Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Happy New Year!

It is good to be home. Yesterday, the Great Studio Organization Project made large strides, and Pretty Soon, you will see photos of the finished product. I received a sewing machine for Christmas (thank you, Mama and Papa Recker!!!) and last night I practiced some sewing. There was a piece of fabric pinned to a curtain rod in my studio. I am hemming it and finishing the edges, so it looks a little more official. I decided this was a good thing to practice on, because if it doesn't work, I can always buy more cheap fabric (which is what this is) to try again. I am not a seamstress, and it is NOT my mother's fault. She tried very hard to teach me how to sew when I was younger, and I just didn't have the patience. I don't know what makes me think I have the patience now, ...optimism?? Wish me peaceful sewing moments, please.

Happy New Year, all you lovely readers of my blog. I am grateful to you, for reading, for commenting, for everything!!! I leave you with some delightful yellow desert blooms, which Matthias and I discovered not too far from home. Best wishes for all of you in this New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Even MORE Travels

Once again, my lack of new entries is due to travels. This time, Matthias, Pono and I loaded into the old VW Vanagon and drove to Mesa, AZ to visit my in-laws. We are really enjoying the Vanagon! It doesn't go really fast, so we prefer the back roads to the interstate. It makes for much more scenic travel, too.

We just returned last night. It was a fun-filled 3 days. We celebrated a belated Christmas with Mama and Papa Recker. Lots of wonderful food, friends and gifts. There were many highlights of the trip. I am finding that I really love the saguaro cactus. On Friday, Eva, Matthias, Pono and I went for a really great hike near the Superstition Wilderness. I took way too many photos of the saguaro. They are so cool! This area seemed quite lush with vegetation (well, for a desert!). It was much greener than the area near Joshua Tree. It was not a long hike - only about 2 hours round trip - but what beautiful surroundings! It was a rocky trail, and I was so busy looking around me, that I had to be careful not to trip over the rocks.

The trail ended near some pools of water, and on the rocks lining the pools, there are a bunch of petroglyphs. I climbed around on the rocks for quite some time, taking photos of the petroglyphs. I loved them. Meanwhile, Pono splashed around in the lowest of the pools. He isn't much of a swimmer, but he does love water. The petroglyphs here were created by the Hohokam people. They are said to be about 200 to 2,000 years old. (They were not all done at the same time.) The early cowboys and miners of this area erroneously called these carvings "hieroglyphs", but of course they are really petroglyphs. The trail is called "Hieroglyph Trail" for the name originally given these wonderful images. I found out that there is a difference between "petroglyphs", which are actually carved into rock, and "pictographs", which are paintings. It is not common to see many "pictographs", since they don't last as long as the petroglyphs. You will typically only see them if they are somehow sheltered from the elements.

I really love ancient art, and I did study this kind of art when I was in college. Anytime I can see examples of primitive art in person, I am thrilled. This time was no exception.

Well, I have more to tell you, but I need to reorganize my studio today, so I can paint! This post took a lot longer than it should have, because I was interrupted by a bobcat walking through our yard. I can't just let a bobcat walk through the yard without getting up and observing closely. Pono was also intrigued, and sat right next to me with quiveringly excited ears. I will try to be more consistant with the blog now, I swear!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Curiosity and the Coyotes

There are quite a few coyotes here in the high desert. Yesterday, Pono and I seemed to be surrounded by them. While I was brushing my teeth in the morning, before our walk, there were two coyotes running across our property. I know this, because Pono was barking like crazy. He rarely barks, so when I hear him bark, I always have to go and check it out. He was standing on his hind feet, with a front paw on the window sill, looking avidly out the window. There they were, casually galloping along. I could see why Pono seemed so bent out of shape, since those two coyotes acted like it was their yard, and not his. (Which I am sure, not long ago, it probably was!)

We then got in the car and drove to one of our favorite hiking spots. A white car had turned onto the dirt road ahead of us. After about a minute or two on the dirt road, I saw a coyote enter the road behind the white car. The coyote ran after the car, just like I have seen dogs do when they chase cars. It was a strange sight, seeing this coyote chasing a car. While this coyote was still following the white car, another coyote crossed in front of us, but this one did not follow its friend down the road behind the car. After a time, the white car turned off, and the coyote went on its way.

Pono and I proceeded to our usual parking spot. It seemed coyote-free, so we went ahead on our walk. When we were finished with our walk, driving back on the dirt road, there were the two coyotes once again. Lingering along the edge of the road, they slowly and leisurely got out of our way. I was able to stop the car, roll down the window, and snap a couple of photos. That is, until Pono couldn't stand it anymore, crawled into my lap and tried to jump out the window to chase the two renegades. That was pretty much the end of the photo shoot. The two coyotes seemed just as curious about us as we were about them. They showed no fear, even though I know they could smell Pono.

I suppose the photos would be much better with a regular camera, but all I had with me was my tiny little digital camera, which I take with me everywhere. At least you get an idea.

I'm no expert, but this second coyote looked like it might be pregnant - compared to the other one, it did have a pretty poufy tummy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I was just re-reading my blog from yesterday. There is something I want to clarify. When I mentioned the paw "whomp" in my face, and then I "whomp" back - it is important for you to know that I do not hit my dog. He does tend to hit me with his paw, yes, but I just sorta "paw" him back. Lightly, and with much more consideration. Don't worry. I love Pono. Even at 6 am.

I have nothing else to tell you. I am too tired to be of any use today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Steamed vegetables and a workout buddy

Sometimes, you just want something healthy. Tonight was one of those nights. I just had a plate of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. YUM. I feel so healthy. I wonder, does this cancel out the 3 cookies I ate earlier today? hmmm....

I am still wanting to get into the studio, but when you look into the refrigerator, and see there is no food, you realize that the paintings must wait. How inconvenient to have to shop for food when you want to apply paint to canvas!!! sheesh. Now I know why Picasso had so many women. They had to take care of the every day errands. I could really use a housewife.

I think it takes a while to catch up with life when you have been away for too long. There were so many errands to run today, and I am still not finished with them. Plus, I have all my Christmas shopping to do. I actually did get a bit done today, which is helpful. Maybe I will simply skip over the Christmas present idea, and try for New Year's presents and cards, instead.

I did manage to be outside with the dog. Having a dog will certainly help if you are looking for a workout buddy. Pono is accustomed to getting a walk first thing in the morning. So if I am trying to sleep in, or just be lazy in bed, I have this really hard to ignore whining and pawing that gets me up every time. It's like having a snooze alarm that won't turn off. The paw whomps me in the face - I whomp back - and then the paw comes again, followed by a whining and extremely wet tongue. A gym membership will never come with this kind of motivation. Again, this afternoon, while I was trying to work on the computer, a wet, cold nose poked me in the arm, and a whine told me that I needed to get up and throw a ball!

What I am enjoying lately about the high desert are the rocks. Don't you love them? I took these photos yesterday, when Matthias and I hiked nearby. It has been clear and beautiful here, although I will admit, I didn't expect it to be as cold as it is. It freezes (or close to it) at night, and it is usually about 50 degrees or so during the day. Not bad, but I was hoping for 60 or 70!!! I know, I know, I'm a wimp.

New watercolor listed on etsy, today! Take a peek.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I am sure by now you all think that I dropped off the edge of the earth. I am still here! On November 29th, I drove down to Palm Desert, to meet with the owner of a gallery on El Paseo. I took a carload of art with me. I carried the art into the gallery, unwrapped each one with beating heart, and did my best not to hyperventilate. I talked to the owner about the work, and what other things I have planned for my art. Somehow I managed to remain confident, and the meeting went the way I had hoped. The owner kept about 17 monotypes, and I walked out with a signed contract. One miracle.

While I was in the meeting with the gallery owner, my cell phone rang. I let the voicemail pick it up, so after the meeting, I checked to see who called. It was my father, telling me that my mother had slipped into a coma. It is astounding how quickly I went from flying high with joy directly to devastation. I drove home, and began preparing for another journey to Denver, to be with my family. Mom was in a coma for 3 days and 3 nights, and I didn't think I would see her blue eyes open again. I didn't think I would tell her I loved her again. My Dad, sister, her husband, and I kept a vigil in the CCU room, every day wondering what would happen. On Sunday after I arrived in Denver, she opened her eyes. Another miracle.

Two long weeks I remained in Denver, spending most of the time in the hospital. The day I booked a ticket home to Joshua Tree was also the same day my mother got to go home. Now we are both happily sleeping in our own beds, and not missing the endless parade of doctors and nurses of the hospital. I must admit that I have seen more of hospitals and the monster machines therein than I ever wanted. This was the same hospital where my sister spent many long days, so many years ago. She died of cancer when she was 22 years old. (I was 21)

It was cold and snowy in Denver, and the Canadian Geese had set up camp on the hospital grounds. I got a chance to snap a few photos of them, just for you beloved blog readers. I kept thinking "fly south, you silly geese!" But if you are from Canada, Colorado is south, I guess. The geese weren't overly frightened of me, but they were a bit bashful about having their photo taken. I got a number of geese rear end shots. It was too cold for a more involved photo session.

I am taking a few days to recover from the stress of this last visit to Denver. I am anxious to get back into the studio, to create a whole new body of work for the busy season in Palm Desert. If any of you are ever in the vicinity, please to stop in Christopher Morgan Galleries at 73-375 El Paseo!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

drum roll, please...

So here are a couple of the new paintings. This first one is called "Joy". It measures 9 x 12", and is painted on 100% cotton, cold press 140 lb. watercolor paper. I like the colors. The next one is the same size and paper, and I have named it "Lime Green and Serpentine". Well, Matthias helped with the title. What do you think? There are more, but they are for later. I swear I am not really a tease. I do think these have more emotion, less control than the first watercolors in this style, but I could be wrong.

The other exciting news is that Matthias put up our Christmas lights today. I had a vision of what I wanted for the new adobe house, and here it is - just as I imagined!!! Fat red lights along the edges of the house. I am so happy! We were going to buy the LED lights for this project, but it turned out to be not only expensive, but the LED lights were shorter, so they would not have stretched all the way. Apparently, you can only string three strings of the LED lights together, and they are about half the length of the regular ones. Bummer! I still really love my red Christmas lights. We did put them on a timer, so the environment won't suffer too greatly. I know, I know. LED would have been better.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Watercolor Paintings

Finally, I have managed to take some brushes out, splash them in water, and dip them into paint. It feels good. Watercolor is what I typically turn to, when life feels too hectic for anything else. Watercolor is the first kind of painting I ever did, so it's also a homecoming. I have been working on these paintings that are based on the textures and rhythms of grass. Of course, being my work, it is highly abstracted.

I have sold a number of these on my etsy site, so I thought it would be nice to explore the idea further, and try some variations. I am using these wonderful calligraphy brushes from China. I have done some calligraphy, in the past, but I would not consider myself a "calligrapher" by any stretch of the imagination. I just really love painting with these brushes. They hold a lot of water, plus you can make a good variation of strokes, from broad washes to delicate lines. Just like in the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", when she says lettering is so similar to swordplay. It feels like that, slashing away with this delicate brush across the paper. FUN!!!

I can tell I am tired, because I am having so much trouble typing! So I will wait to post more of the new paintings tomorrow. G'nite.

Friday, November 23, 2007

After Thanks and eating

I enjoy having one entire day to be thankful. I am almost getting to the point where the eating part is something I could skip entirely. I like to eat as much as the next girl, but that whole turkey dinner thing is WAY OVERKILL. Maybe I am the only one who feels this way.

Anyway, my in-laws are here, and so we have been having fun. Yesterday, we climbed onto the roof to get our swamp cooler ready for cold weather. It was fun up there, since you can see really far. I also got some nice shadow shots. Here is one with me, and I have long legs. That is probably the main thing I love about my shadow: I look tall with long legs!!! As a short person, that is something new and exciting. The sun was setting, so I also took some photos of the desert landscape with the shadows of dusk. Isn't it beautiful? I find that I am still adjusting to our new environs, but I do love the colors here.

Here is a shot of the four of us, plus dog, in front of our beautiful desert home.
I think this is my new favorite kind of family portrait.

This morning, on the walk with Pono, the dog had another close encounter with the dreaded cholla. This time, he got a few on his lips, a few in his foot, and one in the roof of his mouth. We now know it takes FOUR people to get ONE thorn out of the inside of Pono's mouth. He is an amazingly strong dog. My friend's dog had cholla thorns in his mouth - even in his tongue - and she and I were able to get nearly all of them out with just the two of us. Her dog also outweighs Pono by about ten pounds. I guess Pono is just not as well trained or something. I am trying to teach Pono that we can get those cactus thorns out better than he can, but he doesn't believe me. If only I could speak "dog"! I hope that he will learn to avoid them entirely soon. Even if I am becoming a pro with the tweezers.

Here is the shameless promotion part: I have listed some new art on my etsy site today, including this watercolor. For some easy Christmas shopping, please do stop by! This is shopping with no crowds, no parking, and no grumpy sales people!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of you!

Monday, November 19, 2007

About Life

I have not been painting, nor have I been marketing my art. My mother has been in the hospital, and it involved another trip to Colorado, this time for entirely different reasons. The good news is that she is out now, and I am home in Joshua Tree once more. I was happy that I could go and be with my parents and my sister, who travelled from Washington state. It felt better to be there, where I could hold my mother's hand, and see her face. If there is any one thing I have learned in my life, it is that there is nothing more important than the people I love.

So I guess what I have to tell you about life is not earth shattering, or even particularly enlightened. Only that I find it has a way of throwing these crazy, unexpected curve balls at you. I am trying hard not to duck, but rather to keep my eye on that ball, so that I might either hit it, or, if it is going to hit me, maybe I can move enough so that it hits in a less vunerable place.

Here is one more new painting, a tiny oil on canvas.

And the dog, with his favorite, de-stuffed bear.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A reworked painting and the dog

I don't really have much to tell you. I was hoping to paint today, but I am feeling uninspired. I have plenty of paintings waiting to be painted (in my head). So that's not it. It's just that old artistic block or slump or whatever you want to call it.

Instead, I am going to post one photo of Pono the dog, pulling the stuffing out of his favorite white bear. Even though most of the stuffing has been removed from this bear by Pono, he truly loves it. While I was trying to stretch this morning (on the floor), Pono brought the bear over to me, placed it on my head, and lay down on top of me, hoping to get me to play. Pretty cute.

I just listed a larger original oil painting on etsy tonight. It measures 20 x 20", and I recently reworked it. (I had originally painted it while we were still in Hawaii.) I think it is much better now. The colors are bolder. It's called "Reef", since the shapes are ocean inspired. Very abstract, huh?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Artist Promotion and marketing

Since I have been working so hard on my promotional materials, I thought I would show you what they look like. Usually, I like to leave digital printouts with gallery owners and managers. I know that a disk with images is more the norm, but my concern has to do with calibration. Computer screens are calibrated a certain way to show color, and what I see on my computer screen in terms of color may not necessarily be what someone else sees when they put the disk into their computer. Plus, I like to take out the extra step of having to put the disk into the computer and wait for the images to pop up. There is something very immediate and basic about opening a folder and seeing the images right away. I want it to be SOOOO easy for people to see the art.

You can see that I have devised two different portfolios: one is for the abstract art, and one is for the figurative art. I am marketing each separately, so that what I present is a cohesive body of work. Even though most creative people work in different styles, it can be confusing for someone seeing the art for the first time if it is all combined. I must admit, I spend a lot more time and energy marketing my abstract art. I found that when I had my gallery in Colorado, it was primarily the abstract work that sold steadily. In fact, it's my abstract art that finances my figure art! The figurative art is the art that seems to get into juried shows and convinces people that I actually CAN draw. I enjoy doing both, but for different reasons. That is for another post, however.

It might be hard to see, but I have created a sticker for the front of the folder with a black and white photo of myself on it. (The photo was taken by my talented photographer friend, Padgett McFeely.) I also usually put any postcards I have from shows of my art in the portfolio. If I am mailing the portfolio to a gallery, I also include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. It is big enough for the whole folder to fit into, and that way, if the gallery is not interested, I can request my materials sent back to me, at no cost to the gallery.

Most of the ideas I have for the portfolios were based on suggestions from Alyson Stanfield of For any of you who are wanting some advice and guidelines in your art career, I highly recommend her. You can even go to her website and sign up for a free weekly newsletter to be delivered to your email box each week. She is awesome. She is also the person who got me started with my blog, so if you are enjoying my blog, you can thank her!!! (Thanks, Alyson!)

I also have these little business card cd roms that I like to include. I have created a slide show of my art on them. Aren't they cute?? I have one that shows the figurative art, and one that shows the new monotypes. They only work on PC type computers, so I am teaching myself how to use powerpoint, so that I can create one that is a little more universal. (It's one of those tasks that has been on my "to do" list for a while now!)

Anyway, that is what my materials look like. What do you think? I am getting there, aren't I?

Friday, November 2, 2007

More Travels

You have been wondering what happened to me, I am sure! I just returned from a road trip to Colorado, where I had a bunch of my art. I had it hanging in a restaurant in Salida and the restaurant sold. So I needed to pick up my work. I have been meaning to visit Salida all summer, and I finally got a chance to go. I took a friend from Joshua Tree with me. It was a good trip, but tiring.

We drove through Santa Fe on the way out to Colorado. We only had a few hours there, but I did manage to visit some galleries. I brought my portfolios with me. I already feel like I am making progress with my approach to galleries. I used to not even be able to talk to people in galleries about MY ART without practically bursting into tears of fear. My hands would shake and I would stumble over my words. Now, I am actually able to tell gallery owners and managers that I am an artist. I did meet a kind man at one of the galleries we visited in Santa Fe. He was easy to talk to, and I left my portfolio with him. He and I both felt that my art was pretty abstract for that particular gallery, but he told me he liked my work, and that he wanted to keep it, and submit it to the "committee" anyway. That was nice to hear. He also told me of some of the other galleries in Santa Fe where he felt my work might fit. So I have got some more research to do, and it may involve another trip to Santa Fe. That would be fine with me, since I love going to Santa Fe. I always have fun there. I am proud of myself, for "feeling the fear and doing it anyway". Progress is being made.

The return to a place I so recently called home was bittersweet. Salida is such a special place, and the people there mean so much to me! I already miss the camaraderie of artists. I know that I am here in the desert of California for a reason, I just don't know what that reason is. I am making an effort to keep my eyes and ears open for opportunity. I got to see quite a few friends, and stayed with a talented artist friend of mine, Sally Mather, and her husband Greg. I did not get to see everyone I wanted to see, but it was more of a business trip this time. I felt rushed the whole time, trying to see as many people as I could. I did visit Cultureclash Gallery, where I have some of my art. I picked up some art, and brought new art to the owner.

So after lots of driving through some beautiful country, visiting friends, picking up art, dropping off art, and the Santa Fe visit, I am once again happy to be home with husband and dog. There will be more posting soon!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The psychology of a painting

I have neglected my blog terribly! I used to be so faithful with my posts. I don't know what has happened to me. I will make a concerted effort to write more often. The good news is that I have been painting. I organized a 4 hour drawing/painting session with a wonderful model on Saturday. We met here, at the new house. There were only 3 artists, but the intimacy of the group was actually very nice. I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

I did not finish my pastel painting, but I did take a photograph, so I think I will be able to finish it from that. Here is what I did.
I was working on a dark reddish paper, and as you can see, the left hand part of the painting is quite unresolved. I will try to post it, if I can get a bit more resolution.

I find that I tend to fight with my art quite a lot. I am not one of those painters who merrily paints or draws away. I struggle, I agonize. I believe it is part of the process for me. All of my inner turmoil seems to come to the surface, and makes itself known. Sometimes, it seems as though the paint is actually blood, drawn from my veins, painfully creating the image on the surface of the canvas or paper. This may sound rather exaggerated or dramatic to some of you, but I am trying to describe what the experience is like for me. That is how it feels! You might be wondering why I continue, with an experience like this. I will admit, there are times when I ask myself the same question. Yet, there is a catharsis to the release. I can honestly say that there is nothing that makes me feel the way creating art makes me feel. I need that feeling.

I think part of what comes out when painting is my own insecurity. I have such doubt and fear that I can create a painting that I will like, or that anyone will like, for that matter. "Why is this important?", I ask myself. It is important because I want validation. All the time and money I spend on making art needs some kind of justification for me. After all, it has taken up the bulk of my life, this obsession. You can't spend nearly 15 years of your life on something without needing some kind of progress report, some kind of pat on the back. But even after 15 years, I always doubt my capability as an artist. That insecure part of me fights with another part of me, who has confidence, even a bit of arrogance about my own ability. I don't think either side of me really wins, per se. Each side may score a "point" from time to time, but I think most of the battles end in a tie.

When I look at my work, I can see this conflict, this tug of war. I think it makes the art more honest, because I reveal all of myself. Not just the confident part, who knows I can do it. But that other, more fragile part, with all its doubts and fears. Isn't this really how all of us are, when we allow ourselves to see it? Perhaps it is the reason I love to paint human beings so much. I know, intimately, what it is to be a human being.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Day Late

I was fully planning on being part of the action day blog, which was yesterday. Apparently, you put a paintbrush in my hand, and I forget about everything else! So I am going to post about the environment today. Better late than never, I hope.

I love the environment of this desert we live in. It is so foreign to me, having lived most of my life in mountains and hills, covered with pine trees, aspen, and juniper. There was that brief stint on Maui, but otherwise, I am a mountain girl. The desert seems so stark, at first. Yeah, it is dry. However, upon closer inspection, there is an abundance of plant and animal life here. I have only begun to get to know all of these hardy plants and critters.

On the daily walks with Pono the dog, I am slowly aquainting myself with our new surroundings. One of the disturbing things we have discovered is that for some people, the desert seems to be a giant dump. If there is a dirt road, leading off onto empty land, you will find piles of debris - old window panes, beds, disintegrating sofas, glass, tires - anything imaginable. Just two blocks away from our house I have already discovered at least 4 of these piles of trash.

I respond to them in a way that is similar to seeing a car crash. It is horrific, and yet I can't seem to tear my eyes away. I find myself moving closer, to see what comprises each pile of stuff. Being a creative person, I also wonder if I will find something that will inspire me, or something I can use to make art. The funny thing is, I really am not much good at assemblage, or found object art. I have a friend, emmet, who is really amazing at putting together things he finds in alleys, but I usually don't like what I end up with. Yet, I can't stop myself from perusing these piles.

Despite my fascination with the trash, I have to say that the desert is so much nicer when it is in a more pristine condition. On our camping adventure last week, when we stayed overnight at Cactus Flats, one of the best qualities of that place was that I saw very little trash. It still seemed quite untouched, despite the 4 wheel drive roads criss-crossing the area. It was the way I imagine Joshua Tree looked before people began developing it.

I often think that human beings have the opposite of the Midas touch. Everything we touch is destroyed. That is a severe judgement, I suppose, but when I see trash all over the place - blowing Walmart bags in the wind - it comes back to my mind. Our environment is not as resilient as we may want to believe. No matter where I have lived or travelled, I have seen piles of trash in places where I would rather not see it. I have taken up the habit of picking it up, putting it in my pack, and carrying it home with me. But I do think if each one of us made a more conscious effort to not only pick up the trash we see, but also try to produce less of it (reduce, recycle, reuse!) this problem could be tackled. Wouldn't that be cool?

I leave you with one of the paintings I worked on yesterday. It is an older painting, one from the series of 100 I did for my gallery in Colorado. Yesterday, I reworked it. It is oil on canvas, and measures 12 x 12.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The search for galleries

I took Matthias to the airport this morning (at 5:40 am!). He is on his way to Louisville, to begin his training with UPS. It is exciting! Waking up so early has thrown off my usual patterns, and consequently, I haven't gotten much done today. I will feel good about posting in my blog.

I have been meaning to get into the studio all day, and still haven't done it. It is the coldest room in the house, it seems. It is pretty warm outside, and in the rest of the house, but when I walk into the studio, I can feel a definite drop in temperature. I have a severe aversion to cold, and I know this is a problem I need to solve very soon. I know it will be much warmer here in Joshua Tree this winter than in Salida, where we came from, but I did not move here to be cold! So I will have to find a way to warm up my studio for the winter, so that I won't have another excuse to not be in the studio.

You would think, as a full time artist, that I would paint all the time. It is amazing how difficult it can actually be, to paint all the time. I know I will never be one of those "painting a day" painters. I don't find it interesting, nor do I think it is good for my creative self. I need a lot less structure in my life, in order to tap into the creative strengths within. I do hope to develop a better routine for more consistent painting. I am not too worried about it right now. Everything in our lives has just gone through radical change, and I have moved enough times to know that it takes a while to settle in. I am going to give myself a couple more weeks, but then I plan on developing a consistent schedule for painting.

One thing I have noticed is that it is easier for me to paint when Matthias is out of town. When he is home, he completely disrupts my patterns. He doesn't intentionally do it, but it happens every time he comes home. I do think that if I set a schedule for myself even when he is home, I will be able to stay within my schedule, and still give him the time and attention he deserves. So this is something I am going to work on.

Part of not painting much lately is also due to the fact that I have been spending a lot more time on the business end of being an artist. Art does NOT sell itself, I don't care what anyone says. You have to spend time to get it out there, where it can be seen. You have to learn to talk about it. I am hoping to make the transition from gallery owner/artist to just artist, and so I have been putting together materials to take to galleries, so they can see what I do. I have been visiting nearby galleries, to find one where I think my art would fit. I am also meeting people in galleries, in order to discover gallery owners I can talk to.

I have learned that it is good, as an artist, to be picky about which gallery to put my art in. You want to find a gallery where you can talk to the gallery owner or manager. If you don't have a certain rapport with the people at the gallery, how can you work with them? It is important to establish a certain amount of trust. After all, most galleries don't buy the work outright from the artist. It is almost always consignment these days. So that means, as an artist, I am leaving my artwork with them. I have to feel good about this gallery, this person, in order to do that. Sure, you do sign a contract with a gallery, and have them sign a consignment agreement, but a piece of paper will only do so much for you. I have to trust that they like my work enough to be able to sell it. It doesn't do me any good to have my art in a gallery if it isn't selling. I have to also know that they are going to put the work OUT - preferably ON THE WALL - where it can be seen. You might think these things are all a given, when you enter into an agreement with a gallery, but I have learned not to assume anything. It is better to talk it all out, find out what to expect from the gallery, and what they expect of you, as an artist. A good friend of mine in Hawaii who is an established artist told me once that the artist/gallery relationship is very similar to a marriage. I now believe that is absolutely true. You must communicate! It should be a win-win situation. If they are excited about your work, they will be able to sell it, and then everyone wins. You must be pretty picky, too. After all, this is your work, that you have put your heart and soul into. Why would you leave it with just anyone?

I recently met a gallery owner/artist who was looking for other artists to show in her gallery. She wanted the artist to pay a certain amount of money every month, for a certain amount of wall space. She would also take a commission on any art that sold. These kinds of galleries are becoming more and more popular. I was considering it, until I handed her a photo of one of my paintings and she said, "it doesn't matter what your work is like." When she said that, I knew that I was not going to show with her. If she doesn't care what my work is like, how will she be able to sell it? How will she talk about it, if someone is interested? It felt to me like the only thing that she was interested in was the rent money I was going to be paying her to display my art. She would have more to gain out of this kind of relationship than I would. I would have no guarantee that she would be motivated to sell anything for me. After all, she would be getting a check from me every month, regardless. Plus, her gallery was not close to where we live, so if I would have wanted to go in there and sell and promote my art myself, it would involve a long drive. It was the right decision, not to be in there. I think if I were living in the same city as a gallery like that, I might consider it.

I think oftentimes, because there are so many people creating art, artists feel privileged or flattered if ANYONE will take their art. The competition for wall space is pretty stiff. I have fallen into this trap myself, but I have learned that if you respect your own work, and the time and money it took you to create it, you should demand the same respect from someone who agrees to show it for you.

There is much more to being a successful artist than just being able to paint, but certainly, being able to paint, and creating the time to do it is the biggest part. I hope to have more new paintings to post for you by the end of the week!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Home again

We returned from our VW camper van adventure yesterday afternoon. The van ran pretty well, with only a few minor glitches. We stayed overnight at a place called Cactus Flats, which is a little south of Olancha, on Highway 395. It was beautiful where we were, camped out in the middle of nowhere on some BLM land we found. I finally got a chance to take some photos of Joshua Trees with seed pods on them! Most of the trees near our house don't have seed pods. The Joshua Tree (or yucca brevifolia) does not flower every year. A winter freeze followed by plenty of rain in spring is what will do the trick, according to Joshua Tree, The Complete Guide by James Kaiser. After the Joshua Tree does bloom, the branch will split, which is how the tree gets its distinctive shape. The name "Joshua Tree" was given to these unique trees by Mormon settlers, who thought that the trees resembled the prophet Joshua, pointing them to the promised land. I love these trees!

We also got a chance to enjoy more fall leaves on our leisurely drive home, when we drove to Convict Lake. It was sensational up there!!! The color of that lake was almost indescribably vivid, and the leaves on the trees around the lake were decked out in their finest fall color. If it hadn't been so crowded up there, we would have camped there. But the crowds there deterred us from staying overnight. We did manage to get Pono down to the water, where he could splash around and chase some sticks. Then, we hiked halfway around the lake, drinking in the scenery and warm fall sunshine.
I actually have more to tell you about our journey, and the things we saw, but I need to get ready for the drawing session tonite. More soon!

Monday, October 8, 2007

And the winner is...

Lee!!!! My fellow blogger Lee has won the drawing for the framed art!!! Congratulations Lee! Thank you, everyone who entered. I am sure I will be having more fun contests, as time goes on. Lee, I will ship your art to you on Friday, since I am not at home right now.

Matthias and Pono and I loaded up the new-to-us VW van yesterday, and drove up to Reno. We needed to see how the new engine would run. So we are in Reno right now, and we are going to drive back later this week. It is fun to get a chance to get away for a couple of days, and I am happy that there were some fall leaves to enjoy on the drive up here. Now that we live in the desert of Joshua Tree, we don't see many leaves! Isn't Pono cute, stretched out on the backseat.

I finally found a group of artists that draw from the human figure in our new area, so Thursday night I joined them and got to draw. It felt good to sharpen those charcoal pencils, and work from the human figure once again. Here is the drawing I did during the longer pose. I could tell I am rusty, from not drawing in a while. You can see how my proportions are not quite right. Practice, practice, practice!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

100th Post!!

Well, this is the long awaited 100th post on my blog! I didn't think it would take me so long to reach this milestone, but I am happy I am here. As a celebration and thank you gesture for the faithful readers of this blog, I have decided to give away a piece of art. No, not an original painting. Sorry. It is a framed giclee reproduction of one of my more popular images. Called "Colorado Landscape", the original painting was oil on paper, and measured about 22 x 30". I have always loved the colors in this painting. The giclee I am giving away measures 13 1/2 x 11 1/4" in the frame. The frame can either hang on the wall, or stand on its own. The art is an archival ink jet reproduction printed on a heavy somerset velvet paper. It is matted using acid free matboard. This is a nice piece of art, either for you to keep, or to give as a gift. (Christmas IS rapidly approaching! I know, I know, where does the time go?)

Here's how to win this art: contact me via email with your name, address, and how you found my blog. I will put all the names in a hat and have my husband pull the lucky winner out. My email address is I will draw the names this Sunday, October 7th, at 5 pm. So you must email before that in order to get your name in the drawing. Good luck to all of you! Thank you for reading my blog.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

An orchid and a new painting

This will be a quick post, since I need to get into the studio today. I wanted to share with you a photo of a dendrobian orchid I have in my bathroom. I've had it since we lived in Colorado, and it hasn't bloomed in two years. It was a birthday gift from my parents. (thanks Mom and Dad!) I think it likes the desert sun! Isn't it glorious?

Enjoy the weekend, all of you blog readers. This is blog post number 99 for me! The next post is number 100. There may be some fun and free art in the 100th post, so keep reading. I hope to have more new paintings for you soon soon soon! Here is one more from the most recent series. Oil on canvas, 12 x 12"