Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all in the eyes of the Beholder

Happy Thanksgiving. Whoops, I missed it ! I had the flu or a whopper of a cold and wound up tucked in bed for four days. Was there a holiday that speed by me ?????? Well before all that hit i was happily covered in paint and working on this and three other pieces. there are several techniques in this one all of which I will keep under wraps for right now, but I enjoyed doing this and love the way it turned out. I wish I had a better photo. I really need to figure out how to scan these images and get more color accuracy and detail. After losing four days, time seems to be compressing dangerously! Hanukkah is slamming on my heels, Christmas is coming and many major life changes are in the offing, which I cannot discuss at this point, but promise to return to later. I had an anxiety attack of the sixth order last night which shook me awake at 1:00 AM and kept me up all night, but things looked better in the morning light. The sky isn't

It has come to the point where I will have to do some rearranging in my studio space as I have created so many new pieces of work that they are taking over all available surfaces. I really don't want to tuck them out of sight as one seems to inspire the next so what is called for is a rehanging of the wall spaces...a good holiday project that I am looking forward to. I almost feel guilty for spending so much time on the studio. I feel like it is tipping into compulsion or even addiction...but I have certainly lived like this before, though not as a happily married person so this is a new adventure. so far there has been patience increasing with need..surprisingly. Usually the rule is an inverse proportion, but maybe that is why we are together. I certainly never complain about his indulgences.

So while strapped to the bed getting over this cold/flu thing I read a really nice book. I am a Dean Koontz fan for many reasons. Yes, I unabashedly love scary stories and have a proud family heritage of doing so. the females in my mother's family scared the living daylights out of themselves on a regular basis with movies and books that are now classics and as an adoring daughter I sat there and screamed with the best of them. Dean Koontz writes scary books...with dogs..great dogs.....supernatural heroes. the newest one is "Breathless" with an Irish wolfhound. Dean also always has his own dog pose with him in his author shots on his books and finally, Dean has received commendations from the Catholic Church for his books (specifically "The Last Door Before Heaven")..I don't think Stephen King ever received that honor...or if he did, he hid it....and his dogs tend to eat people. Anyway,"Breathless" is soothing scary story for scary times..a good read. I blew through it in a day, but enjoyed every minute. It also includes lovable physicists..which I have actually known a few and had deep conversations about the nature of the Universe with that fit Dean's character's views and temperaments. One thing though...Dean makes really bad bad guys...I mean really BAD. they are usually way badder than any monster or alien he can come up with..which may be a statement in and of itself.

So today is still lots of liquids and soup, luckily its homemade turkey barley soup. Probably an early day home from the office and maybe an hour or two playing in the studio. My next book is about cooking in Paris so no more scaries this week.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Far and Away

This is the landscape I have painted for the online workshop hosted by Misty Mawn. After posting on Flickr, it drew the most attention and I am going to have a tough time doing anything further to it. It does manage to look like I have been feeling recently. More peaceful and at peace with the things that are swirling about my world. I can't really decide if it is the yoga and meditation I have been focusing on or simply finally being at the place in my life where it all looks like small stuff and it takes more than usual to get me off center.

I believe painting more, as I have been doing has a bit to do with it also. when you are doing what you truly love, I think people become more tolerant and more accepting of the road bumps in life. I know that after a day of the usual work stuff and coming home, doing the cooking and cleaning and all that, I finally go up the stairs to my studio, put on my apron and begin, an hour or two flies by and suddenly I am tired, but very happy. cleaning things up, preparing for the next step, whatever that may be and finally turning out the lights, I get a glass of wine and sit down to contemplate the day and I feel good.

In the story of Genesis, after God has created the world, night, day, all of the animals and plants and finally humans, God looks at the work and sees that it is good. Then there is rest. I believe there is a message see that one's work is good and call it so, then enjoy it is a state of rest, preferably with a good Shiraz.
Oh, and maybe a friend to share the rest with. This is Demi, our new fuzzy friend. She came to us from New Hope, PA and seems to be enjoying life here in the Midwest, though she is still being very careful about figuring out the rules. I guess I did the same thing when I moved here. Maybe I still am. She is five years old and a national field her favorite thing is her new bed, which she does not have to share with any other pups. Previously she lived with a male wirehair and two border terriers. That was a bit too much competition for Demi so she would take the border terriers out...way out into the fields and leave them there...sometimes five miles away. Then she would trot on home, rid of the pesky pups and enjoy some peace and quiet. Now she just has two humans who lavish her with attention, treats and fluffy beds. She has decided to be a studio regular and curls up on a corner of the carpet and guards the door for me....or from me.....I'm not quite sure which !
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I feel very RED today

Actually it's pretty gray today and very rainy, but Autumn finally bit me on the muse while I was wandering around Dick Blicks and I found these cute little art panels on sale. After kicking through the leaves to get there and seeing humongous piles of leaves on the streets waiting for the leaf eaters to feed, the colors just overwhelmed me completely. I ran home and primed these babies with the last scrapings of my precious Santa Fe jar of gold gesso...sigh.....better to use than let it dry up, I say.

Then I pulled my old faithful palette of Quin crimson, titanium buff and a bit of paynes gray and off we went......and I was not really happy. You can't see it in the photos because the red really overran everything else, but I added some wonderful Manganese blue to those Autumn colors and WOWIE, did they ever POP. I love it.
Now with this leaf portrait, I did a little algebraic thinking in that I created a wonderful background in all those rich Autumn colors, then painted the leaf negatively with white. I added the veining details last. It was fun thinking backwards. Painting like that is such a lovely distraction from the rest of the world. It's like curing hiccups. If you do strange distracting things that are not hiccups, the hiccups disappear. well, maybe your issues don't disappear if you spend a few hours painting things backwards, but they do sort of slip back into a more accommodating that may be a bit easier to live with. Silly little things begin to look more like silly little things and larger things begin to look more surmountable. There are times, when I listen to Beloveds describing the trials and tribulations of their lives, which are very real and very challenging, when I want to just hand them a paintbrush and some paper and leave them to paint for awhile, then come back with a hot cup of tea and some really good pink cookies with cream cheese frosting. What misery could stand up to that form of therapy?
There is that story about the tree that bends in the wind and does not break, because it flexes. The winds just blow through it, around it, but it never gets knocked over. We all get the wind knocked out of us from time to time, but if we remember how to flex and that flexing can be as simple as focusing on something outside some Autumn leaves and trees and some paint and how that all goes together to become something way bigger than just a hour of painting.
I seem to be working in triptychs recently. I like working over a few small pieces and making them fit together, but still be independent like little families of art.

I am also taking an online class with the fabulously inspiring Misty Mawn and painting madly every night. There is a point for every artist where you must find your art family and be inspired and fed by that family. Misty has managed to create that kind of an online ambiance through the website dedicated to the class plus a facebook page and a flickr site. I am amazed that I can be exchanging information and inspiration with a friend in Dubai, along with artists in Australia, North Carolina and just about every other area of the Blessed United States of America. It is magical. I thought blogging was a kind of mystical cyberspace community, but this is another step beyond that. What fascinating times we live in.
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Danger, Danger

Does she look dangerous ?

OK, maybe just scary. she is in a sketchbook that is part of a project designed to create a national sketchbook resource that would tour the country. Every participant receives a moleskine journal and a theme. Mine was "Danger, Danger". So I just jumped on the concept of dangerous women...but not like gun molls and motorcycle mamas, though they may be included. I think women are considered dangerous when they are willing to step outside the cultural norms, whatever they may be. Women in my culture are supposed to be "beautiful", "thin", "young" and probably fair skinned and fair haired. ARGH!!!! so these ladies that are stepping into the moleskine are none of the above. Well, actually the first one was fair haired and I am not really sure I like her. I was getting used to the paper and struggling just a bit on how to handle it. She got appreciably sloppy, which I considered to be an asset. The paper began to wear thin so I glued two pages together and that seemed to help. I think she will get more help before I send this off to its next life.

But I liked this one. I recently discovered I have some close Maori blood flowing within my little heart. It had been kept somewhat of a family secret as the Maori people weren't considered the very best kind of folk in England, from whence this part of the family originated and it certainly wasn't deeply appreciated by certain Scottish-American parts of the family so it was agreed that we were of Philippine origin to account for some rampant dark skin, bulky builds and strange dietary preferences ( I eat lots of very spicy foods along with anything that comes out of the sea..preferably raw) . So I have been researching the Maori people and one of the things they are somewhat known for is some wild tattoo art. so this dangerous lady has some definite ink. I am feeling even more to come as my pen doodles are getting pretty wild even by modern ink lovers standards.

I worked on my golden canvases this week-end, but I am saving those for a before and after kind of blog. I had decided late summer that I needed to expand my range of experience a bit on a weekly basis and signed up for some yoga classes..which I adore....and a series of talks and meditations on "The Sacred Universe". Both of these are sponsored by a place called the Mercy Center. Mercy a spiritual adventure supported by Catholic nuns and has wonderful grounds that include a large labyrinth with a magic tree at its center, chocolates flowing forth at the front desk and some of those most wonderful people you could imagine. One special woman in the community is an artist with a sense of wonder she can transfer to just about anyone through her art and presentations and I love just being around her. She, of "The Sacred Universe" program has created a wonderful series of paintings designed to be laid out in "walk" through the story of the universe. The presentations have included film documentaries of amazing people and concepts that just turn a walk out to get the mail into an adventure involving stars and seas and looking down at the sun! Did you know there are stars in apples. Remind me to show you sometime. anyway, all of this is feeding the canvases. The imagery sneaks in on kitten feet, as the poet said, and jumps onto the canvas. I find myself stepping back to look at what I have done and laughing at what I thought was looking glass turn into the Great Blue marble we live on.


Then seeds and plants creep in and creation is honored and remembered. I stop and think of how the caves at Lascaux took my breath away the first time I saw photos of the walls covered in paintings. Creation honored and remembered. Our stories told.

With all the politically correct rhetoric that seems to be running about , we need to remember our story and how we fit into all of this.

I paint.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

She walked her butterfly every morning

Wouldn't you just love a pet butterfly you could take for a walk everyday. Can you imagine the scene. Better than anything in "Enchanted" OK, maybe not. I started out wanting a red queen from "Alice" and wandered off down my rabbit hole. I seem to have a habit of doing things like that. rather like the way she turned out after all. Very Queenly, don't you think? How do you like her giant music box with the bird ? It reminds me of one I had when I was a child. It had a yellow bird in it and I played it and played it until...well you know what happened. sigh.
Just a shot to give you an idea of scale. This is very small for me. I am more accustomed to working huge, but Midwest Land doesn't seem to accept that. Even a full sheet of watercolor paper sends them into a tizzy of where and how to deal, so small it for now, though I am not selling anything for the time being..not the new works anyway. I have other plans for these fine ladies and they seem to agree so we will see what we will see !

The week-end was eventuful and I'll be posting pics of a new family member of the fuzzy sort. I actually met her a few months ago in New Hope, PA and we agreed to be friends. She had a career to finish and now she has come to live with us. It's nice to have a fourlegged in the house again.

Three primed canvases got some direction....a face was drawn, a collage created and a background painted. new beginnings. Potentiality. It's like having a new lover without all the fuss. Someone waiting and you don't quite know what will happen, though you have an idea or two. Some heavy body gel medium, some more collage, more paint. It seems as soon as the scent of oilstick has evaporated from the studio , I itch to get it back again.

Sketchbook challenges are ready to be worked on, outlines laid in, ideas mapped. Some paper prepared for my online challenge, so much fun planned there. Christmas is coming, but I usually miss all that anyway. This way there will be a pleasant distraction and a focus on what I do have instead of what may be far and away.

So many changes on the horizon. This will not be the usual year end. Life will be cycling off on one of my infamous roads less traveled. My art will be lifeline, my prayer and my celebration. When everything else gets too sludgie, too muddy, there is always gold gesso and quinacridone magenta. I don't mind change. It usually brings fresh air, new lessons, unexpected gifts. The trick is to not have many expectations and let each moment be itself. It's the expectations that always get you into trouble.

so I will try to remember to photo some of these canvases as they develop so you can see the dance. Also I would so like you to meet our new friend and family member. Her name is Demi.
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