we of the Collaborative Artists Network (Nashville) who were in town painted. Judi has commenced her journey back to Geneve, Switzerland where we are hoping she’ll establish a CAN Chapter.  Margot is in the xenophobic state of Arizona babysitting children this week and recuperating from what sounds like a huge cold and laryngitis.  Lynne was recuperating closer to home after two exhausting weeks of setting up and arranging her show at the Gas Lamp in Nashville.

And so it was that Barbara, Lucilla and I found ourselves enjoying the splendor of her porch, some great food she prepared (but wasn’t supposed to), and one another’s company.  We didn’t so much paint as talk and learn and plan for the future of our group and more.  In the end, I set about playing.  One of my paintings took on a “Georgia O’Keefe-ish” style, according to Lucilla and Lynne who showed up late to grace us with her presence.  They claim it was because I had today’s afternoon gynecological appointment on my mind.  I put dots to represent cave dwellings on the hillside, but it definitely needs more work before I post it here.

I’m exhausted now, having gone to the doctor (just an annual checkup and all is well, in case you’re wondering) and gotten stuck in commuter traffic.  My BFF from New Jersey claims we could never live there, given the amount of commuter traffic they endure daily. Even though it took me a full hour to get home from downtown, Nashville’s nowhere among the worst cities for traffic. Well, the microwave’s buzzing and my chicken chili’s done. The dog’s pouting and hoping for a walk too, so signing off.