Friday, April 30, 2010

And on to Poetry

Today is a new day for us as we have great hopes of finishing the sod in our landscape. Trying our best to get all of our plants planted and the sand kept safely tucked under lawn. It's blowing a cold north, northwest wind but we are motivated to get this main work done.

The painting I've posted for today is called "Poetry" and it's 20" X 20" and is $300. As you can see I'm still having trouble with my camera, overexposing on the right hand top and not picking up true color which is a strong yellow gold. This painting was a remake of an older self portrait painting I had done and I like it much better in it's new life. I combined colored paper towel pieces and hand made stencils and it came together the way I like the work to do. This is a favorite.

I subscribe to a free online Art new letter/email from an oil painter named Robert Genn that comes twice a week to me and today he talked about how an artists style becomes somewhat hard-wired, even if they are flexible in many other ways. (I'll put a link to his site over on the right hand side so you can sign up for this free newsletter yourself if you'd like. I agree about half the time with what he says but it's always interesting to hear what another artist has to say.) His premise being that we need not try to change our style so much as go deeper and embrace that style. I regularly have thoughts about landscape painting in oils but it may be that I would never be satisfied with any of my work unless it was very abstract. So maybe it's time to embrace and go deeper into the original abstract and hope there are people out their who also enjoy symbolic patterning and can bond with these paintings. Any thoughts from you artists out there?

My show at Arts & Cultural Exchange is coming down on Sunday and I will have those pieces in my home studio. An I hope to line up a new series of work at Azure this coming week.
Happy painting, and happy poetry too!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hailing again

How do you like this painting? I call it 1950 Night Traffic and it's a 10" X 8" and is $45. It has a lot of reduced crackle paste on it so it's not functioning like crackle paste but more like a gritty light molding paste.

I point this out because when I started this painting I wanted to play around with yellow and purple and before I knew it I had a night scene and traffic and building lights bouncing off wet pavement. I guess those late night city work nights driving in traffic or waiting for the bus are still right there in the old memory because I was right there again, cold and shivering!

Speaking of shivering, I woke up this morning and it was hailing. Both dogs couldn't wait to go out and being the furry double coated kinds of dogs it really was their kind of weather. Have I mentioned my dogs are a Samoyed girl named Delilah, now 10 years old whom I got as a rescue, and Keir my 6 year old boy, black and white Sheltie - Shetland Sheep Dog. Excellent dogs to raise together by the way. Both heavy coated with outside guard hairs and inside soft fluffy fur.

Now it's blue sky out and ready to begin the day! I was thinking this morning that I really have to change out my paintings at Azure and I need to call Julia at Arts & Cultural Exchange to go take down my exhibit there next week. Have a great day!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Life Happens!

Just when you think everything is cooking along all right life happens!

Before I tell you the story, here is another small painting I did called "Supplicants". It's 8" X 10" and is $45 and in this one I layered strips of canvas and extra gesso and crackle paste to give me some texture then dribbled and dabbed Quinacridone Gold and Pthalo Turquoise - a favorite combination. It looks and feels old to me-even ancient and the imagery felt like it could be a call to a sacred site, so I enhanced it with a little mettalic gold.

So on to the story. Who would have guessed at 9pm on Tuesday night as we all began to go through our end of the day routine - take the dogs out for their last duty call, feed the fish, brush our teeth and settle the dogs in with their end of the evening "biscuit" which in our family is a carrot chunk since our dogs need to lose some weight that all hell would break loose! Keir, my bi-black Sheltie in an acrobatic leap, amazing in it's gymnastic grace, snapped up his own chunk of carrot and then midair grabbed Delilah's chunk and swallowed it whole. Thank goodness it didn't get lodged in his trachea or I'd be very sad right now instead of just very tired.

After frantically calling to our vet on call for emergency advice on what was happening (choking? or retching? or what?) and another vet in Tillimook, Oregon many miles away, we connected with Dr. Daniel Cameron and he had us check if Keir had a pink tongue and whether we could see the stuck carrot and then advised us to go to the DoveLewis ER Vet Hospital in downtown Portland, Oregon - a 2 and 1/2 hour drive (though it only took us 2 hours that night). They are open 24 hours a day and all weekends and provide emergency as well as intensive care. This veterinary hospital is caring and endowed with equipment and personnel and were able to x-ray Keir and test to find out where the carrot was lodged and then perform an endoscopy which entails putting him under anesthesia and snaking a camera to the chunk and in our case pushing the carrot all the way into his stomach from where it was lodged.

John and I grabbed short naps on their benches in the waiting room while we waited for the operation to be over. We got to the clinic at midnight and left at 4:30 in the morning for home, but we left with an alive Keir and very, very thankful there are such places to get the help for our family. Our heartfelt thanks to you DoveLewis!!!

It has taken us 2 days to get some sleep. On Wednesday morning when we got back from Portland - a 3 hour drive making the many stops for coffee/tea we had to make, we layed down to sleep but couldn't sleep more than 2 hours so we got up and went about our daily business. Today, Thursday, we crashed big time sleeping 12 hours straight then added a 3 hour nap mid-day and seem to be doing better today. Keir has recovered from the anasthesia and appears to be fine following the fiasco. Though his esophagus was abraded a bit and he's getting medicine for that, he's eating soft food and following me around like normal now and I cherish every minute of this!

Back to painting tomorrow I hope. Hug your pets tight and love them while you have them!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A little rain, a little sun.

I really like these Spring days. Because I do a lot of gardening and landscaping now, I welcome the rain because it means less watering for me. But I like the sun as well because it warms the plants I've just put out and takes the chill away, starts lawn seed germinating and generally makes me feel good.

It has been a few days since I've added here because of my outdoor chores but I thought I'd show you a cute little piece I did called "Watching" it's 8"X10" and is $45.

I'm preparing boards to do monoprint color splashes as starts - one canvas just has the acrylic gesso finish that comes with the canvas, one has an added coat of gesso, and one has 3 coats of absorbent ground which makes the canvas surface act like watercolor paper. I'm going back to trying my initial process to see if I like that better than my texture experiments. I'll let you know.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting Past Critics

I have to again apologize for my digital camera - this is the best I could do with the flash going wonky. I tried to to distort and skew in Photoshop to eliminate the worst of the exposure but I'm afraid not very successfully. I see a big expenditure in my future!

Well this being a Monday morning, rainy outside, with the soft rain more reminiscent of late spring than early winter, I come into my studio. I see all good things around me, lots of light, inspiring work from my collection of artist friends, excellent starts begging to be worked on. I am feeling deflated and not jazzed to paint.

This is a common feeling artists get when they see a lot of artwork which I have this last week - the PAA Exhibit, the Astoria Artwalk and local galleries. It's not the art itself but the internal questioning that starts within the artist to go forward with work after a battering of critique.

In some case bad judges exhibiting poor choices calls into question what is good art. In other cases it's ordinary viewers criticizing work that is intentionally done and well done in certain styles. It makes artists wonder if it's worth it to create a vision that exists in our minds, that explores concepts not of the everyday experience.

All artists have to get past other peoples opinions and get on with the work. Put away the voices and listen for the clear tone that happens when those voices have been silenced. Wait for the questions that start in our own mind and follow those bread crumbs of thought down the rabbit holes of our own thoughts, experiences, challenges and problem solving. It must be that here is where our occasional greatness hides out.

Today I wish you successful painting, and with luck I will see you down the rabbit hole today! Happy painting!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Artwalk Astoria, Oysters and Art, and Bernies Artichoke

Before I tell you about the Astoria Artwalk, I must tell you about Oysters and Art which happened in March here on the Peninsula. It's an annual Rotary Club sponsored fundraising event for several groups locally like the Boys and Girls Club, scholarships for kids etc. Artists and businesses donate art, trips, meals etc and then they are bid on in a silent and live auction. They charge for tickets and there is a buffet sponsored by many of the local restaurant and catering businesses.

It was very well attended, I had 3 paintings in the auction of which 2 sold but what I wanted to mention mostly is that I bid on and got this very fine painting of Bernie Elliots! I was stunned to see it and lucky to get it. I love seeing it every day and although my jpeg doesn't do it justice the picture is a wonderfully done bright and crisply painted artichoke and I now have it in my studio where I can see it every day when I start to paint. I love the colors and the sharp textures of the ribs of the leaves. It reminds me again when the pressure builds to come up with something totally never seen before that an ordinary vegetable, done well by a fine artist, is as compelling as any abstract can be. Thank you again Bernie for painting it!

The Astoria Artwalk last night was too short to see everything! I think next time I should go early and eat early and then just have all my time to see the galleries. The Artwalk hours are now 5-8 which is a shorter time then they used to have, and it isn't enough time to eat in the middle and still see everything. But even so, I got to the Lightbox Gallery, River Sea Gallery, Lunar Boy, Adiago. Bergenson Tile and Art & Cultural Exchange were closed by the time I got there. I'm going to start taking in the Clatsop Community College Gallery spaces - one in the art building and I think there's another one in or near the Library too.

The Exhibits in Lightbox were exceptional. On the lower floor was a great fine art photography exhibit and the upper floor, along with fine prints by the Lightbox's user group, there was a special exhibit of photographs of Ibeji's - iconic wood holders of souls of dead twins from Nigeria. River Sea had an interesting exhibit of impasto oils as their main exhibit along with their group of selling artists and Lunar Boy had a well publicized exhibit of characterized painted and collaged birds in seasons. I haven't done anything I saw justice so from here on out I will take notes on artists and see if I can get a picture or 2 for my blog.

And the weather was perfect - like a summer night!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Something Different and Artwalk Astoria

So here's a painting I did, something different and darker with more texture. It's finished meaning I'm not going to add anything more to it. It has some great pattern in it but other than that appears tighter than I usually get.

It is a recovered painting times 2. And I like it better than any of it's other lives. Not perfect but....

This Saturday is the Astoria Artwalk - always 2nd Saturday of the month and I'm hoping for decent weather. That is, no hail, no snow, no downpour of rain and no 40 mph wind gusts. A group of us are going and I hope to make up for not seeing the art last month. I'm going to stop in at the Art & Cultural Exchange and see what Julia's been up to over there. Always tons to see and projects that she's doing. After dinner out at a local Italian restaurant we'll take in the other 10 or so galleries on the map.

I think the point is it's important to go to the art openings, see the new art and patronize those shops and restaurants that are trying to stay afloat during this extended recession. Wall Street and Washington pundits may tell us all that the recession is over but if you live rurally, in Washington and Oregon at least, you know it will be a long time before our economy is lively again.

So it's supposed to be Spring but the weather is keeping me indoors so one thing I thought I'd do is to sew a Jean Jacket. I got a Petite Plus pattern, initially measured all the pieces and then did the sewing, trusting that the proportions would be correct and the details sized down for a petite. But at try on time -today- I am disappointed at how badly it fit. Then I had to go on line to see how tight the jean jackets should fit on various models because mine had fistfuls of extra fabric all in the wrong places. So now I've got the various seams partially torn and repinned hoping I will be able to get the right look and size more in keeping with an authentic jacket. But disappointing! I'll let you know how it turns out and maybe take a picture.

More news on the art front is the Peninsula Arts Association is having their local show over the weekend at the Kite Museum and an artist friend of mine and I are going to go view it tomorrow. Also, there's been a new gallery opening in Ocean Park called the Bay Avenue Gallery and we may stop in and see the owner and the gallery. Their grand opening on April 1st was successful and well attended by local arts afficionado's. Good luck Betty Lu!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Art resolutions for 2010

Today I wanted to say a little something about art resolutions. I didn't really make any art resolutions for 2010 until now because we had just finished moving to our house and I hadn't even got finished unloading all the boxes much less sorting through and throwing out a bunch of stuff. And typically right around the first of the year I actually do my Art Income and Expenses so I don't hold up my tax preparer. This year I didn't do it until 2 days ago thus I didn't get around to my resolutions.

What I'm really trying to say is that I have a much better idea now what those resolutions should be. I've already done an Encaustic demo, had an exhibit of my mixed media "Legacy of Trees" work. Watched the recession recede somewhat. Recovered from the worst of the winter flu season. And tried to find storage space for my painting finished and unfinished that are not in shows.

Drum roll please......the only art resolution that is possible after looking at my supplies and materials and unfinished paintings is .....To finish all unfinished paintings and use up all canvas', boards, paints, wax, collage materials in an envelope pushing kind of way and to make them exhibit ready artwork!

Here's an example of what I mean. On the left was a painting with potential that I got too detailed with and started "fixing" then put away because it was a sample of the worst thing an artist can do, then I picked it up at the end of last year and gessoed it over totally and did a new painting which then promptly sold. If I can do that with every half finished painting I have then I will have the work I want for 2010!

And lest you think I've given up on encaustic - NOT SO. Its just that my garage studio is ccccooooolllllllddddd right now and windy and the wax will work much better for me when it warms up so I've pretty much settled myself to doing my encaustic work only on warmer days, ie mostly summer.

So have a happy Easter to you where ever you are!

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's about the work

I've decided that there is nothing in the world like doing the work. That is, challenging myself everyday to paint and let the creativity just pour out. I stop up everytime I try to structure it or corner it or guide it. I think for me it just has to flow. This plays havoc with trying to develop a conceptual theme and a body of work but perhaps with many, many works done, the theme will arise naturally. So that's what I'm going to try.

My friend Sue just finished a great class with Robert Burridge in Palm Springs. I've heard so much about him from her that I finally decided to take a class from him this summer. I have been trying to find my way into more texture and maybe he can help with that.

For now, on this very windy, blustery day, I finished varnishing 5 small paintings like this 8" X 10" called "Future" which will go for $45 and I will show them over the next several days. As they dry, I wire them up and it's very satisfying to send them out into the world. Stay tuned to this blog.

This particular painting is mixed media with collage elements. I painted most of it in one session at the firehouse where I meet on Wednesdays with my fellow artist Bernie. A great way to stay connected to whats going on around the community and not just with the arts happenings. On our way home, we stopped in at a small artists studio which neither of us had ever visited. We were quite blown away by the great paintings - Michele is a superb artist doing work in metallic painted scratchboard. Some of her paintings are $4500 and worth every penny. She also has been investigating some very interesting textile "art to wear" knitted items.

Now joyfully back to painting!