Friday, September 29, 2006

Day 11

Hillside with Purple Trees, 2006, Oil on Panel, 18x24

Thursday I finished up painting the cradles and put labels on the backs of a number of the finished paintings. I also had to pack up and ship out a painting to a client. It was sort of a commission. I say sort of because I tend to avoid typical commissions, which are just way too much pressure for me. In this case, the clients had seen a painting at the Harrison Gallery that they liked, but it was on a cradled panel and they wanted it in a frame. While the gallery director and I were emailing about putting a frame on it, another customer came into the gallery and bought the painting. So the client wondered if I could do a similar painting on a framed panel. The image was an image I felt comfortable doing again, as most of you may know, I often paint the same imagery many times, so I agreed to try. I did two paintings. They both had the same composition which was easy enough. However, I wasn't too sure that the color would be the same as the first piece. It is exceedingly difficult to match colors when doing glazes, there are so many variables and I don't keep track of the colors that I use, preferring to wing it. For some reason though, I was able to get the colors very close and I was pretty impressed, if not too comfortable with copying my own work. Felt a bit hinky, you know? Anyway, to comfort myself, I used entirely different colors on the other one (pictured above), Harrison Gallery liked it as well and is taking it in the group of paintings that I will be giving them next week. Ok, long story about one little thing that I had to do yesterday. Sorry...I have been so cooped up and haven't talked to too many humans lately.

I finally got to work in the studio in the afternoon, but I felt extremely restless and not really focused. I worked for short bits of time, finishing one section and then getting up to check for eggs in the henhouse (no more since the first one a few days ago), check emails, talk with Doug, wash our long haired cat's bottom after an unfortunate bout of diarrhea, or any number of other things. I tend to work in this manner when I am not feeling so rushed or pressured so I guess this is all good.

I worked on only one painting though, and it's one that has a sign in it so it will need much more work in that area. I think I like this although I am not too sure about the purple foreground (sorry about the bad photo-it's not really a good representation of the colors at all). I used purple because most of the other paintings in this group have green or yellow/green land and I wanted to do something different. I plan to work on the sky more so perhaps a deeper blue in that area will balance out the purple a bit. But I do like how the purple looks with the light and shadow colors on the barn, so I think I want to keep it no matter how improbable a solid purple field may be. Realism isn't really my ultimate goal here obviously.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 10

I think that I am in the home stretch here. It feels like things are winding down for this particular project and I am feeling back to my less stressed self. However, there is still plenty to do.

On Wednesday, I started the process of painting the cradles. I used to stain them kind of a dark mahogany color but that was too time consuming, having a long wait for them to dry between coats. So I switched over to painting the frames as well as the cradles black. I have a small, low table (which used to be the kid's art table) in my studio that I normally use for gessoing and for painting the frames and other odds and ends. But as my work gets larger it is more challenging to fit more than a few pieces on the table. So this time I had to let a 24x36 piece dry on the dining room table. We don't use the dining room much and the cats have pretty much claimed the table so there is usually a bit of prep in order to use that. I did the first coat but didn't have a chance for the rest of the day to sand and paint the second coat, so I will have to get back to them tomorrow.

I then did four underpaintings. Even though this barn project is nearly finished I have another show in November and the work must be completed by October 27. I am also expecting the gallery director to call me any day now to ask for a few pieces for publicity, so I need to get a move on with new work for that show.

The next thing I did was to put the final Liquin coat on three paintings that are finished. And by the time I got to actually paint it was nearly 2pm (oops, forgot to mention that I did spend some time commenting on blogs and other such things, bad girl!) and so I only had about an hour and a half before the kids got home. But in that time I did manage to make some good progress on one of the 30x30 barn pieces, pictured above. I would have liked to have worked on the others also, but I feel pretty good about getting them finished by Friday or Saturday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Day 9

I admit to being just the tiniest bit lazy on Tuesday, however I did manage to get everything done that was possible. I spent the morning on the computer. I had to photograph and put together some jpegs of a few finished pieces to send off to two of my galleries. And I had quite a bit of email correspondence with three galleries, in order to schedule dates and times for the delivery of paintings next week.

This afternoon I put a final coat on two barn paintings and the large landscape, touched up two of the other barns, which will be ready to final coat tomorrow. I also applied the first red glaze on the remaining three barn paintings and did the first coat of paint on the cradles on a few of the completed pieces. While this might sound as if it was a lot of work it really wasn't and I spent most of the day doing various things around the house. Puttering again, I guess.

I will begin to post the finished work in their final jpeg formats, like usual, next week. I am very happy with how this work is turning out, especially given how close to total burn out I am. However I hope that I won't always have to have this much pressure in order to create a few batches of good paintings!

Also, I wanted to give a plug to a very informative blog that I found today through Art Biz Blog, well now I guess that's two plugs. Artist, Emerging is written by artist Deanna Wood who is documenting her efforts at establishing an art career. I covered similar territory last spring in a few of my posts, but Deanna is much more thorough and does a great job of explaining the different aspects of where and how to direct your efforts. I also realized while reading through her posts that even though I still consider myself an emerging artist, maybe I am not really anymore. I am not exactly established yet either, but I haven't had to really market my work for quite awhile so perhaps it's time to reassess what I am doing. Well, when I have some time that is.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Day 8

Not a whole lot to report today, although I did have a productive day in the studio on Monday. I finished up a few of the smaller pieces I had had going before I started the barns, and put the final coat of Liquin on several pieces. I don't use a varnish, I prefer to simply apply a clear coat of Liquin, which is the medium I use, over the finished work. It gives it a consistent, shiny finish and kind of pulls the whole thing together.

I have essentially finished four barn paintings. On Monday I did some final adjustments on three of them and I will do the final coat on them today. I also did the first layers of colors on this one:

and it gave me some trouble. I am sorry that I didn't document all of the changes now, but I was pretty caught up in the process. I settled on the color of the sky and the roof fairly quickly, but the barn! I painted that thing four different times. Lavender, orange, red, blue and then finally, the blue/purple that it is now. I am still not sure about it but I can only rub paint off a few times, otherwise the previous surface starts to get too scuffed up. Often if I am totally frustrated with the colors, I wipe everything off and leave it to work on again the next day. I left this color because I thought the surface was already becoming affected. I may make some adjustments to this barn tomorrow (it needs to dry a bit more), although after looking at it today I like it better then I did last night.

Today I am feeling pretty good about getting everything done. And next week I will start posting images of the finished paintings.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Our First Egg

Pretty exciting day around here!

One of the chickens has been hanging around the nests inside the chicken coop and even though it's pretty early (our chickens are 4 months old and usually they start laying at about 5 1/2 or 6 months), I have been wondering if she was ready to lay an egg. Today when I went in to change the water I glanced at the nests and there it was- a small, but perfectly shaped brown egg. The chicken looked pretty proud of herself.

All of this proves that if you get chickens through the mail, peel the poop off their butts, stress about whether they are warm enough and are eating right, check on them at 2am just to make sure, and then invest hundreds of dollars into a hen house and chicken run, and save their favorite kitchen scraps to give them, you will eventually be rewarded with a small, but beautiful, brown organic egg.

Day 6 and 7

I didn't get as much done this weekend as I had hoped. I had to go to my daughter's soccer game Saturday morning and after that thriller it took me awhile to get motivated to even get into the studio, let alone accomplish anything. I tidied up a bit (aka procrastinated) and then gessoed seven panels for the next batch of paintings. Three of them are really large, one 24x36 and two sized 30x30, and Doug and I had to clear some wall space in his work room so that I could hang them while they dry. I hope to finish up a few of last week's pieces tomorrow and then I will have more room on the picture rails in my studio again.

I am starting to realize that even when I really should, I hardly ever get out the paints and brushes and Liquin and really paint on the weekends. I do other things like prepare for the coming week by doing under paintings or putting hangers on or painting the cradled edges. Actually unless I am in a really busy mode, I don't usually even do any work on the weekends, preferring to leave those days for the family, or my other favorite thing-catching up on the housework and laundry. heh.

So on Sunday, I again totally procrastinated and spent some time on the computer. Doug was kind enough to take the kids away so I could work and I didn't even get started for two hours after they left. But I did finally buckle down and managed to do three large barn underpaintings. I had planned to do a few more (to get a start on the Carrie Haddad Gallery show in November) but I realized that I really would have nowhere to put them. So they'll have to wait a few days too, until I finish up some of the others. Anyway, I am taking a great risk by only preparing eight barn paintings, which is exactly how many I need for the show in NH. I can usually count on ruining one or two, or more sometimes, in each batch of paintings.

That's me, livin' on the edge.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Day 5

Despite only having about 3-4 hours to work on Friday, I kicked butt! First of all Doug was in NYC for the day so I was able to play my music loud and sing along. Doug works in the room right next to me and can pretty much hear whatever I do. And even after 18 years I still feel embarrassed to really sing so that he can hear me. It's for his own good really, not to mention the good of our marriage. I do sing in front of my kids but that's because it embarrasses THEM, not me. Now I think whenever I hear Young Americans by David Bowie it will remind me of a party in college* AND painting the barn roof red on this painting:

So I worked on that piece as well as the other 24x36 piece and I am very happy with how they both turned out. I have to do just a bit more work on them, still not sure about the color of the path in the landscape, but essentially they are close to finished. This is the landscape, plus a close-up, that will be going to another gallery this coming week.

I had planned to gesso some more panels Friday night but after unpacking a shipment of like, 900 more panels, making dinner and doing a few things around the house, I decided to prepare the panels on Saturday and do the under paintings for the next batch of barns on Sunday. I am pleased with my progress but it could still all go to hell if just one little unexpected thing happens.

* Young Americans always bring to mind an image of one of the first college parties I was at on Labor Day weekend in 1983. It was in a crowded apartment on campus and the school had kindly supplied a few kegs (aahhh, the pre-politically incorrect olden days). This guy, Joe, was doing a great dance with a girl while everyone else watched and sang and cheered them on. I think he was a junior and so I only knew him slightly. He was so beautiful (ok, I had had a few) and I couldn't stop watching him. At that point, I don't think I had ever seen a man really dance (in person that is), with spins and hips and rhythm and so I was transfixed. A few weeks later he and I were talking and I mentioned that I enjoyed the party and his dance in the middle of it all. He laughed and said everyone was commenting about it, but he had had a lot of beer and didn't really remember dancing that night. Figures. An image that I will recall every time I hear a David Bowie song for the next 20+ years and the person in it has no memory of it whatsoever.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Day 4

Thursday was a good day. First of all I had a pretty good night's sleep, at least compared to the really bad sleep I have had over the last week or so, and I didn't as if there was sand in my eyes all day. I think the stress of this was getting to me a bit. I have been waking up at 3am each morning and then tossing and turning until my usual wake up time at 6am. Also when I am stressed I tend to clench my teeth at night and I wake up with the worst headaches. I have a mouth guard to wear and usually I only have to wear it once in awhile but I have started wearing it each night.

So anyway, I put the hangers on several completed pieces, so that I could stack them and get them out of the way. Then I started the first barn piece. I was surprisingly nervous and it took me awhile to get going. While it wasn't exactly an easy one, I did struggle a bit with it. It took me awhile to settle on the colors for the barn and at one point the sky was painted blue but I thought it made the whole piece look really ordinary. I rubbed off the blue and settled on a purplish sky. Not sensible at all but it really makes the blue-green of the barn really pop.

(This is one of our cats who likes to be involved.)

The next piece was like a puzzle. There are many more elements to this one (pictured at the top, partially painted and then finished, except for some touch up) and getting the colors to work together was a real challenge. The color of the roof was the most difficult and I tried many different shades of blue/grey, until I settled on one. The short wall in front was purple for awhile and I thought it looked too patchy so I changed it to red. I also removed the road and made the entire foreground yellow. When I changed those elements I thought the piece became rather elegant and had a nice horizontal movement.

The last piece (below) was done right at the end of the afternoon. I mixed much of the color right on the panel, mostly because my palette paper was full and I didn't feel like putting out a new piece. But I like how the foliage especially looks when I work the paint like that. I will probably work on this one a bit more today. There is some lettering I'd like to add to the sign on the front, darken the shadowed side and and I may want to soften some of the edges so that the building fits into the landscape better.

The three that I painted on Thursday were 18x24. I have two more barns, one 18x24 and one 24x36 that I plan on working on today. plus I will hopefully finish up with the others. However, it's a short day as I have to leave at 1pm for an appointment. SInce I will be working in the studio on Saturday and Sunday I think I will continue to post over the weekend as well.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day 3

The calm before the storm. Wednesday I applied the first glaze on all of the pieces. It's a red glaze and very intense and all of the pictures I took are completely over saturated so I am not going to post them. However, a few with the red glaze can be seen in the post on Day 1 (they are on the lower picture rails). In real life they are so intense that it can be difficult to spend much time looking directly at them. Which sounds weird and pretty impractical, I know, but hey, it's working for me right now. These color combinations help give me the zingy color thing.

Doing the glazes didn't really take very long, especially with my new super duper sable brush. It is totally fabulous and I can tell it will be worth every penny. After I finished with the glazing, I continued working on the smaller pieces. I did about three of them today, one was pretty nice (pictured above) and may only need a bit of touching up, although I could have a different opinion about that when I get back to it with fresh eyes. The other two definitely need a few more days of work. However they are getting bumped because starting tomorrow I will begin applying the color glazes to the large barns and I really need to get those done in order to make room for the next batch.

I hope that at least one or two will paint itself on Thursday. That would really help me out here.

Day 2

Layered White Mountains, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

As of 6pm on Tuesday evening, I had accomplished exactly nothing in the studio. I worked all morning on a rather evil piece that gave me all kinds of trouble. Finally, at 1 pm, right before I had to leave for a meeting at my son's school, I was so annoyed with the whole thing, I wiped all of the paint off. Which was actually about the 20th time I had wiped everything off. I just couldn't get the colors to work or anything else for that matter.

After I did the chauffeur thing after school, we got home and even though I felt like bailing on the whole painter thing entirely, I decided that I would try again. So Doug made dinner and I started over again. This time the painting painted itself, perfectly, I am not even sure I had to be there. Feeling full of myself I decided to pull out another piece that needed more work and I mucked around with that one with less success. I put it aside and started to work on another landscape. Again this one practically painted itself too. I may do just a bit of touching up on them today, but basically they are finished. So here are the good ones:

I am way too vain to put up the bad one. I will give it another chance tomorrow, but I suspect it may end up in the sand down pile. Sometimes you just have a feeling.

These paintings will go to the Harrison Gallery if they want them, in addition to several more that I will work on today. I have to finish up everything that I can while the barn under paintings are drying. That way I can devote my time to the barn paintings that will get their first glaze on Wednesday. Other down time will be used to frame up the previous batch of paintings and doing the paperwork.

This whole thing is one big balancing act.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Day 1

Last Thursday, when my hopes for a break were dashed by an invitation to participate in a group show, I was completely overwhelmed by what's ahead of me in the next few months. Eight large sized paintings to be painted and delivered by October 4 and then another show to prepare for immediately after that would surely send me over the edge right? That's what I thought, except after puttering around in my studio for the last few days, making space for the new works and preparing the panels, I am actually pretty excited about this! Although I paint barns fairly often I haven't done a lot of them lately and I certainly haven't done any really larger sized ones recently. After going through my barn photo stash, I realized that because of the panel size, I could paint a few barns that I usually pass over because they hadn't seemed appropriate for a small scale format. A few of the barns have signs on them which I am really looking forward to including as well (often I eliminate the signs in the smaller pieces).

I thought that I would have to limit my posting here for the next 2 weeks but now I am thinking that I might just track this whole thing on the blog. It may be just pictures on some days, however less yakking from me might be a refreshing change of pace. heh. And I will probably be showing mostly long shots of the paintings because, and don't take this personally, I don't really like to discuss my actual painting process too much. Kinda spoils the mood for me, know what I mean? But if you have any questions, go ahead and ask and I might answer.

So here we go.

On Sunday I gessoed eight panels. Monday morning I had to sand them a bit, not too much though, I like the texture of the brush marks, plus I am kind of lazy. I narrowed down the images I felt like doing, which can vary depending on how I feel on any given day. I managed to complete 6 under paintings on Monday. Five are barns, one is a large landscape meant for Salt Meadow Gallery. Just to throw a wrench in the works, I still have to meet a few other obligations, including new work to Harrison Gallery next week. Luckily, I have about eight under paintings already prepared that I will work on while the barn under paintings dry over the next few days. So I am feeling pretty good about getting those done. Anyway, as usual, I am feeling exhilarated after completing a new batch of under paintings and at this point everything looks really good and positive. One problem is again, the size of my studio. I have picture rails up on the walls where I keep the work in progress. It's a good way to also see if I need to fix anything before the paint sets up, as sometimes I miss really obvious things and looking at them on the wall helps with that. Unfortunately, because I have limited space and since I have 6 large pieces going all at once, they are all sitting vertically, while the images are horizontal. Since it's not usually a good idea to move them around too much while they are drying, I am just going to have to cross my fingers and hope that I didn't miss anything this time.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Wildcat Ski Run in Summer, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

I am a little bit afraid to use my new paint brush. This brush cost more than my wedding ring. Ok, ok, I only have a plain gold band because we were financially strapped when we got married, and I didn't really care much about having a diamond. But still.

I have been working up the nerve to spend 205.99 on a sable brush for quite some time now. It seems a ridiculous amount of money to be spending on a brush, but it has become necessary due to the higher demand I have had lately for larger paintings. Applying color to a 24x36 panel can be pretty frustrating and can quickly turn into busywork when the brush is only an inch wide. Not that an inch and a quarter will make much difference, but it's a start. I like the sable brushes though. After much experimentation I much prefer how the glaze looks by using a very soft brush, and sable does just what I want.

For some reason, though, I just couldn't bring myself to spring for the largest sized brush, size 28, which was 239.99. Somehow, at the time I placed the order THAT seemed totally ridiculous, as if 205.99 wasn't.

However, I suspect that a size 28 brush is in my future. I don't think I can help myself now that the flood gates have opened.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Woodstock, James, Chris, Soho, and the Whitney

Indian Head Resort Cottages, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Last Saturday, we drove down to Woodstock to attend the opening for the juried show that one of my pieces had been accepted into (and won a prize, as if I haven't mentioned that often enough). We got a late start so by the time we arrived we had just enough time to take a quick look around, have a carrot and a little cheese thing from the food table and then we had to leave to make the 4pm train to the city. I did talk to an artist I had been in another show with last winter, Judith Reeve, and I was hoping to see the juror, Jon deMartin, with whom I had taken a figure drawing workshop with last summer, but unfortunately he wasn't there.

So we made the train, got to our hotel which I discussed earlier this week, spruced ourselves up a bit and left again to go to the show to see James Wolanin's work and to hopefully meet up with him and Chris Rywalt. Which we did. I will skip the details as James described the evening very accurately on his blog and Chris described the evening very accurately on his blog and I really doubt that all you blog readers need to actually read my very accurate description of the night as well. I would like to add though, that James' work is amazing, wonderful color and content and I am happy to have finally met him as I have been reading his blog for quite awhile. Chris is very enjoyable, very smart and funny even if he does tend to forget where he parks his Lexus (just kidding, I don't think it was a Lexus, but it was red which is my usual way of identifying a car, do they make a Lexus in red? aren't they usually champagne or silver or black?), and NYC is so much nicer than it was when I used to visit in the 80's. I was always sure I would be mugged, as most everyone I knew had been, but this time (and the last few times I've been there) I felt completely comfortable walking around late into the night. I do wish that we had gone inside CBGB's, but I just couldn't handle the derision I felt from the people out front. I suspect that I (and Doug) look too much like what they have to hate in order to be punk. I am sighing here.

Anyway, on Sunday, we went to Doug's store in Soho and then walked around visiting some of the galleries in the area, Coda, Eleanor Ettinger, Arcadia, and Multiple Impressions which is just a few doors down from the store. These also just so happen to be the galleries that represent several artists whose work I like, including Francis Livingston, Mark English, Malcom Liepke, Steven Larson and a few others. The Ettinger Gallery had up a group show of landscapes that were all very ordinary, I thought. Aracadia also had a group show up plus a whole wall of figurative watercolor paintings by Malcolm Liepke.* I have always liked his work but I must say that in when I saw a whole group of his figures, there were maybe 20 or so, the thing he does with their noses, (to make them move forward from the plane of the face he makes the noses darker, and they often look reddish), kinda bugged me. In just one piece it works, but when there are so many women and men with red noses, it starts to either look a bit gimmicky or as if his people are alcoholics. It pains me to say this because really I have liked his work ever since I was in college and he was an illustrator, but it's just my opinion and I doubt it will any effect on him whatsoever. So there you go. Then we took the subway (which has also greatly improved in the last 20 years) to the Whitney to see the Full House show. After having recently read so much about Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock, it was exciting to see a few pieces of their work again. I spent a lot of time looking at Woman with Bicycle and looking at a Jackson Pollock drip painting up close, far away and then back up close again is always worth more than the price of admission.

The fifth floor was mostly work by Edward Hopper. I have always admired his work, in fact we have a nice print of Early Sunday Morning in our bathroom which I carefully look at each day. How nice it was to see it first thing when we entered the exhibition! I went back and looked at it several times while we were there. This show also displayed many of his sketches and drawings for many of his most well known paintings. I loved seeing those. I thought they had a lot of energy about them, a quality that is not usually present in the figures in his oil paintings. I also felt that his figures were better drawn in the sketches, I know it's practically a sin to say but sometimes the drawing of his figures in the paintings bug me. They have many redeeming factors such as light and emotion (usually melancholy) which I love but once in awhile I see an arm or a foot that really sends me up a wall.

The other piece I wanted to mention was a slide show of 700 images by Nan Goldin which were accompanied by very well chosen loud, mostly rock music. I thought that many of the individual images were really just candid snapshots, kind of ordinary, often of partygoers, people having sex, and various kinds of seedy characters, pictures almost anyone could have taken. But what really worked was the whole collection of images, which along with the soundtrack was fascinating and we were riveted to the whole thing.

Of course I had to spend too much money on a few books from the museum bookstore before we left. I bought the Hopper book which accompanied the show, a book of Richard Diebenkorn figures on paper and "The Women of the Whitney" which tells the story of how they came to put together the collection and museum and of course that looks very interesting.

It was a nice few days, but we were both surprisingly happy to get back to the daily grind at home. On Tuesday, with visions of Edward Hoppers in my head I painted this painting of cabins located in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire and it will be included in an upcoming group show.

*Sorry, I don't feel like posting links tonight, google if you are interested. There are probably a lot of typos too, but I don't care right now. It's past 9pm and I am crabby and I want to go to sleep but I can't or I will wake up at 4am and not be able to fall back to sleep. I may have to rethink this posting at night shit. Oops, see what I mean? Now I am using bad words....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just in case you wondered...

Light Upstairs, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

...I am a greedy artist desperate for exposure and attention and potential sales despite how difficult it makes my life and how burned out I nearly am.

Today the gallery director from Anderson-Soule (see side bar for link) called me and asked if I would be interested in participating in a show that she would be organizing for the main floor of a new office building in Concord, NH. It is to be a barn show, featuring three artists and she wanted 8-10 pieces, by the first week of October. I said yes, because it sounds like a neat project and I am very pleased and flattered to be invited to be involved in it.

Good-bye knitting, reorganizing the linen closet, reading all day, home made Halloween costumes, rearranging my studio, sorting through the kid's clothing, lunch with a friend, sitting on the porch, catching up on new music videos and anything else I had planned to do in the next few weeks.

Six weeks actually, because as soon as those pieces are finished I have to prepare for a show in November, early November. I am such a moron.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Almost There

Purple Colored Mountains. 2006, Oil on Panel, 30x24

This is one of the five pieces that I am supposed to be finished with by Friday in order to send the jpegs to Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord, NH. I have three that turned out really nice and one that is iffy as of today. I will be spending today and tomorrow working on that one plus two more just in case, plus a couple more to send off to a few other galleries. I am happy that I am almost finished with these paintings so that I can return to my regular painting schedule. It will also be nice to shake the constant feeling of how much I have to do, which hovers over me whenever I try to do non-painting related things lately. I may just spend a whole day next week reading and/or knitting. I am also itching to rearrange my studio a bit-I think I have figured out a way to make some room in order to work on larger panels.

I am still also hoping to write up a post about the weekend in the city (for now, you can check out James Wolanin's blog, he wrote about Saturday evening), but I may not be able to get that posted until Thursday afternoon or maybe even on Friday. In fact, I think I may have to start posting in the late afternoons anyway because clearly I am unable to limit my computer time in the mornings which is really messing up my work schedule. I sit down in my stupid yet really comfortable computer chair in the morning after the kids leave for school, check a few blogs, read a few sites, one thing leads to another and before I know it, half the day is gone.

So tomorrow I must go cold turkey-I will check my emails (I can't believe how many of you post comments at one in the morning!), read the news and then walk directly into my studio by 8am.

Well, that's the plan anyway.....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cheap Night in NYC

Last week when Doug was looking for a hotel in the city for us to stay in which had to be cheap, for him and 4 star or higher for me, he checked out After much searching he came across this one: " 4 star, in the heart of Soho, $150.00". It met all of our requirements, (unless it was a typo) though I thought it seemed too good to be true. But Doug had visions of a cheap night in the city so he booked it.

It turned out to be the Millenium Hilton, which just so happened to be located across the street from Ground Zero. Quite a stretch to call that Soho. I felt a bit woozy when we landed out front of the hotel on Saturday. The entrance was just a few steps from the observation area and so I walked through there while Doug checked in. I had been there last February, and it was pretty bleak and sad. This time the atmosphere was different though. It was crowded, many people were looking at the photo display and timeline, which hadn't been there last winter. There were a lot of cameras and media around in anticipation for Monday's anniversary. It felt surprisingly nice to be there, but at the same time I was uncomfortable watching people having their pictures taken with the empty space of Ground Zero, or with the memorial behind them. I guess I can understand why it has become a tourist attraction, after all I have been there twice, but even so, having one's snapshot taken there just seemed wrong to me.

Anyway, I went to find Doug and as we got off the elevator, on the 45th floor, yikes, I started to get a sinking feeling. Sure enough, when we entered our room (which was beautiful, by the way), we had a perfect view of Ground Zero. We debated for awhile about changing rooms but in the end we decided to stay. And I am kind of glad we did. I feel a bit more connected to that place than I had just by watching the events unfold on television. It almost seemed comforting to be there.

On Sunday morning we had breakfast in the restaurant on the 3rd floor. We were seated at a table with, you guessed it, another perfect view of the activity within the perimeter of the area. We saw several fatherless families, walking around, men dressed in kilts and many fire men and policemen. We realized that that morning in September in 2001, surely there had been a couple sitting where we were, who will never forget what they saw that day, and we pondered how awful it must have been. We discussed our thoughts about what kind of memorial should be built (neither of us are real fans of the design that was chosen) and then finally we decided that, for some reason, we were supposed to experience that spot for those two days.

I feel sure that someday I will understand why, but for now I am fine with not knowing. In the meantime, yes, I was a tourist, snapping a few photos (leaving myself out though) as a remembrance of the fact that we were there on the day before the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

My Mom

I wanted to say a few words about my mom, whom some of you may know, because she often comments here on the blog (proving that mothers always have the ability to publicly embarrass their children, no matter how how old we are). She had a heart attack on Sunday morning and even though she sounded fine when we spoke Sunday evening, and told me not to worry, how can I not? Her husband got her to the hospital quickly and the blood thinners that she received right away helped. She had a stent put in today, and hopefully she will be able to go home in a few days. She is only 61 and still has much more to do, I think.

We have had our issues with each other over the years, and she has had a tough life. Things can be difficult sometimes with parent/child relationships but I am proud that we have managed to put our problems behind us and we have come to a better understanding of each other in the last few years. She has been a good grandmother also, making a herculean effort, despite many obstacles, to stay involved in her grandchildren's lives.

I am sure that she will be fine, but it couldn't hurt if you could throw a few extra positive thoughts her way.

September 11

Longview of White Mountains, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x24

September 11, 2001 was just another beautiful clear, sunny day in Utah. We were living in a big beautiful house in a small town in northern Utah right next to a mountain. Doug was in Chicago on business and I was having a hectic morning trying to get four kids (one was still a baby) into the car to get two of them to school on time. The phone rang as I was on my way out the door and it was Doug. "So how about what's going on?" he said. I was annoyed, and snapped at him. "What? Just tell me what you are talking about!" He told me to turn on the news, and when I did I could see that nothing would ever be the same again. I quickly took the kids to school and spent some time there talking to other parents and teachers. Some people hadn't even heard about it yet, but soon everyone knew and while I was there the towers fell. I went home to watch the news and to cry and that's pretty much what I did for the rest of the day. I spoke to Doug several times and his being in Chicago was kind of scary at first, because for a few hours at least, it wasn't too clear what was going on and it seemed as if big cities were being targeted. He sat in the hotel bar watching the coverage along with other stranded businessmen and then was told by his employer DuPont, that he still needed to go to his meeting at Motorola, which was in lockdown.* That evening I had two board of directors meetings to go to. I certainly didn't feel like going but I really needed a break from watching the news and so I went. I needed to talk to some other adults about what was happening. Everyone was so somber and quiet, we all felt guilty I think, about going on with things while so many people's lives had just ended or fallen apart.

It took Doug a few days to get home. He already had a rented car so he just started to drive home. By the time he got to Denver, the planes were flying again and he flew back to Utah. We had been spending a lot of time each day talking about what was going on, but even so I was incredibly happy when he finally walked in the door.

I didn't personally know anyone who died that day. I hadn't been to NYC in at least 10 years or to Washington in 13 years. I can't even begin to know what it must have been like to have been on one of those planes, or in any of those buildings or even in NYC or Washington or western PA. I wish I could say something profound or inspirational here. I can't. All I can do is hope that peace can be achieved so that these acts of terrorism will soon become a part of the past, instead a of a constant present and future threat.

* Doug had been a partner in a small company in Utah (that's why we moved there in 1993) that had developed a holographic reflector used in Motorola cell phones. DuPont bought the company and Doug became a employee for the first time in his life and all that that entailed. A great salary, excellent perks, health insurance, random drug testing and endless safety meetings, where a supervisor explained how to walk safely on ice in the winter. After feeling like a schmuck because his superiors insisted that he visit Motorola on the afternoon of September 11th, along with his direct exposure to America's big business world, he decided that life was too short to put up with all that corporate bullshit and he quit a few months later. He had a few little side interests, another technology company and a percentage in a quarry in Wyoming, so he worked with one for awhile and then settled on the fossil company after we moved back east.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Weekend Plans

Art Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

I have been busy working in my studio for the last few days, and although the under paintings for the White Mountain series look good, I am not so pleased with the ones I have glazed so far. Well, one is ok, maybe, but the rest are not looking too good right now. I am going to muck around a bit with them tomorrow but I am not hopeful. I allowed the under paintings to stay too dark and that is really affecting the vibrancy of the color. Sometimes they can look moody if the under paintings are dark, but that's not really happening either. I have to have six pieces finished by next Friday. Arghh! I think I will do a few quick under paintings today and I can add those to the other ones in the pipeline. I am still struggling a bit with feeling burned out, but I have to meet these deadlines so I must plug away.

However, I will get a little breather this weekend. The opening for the juried show that I am in at the *Stalker Alert* Woodstock School of Art (see sidebar) is on Saturday afternoon from 2-4pm, so we are planning to go to that, then take the train into the city and stay overnight (sorry-not handing out that information!). We are going to go see James Wolanin's work Saturday evening and I'm looking forward to meeting him and Chris Rywalt, who better show up, and then hit a few museums on Sunday. I am anxious to see Full House at the Whitney, especially the pieces by Edward Hopper who is one of my favorite artists. We will also probably stop by Doug's store (Fossil Interior at 51 Wooster Street), because I know that he won't be able to stop himself from from checking in on it, then we'll hopefully get home in time to say good night to the kids.

Today's piece is a painting of a community art center in Massachusetts called the Art Barn. I saw it on a recent trip and after painting so many drab wooden barns pink, I was amazed to see a barn that is actually pink in real life. So I took a picture and pretty much painted it without making any major color changes.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Album Cover Art

Spirit in the Sky, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

All of this talk about music and Dylan reminded me of an experience I had last week while finishing up school shopping at Target. I was looking through the music section, because you know, the kids do need music to listen to for school, heh, and found myself poring over the CD covers. I hadn't realized how out of date I was on seeing the art on CD's, since I have been downloading most new music onto my iPod for the last year or so. One of the reasons I didn't want an iPod was because I wanted to still have all of the printed material that comes with the CD, but I didn't realize how much I would miss the cover art.

When I was in college I had a lot of record albums, and now, it's true, my kids do not know what record albums are. We had planned to give them that old fashioned experience but our turntable broke down when they were babies and we didn't have the energy to try to find someone to repair it. Besides we were well on our way to replacing our music collection with CD's and don't get me started about how much that pisses me off. Soon my CD's will be curious relics from the past, almost are already, since now I get most of my music from itunes. Which will soon be obsolete as well.

But I digress. Seeing the CD's in real life reminded me of how important the art on record albums used to be for us, especially in when I was in art school. Like almost every college student for a generation before us, we used to sit around for hours and hours listening to music and discussing the meaning and artistic quality of so many of the album covers. I used to buy albums based solely on the art that was on the cover, which is how I ended up with some really crappy music in my collection. As art students, we had a number of school projects that involved album covers and getting that kind of job as an illustrator would have been a dream come true for many of us. A whole 144 square inches, amazing exposure for an illustrator! Then CD's started to take over and while the smaller scale was disappointing, at least there was still something to put art on.

Looking at the current crop of CD's made me feel wistful for the loss of yet another public venue for art and illustration though. Seeing art on album covers, book covers and in magazines really inspired me to be an illustrator and while that ended up not being quite right for me I did keep painting (well, after a few detours, of course).

My favorite album cover ever was Anthology of Tom Waits, with the cover art done by Matt Mahurin who was one of my very favorite illustrators.

What was your favorite album cover?

PS. Doug's favorite was Dead Live (AKA Skull and Roses) because it was cool art and as a double album cover it was perfect for cleaning pot. It was the seventies, after all.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Enderlin, Bob Dylan and Steve Irwin

Lemony Field, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

The opening at Enderlin Gallery went very nicely. There were people there when I arrived and it was still going strong when Doug and I ducked out a bit early. Roxbury is about two hours away from where we live so obviously it is a whole different crowd, and we didn't really know anybody there. However, I have been in several group shows earlier this year and so a few people came in that I had met previously as well as a couple of people who had bought some of my work and wanted to meet me. I also spent a lot of time talking and comparing notes about art with the other painter in the show, Sara Harris. Sara and I have similar backgrounds, an arts education, working in related art fields, taking a number of years away from art to do other things and both of us have come back to painting just in the last few years. She also does landscapes and has a very strong color sense. I particularly liked her more abstract imagery (you can see her work here). One of my pieces (Lemony Field, above) sold during the opening, and if I had been interested in selling a painting at half price I could have sold another (I declined that offer, happily I am not so desperate as to sell my already rather inexpensive paintings at such a discount).

So as I said, Doug and I left a bit early so that we could head up to Cooperstown in order to catch the Bob Dylan concert. We saw him two years ago in the same venue, on Double Day field and this show, like that one, was awesome. We managed to get much closer to the stage this time and a lovely couple next to us loaned us their binoculars so I was able to get a good look at Dylan. His voice sounded shot, but he seemed much more animated than usual. Even though he was playing keyboards and facing to the side of the stage he often looked at the audience and even smiled a few times. Pretty good for Dylan! Most of the music he played was from his new CD, Modern Times, which I have but haven't had a chance to really listen to yet. The older songs that he performed were It's Alright Ma, Highway 61, Lay Lady Lay, I Don't Believe You, Younger Than That Now, Simple Twist of Fate, and Like a Rollingstone, All of the music had a kind of Texas swing, and maybe rockabilly blues sound to it, which really gave the old songs a different sound. Most of the time he was well into a song before I recognized it. I like the concept of changing old arrangements and finding new ways to perform the same songs, in fact I feel that's what I often do by painting the same subjects over and over, finding new things to say about them each time. But I must admit that I would have liked to hear some of the songs in their original form, uh, mostly so I could sing along a little bit. So sue me. I am fairly new to Dylan and am used to hearing the recorded music. He was also all decked out in country style attire (the whole band was), cowboy hat, boots, black suit, and a white shirt with sparkly rhinestones on his collar and cuffs. He looked almost normal, kind of smooth but a little flashy too, so that was interesting after having seen some of the get ups he's had over the years. The band was also great by the way, they are the same band that played on his new album and they seemed pretty tight.

The crowd was thin and very well-behaved, at least in our immediate area. Unlike the last time, this show was not sold out and it was also really crappy weather, cold and drizzly. There was much pot around us and at some point I could smell some incense burning so that was a real flashback to college for me.

I guess our concert season is over for this year, unless something else comes up. I am very happy that we've been able to fit all of these shows into our busy schedule and it's been fun to write about the shows. Hopefully I will be able to retain the experiences better after writing it all down.

Am I the only one who has trouble remembering stuff anymore?

PS. I just wanted to add that we were all pretty sad here to learn of Steve Irwin's death. Our oldest son has always been extremely interested in animals and has seen every everything regarding the Crocodile Hunter and we all enjoyed his stupid, yet enjoyable and silly movie a few years back. K's goal in life is to work with animals, (had to break it to him that there aren't really any jobs catching crocodiles and boa constrictors, at least not locally) so Steve Irwin has been a very informative and entertaining part of our lives for the last ten years or so. I used to tease our son by saying "crikey", it was always good for a little smile and eye-rolling at how embarrassing mom can be.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Andre Agassi

Milk, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

I know I said I wasn't going to post all weekend, but I really just have to profess my love for Andre Agassi. I watched his final US Open today and must admit to getting a bit teary eyed.

I started following tennis around the time I met Doug and frankly my favorite players were (and still are, I am embarrassed to admit) the guys who I thought were cute. So there you are, I am SO shallow. Andre caught my eye, how could I miss him? The bleached blonde mullet, the bike shorts, the neon colored head bands (it was the eighties, after all). I have watched Andre grow up (he doesn't know it but we grew up together, I was just a bit ahead of him). For awhile, I was pretty sure that if he ever met me he would immediately fall in love with me, but alas, Doug came between us. Anyway, I felt proud of him for going from a brash, fashion-conscious teen who didn't seem to care whether he won or not, to a highly respected top ranked player, who finally did care, not just in the results but about his journey. The thing I have always respected most about him was that he always seemed to be a really gracious loser as well as a good winner too.

Certainly he will go through a transition to adjust to a life that doesn't revolve around the tennis tour, but I suspect he will be fine. I hope he feels excited about the next stage of his life, just as I did when I started painting again; it's exhilarating to have a whole new life in front of you.

Call me fickle, but now I am off to watch Roger Federer, uh, because I think he is really cute. Ok, ok, he could technically be my own son, and I am pretty sure he would call me "ma'am", or the Swiss equivalent if we met, but still.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Still Have It

Cornfield Edged with Purple, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Things started out pretty well today. At least until they took a turn that is. This morning I needed to deliver a few pieces for a local arts organization's event "Art on the Lawn." I had some smaller pieces that had recently come back from a gallery so I put a few of those together and did the paperwork. Then I had to search through my sad inventory of work to find a piece for a fundraiser that my neighbor asked me to participate in (hard to say no when it's a friend asking!). I did errands in town and when I got home I spent some time taking care of the chickens and the vegetable garden, though I didn't go anywhere near the flower garden that badly needs weeding. Then I meant to go in to the studio and do a few more underpaintings, I really did, but I sat down to look at my emails, one thing led to another and I sat at the brain sucking computer again all day. Ugh! I am so annoyed with myself.

At least I definitely have to do things tomorrow. The opening reception for the show at Enderlin Gallery is from 4-7pm and then Doug and I have to race to Cooperstown to go to the Bob Dylan concert. We will probably miss the opening acts, but I am hopeful that we will get there before Dylan takes the stage. I knew the opening was scheduled for the same day as the concert when I bought the tickets, but previously all the openings at Enderlin had been earlier in the afternoon so I thought I'd be able to make the concert that same evening. It could all be moot anyway, as we are supposed to have terrible weather this weekend, and though this outdoor concert is rain or shine, I am not sure WE want to be there rain or shine.

My show in Cape Cod is over now and I am very happy with the results. They sold 15 pieces, mostly from the show, but a few from their existing inventory as well. One client, a scientist who is on the short list to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry, bought a number of pieces and a couple who had bought one of my paintings last fall bought two more to add to their collection, which is quite eclectic, I hear. So those are very cool sales. It still seems surreal to me that I have collectors! The gallery will also hang on to the pieces that didn't sell, which is nice, because it's always kind of a bummer to get work back, even if it is recent.

There was an interesting turn of events resulting from this show also. When we were there for my opening last month, Doug spent a lot of time talking to Glenn, the gallery owner and director, about the fossils that his company sells. Glenn wondered if he could put a few pieces in the gallery and so they agreed to do that. A week or so later, Glenn called Doug and told him that the artist who was scheduled for September was ill and wouldn't be able to do the show. So he was wondering if Doug was interested in putting together a show featuring fossil murals. Doug said yes and as I write this, he is there at the opening reception. I am not being a very good art spouse though. It seemed as if I had too much to do this week so I had decided not to go, but clearly I could have left for a few days without any problem. Of course, I would have had to wait for three days to see what Dodge would be saying about Rock Star:Supernova, and I would have missed out my fab post show meltdown.

Anyway, have a nice holiday weekend everyone. I will be back on Tuesday, hopefully in my right mind again.