Images from my world

Of all the photos I’ve taken in my life there are special images that stick in my memory for decades. At some point I suddenly have the time and the will to dig the image out and set up for painting. My memory for names and dates is horrible, but I’m convinced all of that brain-space is devoted to visual memory. I never forget a face and never forget what attracted my attention to an image and caused me to want to capture a photo for future reference. Sometimes when I pull out a photo it takes a while to remember what that was. The picture usually looks flat and uninteresting. It didn’t capture the narrowed vision and focus that I, the viewer, had at the time. A good example of how I mined my visual memory to alter the photo image to paint an image that reflected my memory is “The Clammer”. I intensely remembered how the breeze ruffled the man’s hair, his movement, the rhythm of the water, glinting of the sun off the water (but not enough to detract from the man), the sand under and swirling through the water as the tide ran out, the reflection of the sky on the deeper water, the footprints and rake marks of former clammers who worked there at other times. I’m not going to try to describe in words how I used memory to change the image, posted below are both the original photo and the altered painting so you can see for yourself.

“Miss Peanut” is an excellent example of how memory is way better than the photo, even if the photo is essential. Posted is the low resolution camera-phone snapshot, taken in bright sun that washed everything out, with funky overall color. But I really loved the pose, gesture, and lighthearted joy of the facial expression. Most importantly for me, how the lines of her body mirrored the lines of the peanut truck behind her. I prepared for painting by drawing a linear study highlighting flow-through lines and accentuating parallels between the figure and the lines of the background. This was taped to the wall behind the easel so I wouldn’t forget during the intense focus of working. Additionally, a major goal for me with this piece was to make the yellow peanut truck recede, as yellow, like most bright colors, visually projects forward.

I’m currently working on “Granite & Silk”, another example of a striking image that stuck with me for years, until I finally felt confident enough to capture the moment in pastel. This painting is about textures (hard, pitted stone, soft skin, the silky sheen of fabric) and, to expose myself as an art-nerd, value and chroma. The challenge here is to describe a human form with shadows and light, retaining the impression of a living person pausing for a moment without becoming stiff and mannequin-like. Just as importantly, to retain the vibrant hues of the woman’s clothing while retaining the relative value of each part of her form. The reason why this is difficult to do with pastel is because of the opaque quality of the medium. While mixing colors is possible, it must be done carefully and judiciously. If an area becomes overworked, a muddy color results and there are very few ways to remedy this, if at all. Glazing a bright hue to achieve a darker value while retaining the visual purity of the chroma might just end up as mud.

Below: The original picture, a value study in charcoal, and a detail of the figure in progress.


Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

-Edgar Degas


Jodie’s Studio

An early instructor told me my drawing skills were good, but that I wasn’t “seeing”. It took me a long time to understand her meaning.

Observing people in their environments and translating that image is a skill developed over a lifetime. I understand how people interact with others and with their surroundings, how a warm sunny place will make a person happily sit for a while; then distill this scene into its nuanced component shapes, colors, values and gestures.

Nodus Tollens | pastel on sanded paper | 11.5 x 13 | 2021

I now realize that truly ‘seeing’ is not literal; to ‘see’ is multi-sensory. Even though I can faithfully — even beautifully — render a subject, that painting will not be complete until I can ‘touch’ the skin or fur of my subject, until I can ‘smell’ the air around them, when I can ‘hear’ what is going on in the scene — and when my audience can too. I strive to ‘see’ the scene so that every individual viewing my artwork can feel it’s emotion as if it were their own.

Moved out of the Elevator Shaft Studio October 2020.

Thanks to Thunderpussy for letting me use their song Velvet Noose, even though I didn’t ask them.



American Artists Professional League 2021 Spring Members Show “EXPLORE” – – 1 April – 30 August
Richeson75 Still Life/Floral Exhibit 2021 – Meritorious Entry
Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA – “Double Vision” 5-28 March 2021
American Artists Professional League, 92nd Grand National Exhibit, Salmagundi Club, NYC, 9 November – 31 December 2020, “On Deck (The Veteran Fencer) ”
Pastel Society of America Award

The American Artists Professional League 2020 Members Show

The Arnot Art Museum houses a world class collection of realist paintings and sculpture. I’m humbled to have “Brad” included in their 76th Regional Exhibition, opening 15 March. Please attend this outstanding show featuring 81 works of contemporary realism. The exhibit is on view from 16 March to 14 June 2019 at the Arnot Art Museum, 235 Lake Street, Elmira, NY. For more information go to

Brad aka Two Scotches In | pastel on sanded paper | 14.5×21

Richeson75 International Figure/Portrait 2019 exhibit announcement

American Women Artists Associate with Distinction member, Jodie Kain, is honored to announce “The Model” has been selected to be included in the Steamboat Art Museum’s exhibit “Looking West”. The exhibition is open from May 24 through September 14 2019. Please attend “Looking West”, featuring selected works by women artists, at the Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

For more information:

The Model | 15.75 x 18.75 (22 x 26.25 framed) | pastel |2016


I am honored to have my painting “God Is My Judge”, modeled by my good friend Daniel, included in the 2018 Guild of Boston Artists Annual Regional Juried Exhibition. The Guild is located at 162 Newbury Street, Boston, MA. The exhibit will run from September 8 – 29, 2018. For more information go to


I am honored to have the portrait of my husband Brad, and “Light Embrace“, modelled by my good friend Carol and her kitty Beacon,  included in the 2018 Northeast Regional Pastel Exhibition at View Arts, 3273 State Route 28, Old Forge, NY. The exhibit will run from June 23 – July 29, 2018. For more information go to



What a thrill to be selected to show “Boothbay Afternoon” and “Clammer” at this year’s ARTinME show.  Please attend the exhibit at the Boothbay Regional Art Foundation, 1 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The exhibit will run from October 14 – November 12, 2018. For more information go to


“Boothbay Afternoon” | charcoal & white conté | 16″x11.5″


“Clammer” | soft pastel on laid paper | 10″x16″


I am honored to have the portrait of my husband Brad included in the Annual Regional Juried Exhibition of The Guild of Boston Artists, Newbury Street, Boston. The exhibit will run from September 9 – 30, 2017. For more information go to

Jodie Kain pastel painting
“Brad” 2017 Guild of Boston Artists Annual Regional Juried Exhibition, Award of Merit