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Thursday, December 14, 2017

An Art Expedition!

I am so excited to be flying to California this week despite flying right in the heart of the Thomas fire. It is so sad that California has been hit with so many devastating fires. My sister says the Thomas fire is only 20% contained. It is unfortunately taking the path we were planning on driving so alternative plans will most likely be implemented. ie the interstate vs Hwy 101 along the coast. I so wanted to drive up along the coast, but the fire got there first. We will see where it is on Friday, our expected day to head north.

My son and I are going to see family and art exhibitions. We are flying into LAX; from there we will go directly to the Pasadena Museum of California Art to see The Colorful Spirit: E. Charlton Fortune. I am so excited to see her work. I only found out about her last Spring when I first went to the PMCA. A book in the gift shop of all things. That time there was two great exhibits Joseph Kleitsch and much to my surprise, Gustave Baumann was also there. PMCA does not have its own collection so these are one of kind, borrowed from all over, exhibitions. This time the other two shows look good too. Exciting!

We will stay in Ventura for 2 days where my sister lives. Fortunately in an area that was never evacuated. From Ventura we will rent a car and drive north. We are not sure exactly what we do along the way but our first for sure destination (based on fire...or no fire) will be Monterrey. We have only heard good things about the aquarium there.  From there we will head to San Fransisco. We only have one Museum on our schedule there but it is a big one. Gustave Klimt and Auguste Rodin! I have been to the Rodin Museum in Paris a number of times but I have not seen much Klimt in person, so that is going to be a treat. I hear it has content not suitable for children. I am thinking photos will not be allowed in that case...

Our time in SF is only 2 days, but then we will spend time with family in the area for 2 nights as well. Our last museum stop will be at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. This will be Richard Diebenkorn's early works. From art school, through being in the Marines and early in his career.  What a fitting end to our road trip. We will fly out from SAC after that. I expect to come back inspired and ready to jump back into my painting.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Small works - a wee commission

A friend of mine from high school commissioned this little scene from the shores of Lake Michigan where she recently purchased a summer home . She bought 2 6x6 beach scenes from my website and wanted a third to round them out to hang in the cottage. The third one she liked from my website had already sold. I do believe she rents out this place when she is not using it.
She told me that this is the scene after a 1.5 mile hike through the dunes that she always welcomes.
Lake Michigan, oil on linen panel, 6x6

Friday, December 1, 2017

Red as theme

One of the local galleries here does themed shows every two months. The next show will be Red. I do not normally paint to the show but submit what I already have on hand. But I needed something to get me going so I decided to paint with red in mind. Here is the first little painting I did.

One Red Rose, 10x8, oil
 It was painted over an existing painting dated 2004. I can't even remember what it was now and I just painted this last weekend. No title on the back. I do enjoy painting over old paintings and letting the original layer come through. One of my neighbors had brought over a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine for me on Thanksgiving. I am their Local Grandmother replacement and I babysit when they need help and I am available as they have no family in town and have two little ones. I am happy to help. Fortunately for me, there were red roses included in the bouquet so I had a ready target. I do not normally paint roses, but what the heck? I used my trusty Japanese gold screen as a backdrop, and a new brass vase I recently added to my collection, and voila! Something fun to get me painting.
So, in addition to that little gem, I had set up these three stemmed clems, thinking of doing one still life with all the elements. But instead, I divided them into 2 separate paintings. In this 2nd painting, I did not include the base of the brass vase with the clementines reflected in the base of the vase, which I had intended to do. I decided it wasn't needed and would only confuse. I used some red rice paper as the surface to set the whole still life on.
Red Clems, 6x9, oil over old painting
This one, too, was painted over an existing painting from 10 years ago. A plein air painting I did on a rafting trip on the Yampa River. It was the only surface I could find that was the right size I wanted to use and the painting was expendable. I really don't paint this small anymore so I don't keep clean panels handy. Yet, after so long not being at my easel, small is what I needed to get myself going. Simple shapes and small.

Friday, November 24, 2017

To have Thanksgiving or Drat! My Dog Ate the Painting I just bought!

There are many things to be thankful for. This year it is that I have never heard of "the dog ate my painting" until now. That isn't quite the correct assessment, but the dog did chew this painting. A friend of mine's husband came to my art open house a few weeks ago and found a little plein air I did one spring day at Rocky Mountain National Park about 10 years ago. I had carpooled with an artist friend as we delivered art to a gallery in Estes Park. Why waste a trip to Estes Park when you can paint in the park?? What does it matter that it is frigid cold and snow is fast approaching? This particular friend never lets such trifles stop her. So we hauled our gear out into a field and went to work. So that is the back story on the painting...
Now here is the story of the dog chewing this painting. It has to be shared just because it is a unique story. So, my friend was having an acupuncture appointment in her home, when the acupuncturist remarked that it looked like her dog had gotten into something and was chewing on it; maybe a piece of paper? except it didn't sound like a piece of a paper. She replied nonchalantly would he mind checking on the dog to see what it was? He remarked "it is a painting, I think" She jumped up off the table, needled like a porcupine to find that indeed it was a painting, the one her husband loves so much. She is so upset about this that she took it back to the frame shop where we had been the day before to see if they could fix it. She didn't even want to tell me! Of course they can, but to pay to remove the canvas remount it and repaint was not worth the cost of paying for that conservation. So I told her I would repaint it.
The back, so you can see the damage
The front
I don't know. I think it is a fun story. In fact, yesterday I had the thought to see what I could do to make the original painting work without the conservation costs as the dog chewing the painting adds to the story in such a unique way. I own a book press, so I soaked the board, which is a soft particle board of some kind, and put it in the book press last night. It made a difference to the 3D teeth marks on top. The surface is now flat which softens the puncture holes. This morning when I took it out of the press, I noticed that some of the fiber board was above the line, so to speak, or sticking up above the straightness of the canvas. I just rewet it and pushed the fibers down to be aligned with the canvas edge and stuck it back in the press. I am thinking this painting should be framed as is. But I think it might also be possible to rebuild the corners and match the sky if required.
My new painting is almost done as well, so there will be a choice.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

more Art hanging in their new homes

Morning Glory, 36x36
One of my first large paintings has found a new home, and doesn't it look wonderful lit up at night. It's new owner hung it right away and could not wait to share it with my son who happened to be walking my dog by her house at the time. The dog was a bit discombobulated by all the people invading his space and needed a wee bit of distraction. She is one happy neighbor. Since this is the view driving west on our shared street, she even knows who owns which car in the painting! Now that is a true painting bought for the person's relationship to the scene! I just love this photo, too.

This second painting, also 36x36, also went to a very good home. My friend, Victoria, whom I used to work with and we shared a wall at the office, was one of my best helpers. I would bring in my paintings as I worked on them, struggled with them or just needed to see a piece in a different light. We would stand together and critique, or compliment as the case may be. Often other co-workers would join us as if we were in a gallery or art show. Quite fun, really, and I do miss this interaction. And Victoria remembers my struggles with this painting. How many times I changed the color of the over arching shadow vs the pavement in the sun. She also hung the painting up as soon as they got it home and her comment was, how it makes the room seem larger as you walk right into the scene.

Oh, how I love my friends and collectors!
Cherry Blossom Promenade, 36x36

Thursday, November 9, 2017

After Effects - art open house

 My art open house last weekend was quite the success. There were a few glitches I would need to address if I were going to do two days again. The Evite did not work so well for that I found out. Still, both days were busy and I think that the two days took pressure off the one evening concept. Last year there was a crush for almost 2 hours and that made it hard to see everyone and the art. Yet, I sold about the same amount of work. I am still recuperating, but feeling my self more each day.
I had asked people whom I knew bought paintings to send me a photo once they had found a spot for them in their home. I did not get a great response to that request but I had a few. This painting, called "Back Alley" was the surprise hit of the evening. Every year brings surprises in that arena. This year, it was my alley series, and this painting in particular. Who knew? I have hardly sold any alley paintings relative to my body of work so I gave up on them years ago and moved on. One of my artist friends said he still believes my alleys are my best work. Hmmm. Something to ponder.
Two alley paintings sold this year as compared to none last year, both to neighbors. Fitting since most all of them are in this neighborhood.
Back Alley in the larger context, 20x30, oil on linen
The painting below warms my heart. Yes, it is a bit small for the space where it is hung, but it was this person's first ever invitation to an art open house and her first ever purchase of an original work of art. I had a number of those this year. What a great feeling that is for me. This painting "til the Cows Come Home" reminded her of home, which is Wyoming. And this painting is of Wyoming. Art is relative...

Here is the house lit up in all its glory. Courtesy of my friend, Jeannie.
As I get more images of work hanging in homes, I will share. Thanks to all who came!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Finishing up - Art Open House

The 'Galley Gallery'
The last of the work to hang the show at my upcoming Art Open House happening today, this Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. It is not as easy as I remember it, hanging art on blank walls. Last Spring we finally took down the old wallpaper in this hallway and painted the walls. For a change, I liked the feel of it devoid of paintings so I left the walls blank until the other day. Now, I am down to my last two or three decisions and final clearing up.

If you are reading this and have not received an invitation, I am so sorry. I did not review my existing email list on evite. Just have had too much on my mind and I have been a bit scattered. Please know you are welcome to come.