Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Studio Tours

I know you are all probably dying to know about last weekend and the Open Studio.  I am sorry to make you wait so long.  It was SUCH a busy, wonderful weekend!  I am ashamed to tell you that I was so mentally overwhelmed that I didn't manage to take ONE SINGLE PHOTOGRAPH!!!  Oh no!!!  Then, it was over.  The other artists took their art home with them and I suddenly found myself remembering that I had forgotten to take photos.  Can you believe it??  Sorry!!!  I am a sorry excuse for a blogger, that's for sure.  I did take some "after the fact" photos yesterday of my art, once I was beginning to think clearly, but I know it isn't the same.

I will admit that I am still exhausted.  I am feeling better every day, but I am amazed at how much the preparation and the event itself took out of me.  I think what happens is that I got so used to operating at 100 miles per hour, and then I had a whole bunch of people visit me and talk to me all day for two days.  The next day, when it was all over, I found that I was incredibly tired, but there was still this little part of me that was trying to stay busy, since I had gotten so used to being busy but tired.  It took that first day to stop feeling busy, and then yesterday I finally was able to sit down and rest a little.  I have gotten work done today, but I plan on a short day and then more rest.  Perhaps by tomorrow, I will be regular Karine once more.  Let's hope so.

All and all, it was such a fantastic weekend!  All of you who came - THANK YOU!!!  What a wonderful crowd we had!  I got so much great feedback on my art, that I am itching to get back in the studio and paint again very soon!   I am happy that four of us decided to show together, because having the other artists there made the whole weekend so much more fun, and easier, too.  Thank you, to Nora Lousignont, Esther Shaw, and Marjorie Franklin for agreeing to show your work here at my house.  You are all talented artists and amazing friends. 

I will be announcing the winner of my most recent giveaway in the next post, so if you haven't entered yet, do it now!

Friday, October 23, 2009


This is my 200th post!!!  Wow.  It is amazing.

I am nearly ready for the Studio Tours tomorrow.  Just some cleaning and minor tweaking and I'm there!!!  It's very exciting, but I need to get a big sleep tonight, because I am already exhausted.

Here is a photo of the biggest painting in the show tomorrow.  Because size matters.  60 x 48 inches.  Oil on canvas.  Untitled in Blue.

I promise to take photos for those of you who are too far away for the visit!  I love you, dear readers!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quickly, on Wednesday

This will be a short post, while I eat some breakfast.  I finally feel like things are coming together for the upcoming Studio Tours this weekend.  Yes, I still have a lot to do, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I posted one of these new paintings last week, but here they are, side by side now.  I am not sure if I will be showing them this weekend, since they still feel just a little wet.  Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, the oil paintings are taking a bit longer to dry.  I am still pondering a title.  I am open to suggestions!  These are oil on canvas, 24 x 8 inches (I think.) 

My next post will be my 300th post on this blog!  Can you believe it?  I have decided on another giveaway, since that is so much fun.  This time, the prize will be a SUR-prise.  I will give the prize to whoever manages to come up with the best title for these two paintings.  Leave your title as a comment!  I will choose the winner AFTER the studio tours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Long Days

I have been busy getting all of my new art ready for the Studio Tours.  It is exciting, yes, but also exhausting.  I am a little stressed that I won't be ready for people to descend upon my studio.  Nevertheless, I am going to go ahead and invite you all to come and visit me!!!  I WILL be ready, it just doesn't feel that way right now.  The Studio Tours are this coming weekend, the 24th and 25th of October, from 9 to 5 pm.  If you are nearby, and interested in coming for a visit, please email me at  I will send you directions to our house.  I will have three other artists and their work here, in addition to my own.  For more information about the tours, visit the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council website here, or the Hwy62 Art Tours website here.

Last week, Patricia asked me if I could share with you what I think about when I paint.  I have been pondering this question ever since it was posed to me.  It is not an easy question for me to answer, because the process of painting for me is so intuitive.  I suppose when I begin to paint, there are all kinds of thoughts that sift through my mind.  I never have a clear picture in my mind of what I want the painting to look like when I begin.  I know some artists do.  I usually do not.  Sometimes, I have a feeling or an idea in my mind.  However, there is no clear vision of what I am going to paint.  I find this approach to be exciting and compelling.  I have a process, or maybe a ritual, before I begin to paint.  It is a series of steps that I take to help me reach almost a meditative state.  I have found that my best work happens when I am NOT thinking.  At least, when I am not allowing my rational, chattering mind to be the instigator of my marks.  It is better when I am almost unaware of what is happening, on a conscious level.   I remember once reading about East Asian calligraphers, and their process for preparing the ink before practicing calligraphy.  This has been years ago, and I am sorry if this is inaccurate, but what I remember was that the process of grinding the inkstick into liquid ink was a slow, methodical process that helped the calligrapher prepare his or her mind for doing calligraphy.  It was after reading about this process that I decided to develop a process of my own. 

When I paint, I always listen to music.  The music is like the string that holds a strand of pearls together.  It is the unifying force in a painting - leading me from one stroke to the next.  I don't really think of myself as being in charge of what happens on the canvas.  I am more like a spectator.  This probably sounds rather far-fetched, but this is exactly how it feels to me when I have reached the state of consciousness that produces my most inspired work.  Other creative people have referred to this kind of inspiration as "the muse" or the divine force.  I suppose it could be whatever you want to call it.  If you have ever experienced it for yourself, than you will know what I am talking about.   It is a wonderful state to be in, because everything else in the world seems to slip away.  I lose track of time, I stop thinking about worries, what I have to do tomorrow, what I have to do today; anything that might wander through my mind normally is just pushed aside.  I like to think that a part of this feeling can be conveyed in the finished painting.  If you asked me what I wanted to convey in my art, I would say that I want it to be the kind of thing you could look at to help you forget about your cares.  I am interested in creating art that lifts the spirit, much in the way I feel my spirit lifted when I listen to my favorite music.  (I once thought if I could paint a painting as powerful and beautiful as Handel's Messiah, I would really have done something.  I think about that as being my ultimate goal as an artist.)

So, my friend Patty, when you said my paintings seem ethereal, I feel encouraged, because I think that perhaps I am beginning to convey my intention clearly.  I hope this answers your question.  If any of you readers have other questions, please feel free to comment and ask me!  I will do my best to anwer.  Thanks, and good night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday's vulture

I forgot to tell you about the turkey vultures last week.  They migrate over Joshua Tree at this time of year, and one day last week on the morning walk with the dog, we startled a bunch of them that had been roosting in a neighbors tree.  Pono loves to bark at birds, especially big ones.  So, when the first few vacated the tree, Pono became very excited and began to bounce up and down, barking.  There was some difficulty getting a good photograph while hanging onto a bouncing dog's leash.  Luckily for me, there was this one brave vulture on top of the power lines that was not perturbed by Pono's antics, so this is the bird I photographed for you.  Unfortunately, I only had my little point and shoot camera, so the close up isn't that great.  I found out that turkey vultures don't build nests for their young.  That one fact seems to stand out for me, for whatever odd reason.  Also, when they fly, they rely on thermals to stay aloft, and only beat their winds infrequently.  It is really breathtaking to watch a large group of them in flight for this reason.

One more new painting, and I must then wash my dishes.  This one measures 24 x 8 inches, it is oil over acrylic on canvas, and I think the title is "Memories."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday's Jackrabbit

Another week begins with a cool, cloudy day. I may not be a fan of the cold, but if it rains, (which it might) I will not complain. We haven't seen rain in far too long. Even the desert needs rain, every now and then. When we don't see rain, the native creatures get creative in their quest to survive. This morning, when I went outside with Mr. Pono the dog, I discovered that one of the drip hoses for my plants had been pulled out of the ground and the end of it had been chewed off. Part of the hose was in the middle of our dusty dirt road. I have learned to bury the irrigation system, but clearly even that won't protect it from the thirstiest of varmits. If I had to bet on who the culprit was, my money would be on the beloved jack rabbit. They are cool-looking and have wonderful ears, but they are also known to eat any landscaping plant known and basically cause gardening mischief.

I have still been hard at work in the studio, but this is my last week of oil painting before the Art Tours. For those of you who aren't aware of it, an oil painting can takes weeks or even MONTHS to dry completely, depending on how thick the paint has been applied to the surface. I don't want to end up with a bunch of wet oil paintings when I have people wandering through my studio. That's just asking for messy, oil paint disaster. Knowing that my days of oil painting will be interrupted is enough to make me feel desperate and slightly panicked. I am so much in the groove of the painting process right now that I dread the idea of this interruption, no matter how needed it is. I guess that is what you might call a painting addiction.

I leave you with a photo of one of the newest oil paintings. It may not be finished yet. I am still thinking about it. It measures 24 x 30 x 2.5 inches and I have titled it "The Elements." So far, it has met with mixed reviews.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Thursday Evening

Some days are such a challenge. I wish I knew why! All day, my plan was to get into the studio. First, my Dad called. (Hi Dad!) Then, I had to catch up with my friend Nora, who has been away. My hairdresser called, and said he had a cancellation, so if I wanted my haircut before November, I needed to come in at noon. (This was good news, because I did need a haircut.) As I was getting ready to make a little something to eat, my dentist called to say, "uh, Karine, you were supposed to be here about 10 minutes ago for a cleaning!" OOOPS!!! So I discovered how quickly I can brush my teeth and get to the dentist's office. I had just enough time to grab a quick taco and let the dog out before my haircut. When I got home, hair freshly cut and styled, I realized I had forgotten something at the hairdresser's. Back to the hairdressers. Blah blah blah... The whole day just continued in this fashion, until next thing you know, it's dark. I am getting spoiled now, and don't really like painting in the dark anymore. Besides, I had blogging to do!

So, no studio time today!!! I am disappointed, but I also know that missing one day in the studio means I will be REALLY committed to being in there all day tomorrow, so I am not going to lose sleep over it. (well, maybe a little...)

After visiting some of my favorite blogs, and leaving comments, I have decided I am going to write a book using the "words" that you have to enter to get your comment to post (in blogger). You know, wonderful words like "phoatr" or "ratonize". I mean, these "words" MUST mean SOMETHING!!! They just have to! What about "keysly". I am pretty sure that is an adjective. The keysly young girl just HAD to have ice cream on hot days. Something like that. Sometimes these "words" appear in Facebook, when you are about to post a link. Is this a sign that I spend too much time on the computer??? I think I know the answer to that, already.

I leave you with another one of the new monotypes, this one is a gold jackrabbit, measuring 5 x 7 inches.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I feel like the luckiest girl. In the mail, just last week, I actually got a letter. A real, bona fide letter! I have been reading posts from fellow bloggers recently, referring to letter writing. This recent attention in letter writing has lead me to make an effort of my own to write letters to people more often. Letter writing is something I used to love to do, and I used to both send and receive letters frequently. With the advent of email and facebook, plus all of the other quick and easy online ways to stay in touch, it seemed that my letter writing had fallen by the wayside. Picking up a pen and hand writing to a friend felt like a homecoming, of sorts. I wouldn't necessarily say that I was writing so that I would receive a letter in return for my efforts, even though getting a letter is such a delight. No, I simply wanted to write letters, and show my love for people in this way. I do receive letters in return from one of these dear people, and I am always delighted. But the letter I received last week was unexpected in the most wonderful way!

This letter came from a friend and fellow artist who I knew in Salida, CO. Her name is Cindy Heller (hi Cindy!) and I hadn't really heard from her since moving away. As it turns out, she has been following my blog, but hasn't posted comments so that I knew she was out there, reading. How cool is that? Cindy makes the most wonderful art dolls. I actually have given a home to one of these wonderful dolls. I had the privilege of selling these wonderful creations in my gallery, Cool Mountain Art. I am so happy to find out that I have another fan of my blog, especially one who is so dear to my heart. Thank you, Cindy, both for following the blog and for your divine letter! Here is a photo of the "Wise Woman" doll that I own. I consider these dolls to be dolls for grown girls, because they have wonderful, inspirational sayings on them. This doll says "I color outside the lines." (in case you can't read it.) I never colored outside the lines as a kid, but I am learning to be brave and do so as an adult!

I leave you with another photo of a new monotype. This one is of the ubiquitous desert quail, the Gambel's Quail. I love these funny birds! Their fancy topknot brings to mind a lady with a plumed hat, dressed to go out on the town. They make lots of noise, but are, at the same time, very skittish. I enjoy their antics, and have done little sketches of them as they forage around our desert home. This monotype is a result of one of those tiny sketches, and it measures 7 x 5 inches.

Once again, I want to thank you all for reading my blog. This is for those of you who come by, read and comment regularly and for those of you who pop over once or twice, leaving no trace of your visit. I appreciate each and every one of you, and it is for you that I find the desire to write. THANKS!