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"

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Another week has passed by, and I have neglected my blog fans terribly. I apologize! I find it difficult to sit down at the computer when there are people in the house. My in-laws were here over the weekend, and yesterday, a new friend and her dogs visited us. Today, I finally have a quiet house, and I will do my best to make up for lost days.

Some of you have probably received a postcard from me. If you didn't get one, and would like one, please email me. I will be happy to send one out. I did not send everyone the same image, as I ordered three different ones, so I thought it would be fun to post all three, so you can see them together. If you don't like the postcard you received, I apologize, but I did try to chose carefully! If you want one, don't delay - it will have to be a first come, first serve kind of thing, because I only have a few left! For those of you who are just finding my blog because of the postcard, welcome to the blog! I am nearing my 100th blog post, and I am contemplating doing something special to celebrate this milestone! So stay tuned!

The weather is beginning to cool off at last here in the desert. Yesterday, Pono and I went for about a 3 hour hike with our new friend and her two dogs. It was wonderful to be out in the middle of the day, and not feel like we were going to cook. I know we will have a fun time exploring the area surrounding our new home. Joshua Tree National Park is only minutes away, but I am not sure they allow dogs on the trails there. So we will seek other dog-friendly places for our discoveries.

Pono and Matthias and I did get to visit the ocean on Tuesday, and Pono had a lot of fun, playing with his ball near the water. He does go into the water, and is getting braver about waves, but he has never been much of a swimmer. He likes to lay down in the shallow part, to cool off. He has learned not to drink the salty water, after the disaster of our last visit, so that is good news. I love the ocean. It is nice to be close enough to visit every couple of weeks or so. It is a contrast after living in Colorado, where I was lucky to see the ocean once a year.

Matthias is gone on a trip once again, so new paintings will be coming soon! Here is a sample of a new series I am working on. It measures 12 x 12 x 2.5" and is oil on canvas. I haven't found the title just yet...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another new painting

Here is another painting that I reworked this past week. This one has gone through an incredible amount of transformation. It is large, measuring 30 x 52". I have found photos from the beginning of the painting, so you can follow the progression.

It will have to sit for a while, so that I can decide if this is the final stage. I think I like it better vertically.

My in-laws are visiting, and we are getting ready for a garage sale tomorrow. Feel free, any of you in the area, to stop by and say "hi"!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Process III, the final stage

I have been painting all weekend, and I reworked the painting from "Process II". I thought you may want to see the end result. Hopefully this is it. I have to look at it, and think about it a little first. Sorry, but I didn't take more pictures as I was painting. I simply forgot! I will assure you that it was a long, and agonizing process, however. That painting just needed a lot of attention, I guess. I am sticking with the original title "Winds of Change" and it measures 30 x 38". I do not consider this a large painting. Maybe medium sized.

I also did some small paintings, and reworked another older painting that was started in Colorado. I am tired today, so this is all I am going to write!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Art Boxes

I think I am finished with the two boxes I was working on for the show in the Colorado gallery (cultureclash). If you recall, the show is titled "the Gleaners" and it is art that is reclaimed, recycled, and re-assembled. I had these two boxes that I have been hoarding for a while. One had tea (Earl Grey) in it. I am actually not sure what was in the other box, but the design and kind of wood were the same, except it was bigger. I think they are made from balsa wood, because they are lightweight and light in color. I decided to use these boxes as my "canvas". I dug out an old Vogue book I have, with a bunch of photos of vintage fashions. Then, I picked out a few of my favorites, and drew them onto the boxes!

The first box I did was the tea box. I painted it with two layers of gesso, then did the drawing in pencil before drawing it in ink. I used watercolor to add just a hint of color to it. For some unknown reason, I did not want color on the whole thing. All of the fashions on this box were from 1927, so that is what it is called.

On the larger box I drew this woman in a white satin evening gown. She is so elegant by herself, that I decided not to put anything else on the box. I actually used acrylic to paint her dress - a rare thing for me. Then, just a hint of watercolor on her skin, to give her a bit of color. It isn't quite captured in this photograph, but in person it is pretty cool. The simplicity of it kills me. I am beginning to wonder if I should have just done one drawing on the first box. But no, it is a different thing. The larger box is going to be called "she doesn't have to be naked to be provocative". Or maybe "Woman in White." OK, so the title is still undecided.
I did put a couple of layers of acrylic coating on the finished boxes to protect them, and to seal the watercolor. I think that will seal the paint on the box. The boxes both took much longer than I anticipated, as things like this always seem to. I did have fun.
I discovered yesterday that I have two more of these boxes, and I have already put one coat of gesso on them. So maybe there will be a couple more of these boxes, depending.

It is so out of character for me, these new things. Recycled imagery. Representational. Illustrative. Small. I am not sure how I feel about that. I guess I will wait and see how they are responded to. If you have anything to say - good or bad - feel free to comment. I am interested!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Talent is overrated

Recently I have been thinking about something I used to hear in my gallery often. People would come in, look at the art and say "you are so lucky to have talent! I wish I had talent." I would generally smile, and thank them, or say that I was happy to be an artist. Sometimes, though, I would tell them what I really think is true. Talent really is not that important. Or more accurately, talent alone means nothing. There are plenty of artists out there with more raw talent than I have, who never do art. What matters more than talent is desire. The drive to continue to practice your skills - whatever they may be - and to never give up on the dream. That desire is what has gotten me to the place where I am in my art, and I know it will take me all the way to fulfillment of my goals as an artist.

So from one stubborn persistent dreamer to any others of you out there - don't give up!

I am working on a couple of pieces for an upcoming show at cultureclash gallery, in Salida, Colorado. It's called The Gleaners, and it is reclaimed, found and re-organized art. Hopefully, some good progress will be made today, so I will have something to post soon.

I leave you with a watercolor of a white seashell that I painting when we lived in Hawaii - about 5 years ago!

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -Stephen King

Monday, September 10, 2007

Process II, When Frustration sets in

For any of you who read my earlier post about process, here is a follow up. A day or so after the last painting was worked on, I started another. I find it is good to have several paintings going at the same time, so that when one begins to get muddy, you can set it aside and still have another painting to work on. The paintings seem to influence each other, and I learn more this way.

This new painting did not go as smoothly for me as the first one. (By the way, that first painting I have decided to name "Change is Inevitable" and it measures 30 x 36".) I used the same steps as on the earlier painting. First, I chose my sketch and taped it to the wall, where it is easily seen. Then, I did the drawing in black charcoal. The black charcoal lines were reiterated in oil paint. Again, the drawing is not about reproducing the sketch perfectly, but about finding the most balanced composition on the canvas. Right away, I ran into some issues, since the sketch is on a square piece of paper, but the canvas I used is much more rectangular. You can see how I started to stretch out shapes to activate more of the space.

It's hard to say where, exactly, this painting began to fall apart for me. I was having fun at the beginning, but looking at the photos, I can see that the composition is not solid because of the difference in shape between the sketch and the canvas. I did begin to add color, and advance the painting in much the same way as the first painting.
You can see that I am still turning the painting, as I usually do, to make sure I am working the whole surface of the canvas.

I still like the loose expressive qualities of the brushwork at this stage. I use very little medium when I paint, because I find that the medium is the smelly part, and my studio space has never been large or particularly well ventilated. So, necessitity is once more the mother of this style I have been using. I love the way thick paint looks anyway. Like frosting, with lots of texture. Yummy. The other thing I want you to notice at this stage is the part in the far left of the canvas. This will eventually become the crux of the whole painting for me.

I realized I had this space over in that area that somehow felt empty. You can see that I thought making some kind of visual texture might help it, so I used circular brushstrokes to fill in the blue area. That area began to irritate me, and even though I kept turning the painting, to work the whole canvas, that ONE section got the most attention.

One thing I did differently with this painting is that many of the shapes became closed within the edges of the canvas. The other painting had a lot more areas where one color melted into another, without the benefit of lines (or boundaries, as I sometimes think of them.) I continued to feel irritated, and ultimately ANGRY at that troublesome section on the left. (Now it's on the right side.)
I worked much longer and harder on this painting, at one point I even took it off the easel and walked it into the other room! I reworked a tiny painting to list on etsy, and completed two miniature paintings, the whole time obsessing over this big one. I finally caved, put it back on the easel, and worried it some more. The whole time I felt very dissatisfied.

Interestingly enough, This second painting, called "Winds of Change" is the one Matthias says he likes the best. I still like the first one better, but at least I don't hate this one as much as I did when I finally took it off the easel.

I have yet to decide if I will rework the "Winds of Change". I am feeling pretty good about the first one, but you never know. That one may get a facelift, as well.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Settling in

Adjusting to a new place always takes some time. I am adjusting. I am still feeling that burn to paint, but I walked into my studio today, and realized I still have some books that need unpacking, some boxes that I should sort through, and various other distractions. Needless to say, all that settling in is keeping me from new creations, as it keeps me from my blog. Ultimately, I am sure I will sort it all out. I find it interesting, how easy it is to be lured away from creating new art, even when there are several ideas in that brain, waiting to be realized.

The good news is that I have posted some more of my monotypes on etsy! There are even a couple of really nice framed ones, so feel free to hop on over and take a look at them! click HERE. Here is a photo of one of the new listings. I have over 75 pieces of art on the site, so it is well worth your perusal.

Yesterday, Matthias and I finally found a Volkswagen van to call our own. For those of you who know of our saga, it has been an amazingly long and difficult task, finding a van that would fit our budget and be functional. I am so glad the search is over. Her name is "Gordita" (little fat one) and she is cute as can be. The people who we bought her from are from Puerto Rico, originally, and they are the ones who named her. (for those of you who might be wondering. No, we don't speak much Spanish!) She doesn't run, at the moment. She is suffering from a hole in her heart. (her motor blew up, and there is a hole from a thrown rod, whatever that means.) I am sure Matthias can fix her, and we are excited to get her running, load her up with dog and surfboards and drive her to new adventures. We got her from some really lovely people in Irvine, and had to have her towed out to our home in Joshua Tree. Here is a photo of her on top of the truck. Isn't she awesome? It was a long journey for the tow truck, since he got a couple of flat tires on the way. I felt bad for the tow truck driver. It was a pretty hot day to be changing tires on a tow truck. (I keep wanting to type "toe truck"!) At last she did arrive, and was unloaded into our dirt driveway.

I swear there will be more new art coming soon! (Do I say that too often?)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pono and a bear

This is just for fun. I wanted to see if it would work, since this video on Blogger thing is rather new. Hopefully, I am computer saavy enough to figure it out! This is our dog, Pono, having a close encounter with a stuffed bear on wheels. Pretty scarey, if you ask him...