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 artbizcoach.com. 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!