Saturday, December 23, 2017

New Hope (She Gives Me) 16 x 20 Pastel 400 grit UART

Sadly there are only two National Historic Sites dedicated to the visual arts. Both are in New England, those being the Saint-Gaudens site, which is located in New Hampshire and the Weir Farm in Connecticut.

The Weir Farm is off the beaten path along the CT/NY border and as I found out many in CT do not know it exists. During my own visit to that pristine place I was strolling about thinking of the artists that at one time walked there: John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam and John Twatchman are just a few of painter J Alden Weir’s friends. 

I found this scene during my journey around the grounds. I found myself being attracted to the morning light as it came through the same gate those talented artists walked through did many years ago.  I thought of their footsteps, how Weir came to this place and so much more. I thought of my own journey, especially since I had lost my wife a year and half previous to this visit, how my life had changed from what I expected, had planned, had dreamed over the years with my wife, and now that she was gone, how my path was now changed and continues to change forever.

I had resigned to myself that this change, this journey that I was now undertaking I would probably be one I would be taking alone. It was not, as time wore on, that did not want somebody back in my life, to share a life, create new memories for that new journey, it was just that apparently in today’s world I don’t measure up to what woman want, both literally and figuratively. After many rejections, I had pretty much determined that I might as well give up and start planning for a life alone.

Then as the saying goes, when you least expect it and you’re ready to give up hope…things again can change.

She came into my life on a Sunday evening in late July 2017. Like the soft breeze along Lynn Shore Drive and Lynn Beach, which is where we took our first walk on that summer night, talking and laughing for just about two hours. It felt natural, it felt right, it felt like we had known each other for years, had merely lost touch and now the circle that is life had brought us back together. But we had never met, at least not in this life, but still there was something special about the night, about her, about us. Things just seemed to click. It is now a number of months since that July night, and we remain as one, making new memories, sharing a new journey, and falling in love time and time again. She has ignited a spark deep within my heart where it had turned cold. She has taught me to once again to dream of what can be.  She has given me love and she has given me hope. It is because of her and the gift she has given me that this painting is titled “New Hope (She Gives Me)”

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Coming in for the Evening  UART 12 x 16 8 ply panel

Long battling the elements and the challenges of the ocean, lobstermen have been working the waters in New England since colonial times. During those early years, lobsters were found in tidal pools. They were extremely abundant and were considered “poverty food” with it often being fed to children, prisoners and indentured servants. Indentured servants were people who sold their services to sponsors in exchange for transport to America. They came to detest lobster so much that they started to write into their contracts that they could not be served lobster more than three days per week.

In the 1800’s, lobster and canning became a match made in heaven. It was soon one of the most desired canned meats. With increased train travel, people ventured into New England. This caused an increase interest in fresh lobster as those traveling to the area had experienced and enjoyed the canned version for years. Restaurants and hotels recognized the desire for fresh lobster and being good businessmen and women, started to jack up the price. By World War II had become the delicacy we know today.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Vision Place of Souls July 5 - December 22, 2017 at the Lynn Museum - an exhibit of landscape paintings depicting the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War by Jeff Fioravanti

WhereLynn Museum/LynnArts, 590 Washington St, Lynn, MA 01901, USA (map)
DescriptionWe are pleased to announce that the Lynn Museum/LynnArts organization will host a six-month exhibition of the works of artist Jeff Fioravanti, entitled “The Vision Place of Souls”, which focuses on Fioravanti’s interpretations of the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. Fioravanti, a Lynn resident, is a nationally accomplished pastel artist and oil painter. He has long possessed a love of the American Civil War inspired by the artists of that conflict including Winslow Homer, Conrad Wise Chapman, Richard Norris Brooke, Alfred Waud as well as the prints produced by Currier and Ives. He has often parlayed his love of art and American history to help a number of organizations preserve the lands and artifacts of this traumatic period of our nation. His Civil War works have received great acclaim. The late author and Civil War historian Brian Pohanka once said that “Jeff Fioravanti’s paintings evoke an almost tangible sense of place; not in the hills and streams, the fields and forests alone, but in the still greater sense of the heroism and sacrifice that transpired there. The landscape itself is a timeless memorial to those heroes in blue and gray; and Fioravanti has created a lasting tribute to that Hallowed Ground.” The exhibit curator is noted local artist and arts advocate Jocelyn Almy-Testa, who also serves as Executive Director of Extras for Creative Reuse in Peabody, MA. “The Vision Place of Souls” will be on display from Wednesday, July 5--Friday, December 22nd from 10AM-4PM Tuesday-Friday and 9AM-1PM Saturday, at the Lynn Museum, 590 Washington Street, in the heart of downtown Lynn. A full calendar of programs related to “The Vision Place of Souls” will be announced in June 2017.

Winter’s Gold (Breakheart) 9 x 12 UART 400 grit 8 ply board

After surgery in January, there were few activities I was allowed to pursue or enjoy as I recovered. One thing I was allowed was the opportunity to walk. They encouraged me to walk. Having grown up in Saugus, Massachusetts, not far from the Saugus Iron Works, National Historic Site, I knew the perfect place to get myself out of the house and enjoy one of the few exercise options allowed: Breakheart Reservation.

I spent countless hours at the hockey rink near the Saugus entrance to Breakheart, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I started spending time walking and enjoying the trails of this oasis of nature not far from US Route One. As my wife battled cancer, which would eventually claim her, she often would ask to go to Breakheart to walk. I think it allowed her for a few hours to forget her illness and I was more than happy to accommodate here. There are paved hills, though vehicles are not allowed, and that allows for peacefulness without rival so close to Boston. Breakheart is 640 acres with several hills 200 feet or higher allowing for views of Boston.

During one of my many walks, I would often pass this stream. Since I was there early in the morning, I would get to see the sun dance across the snow and add beautiful colors to the rocks caressed by the winter water. I loved the light, the contrast and how the water and its hints of orange and yellow played off the cool blues and purples of the snow. Now the memory of those walks helps to keep me cool on these long, warm summer days.

Friday, June 30, 2017

July Day (Gloucester Coast) 11 x 14 Uart 400 grit 8 Ply board

In Gloucester, Massachusetts they have a famous statue on the boulevard with the caption “They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships” dedicated to those that make their living from the sea, who never returned to their loved ones. People will often wonder what makes them go out in all kinds of weather and risk their lives for so little return. It is love that makes them cast off their lines, tempting fate. We all remember our first love and our greatest love. The mystical powers that love holds over us. That is the story of those who live and battle the sea. They experience that first love each time their boat cuts a wave, they bring in a catch; they mend a net. They risk everything for love! As do all of us. My family comes from Gloucester and I have ventured there often and still do. It is on days like this that I fell in love with the ocean and why I will forever embrace its charm, beauty and fury.

International Association of Pastel Societies Awards Master Circle Recognition to Lynn Artist

Albuquerque, NM — The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) bestowed upon Lynn, Massachusetts artist Jeff Fioravanti the designation of Master Circle Pastelist at its recent convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 6 – 11, 2017. Master Circle Pastelist is one of the highest honors available to artists working in the pastel medium.

Jeff Fioravanti, grew up in Saugus, Massachusetts and has resided in Lynn for 30 plus years, living near the entrance to Lynn Woods a place he frequently walks and paints. He is a nationally recognized award winning pastel artist, having been published in such publications as National Geographic: The Civil War A Traveler’s Guide, Best of American Pastel Artists Volume II (Kennedy Publications), Who’s Who in American Art and magazines such as American Artist, Pastel Journal, as well as Pastel Artist International.

Fioravanti has often contributed his talents toward the restoration and preservation of our nation’s landscapes and museum collections. Fioravanti is a member of several pastel and other art associations, including being an artist member of the North Shore Arts Association of Gloucester, Massachusetts, as well as a signature artist member in nationall recognized groups like, The Connecticut Pastel Society, Pastel Society of Maine, Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, Pastel Society of New Hampshire and the most prestigious pastel group in the United States, the Pastel Society of America based in New York City.

Based on networking and sharing, the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) was founded in 1994 as a non-profit organization representing pastel societies worldwide uniting in the common cause to demonstrate the validity and quality of pastel fine art. This coming together of pastel societies provides a strong voice for pastel artists and the luminous medium of pastel.

Fioravanti will soon have a solo exhibit at the Lynn Musuem opening July 5, 2017 and running through December 22, 2017. For additional information on the preservation efforts and artwork of Jeff Fioravanti, please contact him at (781) 595-5961, or visit him online at

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Chain (Life) 16 x 20 pastel on 400 grit Uart 8 ply board

The chain keeps us grounded.  The tide rises and falls bringing with it the events we experience as part of our life and the people we encounter over time,  the many changes we know, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, sometimes good and sometimes not. The chain starts out shiny and new, full of hope, over time and the course of its journey, doing its job, it gathers the memories, the trials and challenges, it changes from youth to old age, always it stands fast trying to keep the dock in place, us in place, centered, but it gets worn, rusted, aged. Eventually the chain is beaten down, weakened or replaced, discarded, an old good life is ended and a new life, with new hope, begins yet again.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

March Thaw (Breakheart Reservation)
9 x 12 pastel Uart 400 grit 8 ply board

Everybody looks to the coming of Spring after a long, harsh Winter. Here in New England the colors of Winter start to melt into the upcoming season and the rejuvenation of the landscape.  

Having grown up in Saugus, where Breakheart is located, I have walked here, run here and enjoyed its peaceful vistas for years. My wife and I used to walk here often as well when she was battling cancer, she has since passed away, but her memory is in every step.  Likewise, since my recent back surgery limits my activity to only walking, I have been revisiting this special place located in my hometown.

It is said, that Union soldiers training in the area before heading south found the place so desolate and lonely, that it would “break your heart”. Years later during the Great Depression, the State of Massachusetts would acquire this area as a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today it consists of 640 acres, is open year round and has hiking trails and views of Boston, central Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Obstinate Determination 8 x 10 Pastel on 8 ply 400 grit Uart board

In war, if you can get upon your opponents flank, you could do some serious damage to that enemy. You could create great chaos as you brought your guns to bear down their entire line also known as enfilade. Officers feared it, for not only the physical damage to their troops, but the psychological as well. In attempts to prevent this, armies would often place their flank on a geographical feature, such as a river, or hills to protect the end of their line and eliminate the risk of being taken in such a demoralizing and destructive manner.

In August in 1862, on a late afternoon of the 28th, Lt. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson would turn to his command staff and state. “Bring out your men, gentlemen.” Jackson had been watching a column of Union troops, plodding along in the late summer heat on the dusty road to his front. The heat and long march had taken a toll on the troops in blue as their marching was somewhat ragged and Jackson sensed they ripe for the picking. Plus, he was on their flank.

To protect themselves, Confederate troops in butternut and gray would place their right flank on this area of wood and water as they filtered out in a line of battle from the safety of the shadows. They opened fire on the tired Federals, but to their surprise the expected chaos and confusion they had seen Federal soldiers in previous battles did not materialize. The Union troops this day were veterans and while surprised, panic was not in their vocabulary.

Under the command of Philadelphia born, but North Carolina raised John Gibbon, the troops this day were what was in the day, Western troops comprised of the 2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin along with the 19th Indiana, also known as the “Black Hats” or later known as the “Iron Brigade”. They were fighters and were primed to prove it.

The two sides marched toward each other until within roughly 100 yards the 2nd Wisconsin unleashed a devastating volley that staggered the Confederates to their front. After this initial blast, the two sides would halt and stand toe to toe, with many of the soldiers in both armies falling where they stood.  As the sun dropped and the fighting diminished in the late summer’s eve, where previously muzzle flashes illuminated the land, now lanterns flickered on blood stained grass, searching the field for wounded that might yet be saved.

Though the battle produced not much more than sadness for families who would never see their sons, fathers, brothers, again, in some ways the staunch fighting by the soldiers from the Army of the Potomac served noticed that things were slowly changing in the blue clad infantry. Under solid leaders they would not easily be intimidated. Confirmed by the reactions of Confederate troops and especially Jackson who were not accustomed to such stubborn resistance, prompting General “Stonewall” Jackson to later remark that these Yankees fought with an “obstinate determination”.