Friday, February 29, 2008

Self Portrait in Words

I've been tagged by my friend, Priya, on her blog The Plum Tree. So I guess I have to tell you seven things about myself.

1. Ummm...I am naturally a BLONDE, not a redhead!!! ha ha ha It's true. I was a toe-head as a child, with that white head of hair, and it just got more dishwater-like as I aged. And then one day, I discovered HAIR DYE. It was all over after that.

This is a pastel self portrait I did while living on Maui, as a natural blonde.
2. Without my contact lenses, I cannot see the big "E" on the eye chart. (The day I found that out, I cried.) I am quite near-sighted.
3. I just asked my husband what I should tell you about me and he said, "You're very...entertaining." We both laughed.
4. A favorite guilty pleasure is a good book, a comfy chair, and a cup of hot tea. I can read ALL DAY.
5. I like punk rock music.
6. I really love people. They fascinate me. (perhaps the reason I like to draw and paint them!)
7. I once petted a lion. A big male, rumbling LION!!! In South Africa. It was amazing.


Obviously, there is more to me, but I tried to pick things you didn't already know.
Oh, I almost forgot, I am supposed to tag seven people. So, here you are:
Melissa and Emmitt
Linda and Maisie
I'll have to think of number 7 later. I'm too tired to think of more right now!

May you all have a delightful weekend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two new paintings and more Joshua Tree Blooms

I have been tromping all over the desert, in pursuit of a Joshua Tree that is actually blooming. However, it seems we must wait a little longer, my dear blog friends. None of them are QUITE READY yet. I did get some really nice close up shots today, where the buds were actually at eye level. (I am only 5'3", so that is really saying something!). I will have to remember where I found these, so when the flowers start to pop open, I can get more good close ups like this. I think these buds are cool looking already. I have no idea what to expect once they bloom. You can see that this second one is not nearly as close to blooming as the first one. I think in this earlier stage, they really remind me of the protea. (one of my favorite flowers!)

I did paint all weekend, pretty much. I had hoped to finish more paintings than I did. I don't know why it's going so slowly. I did finish two smaller ones, and I am happy with them both. These are flowers, well, they are abstracted. Or should I say I invented them. Yes, that is more accurate. I invented them, but to me they are flowers! I have titled them "Desert Bloom I and II". These are both oil on canvas, measuring 12 x 12 x 2.5". The edges are painted too, and so when they are dry, I will try to remember to photograph the edges.

I don't have much else to tell you. I have been fighting off a cold all weekend. I still haven't gotten sick, but I find that I tire easily, and so I am trying to sleep more and take lots of vitamin C. I swear I will post more when I don't feel so pooped!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rain in the Desert

We woke up to rain this morning!! So rare, and that makes it all that much more special and cool. Pono the dog and I got quite wet on our walk, but Pono decided that being able to splash through puddles is worth the wet ears. A small price to pay.

I did spend time in the studio today. Not as much as I would have liked, but at least I got in there. I am struggling with a larger painting that is really being difficult. I am on layer number 4 or 5 by now, and it is still an ugly duckling. I may just have to leave it at that, and move on. To save my sanity. (If I still have some.)

Here is a painting from earlier this week. I think it's 16 x 12 inches. Small. Oil on canvas. It is a swan, only in comparison to the huge ugly duckling, still sitting on my easel, making me want to light a bonfire.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rambling Along

Well, hello everyone! Happy Tuesday. I guess I have a bit of catching up to do. First off, I just have to mention how much fun the Sia concert was!!!! I loved Sia! She is really funny and charming onstage. More importantly, she sounded GREAT. Her voice just got stronger with each song. It blew me away. We saw her and her band perform in a small club just north of San Diego called "Belly Up". It was a great place to see her, since it was small. It was the first concert of her US tour!!! If you get a chance to see her, I highly recommend it. It did end up being a long day/night, but well worth the sleep deprivation, in my humble opinion.

Yesterday was Pono's birthday. I gave him a bath on Sunday, so he was sparkly clean for his birthday. I made him another recycled squeaky toy, and of course he got plenty of attention. Here is a cute photo of Pono and Matthias, post bath. Pono hates baths, of course, as any dog does. He DOES enjoy the part after the bath, when I rub him all over with towels. We call it "rubby rubbies" (yes, baby talk, I KNOW!!! Nauseating, really) and he gets so excited. That is the best part of bath day. Who wouldn't want to be rubbed all over with a towel??? It feels great!

I spent most of the day, yesterday and today, in the studio. I managed to finish two, well, three paintings, and I started a whole bunch of new ones. I also put layer number one on two larger paintings. I think both of the larger ones are extremely ugly, but I am not going to worry about it, since it is only layer number one. These new paintings usually have anywhere between 3 and 6 layers, so there's no point in getting too upset about it. I am attaching a photo of one of the new ones for your viewing pleasure. (It is at the top - 12 x 12", oil on canvas)

In news of the desert, I found a couple of Joshua Trees that are nearly there in terms of blooms. I have been snapping photos of these things like crazy, I am so excited!! I find that the buds remind me a lot of the protea, which is a favorite flower of mine. In Hawaii, I painted the protea quite a few times, and sold each and every one of those paintings. If I can dig a photo of one of those old paintings up for you, I'll post it. This is just more rambling, but when Matthias and I were visiting South Africa, where the protea has origins, we actually went to a botanical garden full of them!!! It was awesome!

Friday, February 15, 2008

As Promised

Here is one of the other mini paintings. Because I DID promise you, after all. It is about 5 1/2 x 7 1/2". Oil on board. I will be listing a couple of these in my etsy shop this weekend, if at all possible.

We are off to San Diego to see Sia play. How exciting!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine"s Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!! For all of you, my beloved blog readers: I LOVE YOU!!! Each and every one of you. I love you, for reading my blog, for commenting, for not commenting, for showing up as a new number of visits to my blog. You are special to me. If it weren't for you, clicking on this small space of the world wide web, my life would be much different. You make my day.

It was also Mr. Pono's birthday today. I put a squeeky bubble inside of an old toy and sewed it up with my new sewing machine. He gets a lot of pleasure, tearing the toy apart to pull the squeeker out. It's not that I won't buy him a brand new toy, but for the 65 seconds it takes him to tear the toy to smithereens, it seems a waste. It's my own private way of recycling. The best part about Pono and a squeeky toy happens after the squeeky has been removed and "de-squeeked". For days, nay, WEEKS! Pono will carry the squeeky bubble around, and lay it down on the floor. He has this special way of pushing on the bubble so that it clicks. He will come into the room where I am, lay down, and click click click happily with the squeeker. It is very cute and funny. Here is a photo of me and Pono, my lazy doggie. The birthday dog. He also got a new collar from Petsmart, and plenty of treats. He is quite spoiled.

IT SNOWED ON US TODAY!!! Yes. SNow. This is NOT why I moved to Southern California!!! I mean, if I knew it was going to snow on me, I would have stayed in Colorado. AT least you can ski on the snow there. Here, it just blows around, doesn't collect, and makes you cold. UCK!!! but I'm complaining.

Well, I was planning on posting another mini painting, but blogger is being PAINFULLY slow, and I am out of patience now. Sorry. Tomorrow. I promise. Tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joshua Trees will bloom

I am excited, because yesterday, while cruising around in the desert, I noticed that the Joshua Trees are going to bloom!!! Not all of them have buds on them, but I did take photos of three different trees, in various stages of getting ready to bloom. How cool! For those of you who haven't read my earlier post about the Joshua Tree, they don't bloom every year. It seems they require certain conditions for that to happen. It is so exciting. This also means, that by the fall, I should have some Joshua Tree seed pods for someone I promised them to. (you know who you are!) I love that this kind of excitement can make me happy for days.

The other good news is that I took a few of the new paintings down to Christopher Morgan Galleries in Palm Desert yesterday. The owner seemed to be pleased by the direction of my new work. In fact, I put Damar Varnish on three of them, and they will be going back down to the gallery tomorrow. For those of you who aren't painters, Damar Varnish helps seal the painting, and protects it from dirt and scratches. It also provides the surface of the painting with an even gloss or matte finish.

I have been experimenting on small pieces of board, and I thought I would post one for you. I think this one turned out particularly well. It is only about 5 1/2 x 7 1/2" or so, but still, I think it is successful. I have layered several coats of oil paint over the top of heavy acrylic medium that was applied with a palette knife. Once the surface of this painting is dry, I will most likely be listing it on my etsy site, so check back!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The trashed desert

It was another warm, beautiful day in the high desert. Pono and I went for a long walk this morning. Our walk prompted me to write some more about illegal dumping in the desert. It is so prevalent here, and it amazes me. There are many things in life that cause me to feel perplexed, it is true. However, this dumping of trash in the desert gets me more and more each day I am out walking and I run into it. (which is pretty much every day.) I mean, help me out here, what causes someone to wake up one morning and think "I am going to take my old clothes, a pile of dirty baby diapers, and a refrigerator and dump them on someone else's property today." I mean, REALLY!!!

I do understand that it costs money to take things to the dump. I do. Maybe the solution is to set up a fund, where people like me, who hate to see trash out on raw land, can contribute money for those people who can't afford to pay for the dump to take their discards. Do you think that would work? Would any of you contribute money to something like that?

The things I have seen in these piles of trash. I examine them with a combination of fascination and disgust. I often wonder if I will find some "treasure" - something only an artist could find useful. Occassionally, I do find treasures. I found a bucket the other day. It doesn't have any holes or anything. I also find a lot of cool rusty things, which are fun to collage onto things, and sometimes just to look at. I also found this collection of broken glass, and took a photo of myself looking into it. Things like that. But then I run across the occassional dirty diaper or something equally icky, and I have to walk away.

Sometimes I make a point to look up, and focus my gaze on something beautiful, and trash free. Just don't move your gaze down, because there is the reminder of the piles once more. Darnnit.

In other news, spell check doesn't seem to be working in blogger tonight for some reason. I know I have some errors here, but I have to pick Matthias up at the airport at 1 am, and I want to try to sleep a little before hand. So please excuse the spelling! It is not my style, usually. I am happy that soon my husband will be home once more. It has been 2 1/2 weeks! Too long!

One last little gem on today's trash post:

Yes, I do see the little puddle there, but ummmm....this boat isn't going to float here, folks.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Completion escapes me

Another day, and I was SUPPOSED to be painting all day. Instead, I am circling the paintings, finished and unfinished, like a hungry wolf wanting a man's meat but not his proximity. Circling, circling... do I really think I will solve ANYTHING this way??? Sheesh. Finally, after way to much of this circling bit, I decided I needed to do something more casual, more playful, more fun. So I decided to begin a Valentine or two.

Of course, everything is about process for me. I can't just sit down with a blank card and some paint and make a Valentine. Noooooo, I am going to make cardboard hearts, stars, flowers and a crescent moon. I am going to apply gesso to some things. Then, I am going to circle THAT, too!!!! Thank goodness I had laundry to do, or I would have felt like my whole day was nothing more than some kind of endless merry-go-round.

I suppose I could give some excuses. Like the one where I say I just found out that my husband, who has already been gone for too long, isn't going to come home until the 11th. I had hoped he was coming home this Thursday. There's that excuse. I could also use the one where I tell you about how my sinuses are driving me NUTS here, and I am pretty sure there is something in the high desert I am allergic to. There's that excuse. I could also use the excuse that I am feeling a little bit of cabin fever, and I should attempt to go out in public very soon. I mean, I have a lot of excuses. Frankly speaking, what it boils down to is just plain, old procrastination. I have always had trouble completing paintings. I can have 20 paintings in progress, and fight to finish and sign my name to ONE. It's true. I have gotten a lot better about finishing, but it's obvious that I am not cured.

The painting at the top of this post is one of the paintings I have been circling. Oil on canvas, it's about 18 x 24" or so. I have reworked it now several times, and still I am not sure if it is done. I think it is. I think. Maybe. Or maybe the blue has to go. I can't think about it anymore!!!
Good night.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Wind

It surprises me that I haven't posted anything in almost a week. Perhaps it is because I write so many posts in my head, and I mistake those posts for actual posts. You may find this hard to believe, but I am so addicted to my blog, that as my day progresses, I narrate the events, as though I were writing this blog. Is this a sign that I have been sniffing too many paint fumes?

Yesterday, we experienced what my husband calls "super wind". It was incredible wind! Going outside was like walking in front of a sand blaster. My trash can (which is quite big and heavy, even empty) ended up on the other side of the house with the trash scattered all over. I didn't enjoy going out into the sand blaster to pick up trash, but I did it. Pono, the dog who hates disturbances, hid in the laundry room and when I went in there to hug him, pet him and tell him it was okay, he shivered. Poor doggie. Even the water in my toilets was moving around!!! I'm not kidding about that, either! We were supposed to get rain, but there was so much wind, I think it blew the rain away. We only got a smattering, which was hard to discern from the blowing sand. I did get this photo of what a weed does, when blown hard all day.

We adopted Mr. Pono when he was about 4 or 5 months old, and we don't really know exactly when his birthday is. So we decided just to assign him a birthdate, and I chose Valentines Day. You know his birthday must be getting close, because the water board is putting in new pipes all along our street, and last week they put in a brand new, for Pono's birthday FIRE HYDRANT. RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR HOUSE!!! How exciting is that!?!? It is still wrapped in black plastic, but Pono is anxiously awaiting the unveiling. Wasn't it nice of Joshua Tree to give Pono such a special birthday gift??

I did paint pretty much all weekend, but I don't have any photos for you. I guess nothing was exciting enough to take a photo of. I promise I will take some photos soon.