Friday, December 20, 2013

Forgot something?

I have. I forgot to tell you that if you aren't local, you can still find a few of my new reproductions (the ones I mentioned in my last post) in my etsy shop.

"The Trickster." Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches
Next year is going to bring about some interesting changes for me. The first one I am going to tell you about is that I am going to teach an online class!!! I have taught a few classes before, but I have never taught an online class. Fortunately, I will be helped greatly by my friend, Carla Sonheim and her husband Steve Sonheim. The class will probably take place in the spring. If you think you might be interested, you can email me. I will be writing more about it in the new year, so stay tuned for more details!

Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading, commenting, and all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


There is a lot of waiting in life. At one time or another, we have all had to wait. Particularly this time of year. We wait in line at the store, the bank, the post office or the doctor's office. We are waiting for the holiday to begin, so we can take a break from our work. The children are waiting until they can open gifts under the tree. The adults are waiting until the new year to begin their diets, the fair weather folks (like me) are waiting for warmer weather. There is so much waiting! I remind myself to be in the present moment, and not jump ahead to some awaited event or moment. But of course, that is difficult sometimes! Isn't it?

The definition of waiting is: "The act of remaining inactive or stationary." Ah, that's the part that drives me crazy - remaining inactive or stationary. So, perhaps the solution to all the waiting is to find things to do: action to take while waiting. Thank goodness for the smart phone, that magical modern device that allows us to while away those moments of waiting in line by playing "Angry Birds", or checking in with Facebook, or whatever else you might use your smart phone for. I have to wonder if that is really the best use of my time. Even if I am waiting, can I spend the time waiting in line doing something else? Maybe I can smile at the person in line in front of me. (or behind me.) Have you ever tried smiling at a complete stranger while standing in line? I think 9 times out of 10 you get a smile in return, even if it's only halfhearted. I have also been known to strike up a conversation with strangers while standing in line. Anything is better than standing in the line, feeling resentful that we have to wait. Because EVERYONE has to wait. 

I am still working on cultivating patience. 

In other, studio related news, there is a lovely little blue building in Old Town Yucca Valley called Eclectica that now carries some of my small desert animal prints. These reproductions had their debut during the Art Tours in October, and were well received. What I have done is a little new - I am printing on canvas and mounting the prints to a cradled birch panel. They don't require a frame or a mat, and they are ready to hang on the wall or perch on your bookshelf. The best part is that they are all priced under $100! If you are looking for that last minute gift, and think you might want to buy one of these new prints, stop by and see them for yourself. Eclectica Home Goods 55818 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Yucca Valley, CA. 760-820-1119. Susan King is the owner, and you will love her!

Just in case I don't get a chance to post again before the holiday, I want to wish each one of you a very Merry Christmas!!! I am grateful you are out there, reading my posts and sending me comments and emails. May your holiday be a fabulous one!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Joshua Tree National Park Art Show & Faire

It was a busy weekend here in the desert. A brand new event in Twentynine Palms called the JTNP Art Show & Faire took place. It began with a juried show, located in the Twentynine Palms Art Gallery. The opening reception for that show was Friday night. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, there were events all day, including an outdoor art festival, music, and lectures. I set up a booth with my art as part of the outdoor art festival thanks to the help of my husband. (thanks, M!)

Here's a rundown of how it all went:
I set up my booth in the driveway on Friday to get everything looking just so. In the process, the wind blew my booth onto my car and one painting was punctured by the booth wall. A few four letter words may have accidentally slipped out, along with some tears. I had to take the walls down and start all over again in the garage. I did finally manage to get it set up, with the help of my husband (I am lost without him!) I took photos so I would know where I wanted each painting to be hung for the show. I had painted about ten new paintings specifically for this show.

Friday night at the opening reception, winners of cash prizes were announced. Amazingly, I won an award for my big coyote painting!!!! I was not expecting anything like that. It is quite a feeling to be standing among other artists I admire and hear MY NAME called. I think I may still be in shock. (but it's a happy shock)

The award winning coyote painting. "Confrontation." Oil on canvas, 35 x 40 inches. ©Karine Swenson2013
Saturday morning, we got up bright and early, drove two loaded vehicles out to the 29 Palms Inn, and spent about two hours setting up my booth. It was very windy in Joshua Tree when we left the house, but 29 Palms was calm, cold and lovely. Only two hours after setting up, the wind kicked in, and we had to tear the whole thing down. This was done while wind threatened to take the entire thing away, and we were graciously rescued by a group of friends who seemed to appear magically. (thanks, friends - you were like angels from heaven!)

A photo of my booth taken with my phone - sorry about the quality. 
Sunday morning dawned cold and calm, so we once again drove two loaded vehicles out to 29 Palms and set up the booth. It turned out to be a nice sunny day, but cold. The crowd was good, and we did make some nice sales. I managed to stay warm by wearing 5 layers of clothes. At 3 pm, we tore the booth down, loaded up the cars and drove home.

All in all, a great weekend filled with triumphs and challenges both. I am still a bit giddy about the award - it came with a significant cash prize. I have to say that it is rare for me to do well in a juried show. I rarely get accepted, never mind an award, so I was taken completely by surprise. When I think about the other art in the show, I must say I was up against some major talent!!! Astonishing.

The show catalog opened to the page with my winning painting, along with the certificate and tile presented to me.
I am grateful to everyone who braved the cold and came to the event out in 29 Palms over the weekend. I also want to thank the people who put the event together, especially the jurors and the judge (Rhonda Coleman) for the difficult task of choosing. I have been in your shoes before, and it can be difficult!

It was a great event, and I hope to be a part of it next year. If you are in the desert and find yourself with a little bit of time, I highly recommend driving to the 29 Palms Art Gallery to see the show. You will not regret it! Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 3 pm. The show will continue until December 29th. You can read more about it here (and see a photo with the overall winning painting and the prize winners.)

In other blog related news, I just want to thank all of you who wrote to me about my blog. Sometimes, all a person needs is a bit of encouragement, and I certainly got it from you. I am pretty sure that I will continue my blog, at least for another year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Moving Ahead

"Moving Ahead." Security envelope, ink, acrylic and oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches.© Karine Swenson 2013 

This is the time of year when I begin to look at my goals. I write goals every year, as a way to continue to grow and improve as an artist and as a human being. I like to review what I did in the past year, and begin to think about the new year, as it rapidly approaches.

If I complete five more paintings, before the end of December, I will have painted one hundred paintings this year!!!!
I also have a nearly full sketchbook, which was another thing I had really wanted to improve on this year.
"Draw more - fill one sketchbook." was how my goal was written. Pretty amazing, when you think about it. As far as being a better human being, one of my goals was "listen more, talk less." I think I may have to have this one burned onto my forehead. There's always next year, right?

How about you? Do you write goals? Do you find it helpful?

In thinking about next year, one of the topics I have been thinking about is this blog. I don't write as much as I used to. I am worried I have lost any readers through neglect!!! I have actually been thinking I may put an end to this blog, at least in its present form. If anyone is still reading, please feel free to chime in, here. I need to make a big decision! Should I:
a) quit my blog, once and for all?
b) begin with renewed vigor and exciting topics next year?

I have had this blog for six years. I have written five hundred and sixty two posts! (563, counting this one) That's a lot! Almost ninety people have subscribed to this blog (thank you, whoever you are!) But I find that I am spending more time in the studio these days, and less time with this blog. I have to wonder if it is finally time to do something else. Write a book? Write articles for other publications? Just paint??? ??? I don't know. I will be interested to hear what you, my readers, have to say about this dilemma.

"Spring Quail." Origami paper, acrylic and oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches. ©2013

In other news, I am going to have a booth with my desert animal art this weekend in 29 Palms. From 10 to 4 pm on Saturday and 10 to 3 pm on Sunday (weather permitting) I will be outside on the "lawn" next to the 29 Palms Inn with many other wonderful artists. There is also an opening reception Friday night from 5 to 8 pm at the 29 Palms Art Gallery for the juried show. This is the first year for this event, and I am excited to be a part of it! For more information, click here.