Saturday, July 29, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Barn Row, 2006, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Well, I have meaning to post for the past few days, but things have been pretty hectic here! I had to finish up eight pieces for the Farmland Trust Auction so that Doug could deliver them while he was in Saratoga on business on Friday. Then we had visitors for a few days, Doug's childhood friend, Dave and his four teenage kids. I hadn't met his kids before and even though I am not too good at talking with teens, I managed to only say a few foolish things, and they didn't really seem to notice my dorkiness. Anyway, they are great kids, very smart and personable and helpful. They cleared their places after dinner and asked if they could help me while I was preparing meals AND they made up their beds before they left! The chickens and catching frogs in our pond were the big attractions and of course my daughters were over the moon to share their room with two awesome and beautiful older girls. It was a lot of fun having them here and it's always fun to hang out with Dave.

We also had a few days of slight panic. Our lodging plans for our vacation in Cape Cod fell through at the last minute. We tried to come up with all kinds of alternatives, including just making it a long weekend there, and my favorite, which was to leave the kids at home with a sitter and just the two of us go for the weekend, but we haven't really had a family vacation for a long time so Doug scoured the internet until he found something (guess he is desperate to spend five hours in the car each way with our quiet, well behaved children. heh). Today, he found a house to rent in Hyannisport (right next to the Kennedy compound, woo-hoo) so we are going for the full week after all.

I am trying to finish up 24 paintings, framing and wrapping them, not the actual painting, thankfully I am not THAT behind schedule, wash all of the laundry, pack, clean the house and run about a hundred errands, you know, by Monday morning when we leave. However, we do have four young, energetic and motivated (they know how miserable I can make them if they don't do what I say) slaves, oops, I mean children, who will be helping.

If anyone out there is even the slightest bit interested in seeing moi or my work in real life, not to mention if you're in the vicinity, please come to the opening reception on Friday, August 4th, 4-7pm at the Salt Meadow Gallery, 598 Route 6A, East Sandwich, see link in the sidebar. The show will be up for the entire month of August.

I'll be back to the blog the week of August 7th, so I hope ya'll don't forget about me!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Our Midnight Ramble

Golden Cypress Trees, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x12

Get comfortable, get a drink or a cup of coffee, and sit back, this is a long post!

So last Saturday, Doug and I had planned to leave early in the day, drop off a painting at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson and then go on and spend the day in Woodstock before going to the concert at around 7pm. However, Doug got home late on Friday from a business trip and so we left in the afternoon, stopped at the mall so I could buy a pair of black converse sneakers, skipped Hudson and got to Woodstock around 5:30. We walked around on Tinker Street and Mill Hill Road and then stopped at a small Mexican restaurant and had a nice (and quick) dinner. We followed the map that we were given to Levon Helm's house which isn't very far from the Woodstock School of Art and the "downtown" area. It was also on a road where I could totally see myself living someday, as there were nice houses surrounded by a lot of land, secluded yet still a real neighborhood. Anyway, at the end of a long driveway there was a lady at a table and we stopped to check in and buy a comemmorative neck thingy (which said Levon Helm Band on it) for us to hang our passes on, which we were instructed to wear at all times while at the concert. Everyone who attends is asked to bring a plate of food to share for a community food table and after way too much deliberation and stress I had decided on my fabulous chocolate chip cookies. After parking in a field, we grabbed the cookies and went in to look for our friend Jeff (and his son), who had sold us the tickets, the ones that Randy and Jenny were going to use, but passed along to us. We stood around chatting for a bit and watched my cookies disappear in about 5 minutes (phew, good choice!), and then decided to go in and get a seat. The concert location is basically Levon Helm's living room. The building is a huge open, barn type structure, built in the mid seventies, with a lot of stone and solid wood beams. The stage area was against a stone wall with an open area above where people were hanging out and watching and where the recording studio was located. There were about fifty chairs in front of the stage area (all on the same level-the stage was not a raised area) and then there were a series of balconies which were filled with more folding chairs. We went in early enough and managed to get seats in the third row, on the floor, meaning we were, oh, about ten feet from the performers. Do I have to say how awesome that was?! We sat and chatted a bit with Jeff and with a guy sitting in front of us about the concerts we had been to and then it was time for the opening performance, which was the Alexis P. Suter Band from Brooklyn, New York.

Alexis, the lead singer is a big, beautiful African-American woman with a voice that made me tremble. She was bluesy, loud and strong and I can still hear her voice in my head. Her band was pretty colorful as well, there was a very animated drummer who made the most interesting facial contortions while he played, two brothers, Jimmy and Peter Bennett, who played lead and bass guitars, and the bass player reminded me a bit of my dear departed Rick Danko (who I always am reminded of when I am in Woodstock), and two back up singers, one a fellow (didn't catch his name), dressed entirely in red, who looked like a very short Marvin Gaye and a slinky yet perky blond woman. Vicki Bell. They both did the classic, groovy, back up singer dance and they also had really great voices. The whole group seemed really tight and I totally enjoyed watching and listening to them perform. We bought their CD, Shuga Fix, which doesn't compare to their live performance but as my memory of that fades, the CD will come in very handy.

The next performer was David "Fathead" Newman. Now I have to admit here that I am not particularly a jazz fan, and while I enjoyed this group I found myself feeling a bit bored and stifled a yawn a few times. However, despite having no knowledge of jazz, I certainly could tell that Mr. Newman and his group were incredible, soulful and passionate musicians. After googling him, I found that Fathead Newman has quite a following and I was pretty impressed to find out that he had played with Ray Charles for 12 years.

I have to add a few words here about the keyboard/piano player here, Bruce Katz. Doug and I saw him come in and spent quite a few minutes discussing whether he was one of the musicians or not. Well was he ever! He played all night, with each group and he was just incredible. He has his own group as well and performs in venues all over the world.

Also, in between each performance we were entertained quite well by Rob Bartlet, from the Imus show. He was really funny, told a lot of great jokes and stories and ya gotta love someone whose first words, in this politically correct, just say no world, to the audience are "Stay away from the brown acid tonight!"

The next and last group was, obviously the Levon Helm Band. First his band members took the stage, Bruce Katz, two horn players, who I barely saw because there was a wood support beam between us, lead guitar Jimmy Vivino, and the drummers from the previous bands. Then, surrounded by several big bodyguard types, Levon Helm walked onto the stage and hopped up onto a stool, strapped on an electric mandolin and launched into a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City" which was included on the Band's 1993 "comeback" album, Jericho. Now I must say here that I was kind of in shock during this song. Of course I knew that Mr. Helm was older now, (he is 65 or so) and that he would surely look different than he did in the Last Waltz or in the images of him that I have seen over the years, but still I wasn't prepared for how much he has aged. It was hard to reconcile the thin, smiling, bearded and somewhat disheveled man from the sixties and seventies with the clean cut, white haired, spry but slightly hunched, grandfatherly looking performer in front of me. I finally got over the visual, and then realized that although he was singing, it wasn't the same sharp, twangy, mournful voice of his youth. Again, I know that voices change over time, but really, he sounded like a different person. The sharpness and edge that he had had was gone. (When I got home I read over his bio again and found out that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer about ten years and that he wasn't able to sing for quite a while). But after noticing that he had the same old big smile on his face and that he exuded an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm for the music, I made a few mental adjustments and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy the rest of the show. He sang "Evangeline", which was performed with Emmylou Harris on The Last Waltz and was one of my favorites. All throughout this set, the other musicians and singers came and went, performing along on various songs. Their special guest for the evening was blues artist, Little Sammy Davis, whom I had never really heard of, but he was a really wonderful musician (he plays a mean harmonica) as well. After playing the mandolin for a few songs, Mr. Helm moved over to the drums and proceeded to play and sing, just like the old days. The whole room exploded when they launched into "Ophelia", which was about the only Band song that they played. The rest was a variety of old, hootenanny and country bluesy kind of songs and music and the encore was an incredible and energetic cover of "Take Me to the River."

After the show ended, Levon Helm was whisked away by his security guys and we hung around a bit and talked to Alexis Suter and the short Marvin Gaye fellow. Most of the performers were milling around and it was obvious that the whole group was really tight with each other as well as with many members of the audience. It was a really exciting and energetic environment and gave me further inspiration in regards to my form of art, which is one of the things I love about seeing live music.

Next up: Ray LaMontagne in Saratoga on August 17 and we just got our tickets for a concert by Bob Dylan, who will be performing again in Cooperstown on September 2. We are getting a sitter this time (last time he played there we had the kids with us, what a buzzkill!) and plan to stake out our spots in the very front row.

PS. If you're interested, all of the performers that I mentioned have links on this page and you can read more about them.

An Exhibition in My Favorite Place

The Neighbor's Barn, 2005, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Still haven't had a chance to sit down and write about the concert the other night, hopefully I will have time to get to it tonight, before the whole evening gets fuzzy and starts to retreat to the part of my brain that I can't seem to access as well anymore.

I did get an acceptance letter on Monday from a competition that I recently entered and didn't mention in order to not jinx it. And it's one that I am pretty happy about because it's in Woodstock, my very favorite place. I submitted two of my street scene paintings and one of them, Green Columns was accepted. At first I was a bit bothered that they weren't both included, but I realize that the painting that wasn't accepted really doesn't translate well in a slide, it needs to be seen in person.

The show is the Woodstock School of Art Regional Exhibition 2006, and the juror is Jon deMartin, who coincidentally taught one of the figure drawing workshops that I took there last summer. I am actually a bit surprised that he juried my piece in-he is a very talented, and very traditional figurative artist (though he does other subject matter as well) and my work is definitely less so. But I am pleased when a juror can objectively look at art and appreciate it without projecting their own preferences when deciding whether to include it (especially when that means I get in-heh!). I often see juried shows that simply look like an extension of the art that the juror creates.

So it's all good and I get to enjoy a few day trips to Woodstock to deliver the piece and to attend the opening.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An (Almost) All Nighter

Classic Red Barn, 2005, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Doug and I had a great time at the Midnight Ramble in Woodstock on Saturday. I plan to sit down and write about it, but I have an unbelievable amount of work to do today so hopefully I will be able to do it on Tuesday or maybe Wednesday.

What I can tell you quickly is that staying up until 4 am has become a bad thing for me. After years of all nighters in college and then years of no sleep because of babies (I still have not slept through the night, without waking up for some reason or other, since 1995) you'd think getting by on 4 hours of sleep would be tolerable. But, evidently there is something about that 4 hours starting at 4am that throws the whole thing off. The show ended at 1am and we had all this stuff going on at home on Sunday so we had planned to drive the 2 1/2 hours home, rather than stay overnight in Woodstock, my favorite place. But we should have just stayed because I was totally useless all day on Sunday. I did make a batch of cookies, and cleaned up the kitchen but then went to take a nap. I wanted to NOT be bumping into things all day as well as to be able to string a coherent sentence together, as we had out of town visitors coming Sunday evening. Despite doing all of the driving and being almost 50, Doug somehow fared better than I. He went to the hardware store, the grocery store, AND cleaned our son's room (which doubles as a guest room) and two bathrooms for our guests.

Friday, July 21, 2006

"Tracy Doesn't Apply Herself"

Individuality, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Whenever someone compliments me about being able to accomplish so much or about being good at something, I have to struggle to just say thank you. It's hard to get that out of my mouth when all I can hear are my inner voices screaming with laughter.

You see, I have always been a slacker. As a kid I wasn't really given much support or direction about making an effort or finishing something that I had started. My report cards from grade school through high school were always filled with comments like, "if only she would apply herself" or "if Tracy would work harder, her grades would be higher." I coasted through school just getting by, telling myself that grades didn't matter. I did a little bit better in college, mostly because I loved being immersed in art subjects and didn't have to worry about silly little things like math, my long time nemesis. But again, I often gave up a grade, or didn't finish a project, by coming up with some excuse or another, when really the reason was that I just didn't feel like working that hard. At that point I preferred sitting at a bar with friends and a cheap beer. Now that I am older and supposedly wiser, I think that I was afraid to work hard (plus I was and still can be very lazy-I just handle it better now). I still haven't figured out exactly why I was afraid, but I suppose it had something to do with leaving my old and unwanted life behind and moving towards a new, more (hopefully) successful one, and not knowing how to deal with all of the stress involved with that.

When I started working after college, it was the same. I did pretty well, but I always knew that I wasn't really giving anything all of my energy. I had all kinds of excuses as to why I couldn't finish a project or why the mats weren't cut perfectly (bad equipment, of course) or why the concept for the design wasn't very strong (client's fault). But a glimmer of change happened when Doug and I moved to Connecticut and I started my own little company, first selling holograms (an offshoot of Doug's old business) and then segueing into hand painted frames and clocks. I had to answer to myself and somehow that was what I needed. Soon our nephew came to live with us and that glimmer got a bit stronger. I could actually handle taking care of someone else!

But the real turning point for me came when I gave birth to our three children, in planned natural homebirths, with a midwife. That was the most empowering thing I had ever done for myself, and from then on it seemed that I could do everything that I wanted to and I could do it well. I embraced being a full time mother, learning how to cook, take care of the house properly and organizing our schedules. When I decided that I wanted to make really cool Halloween costumes and hand knit sweaters for the kids, I taught myself how to sew and knit. When I had the opportunity to do volunteer work with a non profits arts organization, no one was more surprised than I was, to find out I could be a good leader. When we remodeled a house, I supervised the whole project, top to bottom, and did it again for good measure, when we moved to our current home.

When I hear comments about how much I do and accomplish, I immediately remember the years and years of not pushing myself, of being super lazy, the feeling of how my real life was ahead of me and how I was never actually in it at that moment. And I feel like laughing at how different, yet the same I am. I still feel like life is just ahead of me, but I now have this overwhelming urge to do as much as I can, as well as I can, before it gets here.

PS. I am not suggesting that having children can always turn things around for a person. I think we can all think of instances where expecting that to happen can go terribly wrong, which also explains how we came to adopt our nephew.

PPS. I just have to mention that the painting I have posted is one of my most recent and favorite pieces. It's a grove of trees down the road, near town and I loved the contrast between the small blossoming tree and the other trees behind it. I have already painted another version of it and plan to do another larger one of it, altering some things in it slightly, of course.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Subject Matters

Deep Cloudy Day, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Martha asked me about other subject matter in response to yesterday's post about painting in the zone. So I thought I'd talk a bit about that today, probably a very long and involved answer to a quick question!

When I was an illustration major in college, I painted and drew a variety of subject matter, figures mostly, but also other things like buildings, still life objects and that sort of thing. Interestingly, I never did anything involving a landscape. I went to a school right in the middle of Philadelphia and nature seemed pretty far away! I think I also had disdain for landscapes, thinking that they were way too hokey for me (like I was so cool! NOT) to take seriously. Later on, after college I did figure drawings and a variety of still life type images (I have a post in the works about the series of pastel still lifes that I did a few years ago), and I still had no interest in landscapes.

After moving out here in the country, I started to paint the landscape. The first ones were awkward, but there was definitely something going on. I felt an affinity to the land around us but also there were other reasons I took to it, I think. Moving here was difficult in a lot of ways, and in addition to adjusting to the isolation, Doug and I were going through the first rocky point in our marriage and had even separated* for a few months. After we patched things up (don't worry, we are totally solid again), I started painting every day. Painting helped me heal after what we had gone through and because of that, I think that often the landscapes come more easily to me because I have a lot more emotion invested in the imagery.

As I have mentioned previously here, I still yearn to paint the figure. I really want to incorporate the figure into my work, but I haven't been particularly successful with it thus far. I think that I really need to spend a few months at least, totally focusing on it (and maybe going through some other life altering event, God forbid), in the same way that I did with the landscapes. I occasionally do a painting of an object, which I would like to do more of, in fact yesterday I put color on an under painting of a glass bottle, but the same goes here, I need to spend more time on them.

Which is one of the drawbacks to what has been happening for me lately. I have "marketed" my landscapes and all the representation that I have obtained and the shows that I have scheduled are based upon showing those works. So I am busy with the landscapes, and I am NOT complaining here, I love doing them (despite getting a bit fed up, when I am in the midst of preparing for a show as I mentioned yesterday) and am pleased that the shows that I have coming up are because of these images. However, this leaves me little time to work on different things. I feel lucky though. I am still doing what I want and I know that at some point, when I really need to, I will find a way to work on different imagery. The gallery directors that I work with are also very receptive to seeing new work from me, and I am pleased to have that kind of support from my galleries.

So nothing is easy, the occasional painting that paints itself is a gift to my psyche and the rest is a struggle. As it should be I think, how else would I fully appreciate the gifts?

*Moving here for couples can be tough. Offhand, I can think of at least 4 couples who moved here and then separated or divorced within a few years. There is something about the long winters and isolation that really feeds on any problems that already exist in the relationship. We feel lucky that we made it through.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In and Out of the Zone

Blue Over The Water, 2006, Oil on Panel, 24x18

I can tell that I am winding down from all of the work I have been doing lately, because I find myself desperately yearning to paint a different subject matter. Anything will do right now, kittens, big eyed children, spaceships, anything but a landscape! I know the feeling will pass once I've had a bit of a break, and I may pursue some different things (but probably NOT what I just listed), which is what usually happens after I've finished up for a show. Last time I started working on cityscapes and street scenes.

To be honest, I can't even recall all of the pieces I have painted in the last few months. I have to look through the stacks in my studio to be reminded. I suppose this sounds like I just crank them out, factory style, and maybe I do a little when I am busy, but the real reason I can't remember everything is because I get into a zone when I paint. I don't really think about what I am doing, instead I am daydreaming, or planning the weekend or a social event etc. Anything but the painting is what is on my mind. However, I have noticed three distinct trends in how I work.

1. Trouble: Occasionally, I do focus on the work in front of me and those pieces are the ones that I have great struggles with. If I am focusing on the piece it is because it's something new, a new subject, new color, composition or scale. These are the pieces that generally do not end up working out, although I do manage to salvage them once in awhile. Usually by doing something really drastic, like punching a hole in the panel or less drastically, covering half the painting with a transparent coat of paint or something. Like this one, which was totally headed for the sand down pile, instead I covered the top with the red, liked it, and now our neighbors, who collect a lot of art, own it.

2. Typical: Most of the of the time I paint (in the zone) and then later on I look at it critically and often discuss the piece and what is or isn't working, with Doug, make a few decisions about it and then try to get back to the zone the next day with it. Those pieces make up most of my work.

3. The Very Best: Every so often the paintings seem to paint themselves, like Quiet Lake, or like Blue Over the Water, above, which is just the best feeling ever. Not all of these pieces are the very best of my work, but they do often have a special thing going and they definitely are MY favorites!

At first when Number 3 started happening I felt like I was cheating, like I should be having more drama about it all. Finally I realized the the struggles that I experienced with the other pieces was why the others could paint themselves, duh! and so I now have a truce with the troublesome work. We get along, I learn, and it usually gets sanded down. Perfect.

Monday, July 17, 2006

American Farmland Trust Event

Long Purple Barn, 2005, Oil on Panel, 12x16

Preserving farmland and open space is a pretty hot topic up here in upstate NY, as well as in other parts of the country, as it should be. We lived in Logan, Utah for 10 years and the rampant, unchecked growth of strip malls, big box retailers and badly designed housing developments contributed to our decision to leave the area. Our local area here in NY is very conservative about development, and one nearby town, Cooperstown, actually does not allow chain stores or restaurants such as McDonalds or Burger King within the town limits. The town is so charming and beautiful without golden arches on Main Street, and I think we have almost forgotten how things look without all of that clutter. (There are other drawbacks in Cooperstown, such as the rampant, unchecked growth of baseball souvenir stores, however, that's a post for another day.) Anyway, many large property owners, including us, have covenants that state that their property can only be subdivided once, or even not at all. After living here and really growing to appreciate and love the landscape (even though I am still not the outdoorsy type), I have come to feel very strongly about conserving open space and farmland, and try to support the issue whenever I can.

So when Gallery 100 in Saratoga Springs asked me to participate in a fund raising event for the American Farmland Trust, I immediately agreed to be involved. The work of five artists, Carolyn Justice, Clarence King, Ann Scott, and George Van Hook, and myself, will be included in an art show and cocktail reception to "celebrate New York's Agricultural and Equine Heritage" at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club on July 29. My work will be included, because, like the other artists, my images tend to focus on farms, the local landscape and barns. The organizers of this event have been very respectful towards the artists, as they will be paying each artist a portion of the proceeds of sales of their work, rather than asking that the art be donated. I have also been very flattered as they have used several of my pieces in their promotional materials including on the invitation and the RSVP card.

I have eight barns all ready to go for this auction. All are paintings of local barns and I hope that whoever gets them will appreciate the value and meaning of them as much as I have come to. Even if the colors are a little flashier in my interpretations of life down here on the farm.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A New Appreciation

Quiet Lake, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x24

Yesterday, I had planned to have a lovely, full day of uninterrupted studio time. The kids are still at camp, our older son has summer school and was going to a movie and dinner after and Doug was in NYC for the day. I spent the morning doing some computer things, answering email, writing a blog post, etc. Around ten, just as I was getting ready to start painting, I heard a crash somewhere in the house. I waited, wondering what it was, and then heard another and then the sound of pouring water from the basement. I went down the basement stairs and could see that a pipe had broken and water was gushing out from the pipe which was right next to the electric panel, which really made me nervous. I tried to turn off the water at the pump, but noticed that the electric thingy on it was smoking. Worried that something was going to blow up (perhaps I have seen too many movies) I decided to call 911. While I was waiting for them to come (it took 30 minutes-yikes, good thing it wasn't a REAL emergency), I talked to Doug who was just getting on a train to the city. After quibbling a bit about which valve was a the main water valve, and trying all of them, I found the right one and managed to turn off the water, which only slowed the flow without halting it completely. Luckily our basement has a drainage system so the water pooled around the corners without actually flooding the whole area. The electric connection on the pump was hissing, no fire but a lot of smoke and a burning smell. Finally one guy from the fire department showed up, followed by a fire truck with a few more guys. They determined that the pump's electrical connection had blown out and the water pressure gauge then blew and the pipe connection broke, spilling the water. Or something like that. They turned everything off and told me I needed to call our plumber.

We had completely remodeled our house about three years ago, replacing most of the systems, with the exception of the pump and the furnace (one down, one to go now), so we got to be pretty good friends with our contractor and his plumbing and electric guy, Rodney. Because Rodney did his job so well, we haven't seen him for a few years and I couldn't find his phone number. So I called our contractor, Steve, and left a message telling him what happened. Within a half an hour, Rodney called back and said that a couple of Steve's guys had flagged him down on the road and told him about what had happened at our house. He immediately came over and fixed everything within a few hours. His fee was criminally low and I would have happily paid double, but don't tell him that. Maybe I'll give him a painting. After all of this, I decided that I would not complain anymore about living here. I got teary eyed when Rodney told me about the guys flagging him down and I realized how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place AND with such great and concerned friends and acquaintances.

After all of this excitement, I did manage to get a lot of work done, essentially finishing up another batch of paintings. While I was working, I obsessed about how bad the whole situation could have been. What if it the pipe had broken while we weren't home and wouldn't be for hours (the drainage system down there isn't THAT good), or if we were on vacation, or if the older kids were home alone? They know to call 911, but it's not like I want something to happen where they have to do that. We need to have a review on all of that, I guess. I also realized that I better learn a bit more about the systems in our dark and icky, old house basement.

Uh, starting tomorrow.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Progress Report

Rose Colored Hills, 2006, Oil on Panel, 24x24

Well, I am making progress with the work I have to finish during the next couple of weeks. I have enough pieces for the Cape Cod show plus a few more for the show in September at Enderlin Gallery. I did just realize the other day that I have to have a number of pieces done by mid August for a group show in Cooperstown at the Smithy, so instead of being ahead, I am actually behind again. Looking a bit past that, I have to do about six paintings that depict the White Mountain region in New Hampshire, for a group show in November. But the work needs to be finished by mid-September and have I visited the White Mountains yet? Ha ha ha ha ha! Gotta put a quick trip to NH on my to-do list, I guess!

Keeping track of all of this can be challenging and I am not too happy with any of my solutions so far. I have a month-in-view calendar in a binder where all of my deadlines are listed, which worked fine last year, when I didn't have quite so much going on. This year I put up a yearly at-a-glance calendar on a bulletin board, and I write my deadlines on that with a dry erase marker. The yearly calendar works great, I can more easily see what is coming up in the long term as well as short term, because pulling out the binder and then actually turning the page in the binder is SUCH hard work. Unfortunately, the wall calendar is too small and next year I have to find a larger one that I can write more legibly, you know, so I can read what it is that I wrote. I still use the binder as a back up, in case the dry erase gets erased (the kids lovedry-erase and how it erases Mommy's important info with just their finger) or I can't decipher my own writing. Clearly I need a better solution. I think I will bag the dry erase thing and just get a large paper 12 month calendar next time. The other organizational issue that I need to resolve is how to track which painting will go where, especially important when I am preparing for a few shows at once. Right now I list every piece, by title, as I finish it, in a notebook (actually a ledger now, thanks for the tip, Anna!) and then make a separate list for each location in a notebook. This has worked ok, but it's hard to visualize how the group of paintings fit together by looking at a ledger and I also end up with information scattered all over. I think I may put up a bulletin board in my studio, fill out the ledger, then write the titles (and size) on an index cards and form the lists of where they will go by moving the cards around on the board. That way I can see what can go where and I can easily make changes if necessary. Clearly, I am not as organized here as I am in other areas, but all of this work kind of snuck up on me this year and I neglected to envision how I would need to plan things in advance. Also, another issue here is space. I don't have enough wall space, so even adding a bulletin board to my studio will be a challenge and my office area is also bursting at the seams.

Anyway, I'd enjoy hearing how you record info regarding scheduling and tracking where new work will go. I could use some new ideas!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Artist Statements

Close To Each Other, 2006, Oil on Panel, 11x14

Since the kids are away at scout camps this week, Doug and I had a leisurely Monday evening, first going to the opening reception of the 2nd Member Group Show at the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery, and then dinner at a new restaurant in town. When we arrived at the opening, Doug took a quick spin around the main room, while I was chatting with a friend. When I caught up with him, he nudged me and told me to go look at my work. I laughed and joked about how they were probably hanging behind the door or something right? (This was the same place where my work was hung over the food that I wrote about here.) But my two paintings (two of the monochromatic pieces that I just did recently) were hung in a good place, right along with everything else, AND they had big old round red dots on their labels! So that was pretty cool, since I really don't sell too much locally anymore, having saturated the market during the last few years. Actually, someone I know casually, who is also an artist, bought them for a house that she and her husband are building in Santa Fe. Doug went on to point out that nothing else had sold yet in the show. He likes to track that kind of thing for me-don't know what I'd do without him (I am rolling my eyes here).

I spent some time over the weekend writing up a statement for my new work for use by the gallery in Cape Cod. Writing an artist's statement can be really challenging, and after I wrote my first one a few years ago, I was hoping that was it for writing artist statements. But no, I have been informed since then that it should be updated occasionally, especially if there have been significant changes in the work. My "official" statement has been used in a number of places by now, on gallery websites, booklets, and that sort of thing, so I suppose it is time to freshen it up. Maybe I will use this new one, after a few revisions to make it less specific.

This is the new one:

In this work I explore the line between reality and abstraction, while continuing to express my feelings and impressions regarding the scenes I portray. A number of these landscape tease the viewer, hinting at the background scenery, or letting the background become the focus and reducing the foreground to a mass of color and shape. Man made structures, especially barns, continue to interest me and I strive to simplify their form while keeping their personalities intact.

Much of the expressive qualities in my work are related to my sense of color. Layers of paint create luminosity as well as large blocks of pure color, but upon closer inspection, there are many subtleties and variations within color field. Pink is never just pink, green is never just green. Orange and red are undercurrents, deep blues and greens and reds are subtle overtones. The colors of nature surround me and when I paint I am influenced not just by what I see, but what my memory tells me about what is around me.

My paintings are a combination of observation and imagination. While there is a certain amount of reality in my work, meaning that the space and objects are generally recognizable, reality is not my ultimate goal. I want to viewers to be intrigued by the image, and perhaps be reminded of a thought, a feeling or a place.

And the old one:

In creating a painting, my intent is to capture the mood of the landscape that I have a connection to. The spaces and scenes that I choose generally have a basis in reality, but I often alter composition, color and light to more accurately express my feelings about how and what I see. My landscapes are not usually representative in the traditional sense but still capture the essence of space, form and light.

The process of painting is very important to me. I love the texture of the surfaces that paint on, the color of the under painting, the softness of a brush, the smell of the paint, medium and solvent and the excitement of laying down each layer of color. I truly enjoy every step, from preparing the panel to applying the final glaze.

I have already sent the new one off to the gallery, but if anyone has any opinions about replacing the old one with the new statement, I am all ears.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Monochromatic Work

Gabled Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

So nice to hear from so many of you in response to Friday's post about why we are doing blogs. Sounds like we all have a similar need to write about our art as well as connect with other artists. I love the internet! Now if I only could understand html and all of the other silly little code things.....

Stacers asked me a question about the monochromatic paintings, so I thought I'd talk a bit about them today, because, well, I am sure that everyone is just dying to know all about them. heh. Basically the monochromatic pieces, like the one above, are my under paintings, which I consider the "drawing" for a painting. It's hard to describe how much I love doing the under paintings. I love the process of it, of forming the image and pulling out the lights to create form as well as mood all with just a few marks or sometimes more. I just love doing them. Along the way, there are often under paintings that I like so much that it is literally painful to paint over them with color, but I do, because even though I feel so strongly about them, I also have this urge to create a better overall painting. Although I may love a part of it, in this case the under painting, I believe that giving up one thing that works will eventually help "the whole" and will result in a stronger painting. Despite the fact that I think the under paintings that I paint with the intention of applying color glazes, are really good, I have to consider them as just one part of the whole painting and treat them as such, meaning I paint over them. Alone, the under painting is strong yet is just a part of a whole, therefore unfinished. They are the structure, still needing a cover.

That said, about a year ago, I decided to develop the under paintings so that I could consider them as finished pieces. I felt they should be a different color, and after experimenting, I settled on a dark brown which, by the way, is exceedingly difficult to photograph accurately, so I rarely include these pieces in my info, preferring to show them in person, whenever possible. Then, after much trial and error, I finally realized that the images for this work needed to be dramatic, with a strong light source and dark shadows. The first group that I was pleased with, were five very small barns and I included them in a solo show last June, entitled Barns! Barns! Barns! Hhhmmmm, wonder what the theme there was?! Anyway, all of them sold, so I took that as a good sign.

I still make them, usually in groups or series, with a theme. Often I include a few of them in a show as a counterpart to the color pieces. I don't sell as many of them as the color works but they always receive very positive feedback. Neither matters, I will keep doing them because I love to. I wish I could do more, but by throwing myself into the process (twice actually, as I essentially go through the same process for my color work as well), it can be very draining. I feel that I really have to moderate myself a bit in order to effectively handle the rest of my life and so I don't get, you know, a little cuckoo in the head.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Why Am I Doing This?

The Light Between, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

William Wray's comment here the other day got me to thinking about why I feel so strongly about writing this blog. It is a major studio time sucker, certainly, and despite having previously put a few things aside in order to focus on my painting, here I am spending too much time sitting on my butt at the computer instead of working in my studio.

To begin with, it helps me to organize my thoughts and my time. Like many artists I have a difficult time writing and talking about my art and while I still hesitate to apply meaning to my work, I am getting better at discussing what I do and how I do it. We'll see if I am any better at writing statements-I should probably rewrite my artist statement soon and this weekend I have to write a statement about the body of work that will be in the show in Cape Cod next month. I have been putting it off, but now I really have to just dive in, I guess.

I have always been interested in writing, though I have never really done it seriously. When I was younger I always thought that I might want to write a book, but that always seemed like an daunting project, one that I wasn't really prepared for, and I think I always instinctively knew that if I tackled that, the art, which is what I have always really wanted to do, would fall by the wayside. For several years, I wrote short articles for an arts organizations newsletter which I enjoyed, so I guess things like that got me by. Writing this blog has really been a good solution in regards to my interest in writing. No real pressure, but with with many benefits.

Getting to know other artists has been the most rewarding benefit about this whole thing and is one of the reasons I feel compelled to write regularly. I especially enjoy hearing from readers and shared experiences from those who often leave comments. Thanks to those who have included my link on their sites, I have enjoyed seeing the numbers in my stats rise, going from like 4 a day, to several hundred each day, with more and more repeat visitors each week. I don't even care if people come just to look at the pictures either, like Bill. I do wish I had more time to comment on other blogs, I try but I really have to limit my sitting time each day......

I have mentioned several times how we live in such an isolated area and how that has really affected my need to spew many, many words each day. I often don't even talk to anyone outside of our family for days and so the contact I have because of the blog is really important to me as well as to my mental health. I do tend to have difficulty in social situations in real life, so having an editing device available to help me with my online relationships is crucial! Sometimes when I run into friends in town, I just start talking and can't seem to stop even though I see the person looking around nervously for an escape route. Then I feel like a jerk for not being able to just keep it brief. Ugh!

One thing that I don't expect this blog to do is to help sell my work. I don't view it as a sales tool at all, and it may actually be a detriment in some cases, which is why I don't talk about some things that may just be TOO MUCH INFORMATION to people (or galleries) who are interested in my work. I do see that many people come to the blog via a google search of moi, so I guess there is some exposure from the blog so that is good.

But most importantly, I write this blog so I can just focus on my very favorite subject, me, me, me. Heh.

Why are you writing yours!?

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Making Headway

Pink Levitation, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Well, I am making it through this week from hell, with a little help from Mother Nature. The park where the Lake Festival was to be held, which is the event where I was going to be running a children's art booth, is still partially underwater, so the Festival has been postponed until late August. I now have Saturday to pack up the kids bags for their summer camps, plus I get to watch my daughter's 400m race at a track meet, which I was going to miss otherwise.

Yesterday was the last birthday of our birthday season (one birthday, every week, for 3 weeks), and truly, if I have to bake another cake I am going to lose my mind. Last night at dinner we counted up how many cakes and cupcakes we have had in the last 3 weeks. Four cakes (one store bought) and two batches of cupcakes (for school and camps), plus each of the kids had been to another child's birthday party during that time. Normally we try to limit sugar in our diets, but things have totally been out of control this last month! We are all going to be in withdrawal for the next few days because there will be no desserts allowed for a good long time. Actually the kids are great at moderating themselves-I am the one with the sugar issues.

I haven't gotten too much painting done in the last few days, but my underpaintings are dry and are just sitting in the studio, waiting for me. Today, I think I will finish up a few of the previous batch and then put the first layer on the underpaintings, so that I can really get going on them tomorrow. I also have to go through and record each piece so that I can start deciding which pieces will go to the show in Cape Cod and which will go to the show at Enderlin Gallery in September. Right now all of the finished pieces are in stacks in my studio and I am having trouble recalling what the images are at this point. It's hard to keep up in the frantic days before a show deadline.

Yesterday, I packed up the paintings for the gallery in Atlanta. They have been very patient waiting for new work from me as we keep going back and forth, sending jpegs and suggestions, trying to find the right images for their market. Hopefully, this group will be more successful for them. Even though I know that my work doesn't always appeal to everyone, it is still kind of a bummer to receive a box back, full of paintings that did not sell.

Pink Levitation, above, is one that I sent to Thomas Deans Fine Art (see sidebar for link) in Atlanta. It is similar to a smaller painting that I did last winter, but as often happens, I wanted to paint it again. I felt there was more for me to express about the scene, and I am pleased with this version. I always have more to say though, so I am sure this image will show up again somewhere, with different colors, mood or scale.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The Paul Simon Concert

Electric Lines, 2006, Oil on Panel, 14x11

I can't believe that I forgot to mention Trey Anastasio and his group's awesome version of "Get Back", the old Beatles tune. I am not a huge Beatles fan, but there are a few songs that I love and that is one of them. Anyway, that was one of the songs performed Sunday night that I really got into.

Last night's Paul Simon concert was so excellent! The concert was played on Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY (the same place that we saw Bob Dylan perform 2 years ago) and seating was open, so you could sit either on the bleachers or on the field in front of the stage. The bleachers seemed way too far away to us so Doug and I sat on the ground on the field. Everyone was sitting on blankets and many people had their children along (we left ours with a sitter), so it was a very different atmosphere that the Phil Lesh concert! The opening performance was by 12 time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas. Don't know who he is? We never heard of him either. He was ok, he and his group played instrumental music, I would say somewhere in the bluegrass folk category and Douglas plays the dobro, which has really cool sound. So during their performance everyone was sitting down on the blankets, relaxing and eating overpriced french fries and hot dogs and drinking $2 bottles of water. I was looking forward to casually kicking back, lounging on our blanket and listening to Paul Simon, but it was not to be. While the stage crew was preparing the stage for Paul Simon, most of the people on the field stood up to stretch, we did too, and then he came out onto the stage and everyone else stood to see and that was it. We had to stand to watch the whole thing, peering between bobbing heads, big hats and kids on their parent's shoulders. Of course, at this point there was a brief rain shower, so we all pulled out our rain ponchos until it passed.

Simon just kind of casually strolled out onto the stage, wearing a baseball cap, thankfully, because his comb over and hair transplants make me a little nervous, and a t-shirt and jeans. Many of his band members had baseball shirts on. Like the Phil Lesh concert everything was pretty casual, stripped down and basic. It was all about the music. And the music was perfect. Paul Simon's voice is still incredible, sweet and harmonious, just right. He played a few songs from his new album, Surprise, songs that seemed nice but I didn't really know them. Then he played his older music, Mrs. Robinson, Graceland, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Still Crazy After All These Years (which always makes me think of him in the turkey suit, singing the song on Saturday Night Live, back in the seventies, and yes, I actually saw that episode when it aired), Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Boxer, Slip Slidin' Away, and Cecilia*(seeing him perform Cecilia put me over the moon). The nostalgic aspect of these songs was incredible and the crowd was so enthusiastic, singing along and dancing. However, there was also a wonderful international flair to the music, in keeping with the sound that Simon has been incorporating into his music over the last 20 years or so. Between Simon and one of the other guitar players, they must have switched guitars 47 times, sometimes even in the middle of a song. There was a sax player who was incredible, not to mention pretty cute (sorry for the gratuitous hottie remark there, but I couldn't let the cute guy go unmentioned). They played two very generous encores, each consisting of 3 songs, one of which was You Can Call Me Al, which practically caused the whole audience to explode, everyone was so excited. I was hoping they'd include 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover**, but they didn't. After the set and each encore, Simon spent some time making contact, chatting and shaking hands with the audience members who were right up at the stage (that did not include us as we weren't THAT close, unfortunately), which I found to be very endearing. He seemed really into playing this small venue and Doug and I were so glad to have had the opportunity to go to this concert.

Next up: Midnight Ramble with Levon Helm in my favorite place, Woodstock, NY on July 22. Totally looking forward to that!

* Cecilia is perhaps one of my most favorite songs ever. I think I say that about many songs, but I really mean it this time. Really. When I was in third grade at Jefferson Elementary in Rochester, Minnesota, we had a turntable in our classroom that played only 45's. And if you are too young to know what 45's are, too bad, I can't bear to explain about record albums, it's just too painful. Anyway, whenever we had free time, we were allowed to put a record on, alas we only had about five to choose from, one of which was Cecilia. Which we probably listened to 5,497 times that year. So that song reminds me of that year and of my friends, Jeff Cosgrove and Kim Duane and of how very cool we were when we sang along about that two timing girl, Cecilia. Of course, we had no idea what was going on in the lyrics or that our beloved Cecilia seemed to be kind of a slut.

**50 Ways to Leave Your Lover reminds me of oh, probably about fifth grade at Hawthorne Elementary (we moved a lot and I was in a new school almost every year). It was on the radio all of the time and my best friend Tammy and I liked it because she had a crush on a boy named Roy, which is a name mentioned in the song, and again, we thought we were way cool because we knew all of the words. Although, looking back, I don't think we were too clear on the meaning of it all. Ahh, innocence!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

The Phil Lesh Concert

Overgrown Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 11x14

Surprisingly, despite being very tired yesterday, I managed to get quite a lot done. I did several monochromatic paintings, three of which will go to the second member show at the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery and the other one will be in an auction for the Farmland Trust in Saratoga Springs in July (pictured above). I also did four underpaintings with the Gamblin paint and it seems like they are already half dry, so I may be able to start the color on those by Thursday or Friday. I also checked my inventory of panels and I have very few left, so I may have to pull some out of the sand down pile and, well, sand them down. Ugh.

Today I plan to get some painting done, I have a few pieces to finish up, frame up a few pieces, and then get a box packed up to ship to the gallery in Atlanta. I may even try to get some paperwork done. Tonight is the Paul Simon concert and naturally it is raining now and since it is an outdoor concert, we are hoping it will stop. Not to mention the ground is still pretty saturated from last week's flooding. Anyway, the concert is rain or shine, so after a get-together at a friend's house, we will head over there.

The Phil Lesh concert was pretty good the other night. The venue was the Saratoga Performing Arts Center which was larger than I expected. It's kind of an open air amphitheater, but with a roof and then there is a lawn area which was packed with concertgoers. Our seats were inside, but just barely, we were in the last row of the balcony. Even with my glasses on I couldn't really see the performers very well and watched most of the concert on the big screens, which, frankly was kind of a drag. I can do that at home. I am not sure how one goes about actually getting good seats, I chose the highest priced tickets hoping for seats on the floor, but that strategy did not work. I am also pretty sure that I hate Ticketmaster and their monopoly on ticket selling and excessive fees. Personally, I think there are probably a few scams going on there.

Anyway, as you enter the area, security goes through your bags and you get a pat down, well, except for me. The guy looked at me, smirked, and said "you're fine-go ahead." I'm still not sure if I should be insulted or flattered. I guess I am leaning towards insulted now. He didn't want to feel me up! Doug got a pretty thorough search though. Watching the crowd on our way in was amazing and I am still cursing myself for leaving my camera at home. Tie-dyed clothing, dreads, old hippies, young hippies, every cliche of the sixties that you can think of, we saw. Except for the cell phones of course, everyone had a cell phone. Anyway, watching people dance is one of my favorite things and there was plenty of that, mostly the deadhead dance, the dance I can't describe, can't do, but I know it when I see it. We made our way to our seats, in the nosebleed section, and our neighbors were a variety of college boys, who were very active doing a lot of dancing and high fives. One of them kept shouting "hey man" and clapping on Doug's shoulders, which totally cracked me up. Clearly, security did not do a very thorough search of the concert goers because almost everyone was smoking pot. The three boys in front of us, two of whom still had acne, were snorting lines of white powder laid out on their college ID's and smoked several bowls after. When we were looking for our seats, I stood by the rail of the balcony for like 30 seconds and there was a security guard right on me, telling me I couldn't stand there, but somehow they missed the guy walking by who was smoking a joint. HELLO?!

Anyway, the music was pretty good, not exactly my favorite but I enjoyed it and Doug really enjoyed it. The opening performance was Trey Anastasio, with Mike Gordon and the Benevento/Russo Duo. Trey Anastasio was formerly in the band Phish (wasn't into them, but love, love, love the ice cream). We enjoyed their performance, as did the guy a few rows in front of us, wearing a tie dyed t-shirt and an orange bucket hat, who literally danced and spun constantly for most of their set. I got dizzy just watching all of those turns. Finally, Phil Lesh and Friends came out and we were pleasantly surprised to see that the lead singer was Joan Osborne, and she was great! Phil was on bass, of course, and every time he sang, rather badly I might add, the crowd went wild. The first set was really energetic and they did some great versions of Grateful Dead songs, like Dire Wolf, Uncle John's Band, Sittin' on Top of the World, and Peggy-O. There was also a lot of jamming in between songs. They took a break and then the second set seemed much more subdued and frankly, the last four songs or so were fairly torturous to me. I have to add here that Doug LOVED the last few songs, so obviously it was just me being tortured. To me the songs just dragged on and on and I was starting to feel really tired. I kept suggesting to Doug that if we left before the encore, we could get out of the parking lot before we got stuck along with everyone else trying to leave. He didn't want to until he heard the beginning of the encore song, which was "Casey Jones", (not one of his favorites) then he grabbed my hand and we lit right out of there.

I like concerts and performances. They always inspire me and make me feel more creative. Maybe that's why I felt good yesterday, rather than dead tired which is how I normally feel after just 4 hours of sleep. The stage was stripped down, no hanging from crosses, dancers, flying guitar players or spinning drum kits and the show was just about the music and jamming with friends and musicians. Phil Lesh was an inspiration as well, despite health issues, including a liver transplant (he even made a pitch about donating your organs to save live, I thought maybe he should have mentioned not doing drugs for years and years, but I digress) and the fact that he probably doesn't really need the money, he is still out there, traipsing around around on tour, doing what he loves.

Pretty cool.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Muddling Through It All

Poppies, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

I know I keep saying how busy I am but this time, really, I am so unbearably busy that I think I may explode. I feel like everything is in a haze and that I am missing things, which I probably am. I really shouldn't be writing a post today because I have so much to do and limited energy with which to do it, but I feel compelled to document my schedule, instead of just floating through things like I usually do. So at the risk of being really boring, here goes.

We are nearing the end of our "birthday season". Starting on the summer solstice, we have a kid's birthday every week for three weeks, obviously due to very poor planning on our part. We have one more to go this week and I feel as if I might vomit if I have to look at another birthday cake, although I suspect that I will manage to choke down at least one more slice. Normally the girls get their own party on alternate years (our son isn't interested in one, too cool, now) but somehow, last year we got off track and they agreed to have a double party this year. We had planned to have it at a local roller skating rink, complete with a spinning mirror ball and the timeless limbo contest on roller skates, but flooding and a low number of rsvp's (because of summer vacation) forced us to scrap that plan. So on Friday we decided to have the party at our house on Saturday. It morphed into a potluck BBQ that included everyone's families, so we had about 35 people here. I spent all day Saturday preparing, cleaning, cooking and putting together some activities for the girls. My son did a fabulous job organizing and setting up a really creative treasure hunt, and the kids then spent the rest of the evening filling about 500 water balloons and having the mother of all water balloon fights. Based on how crabby the kids and we were the next day I think it was a good party.

Sunday morning was spent finishing up the last few things in the henhouse and then getting the chickens into their new home. The fenced yard still needs to be built so they can get outside and the exterior needs to be scraped and painted. But they really needed to get our of their cramped brooders so we went ahead and put them in. Sunday afternoon we left to go to see our first summer concert, Phil Lesh and Friends. It was quite an experience, but it really merits its own post which I will try to get to later this week. Let's just say that if you miss the sixties and you'd like to get a contact high from the college kids in the seats next to you, who are young enough to be your children, all you have to do is go to any concert by any of the former Grateful Dead band members.

Doug and I got home at 2:30am and had to get up at seven to get the kids off to their activities, so both of us are zombie-ish today and of course, today is the worst schedule wise. I didn't have time on Friday to do some underpaintings for this week's work. I can't even remember why I didn't have time, I know I was busy all day, but last Friday seems as if it were weeks ago and I don't specifically remember why I didn't work in the studio. Anyway, I have to do them today or my schedule will really be screwed. I have to pack up a box of paintings to send to Thomas Deans Gallery in Atlanta. I have been trying to send them new work for several months and things keep happening to prevent me from getting to it. I don't have a big enough box or I need to ok the images with the gallery director, etc, etc. But today is the day, however, it may actually end up being Wednesday (here we go again) since I think I need to frame up a couple of the pieces I am sending them AND I DIDN"T HAVE TIME OVER THE WEEKEND BECAUSE OF BIRTHDAY PARTIES, CONCERTS AND CHICKENS. I also have to send off the list of paintings for an auction event in Saratoga Springs, I have been meaning to send that off for a few weeks too but I wanted to add more piece, which I haven't done yet and, um, well I guess I need to do that today too. I have to pick up the kids around three so my workday will either be cut short or interrupted at the very least. Doug is busy too, he has to work on our patio, start building the chicken run and has to go and pick up a gift for our daughter whose birthday is on Wednesday and is thankfully our last birthday until October. Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God, thank god, thank God.

Tuesday I have to work in the studio and then we have the Paul Simon concert to go to. Wednesday, more studio time, baking a birthday cake and wrapping presents and then a family birthday dinner. Thursday and Friday, more studio time and I also have to start getting the kid's things together for their overnight scout camps next week. In a rare stroke of luck, they will all be off to camp for 6 blissful (for us not them, they will be peeing into holes in the woods and catching their own food) days. But the price I pay for bliss is having to spend days washing clothes, labeling everything and packing up everything neatly, so that on the other end I can get back a duffel bag filled with a pile of wet and moldy clothes, in order to spend a few more days doing laundry. Everything is a trade off, I guess.

On Saturday, I will be running an art activity booth at a local festival (again, this event needs its own post) and on Sunday we have to deliver the kids to their camps.

But starting next Monday, I will get four days of deja vu. I can work all day in the studio and into the night if want (oops, forgot that I am 41 now and probably can't work for 12 hours without slicing off a finger with an exacto or something). Well, anyway, no chauffering, no cooking dinners that no one will eat and I may even sleep past 6am a few times.

Or maybe I'll sit on the porch and just do nothing. I wish.