Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Have It Anyway

Drawn In, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

Even though I said that I didn't have time for a proper post show meltdown, I am pretty much having one this week. Which is totally ridiculous because I have so much to do. Not just painting, though there is that too, but stuff around the house; getting the kids all set for school next week and various art related things like paperwork and delivery of work to a local art event. I haven't done anything this entire week but sit at the computer and read websites like and searching through blogs to see what people are saying about Rockstar Supernova and whether Dilana has lost her chance to win and why Ryan got eliminated this week. (So now y'all now that I have the brain of a teenager.)

I did manage to separate myself from my beloved computer yesterday in order to go shopping with the girls and today I actually squeaked out four large under paintings, but that is it. Pathetic! I can't even eat a batch of stupid cookies to get out of this meltdown because I stopped eating sugar and carbs last Monday (I had gotten a little wacky with the sugar) but even the fact that I had to quit cold turkey is pathetic.

So again, as I do with almost everything, my resolution is to start again on Monday and kick some butt. Paint, clean, organize, fill out paperwork, shovel chicken shit and weed the garden. Oh wait, I forgot Monday is a holiday. Better make it Tuesday, or maybe next Monday....

PS. I am writing this on Thursday evening and am dog tired (you know, from my busy day at the computer). After a good night's sleep, tomorrow will be all bright and shiny and I will again feel optimistic about accomplishing something. Don't worry.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Year Ago

A year ago this week I was finishing up and framing 44 paintings for a solo show at the Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY. I was also completely distracted by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans. It was so difficult to be doing something that felt so trivial while people were dying and while our government was vacationing, shopping for shoes, or standing around wringing their hands, playing the blame game and making excuses. A year ago this week, I also realized that I really, really despise Bush and his administration. I see no compassion in Bush at all, ever, about anything or anyone. He didn't care about those poor people on their roofs, or trapped on the highway or in the Superdome, or the bodies floating around New Orleans. If he did, he would have been moving heaven and earth getting help down there. Because if he really wanted to help the people of New Orleans he could have. Please read this, every word of it makes me want to cry about how screwed we all are by having Bush as our president.

I can't add anything else, everything I want to say sounds so lame. I wish I could do more to help. And no image today, putting a landscape painting up with this post seems silly.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Some of you may have noticed that this afternoon there were many, many copies of today's entry posted. It's not that I thought that it was such a fabulous post or that I wanted to REALLY brag about winning a prize. We have been having some weather today and our satellite has been going in and out. I was trying to fix the post by re-posting with the correct date and blogger was pretending to not accept it, but secretly it was posting all of them.

Alas, in deleting the duplicate posts, I lost comments from Rebecca and Meno. So here is my response to you two- Rebecca, thanks for the kind words about this piece, my colors and edges. Meno, I agree with you, art supply shopping is the best. I do miss actually shopping in art stores, but I have to settle for an adreneline rush when the Dick Blick catalog comes in the mail.

Acceptance AND a Prize

Red Hills, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16

I just received a letter from the Woodstock School of Art notifying me that my painting in their regional juried show, the one I just dropped off on Friday, was chosen for a prize, the Catskill Art & Office Supply Award, a $100 Gift Certificate. I was just happy to have gotten into this show and so winning a prize is a lovely surprise. This is a good art supply store (located in my very favorite place, Woodstock, NY), and going there to do some shopping will be very retro. I rarely buy art supplies in a store anymore, as buying in bulk on the internet is more convenient for those of us out here in Hooterville these days. That goes for vitamins, clothing, shampoo and baby chicks too, by the way.

Anyway, earlier this year I wrote here about how I had been getting rejected from competitions and I'd have to keep entering until I was accepted again. So I have been and now (with the exception of one entry that is still out, and the few local events that I am happy to continue to support by entering) I am going to retire from entering competitions. They have served their purpose for me, giving me some experience, a few lines on my resume and fulfilling the competitive aspect of my personality.

However, I do reserve the right to change my mind if a really good competition shows up, with a prize of $1000 or more, juried by my painting soul mate, Wolf Kahn or by Steven LaRose who likes my work now or or by the guy who just bought a bunch of my paintings from Salt Meadow Gallery. You know, just in case a juried show like that comes up.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Weekend Round Up

Indigo Blue Path, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

I ended up having to take a drive down to Woodstock, my very favorite place, on Friday. I had a piece accepted into a regional show at the Woodstock School of Art and due to my recent disorganization, I had neglected to write down the delivery dates on my calendar, so I missed the delivery date by a few days. A terrible faux pas, one that I apologized profusely for until the girl there began to look at me as if I had a mental deficiency. When I got back home I still had to work for a few hours as well as prepare for an event on Saturday.

A friend of mine, Susan, and her husband Jeff, run an organization called Wildlife Learning Company, which provides science and environmentally based programs to students as well as presentations at various local public events. This year they were the official planners for the Otsego Lake Festival, which is an event designed to bring attention to our lake and its environmental needs. Susan asked me if I would be interested in putting together a children's art booth and in a crazy moment of nostalgia I said I would. When I lived in Utah, I worked with a non profit arts center and during those years I helped to organize more kid's art projects then I can even remember. They are a ton of work, exhausting, but worth doing, because kids really enjoy making art and/or a mess. This event was suppose to be held at the lakefront park in early July, but the park was still partially underwater from the flooding in late June and so it was rescheduled for August 26. We (two of my kids were to help me all day, they started out well, but when friends showed up, they both bailed on me) put together a booth with a dozen workstations and visitors could use watercolors, crayons and colored pencils to paint a picture of the lake. Naturally, they painted all kinds of things and there were some beautiful abstracts too, which I totally encouraged. I love how children are not afraid of watercolor, uh, like I am. They just jump right in and enjoy it. I didn't keep track of how may kids came by, but we went through a package of 250 pieces of paper. Pretty good turnout on a rainy day for a dinky little town in the middle of nowhere. That event pretty much took all day, but when I got home I still had to work on the frames on some of the pieces for the Enderlin show.

On Sunday I did all of the paperwork, packed sixteen paintings for Enderlin and four paintings for Carrie Haddad Gallery and headed for Roxbury. At Enderlin, we set up all of the pieces along the wall and it was really nice to see them as a group in an uncluttered setting. My studio is so small and crowded with stuff that even if I could find room to display everything, I can't really get a good idea of how the group looks together because there's so much junk! So usually I just cross my fingers and hope that they all fit together. Anyway, the gallery director seemed pleased with the work and I was really happy when I left to have finished up another thing on my list. I headed for Hudson to deliver a few pieces to Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson. Carrie has recently turned a back room into an area to display work by all of the artists she represents and so I wanted to give her a few new pieces. I also had a chance to see the space where I will be showing my work in November (more on the show later) and there is a spot that will be perfect for a really big (well for me anyway) painting. I am thinking 48x60 and although I will have to move some things around, I think I can manage to make enough space for a big panel. Maybe.

Finally, after being super busy for the last several weeks, today I can go back to being just regular busy. Normally I would spend this week having a proper meltdown and avoiding my studio, but I have to get right back to painting. At least I will have some time now to clean the chicken house and weed the flower gardens. Yippee.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another Chance

Streamside, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16

Seems as if Blogger has fixed their little image loading issue, so I can post images again. It felt odd for the last few days to post without including a painting.

It seems as if I may have jinxed myself by discussing how excited I am about the new batch of work I started. I wasn't terribly pleased about what I accomplished with them yesterday, certainly there was no exhilaration after, but I still have another day to bring them up to par. Also, I haven't looked at them yet this morning and they might be better than I remembered yesterday. That happens sometimes. Anyway, I feel confident that I can wrestle most of the pieces into submission by the end of the day today.

I hope that I can, because this afternoon I have to drive 40 minutes both ways, to go to the stupid Wal-Mart and I need my wits about me to handle that. I try to not go there as much as possible but it is school supply time and it's just easier to get it all done in one shot. Wish me luck in getting out of there without spending all of the money I just earned from selling my work!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another Opening Reception

Before I managed to work myself up into a full blown tizzy about how many problems my computer must have that I don't know how to fix, James kindly informed me that Blogger is all messed up and posting an image results in a program crash. So no image today either, as the issue does not seem to have been resolved yet.

Monday night's opening at the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery was a lot of fun. It was a group show at a local gallery and the last show of the season. So plenty of the locals usually show up and Doug and I chatted with many of our friends and acquaintances that we hadn't seen much of this summer. No sales for me with the exception of a small study that I had tacked up next to my name on the wall, 40 bucks, woo-hoo. But the buyers were a couple that had bought a painting at last year's show to give to their daughter. They raved about my work as did many others. My ego has been fed for now, so it's all good.

Renewed excitement for the seemingly endless painting that I must do for the time being really affected my studio time on Tuesday. I am very pleased with the paintings I was able to nearly finish, (it's usually at least a 2 or 3 day process after the under painting is dry) and totally look forward to getting in there all day today. I will start posting these paintings next week. Many of them will be included in my upcoming show at the Enderlin Gallery in Roxbury, NY, and others will go off to the Harrison Gallery or to Salt Meadow Gallery. By some freak of nature, those two galleries are really on a tear (having a solo show helps), selling a lot of my work. It all goes in cycles, I have learned, and I know not to get too excited about many sales or too bothered by a lack thereof.

Oh please, who am I kidding-it's totally exciting to sell a lot of work and a dry spell can be a real drag. It's just all in how you handle it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

No More Dragging My Butt, Hopefully

I worked in my studio on Saturday evening. I don't usually like to paint at night, unlike my college days when all-nighters were the norm, but I really wanted to get some new pieces started and that was the only chance that I had that day. I have a good number of pieces finished for the show at Enderlin Gallery (12!), that I have to deliver this Sunday, but I'd like to do a few more to round things out.

I have started to feel a bit burned out from painting almost nonstop all summer, or so I thought that that was the reason. I had recently slid into a bit of a rut, mostly painting the same imagery over and over, using the same reference materials and not changing my palette too much. While the work still looked pretty good, I was NOT having much fun. After our trip to New Hampshire, I got hundreds of new images to use as a starting point and they have really helped me to get my groove back. While doing the under paintings based on a few of those photos, I felt absolutely exhilarated! Such a lovely feeling. Usually cranking out the work can really be a positive for my creativity and enthusiasm, but now I know that it can go the other way too if I am not careful.

Note to Self: It's time to change things up when you have to start dragging your butt into the studio, rather than eagerly looking forward to each session.

PS. For some stupid technical reason, Safari quits every time that I try to download an image. If anybody out there (Chris) has any idea why, or how I can fix this, let me know. I am NOT technically proficient and this could take me weeks to figure out!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ray Should Always Be the Headliner

Dark Waters, 2006 (yesterday actually), Oil on Panel, 12x12

Doug and I went to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last night to see Ray LaMontagne, one of my very favorite singers perform. We saw him once before at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC and he was amazing, not to mention endearingly uncomfortable onstage, so we were looking forward to this concert too.

Unfortunately there was quite a big difference in the audience this time than the last time we went to SPAC. We were out numbered by teens and young adults looking for fun and were surrounded by incredibly rude, hostile and loud people. The young girls in front of us kept flipping their long hair backwards into our laps to redo their ponytails, instant messaged all of their friends, talked on their phones and basically chattered through the whole thing. The worst though, were the two old-enough-to-know-better women behind us (row W, section 3, seats 105 and 107 to be exact), who literally talked at the top of their lungs, you know, SO THEY COULD HEAR EACH OTHER OVER THE MUSIC, and discussed their family histories, lack of good friends and other very personal issues. They only did this during the first four songs though, because Doug finally had had enough (I tend not to say anything in these kind of situations) and turned around to tell them to shut up, and the guy next to them, at the very same time told them to stop too. They were fairly quiet after that, though we could feel the daggers, until we left, when they felt compelled to then curse at us. There were also a few vomiting issues in the next section, which is a problem for everyone downhill, if you know what I mean. I think this is about the last large venue show for us. We are just too old to handle all of that crap and we left before the other band, Guster, whose audience this was, I'd say, based on the lack of interest around us in Ray's performance, came onstage. I have one of their albums and I like their music but we both were glad to head home early. Geez, I do sound old!

Despite all that, it was great to hear Ray singing. I totally connect to his music. His voice so full of passion and yearning and the lyrics are wonderful and-if I could write lyrics-express what I would like to say. I found this description of his voice that is a much better expression of it than I could ever come up with, so go check that out. He had more musicians onstage with him this time and he played some new music, including a great cover of "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. His new album comes out in a few weeks and I am really looking forward to getting that onto my ipod for studio music.

I am delivering eight pieces to the Smithy-Pioneer Gallery in Cooperstown today for a group show called Upstate Landscape. I literally painted all of these pieces this last week and glued them into the frames just this morning. Cut this one a bit too close I'd say, but there didn't seem to be any other way around it. The opening is on Monday evening from 5-7pm, just case you plan to fly into town for it. heh.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Warm Light, 2006, Oil on Panel, 9x12

Despite having to work extended hours every day this week in order to (by Friday) get 8 pieces finished for a group show, life goes on. Or rather doesn't. After getting back on Sunday, I have had to deal with pet death and livestock health issues. Unwillingly, I might add. Doug left at 6am on Monday morning to go to NYC for two days so I was left to handle things. Sunday afternoon we were in the chicken coop and my daughter pointed out that one of the chickens had a big lump on her chest. As I picked up the hen I then noticed that she was really docile (most of them aren't!), and also that she was noticeably smaller than the rest of the hens. Sure enough, she had what I thought was some kind of growth, but after doing some odd searches like, tumor chicken (got a lot of recipes for tumor chicken) and growth on chicken breast (much info about salmonella here), I finally found my way to a condition called pendulous crop" In case you know nothing about chickens, like me, food can get impacted in the crop, which is kind of a holding area for food until it moves down into the gizzard and the crop can fill up like crazy. There are a few things one can do to treat this so Monday morning I found myself holding a chicken upside down and massaging her chest in order to get her to basically throw up. A bit of disgusting stuff did come out and then I gave her a few syringes of mineral oil which is supposed to softened the contents up so that they will move along. By the way, you really haven't experienced life until you have struggled to get a syringe into a chicken's mouth. As soon as I can rig up an area for her I will separate her and feed her suggested foods such as yogurt and lettuce. But the chances are slim that I can treat this successfully and so she will probably die from malnutrition. None of the other birds have it though, so it seems to be an individual bird problem rather than a flock problem, which is good.

Then later in the morning, my son got up, checked on his hamster and found him to be almost dead, lying on his side and breathing sporadically. Despite Fluffy having a close call last winter, and even though Fluffy was over two years old, pretty old for a hamster, my son was very upset and spent most of the day crying and moping around the house. I, on the other hand, spent the day checking on Fluffy waiting for him to actually stop breathing and also kind of freaking out about the fact that since Doug was out of town, I was going to have to handle a dead hamster at some point. After much debate and again looking through the internet (did you know that there is a band called Half-Dead Hamster?) I decided to put Fluffy in a zip lock bag and keep him in the freezer until we could have a funeral. And since our son wanted to wait until Doug got home, we had to keep him there for two days. Actually, I was kind of vague when the kids asked where I put Fluffy after removing him from the cage, because when I had mentioned the freezer option they were a bit freaked out at the thought. Uh, as I was.

Even though I had to deal with the dead hamster body I was actually a bit relieved about his death. Two years ago when we had had Fluffy for a few months, he had infected eyes. After some debate about the ridiculousness of taking a $15 hamster for a $65 vet appointment we decided that we wanted to set a good caring and loving example for our son. Actually it just seemed kind of cruel to let him go blind even if it was just a stupid little hamster. So we took Fluffy in and the vet noticed that his teeth were really long and that because of that he was dehydrated (evidently hamsters can't drink when their teeth are too long). He clipped them and suggested some things that would encourage the hamster to chew, which we tried but Fluffy would just not chew! I took him in to get his teeth clipped once more and then the vet sold me a clipper so that we could do it ourselves. Great. At first Doug and I tried to clip the teeth. I would hold Fluffy and keep his little hands out the way and then Doug would do the clipping. But then Doug accidentally cut the hamster's lip and it started bleeding. We both freaked out and Doug couldn't handle doing it anymore. So for the last two years, every month, I have had to go in, hold Fluffy by the scruff of his neck, put the clippers in the right place making sure that the tongue wasn't in the way, close my eyes and squeeze the clippers. Doing this was amazingly stressful and I never got used to it. I would have butterflies before and would be all shaky for hours afterwards. A friend of ours suggested that this was the type of hamster you let go in a field outside or something, but I just couldn't bring myself to do something so intentional.

So last night we had a funeral. Our son had made a cement stepping stone with Fluffy's name on it, we all wrote messages on the cardboard paint stick box from R&F Paints that Fluffy's frozen little body fit perfectly into, we all said a few things about him and then buried him under an apple tree. I am happy that my son feels better after this closure and am also strangely comforted by the fact that we have a pet cemetery.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wolf Kahn In Person

Yakos Barn, 2005, Oil on Panel, 12x16

On Sunday, we drove south on 91 heading towards Massachusetts. I wanted to stop in Bellows Falls to visit Spheris Gallery. I had sent them one of my info packets about a year and a half ago. They politely rejected me (It's fine, I understand and I am not upset at all. Really. I mean it.) but I really like the artists they represent and so I wanted to go and visit the gallery in person. Alas, because I was trying to not be so defensive, I listened to Doug when he told me there would be another exit and waited patiently for the next one. Which was at the next town about 10 miles past Bellows Falls. We didn't feel like backtracking, so I decided that I wanted to at least drive through Brattleboro, having heard that it was a nice town. We drove through the main street area and came upon the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, where there just so happened to be an exhibition of works by the artist who is my painting soul mate, Wolf Kahn. I have discussed this issue here before.

Despite the fact that viewers often say that my work reminds them of his, I have never seen his paintings or pastels in real life, only as reproductions. Doug and I went to NYC for a few days last winter and tried to see one of Mr. Kahn's shows at Ameringer-Yohe Gallery, but unfortunately the gallery was closed the days that we were there, and the show ended soon after. I seem to keep just missing the opportunity to see his work. Anyway, I have read a bit about him and I know that our processes are completely different, but still I do see that eventually we do both come to a similar place. However, as I had suspected, his work has so much more and many different things going on it than mine does. The first thing that amazed me was the scale. Many of the pieces in this collection were very large, 52x66, 50x66 etc. I knew that he often works on large canvases but naturally I didn't get the whole effect of that until I actually stood in front of them. They were also much more abstract than they appear in reproductions. There were splashes and drips and washy and opaque segments of seemingly random color all of which was endlessly fascinating to me. His use of color is better than I could have even imagined, full of subtleties as well as bold juxtapositions, ones I would never consider doing. There were a variety of oil paintings ranging from a self-portrait, painted in 1954 to the "First Barn" painted in 1966, to several smaller pastels done in the last few years. There were also two short documentaries that played in one of the exhibition rooms, one filmed mainly at his Vermont farm and studio about 15 years ago and the other filmed just this year during a project where he visited Niagara Falls, discussed Frederic Church's famous painting of the Falls and then sketched and eventually painted his own vision of the falls. I found his words about his art and his purpose to be really inspiring and I really liked being able to see his studios and his painting process. It looks as if he does small pastel sketches on site and then works from those in his studio to create the larger oil paintings. He also mixes his paint on the painting instead of on a palette, which I often do too, so I loved seeing that.

I know that he is often looked down upon for among other things, licensing his images for use on cups, calenders, bags etc., (and honestly I probably would choose not to do that with my work, but it is America, and artists can do what they want with their images) but I don't really care much about all of that. I like his work and seeing it made me feel really good.

And by the way, just in case anybody out there knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows Wolf Kahn, please ask them to let him know that I am totally willing to drive four hours each way to buy him a cup of coffee and have a chat about art and painting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One Mystery Solved

I finally have an answer to the big mystery about why there have been so many hits to my blog that were a result from a search for "the next to last performers at Woodstock". I had guessed that is had been a topic on a message board somewhere, but a very kind fellow, Jim from Syracuse, just emailed me and said that it had been a question in a crossword puzzle in last Thursday's issue of the New York Times.

I have also been wondering about another batch of hits and maybe someone can help me out again. I have been getting a lot of hits from a message forum at and it seems as if my link was posted there, based on the fact that they are all going to my post about seeing Phil and Friends. I couldn't find the thread on the site (there are hundreds of threads, too many to go through), and can only hope that my link was posted in a positive context! Especially since I wrote about the concert and am not really a big fan.

White Mountain Weekend

Cadmium Yellow Field, 2005, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Doug and I had an excellent time on our little weekend excursion, our days were carefree, did not involve laundry, cooking meals or pet care and the only bickering we heard was our own (I think he tailgates and he thinks I am too defensive when he is telling me which way to go). There were also a few moments of terror (mine) and physical injury (his) just to round out the weekend.

We got a very late start on Friday. No good reason other than that there was a lot to do around the house, as well as a few errands. Although Doug usually drives, his car is in the shop and we took mine, so I decided to drive on Friday and we alternated the rest of the time. I don't like his car. It is much bigger than mine and I am always running over curbs with it and stressing about the fact that I can't seem to see the end of the hood very well because it so dang big. Our first stop was at the Harrison Gallery to drop off a few paintings. and then we decided to meander through Vermont rather than drive up 91. After meandering way too long, we hit the highway and by the time we got to our exit it was raining and it was dark by the time we reached The Wilderness Inn in North Woodstock, NH. We stayed in a little cottage, separate from the main house and it had a fireplace, a two person jacuzzi tub and much privacy. The breakfasts were excellent and the proprietors. Rosanna and Charlie were so nice and helpful.

Saturday morning we set out to take photographs starting along the Kancamagus Highway and looping around and through the White Mountain Forest. Mostly we took shots from the areas designated as scenic locations and I have to say that the area is really stunning. I can see why the place was crowded with tourists, hikers and kyakers. Many of the views took my breath away. We stopped at one spot which was a pull out on the side of the road, with a guardrail and a steep decline on the other side of it. There were several cars parked there and I walked all the way to the far end to take some photos. When I got back to the car I couldn't see Doug anywhere. I sat in the car for a few minutes and started to get worried when I realized there where only two options (three if you believe in alien abduction) that would explain where he was: he could have been kidnapped, unlikely however, given the others in the area, but I definitely ran through that whole scenario, or over the edge. Just as I decided to go and take a look, he crawled up over the guardrail. He looked ok, so I was relieved but I didn't notice the blood at that point. He had headed down the side of the road, into the foliage and had fallen, hurting his hip and scraping up his legs, ankle and feet. He cleaned up, and assessed the damage. I offered little sympathy, and despite being very happy that he hadn't been seriously hurt, the rest of the day was filled with jokes about the intelligence of a nearly fifty year old, kind of out of shape guy climbing over boulders, down into a ravine, wearing sandals.

The moments of terror revolved around my insistence that we ride a ski gondola up to the top of Wildcat Mountain so that we could get some good aerial shots of the surrounding area. I am not exactly afraid of heights but I do have my moments (for instance coming over the top of a ferris wheel is terrifying to me) and as soon as we got in and the gondola started up the mountain, I realized that this would be one of those moments. To make it worse, it was a really windy day, so the lift moved very slowly and near the top the gondola was really swinging back and forth. The views at the top were amazing however and we walked a bit along the portion of the Appalachian Trail that crosses over the mountain. We would have spent more time up there but it was so windy and it was only 42 degrees! The trip back down wasn't quite so bad. I sat so I could look up the hill and I couldn't really see where we were going. We passed the time debating about whether the gondola would break open or if it would just roll if the cable broke and we plunged to the ground. We also decided that we probably wouldn't die right away, but would soon after. heh.

On our way back to North Woodstock, we took a lot of photos of little cabins like these. There were tons of these kinds of places along Route 3.

We had a very nice dinner at the Gypsy Cafe and all day we had tried to buy ourselves an anniversary gift, stopping at a number of antique shops. When we do actually remember the anniversary, we have often bought some quirky little thing for the house or yard. Unfortunately, this time we didn't find anything that we both liked, but it was a good change of pace for us to actually be aware of our anniversary, you know, on the actual day.

On Sunday we took a long time getting home, still stopping often to take photos. We also stopped in Brattleboro, Vermont which I will tell you about tomorrow because what we saw there was amazing and inspiring, not to mention lovely, perfect timing.

I took 317 pictures. Many, many of them were mountain shots like this one:

More than enough for my White Mountain project for Anderson-Soule Gallery as well as plenty of inspiration for new work. Good thing because I have to get right back to work and have to finish what seems like 487 paintings in the coming weeks. heh.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Next To Last Performer at Woodstock

A rather odd thing is going on and I am hoping someone can give me the scoop.

I was just checking my stats, I am not quite so obsessive about it as I was at first but I still check them once in awhile. I noticed that I am getting hits from all over the country, from different locations, from people doing searches for "the next to last performers at Woodstock". My blog comes up because I talk about Woodstock, the town, ad nauseum. But isn't it odd that so many searches for the same topic would be done from so many different locations? Maybe someone who is doing the search will see this and will let me know. I am curious!

By the way, it was Sha-na-na.

Lucky 13

Landscape with Purple, 2006, Oil on Panel, 11x14

Well, I made a lot of progress yesterday in the studio. I emailed about five images to Enderlin Gallery for them to choose an image from for publicity. I finished up three large pieces (actually I still have to paint the cradled edges and do the paperwork for them today) to take to The Harrison Gallery on Friday. And despite being dog tired and kind of headachy, I managed to do eleven good underpaintings. Smaller ones, 12x16, 11x14 and 12x12's, since I have already finished the larger pieces for both shows that are coming up. I even managed to do our 3 mile "walk around the block" which cleared up the headache. So I am pleased, and while I have a bunch of things to do today, I feel good about having to take this weekend trip.

The reason we are going to NH is so that I can get some photos and make some sketches of various scenes in the White Mountain Region. I was asked to participate in a group show at the Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord, NH (I wrote about it here) and we have had such a busy summer that we haven't had a chance to get away until now. And it is literally the only weekend we can go (leaving the kids with the sitter, we decided that just Doug and I will go as it is a work trip. heh), as the work needs to be complete by mid-September. So even though I am overwhelmed with painting, I really have to go. Darn.....

The funny thing though, is that when I scheduled this trip and arranged for us to stay in a romantic little cottage in the woods, I didn't realize that it is our anniversary on Saturday. After I figured it out, I mentioned it to Doug who had remembered and thought that's why I had rented a cottage, rather than a regular hotel room. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to cover and I had to, yet again, admit that I had forgotten our anniversary.

We both have a history of forgetting it. One year we had lunch with friends, did all of this stuff with the kids in the afternoon and about a week later, realized that we had completely forgotten that that day had been our anniversary. It's not that we don't attach any importance to the date, it's just that when we got married, we had a lot going on. We had moved the date up a few months because we had just found out that our nephew was going to come live with us and we wanted to get married before that. Then, the day we had originally chosen turned out to be Friday, the 13th, which seemed like a bad idea to tempt fate like that if we didn't have to, so we switched it to the 12th, which still gets me mixed up. Most of the time one of us manages to remember the anniversary, it's usually just at the last minute.

Doug and I had a very low key wedding. It was just us and the justice of the peace in our living room. No reception, no dinner out, no honeymoon, just a regular day. I am uncomfortable with the whole wedding thing and we both wanted it to be yet another good day in our relationship. We had been together for five years already, living together for two and getting married seemed a simple formality. And frankly, in retrospect, the day we were married pales in comparison to so many of the days that have followed.

But I will still enjoy the lovely coincidence of a weekend away, with my husband, which just so happens to fall on our 13th wedding anniversary.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Too Much To Do, Again

Bright Spot, 2006, Oil on Panel, 9x12

I knew that when we got back from vacation that I would have a tight painting schedule for a few weeks in order to finish up enough work for two shows that I have coming up. I am also trying to put together a few pieces suitable for publicity, not easy as my work does not reproduce well, and especially not in black in white for newspaper articles. I did manage to send out about six images to the gallery this morning and am hopeful that they will find at least one that is appropriate.

But the thing, the really great thing, that is really making me frantic is a request from the Harrison Gallery in the Berkshires. They must have a super duper sales staff over there because they have been selling my stuff left and right. They have sold seven pieces in the last couple of weeks and are down to only five in their inventory. I had mentioned to the director that Doug and I would be driving through the area this weekend (on our way to the White Mountains in NH-more on that tomorrow) and that we were planning to stop by to see their current exhibition. So she wondered if I could bring some work with me! Yikes!! Luckily I have a few large pieces that are nearly done and a few smaller ones in progress, that I could finish if I don't leave the house or sleep for more than a few hours for the next couple of days.* I also need to do a whole batch of under paintings today, so that when I get back to the studio on Monday, I can jump right back into a new group of landscapes.

On a lighter note, I was pleased to see how beautiful my gardens looked when we got back a few days ago. The Black-Eyed Susans are blooming and everything looks colorful and lush. I love this part of the summer and wish I, and I can't believe I am saying this, because don't forget, I am not an outdside kinda girl, could get outside more to enjoy it.

*You are probably wondering what the heck I am doing writing for the damn blog if I have so much to do. Well two reasons. One is that when I started the blog I wanted to document everything that happens in my work, the process, the frustrations, the exciting events as well as the disappointing ones, exhibition experiences and most definitely the hectic pace I have to keep sometimes to get everything done. So that means taking a few minutes to sit down even in the midst of it all, think about what is happening and write it down. The other reason is that I am procrastinating a bit. heh. I have to spend all day in the studio and right now it looks a little bit like a deep, dark basement with chains on the walls to keep me in.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Opening Reception at Salt Meadow Gallery

Leaning Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 8x10

We had a rather complicated schedule for the day of the opening at Salt Meadow. Doug took the boys fishing on a party boat from 8-noon. So I had the girls and since it was a rather rainy overcast day, we decided to hit the mall. We bought a few school clothes and then I made a big mistake. I went into a changing room to try on a pair of jeans at the Eddie Bauer. I don't know what I was thinking, because changing rooms always turn even the best day into a bad fat day for me, which is exactly what happened, despite my best efforts to snap out of it. Then that afternoon, we had plans to get together with some real life friends of ours, Pat and Carina. We decided to meet at the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory to take the tour with our kids and theirs (they are friends too) and afterwards go back to our place where all the kids would stay with another friend and her husband (also vacationing for the weekend) while the grown-ups went to the opening. I couldn't do the factory tour though, which was fine because after my bad fat day incident, I didn't exactly care to see how my favorite potato chips are made. I had to leave earlier for the opening, which was to start at 4pm and then Doug, Pat and Carina were planning to come later to the gallery.

Naturally the traffic was bad, so I arrived a bit after 4pm which kind of stressed me out, especially after having difficulties finding an outfit that I felt comfortable in, you know, because of the stupid bad fat day. Anyway, the gallery is in a beautiful building on Route 6a in East Sandwich. Previously, the downstairs was a glass studio for artist Gayle Olsson, but after she moved, gallery owners Glenn and Sharon turned it into more gallery space in order to have monthly solo exhibitions. I was very pleased when I arrived, because they had really done a great job of hanging my work. I enjoy seeing how others decide to display and group my paintings. It's always different, often better than what I would do and I really appreciate what another person can do with my work.

The first hour or so was kind of quiet. A few people were steadily coming in and I was able to talk to almost everyone. I had a chance during this time to look at my work and like it again. I probably shouldn't say this out loud as it seems negative, but really, I think it's fairly normal as it seems to happen fairly often. When I am preparing work for a rather large show, by the time I have to deliver or ship the work, I HATE it. I think it's awful, the worst I have ever done, no one will like it and I am so sick of it all. Then when I see the pieces hung, under the lights, all intense and colorful, I like them again and each one is my favorite painting. All is forgiven. Anyway, for awhile there was no one there and it occurred to me that my friends from home were going to show up soon and would see that the reception was pretty quiet. Great! Now people from home would think my "career" might just be a figment of my imagination. Luckily, at that point, one of my blog readers, Stephanie, (hi Stephanie, thanks for coming!) came in with a friend, and we talked for awhile. And then quickly the room filled up and it was actually pretty crowded by the time Doug, Pat and Carina showed up. Doug told me later that they had to park a good way down the road, because there were so many cars and the parking lot was full. So my reputation is safe, for now anyway. heh.

I talked to so many people and by the end my eyes felt buggy and I had started to babble a bit. I was pleased to meet many of the other artists that the gallery represents, including Melanie Chartier, David McDermott and Yukumi Matsumoto and Gayle. I had attended a meet the artist reception at Salt Meadow last fall and many of the same people returned, so it was nice to see familiar faces. A couple that had bought a piece last fall arrived and promptly bought two more (including the one posted above), and another couple, Bob and Lori, that we had met and had dinner with last fall bought a piece. Glenn and Sharon obviously did a great job publicizing the show and so I want to thank them for their efforts. It was all so lovely. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any pictures at the opening but Glenn was kind enough to take a few pictures that I have posted below.

In order to not jinx sales, I have not asked any questions about sales, but Glenn understands and has been keeping me up to date. Several people came in over the weekend, specifically to see the show and then on Monday, a friend of his who had bought two of my pieces last year, came in and bought four more! So that's seven in less than a week. Cool!

And during the opening, after about the fifth compliment about my work, the bad fat day disappeared and I felt just regular finally. I am fickle like that.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Back From Cape Cod

I am back after a lovely relaxing vacation (mostly-the kids did spend most of the week honing their debating, arguing and whining skills, which may have been fun for them but it was irritating to us) all ready to dive back into the studio. I have to be ready because on the long drive home I starting obsessing about how many pieces I have to complete in the next few weeks or so and the list is long. We got back on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday I spent much of the day cleaning out my studio and desk, not to mention doing all of the laundry in the world.

Doug and I drove down to the Cape on Monday, in separate cars because one of us had to deliver the paintings and there wasn't room for them, the kids and our belongings in one car. And by some freak of nature, naturally coinciding with last week's heat wave, neither of our car's air conditioning was functional. So the drive was pretty uncomfortable in both cars to say the least, and in my car there was a close call involving a heat induced, exacerbated by motion, vomiting episode. When we arrived at the last minute house rental, we were very happy to find that it had central air. It was a beautiful house, not really walking distance to the beach, but close enough and the Kennedys down the street didn't give us any trouble. However, we did find out that if you walk too close to the entrance, security guys in cars start to slowly circle around until you get nervous and go away even if you aren't doing anything but having a nice walk around the beautiful neighborhood.

We slept late everyday which was heavenly and for some reason I was able to sleep through the night there, which was pretty exciting since I literally have not gone one single night without waking up for one reason or another since 1995. We spent two afternoons at the beach which everyone but me LOVED. Spending time on a beach is problematic for me. Again, my princessy side doesn't handle outdoor discomfort very well including sand that gets everywhere, if you know what I mean, various bugs, icky green things stuck to my skin, not to mention the hot sun and heat wave. I was also completely and totally self conscious about wearing a swimsuit in public. However, I did ok and managed to get just enough sun to take the edge off my usually fluorescent white skin, which was my own little personal goal for the week. We drove up to Provincetown one day which would have been fun and I was really looking forward to looking through the galleries there, however, that day the temperature there was over 100 degrees. We basically had a lobster lunch, went into a store, walked a block, turned into limp rags and so decided to go to the beach where it was slightly cooler. After that we stopped at the Cape Cod Lighthouse in Truro and climbed 69 (vertical) steps to the top, which was awesome. The light house was depicted in a painting (sorry, I couldn't find an image of it on the internet, though there are a quite a few versions of a lighthouse in Maine) by one of my very favorite artists, Edward Hopper who spent much time painting in Truro and in Cape Cod. On another day, we drove up to Plymouth to see Plymouth Rock. We also toured a replica of the Mayflower and then we went to Plimouth Plantation which was really cool. It was a historical recreation of the pilgrims settlement and there were people dressed and talking as if they were really living there, in that time, and after a bit it seemed as if we were talking to people who possibly had a few mental issues, they were so sincere. The kids enjoyed talking and listening to them but were a bit puzzled.

I was really inspired by the scenery and took many photos to use as reference for future work. I also look forward to going back, maybe in September, without kids, to get some more imagery. I did take my drawing box and sketch paper and we dragged that around everywhere we went but I never even opened the box. Guess I really needed a break from art, plus it was just too damn hot to be doing anything. It would also be nice to be there off season to avoid the traffic and what the heck is with those stupid roundabouts! I almost got killed the first time I entered one and now I get totally stressed every time I see one coming up.

Anyway, the opening at Salt Meadow on Friday evening was excellent, but I think I will describe it in tomorrow's post. I have to get back to the laundry....

PS. While we were in Hyannis, we took my car in and got the air fixed. So the girls and I drove home in cool comfort, while the boys sweated it out again in Doug's car. Bummer. heh.