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Trixie Talks Art
Reworking An Old Painting

Sightseeing 2016 oil on raw canvas 36 x 36 inches


Buyers are often interested in buying an artist's latest work but they can be a lot more pricey.  I frequently I sell older paintings that I did several years ago.  The site has been particularly helpful in this regard.  It is a sort of do-it-yourself interior design sort of site.  Not being dedicated to fine art, I use it to sell only my old ones - at reasonable, affordable prices.  I feel it’s a good deal for everyone:  I lighten my inventory and they get quality paintings cheaper.

Looking over some of my older paintings, I came across one that is not older but was from 2015.  I liked it because  it has the atmospheric effect I was going for in a lot of my 2015 paintings, but there was something about it that I didn’t like.  Maybe it was the original inspiration, a bad dream I had had about my abusive past.  Anyway, I needed a canvas and decided to use it (what I had called “Going Back”).  I think it was very successful.  I now call it “Sightseeing”! I guess I could call it “Going Back Sightseeing”!


Going Back 2015 oil raw canvas 36 x 36 inches

You really need to be ruthless though and can’t be worried about letting things go.  I really enjoyed the process.    I might start dedicating one day a week to this endeavor!  What do you think? 


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 3/22 | tags: modern abstract lyrical expressionism drawing oil painting landscape

About Painting On the Waterfront and a Couple of Others

On the Waterfront 2015

On the Waterfront   oil, graphite on canvas 60 x 48 inches

This painting won a 2015 Blue Dot Award at an exhibition at the Phyllis Harriman Gallery in the Art Students League of New York!  At the reception, someone said to me, "Your paintings don't jump out at you, but invite you in."  I like that!

I know it's a good one, because I don’t remember how I did it!  That’s always a good sign - it means I was “in the zone” and not thinking about what it’s going to look like.  All I remember is that there was a bit of a battle, a bit of chaos.  It always amazes me how my paintings often end up looking so peaceful.


Trixie Pitts Roses with Cops & Robbers

Picasso Black and White book with my painting Cops & Robbers as a backdrop  


Ever since I saw the Picasso Black and White exhibition at the Guggenheim a couple of years ago, and reading the accompanying book, I have been focussing on giving my colors space.  I have been utilizing more and different greys, which have a lot of color themselves.  It may not look like it, but On the Waterfront (60 x 48 inches) actually has a lot of paint on it (Several big tubes)!  My process lately has been that of adding and taking away.  I love to get depth and not have the surface all seem like one layer.



I usually like to start with a base of white, continuing right into the wet paint, but I decided to try somethting different and for I Am Woman (below);  I started with bold vivid pinks as a base.  The challenge was to tame the pink.  A whole huge canvas of super bright paint just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  I think it worked out well, but we’ll see if I get that urge again!


Trixie Pitts I Am Woman 2015

I Am Woman  oil, graphite on canvas 48 x 48 inches


Below is something totally different - my big woman!  This canvas is 8 feet x 4 feet.  Even though it is figurative, it does have a controlled amount of color that I think adds to its power.  If it was all “colored in” it would be lousy.  I love the way she is a part of the whole, part of the abstract surroundings.  She isn’t just on top of it or beside it. When I look at I Am Woman, I see echoes of Big Girl with Weights.  They were both done withing a few weeks of each other.



Trixie Pitts Big Girl 2015

Big Girl with Weight   graphite, charcoal, acrylic on raw canvas 84 x 48 inches


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 4/26/15 | tags: modern realism mixed-media figurative abstract drawing painting female body builder new york city artist abstract figure figure abstract expressionism large abstract showcase winner traditional

On Selling My Paintings!

Trixie Pitts_Scenic Rout 2014_oil on canvas_60 x 48 inches


I have several avenues through which I get customers who buy my paintings: word of mouth, my personal website (, my blog, art consultants who pitch my work to corporate customers, the Art Students League, as well as through other websites like SaatchiArt and ArtSlant.  Customers have also found me through Pinterest and just Googling abstract painters in NYC. 


Each experience is different.  Surprisingly, lots of people buy paintings without ever seeing them in person.  I recently sent one to a woman in Washington State and another to a man in Pennsylvania.  If the buyer is in NYC, I make arrangements for them to come to my apartment, because my shared studio space is not the right environment to conduct business, because it disrupts the other painters, and there is not enough space to unfurl the canvases.  Everyone who comes to my place presumably has some idea about abstract painting and some interest in my work as well as a pretty clear idea of the prices.  Even with all that as a given, it is amazing how differently people act when faced with the decisions of what and if to buy.


Generally, people have no concept of how much work it takes just to prepare for their visit.  Depending on the number of canvases they want to see, how many of those are still available and where they are being kept, it can be quite an effort.  First, I have to locate the canvases, stretch a couple, and prepare the others to easily display. Next I update the price list and prepare an invoice and letter of authenticity, anticipating a smooth transaction.


On the day the customer comes, I stay home from the studio and miss a day’s painting opportunity.  It’s all part of the process and I accept that.  Usually people, if they make the effort to come, they come to buy.  If that is the case, it is very enjoyable helping them decide which painting is best for their space.  It is so nice to have total strangers valuing my work.  Some customers though seem to have no shame.  One woman came and I showed her a dozen paintings she had requested to see.  She hummed and hawed and then asked if she could bring her husband back another day.  That was fine and back they came.  Then they both hummed and hawed, unable to decide for at least an hour.  She then asked if she could come back again with her sister.  I made arrangements.  She was the only one so far that ended up not buying anything!  Contrast this with the CFO of a major company that had viewed my website extensively, knew what he wanted and he and his wife deliberated on the spot between two canvases, then bought one and hauled it off!  Another woman flew from upstate for the night just to see my paintings.  She bought two!


A few days ago I had a woman come to see one painting in particular.  She said she had seen it on Pinterest and SaatchiArt.  I went through my whole prep routine and had it and one other she mentioned stretched and ready to see.  She came in and was very polite and seemed to genuinely like the painting.  I offered to unroll a couple others, but she really was only interested in this one particular one.  Then it started:  “I’m not sure if it will fit the space.”  “I don’t know if my husband will like it.”  Etc., etc.  Okay, so we made arrangements for her to come back another day with her husband.  That was today.  It was horrible!


She was polite and nice again and still seemed to love the painting and appreciate it.  The husband on the other hand was vile.  He was so rude that when they left, I truly felt violated.  It is hard to describe what it is like to be showing someone a painting that you put your heart and soul into and they stand there and scowl and don’t say anything nice to you at all.  I don’t care how much they hate the painting, what about basic civility.  Couldn’t he have said something like, “I can see it is well done but it is just not what I like.” or “Tell me about your process.” or “How long have you been painting?” Something.  I didn’t search these people out.  I am not some sort of obnoxious door-to-door salesperson.  They sought me out.  They came to me.  It was horrible.


Showing my paintings, which are a piece of me, part of me literally that I got in touch with and transferred to the canvas.  To be treated in such an offensive manner feels kind of like standing there naked in front of an abuser.  At some point I felt emboldened by his rudeness.  I offered why I think it is such a good painting and frankly quite exceptional.  I let them know it had won two art prizes.  Still nothing.  All he said when she asked him what he thought was, “Get it if you like it” and that he didn’t think it would fit in their car.  Nothing to me. 


They left.  Not even any attempt to say thank you for sharing, for taking the time.  Nothing.  I escorted them to the door.  She said good-bye.  He just walked out.

Wow!  I almost cried when they left, I felt so violated. 


There is so much bad art out there and my paintings are really nice.  I have been painting for 30 years.  I feel so angry!


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 6/27/14 | tags: selling abstract paintings selling abstract painting abstract new york city artist large scale Blog art blog painting drawing figurative pop landscape modern

Joan Mitchell Exhibition - Must See!

Joan Mitchell Trees (diptych) 1990–91 oil on canvas 86 3/4 x 157 1/2 inches  Collection of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York Joan Mitchell Trees (diptych) 1990–91 oil on canvas 86 3/4 x 157 1/2 inches  Collection of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York


When asked by her biographer why she painted, Joan Mitchell replied, “…it’s wonderful. I’ve always said it’s like riding a bike with no hands.” 


After seeing JOAN MITCHELL: TREES at Cheim & Read in Chelsea, it seems to me she was riding her bike no hands through the French countryside when she created these paintings!  What I particularly love about this little show is that it shows how throughout her career, like Van Gogh, Joan Mitchell seems to have used landscapes as an inspiration or a starting point to paint her inner life.  The seven large canvases span her career in France from 1964 to 1991.


Joan Mitchell First Cypress 1964 oil on canvas 88 x 77 3/4 inches

Joan Mitchell First Cypress 1964 oil on canvas 88 x 77 3/4 inches 


The earliest painting is First Cypress, dating to early in her career, but just after moving to France.  It is a dark mass of blackish green.  I find it masterful how she seemed to be able to use what looks like viridian green (nowadays often replaced with pthalo green) to obtain such nuance of color, with only a hint of the intense staining color in it’s pure form.  Another painting, Cypress, that used a similar palette was painted about a decade later.  I found it even more amazing for its daring use of the viridian color.  Anyone who ever used this particular pigment of green color must know how easy it is for it to overpower everything on a canvas and yet Mitchell was able to such subtlety and nuance of color.  Wow!

Joan Mitchell Cypress (Diptych) 1975 oil on canvas diptych 76 3/4 x 102 inches

Joan Mitchell Cypress (Diptych) 1975 oil on canvas diptych 76 3/4 x 102 inches


Joan Mitchell Tilleul (Linden Tree) 1978 oil on canvas 110 1/4 x 70 7/8 inches

Joan Mitchell Tilleul (Linden Tree) 1978 oil on canvas 110 1/4 x 70 7/8 inches


The first painting visible as you walk into the gallery is Tilleul (Linden Tree) from 1978.  It wasn’t really my favorite somehow at the time, although I loved the color.  When I got home and I was loading my photos onto my computer, I was struck by my screensaver.  It is a photo I took on a recent trip to France.  The colors were incredibly similar to those in Tilleul (Linden Tree)!  Maybe it’s the way the forground is more saturated and the top seems paler, more misty. See for yourself:


Trixie Pitts Vignes

Trixie Pitts Crémant de Bourgogne Vignes, Chassange-Montrachet 2014


Joan Mitchell Red Tree 1976 oil on canvas 110 3/8 x 63 inches

Joan Mitchell Red Tree 1976 oil on canvas 110 3/8 x 63 inches


This painting was also powerful in my estimation because of its audacious color.  The red made such a stark contrast to the green in Cypress and First Cypress, hanging in the same room.  Again, the red, like the green seemed like a very staining color and yet it is not overpowering.


Joan Mitchell Trees (Diptych) 1976 oil on canvas 94 1/2 x 157 1/2 inches

Joan Mitchell Trees (Diptych) 1976 oil on canvas 94 1/2 x 157 1/2 inches


The other painting in the room with Red Tree, Cypress and First Cypress is Trees, a large diptych dating from 1990-1991.  The colors and everything about this painting are amazing!  Even though it was done the year before she died, whilst battling all sorts of ailments,  it doesn’t feel morose.


The third room held two large paintings, Green Tree and another large diptych also simply called Trees.


 Joan Mitchell Green Tree 1976 oil on canvas 110 x 71 inches

 Joan Mitchell Green Tree 1976 oil on canvas 110 x 71 inches 


Joan Mitchell Trees (diptych) 1990–91 oil on canvas 86 3/4 x 157 1/2 inches

Joan Mitchell Trees (diptych) 1990–91 oil on canvas 86 3/4 x 157 1/2 inches


There were also three little pastels, all named Tilleul and all dated 1977.


Trixie Pitts_Joan Mitchell Trees 7


Trixie Pitts_Joan Mitchell Trees 8


Trixie Pitts_Joan Mitchell Trees 9


The only other painting was in the first room next to the large Tilleul.  It was a small oval canvas of the same name.  The colors are not dissimilar to the three pastels from the same year:


Trixie Pitts Joan Mitchell Tilleul

Joan Mitchell Tilleul (Linden Tree) 1977 oil on canvas 110 1/4 x 70 7/8 inches

(This photograph taken by Brian Buckley for Cheim & Read, New York)


Across the street (25th Street, between 10th and 11th - in Chelsea) at the Lennon, Weinberg Gallery is another Joan Mitchell exhibition called, Joan Mitchell Black Drawings & Related Works.  It is mostly of charcoal and pastel drawings with a few small oils from her early period, 1965 if I remember correctly.


When they were exhibited originally in 1965, she referred to them as her “new black paintings, although there’s no black in any of them.”  The one below appears to have very similar colors to the large First Cypress in the Cheim & Reid exhibition, although this one, Untitled has less subtlety if you ask me.  


Joan Mitchell Untitled 1977 oil on canvas 63 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches

Joan Mitchell Untitled 1977 oil on canvas 63 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches


Unlike Cheim & Read, Lennon, Weinberg did not display any titles.  I guess you are meant to brave the icy glares of the gallery women and ask for a list.  I didn’t!  Check their website if interested for details of these little charcoal and pastel sketches (see below).


Trixie Pitts JM2



Trixie Pitts JM3


Trixie Pitts JM4

Joan Mitchell Foundation

Cheim & Read

Lennon & Weinberg

Big Joan, Little Joan

Trixie Pitts Paintings


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 5/23/14

Christies Modern and Contemporary Spring Auction Preview 2014

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 acrylic, oilstick and metallic spray enamel on canvas 68 x 103 inches

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 acrylic, oilstick and metallic spray enamel on canvas 68 x 103 inches

I love to go to the auction previews to see things that can’t normally be seen. Christies had some striking paintings!  Once again in my opinion, they have edged out Sotheby’s.  The quality and the presentation seemed so much higher.  Above is one of the three Basquiat paintings that I saw; there may have been more.  It was big and bright.  Below is a smaller one.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 oilstick on paper 43 x 30 inches

Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 oilstick on paper 43 x 30 inches


Mark Rothko Untitled 1952 oil on canvas 103 x 62.5 inches

Mark Rothko Untitled 1952 oil on canvas 103 x 62.5 inches


The painting in the number one spot as you enter was a beautiful Rothko, nicely displayed on a black wall.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but the middle orange part is quite thick.


Cy Twombly Untitled 1952 oil, wax crayon and graphite on canvas 39 x 43 inches

Cy Twombly Untitled 1952 oil, wax crayon and graphite on canvas 39 x 43 inches

Francis Bacon was represented with another super large triptych of another of his lovers.  I forget the name.  The set were impressive, but not as striking as the triptych he did of Lucien Freud with the luminous golden ochre background that was auctioned last year and sold for over $100 million.


There were three Joan Mitchell paintings.  A large double painting, a large single canvas and a small one.  


Joan Mitchell Border 1989 oil on canvas 45.5 x 35 inches

Joan Mitchell Border 1989 oil on canvas 45.5 x 35 inches

My favorite was actually the small one (above) but they were all really nice.  The small one was painted quite late in her life.


Joan Mitchell Border 1960 oil on canvas 98 x 80.25 inches

Joan Mitchell Untitled 1960 oil on canvas 98 x 80.25 inches


Joan Mitchell Aires de Marion 1975-76 oil on canvas 94.25 x 141.5 inches

Joan Mitchell Aires de Marion 1975-76 oil on canvas 94.25 x 141.5 inches

I guess her whole career was represented since the large one was early and the diptych as mid-career.  Wow! I love Joan Mitchell!

There was an interesting Alice Neel; it wasn’t a portrait!  She definitely did her own thing.  Maybe a bit Hockneyish?


Alice Neel Gladiolas 1974 oil on canvas 46 x 32 inches

Alice Neel Gladiolas 1974 oil on canvas 46 x 32 inches

And then there were the ubiquitous Warhols, including the Small Electric Chair, which I don’t care for because I think it has bad karma.


Andy Warhol 6 Dollar Signs 1982 synthetic polymers and silkscreen inks on canvas each is 20 x 16 inches

Andy Warhol 6 Dollar Signs 1982 synthetic polymers and silkscreen inks on canvas each is 20 x 16 inches


Andy Warhol Marilyn Prints

Andy Warhol Marilyn Prints

The only thing I didn’t like was a Richard Prince photograph of a naked very young girl - very sexualized if you ask me.  I’m sorry but it seemed like child pornography to me.  Having survived such a childhood myself, I took offense to Christie’s condoning the sexploitation of children under the guise of art. They even had  a sign warning people of explicit sexual content, so it’s not like they could argue it is not sexual.


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 5/10/14 | tags: christies Sotheby's Art Auction Previews modern art contemporary art abstract new york city artist new york city art New York City art auctions painting drawing figurative mixed-media pop modern

Sotheby’s Impressionists, Modern and Contemporary Preview Spring 2014

www.trixiepitts.netTamara De Lempicka - La Dormeuse (Kizette) I 1933 oil on panel 12.25 x 16.125 inches (31 x 41 cm)

Tamara De Lempicka - La Dormeuse (Kizette) I 1933 oil on panel 12.25 x 16.125 inches (31 x 41 cm)

Well, it’s that time of year again!  I love going to the auction previews.  Although the work may not be the artists’ total finest, it’s great to to see works that are not usually available to the public.  I enjoy seeing things that may not be ever seen again.

I am not really a Tamara De Lempicka fan.  The straight severe edges and exactitude are not my cup of tea.  But, this little gem (it is only 12 x 16 inches) is exquisite.  It really did shine like a jewel!  I give it my "best in show”!

Another piece I really enjoyed was something I wouldn’t have expected to particularly appreciate.  It’s a sculpture in marble by Jacques Lipchitz.  I gave it a second look, and am glad I did, mainly because the name rang a bell.  I remember seeing and really loving a 1916 oil on canvas double portrait by Modigliani of Jacques Lipchitz and his wife Berthe.


Jacques Lipchitz - Femme Assise 1916/1971 marble height 60 inches

Jacques Lipchitz - Femme Assise 1916/1971 marble height 60 inches 


I don’t know about you, but I see a face!  Eye, nose, mouth - how can you miss it!

You know, I think everyone knows what a genius Picasso was, and what a genius Matisse was.  I don’t think everyone realizes how much they influenced each other.  Basically, I don’t think anyone would dispute that Picasso used Matisse big time.  I know how it is, (on a lesser scale!) - I share studio space - and sometimes am appalled how  a certain fellow artist “repurposes” my ideas!  I try to be like Matisse - and just go with it and be flattered!  I don’t have room in my painting for negativity!


Henri Matisse - La Seancé de matin March 5, 1953 marble height 60 inches

Henri Matisse - La Seancé de matin March 5, 1953 marble height 60 inches


Then there is always the ubiquitous Picasso:Pablo Picasso - Femme Assise dans un Fautuil March 5, 1953 marble height 60 inches

Pablo Picasso - Femme Assise dans un Fautuil March 5, 1953 marble height 60 inches


I love this painting - I must confess, not for what it is, but for its date!  I have this critical person who, bless her heart seems to me to be talented if she could ever overcome her insecurity and negativity.  She is frequently seems to be trying to make me feel bad by making comments about how productive I am and how quickly I paint - usually in the guise of some sort of faint praise.

Okay SUE - if Picasso can paint a painting and date it March 5, 1953 - one day - then I can do it too!  I’m sorry, but I am not like you and I am not going to sit there endlessly, scratching my chin looking at my painting trying to figure out how to make it better.  Basically, I just believe you cannot “think” a painting better.  I believe 100% and even more that good painting just happen if you let them, they don’t tget thought into existence.

The other artist that had an impact on me at this preview was one that I don’t usually get worked up about - Marc Chagall!  There were three Chagalls - there may have been more, but there were three that I noticed.  They were blue - very blue.  I loved that - forget his folk business - the intense blue was like a magnet  I don’t have such a great photo - because of glare - but so be it:

Coq Rouge dans la Nuit 1944 oil on canvas 27 x 31.25 inches

Coq Rouge dans la Nuit 1944 oil on canvas 27 x 31.25 inches


La Roi David 1953-56 gouache and brush and ink on card 30.125 x 22.5 inches

La Roi David 1953-56 gouache and brush and ink on card 30.125 x 22.5 inches


Here is the third Chagall, a self-portrait:


Le Peintre devant le Chevalet 1945-69(!) oil, colored ink and india ink on canvas 33 x 29.125 inches

Le Peintre devant le Chevalet 1945-69(!) oil, colored ink and india ink on canvas 33 x 29.125 inches


One painting I was greatful to see was a landscape by Kirchner.  It was bittersweet.  I had just read that Kirchner committed suicide because he was so depressed about being labelled as a “degenerate artist” by the Nazis. To me, when I think of Kirchner, I think of very dark and angular figures.  the painting on show however was a landscape, but instantly recognizable somehow as a Kirchner:


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner  Im Sertigal (In Sertig Valley) 1925 oil on canvas 47.25 x 39.375 inches

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner  Im Sertigal (In Sertig Valley) 1925 oil on canvas 47.25 x 39.375 inches


I have since been to the “Degenerate Artists” exhibit at the Nueue Gallery where they have other Kirchner paintings.  It made me sad to know that he had beome depressed and committed suicide. 

There were lots of other paintings at the Sotheby’s Preview, but I can only think of one other that had a big impact on me - besides the huge Gerhard Richer - that I didn’t  take a photo of - and that is -  a little landscape by Wassily Kandinsky, which I have never had any sense of affiliation other than that we have the same birthday!  The little landscape is called: Skizze für Abend.


Wassily Kandinsky Skize für Abend 1901 oil on canvas 9.5 x 13 inches

Wassily Kandinsky Skize für Abend 1901 oil on canvas 9.5 x 13 inches


To be quite frank, I might not look at this little gem above twice if I hadn’t noticed it was by Kandinsky!  I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t looked.  But, the one below was hard to miss because of its size and brightness.

Raoul Dufy L’Artiste et son Modéle 1929 oil on canvas 51.25 x 63.75 inches 

There were also many modern works on display but I wasnt able to get photos.  There was a huge Gerhard Richter squeegee style that was impressive and a Jeff Koons large sculpture of Popeye that I didn’t hate as much as I do most of his stuff.  It was displayed well, in a room against a wall with three of the set of six mini Warhol Self-Portraits.  The Warhols and the Popeye had similar colors and style. There was another Warhol, Electric Chair that I didn’t like, and a not so great Pollock and two large late De Koonings that were nothing to write home about.  The Rothko they had was practically all black - and was painted not long before he killed himself, which was interesting.  Not a lot else to mention.


Tomorrow … the Christies Spring Auction Preview!


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 5/10/14 | tags: Christie's Sotheby's art auctions new york city artist New York City art auctions modern contemporary abstract painting drawing figurative sculpture pop

Naming Paintings

Peppermint Patty 2014 Trixie Pitts

Peppermint Patty 2014 acrylic on canvas  60 x 27 inches

I love naming paintings.  Painting the way that I do in hopefully a spontaneous, non-thinking way, sometimes I am amazed with what the painting reminds me of when I finally get it away from the studio and look at it.  As soon as I brought home and looked at this painting, the name came to me immediately: Peppermint Patty.  I always loved Peppermint Patty because Patty was what everyone called me when I was a child and PP was so different than me.  She was so imperfect and yet so lovable and back then, I always felt the need to be perfect.    Now, with my paintings I revel in their imperfections - that’s what makes them interesting.  How boring if something is “perfect” - as in exactly as you expect it to be.  Like Picasso said, “A finished painting is a dead painting.” 

When are my paintings done?  I think that is a hard question for a lot of painters.  Sometimes I know mine are done when I feel a sense of relief.  Like, okay I can let that go.  Some aren’t done, they are sort of abandoned, because there is nothing more that I can do to it.  I remember Larry Poons saying to someone in the studio once, “There is a reason you stopped and it’s not because you wanted a cup of tea.”  In other words, the painting was telling them it was done.

It is true that if I am really “painting", I don’t stop unless I have to for something beyond my control.  I hate it if I have to stop in the middle of a session.  For me painting is really intense and I am so into it that it can be hard to get back to that place again.  If a painting is unfinished, then when I go back to paint it again, I don’t just pick up where I left off, like I am drawing something.  I have to ort of start over, but with what I have.  It’s a matter of being able to let what you have go.  I’ve only made this realization in the last year or two and I think it is really evident in my work.

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 1/26/14 | tags: abstract abstract painter abstract expressionism fun pop pink valentine's day peppermint patty charlie brown new york city artist emerging artist modern

Arriving with Baggage

Trixie Pitts_Arrival with Baggage 2013_oil_48x48in


Arriving with Baggage oil on canvas  48 x 48 inches

Sometimes they just happen, paintings.  I really love this one because somehow it just almost exploded onto the canvas.  It’s hard to describe to someone who is only looking at a little image instead of the big (4 x 4 ft.) canvas, but I kind of went for broke.  I had an idea of what I wanted to express, but the way I paint is not to neatly and calmly  plan.  I prefer to just do it and see what happens.  It’s more like life that way when you don’t know the outcome.

Here is a figure of a girl.  She seems to be emerging from chaos and yes, she has baggage. Big baggage. My first name for the painting was "Escape with Baggage".  I was concerned that title might scare people off. Then I thought of "I Choose Life", but thought maybe some people might think I am some sort of pro-life fanatic.  So I called it “Arrival" until I could think of something better.  I kind of like "Take My Hand".

I love painting the way I do because when I was painting this it was extremely intense and yet when I finished someone said it reminded him of Christmas shopping - !! Wow! That was so far from what I was thinking that I think it’s great! 

Another thing I love is that I can look at it and see all that it means to me and still find it beautiful.  Sometimes people who have been through a lot can feel anything but beautiful.  I had an idea of what I wanted to paint, a figure emerging, but when I look at this big painting and even this small photo, I’m amazed by the story it tells.  I am very proud of myself because I feel courageous.  This is a strong girl.

Maybe I will compromise and call it, “Arriving with Baggage”.


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 12/13/13 | tags: abstract abstract expressionism Survival emerging artist new york city artist figurative modern

20160326223831-img_4083_copy Phyllis Harriman Gallery Art Students League of New York
This painting is in a group show: January 12 - January 18, 2013

Open Heart

Trixie Pitts_Open Hear_2013_Oil_36x36 inchesOpen Heart 2013 oil on canvas  36 x 36 inches


This is currently the painting that is closest to my heart.  I painted it all in one go.  Well actually, I stretched the canvas and painted a couple layers of white on Monday and I painted it on Tuesday.  In between that time, I found out that someone that meant a lot to me had just died, not unexpectedly, since they were 90.  I just happened to find out by Google searching their name on a whim.  The next day, I didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself so I went to the studio and this was what I painted.  To me it is so raw and feeling.  It seems to me both bold and soft at the same time, both smiling and crying.    No one could plan to paint something like this.  There is no plan.  There is no rule following.  There is no demand for perfection.  There is no pretense of perfection.  Most of all, this painting seems to me so forgiving.  This painting is all love and loss and forgiveness.  It may be oil paint on canvas but the medium is pain and love. Being able to paint something like this, whether anyone else in the world likes it, or ever even sees it is why I paint.  To me it means everything.

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 9/27/13 | tags: love and loss forgiveness pink bold new york city artist abstract expressionism expressionism emerging abstract modern

Why I Painted Three Women - Second Thoughts


Three Women 2005 oil on canvas 36

Three Women  2005  oil on canvas  36” x 24”

Why I painted Three Women doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore.  I look at it and remember why I painted it, but I also see things I wasn’t able to see before.  I first wrote  about this painting that I painted in 2005 - on August 24, 2009.  (Please visit my art website/blog: Wow!  It strikes me that I must have been in some sort of “zone” similar to one I might get into when I’m painting - if I’m lucky - where it just kind of comes out from a feeling place rather than thinking.  Often when I paint a painting that I think is really special, I look at it and think or say to myself, how did I ever do that?  This is how I feel after reading this entry again after four years. 


The painting Three Women is based on a quick sketch I did while recalling a nightmare that I had the night before.  It was a horrible dream - something about a funeral.  It was icy cold and dark and I was alone.  I entered some room as I was trying to get out and I saw “them” over in the corner: my three women: my mother was leaned back in a chair or wheelchair looking very angry and blaming; my grandmother (who was ancient when she died - 10 years before dream) was behind her and seemed sort of dead, but not glad to see me anyway at this ice cold greenish-blue room at the funeral; and my sister who seemed somehow to be “with” them.

Sketch: Grandmother, Mother and Sister

Back then I wrote about all the bitchy women in my life and how it has been a struggle for me because I always seemed vulnerable to this type.  I am so pleased after rereading this piece to feel like I’m not like that anymore.  They were who they were and it is not my fault.  I always loved them and hoped everyday that they would accept me, but that never happened.  I am pleased to report that I now have a few really truly nice women friends.  I attribute my change in outlook in a large part to my daughter-in-law.  She is such a wonderful, smart, funny, nice and loving person - and she loves me!  If I were somehow crippled inside and unable to love her for the beautiful person that she is, that wouldn’t be her fault - and - nor was it mine.

Three Women (detail)

Actually, when I look at this zoom image now, I see more than the ice-cold anger of my mother.  I see someone in a lot of pain - like myself when I painted her.  Now, the image of my sister reminds me of me still loving them and, the image of my grandmother reminds me of the hurt wounded little me of all ages who needed to be loved.

So, instead of this being an angry exposé of a painting, I now see it as a loving one!

Mother 1997

I made the sculpture Mother in 1997 based on a gouache(opaque water color) painting that I had done previously.

I find the stance and the holes to be quite powerful.  I had never done a sculpture before.  This was before the Internet, so I basically just looked up sculpture at the bookstore and winged it from there.  I like the way that since it is plaster, I was able to paint it, although at some point I would like to have it made into bronze.

Monter 1994

Mother  May 9, 1994


You used to seem so huge.

Your size

Your vibes

Were so much bigger than mine.

You were like a great neon sign

Flashing your message:

     Don’t ask me

     Don’t need me

     Don’t whine.


Now I see you

How you really were.

     Your vacant eyes

     Your empty breast

     Your hollow womb

You were like a living tomb.

At least now

I can see how

You couldn’t love me.


As for being a mother myself, basically, as soon as I saw my first son and then again my second, I just knew - I just knew - that it is possible to be a good mother and I was going to do it.    I saved myself because of them - so I could be a good mother.  I know I made a lot of mistakes but the fact is, I know that they know - that I love them.

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 8/30/13 | tags: family healing forgiveness love new york city artist sister mother abstract figurative sculpture mixed-media pop modern traditional

I Love To Paint With Black and White

Expedition 2013  Oil, Graphite on Canvas, 48 x 54 inches

    Expedition 2013    Oil, Graphite on Canvas, 48 x 54 inches   

I love painting with black and white and grey.  A lot of my paintings I begin with a gestural under-painting where I draw into the under-paint before I beg in to add color.  Sometimes though, a particular canvas might cry out to me, “Stick with it!  Don’t add another color!”  And I have to then agree with my painting that adding a color would then make it all about them!  Expedition is such a painting.  At a certain point it demanded to me not to dare ad any yellow, or pink or whatever.  That would have made the painting something else altogether. 

That’s okay too a lot of the time.  Being able to “let it go” is a vital part of painting the way I do.  At every stage, I need to be able to do this, to avoid it ever looking “doctored”.  To me that is the kiss of death.  Spontaneity and expressing something that is there inside me but doesn’t have a thought in my mind to describe it is what I paint for.

Expedition is the title I gave this painting for several reasons.  I recently watched a fabulous pbs documentary about Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery.  It was such a tremendously brave expedition into the unknown that I was absolutely amazed.  Yes they were brave, but they were often lucky too. When things appeared they didn’t expect, they took advantage of them. They had a bit of a plan when they started, but they basically figured it all out as they went along.  There are so many parallels in their story to how I strive to paint!  As I paint, I often feel like I am on my own expedition within.  I try to be brave and just do it and to take advantage of any luck that somehow appears.

As Larry Poons said once to someone who said maybe they should paint over something that they hadn’t intended, “What?  Why?  You should never give away free money!”

Passage  2013  Oil, Graphite on Canvas,  14 x 36 inches   

Passage  2013    Oil, Graphite on Canvas    14 x 36 inches 

I painted Passage the same time I painted Expedition.  To me it has a similar vibe.  A Japanese artist friend of mine said it reminds her of some Buddhist picture in Japan.  Wow!  I love that.  It is such a great feeling when my paintings elicit some sort of feeling memory in someone else!

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 7/23/13 | tags: abstract emerging artist new york city artist Cy twombly BLACK AND WHITE abstract expressionism

Art Scam?

Flower Power (Detail) 2013 Oil

                                     Flower Power (Detail) 2013 Oil 2013

On the heels of winning a blue dot for my painting at the Art Students League of New York last week, I received a couple of unsolicited emails. One was about a prospective buyer for my painting, which of course is always welcome. The second came today. It is an email from someone claiming to be curator for an upcoming exhibition at a gallery in Soho. I conjectured the person had seen my painting at the league and selected me for the show. After the initial excitement wore off, I did a little research and uncovered many posts about it being a possible art scam. Yikes! Then I had a second look at the email and I noticed a few things that I had overlooked in my initial excitement.

1. The email is signed “Laura,” with no surname. This seems highly unprofessional.
2. Her email address is at gmail. If I were a curator at a gallery, I think I would have an email address that reflects that.
3. Although the gallery in question appears to exist, I don’t think they are listed in the NY Gallery Guide.
4. Laura’s email had typos and bad grammar.
5. The beginning of the email seemed personalized, but the rest seemed generic.
6. Not only did she not give her surname, her email left no contact telephone number. When I called the gallery she supposedly works in, I was told Laura was “in a meeting.”

Anyway, I will definitely not be participating in a show at this place. And, I would just like to warn other artists to always beware when offers fall from the sky!

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 5/13/13 | tags: modern abstract flower blue dot new york city artist abstract expressionism

Abstract Landscapes - Burgundy


Chambolle Musigny 2013 Oil, Graphite on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches

Clos de Beze 2013 Oil, Graphite on Canvas 48”x48”

Chambolle Musigny 2013 is from my new series of abstract paintings based on my recent extended visit to Burgundy, France during the late winter/very early spring.  At that time of year, the colors are very subtle but particularly beautiful in Burgundy. There is usually a mist in the air intensified by the haze from the burning of the old vine branches in preparation for the new season.

After spending some time recently in Burgundy, France I felt inspired to try my hand at some abstract landscapes, which I haven't done in a few years having been focusing mainly on nonrepresentational abstract painting. My goal is to paint how I like to paint - without any preconceived plan basically as to how the painting will progress, just letting the painting happen - but with the slight modification of having a specific image in mind. What I don’t want to do is get into the trap of basically just coloring in a drawing.

What I have been doing for these abstract landscapes is to start the same as I always do, with a big loose underpainting of white, and then just going for it. Once I find myself beginning to focus more on the idea than the paint, then I stop. So far I have done three.


Chalonnaise Chateau 2013 Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36 inchesChalonnaise Chateau in Winter 2013 Oil, Graphite on Canvas 36”x36” 

This one was challenging to do with my technique because of all the architecture. I really didn’t want to get too realistic and to keep feeling the paint as I painted rather than the specifics of the image.


Winter, Haute Côte de Nuits 2013  Acrylic, Graphite on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Haute Côte de Nuits, Winter  2013 Oil, Graphite on Canvas 36 x 36 inches 

Haute Côte de Nuits, Winter - I did in acrylics to see if I preferred the feel rather than oils. Basically I like both. I like switching to acrylics every so often because it kind of prevents you from getting into too much of a groove where it becomes too easy to miss spontaneous happenings. Some people think the winter has little color but I found Burgundy to have the most beautiful subtle colors everywhere, softened further by the misty grey sky.


The fourth painting in this series of Burgundy paintings is Fenêtre au Ciel (Window to Heaven).  It is loosely based on a window on the side of the ancient Basilique Ste-Marie-Madeleine, a beautiful old stone Benedictine abbey sitting at the top of the steep hill in the town of Vezalay. The ancient stone façade’s scars from its attacks in the French Revolution were covered with a thick coating of beautiful moss of an electric color in the wintery misty grey light, adding to the otherworldly feeling of the whole place. 

2013 Oil on Canvas 30 x 30 inches

Fenêtre au Ciel  2013    Oil on Canvas    30 x 30 inches 


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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 4/13/13 | tags: modern landscape abstract france new york city artist

When We Were Small

When We Were Small Trixie Pitts 2012 Oil, Graphite on Canvas 48 x 48 inches

When We Were Small 2012  (Oil, Pastel, Graphite on Canvas  48 x48 inches)


For this painting I wrote a poem to accompany it.  Although I feel each (painting and poem) stand on their own, I think together they pack a real one-two punch - for me anyway!


When We Were Small 


Way back then

When we were small

We were together through it all.

Then, you were gone.


To go on, my instinct

Erased every trace of you.

But a seed of remembrance

Remained, unnamed

Growing slowly

Eating away

The charred embers of my resistance,

Allowing me to love.


Somehow, I still stand

With flower in hand

And heart,

Tethered always somehow

To the vague memory of our start in life together.


This memory is a faint force

Unrelenting in its haunting.

When I risk being crushed by sadness,

I see it as a source of all the sweetness

I have to give.


Help me to forgive myself

That way back then when we were small

I had to let you go at all.

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 11/15/12 | tags: abstract

No Going Back Now...

     When I Was A Baby  2012  Oil, Graphite on Canvas  60”x48”

Recently, I didn’t feel like painting one day so I did a couple of little drawings instead. I had never really done drawings in the busy abstract painting studio space where I paint at the Art Students League before. Anyway, I kind of got it in my mind that I was going to start at the beginning - my beginning - to try to paint more of my story. I did a little sketch of what I think of as one of my earliest experiences that I called, “When I Was A Baby.” It is hard to describe in words how powerful the experience behind that drawing was to me. Without beingoverly melodramatic or hopefully never self-pitying, it was a defining moment of who I am.

The next day when I went in, I got out a canvas that I have been working on where the consensus seemed to be that it was not finished (Moose Bay), and I tried to get a feel for going further with it. That wasn’t working. It seemed finished to me, no matter what other people may have thought.  So I put that canvas up in the rack and pulled out a large (60”x48”) blank canvas.

Okay, I thought, now's the time! I’m going to translate the experience from my little pencil sketch (8”x6”) to the big canvas.  i'm just going to have to reconnect with the experience if I'm hoping to capture the power, the in-your-face impact.  

Anyway, I got to where I needed to be and am very pleased with the outcome. I worked so aggressively on the canvas than when I finished, it seemed a bit loose on the stretcher - stretched from the impact of my strokes!  When I finished I felt such relief. I knew that no matter what anyone said, it is one of my most personally meaningful paintings.

Not long after, a young painter who paints near me told me she thinks my painting is “really bitchin!” Hahaha!! I love that.

Anyway, when the person who fills in for our advisor Larry Poons came in, I wasn’t going to show her because she seems to have anaversion to anything remotely representational. But I did. Sure enough, she zeroed in on one little section and made some comment about that little area.  But doing this painting was like a happening – I can’t go back and change some small bit afterwards – even if I wanted to. It’s so strange. I guess she just didn’t get it. It doesn’t matter if some spot is not perfect.

It needs to be the way it is because it expresses - when I was a baby.

Sketch for when I was a baby  2012  Graphite on Paper  8”x6”

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Posted by Trixie Pitts on 9/23/12 | tags: abstract New York Artist

20150302175248-_dsc3067_-_version_2 abstracts
hello Trixie..this painting shows a really powerful sense of expression to it. Like a bull breaking free. I've often wondered how an 'advisor' would be able to approach such a painting too because it does not carry the usual requirements of composition etc. These paintings break boundaries...and yet I find in my own abstracts that there are facets of a painting that suggests a direction to take...perhaps its in a large area or covering the whole canvas(in that case its a master piece), otherwise its a portal into the next expression. I think that an adviser that can 'see' into an abstract such as this and then 'feel' the doorway and be able to point that out to the painter. I seen through my own works that it has been through these little doorways that I pass, leaving behind mark making that is worn out of over usage or that brutalizes the painting more than enhancing the savoring quality that a good abstract painting carries.

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