For more information on commissioning a portrait or purchasing an original work of art, contact Leah at 404-295-6088 or

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Drawing and ... Member of Merit

Here's my last drawing before Christmas. It's a lot of fun to do these. "Cameron" is the fourth grandchild I have drawn for my client.

On another note, I just found out that I received the Member of Merit status in the Portrait Society of Atlanta. It's been 4 years since anyone has been eligible. The portfolios of members who have reached juried status are thoroughly (really) graded on a point system by 3 prominent artists with different styles. I feel honored to be chosen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Newest Works - Dec.

Contact me if you're interested in any of these paintings.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Works

These are my most recent paintings/ drawings. The butterflies are 8x10 oil on panel and the images are courtesy of my friend Maria Christina who loves to photograph them. The top one along with "South Carolina Sunset" (oil on panel, 12 x 16" ) will be in the Atlanta Fine Arts League Small Works Show & Sale at Binders Art & Frame, Buckhead.  My good friend, Lila Campbell, took the sunset reference photo while on a wedding trip a few weeks ago.  She is an awesome photographer. The second butterfly and "Chattahoochee" (oil, 6x12") will be for sale at the Jingle Bell Jubilee at Holy Innocents' School, Dec. 4th & 5th. Chattahoochee was painted by the river when I was with my artist friends. "Homemade Wine - Salerno" (oil/ panel, 8 x 11) will be part of the Rome Fine Wine Festival Silent Auction in Rome, GA, November 14th. The charcoal is a portrait commission I just completed last week. This is a busy time of year for me but I absolutely LOVE it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Isabelle" Wins a Ribbon

"Isabelle" won Honorable Mention Saturday night at the Portrait Society of Atlanta Exhibition at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art. The show is amazing - some really beautiful pieces! Internationally respected artist, Burton Silverman, juried portraits from across the country. I feel very honored. : )

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Southern Appalachian Artists Guild

These 2 works of mine, "Jenna - Haiti" and "Italian Still Life with Fruit", will be in Blue Ridge, GA in the SAAG National Juried Exhibition, October 16 - November 12. What a perfect time of the year to be in Blue Ridge. Jenna is a child in Haiti and this drawing is included in a project I'm working on to benefit the families there. I will definitely post more later about this event. This still life has certainly been in a lot of exhibitions but it's sold and this will be the last time it is exhibited for a while. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Portrait Society of Atlanta Fall Juried Exhibition 2010

"Isabelle" and "Stokes" will be exhibited with the Portrait Society of Atlanta Fall Juried Exhibition 2010. I feel honored to have these 2 selected by Burton Silverman. I have been admiring his work since I started painting. The exhibition will be at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art on the square in Marietta, GA, September 14th - December 12th, 2010. Please join me at the opening reception on September 25th. The venue is one of my favorite places to exhibit.

Finalists in Richeson 75 Portrait/ Figure Competition 2010

My paintings, "A Mother's Love" and "Zach @10", are Finalists in the Richeson 75 Portrait & Figure Competition and "Zach @ 10" will be exhibited at their gallery in Kimberly, WI from September 2nd through October 30th. Both will be included in the Richeson 75 Portrait/ Figure hardcover book 2010.

Special Kudos for these 2

My works, "A Little Reassurance" and "Her Secret Garden" were chosen as Meritorious Entries in the Richeson 75 Portrait & Figure Competition 2010. Both will published in the Richeson 75 Portrait/ Figure hardcover book this year. I can't wait to see it.

"What's That?" in Atlanta Fine Arts League Fourth Annual National Exhibition

My painting, "What's That?" has been selected as a finalist in the 4th Annual National Juried Exhibition sponsored by the Atlanta Fine Arts League. The exhibition runs September 3 - 24 at the Abernathy Arts Center Gallery. The opening reception is Friday, September 3 from 6:3- to 8:30 PM. The gallery is located at 254 Johnson Ferry Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. This painting is only 6x6" and is painted on panel. I had fun painting 3 small beach paintings in this series

2 Drawings selected as part of Atlanta Fine Arts League National drawing show "Simply Drawn"

My drawings, "Stokes" and "Irene", are included in "Simply Drawn 2010: An Exhibition of Monochromatic Drawings" sponsored by the Atlanta Fine Arts League.The Exhibition runs August 13 - October 1, 2010 at the Roswell Visual Arts Center Gallery. The Gallery is inside the Roswell Area Park located at 10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell, GA 30075. "Irene" is a drawing of my mom when she was in her late teens. I posted about her & this drawing earlier. "Stokes" is a red chalk drawing of my son. My mother loved him very much and now their portraits are hanging in a national juried drawing exhibit together - I love it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marietta Daily News Front Page

A True American Treasure - Let me tell you a story

I first met Ed LaPorta a few years back when a group I co-founded, Atlanta Fine Arts League, first exhibited the portraits we painted of GA's fallen soldiers from Iraq & Afghanistan. Our artists' paint the portraits and donate them to the soldier's family members. The National Museum of Patriotism hosted our "Art From the Heart" exhibit and invited some of their special patrons & heroes to help us thank, pay respect to & celebrate the lives of those who gave their all for our country. Two of the men I met there were Ed & Eddie LaPorta. They were very moved by the portraits. Since that event I have talked with them at other patriotic events and Eddie asked me about doing a portrait of his dad. I didn't want to tell him what I normally charge for portraits and I offered to paint the portrait as a thank you for his service to America. We chose a photograph of him from about 10 years ago and I incorporated his WW2 photo in his uniform. In order to know more about his life I went to his home where he showed me a basement museum with so many pictures, awards and his old uniform. He told me stories that were unforgettable. He also showed be the notice that was sent to his parents informing them of his death. He obviously wasn't dead but a P.O.W. Mr. LaPorta turned 93 on June 21, which brings me to the reason I'm writing this post in the first place. I had the privilege of being asked to be a part of a celebration of his life and I presented the portrait to him. I will post photos later of the presentation but I really just want to tell you about Ed right now.

Born in Italy in 1917, Ed LaPorta migrated to the United States with his parents when he was 16 years old.  He later joined the United States Army in 1940 where he began his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and helped to create the 1
st Armored Division.  LaPorta participated in the invasion of Oran, North Africa and surrounding areas for 3½ years prior to being captured by the Germans at Kasserine Pass, North Africa, by Rommel & Co. Remaining silent during interrogation other than giving his name, rank & serial number, he was beaten & sent to a slave labor camp for 6 mths. in Reggio, Italy, then on to Stalag 3B in Furstenberg Germany for 17 mths & finally on to Stala 2B in Bugenwald, Germany for 4 mths. until he was liberated in May 1945. As Ed tells it, he and a few comrades were known as "rabble rousers", always into some mischief. He does have many stories but I will tell you about the one he told today.
As a P.O.W. his partner in gaurd was a man named Robert Gearinger, better known as "Lefty". Lefty always talked about his wife Betty back home & his little girl, Patty, whom he had never met. Ed learned  everything there was to know about his friend down to the street he lived on in PA. After about 24 months as a P.O.W., Lefty came down with diptheria and was put in isolation. The "hospital" was nothing more than a broken down shack, with no doctors or medics, no nurses, no windows & no bathroom facilities.
At night, Ed, would sneak out of camp & take his friend whatever food he could find to help keep his strength up. One day, the Germans found their underground room under their barracks floor where they had a radio receiver, small caliber handguns, hand grenades, an American flag & other contraband. The Germans ordered 25 of the P.O.W's, including Ed & Lefty, before a firing squad to be shot. Only by the grace of GOD & a little help from an air raid by American Bombers did they escape that situation. At that point Lefty had been in isolation for 6 days when a German officer informed them that they were being "transferred" to Stalag 2B in Bugenwald, an 85 mile march in the dead of winter. He informed them that anyone who could not make the march would be shot & killed wherever they fell. They also knew that Bugenwald was one of the camps with the ovens & gas chambers.
Ed asked the officer about his friend Lefty and was informed that if he couldn't make the march he would be shot or if he was left at the hospital he would starve to death or be shot anyway. He suggested to the officer that he (Ed) take care of Lefty. When they brought Lefty out, he looked terrible. He was too weak to stand, let alone walk. "So what do you do with a friend who is facing certain death and has never seen his little daughter? You do what any red blooded American would do, You carry him!" It was snowing heavily and was bitter cold. Ed got the bright idea to build a sled. He used 2 boards from the wooden bunks & put on a form of seat with a headrest & footrest. He tied Lefty to the sled with his belt so he wouldn't fall off and made a rope to pull the sled. At 9 PM thay headed out for the 85 mile march.
He pulled the sled for 9 hours to an area where the snow was melting, so he could no longer pull the sled. The Germans were yelling for them to KEEP UP or be shot. So Ed took Lefty off the sled, put his arm around his shoulders and with his right hand held him by his belt and kept walking. Every so often Lefty would asked him to let him go & just take care of himself. Ed said "no way buddy, we'll make it together, you want to see your little baby don't you?". Ed says he left out the gruesome details of the march as that would be another whole story in itself.
They finally reached their destination, needless to say that the ones that made it were exhausted. Lefty told Ed that he owed him his life, that he could have never made it without him. He said his whole family would be grateful and he hoped one day that he would come to Bloomsburg, PA to meet them, especially his wife & baby girl. Ed promised him that their paths would cross again if they ever made it out of there.
They remained in Stalag 2B about 4 months until one glorious morning they woke up to no guards in front of the tent. They went outside and there were no Germans anywhere. The gates were open & unguarded so they picked up what they had and started walking through the American sector when they saw a convoy of American trucks coming to pick them up. The war was over!! They were taken to a staging area and a few days later they flew to Camp Lucky Strike in La Arve, France. There, they were put into groups according to what part of the U. S. each was going to. At this point, Lefty & Ed parted ways as Lefty was going to PA and Ed was going to California. They said goodbye and promised to meet again. They boarded different ships and headed to the good ole USA.
While in California he worked for Union Oil Co. but transitioning from war to civilization was very difficult. He had bad dreams and nightmares and put his fists through a few walls. Ed discussed all of this with his boss who was very understanding. He gave him 12 months leave of absence with the promise that if he returned within the 12 months he was assured any job he wanted in the organization. That Friday he got paid and went to the bank to get travelers checks, then home to pack 2 suitcases. That night he left.
He was on the road about 2 months, stopping in about 20 states visiting his P.O.W. buddies. After New Jersey he headed to Bloomsburg, PA to visit Lefty & meet his family. He never wrote or called to let Lefty know he was coming because he wanted to surprise him.
When Ed approached town he recognized all the landmarks Lefty had told him about during the war. Somehow, without directions, he knew just how to get to Lefty's house. He drove up , got out of his car and knocked on the door. A young mother & child opened the door and without a word spoken they just looked into each other's eyes. After about 20 seconds of total silence, she said O My God, it's Ed LaPorta! She just hugged him & cried and couldn't stop thanking him. "Had it not been for you I would not have a husband and my baby would not have a father". The little girl Patty was tugging on his trousers, he turned to her and patted her on her little head and said "Hi Sweetheart". She looked up to him and said, "Uncle Ed, thank you for my daddy!"
More than 60 years later, Ed remembers this vividly and says he will never forget & with everything he went through,  this made it all worthwhile! 
Ed LaPorta has won many medals and among them are 3 Purple Hearts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Metro Montage X Opening Reception

Last night's opening of the Metro Montage X at the Marietta/ Cobb Museum of Art was a huge success. There were around 300 people there enjoying the beautiful works of art being exhibited. This is a "must see" show. The range of style and mediums offers something for everyone to admire. Most of the shows that I exhibit with are figurative or portraiture and of course this piece is a still life. It's so nice to exhibit with many genres of art using mediums which include photography, sculpture, oil, pastel, acrylic, even yarn. Sally Macaulay, the director of the museum, and the Board has done an amazing job with curating the permanent collections as well as the types of exhibits they have there. Next month the museum will have their very popular Martinis & Music, and I, for one, will be there to hear some good music - martini in hand.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Irene, My Mom

I found an old black & white photo of my mom recently. The picture is one that I have always loved of my mother so I created this drawing from it. She was very young and worked in the office of a textile mill (Pepperell Manufacturing) in Lindale, GA when this was taken. I think my father snapped this picture. I love it so much because she looked so beautiful, innocent and worry free. I look nothing like her; She was part Cherokee with dark hair, brown eyes and olive skin which is nothing like me. My brother, Greg, looks a lot like her as does his daughter. She passed away 4 1/2 years ago. She had some serious health problems and didn't look much like the person in this picture. She was super caring &  sweet and always put everyone before herself. Irene was the wonderful mother of 4, my 2 older brothers and my twin sister, Lynne. She also had 10 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. I miss her so much.

Newest drawing for Haitian project

Friday, June 4, 2010

This one in Metro Montage at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art

"Italian Still Life with Fruit" has been accepted in the Metro Montage X Exhibition sponsored by the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art. The Opening Reception is Saturday, July 10, from 6-8 PM, 30 Atlanta Street, Marietta, GA 30060. There will be an $8 admission fee. The exhibit runs July 10 - September 11. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drawings at the Quinlan Gallery

Three of my drawings, "A Mother's Reassurance", "Borne Girls", and "Rising", were chosen as part of the Portrait Society of Atlanta National Juried Summer Exhibition. This is a  drawings only show. I love drawing and I'm happy to be exhibiting at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, GA. The opening reception is Friday, June 11th at 6pm. The exhibition runs through July.  ("Rising" is cropped for the internet)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Her Secret Garden" wins a Merit Award in the Portrait Society of Atlanta Spring Juried Exhibition 2010

I was happy to have my friends & my sister & her friends at the opening reception last night for the Portrait Society Exhibition. I had 2 paintings in the show including a portrait of Lynne.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Latest Project - Haiti

"A Mother's Love", oil on linen, 30x24

This is my latest painting but I think I still have some "tweeking" to do. In the months to come I will be creating many portraits of children from Haiti - most with happy smiles. I'm working with a missionary who has been in Haiti for many years and was there during the earthquake. He is such a bright light in the lives he touches and he's an awesome photographer. He captures the beautiful spirit of the innocent children whose lives were hard even before the earthquake. His photographs also capture the sad moments and the devastation since the earthquake. I'm planning an exhibition of these paintings and a good percentage of the proceeds will go directly to his mission in Haiti. I want to put these innocent faces in the public's view so that we don't forget the major disaster and all that these people have lost and how much they need.  More posts will follow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Lynne" & "Secret Garden" in Juried Portrait Exhibition

"Lynne" and "Secret Garden" were both chosen to be included in the 2010 Portrait Society of Atlanta Spring Exhibition. The juror for this exhibit is Dawn Whitelaw, a nationally respected portrait artist from Nashville,TN.  The show will be at the Gallery at Paper Mill (a new venue) at 255 Village Parkway, Ste. 320, Marietta, GA. The opening reception will be Saturday, May 8, 2010, from 6-9pm. Light refreshments will be served. I hope you can join me there. The exhibition runs through May 28th.

My Latest Drawing

I've been in the mood to draw recently as a diversion from painting.  "A Little Reassurance" is a 22x15 charcoal. It's not a commission for anyone, I just felt like creating a drawing that tells a story. The little girl is the subject of a portrait I did a couple of years ago. She was a little apprehensive the day I took photos so she was holding her mother's hand. I drew the daughter low in the compositions to show that she is small and just added the hand to tell the story.