Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Photographing My Work

Crowded Garden 1. 2007, Oil on Panel, 9"x18"

Well, back to more current issues today. I have been meaning to answer Giselle's question from last week concerning photographing my paintings.

Because of the layers, the saturated colors and the translucency of my paintings, they can be very difficult to photograph. Professional photography really isn't an option for me for three good reasons:

1. cost
2. convenience
3. there are no photographers anywhere near us

Number 3 is obviously the clincher.

So I am lucky in that Doug has a background in photography and for the first few years we tried all kinds of set-ups, including taking the shots under lights as well as outside in natural light. None of those worked very well, and the images required a lot of work in photoshop in order to get them to actually look like the painting. Finally, we found one spot in our house that has the perfect balance of reflection and natural light, provided it's a relatively bright day, of course. So I take all of the photographs here, in our tv room:

Quite professional, eh? At first we used Doug's old digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I believe was one of the first models ever made. Heh. It had gotten a lot of use and finally you had to squeeze down on the battery area while pressing the shutter in order for the camera to record the image. Then a few years ago, for Christmas I gave Doug a super duper way cool Canon EOS 20D digital camera, and we began to use that for the photos. Doug showed me how to use it and I know just the basics, enough for me to be able to take the shots that I need to document my work. I do have my own digital camera, a Canon PowerShot A610, which I use for taking reference photos and for personal use. I have tried to use it for the paintings but the photos didn't have the quality or clarity that the Canon does. So one of these days I may have to buy my own 20D, and maybe Doug can have his back again!

Once the shots are taken, they are downloaded to my computer and into photoshop. Doug had previously handled all of the photoshop work, but he is always busy with his work and I didn't like having to depend on him for all of that. So I have gradually learned how to download the images, save and label the files and how to use photoshop. Sort of. I can handle the basics, and luckily because the spot where I take the photos is so nicely balanced, the photos don't need too much work. This is what I start with:

Usually all I have to do is crop and skew, lighten the image, and maybe slightly adjust the hue/saturation, brightness/contrast levels. Then I save it as a jpeg twice, one at 72dpi and one at 300dpi. When I name the file, it has the title, the dpi, and an excellent suggestion came from one of my gallery directors, which was that I include the size of the painting on the label as well. I can't tell you how handy it is to have that info so easily available. Then I save each file in a folder according to the year the painting was created.

At first I sent the digital files to a company in California that made slides from them. But I have gradually stopped doing that, as I really have no need for slides anymore. If I do send out images anymore, I email them or load everything onto a CD. And competitions are accepting digital files more and more as well.

Anyway, I have this system down pat now and while it can be a pain in the neck, as all documentation work can be, I can literally have a finished image in less than ten minutes of actually painting the last stroke. And although the painting looks better in real life (and thank god it does, how awful for it to be the other way around!) I think the images are very good representations of my work.

Besides I am happy that my work keeps a few secrets, only to be revealed in person.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Too Much Information

Orange Poppy, 2007, Oil on Panel, 4x4

After rereading my last post about being in college in Minneapolis, I realized that my allusions to stupid behavior could be taken to sound a bit worse than it was. I never did anything to hurt other people (though I guess I did make a few hang up calls to my ex-boyfriend, which was NOT called stalking then), and there was no illegal behavior, with the exception of underage drinking. Mostly I was self-destructive, making a fool of myself with a bit of loud and obnoxious behavior, public vomiting (riding the subway can be difficult at the end of an evening of drinking) and feeling the need to drunkenly blurt out my entire life story to anyone who cared, or who just happened to be nearby. I spent many Mondays tracking down people in order to apologize for my behavior over the weekend, and unfortunately it took me a while to take that as a sign to stop drinking to excess.

I guess I could have qualified as an alcoholic, and I believe that I did meet a few of the criteria. I didn't really like the taste of alcohol though and so I drank for social reasons, to feel less self-conscious around other people (I never sat at home and drank by myself). But I also drank in college because many of us felt it was what artists did in order to be "real artists." Um, real smart.

The summer after I finished college, I really went overboard and was at the bars every night. The drinking began to affect my daily life and I also had several black outs, which were considered funny in my crowd at the time, but secretly I was horrified and ashamed of myself. I probably could have developed a more serious drinking problem but I met Doug that fall and found better things to do with my time. It was no big deal to stop drinking and while I still had the occasional drink, I never returned to getting totally smashed at the bars.

After a few years, I stopped completely when Doug and I decided to start a family. And now, perhaps I would have a glass of wine once in awhile, except that I have had a stomach ulcer and it's best to for me to simply avoid alcohol altogether. Doug drinks socially and many of our friends do as well, but I am totally fine with just drinking water. I do still manage to say really stupid things though, and sometimes even offer TMI about myself to whomever is seated next to me. Heh.

Today's image is one of the series of flower paintings I have been working on for a show at a local gallery in Cooperstown. I will put the rest up over the next few days.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Year and a Half in Minneapolis

Long Field With Tree, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x18

While glancing through my stats today, I noticed that someone had linked to my blog via Studio McCann. Not familiar with that site I went to check it out. Turns out the artist is Shawn McCann, who lives and works in the Minneapolis area. He also attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, which is where I went to school for a year and a half back in 1983-84. He looks younger than me though, so I don't think we were there at the same time.

So this morning I have been awash in memories of my time at MCAD and of living in Minneapolis. I moved into an off campus apartment there within a month or so of my high school graduation and just spent the summer hanging out, looking for a job, and waiting for classes to begin. As I recall, I had about $20 a month for food, and I was always in debt, typical art student! I worked for awhile as a cashier at the nearby Kmart, and that totally sucked in every way possible right down to the blue smock I had to wear. When school started I began work study and I was assigned to the school library. I liked this job. While incredibly boring sometimes, it was great to have access to such beautiful books about artists, many of whom I had never heard of. The other students began to move into the dorms and I spent that fall drinking way too much at the endless parties on campus (this was the old days when the school actually paid for the kegs for our parties), making new and very interesting friends, and learning about art. I had woodshop class, metal working (I still have a little scar on my stomach where I burned through my clothing while trying to weld), color theory, figure drawing and a variety of other basic freshman art classes, all of which really opened my eyes to so many things I hadn't known or seen before. Not to mention the classic college all-nighters!

When it came time to choose a major for the second year, I had a tough time. I wanted to paint, but didn't really feel like the painting program there was right for me. I thought illustration would be good, but there was no official program for that (I think there is now) although the graphic design program offered illustration classes. So I reluctantly majored in graphic design. I kind of liked it, we did tons of typeface studies, by hand, no computers for that in 1984! I did take a class in computers but it was how to create programs, which I totally didn't understand and I think I actually got an F in that class. But most of the instructors were cool and I really appreciate the experiences I had in graphics, which have been useful over the years.

There were many visiting artists, but the two I remember most were Vito Acconci and Alan Ginsburg. Vito Acconci gave a lecture in my freshman year. There was a boy I had been seeing, but we had broken up and were trying to be friends. We were sitting next to each other during Acconci's lecture and all he talked about was sex, complete with, you know, sounds. I still remember how embarrassed my friend and I both were! I would have liked to have talked to Alan Ginsburg as he spent a lot of time in the common areas talking to small groups of students, but I was never able to get in (story of my life!).

There were a lot of intense relationships with other students, both good and bad. I drank too much during my time there and also didn't really know how to handle social issues very well. I messed up things up with a several people and have always regretted that. But I do have wonderful memories of a number of people. Blaine and Susan who dated then and are now married with three children. Lisa, a fellow outcast, who collected more stuff that one can possibly imagine. She ended up using up all of that stuff eventually in her assemblage art, which is really impressive. Tom, my beautiful gay friend who worked as a model part time and had a flair for everything he did, and John who has been a lifelong friend. He moved to Philadelphia a year after I did and we were roommates (platonic) for awhile. We still talk now and then.

I decided to transfer to the Philadelphia School of Art (now UArts) because they had an illustration department that I had heard good things about. Also, I was feeling very uncomfortable about how I had handled the social aspect of my life at MCAD, and as was my habit, leaving seemed to be the best option. It turned out to be a very good move ultimately, but I have always felt badly about some of the things I did when I was 18 and very stupid.

Of course, I went on to do even more stupid things in Philadelphia, which proved that my stupidity wasn't completely age-related. Heh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gallery Walk in the Big City

A May Day, 2007, Oil on Panel, 24x36

I am still feeling the glow from our few days in New York City. Doug and I had such an excellent time with our friends Greg and Nicole, that we are almost ready to move to Madison to be with them forever. Well, not really, but I do so wish we lived near each other again.

We got into the city kind of late on Sunday and on Monday we woke up to torrential rains and very cool temps. So the four of us were all pretty much soaking wet when we got to the Ameringer-Yohe Gallery, which was our first stop. I wanted to see the pastel show by Wolf Kahn and so we spent some time there. But I must confess that while the work was nice, it didn't really blow me away or anything. It seemed a bit rote, which I was disappointed in. A few of the more abstract pieces were lovely but once I enjoyed those, I preferred to sit on a bench with Nicole and catch up on what our kids are doing. I suspect we were some of the more irritating visitors to the gallery that day!

We then visited a few more galleries, none of which I specifically recall, except for Forum Gallery, as we had gotten way too far into chatting to really be thinking about the art we were looking at. However, Doug and Greg were good boys and were actually discussing the art.

The rest of Monday was more walking and talking, more rain, a subway ride, lunch, art and then we spent quite a bit of time at Doug's showroom in Soho. Alas, my gallery was not open and so we made do with looking at one of my paintings hanging in the front window (cool!). Then we had the best pizza ever at Lombardi's in Little Italy. On the way back to our hotels, we cheated death in the most harrowing cab ride any of us had ever experienced. And I am not kidding either.

Tuesday was beautiful, warm, but not hot, and sunny. We decided to go down to Chelsea and go through the galleries there. So we wandered around and I think that all of us were most impressed by Dustin Yellin's show at the Robert Miller Gallery. I loved the sculptures and could see having one in my home. Which is not always the case with much of the work that I have seen in Chelsea (sorry if that offends). Anyway, we were all further impressed to see that most of the pieces were sold and that the artist would be having a hefty payday. Nice!

Oh, and we stopped in at Stricoff Gallery and I was very pleased to see the work of Jeff Cohen (former blogger) and Neil Hollingsworth. Beautiful, in real life too! Also, I was completely transfixed by this piece.

Unfortunately, around 2pm we had to leave Greg and Nicole in Chelsea to continue on without us. Doug and I drove to his showroom to pick up a few things and so I could stop in and visit my gallery for a few minutes. A half hour and a $60 ticket later, we zipped out of the city just ahead of rush hour traffic.

And while we were having a crappy rest area lunch we found ourselves longing for the nice lunch we could have been having with Greg and Nicole, discussing art and politics, comparing notes on our kids, laughing.

Us country folks were thisclose to turning around to go back to the city....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Country Meets City

On the Road, 2007, Oil on Panel, 24x36

Much is going on here this weekend. I have spent the last few days cleaning the house (well not really, but I meant to, I will just have to hit the high spots this morning, and Doug has to do the bathrooms this time), taking care of about 687 errands, doing all of the laundry in the house and last night the girls and I gathered all of their crappiest clothing and packed up their duffel bags. Today Doug and I are delivering them to Girl Scout camp where they will be for the next twelve glorious days. Glorious for us, anyway.

After dropping them off, Doug and I are going to catch a train into the city. We are meeting up with Greg and Nicole, our very good friends from when we lived in Utah (they live in Madison WI now). We have yet to make such good friends here in NY and so of course we are really looking forward to hanging out with them for the next few days. I am also totally looking forward to showing off when we just so happen to visit Multiple Impressions and see my work. Heh. Last time we saw Greg and Nicole, Doug was still all corporate, working for duPont and I was just barely finished with breastfeeding and diapers and was still organizing play dates and running an arts organization. Now I am painting full time, raising chickens, making cheese and reluctantly discussing the facts of life with the kids and Doug is selling fossils AND running a showroom in Soho. Things sure can take a turn, I guess.

Anyway, I will be back on Wednesday.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Drying Times

Bands of Color, 2007, Oil on Panel, 30x40

Jayne asked me a question about whether my paintings are wet when I send them out and also about using varnish. So here is my very wordy answer to her quick question in the comments of my last post. Poor girl!

Most of the time I like to work fast. So over the past few years I have developed a manner of painting that facilitates that need I have, but is flexible enough to allow to plan and consider detail, which is another aspect of how I like to work.

And my one of my limitations right now is that, for the most part, I can only work during the day. Since I have always liked to work with glazes it was fairly easy to accommodate that sort of schedule, with just a few adjustments.

So to start with, I use oil paint straight from the tube, and in forming the image I end up wiping most of it off, so it is a pretty thin base. After having a lot of difficulties with the drying times at this stage (read here), I found that Gamblin paints dry faster and since they have a color that I like for the underpainting, I was able to switch over. It takes about two days for the underpainting to dry, so I usually do them on Fridays and then they are ready to go by Monday.

The rest of the color layers are mixed with liquin, and they generally dry overnight. Unless I do a thicker, more opaque layer. And there are a few colors and/or brands of paint that take longer to dry. But for the most part I paint a a layer or so on each painting each day. Which is why I paint in batches. By the end of a week or so, I have anywhere from one to a dozen paintings finished. Depending on scale of course. And my energy level. Heh.

Anyway, when I am finished with the color glazes, the surface has some spots that are shinier that others, because in some areas I use Liquin more than in other areas. So to even it out I brush a clear coat over the entire surface. This is not really for use as protection the way varnish is, it just evens out the dull spots and also brings out the color. A more matte finish would make the paintings look entirely different.

I have read conflicting opinions about using liquin as a varnish in some of the artist forums. But personally, I have always used it as a last coat (except for some experimenting in college) and have never had any problems with it. The pieces that I coated with Liquin 20 years ago in college, still look great (well except for a few dings from being stored poorly in garages, attics and barns over the years, but that's a whole different issue). I can rework the painting if I want to or repair it if necessary, without having to remove and then reapply varnish. The last coat dries overnight, although if I am going to pack it up for shipping, I try to wait at least a few days.

I know that most painters apply varnish, but I have to say that having to do that might be a deal breaker for me! I am way too lazy to deal with varnish. Guess that could be considered another one of my limitations. Heh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Break on Through

Bright Afternoon, 2007, Oil on Panel, 48x60

Well, Doug left this morning with the large paintings I have been working on for the last week or so. And I am left with gaping holes, not to mention a big mess in my studio. I will spend today and tomorrow cleaning up and preparing panels for the next round of paintings. I have the flower show on deck, plus I need to have a few more paintings on hand. My inventory is at exactly zero right now.

I also really felt as if I made a breakthrough with this batch of paintings. There was a bit of urgency involved as the gallery in NYC wanted some new work quickly and I had to coordinate delivery with a day that Doug had to drive into the city rather than take the train. Most of the time, deadlines really help me along. I don't have as much time to think when I am inundated and that is generally a big plus for me. heh. Anyway, I was able to loosen up with this work because I literally had to just jump in and start them. And while it may not be so visible in the photographs (I should have taken some close up shots), these paintings have more of the painterliness that I have previously had trouble catching due to my fear of large scale panels. The other thing that really helped me here was to actually use my regular large sized brushes. Before, with the large scale paintings I kept trying to scale up on the brushes as well and was using 2, 3 and even 4 inch brushes. But I felt I had less control with those and they didn't have the same softness as my favorite sables have. So this time, even on the 48x60 painting, the largest brush I used this time was an Old Holland flat sable, size 24 (about 1 1/4" wide) with much better results.

And that painting (pictured above) is the "sort of" commission, you know, the one where I copy my previous self. I have painted this scene a number of times, which you can see below. The one on the bottom, Cadmium Yellow Field is the first one I did, in 2005 (and as I recall, at 16x20, that seemed HUGE to me then). I always intend to make significant changes in the colors, but somehow I keep coming back to the basic blue, yellow, and green combo. I have been varying the colors in the tress a bit though, so that's something!

I will post the rest of the large pieces over the next few days.

Just a Field, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x12

June Field, 2007, Oil on Panel, 36x48

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

Monday, July 16, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish

I meant to post yesterday, but some joker sent my husband a huge file and told him it was ok to open it. Well, it wasn't really. Our computers moved at a snail's pace for the rest of the day and so doing anything on them was impossible.

Anyway, the last few days have been so hectic. I know I always say that, but really, they have been. I am crazily trying to finish up a 48x60 panel in addition to three 24x36 panels so that Doug can deliver them to the gallery in Soho tomorrow. I still have to paint the edges, photograph them and put the hangers on. At least I am finished painting them. I was still doing that yesterday!

I would have spent all weekend working on them, but on Saturday I was in charge of running an art project at the Otsego Lake Festival, a local community event. I did this same event last year and while it was fun, it was also draining. I had thought maybe I'd bow out this year, but in a fit of insanity I said I would do it again, when the organizer asked me.

This year I decided to do fish prints on t-shirts, cloth or paper, using real, but dead (and gutted) fish. I used to include this activity in the events I put together in Utah and the whole painting a dead fish was always a popular project with the kids. Here, very few people who came by on Saturday had ever seen this done and so I think I cemented my reputation as a creative, if a bit kooky, artist in these parts. While last year my booth was busy, this time it was downright packed from start to finish. It was all I could do to keep up with rinsing brushes, wiping down the fish, hanging the prints up to dry and explaining the process to the participants. Luckily Doug came to help and my daughters and their friends were so helpful too and stayed with me nearly the entire afternoon. Even though I was utterly exhausted after being on my feet and feeling frantic for almost 6 hours, I have to say that it was a really satisfying day. The kids (and adults) who made prints seemed to really enjoy themselves and even the endless jokes by parents about the fish smell and fish for dinner were funny. Well, for the first few hours at least. Heh.

Now that my feet don't hurt anymore, I am feeling very happy about the whole thing and I suspect I will be doing it again next summer....

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Flowers

Pink Bee Balm, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

In response to Peter's comment on the previous post, I thought I'd put up this piece that I did last winter. I am really happy with it (and it is currently at Multiple Impressions in Soho, if anyone in the area feels inclined to go see it), so much so that I have felt a bit intimidated about doing another flower painting. I would have gotten over that if I had been able to focus on the subject matter, but I haven't had the time to do that for the last few months.

However, this is how the pressure of a gallery show really comes in handy for me. I'd probably put off pursuing painting flowers for another six months if it weren't for this upcoming show.

Floral and Fauna

The stack of rocks in front is our attempt at camouflaging the septic tank opening.

Mostly just pictures of my bloomin' garden today. I have to work in the studio all day and try to finish up some large pieces (four 24x38, and one 48x60!) so that I can prepare them for delivery by next Wednesday.

Also, I have to get ready for a community event that I am doing tomorrow (more about that on Monday) and begin a number of small pieces for a local group show in August called "Floral and Fauna." Which brings me back to the flowers. My back flower garden is looking great right now so I thought I'd get a few shots, both for reference for the paintings, and to, well, show off a bit. Heh. Actually, I still think the garden looks a bit too sparse, but I keep reminding myself to wait before adding more plants. The garden will fill in over the next few years.

I am not a very patient gardener though.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday

So the last bit of super duper good news that I have to tell about the opening at Salt Meadow Gallery concerns yet another awesome sale.

During the opening I spent quite a bit of time talking with a really nice woman named Drew. She is the lucky gal who came in just as I put a mini quiche in my mouth and even laughed at my silly joke about it. She and her husband own one of my paintings, and I met them at the opening last year as well. Drew was very complimentary about the colors in the work in this show and seemed to especially like this piece:

I didn't think much more about it, because, well, that's what happens at openings, you get a lot of admiration and compliments. Visitors are usually drawn to a few pieces in particular. And then they leave without buying the piece they so admired. And I totally understand this by the way. I love to talk to artists about their work also and sometimes just viewing a piece can have a profound effect on me, but for whatever reason, I don't feel like I need to have the piece. Sometimes I do, not certainly not always.

Anyway, I digress. A bit later in the evening, Glenn was talking to my husband. They seemed a bit louder than usual and Doug kept looking at me and laughing. I thought maybe I had something showing or spinach in my teeth, but then he left the room without saying anything. Glenn motioned me over, pointed to the beautiful glass vase next to the above painting and asked if I thought it looked good there, or something along those lines. I looked and could see, behind the vase, the label for the painting with a big, juicy red dot on it! Holy cow!!

After I finished swooning, Glenn gave me the scoop. Drew's husband had decided to buy the painting for her birthday, which is this Friday. He knew she liked it and she didn't know he bought it for her. Her husband then joined us and we chatted about it for a bit. Drew, who had been waiting upstairs to leave, came down to fetch her husband and Glenn immediately did a little hop to his left to block her view of the big red dot on the label, while we all chatted a bit more. As we said our goodbyes, Drew's husband gave me the high sign not to say anything about the painting, which was really cute. They left without her suspecting a thing. (at least I hope she didn't)

Besides the fact that I am extremely happy to have sold this piece, my biggest yet (48x60!), this was such a sweet gesture from a husband to his wife and I am honored that my work just so happened to be the gift.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Between the Two, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Now that I am feeling really energetic about getting back to work, we are having really hot and humid weather. Our old house has no air conditioning and with the exception of a few days or so each summer, it doesn't need it. Except for when it's actually those few days. Which it is right now. I keep trying to get into the studio early each morning, while it is still relatively cool, but since the kids are home that is a challenge.

On Monday I had to do an underpainting on a 48x60 panel for a sort of commission* and on the big panels especially, that can be pretty strenuous. I have to cover the whole thing with oil paint using a rag, and than wipe off most of it, again with a rag. And then I had to have the studio lights on. Ugh. I actually had sweat dripping down my arms from underneath my latex gloves.

But on Tuesday I did manage to make some real progress on two paintings. And today is another day, that hopefully won't be quite so hot. Well, it probably will, but if I were to actually get myself up and off the computer right this minute, I could get some painting in before I feel like having a nap from the heat.....

*A sort of commission is my version of a commission. A client tells me what they'd like and so far I have mostly been asked to do another piece similar to one that has already been sold. I do the painting and if they like it, they buy it (through the gallery, of course). If not, I add it to the inventory of one of my galleries, which I can do because it's a piece that I would normally paint anyway. But I must admit that hasn't happened yet-all of my sort of commissions have sold. Anyway, the big difference here is that there is no formal agreement in place nor is there a deposit taken. Those things give me way too much stress!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Cape Cod Redux

Naturally we got a late start as we left for Cape Cod last Thursday. So what else is new? We stopped in Albany to pick up some very important accessories for Mr. Wilson and then to pick up a rental car. Neither of our cars have working air conditioning, which is mostly tolerable around town, but for a 5 hour highway drive on a hot summer day, it totally sucks. Then we had to stop at the Harrison Gallery in Williamstown, MA to drop off some new paintings. A stop for lunch, and assorted bathroom breaks and we ended up getting to the Cape Thursday evening. We stopped at the gallery to meet up with the owner, Glenn, and then we all went on to his beautiful house, where we were going to be staying, daughter, puppy and all.

Friday morning was overcast and didn't seem like a very appealing beach day, so we decided to go do some shopping. I wanted to find a shirt for the opening and, of course, my daughter wanted some new clothes and a few sparkly things. We took Mr. Wilson with us and quickly found out that everyone loves a puppy. In fact, we must have discussed Mr. Wilson, his age, his breed, his size and how cute he was with complete strangers at least 5000 times in three days. I can't believe I have missed out on the whole lap dog social world all of this time.

But I didn't want to compete with him at the opening (just kidding, we just didn't want to worry about him for the evening) and so we left him all set up in his crate at Glenn and Sharon's house.

The opening was excellent in so many ways. First of all, my work looked really good! I was dead sick of it by the time I shipped it out but I liked it again, looking all nice and colorful, hanging on the gallery wall. The show was hung beautifully and there was great food and wine. I broke my rule about not eating at my own openings, and of course the minute I shoved a mini quiche into my mouth someone came up to me to talk. I made a joke and all was well, but sheesh! I have that rule for a reason! I did stay away from the meatballs with sauce at least, mostly because I was wearing a white shirt and we all know the meatball would have fallen off the toothpick and bounced off the "ledge" leaving a good old highly embarrassing permanent stain. Anyway. I wouldn't say this opening was crowded, like it was last year, but there were a steady stream of visitors through the whole evening and I was able to speak to nearly everyone, which was really nice. And many of the people that came were people that I had met a few times before and/or who have previously bought some of my work (yes, I think I can now say that I have collectors! wow! how did that happen?!). And many of the visitors were other artists who show at the gallery. I love love love that so many of the other artists come to the openings at Salt Meadow Gallery. It happens to a lesser extent at the other galleries I show at, but definitely more at this one. There is just something really special about this group of people. Very supportive and encouraging.

And I was able to spend a lot of time chatting with one of my blog readers, Stephanie and her friends Jennifer and Donna, who came by last year also. Stephanie and Jennifer also account for two sales that night, as they each bought a painting. Thanks, you two!

After the opening we took Glenn and Sharon out for dinner, where my daughter proceeded to get completely wound up (thanks Glenn) and way too crazy for a meal in public. Finally she calmed down, but only after I made her cry by telling her that she couldn't talk (or sing) again until after we left the restaurant. She bounced back after we got home though and was even allowed a piece of her birthday cake left from the previous day. The evening ended with me just feeling like a regular old mom again rather than a way cool artist chick.

On Saturday we slept in! It was so quiet at their house that I actually slept really well (I am a light sleeper) both nights. Even though we live in the country there is all kinds of racket, bullfrogs, birds, the rooster, etc, so the quiet there was very soothing. We packed up and then before we left the Cape we stopped to visit with a couple that own four of my paintings including one of my favorites. Our daughter did some swimming in their pool, Doug made sure Mr. Wilson wouldn't drown (Mr. Wilson kept jumping into the pool) and I had the opportunity to chat with the couple and to look at their extensive art collection.

The drive home went smoothly, we traded in cool comfort for a crappy, hot old gas guzzler in Albany, got a nice welcome from Penny, our homebody dog, paid the sitter and were in bed by 11pm.

A good few days I'd say.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Garden Fresh

Our trip to Cape Cod was lovely. I will write more about it tomorrow, but today I just wanted to show off my blueberries.

I went out this morning to check on the garden and while we were gone, our blueberry bushes really did their thing. I collected nearly a whole bowl full of ripe ones and there are still plenty more that will be ready in the coming days. Our strawberries look pretty good although have to put a net over them soon because many of the ripe ones were half eaten by some kind of garden pest. But I got a few before they did today. And our raspberries are starting to ripen also, even though they look like they need more watering.

The other exciting thing (doesn't take much to qualify as exciting around here!) is that my lettuces are doing really well! I have been getting wonderful greens from our neighbors, in exchange for eggs, and they are so good that I have felt pretty embarrassed about what we planted. All of a sudden though, our greens are all looking good and so I picked some leaves today and had an excellent salad for lunch.

The flower garden are really looking great too. Everything is blooming, which just amazes me every time, and so far I have stayed ahead of the weeds. I will put up some pictures soon.

(I know this image is pretty funky. The photo was overexposed and I tried to photoshop it. Which just made it look fake somehow, but you get the drift. Big bowl of blueberries from our garden. Whoopee.)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Off to Cape Cod

White Roof, 2007, Oil on Panel, 14x18

Hope ya'll had a nice 4th of July. Ours was cold and rainy and while the town parade went on as scheduled, the family bbq didn't go quite as planned. Somewhat soggy ribs and vegetables eaten inside at the dinner table.

Well, Doug and I, our youngest daughter (who turns eight today), AND Mr. Wilson, of course, are off today for a short trip to Cape Cod. In case anyone out there is in the vicinity and wants to come by, the opening reception is Friday, July 6th at the Salt Meadow Gallery in East Sandwich, from 4-7pm.

For those of you who can't make it, which is 99.9% of you I am sure, I will tell you ALL about it on Monday. Heh.

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Moving Along, Finally

Sky Blue Barn, 2007, Oil on Panel, 12x16

After a run of great sales about a week ago, I hit the ground with a good thud. First by the news of slow sales, um I mean no sales, at an event in a different market (I am being deliberately vague here with the details) and then by a more serious problem-painter's block!

The galleries that sold all of those paintings want more, of course and I felt paralyzed when I went into the studio to start new ones. I was really feeling the pressure to make more paintings that would be just as nice and appealing as the ones that had sold. And once you start thinking like that you really get crazy.

I should have taken a few days off, but since I really had to get some new work out there I didn't. I thought everything would come back any minute. I was distracted last week by my busy chauffeuring schedule, but then I also neglected to take advantage of the time I did have available to get some work done. I wasted time each day, half-heartedly putting some paint down, kinda cleaning up, but not really and sort of doing some other things, like gardening and but mostly I wandered around the house trying to get my groove back.

Yesterday I was finally so irritated with myself that I just jumped in. I had some large panels prepared and I decided to put my hands into the paint and have faith that the images would come to me. And they did. I completed three 24x36 underpaintings and one 30x40. Along with the others that I have in progress (waiting patiently to be finished) this should tide everyone over for the time being.

After going through this any number of times in the last few years, you'd think I'd know by now how to handle these situations, but instead it's like a clean slate every time a block shows up. I find myself feeling convinced that this is it-I won't be able to paint ever again.

Maybe I should get a personal painting coach. Heh.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Meet Danny Wilson

Heh. I couldn't resist referring to an obscure 80's band that I once loved. Our new puppy's name is actually Mr. Wilson (I was able to steer my daughter away from Fluffball and her other choice was Wilson, which I cannot explain, then we added the Mr., cause it seemed right somehow) I have been humming Mary's Prayer all day.

Anyway, Mr. Wilson is a gift for my youngest daughter's eight birthday. She had been begging us for her own pet, and our answer to that had been an emphatic NO. She said she really wanted a puppy but would settle for a bird or a hamster. I admit to wavering concerning a puppy, cause puppies are just so dang cute, and a small one seemed harmless, right? So I told her if she could convince her dad, then some kind of pet would be a possibility. I don't know what she said to him but a few weeks ago Doug told me fine, go ahead and get a puppy (with clear resignation) and so I started asking around.

Our fab babysitter/friend, Mary Jo, found a woman selling toy poodles and so we went on Sunday to look at them. I saw the right one immediately and now everyone is in love, even Doug.

Mr. Wilson is 8 weeks old, doesn't bark, not yet anyway and as you can see, is completely adorable. He isn't house trained yet, but we are working on it and have had no indoor accidents, yet. Last night he slept quietly all night in a crate with a pee pad at one end and did go potty there, but that's understandable. He is also very patient, not minding at all being dressed in doll clothes all day.

However Mr. Wilson IS a puppy, which is almost exactly like having a baby in the house and we spent much time today, puppyproofing our house, so that Mr. Wilson will be able to leave the kitchen someday.

Penny, our rooster killing dog, doesn't like to travel, as she gags when she is in the car and gets very upset in a crowd. But since our daughter will be coming along, guess who will be accompanying us on our trip to Cape Cod on Thursday?

Yes indeedy, Mr. Wilson it is.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Summer Vacation. Not.

Purple Tree, Surrounded, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

I am so glad this last week is over. I am not one to wish time away but the last few days have been so crazy that I am very glad they are gone.

It all started with the sleepover birthday party a week ago Friday that left Doug and I totally wiped out. Preteen drama and endless cooking and cleaning for 13 guests was enough to make us want to run away from this whole parenting thing.

Then Doug left for a five day business trip to Utah. My youngest daughter had a day camp each day, while my other daughter had a field hockey clinic each morning and then they both had swim practice three afternoons. The times on all of these activities overlapped just enough so that I ended up killing at least a few hours in town each day, rather than driving home and then having to come right back. So my days were filled with a lot of stops and starts in the studio.

And naturally last week was the deadline for getting my work off to Salt Meadow Gallery. And I still had much painting to do as of Monday. But after a few late nights I managed to get a respectable number of pieces together (16, plus the batch of new work that I had delivered there last spring and the show will be pretty good, I think) shipped out on Wednesday. The next day I shipped out three paintings to the NYC gallery. And even though I still had (still have actually) a number of pieces to finish up to send off to The Harrison Gallery, by Friday I had collapsed into a puddle (in between trips to town of course) and didn't get any time in the studio at all.

Saturday was the second big birthday party event and we all spent a beautiful afternoon in a dark, noisy roller rink watching 8 year olds skate in circles, do the limbo and spend all of their money on the stupid video games conveniently located right next to the rink.

Again, puddle last night. Clearly I am too old for all of this.

But today, after a good night's sleep, I am getting my act together again, because well, I have another busy week ahead. No more birthday parties, thank god, but a new puppy, more day camps, and a quick trip to Cape Cod for my opening are on deck.

So glad it's summer vacation. Heh.