Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy, sad, angry, grateful, you name it......

I've been feeling them all lately. I don't have to go to Disney World, the roller coaster is right here in my head. I haven't posted in a while because I've had a hard time getting out of my head recently and have just been doing what's absolutely necessary. The best part of the last few weeks has been spending time with my grandbabies. My daughter and her family made another trip from TX. Here she is with her baby girl and 2 nieces and below is her son.

These are the little munchkins who keep me going. When they're here, everything else stops and sometimes that's a really good thing!

What stops? Paying attention to the news. Right now, nothing is more depressing and anger inducing than what this administration is doing- between the likelihood of losing my health insurance when I need it the most to #45 wanting to eliminate arts funding, environmental protections and meals for children and seniors for crying out loud! What's going to happen to the public schools my little munchkins will be attending? What's going to happen to the sick people who can't see a doctor? BUT.... we'll have a useless wall that we'll have to pay for. Riiiight. Everything that's good in this country is at risk because of lying, greedy, hard hearted, selfish people. I am so disgusted by not only the assholes in the White House but people close to me who still support them. What is the point of having a massive military when there won't be much left to protect? Yes, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and proud of it. I'd much rather be that than cold hearted and compassion-less. Ugh.... end of rant.

So there's the sad and angry part. It really is difficult to focus sometimes with all this crap going on. I end up sharing more political stuff on FB than art stuff and that's not a good thing but it's important stuff that needs to be said because it affects all of us personally and the art world too. We need more people to care about it and I'm not going to put on the rose colored glasses or stick my head in the sand.

What helps is balance and staying grateful.

I'm truly grateful for all the sales my 2 galleries have made for me.

I'm grateful for the portrait commissions and the faith that customers put in me to create what could become a family heirloom.

I'm grateful for a growing, local, art community.

I'm grateful to be able to do the work I love!

I'm grateful for my family, dear friends and especially all my kids and grandchildren.

Doing what I love and having friends and family around me - that's the stuff of life that makes it worth living.

Ok, got a few things out of my head and now, back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A new landscape painting step by step

Hi folks. I hope February is treating you well. I thought I'd share the step by step process from painting my newest landscape. This one is a diptych done on 2- 20x20 canvases so the final size is 40x20. I love texture so before I started painting I prepped the canvas with crumpled tissue paper (you can see a close up below). I just use the white stuff that you use in gift bags, wad it up into a ball, open it up and apply it to the canvas with either a matt acrylic medium or matt Mod Podge. If you try this, be sure to use the matt version, not the gloss. You get better adhesion with the acrylic paint this way. Paint a layer of the adhesive on the canvas. Apply the tissue and then do another layer of adhesive on top. After the tissue is dry I painted both canvases with red acrylic.

As you can see I stacked the canvases on my easel. Of course this is the best way to get continuity when doing multiple panels. I sketched the design first with a white pastel pencil and then started blocking in color.

Once I knew where the basic elements were I started loosely putting in the greens. I use a large brush and keep the strokes mostly open and separate. I don't want to cover up too much of the red because there's still lots of layering to do and I like to leave a bit of red peeking through over the whole painting for interest and consistency.

Here, I'm working my way down the canvases with yellows and greens, still keeping things loose.

I added some purple on the ground area under the trees. Once all of the canvas is covered I go back and begin putting in more color, building layers. The colors I used were permanent sap green, permanent green light, cad yellow deep, arylamide yellow light, orange, purple, cobalt blue and white.

This gives you a better idea of what the texture is like. You can also tell that I don't cover all the red.

I added some purples to the tree trunks and then started adding leaves to the foreground to cover bits of the trunks.

Last layers were adding light to the foreground and brightening up the sky. So, there ya have it. I called this one Dappled. Have you tried adding texture to your canvases? If you do, I'd love to know what you use and how you do it so please share in the comments!

Friday, February 10, 2017

New on Netflix

For the folks who haven't heard yet, I wanted to do a quickie post to let you know about a couple of artsy shows that have been recently added to Netflix. The first one is a show similar to Bob Ross's show which has been on Netflix for a while. This one is about plein air painting in oil with a gentleman named Heiner Hertling. It's called Your Brush with Nature and I watched a couple of episodes last night. I really enjoyed them. I liked his style, his quiet demeanor and the work didn't come across as gimmicky. I think students could learn a lot from him, especially since sometimes he does a little critique session with a student at the end of the show. He made me want to get my oils out again and go out in the field. That says a lot since I've never been a fan of battling the elements while trying to paint. I might have to give plein air painting another try.

The other show is one I haven't checked out yet but I'm anxious to. It was just added to Netflix today. It's called Abstract: The Art of Design. This one is a documentary series that delves into the world of designers and their work. Take a peek at the lives of an architect, a footwear designer, an automotive designer, an illustrator, a stage designer, a photographer, an interior designer, and a graphic designer. It looks fascinating. I'll be checking it out tonight.

Have fun watching!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

What's up 2017?

Was there a January? I don't know. It's just a blur now. I know some amazing stuff happened like having some good sales from my oh so wonderful Signature Gallery. I can't even tell you just how much I love them! Thanks to them, I had to get busy painting some more - oh darn.

Paynes Prairie
The locals know this place. Sometimes on trips between Ocala and Gainesville I'll stop and walk out on the dock on 441 and take pictures. When I have more time I'll go into the park and climb the lookout tower for a different view.

Garage Apartment
Since starting this bird nest series I've been gifted numerous nests from friends. This one came from my neighbors garage. It really is this shape. It was high up in the rafters in a corner and it looked like the bird wanted to fill the entire beam. It included bits of white fuzz that looked like batting and some pieces of blue and pink yarn.

White Feather
I've also been given lots of feathers so I thought I'd play with those. This is the first one- starting small. I'm not sure yet where I'll be going with these so stay tuned....

So those are 3 of the 10 pieces heading up to the gallery in the next week.

Then.... I was contacted by the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery asking if I would send some work to them for their upcoming show in March. Yay! They specifically asked for nests and florals so....... 
These are 2 of the 9 pieces heading that way later this month. And in case you're wondering, no, I did not paint 19 paintings last month. I was busy but I do like to sleep too. Some of the work is inventory I already had here in the studio.

This is a crazy little nest made from horse hair. My friend Jean brought a couple of these in to class one day. She said she can tell which of her horses sacrificed hair for the little bird by the color of the nest.

After the Blossom
This was actually done from a friend's photo. I don't usually work that way but she had some beautiful shots and she gave me permission to use them. I wanted to play with the combo of pink and gold. Gold, anyone surprised? 😁

So there ya have it. That was January. Unfortunately the first week of February kicked my butt. I was sick in bed with a rheumatoid arthritis flare up. Any other artists out there dealing with a chronic condition that likes to interfere with your life? I'd love to hear from you. How do you deal? Anyway, now I'm back to feeling human again and ready to go. It's time to get some work boxed up and out of here and then back to the easel. Next time I'll share the landscape diptych I'm working on. Would you believe it doesn't include gold leaf? 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Giving thanks in more ways than one

Well I don't know about you but it's been a crazy busy time these last few weeks. I guess it always is in the time leading up to the holidays. I know my gallery rep has been busy. I want to give a giant shout out to the Signature Gallery in Tallahassee. Because of them I've had the best month in art sales yet. 5 Swallows, pictured here, along with 5 other paintings found new homes recently thanks to their efforts. The folks there are the kindest, hardest working, most ethical I've found in the gallery world so far so thanks to Vera and the rest of the crew there. I love working with them!

What else am I truly thankful for? I had the most amazing Christmas surprise ever. My daughter and her hubby decided on the afternoon of Christmas day that they would pack up my two grandbabies and the granddog and drive straight through all the way from Dallas TX to my house in central FL. On Monday I saw a black dog coming up the front steps of the house. I thought - that looks just like Maddie but that can't be. Next thing I know my daughter's face is grinning at me through the front door glass. Crazy!!!! 

Needless to say there were lots of tears and laughter and hugging and squeezing. The best part.... my son and his family were already here because we were celebrating Christmas with them on Monday so the house was full and happy.

Did I plan to paint this week? Yep. Do I care? Nope. Sometimes, plans you have for painting or other job stuff, can go right out the window when you can have the joy of kids and grandkids for a few days.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and wish for you a very Happy New Year! See you in January.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Questions. Answers?

A few days ago, Barney Davey from Art Marketing News, shared an article about NADA Miami Beach 2016. It was the author's pick of the best paintings from the fair. I scrolled through, saw a few things that intrigued me but for the most part they left me scratching my head- not only some of the work but the price tags on the work. My initial gut reaction and the words that went through my head were....

It's all about who you know....
It's who has the marketing and promotional bucks to spend....
It's not about good work anymore....
It's about who can get away with pulling the wool over people's eyes....
Of course art is subjective but what the hell happened to design and composition- the building blocks of good art? Abstract or non-representational art still requires the elements of design.

Then I thought..... is it just sour grapes on my part? Maybe I'm just jealous because I can't command $20,000 or more for a piece of my own work. Of course I wish I could get those prices and who knows, maybe someday I will. Maybe there was some sadness mixed in, thinking that so many people have been convinced that this is good art worthy of the hefty price tags.

Are the buyers buying because they can't live without it or have they been told it's a good investment? What do they see in the work that I don't?

Those were my first thoughts. Then my head took over. Yes, art is subjective and art does not have to be about making pretty pictures. Of course it can be but it doesn't have to be. It can be a political statement, a cry against an injustice, a statement about art and society or a painting that's just about color and texture that excites the artist while making it. Of course I know this because I also create work that's not about being a pretty picture such as my symbolic series Silent Voices. I also create work that's just about texture and color in my abstract series.

For a few of those works at the fair, my first inclination is to dismiss it as junk. And maybe some of it is. But maybe there's a backstory to it. Maybe there's a meaning behind it that I haven't learned. What was the artist's intention? As an artist I owe it to another artist to at least find out before relegating it to the trash heap in my mind. 

We end up with more questions than answers. Sometimes I think it's good to look backwards and revisit art history. Look at the evolution of an artist like Mondrian.

Houses on the Gein

The Gray Tree

Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow

His early works were beautifully rendered landscapes and scenes- soft, subtle and muted in tone. He then transitions to an abstracted version of nature in The Gray Tree. Then much later his work is bold, linear and colorful. It's taking nature's forms and colors to it's most basic and primary elements.

And why not?

My end thoughts.....

It's good to revisit art history
It's good to question
It's good to keep an open mind
It's good to let go of judgement
It's good to find out why.....

Take a look at the article about NADA Miami. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. And now, back to painting.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A quick post holiday post

I hope ya'll had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Just a quick post with a nest update. It's been a busy couple of weeks with the holidays coming up plus I've been sick- no fun! But I'm on the mend now and ready to get back to painting and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

This is a little nest that was on top of my daughter's front porch light fixture. It's a swallow's nest. Before seeing this I had no idea some birds made their nests partially with mud. You can see the photo below. I usually prefer to have a nest in hand to paint from rather than working from photos but as you can see this one was well occupied and later there were 5 beautiful swallows.

The painting below is still a work in progress and another one I'm doing from a photo even though I have the actual nest in the studio. I found it in the hedge in my yard but before I removed it from the hedge I took pictures from different angles in case I wanted to do something that included a few surrounding leaves. Tomorrow I'm spending the day at the easel and I'll post again when it's done.

In the meantime......

After all that holiday food