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Jackie Griswold

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This painting and several others are included in my current exhibit "Alchemy" at the River Valley Market Cafe in Northampton, MA. The exhibit continues through the end of February. On Friday, February 12, there is a "Meet the Artist" gathering from 5-8 p.m… Continue reading… 3 comments

This summer I took a painting class at the community college where I teach in the human services program. In class we did a lot of still life paintings, and I learned a lot. However, I often felt very constrained by the assignments in class, so I knew my final project would move away from the order and structure of class. This is the final project for my painting class. It__™s a 42″ square, as yet untitled. My inspiration was the dried paint on palette paper___it seemed wasteful to just throw it away, and sometimes the dried paint was really lovely in design. So I began saving my own palette papers, and rescuing the palette papers that other students had thrown away. Then I decided to soak the layers of dried paint off the wooden palettes in the painting studio… Continue reading… 3 comments

This painting is part of an exhibit at the Portsmouth Arts Guild in Portsmouth, RI. A couple of weeks ago I was gallery sitting and a mother and her son, who was perhaps 8 or 9, came in. Most of the other art on display was identifiable as "something." When the boy got to my painting he said to his mom "What is that?" She gave a wonderful explanation of abstract art and how it was often an expression of the artist's mood or emotions when they were painting. She then asked him what he thought the artist was thinking when it was being painted… Continue reading… 0 comments

The healing nature of art continues to be a theme in my painting. This painting, one of several in the "Storm" series was done early in the academic year, right after a full time faculty member had resigned with very little notice. As I scrambled to find part time faculty to teach his classes, with less than a week go go before the semester began I was feeling stressed/anxious/a little angry/a little abandoned/ and very sad to have lost a very good friend and colleague. As I often do when I'm feeling stressed/anxious/etc. I started painting, and kept painting for quite a while. I was working with acrylics and mixed media on 6 _ 6 canvases and the energy just seemed to flow out of me… Continue reading… 4 comments

Teal blue, lime green, and red jump out from the black background in this abstract painting. Lately I've been adding a variety of ingredients to thicken the acrylic paint - in this one I used regular window caulk and a little gloss Modge Podge. I've also been using palette knives to create a completely different look than what I get with brushes. There's a depth and texture that you can't see in the photo. I'm having fun playing with color and seeing what happens. This painting is in my gallery "abstract paintings #4… Continue reading… 0 comments

Right now most of my painting seems Abstract Expressionist in style. The energy and emotion that is coming out is fascinating to me and the work is pouring out of me. Lately there doesn't seem to be enough paint, canvas, or time for letting out all of the emotions fighting to get out. This color study is deep red and orange - the additives in the paint create a depth and texture that is difficult to see in the photograph. Thank you for reading my blog. More paintings can be seen at Enjoy the snow.. 0 comments

Valley Hands: Watch Art Develop

by swiftriverarts , December 11, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: abstract art, mixed media

This weekend I'll be in Northampton, MA at Valley Hands on Pleasant Street. As I've mentioned in another blog posting, Valley Hands is a gallery/open studio in a storefront. Five artists will be there this weekend, creating and exhibiting our art. I was there a few weekends ago and it was a blast. If anyone is in the area, Valley Hands is open Friday 2-8, Saturday and Sunday 12-5. Stop by to chat - and Watch Art Develop. www.valleyhands… Continue reading… 0 comments

Black Rain

by swiftriverarts , December 8, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Abstract Expressionism, abstract art, expressionism

Black Rain - anger, depression, sadness? What do you see/feel? This is a 6 _ 6 canvas - I've been doing a lot of small works lately, and finding new challenges to create a painting in such a small space… Continue reading… 0 comments

I needed to work with color after the last 2 paintings I posted. This painting has a bright orange background with scraps of paint "skins" for color and texture. Several of my paintings are now on display at the library at Holyoke Community College, where I teach in the Human Services Program. It is a bit scary to be so public with my work in a place where I know so many people. I'm fine with exhibiting in other venues where I don't know anyone, but this puts me out in front of many friends and colleagues. I'm an introvert by nature, although at work I seem very extroverted, so this is going outside my comfort zone. Thanks for looking at my blog… Continue reading… 0 comments

Red Flower Painting - SOLD!

by swiftriverarts , November 27, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: abstract art

I recently sold 2 paintings, this one, and an abstract painting named "Blue." Both sales were a result of my partcipation in Valley Hands - Watch Art Develop, in Northampton, MA. This is a new gallery/studio where artists spend time painting in public and exhibiting their work. I spent 2 days there recently, and as a result, sold these 2 paintings. It was great for me, someone who paints at home and has little connection with other artists, to paint in that environment. It was a little intimidating at first to be so public with my work, but the support and feedback from others was wonderful. It was also amazing to spend that much time just painting. At home I often get distracted by the laundry, the cats or other things vying for my attention. This was just pure time to paint… Continue reading… 3 comments

I am working a lot in mixed media using acrylic paint, various gels and other things (think spackle and caulk!) to add depth and texture, paper, dried paint "skins" and metallic paint. I'm using palette knives, rather than brushes, which lends a certain texture. It's impossible to see all of the detail in this mixed media painting. One thing I'm finding in doing mixed media work is that I have to practice patience as I allow layers to dry before adding more. This painting took several days to finish, painting, drying, reflecting on the process, adding a scrap of paper or a multicolored paint skin, more waiting for things to dry..I find myself absorbed in the process and not really thinking about the outcome. Or perhaps the process IS the outcome..… Continue reading… 0 comments

This one was a lot of fun! I used layers upon layers of paint. Some of the circles are scratched into the layers using the other end of the paintbrush, and then more circles are painted on top of the layers. I later learned that this technique of scratching into layers of paint is called scrafito - literally scratching through layers of paint. I ended up doing a whole series of scrafito paintings - I'll get them photographed and up here soon. Thanks for looking. You can see other paintings, photography, and jewelry designs at http://artid 0 comments

I have been studying Jackson Pollock's work and love the freedom and fluidity he created. For this painting, I poured and squirted paint directly on the canvas board from bottles after I'd painted the background. This particular canvas has been painted over at least twice after I painted something and didn't like it, so there is additional texture just from the build up of previous layers of paint. I'm having a great deal of fun painting and experimenting with different techniques. Thanks for looking… Continue reading… 0 comments

By professional training, I am a teacher, and I teach psychology and human services at the college level. Quite often the angst of my student's lives (not to mention my own angst) are reflected in my painting. This painting surfaced not long after a student let me know how angry she was at me, after I, playing devil's advocate as I so often do, challenged her assumptions, and asked her to reflect on her own emotions. I'm not quite sure if this painting reflects my emotions, or hers, or most likely, a bit of both. The Abstract Expressionists have it right, in my mind, with their idea that mood can be relected in art. Deep reds, red-orange, and a hint of yellow - anger, fear, anxiety, energy? What is your impression? Please visit http://artidContinue reading… 0 comments

Basketball Hall of Fame

by swiftriverarts , July 16, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: abstract art

The Painting Guide has a monthly project to challenge artists and get them to do something they might not ordinarily do. The July project is an abstraction of a urban scene. I live in Springfield, MA, and every day as I go to work I see the very futuristic looking Basketball Hall of Fame set against the much older high rise buildings in downtown Springfield. So this is the scene I chose to paint in an abstracted view. I think it is an interesting composition to see the contrast of the very modern Hall of Fame building and tower with the old church and taller buildings It's done on a piece of grey mat board, using acrylic paint. You can see more of my paintings at, where you'll also see some of my photography and jewelry work 0 comments

I'm experimenting with mixed media and other painting techniques as I work on a "series" of color studies. This painting is done on a big piece of matboard. I glued random strips of matboard and crumpled pieces of tissue paper onto the board to add a little depth and texture. Broad strokes of color give a sense of energy and excitement. Thank you for looking… Continue reading… 0 comments

I have been exploring color, and working with mixed media and other painting techniques. Painting is so therapeutic. This painting was done on mat board. My inner child is having a wonderful time breaking rules and coloring outside the lines in a series of color studies. I first glued wrinkled tissue paper in dark green, lime green, and teal on the board, let it dry a bit, and then began painting over the tissue paper. There is a wonderful texture and depth in the painting that is harder to see in the photo. The big patch of yellow in the middle just seemed to need the dark green, almost black, stripe to complete the mood. I got my camera back from the repair shop, so I have a lot of new paintings to post on my site at Thanks for looking 0 comments

I've talked about my niece Avery Rose, so I have to give equal time to her brother, Jack Michael. Again, I can't take credit for the photo, which was taken by my talented nephew Matt ( While Jack is more interested in pirates, baseball (at 4 he's already an avid Red Sox fan), and running wild, Jack is also a budding artist. He thinks it's really cool to paint on the cedar shingles we have hanging around the house, left over from a recent house siding project. His hand prints are on Avery's big project (see earlier posting). I'd say he's a painter in the Abstract Expressionism style. He is currently working on a series of paintings he calls "mud". They are, well, very brown 0 comments

I recently took my niece Avery (see previous blog entry) to visit the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. I had my camera with me because I wanted to take some photos of the architecture of the buildings in the Quadrangle where the museum sits. She wanted to take photos of various paintings, and it was fascinating to observe her as she was deciding which paintings to photograph. She took photos of paintings that had sailboats in them for Uncle Art, my husband, who loves sailing. She took photos of a few abstract paintings because she knows I like abstract art. She even took a photo of a nude woman because she was so surprised that there would be a painting of a nude woman in a museum… Continue reading… 0 comments

Wheat Field

by swiftriverarts , June 28, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: Abstract Expressionism, abstract art, acrylic

I was thinking wheat field when I painted this... My 6 year old niece, Avery, picked it up, turned it around, and saw a body of water, with the beach and trees on the opposite shore...she is convinced I have it up-side-down..… Continue reading… 0 comments

This abstract painting has an apple green background. The black rectangle has touches of brown and orange. One of the fun things about abstract art is that you can hang it in whatever direction seems right to you. And you can see whatever it is that you see... As with many of my paintings, this started out to be something completely different. However, I'd read the blog posted by "mize" about the 10 foot rule, stepped back from the painting, and knew this one was done. Thank you, "mize" for contributing to my art education… Continue reading… 1 comment

Lavender Hydrangeas

by swiftriverarts , June 19, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: abstract art, acrylic, impressionism

So, after finishing another painting, I had leftover pinks, red, and purples...I began by layering the pinks and reds on the canvas as a background, having no idea where I'd go next. The vase came next, and then the lavender hydrangeas appeared. I was all set to add green stems and leaves, because, after all, flowers don't just float above the vase, stemless. Then I realized that in this painting, lavender hydrangeas did, in fact, float stemless above the purple vase, and that the painting was as it should be. Thanks for reading my blog… Continue reading… 0 comments

I first named this painting "Lemon Tree" but my sister-in-law thought it should be called "Olive Tree" because it looks like the olives one puts in martinis. I defer to her wisdom. I used several 'techniques' on this painting. The yellow/green background is watered down acrylic paint to create the look of watercolors. I then used a round sponge for the green on the tree, applied the browns of the trunk with a thick brush, layering the paint on thickly. I wasn't sure if I was done or not, so I put it aside for a bit. When I came back to it, I squirted drops of yellow directly from a bottle of acrylic paint, the took a brush to add the orange dots. To be honest, I started out with something else in mind, which is what often happens… Continue reading… 0 comments

My mother-in-law used to take me and my young sons to the Museum of Fine Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I used to buy note cards of famous painting to take home and frame. Little did I know that it was Abstract Expressionism that I was drawn to. I discovered this years later when I was on a search committee for an art history faculty member at the college where I teach. Their teaching demo was on the topic "Abstract Expressionism." So here's my take on Abstract Expressionist art in bright blues, turquoise and purples - use your imagination - it could be the night sky, the ocean...whatever you see in it. Thank you for taking a look at my art and my blog. I'd love to hear your feedback… Continue reading… 1 comment