Thursday, November 29, 2007

Incrementally Better Today

The Farm Up the Hill, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Well, I have been spending my days resting. Or trying to. I do actually nap a bit during the day, mostly because I wake at night because of the cough. Even though I don't consider myself to be a high energy person, just sitting around all day is really hard for me. So I still get up every so often and do some small chore, just to keep moving a bit. I did catch up on some paperwork yesterday, in bed, while watching TV, so that made me feel somewhat productive. And I have been able to get in some reading and knitting into my busy schedule.

I am trying NOT to think about how screwed I am if I can't back to the studio next week.

Oh and I have been meaning to recommend a new blog that I have been interested in lately. Sustainability is an important topic these days and I think it's great that artists are taking it on as well. I am very careful about the waste generated from my work, as well as recycling and using more natural products whenever possible. I will talk about the specifics of all that in a future post.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And When Bad News is Bad (Or Could Be Worse)

Long Row, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x18

So it turns out that even if one considers oneself to be healthy, meaning that one seldom gets sick with colds or flu or stomach bugs, or eats organic foods, drinks only water and doesn't smoke or take drugs, and exercises (though maybe not as much as one should) that doesn't actually mean one will NEVER get hit with a double whammy flu/pneumonia combination.

I was starting to feel better over the weekend, but just a bit, not as much as I should have at that point. But still no new symptoms, just the cough and being tired. But then Monday evening I was REALLY wiped out and also noticed that my breathing had changed. Short and shallow breaths, just after walking from one room to another. And that was my sign to go in and get checked out for pneumonia, which despite having so few of the symptoms, was pretty much number one on the list of why I was not feeling better.

So today, Doug took me in and after a lot of sitting around, a few tests and a shiny new chest x-ray, I officially have bacterial pneumonia in my left lung, treatable with an antibiotic that will probably suck out my intestines unless I take my acidophilus and bifidobacterium along with it. I have decided to stick with my natural stuff anyway. Because maybe without all of that, I'd be much worse off than I am now.

Looks like I will have at least a few more days of enforced time off from the studio, after which I will have to really kick butt to catch up for the show in January. But I am not going to think about that right now - I am just going to enjoy resting for just a bit more, even if it is starting to drive me nuts. Well, not the being waited on part or handing over all chores and chauffeuring duties to Doug, that part is just fine. Heh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Good News is Always Good

Farmland, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x18

I received some good news while sitting here at my desk all day, patiently waiting for my energy to return. Heh.

Turns out the client who wanted a same size piece to go along with a painting she had bought, decided that she liked all of the three options that I gave her and will be buying all of them. Holy cow! I was worried that she wouldn't like any of them and that I'd have to go back and do a few more!

Luckily, I got them all finished up and put together before I got sick and all I have to do today is do the paperwork, pack them up and ship them out.

The piece below is the first one that the client bought, the one above is one of the new ones. I am really liking working with this long rectangular 9x18. It has nice proportions and still qualifies as small and affordable.

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Happy Thanksgiving Anyway

We have a dorky shot like this of Doug and a turkey each year for the last 13 years or so.

On Monday and Tuesday, I spoke way too soon about feeling better and having a milder version of this illness than my son had last month. I really should know better then to talk like that!

I did have a few moments where I felt like I might be getting better but mostly I felt even worse over the last few days. The intense cough kept me up each night no matter how many tricks I tried to soften it or even ignore it. Each morning I felt ok, and would get up and take a shower but by noon or so I'd have a fever which would last into the evening. I was getting seriously bummed out about all of this as Thanksgiving got closer and I realized that I wouldn't be able to do much of, if any of the cooking or other preparations. But Doug, my own personal saint, stepped in and took care of everything. He ran to the store twice for last minute supplies, he cleaned and he cooked each and every dish. He made the pies (his first ever), all of the side dishes and the turkey (normally he does the turkey and the potatoes and I do everything else). Ok, I supervised him just a bit from my chair in the kitchen, but still he cooked and eventually washed every single dish, piece of silverware, pot and pan in this house by the end of the day. And he said he enjoyed it. I am feeling a bit teary eyed thinking about it.

The kids helped out too, they did a lot of cleaning and waiting on me hand and foot and no complaining either. Dinner was lovely, eaten by candlelight in our beautiful (and seldom used) dining room. There was something that appealed to everyone, even the pickiest eaters, and despite not having an appetite at all for over a week, I managed a few bites. The evening ending with everyone showing off their own particular tricks, double jointed thumbs, shoulder blades that pop out, etc and we all oohed and aahed.

I am incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful husband who never once complained about all the unexpected work for him and not only that, was concerned about how I felt all day too. I am so lucky to have him and our amazing kids, to finally have a close family, one without issues and undercurrents.

So without messing things up for myself again, I am not going to say how I feel today. However I will say that I am puttering around in the studio AND am not hawking up quite as much crud as yesterday. You can draw your own conclusions from that. Heh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Same As It Ever Was

Sloping Field, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x18

Well, today is pretty much the same as yesterday. I am ok, but still wiped out and haven't had the energy to venture into the studio. I think I will wait until Friday and start slowly, with puttering. There is always plenty of that to do. Plus the kids will be home and that will guarantee that I won't be able to do anything really productive.

Last week before I understood that I was sick, not just lazy, I did manage to get a few pieces done, including three options for a client interested in a "sort of" commission. They all turned out nicely, even if I don't specifically recall painting them. Now I can see what a haze I was in last week.

I have posted one of them today and will post the others soon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Miss After All

Winter Light, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x12

Well, folks, turns out I was too sick after all to make it to my own opening in Pittsburgh, for a show that has been on my calendar for over two years, yes, two years.

I really thought I was better, and had nearly convinced myself of that during the 2 hour drive to the airport and while standing in the security lines. But when Doug and I were in the bookstore, it really hit me-I felt awful. When I moved my eyes everything wiggled and I was pretty sure I had a fever (I did, it was 101.9). So Doug got our bag back, canceled everything and we drove back home.

I felt horrible about missing the opening, I worried about how the gallery had put so much time and energy into setting up the show and publicizing it and how it felt like such a faux pas that I had committed. Of course the gallery director was very nice and understanding when Doug called her to explain (I was practically hallucinating by then) but still this is new territory for me and I reserve the right to feel guilty anyway. But by Friday evening I didn't care, I was worried about survival! And at around 7pm on Saturday, during the opening, I was crawling around my bedroom trying to get into bed so that I could assume the fetal position and die. So I guess it was good I didn't go, right?

Anyway, today I am feeling much better. I still have a very irritating cough and not much energy, but I am not seeing things anymore, my temperature has been normal since last night and the part in my hair doesn't hurt as much either (I am not even kidding, the area around the part of my hair was incredibly painful and sensitive. I kept thinking it would go away if I made a new part on the other side but I couldn't bear the thought of doing that either). Doug took care of everything while I was out of it and the kids have been very helpful towards me. I plan to milk that for at least another week or so. The other benefits from this enforced time off was, well having time off, which I suspect I needed (the body is very intuitive) and I lost a few pounds plus was able to kick my sugar habit in one fell swoop.

There is always a bright side.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Near Miss

Head on View, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

I seldom get sick anymore. The last time I had a fever/flu (I don't do flu shots) was about 12 years ago and it's been almost three years since I have had a cold. So when I began to feel funny a few days ago I didn't pay any attention to it at all, just thinking I was tired. But Wednesday night I started having chills and sweats, coughing and had a low fever.

While trying to sleep that night, I worried about the timing of this. Months ago, I had made all of the travel arrangements for this weekend's trip to Pittsburgh for the solo show opening reception and the way I felt on Wednesday, I was pretty sure that I would not be able to go. The thought of getting on an airplane seemed downright painful.

BUT, on Thursday I didn't feel worse and in fact after taking it easy all day and loading up on tea and Vitamin C, I felt much better last night. So even though I don't feel 100% Doug and I are going to leave this afternoon after all.

When it was looking like I wouldn't be going, I felt really bad about the thought of missing it. I mean, if you're sick you are sick and standing around talking and shaking hands with people isn't a great idea, but I feel a lot of self induced pressure to be at the openings, especially the receptions for a solo show. I feel grateful to the galleries that are giving me these exhibition opportunities and the best way that I can support their efforts, besides supplying fab work, is to be at the openings.

This does raise an interesting issue though. How to handle last minute situations that arise right before an opening or event? When I started all of this I often had "anxiety" dreams, where I would dream that I simply forgot to go to the event. As if! Things do come up though and I guess I have been lucky so far that nothing in my personal life has interfered with the art stuff.

The painting I have posted today is one that will be on display in the show at Boxheart (the opening is this Saturday, November 17, 6-9pm, for those of you who may live in the area) and I wanted to mention that it's an unusual painting for me in the sense that it is a straightforward view of a barn. I have tried these sorts of views and compositions before but they have always failed miserably. They just look extremely flat and static, so I usually add a little tilt or change the angle slightly. For some reason, however, this one just worked, in fact it's one that just painted itself.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keep On Keeping On

The Back Field, 2007, Oil on Panel, 12x16

The first three comments on last week's Pay It Forward post were from Lisa, Angela, and Mary Ann/Indigomar and I have already included some small scale paintings into my last batch of work to send out to each of them. I also had plenty of comments on this and private emails from readers saying that they really liked the concept of this project, and now I wish I had taken credit for coming up with it!

So please visit these blogs and keep an eye out for their offer and participate in order to keep this thing going. If you are concerned about giving your art away, don't forget that it doesn't have to be the work that you would otherwise sell. Older work qualifies, as well as anything handmade, small and even experimental. I have decided to send out paintings only because a. that's all I seem to do anymore and b. I just got all of these really cute little panels and this is the perfect chance to do something productive with them other then letting them clutter up my studio.

PLUS, the holidays are coming and the piece of art you get may be a great gift for a friend or family member.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Perils of Napping

Seven, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

On Saturday I received word that all of my work arrived safely in Pittsburgh. Hearing this was a relief. I have never had any damage to my work in transit, but you never know, and I have heard enough shipping horror stories to not take a safe arrival for granted.

We had a fairly busy weekend, which included a very long swim meet and going to the local high school's production of Beauty and the Beast (it was awesome, yet somewhat excruciating as well) on Saturday evening, not to mention random chores and errands. I did one thing this weekend though, that I haven't done is many years. Saturday afternoon, I sat down in a chair next to the fireplace, with a blanket, a cat on my lap and a book with the intent of taking a nice nap. Of course the very minute I did that, 3 out of 4 of my kids had some sort of pressing question that couldn't wait. I finally managed to doze for about 5 minutes then our 60-ish, incredibly active, neighbors stopped by while taking their daily three mile walk. I immediately explained that I never nap, or even sit down and read a book during the day, but I don't think they believed me.

On Sunday I worked in my studio most of the day just to show off. Of course no one paid any attention to me that day at all. Typical.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pay It Forward

Pink Bookends, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Last week I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful painting from Mary Klein. I caught her post about a project called Pay It Forward, and since I was on my toes that day, I immediately left a comment and voila! I have a new addition to our art collection. And don't get me started how perfectly it was packed, I have a complex now about the fact that I simply wrap my paintings in bubble wrap, (secondhand sometimes!) toss it in a box and ship it. Hers involved typed information, layers of cardboard and velvet, and a fitted nest for the panel. Clearly, I am not worthy. Heh.

Anyhoo, in exchange for her gift I have promised to continue this project. Here are the rules for Pay It Forward (via Mary, via Deanna, etc):

I will send a handmade gift (in my case I can specify that it WILL be a painting, probably a very small one, but a real live painting nonetheless) to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

When you leave your comment, please also do one of two things: leave your post address or e-mail it to me.

I am usually a humbug about these sorts of internet things, getting tagged and all of that, but this one sounded fun, plus I get free art AND I get to yet again show off share my work.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This Week's To Do List

Autumn Scene, 2007, Oil on Panel, 8x10

Since Monday, I have been very busy putting the last touches on 25 paintings, doing the related paperwork and packing them up for shipment to Boxheart Gallery in Pittsburgh. The last batch is going out today but unfortunately I will not be taking a break, not even for a day. This is what I have to do this week:

1. Today I have to do some underpaintings today for a project that I am incredibly behind on. A friend of ours (he and Doug knew each in high school) and for the last two years he has purchased a painting from me in order to use the image on the holiday cards for his company. This year, I had trouble getting an appropriate image painted, because of my show schedule but Steve has been kind enough to push back the deadline to the last possible minute. I have until November 15 to do several winter themed paintings so that he can choose one for his card.

2. I have to prepare the panels (usually takes at least two days) for a "sort of" commission for a client that bought a horizontal 9x18 landscape. She would like another piece that is the same size, but has no specifications regarding the image. My favorite kind of commission! Again, with this project, I will do several paintings so that she can choose one that she likes.

3. On Thursday, I have to ship out four small paintings to Gallery 100 for their annual small works holiday show, "Significantly Small". I have two small flower paintings ready and I will include two water related pieces. I meant to do a few more flower paintings, but to be honest, they did not go well at all and now I don't have enough time to resolve them. Moral of the story: always have at least a few paintings on hand.

4. On Friday, I have to begin a whole new batch of paintings for a solo show at The Harrison Gallery in January, I'd like to get as much of the work done for this show as soon as I can so I won't have to be working too much around Christmas and during the kid's holiday vacation, like I did last year. Right.

Clearly, I have no time this week, or for the next two months for a proper post show meltdown. I will be ignoring all the signs of that this time and hopefully that won't backfire. Heh. Actually, I will be going to Pittsburgh next weekend for the opening at Boxheart and that will have to suffice as a break and/or brief breakdown.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blogger Show Weekend

Brightness, 2007, Oil on Panel, 18x24

Well I meant to get this post up on Monday, however I had to get right to work Monday morning and that stretched into the whole day. No time to bask in the afterglow of our lovely weekend in NYC at all!

We left first thing Friday morning, but still managed to get to the city later than intended. I did a quick change at the hotel and Doug and I met up with Mary and her family (Mary is as nice in person as she is on her blog, and her family is wonderful) at Doug's showroom in Soho and then I dragged them off to my gallery a few doors down to show off view a few of my paintings. We chatted some more at the showroom and then had a quick dinner before they had to leave to catch a show. Doug and I went back to our room at the Soho Grand (I splurged, ok, I admit that I always splurge, I am very spoiled when it comes to hotels, so sue me) where were we watched tv and fell asleep by 10pm. Woo-hoo.

On Saturday I had hoped we would get down to Chelsea and visit a few galleries, but one of Doug's clients called and wanted to meet with him around noon. I decided to just walk around Soho, which is something I always enjoy doing and I visited all of my favorite little shops and galleries there. When I went back to the hotel there were a lot of paparazzi out front, they were there the whole weekend actually, but we never did find out who they were stalking looking for.

Finally we got to the opening and the first person we saw was Chris Rywalt, who gave me a big hug. While I am not really a hugger, I allowed this one (and actually I hugged and was hugged many times at this opening) because he wrote an awesome description about seeing my work for the first time and I was really feeling the love. Heh. I was very happy to meet his wife, Dawn, and I immediately liked her. Gradually I began to figure out who some of the other people were, after trying to connect blog photos with the real life in front of me and I have to say that I really got a kick out of introducing myself to people. I so enjoyed the recognition after I said my name (can you say shallow?), because it's so rare that anyone ever knows who I am. Anyway, I was pleased to be able to talk in person with so many of the people that I have read about over the last few years such as Sharon, Dan, Nancy, Stephanie, Susan, John, and my new best friend, Brent, who also said some nice things about my work and since I am easy, now I love him. Heh. A whole crowd of us went out for pizza after the opening ended and we all sat and chatted for hours. It was so much fun even if I did miss a few bloggers (Lisa, Steven, Martin) who couldn't make it to the opening.

Finally we all parted ways and Doug and I made our way back to the hotel. We decided to have a drink in the hotel lounge with all of the ultra cool, fashionable and thin people. We were perched seated at a tiny little table and chair set behind a couch with a couple on it who were making out about an inch away from my elbow. The music got noticeably louder every ten minutes and the only time we felt even remotely cool was when we told the (very cute) waiter that yes, we were staying at the hotel and please add the charge to our room. Oh and did I mention that we were by far the oldest people in the bar? We were.

On Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at a restaurant near the showroom and after buying a $27 dollar, 9 piece box of truffles with ingredients such as chili peppers, fennel, wasabi and paprika, for our babysitter, we headed home. While we were in the city, I was pretty sure I wanted to live there permanently, conveniently ignoring the financial ridiculousness of that ever happening. But all that was a distant fantasy once we got home to the farm, our kids, pets and near freezing temperatures.

Happy to go, happy to come back. Ain't that the way.

Thank you to John and Susan, and to everyone who helped organize and hang the show. It looked wonderful!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The One With All the Plugs

Quiet Country Intersection, 2007, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x24

Just a short hello and goodbye today. I have 97,693 things to do today before Doug and I leave for New York City tomorrow morning. And those things are a bit difficult because of the sugar coma I am currently suffering from. The kids really raked in the candy last night, which means Doug and I had ourselves a little candy party today after they left for school. We never learn.

Anyway, I am totally looking forward to our weekend in the city and have arranged to meet up with Mary and her husband for dinner on Friday. Saturday night is the opening for The Blogger Show, (at Agni Gallery, 170 East 2nd Street, Storefront #3, 6-9pm) and meeting the other bloggers in the show will surely be a lot of fun. Also, I hope that anybody out there who lives nearby will come to the opening and say hi to me.

And please, to anyone of the bloggers who are in town, or to readers who are coming in for the opening, please feel free to stop by Doug's showroom at 51 Wooster (oops and don't forget about my gallery, a few doors down, Multiple Impressions). We will be in and out of the store on Friday and Saturday, but if you miss us you can talk to Javier about the fossils that are on display. They are pretty amazing and worth a trip to Soho. In my completely unbiased opinion, of course. Heh.

I'll be back here on Monday, with a very wordy review of the weekend, I am sure.