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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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Loving Vincent - the movie

I went to see the full feature length animated painted movie of Loving Vincent yesterday afternoon. I was not sure what to expect when I saw it was listed as a murder mystery, but actually the film correlated with what I know about Vincent Van Gogh. The latest information surrounding his untimely death and the facts not lending themselves to suicide. I read many books on Vincent in my younger days, including reading all his letters available to his brother Theo. I was very happy to learn of the buried and closed information coming to light in the past few years verifying what I had already come to believe. That he did not kill himself.

But on to the movie. I have an artist friend who lives here in Colorado and she applied for and was taken on as one of the 100 artists from around the world to work on this labor of love. Since I had talked to her about this project, I knew how much work went into it and how all the paintings were accomplished. What is not common knowledge is how each and every artist had to give up their own style and try to meld with Vincent's style. It becomes obvious in certain parts of the film the different 'hands' working on the scenes, but probably because I was looking for it. Some accomplished this transition better than others. And then again, after days and weeks and months as painting as someone else, one must go back to one's own easel and their own style. It is not easy. So I admire all those artists from around the world who gave much to be a part of this effort.

I did enjoy the film and the story. I recommend it for many reasons. It is the first of its kind and due to what it took to do may not be done again. The imagination that went into animating paintings of a single scene was incredible and believable. The movie brought out the love and attention to detail of Vincent and his work.

Do go and see it if you have the chance. Loving Vincent We need to support films of such quality and vision.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Crossroads - in process

Crossroads, 36x48, oil on canvas
I am still working on this painting, the largest to date that I have attempted. This year has been one of great transition and I feel like I have been at the crossroads for quite some time now. Once I pick a direction another crossroads is before me. My 'plan' for this piece is to keep it very abstract. It was also to be another attempt for me to allow the under-painting show through for a layered effect. My intention was to document each layer to track myself. However, as is often the case, once I get working I do not think to stop and take a photo. I am very pleased with the fact I still have some of the original under painting showing through as I fight my tendency to cover it all up with the new layer. The left side is a bit more complete than the right at this juncture.
Here we have my first layer which took on a rainbow theme. IF truth be told, I was cleaning off my palette, but who needs to know that? I still thought it would create a nice color transition going across the canvas. This next image shows my beginnings of blocking in and placement of the crossroads. How high, how wide, how thick, how thin. You would not think something so simple would require much thought, but as I work on this piece, it has a mind of its own and I find myself going in directions I had not initially even considered. It has been a wonderful journey thus far despite many roadblocks. One of self-discovery. A road trip without ever getting into the car...

As I write this, it is drawing me back and into it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Orchids evolve

Studio Orchids II, oil on panel, 20x16
Here is an oldie but goodie. This piece originated in 2002 when I was very interested in orchids in particular, and plants in general. I liked doing what I considered 'plant portraits.' Not so much in the botanical illustration mode, although I did take a class in that at the Denver Botanic Gardens at the time. For me, being what some consider a detail-oriented person, botanical illustration did not appeal to me.

I had orchids lining every windowsill in my home. This scene was in my studio. I was even a member of the Denver Orchid Society so I would have access to more varieties of orchids. I still like having an orchid or two around the house, but I no longer have them in every window that was feasible. Working on this painting has made me realize that I miss the color and the jauntiness of orchids in my life.

Not sure I should show the original version, but here it is, painted from life. Oh, the things that I have learned over the years! What is 'wrong' with this version, as if I need to point them out, they are so obvious. No, instead I will focus on why I thought it worth saving: It shows the character of the plants coming through which was my goal at the time.

The window faces north. So the light coming through the blinds would not be warm. First thing that had to change. Second, the perspective has every thing falling off the canvas to the lower right. Can't have that. Funky Orchids was the title of the painting as I tried to take a lighter, less serious approach to my work, but there are still some things that need to be considered, even going for a less formal format. The Moses in the Cradle leaf coming into the painting from the lower right had corner was supposed to help with the tilt of the blinds and board and it does, but not enough. Luckily the drawing of the plants themselves was good, and only required a little tweaking, the blinds and putting the plant stand in where it belonged took a bit more brain power. Unifying the shadow shape was helpful too as I tried to be more true to the light source. I can't believe now that I put all the shadows into black but back then I thought it would help the flowers be more colorful.

I was reading in "American Art Review" earlier this week an article on an upcoming Richard Diebenkorn show opening next month on his early years. I was heartened to read this about him and his process:
"Many have described this process as one of trial and error-even Diebenkorn himself-but it was not so much that he was creating and correcting 'errors' as he was attempting to find a better way, the extended journey being relevant to his final result.".. then finishing with "He kept working until he believed the painting was not wrong anymore, feeling his way until, in his mind, the painting had somehow become "miraculously right."

This idea has been floating around in my head for awhile now, and I liked that the journey was the important thing for Diebenkorn. And the idea of not correcting errors but finding the rightness.

I do hope I can get to Sacramento's Crocker Museum to see the show this fall.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A book that is giving me pause to reflect

The Little Free Library program is big in the neighborhood where I live. It is a great way to find new reads. It is convenient to stop while walking my dog, Fritz. A recent acquisition that I just started reading is called "Contrition." This book intrigued me for a number of reasons. First, being an artist and this has 2 artists, father and daughter; Second, I am Catholic and I am usually interested in seeing how this topic is handled in current fiction. That the daughter artist is also a cloistered nun had me hooked. That this nun paints amazingly moving and thought provoking images is even better.

It is written for the point of view of a writer, a twin separated as an infant and given up for adoption. Her mother had died in childbirth. She believes she was given up for adoption because of a deformed hand and other health issues she was born with that her biological father, an artist and an alcoholic, could not handle with two babies to care for. She has only recently discovered that she is a twin when her father's estate lawyer contacted her after his death. She is now on a quest to meet her sister but she finds out she is a cloistered nun who also is an artist. While doing some reconnaissance at the convent where she has been told her sister lives, she sees on the wall a Madonna and Child that moves her in ways she did not think she could be moved. She finds out that it was painted by her sister. She is now determined to write about her sister and her art so on her return trip to the convent to again try to talk to her sister, the painting is gone. Here are a few things that struck me.; one is  finding out her sister has taken this Madonna and Child to paint over it. A new painting. Because of lack of funds for fresh canvas but also because the artist nun has no intention for her work to be known to the outside world.
An excerpt:
"From what I can figure, Sister Catherine values the act of painting, not the outcome. The creation process is her method of prayer, a direct appeal to God, who replies in colors and shapes. Once their conversation is over, Catherine considers the finished piece incidental."

"Sister Catherine doesn't show or sell her paintings because she doesn't want to be given credit for them. In order to keep the channel clear for God to work through her, she paints as often as possible, even, and sometimes especially, if that means recycling canvases."

My thoughts on this have been that I like that the works being painted are a conversation with God. That really struck me as to how I should be approaching my own work. That she paints over them, I understand too, but the pieces I paint over are not usually my best.

Which brings me to an exhibit held last year about this time where an abstract artist here in town came up with the idea to exchange paintings with 12 other artists. He received one painting each from the 12 artists and reworked them in his way, and the 12 artists each picked out one of his abstract works and painted on them. There was a lot of hue and cry over this exhibit; ie how can you paint over a Quang Ho or a Ron Hicks painting?? Sacrilege!  I thought it a very interesting concept and liked what some of the artists came up with when making something new out of what came before.

Sometimes the process is where you need to be rather than the outcome. It is a good thing to not be attached.