Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cool weather approaching

At least that's the rumor. I have to admit that I am NOT looking forward to cooler weather. Mainly because I hate being cold, and in the winter I am always cold. Cooler weather means eventually cold (for me) weather, and has me in a state. Such a state, that I drank an extra cup of hot tea this morning in preparation, bought two pairs of extremely fuzzy socks, more boxes of hot tea at the store, and has me looking at a possible new blanket purchase. And it still got up to 88 degrees (F) today. I am one of those freaks who likes the house to be right about 78 or 80 degrees. When it dips down too close to 70 degrees in the house, I am reaching for a sweater and a pair of slippers. You may think I am exaggerating, so if you need confirmation on this, just ask my husband. I drive him crazy once the cold winter sets in, because I complain a lot and spend most of my time sitting next to the space heater. Please don't let it get cold too soon. Thanks.

Despite my tendency to keep my nose pointed down much of the time while walking outside, I have not seen any more tarantulas or snakes lately. I have noticed fresh new snake tracks, etching their way across our sandy dirt road. I look near the bushes where the tracks disappear, but no snake. What I have found about fun desert encounters of the creepy critter kind is that they only occur when you are least expecting it. Perhaps that is why so many times we are startled by the random slithering snake or fuzzy tarantula. I can't explain it. All I know is that I am often hoping for an encounter. I am not what you would call a girly girl. You know, the kind of girl who screams at snakes and lizards. Having said that, I wouldn't call myself brave, either. Certainly, I have been startled by the occasional coiled rattlesnake on the trail I am running down. I guess maybe it stems from all those years I spent as a youngster, dressed in black, strange hair, listening to music about vampires, snakes, lizards and other things that most normal people are repelled by. I think I have always felt somewhat repelling, myself, and so I recognize a bit of myself in these desert denizens. Whatever it is, I am fascinated by this desert, and eternally impressed with ANY creature that can call this place home.

I leave you with one more of the new birds. This one, called "Speak Softly" is an 8 x 10 inch, hand pulled monotype. Even more are lined up, drying, waiting to be scanned and shared with you, my dear blog readers.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Long hours have been spent in the studio, making new monotypes. I have found a lighter weight printmaking paper that is enabling me to get better prints without a printing press, and I am having lots of fun. In my sketchbook, I have many tiny sketches of animals. The sketchbook itself is small - about 6 x 5 inches. So these sketches of animals are often dime-sized or smaller. They are just little quick sketches I do of the animals I see outside the window. As it turns out, many of them happen to be birds. Some of them were so much fun, that I decided to use them for making monotypes. I drew larger versions of these little sketches onto cardboard. (I save cardboard from boxes of crackers, cereal, or other food items.) I then cut the drawings out. Then, they get ink rolled on them, are placed on top of an inked plate, and are printed onto my printmaking paper. I have been using a baren, a pin press and a wooden spoon to apply pressure. For a step by step tutorial on how I print monotypes without a press, click here.

Here are a few of the results. The first one (at the top of this post) is called "Inquiry II", and measures 10 x 8 inches. The next one is untitled, and measures 5 x 7 inches.

This one is "Calling II" and measures 8 x 10 inches.

I hope to have a few of the new ones listed for sale in my etsy shop by the end of the week. I will be sure to let you know when that happens!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Desert Winds at Spezzano Gallery

Happy Monday, everyone! This week will be the last opportunity to view the "Desert Winds" exhibit at The Spezzano Gallery in Long Beach, California. The exhibition features some of my recent paintings along with the art of Esther Spezzano Shaw, Steve Rieman, and Nora Lousignont. It opened on Saturday the 12th of September, and the last day to see it will be this Saturday, the 26th of September. Gallery hours are Thursday and Sunday from noon to 6 pm, and Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 pm. As many of you may recall, I attended the opening reception on the 12th. Here are a few photos from the opening night.
Here is the owner of the gallery, Esther Spezzano Shaw, in front of one of her acrylic paintings.

Nora Lousignont:

Yours Truly:

I failed to get a photograph of Steve Rieman next to one of his sculptures, but you can see a few of his pieces in the first photograph. If you won't be able to make it to the exhibition at Spezzano, don't dismay! There will be another opportunity to see the works of all four of these artists in October, for the Art Tours. Esther Shaw and Nora Lousignont will be showing with me, while Steve Rieman will be showing at his own studio, which is well worth visiting. For more information, you are welcome to email me (karine@karineswenson.com).

You can now sign up to receive an email when I post a new entry on this blog! See my sidebar just to the left. Have a great day, all you dear blog readers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Steven Pressfield

Greetings! I am excited to share with you a miniature interview I got to have with Steven Pressfield, the author of War of Art. Mr. Pressfield also has a blog, and somehow his P.R. representative found me through the wondrous world of the internet. Since I recently finished reading the War of Art, the timing could not have been better.

Karine: Steven, I just finished reading The War of Art, and really loved it.
Even though I consider myself a "professional artist", I have to agree
that resistance is something I fight each and every day before I go into my studio to paint. I am about to begin a whole new body of work, one that is different from the paintings I have been doing for a long time. It is a body of work that I have had resistance to for YEARS! (Which is why I know I need to get started on it, right away.) You offer so much good advice in your book, but I am willing to ask for one more tidbit. How did you convince yourself to finally write The War of Art, when you knew it was outside the scope of your usual writing? (non fiction rather than fiction)

Steven: "The War of Art" was actually pretty easy for me to write because I'd had it in my head for years, from many nights sitting up with friends telling them verbally exactly what's in the book--friend meaning aspiring writers etc. who were stuck and asked me to kick them in the ass a little. So when I got a couple of months between submitting the manuscript of another book and getting feedback so that I could go to the next draft, I just banged it out. So I'd never have to do one of those verbal midnights again!

Karine: My most recent struggle with resistance has come with the fact that I now have so many paintings! I need to market and sell this art! (Not a bad problem to have, but this resistance thing doesn't ever give up, does it?) I am sure writers experience this problem once they have completed a manuscript and now must publish it or have it published. What words of
wisdom can you give for those of us who are facing possible rejection and (ulp!) failure? How does one get back into the saddle?

Steven: That's a great question, Karine. I'm not even sure I'm the best person to answer it. The smartest thing I can say is: "Get help." Find other professionals--agent, publicity person, etc.--whose talents lie in the arena of marketing. Most artists, I've found, are woefully incapable of pimping themselves. I know I am. We need help. That's why God invented the ten percent commission and the monthly retainer.

Meanwhile I've got a really got mini-book .pdf on this exact subject, written by Jack White, the painter. I'll scour my hard drive and see if I can find it and include it in this e-mail. It's called "Mystery of Making It." If I can't find it, see if you can track it down by googling him. You might have to pay twenty bucks but it's worth it. Jack White is a former state artist of the state of Texas. If you can't find this under his name, google Mikki Senkarik (that's his wife, also a painter.) Just e-mail Jack and ask.

Karine: Thank you! I have been now reading Mystery of Making It, and there is a lot of valuable information in it! Some of the information I have heard before, but it never hurts me to hear it again. For any of you out there who are needing more marketing tips, I highly recommend this book!

Last question, Steven: I found that in order to get myself into the studio, each and every day, I have the best success when I follow an established routine or pattern. It becomes almost a ritual, and it really seems to help. Do you have similar habits or routines?

Steven: I do too. See the first chapter of "War of Art." My friend Randall Wallace, who wrote "Braveheart," has a whole series of early morning rituals. His girlfriend calls them "little successes." That's very good. Even a simple "little success" like making coffee or going to the gym really helps, I find. You are not alone, Karine. Rituals get the momentum going.
Have you ever read "Journal of a Novel" by John Steinbeck? You can find it for a buck, I'm sure, on alibris.com. While he was writing one novel (I forget which), he kept a journal ... writing little notes to himself each morning as a warm-up before he started his day's work. Well worth reading.

Hope that helps!

All my best,
Steve P.

Karine: Steven, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! It was fun to have you here, as a guest on Karine's blog. For those of you reading this, I did ask some of those questions with the intent that others could learn a little more about how to get going as a creative professional. The person I have to help me with my marketing efforts is a wonderful person by the name of Alyson Stanfield, over at Art Biz Coach. I highly recommend her book, I'd Rather Be in the Studio, for those artists who are reading to take their art to the next level.

You may also want to check out Pressfield's "Writing Wednesdays" on his blog. Here is a link to the one from this Wednesday.

This post is getting rather long, but I did want to share with you a photo from last night. This is my first real-live in person tarantula sighting!!! Mr. Pono the dog and I were outside after dark, waiting for M. to come home, when I happened to notice this fuzzy giant of a spider just outside the gate. You KNOW I had to get a photo of it!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We have a winner!

You see what happens when I go away for one night? I fall behind on absolutely everything. I had meant to announce the winners of my giveaway on Monday, and now it is Wednesday night! Sheesh. Could I please have a drum roll?

The winner is....AMY from Red Fish Circle!!!! Congratulations, Amy! You are the lucky winner of "Woman with Veil!" I don't think I have your snail mail address, so if you could please email it to me (weenafish@gmail.com), I will put your lovely lady in the mail.

In other news, the high desert has finally decided to cool off a bit. It now gets down in the low 70's or even sometimes the mid-60's at night, and the daytime temperatures are usually in the 90's. (This is Fahrenheit, mind you.) I am enjoying the cool morning temperatures for the daily dog walk/run. Pono likes it, too.

The opening at Spezzano Gallery was a great one. I will post photos this week.

What I really want to post for you today are some of the fun birds by the sea that I watched the morning after the opening. It was a cool, cloudy day, and I was up early enough to have a fairly empty beach to walk along, which is something I love. I can walk on a sandy beach for what seems like an eternity. It feels GREAT to have my toes in wet sand!!! If it had been just a teeny bit warmer, I would have gone for a swim.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Friday night

I wonder how many people are posting to their blog on a Friday night. It's not that there aren't social events I could be attending. There are. A couple of events, in fact, are happening tonight that I could be attending. But here I sit, in front of the computer, posting on the blog instead. You are my newest love, blog readers. How could I go anywhere when I am only thinking of you???

Here is another new monotype from the last session of printmaking. Orange Bird, measuring 7 x 5 inches for the art, came from a dime sized sketch of a cactus wren in my sketchbook. I then drew the sketch onto cardboard, cut it out, and used it for this monotype. I love how the cardboard embosses onto the paper, so the edges around the bird are in relief. There is really no way to describe how fun this process is!

I hope you all have a divine weekend. I am headed for Long Beach tomorrow for the opening of Desert Winds at Spezzano Art Gallery. It's ever so exciting!!!! I am delighted about the prospect of being near the ocean once again. I will definitely have to dip a toe in, if not submerse myself completely in the magic salt water. I will return to again, my dear readers, with salty hair and a grin on my face, once the weekend is over. Until then, aloha!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Giveaway

Greetings, my lovely blog readers! I am happy to announce a new giveaway. This time, I am going to let the winner choose between two different pieces of art. These are both giclee reproductions of a charcoal drawing. Each one comes with its own mat and backing board, all acid free. The paper they are printed on is high quality giclee paper, and the inks are archival. So yes, they are reproductions, but they are good quality reproductions. The original drawings have both been sold. They both measure 14 x 11 inches for the outside mat dimensions. That means they will fit perfectly into a standard sized photo frame, making the framing easy and cost effective. The first one is called "Island Girl" and it is a portrait of one of my friends. I drew it while we were still living on Maui. The second one is called "Woman with Veil", and it was also done when we lived in Hawaii. This woman is another friend, and one of my favorite models.

All you have to do to be entered in this giveaway is post a comment here in the next week. Tell me which one you would like in your comment. I will pick a winner next week.

Here is another new monotype. This one I called "Departure" and it measures 7 x 5 inches.

This is the desert denizen who helped me create the new monotype. Mr. Roadrunner! Usually, they are cruising much to fast for me to get any decent photos, so I was happy this one stayed long enough for me to grab my camera and click away. I did take this photo through a window, which will account for the strangeness. Doesn't it look like he has something to tell us??? Too bad we don't speak roadrunner.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cactus Painting

I am so grateful to you all, my dear blog readers. You provide me with such strong support and feedback. I would be lost without all of you!!! Thank you for reading my blog, for your comments, and for just being there. I would have given this blog up long ago, were it not for all of you. I had so much fun with my last giveaway, that I have decided to have another one this week. Stay tuned...

I finished my third acrylic painting this afternoon. I am planning to enter it in a juried show this weekend, along with another painting I did of the beavertail cactus in bloom. (The show is for "cactus - themed art".) This new painting measures 9 x 12 inches and it is acrylic on board. I am rather attached to it, at the moment, which probably means I just need to paint another one, right? Right.

From The War of Art: "Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn't go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day." -Steven Pressfield

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Upcoming exhibition

I sent ten paintings to Long Beach today for the opening on September 12th. I spent the morning carefully wrapping them in paper for the journey, and making sure each one had a wire on the back, a signature, and a title. I wanted to take more photographs of a few of them, just to insure I had at least one good photograph for my records. Once I had them all wrapped and ready to go, lined up in the hallway, I stood for a moment to look at them. I felt like a mother, sending her babies off to college! It isn't the first time I have taken paintings away for a show, not by any means. Maybe it has just been a while since I have sent paintings away. Maybe it is because these paintings have so many layers of learning on them. Each layer represents a new approach to painting, a new approach to life; new discoveries were made with every new layer of paint. These latest paintings are almost like journal entries, except that each new entry covers the one before it. Whatever the reason, I do feel a bit of emptiness, now that the hallway is empty of my paintings. I should have take a photograph with camera, instead of just my mind.

I had a long day of printing monotypes yesterday. It is the first chance I have had to print all summer, and I was happy to spend a day with the press. I will be posting more of them soon, but here is one, just for now. It measures 7 x 5 inches, and I think I am going to call it "Rig."

I have been suffering from a headache for the past couple of days. I think the smoke from the fires west of us is the culprit. I am thankful they are not closer, but I wish wish wish it would rain. We do have a few thunderclouds building, and I just heard some thunder. Maybe I need to go outside and do a little rain dance. I am sure the firefighters would love a little help from mother nature!

Here is a photo of one of the paintings traveling to Spezzano Gallery tomorrow. This one is called "Blue Lights" and it measures 12 x 12 x 2.5 inches.