Monday, September 27, 2010


The Portable Cushion.  Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches.  ©k.swenson10

Above, a recent painting of one of the beloved desert cottontails that frequent our backyard.  They look so much more innocent when they aren't devouring my carefully planted flowers and bushes. 

The day that I was going to take to go and play last week ended up being swallowed by business-related chores and responsibilities.  Something came up that had to be taken care of.  I am grateful to be able to help with the household finances, but it does have a way of sucking up time like a vacuum.  So, I have contented myself with playing in the studio, as a fellow artist suggested.  And I dance at night, after a long day.  I also find that sitting down with the sketchbook and a ball point pen does wonders for me.  (perhaps I will remember to scan some of those little sketches, so you can see the fun I had...)  I also take mini-breaks during the day to play ball with Pono the fuzzball dog.  I realize that it isn't the studio that I need a break from.  It's all of those other things - the computer work, the dishes, the endless routine of eating and cleaning up, laundry, bills, etc.  That is the work that weighs heavily upon me.  (Do you think Picasso ever had to scrub out a toilet?  Ever?  I don't.  No wonder he went through so many women....)  The studio time is the time I cherish, whether the day of painting is good or bad. 

I am happy to be able to paint.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Messing around with my shadow and my camera.

It has been a struggle in the studio, lately.  I am not sure why.   Biorhythms, maybe.  Or does it mean I need a little time off?  Maybe all work and no play has dried up my creative well.   I guess I need more play.  So, my dear blog friends, I am going to take one day to play this week, and I want you to tell me what you do, for play.  To unwind, to relax, to enliven and to replenish.  Leave your comments, and then I will tell you what I decide to do, for my play.  (Since surfing waves in Hawaii seems a little unattainable right now.)   I know, I could go surfing here in California, on the coast, but even that seems just a little too far and maybe (with M gone) a little too lonely.  Although I do have an untried wetsuit.  (okay, you SEE why Hawaii waves sound better?  No wetsuit, for starters.)   I shall think of something. 

Enjoy your play, my friends.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Late night scorpion

Last night, Pono found a scorpion on the floor in the kitchen.  I was working on the computer, writing another blog post for the Hwy62 Art Tours blog, the Hi-Desert Art Beat, and I was not really paying attention to one fuzzy dog.  He began to huff and snuffle, and then lay himself down in a loud, exasperated  humph!  All of this bustle finally got my attention.  I looked over at my dog, to see him, ears perked, nose down, staring at the floor in intense concentration.  There, between his paws was the invading scorpion.  It didn't seem to be moving much, nor was it dead.  It's hard to say if it stung Pono on the end of his wet, black nose.  I suspect he remained unscathed, because if he had been stung, chances are my rather timid dog would have abandoned the scorpoin.  With my tendency to walk around the house with bare toes sticking out, I finally decided to sweep it up, carefully, into a dust pan, and set it free out in the dark desert night.  Pono watched the whole procedure, and seemed rather disappointed when the object of his scrutiny disappeared. I wish he could talk, that dog.

The scorpion was not large, maybe 2 inches long, and rather pale in color.  (no- I didn't get a photo.  How unlike me!)  This is only my second scorpion encounter since moving to the desert, so I did have to get down on all fours, next to the dog, to inspect it.  The part that sticks in my mind (for some unknown reason) is that when I did sweep it into my blue dustpan, I could feel its crusty body slide into the plastic pan.  I was quite tempted to touch it, and feel the surface of its body with my finger, but the menacingly pointed tip of its tail kept me from satisfying that desire.  Another fun creepy-crawly desert encounter that I never would have had, were it not for the Pono.

I have been working on the computer far too much lately, and so this post will be a short one.  I have a photo of a recent oil painting to share.
Balancing Act, 24 x 18 inches, oil on canvas.  ©karine swenson2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shut up and play the record

Last night found me driving Matthias to LAX and a long time away from home.  I don't expect him to be back in the desert until late December or early January.  We are fortunate to live in a modern era of cell phones, internet and Skype.  I find myself unable to complain to those who had husbands leave for military service or something similar when communication was limited to letters.  Still, the house is empty with only a fuzzy dog to keep me company.  I was pretty upset yesterday, but today I begin to think of all the work I have to do between now and the end of October.  I will be soooo busy, maybe I won't notice.  Too much.  Being married to a pilot is all about learning to be alone and then together, alone and together.  Alone and together.  Times sixteen years.  If you can't toggle between those two states of being, well, then my advice to you is DON'T marry a pilot.  I think I have the husband I am supposed to have, because I am grateful for my solitude, and what it does for my ability to focus on my art.  I am an independent person, and would not do well with a husband who was around me all the time.  Indeed, I am grateful my husband found work, and he is happy about that, too.  So overall, I cannot complain.  I just thought you might like to know.

So, here I am, gearing up for the Hwy.62 Art Tours: October 23rd and 24th, with the Ventura Arts in the Park the weekend before.  If you notice my blog posts are skimpy and somewhat rare, just console yourself with the knowledge that I am thinking of all of you, my dearest readers.  I think of you when I have a brush in my hand and paint smudged next to my nose, knee-deep in another painting.  (If I could figure out how to paint and blog at the same time, you would hear from me more, I'm sure.)  I actually write blog posts in my head, if you can believe it, and sometimes I am surprised that those myriad posts don't show up here, because they never got typed.  Only in my head.

I am reading a book called The God of Small Things, which is set in India and makes me think of my friend Lily, who is learning about mold, leeches and other things related to living in India.  Lily, if you are reading this once-in-a-long-time post, I think of you so often!!!   

Here is a small oil painting, called Sundown II, which was recently finished and framed. 
Sundown II.  Oil on board, 10 x 8 inches.  ©2010 K.Swenson
Hopefully, it won't be another full week before you hear from me again!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


M comes home tonite, late.  I will be driving the 2 1/2 hours to LAX to pick him up.  He will be home just ten days, which I know will fly by quickly.  I have so much to do, but I find it is difficult to focus on anything or sit still.  Perhaps it would be best if I did something that involved not sitting, since that isn't working out very well for me.

I just updated my website with some new paintings from the "Desert Inspired" Series and upcoming events.  If you have the time, feel free to hop on over and take a look!

I am nearly ready for tomorrow night's opening at JTAG (Joshua Tree Art Gallery) in Joshua Tree!  The art has been hung, the price lists typed out, some wine purchased.  I just need to prepare a plate of finger food and figure out what to wear (I know - I'm SUCH a girl).  Then, I will be ready.  If you are in town, I'd love to see you there.

Since sitting still is a problem, I will post one photo and then be off to pace back and forth.
from the Earth Series.  Large Untitled.  Conte and charcoal on torn paper, approx. 11 3/4 x 12 inches.