Friday, July 25, 2008

Love is all that I can give.....

This is actually a sketchbook page I began in California, played with in Nevada and finally finished in Missouri. Traveling art show !!!Not much traveling since November, but I will be off to New Jersey for a quick trip in a few weeks. In the mean time I am working away at my visual journal and needing to finish three 90% done pieces and get started on something new. I have some ideas and reference shots for a still life...we'll see how that goes.

This week-end my DH is going to be gone almost all day Saturday so I am thinking of how to optimize all that art time !!! I want to make a few new journals for gifts and could actually set up a line of work and just rock out. Then again I have an idea about setting up a shallow shelf of some sort to set up my still lifes on. Thirdly (is that a word??) I will have an opportunity to set things up elsewhere in the house and challenge myself to paint as quickly as possible. so many ideas, so few hours !!!! I should also go for a run, clean the house, do some laundry, vacuum, scrub the bathrooms and all that fun stuff. je refuse !!! I am tired of wearing myself out doing stuff that could really be done when DH is around and can maybe even help...OK I am on drugs with that last line.

Having free time..or husband free time as the case may be is like suddenly finding yourself with an extra, unexpected $100. You can come up with so many ways to spend it that you wind up going way over $100.

Gotta sit down and breathe.

I am going to do this: Pour myself a large glass of iced tea and go up into the studio. Clear my work table, get some clean water, put anything I can trip over away. Then I am going to pull out one of my sketch books..not a good one..One of the cheapies I sometimes get for free when I buy supplies at Dick Blick...pull out my pencils and start to draw. what to draw ????? Well, I'll either grab some fruit or already have some decandent pastry, slap it on a pretty plate and simply begin. The flip side, if no fruit or treat to eat when I am done ( after I do get in that run) is to pull something from my stack of reference photos and go for it.

A long time ago and in far away Santa Fe, I took a class in printmaking..specifically, monoprinting using plexi plates. It was wonderful. After the first year, the instructor allowed anyoone who had taken two or more classes to pay a "studio fee" vs, a more expensive class fee to come on and work. I thought that was heaven on earth. For a given amount I got to use the presses, a full palette of printing inks and mediums. I had to pay for my paper, but that was only a few dollars a sheet. I started dragging every art friend I had to this set up. I was amazed when some began to complain bitterly about how they couldn't just "turn on" inspiration to create work at a given hour and place. I was shocked. I planned every precious minute by making sure I had a sketch book full of value sketches, reference photos, hot coffee and the world's most bedraggled apron. I couldn't imagine waitng for inspiration to "strike". I went and set up every trap I knew to trap that sucker and bleed it dry in the 3-4 hours I had to work. I would finish with a stack of finished prints. Wonderful stuff that made use of my "ghost images", chine colle and anything else I could think of to furhter the process. One image would freed off the previous and they would develop like a movie. I could not understand this waiting around trick.

That said, I think I might have wasted some serious time waiting for the "right" moment to get back to my art work. There is never a right time, or an inspired time. There is only this moment. the one we have right now. Nike had it so right. don't think about it, don't do more than a moment's planning . Begin and the finish will follow as naturally as breathing.

There, that breath helped a whole bunch, didn't it ?
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tea wash

Tea for one ! OK I think I may have figured out how to post photos and text. Yipppeeeee !!

This photo looks a little yellowed, it does have a lot of warm colors, but just didn't post quite right. I'll do better on that next time. The teacup series is a way for me to explore color and composition. Still lifes are great for that. I really want to move into including food in the paintings, but we'll get there. The cups themselves are part of a collection belonging to my deceased Mother-in-law. I inherited them along with many other lovely things that I really appreciate. I never had an opportunity to get to know her very well, but I think she had lovely taste in things. Her condo was gorgeous, the result of paring down years of collecting beautiful objects. I consider myself lucky to have these things to play with.

I will do some more photos this week-end. I finished a darling tiny still life. I am working very small with a goal of painting more: instead of a few large paintings that are clumsy to store and not always what I was shooting for, I can experiement to my hearts content in a smaller format. I am even using scraps to dash off book mark sized sketches just for the fun of playing with an idea.

I've been looking at a lot of still lifes by masters lately. What I am seeing is fairly shallow space, a lot of backlighting or very dark grounds to set off very light objects. I actually copied a few Manet still lifes just to understand the lighting. Shadows, especially. I do like a LOT of color in shadows. It seems to prevent the dreaded dead flat pasted oneffect that can happen. Also shadows are important shapes that need to be respected. Yep..better respect those shadows or they will come back and bite you at the end of a painting.

I've been reading "The War of Art" by Stephen Pressfield. His contention is that resistance is a killer of creative efforts is so right on. I am finding more and more that simply creating the habit of going to my studio in the morning is producing more work than trying to hit it for longer periods on the week-end. If you go there, the muse will come. YES !!!
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Red Flowers

I am still working on coordinating photos and text. HTML is not my language. If anyone knows of any tutorials on this please contact me !!!

I have been singing "Bloom, bloom, bloom" to all my flowers. Petunias are doing their thing. I am waiting for my lavender to do something. Ah well. My latest projects have been flowers, teapots and teacups and plenty of tempests in all of them. I hope to photo some and post the latest by Monday. Problem is that I am always second guessing myself on whether or not something is finished.

My other project is to go back to doing some visual journaling. It always seems to give me some bravery in how I use my materials and combining effects of text and image..hmm..seems to be a constant challenge there. Julianna Coles is one of my heroes on that topic and I just invested in some of the guides from her retreats that she sells on her Etsy shop. They were well worth the pennies. The prompts for creating are excellent and thought provoking. I made a "witch book" ages ago in Las Vegas. It actually opens two different and separate ways with a great leather cover. There are even little niches in the center....It has been blank for four years and I hate that, so it seemed a likely victim as it has brown, heavy paper on the larger side, strong enough for paint, pencil, inks, whatever and then thinner smaller sections for actually writing things, though those pages are already splattered with walnut ink. I may have to use a bronzie kind of ink to write things with some splashes of gold leaf.OOOHHH fun !

What Seems magical is that I am taking time in the early hours of dawn to cloister myself in my studio. I paint a little, draw a little, this morning I played in the journal and even wrote a bit. The more I incorporate this into my schedule, the easier it gets to actually create during that time. I also find myself humming along, happy and content,and that feeling carries right into the rest of the day. it is sweet really. I think I am spinning a charm over myself that lasts the entire day and gives me courage and peace to deal with all that other "stuff" I want to say it makes me a better person..a nicer person to be around.

I did "The Artists Way" when I was on vacation in California last year and it really helped me to balance all the swirling energies and personalities that were present in that beach house, tossing around as wildly as the sea outside the windows ! I will be facing a similar circumstance in a few weeks visiting my home state, essentially to say good-by to a parent succumbing to illness. There is much agitation connected to this parent and I had my concerns about the trip, but I really believe I can weave a protecting charm with my paints and pens and come out the better for it. I will let you know how that turns out.

Enjoy the blooms.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

studio views

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I'll figure this out

...but not today. I am trying to figure out how to add text to a post after I have uploaded a photo. I just need to play with it and I'll figure it out.

Anyway, the painting for today is on Yupo ..a plastic paper which creates very juicy effects and takes forever to dry. It was fun to use in Vegas, but tougher here in rainy SL. I took some newer photos this morning and will try to get them up within the next week or so.

My challenge of late has been to create a "glow" within my paintings. Besides saving whites, you can light up a watercolor by layering glazes of cool over warm. I've been using teacups as a vehicle for the game, trying for more transparency and light. Purer colors definitely help. Repeating an image over and over again also refines the drawing and composition.

Now for true confessions: Recently I have been doing most of my work in the wee hours of the morning. My alarm is perpetually set for 5:00 am. Two mornings a week I get up and run three miles. Two mornings a week I get up and walk three miles. Two glorious mornings a week, I get up at dawn, grab my coffee cup and tiptoe back up the stairs to my studio. At dawn's arrival there is no one else moving in the house. My DH is sleeping, the dogs are are dreaming of birds to find and I am mixing washes or drawing away with my color corrected lamp trained on my work table. This is a wonderful hour of silence and much can be accomplished in little time without telephones, hungry hubbies and bored pups. I've tried to grab time in the evenings , but it is 7:00 pm by the time I have finished cleaning up in the kitchen and after 8 hours of running a non-art related business, grocery shopping, housecleaning..such as it is..I am wiped out. I want to put my feet up and escape in a novel or movie, but at the early hour, I am full of steam and ready to rock.

I begin by spraying my palette into life, letting the moisture seep into the fat globs of paint while I clear a space or do a quick drawing. The recent regime is to lay down some warm washes..all those lovely quinacridone golds, reds and coral. This has inspired me to expand my yellows and think of them as light bulbs that will light up the rest of the painting. This has to dry before I can do anything else, so I pick up a painting that is further along. This mornings piece was a vase of flowers..great pink blooms of roses accents by yellow daisies and some tiny purple flowers. The large washes were done and it was time to do those little flowers and petals...which really starts to bring the painting to life. I did get a lovely glow in the shadows and vase. I could have left more whites, but I can scratch some of those in later.

My hour is disappearing but I have two wet paintings at my feet. Now I pick up my studio journal and a nice juicy pen which writes very quickly and allows me to keep my touch very light. My musings involve the work at hand as well as any perceived miracles I have witnessed which may be spice for another painting. Yesterday's walk was filled with a magic spectacle. I follow a trail through the woods to a very small creek, check out the frogs and the fish and then start home. That mornings I had just popped out of some rather dense underbrush when a huge heron came flapping by me, not ten feet away. He didn't even see my, but was sailing along the creek bed, probably also looking for fish and frogs. He was so majestic looking slowly flapping his great wings, legs tucked up. Amazing. I could hardly breathe. He disappeared around a bend in the creek, but I kept looking for him as I walked back along the trail. Now I know he lives there and I'll be looking for him.

Yupo This !!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This would be my goal for this week-end. Of course, I am already heavily scheduled with a wedding in my husband's family, but I plan on mini-retreating as much as possible in my studio or perhaps at my favorite lake.

I would like this blog to share my art creations and paintings, maybe a few insights and no doubt, plenty of whimsy. Please be patient with me while I figure out how to upload photos of those projects.

Hmm, would you like to know more about me ?

Oh, I am a Diva. You can ask anyone. I won my first art competition when I was nine.....entered it without telling my parents and put my Mother into shock when they called to tell her about her little artist daughter. The prize was an illustrated dictionary and a gift certificate for an art supply store. I remember I bought plenty of paint and paper as I was never sure about the flow of those kinds of things.

I practice Belly Dancing while the microwave warms my dinner. My dogs love that. They are Shadow and Covey. covey eats paper like some folks drink wine..a properly prepared piece of Arches 300 Lb. is caviar to this guy. He is NOT allowed in my studio. Shadow shadow. she finds a comfy place to curl up while I scribble away.

I am a Dawn Treader. I jump out of bed at 5:00 am and either paint or run or walk. I love watching the morning light change as wander around. I have much more energy at this time than I do in the evenings. The brightening sky amazes me. Maybe because I lived out West for so many years and Dawn came very quickly there. Here it is slow and colorful. this morning the colors of the sky were amazing. Just like the painted clouds in Caeser's Forum shops. Ooops. I just gave away one of my more Western abodes. I lived on a plateau in the middle of the New Mexican desert, too and for awhile on the gulf coast of Texas. I grew up on the Jersey Shore and even wear a T-shirt from newark airport the claims my heritage as a "Jersey Girl".

Are you still with me? I moved to SL four years ago, started another business and just now kind of picked up my head and said "OOps, I must have landed"

So now we should go from here........I'll show you my work, my projects and share a few dreams as divas tend to.
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