Sunday, December 27, 2009

Utterly? Really, I wrote UTTERLY????

Ups and Downs, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 8x10

Well, in order to tell this story properly, I must also admit to having signed up to receive google alerts whenever my name shows up anywhere on the internet. Actually this is just for professional reasons. It has nothing whatsoever to do with being self absorbed and wanting to find out who says what about me. Heh.

Mostly though, I get alerts about basketball players (some kid named Travis Helgeson is a mighty fine player) in the midwest, teachers who speak up at their school district's board meetings and then finally the occasional update of a blog who has my link on their sidebar. When it gets close to a show that I am in, I tend to get more alerts; the gallery's press release in newspapers, 'what to do this weekend' bulletins boards and maybe an article about my show. And then every so often I get an alert when another blogger mentions me, which is of course, always fun and flattering.

But recently I got an alert that made me turn about 50 shades of red. Some of you may recall my blathering on and on about Joe Fig's excellent book, Inside the Painter's Studio a few months ago. Which, by the way, I still love and am still rereading sections of it every so often. I wrote this very gushy, oops, I mean enthusiastic post which turned up on the book's publishers website as a review!!!! Good grief! I would have written something much less foolish and embarrassing had I known that anyone out there would be paying attention. And while I do stand by everything I said about the book, I might have gone a tad bit overboard when I titled the post "I Am Utterly In Love". Sigh.

However, I must say in all seriousness, that I am quite happy to have been included in this group of fine reviews. Princeton Publishing has put together a wide variety of reviews including those who can write about art and art books with depth and understanding. Including, hello! Artnews!

Um and then there is me.....

I think I should be putting together a writing resume now. Bwahahahaha!!!!!!

PS. And I am very happy that Joe's book is doing well, it just went into a second printing. Awesome!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Few More Additions

Barn Near Patterson Road Road, 2009, Oil on Cradled Panel, 4x6

Well, today I got nine unsold, small format paintings back from a local gig, so I just added them to my sales blog. Last ones!

The half off sale was more successful that I ever imagined, in fact I was pretty much totally ill prepared for it! First I messed up the paypal code on all the entries, then I didn't add the inventory section on all of the posts so that some of the paintings sold twice before I caught it. I would like to thank those (and you know who you are) who graciously agreed to buy a different painting than the one they initially chose. But once I got that all straightened out, I think I managed to get the shipments out pretty quickly and safely and hopefully to the right buyer. Heh. Still have a few more in the pipeline and plan to get those out next week. Anyway, thanks so much to all of my lovely readers/buyers/friends, I really appreciate that so many of you want to live with my little paintings.

So it turns out that I also greatly miscalculated just how busy I would be at Christmas, while also finishing up work for a solo show (to be delivered on December 29) AND preparing for the month long residency in Vermont (leaving January 3). Good grief, someone remind me of all this next time I overbook my life, k? I might finish the last of the paintings for the show this weekend, and today Doug is in the city picking up an order of panels for me, which will all need to be prepped before I leave for Vermont. I am also planning to do some work on paper, so I need to gesso those as well. But I am trying my best to at least take a two days off from the studio; tomorrow and Friday (well, unless none of the kids want me around then I might sneak upstairs and apply a coat of gesso or two). Tomorrow is cookie day, we are going bake a zillion cookies and even if it kills me, I am going to sit on the sofa in our living all day on Friday, reading and relaxing!

And I actually do plan on posting again soon (well probably) as I have a bunch of links I want to share. In the meantime though, I hope you all have a great holiday!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's a Big Sale!

Ok, here's the thing. I don't have much storage. We live in an old house with NO CLOSETS and my studio is in the attic which has knee wall storage, suitable for packing materials, mouse poop and bins of my kid's artwork, yarn, and photographs. I have one flat file drawer, maybe two tops, to keep the small paintings in that are on my sales blog. Both drawers are now full, and I would really like to clear them out so that I have somewhere to keep the new small format paintings I plan to paint as soon as I get back from my artist's residency in Vermont.

So it's a good time to move these little ones along. And to smooth the way, I have decided to offer all the paintings on the sales blog at half price until January 1. A big discount, it's true, but I really want them to find good homes and I also really want to paint more, so it's a win-win for me.

And if you hurry and buy something, there is a very good chance you will have it before the holidays. Everything is just sitting here, all ready to pack up and ship out. The mouse poop costs extra though. Heh.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Winner!!!

Ok, so last year Ginger got to choose the winner of the birthday contest and this year I gave the other kids a chance to take a turn. No one was interested, I don't think my little contest here is cool enough for them. Heh.

So the ever enthusiastic Ginger was more than happy to do it again. Clearly she has been working on her presentation skills and here she is posing with the bowl of names:
I am thinking she could be a star! Or at least get a job on a game show!

Anyway, here she is mixing up the names:

No coaching by me, folks, Ginger intuitively knew to look away while picking out a slip of paper:

And here is the winner:


I am very excited that Shari won, she had her students do a project based on my work awhile back and well, clearly she has awesome taste in art, hehe. The kids did some cool work which you can see here. So I think it is fitting that she is going to be able to receive a birthday gift from me. Email me, Shari!

I would like to thank EVERYONE who left a comment and birthday wishes, especially Gary. By mentioning that I am still "quite a FOX", Gary qualified for TWENTY entries in the drawing, but alas he struck out anyway, hehe.

Also, I would like to reiterate that I am truly not upset or even mildly freaked out about being another year older; it is simply a bit surreal to be this age on the outside (which, except for my hair color, is ALL natural, baby!) when on the inside I feel about 20, at most. My life gets better each year, and I have been incredibly productive for the last 15 years, what with birthing babies and painting and all, so I have nothing to complain about. Just a little tongue-in-cheek joking about the march of time around here, that's all.

I promise.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2nd Annual Happy Birthday to Me Contest

Layer Cake, 2009, Oil on Panel, 6x4

So I decided to have a birthday gift contest again this year and when I went to get the link to last year's post I reread it and well, it was an excellent post and I am not sure I can top it this year. Heh.

There are a few differences this year however; I am turning 45 (bleh) and my crabbiness is not because of that (well, not ONLY because of that) but because I have been so busy the last few days and am now pretty much totally freaking out about how little time I have left to finish work for my upcoming show, there are a zillion events written on the calendar for the coming weeks so I am going to have many interruptions to my studio time. Arghhh!! Plus I had to do a lot of driving today in our first real snow this year, without any warm up for it, like flurries or even sleet; just a full out snow with slippery roads and everything.

But anyway.

This year has been a bit tumultuous but things are really good now despite looming deadlines, and I am pretty sure that I will be having a very nice birthday on Sunday. The snow makes it seem as if we live in a winter wonderland, I am pretty sure I will be getting some cool gifts from the kids and even though I have to work for a few hours tomorrow, I actually consider that a gift as well.

So same terms apply as last year: leave me a message between now and midnight tomorrow (December 6th is the magic day:)) and say Happy Birthday to me. We'll put all the names in a hat or whatever, and announce the winner on Monday. The lucky duck may choose a painting, any painting, from my sales blog and I will ship it right away. Um, in the US only, sorry (still crabby).

Oh and to all my lovely Facebook friends: ya gotta leave your comment here, not on my FB page. I made that rule up just now!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pet Picture Day

I was thinking I really should make an effort to post again this week, and since every day is pretty much the same lately; computer, painting, laundry, cooking, driving to town and back again x2 or even 3, I decided that a pet update is always a good diversion from mind numbing sameness. Heh.

So a few months ago, I noticed that our little pumpkin was getting chewed up, and assumed it was some sort of critter that was getting at it at night. Then one day I noticed the chickens were crowded around it and well, duh! They had been pecking at it and we all had a good laugh about it after we realized that carving pumpkins would not be necessary this year:

They didn't bother with the big pumpkin until they had decimated the small one. Now I wish I had charted their progress on it, it has been pretty interesting to see how much pecking they can do in a day.

I am liking these big gaping holes that they have fashioned in our home grown pumpkin:

Nice form, don't you think?

The flock seems to be doing pretty well since our rooster died, and it seems that this scrawny old hen is the replacement 'rooster':
I see her rounding everyone up, clucking behind the stragglers and she is the last one to go into the coop every night. She is always very talkative with me and comes rushing up to me everytime I come outside. No attacking, just chit chat. Still miss the rooster's crow each morning though........

The weather here has been so mild that the dogs are still spending a lot of time outside each day and I got this shot of the dogs just as the sun was hitting the porch the afternoon:

Mr. Wilson is about 2 1/2 now, but it seems like he will forever be a puppy. Even though he only weighs about 4lbs, he is brave enough to pick a fight with any or all of the cats, who each weigh about 15lbs. Mr. Wilson pesters them, they smack him, he whimpers, then starts it all over again. Silly pup.

The cats are just cats. Fat, sleepy, hissy with each other and did I say lazy? I can't get them to do anything around here (although they are good at keeping track of all my shipping supplies):

They do like to find all the sunny spots:
warm places (this chair is next to the fireplace):
and guess who is coming to dinner?

So there you go, folks. Pet update, another post in the can, oh and a gratuitous image of a painting that I just finished for the upcoming show in Williamstown.
Turning At The Edge, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 18x24

And PS. Keep an eye out for my Happy Birthday To Me post this Sunday, k?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crazy December

Good Bones, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 16x16

Crazy, wacky, insanely busy week (and month) here. I am really feeling the show deadline looming and am freaking out about whether I will have enough work ready. Three weeks seems like a long time but we all know how fast that is going to spin by.

I am also thinking a lot about my upcoming residency at the Vermont Studio Center in January. The show opens on Saturday, January 2 and then I will be driving to Vermont the next day. Some very precise military-style logistical planning may be necessary for that weekend........

Like the last time I went (almost two years ago) I am planning to work on painting things that are NOT landscapes! I want to focus on the 'People You Know' series, the abstracts, and will maybe make some collages while the paint is drying.

Unlike last time, I have few concerns about sharing a bathroom, meeting people, making friends or finding someone to sit with at dinner. Turns out I am still quite sociable in the right environment and certainly being around other real live artists will help facilitate my chattiness! I still have occasional contact with a few people who work there and I also look forward to meeting fellow artist/blogger J.T. Kirkland, who will be doing a residency as well.

So currently the plan for the rest of December is to have a birthday, paintpaintpaint, have Christmas, deliver paintings for the show, prep all the panels I need for the residency, pack up a month's worth of art supplies and clothing, have a kiss or two with Doug on New Year's Eve, and attend the show's opening reception before leaving for a month.

And that list does not make me feel tired at all. Heh.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Fine Art Department

White Barns, 2009, Oil on Cradled Panel, 6"x6"

In the spirit of the holiday shopping season (which I hate more and more the older I get and yes I totally get the irony of that; Doug and I both make things that we ultimately want people to buy, bleh!) I am going to post links this week to fellow artists, starting with a few of my projects. Much better than shopping at Walmart, dontchya think????

So last year around this same time, I got a few artist friends together, chose a few others from a surprisingly high number of submissions and put set up The Fine Art Department (you can read my long drawn out out story about how that came about here, hehe).

We got some good attention, a bit of press and pretty good traffic and sales all things considered (remember, stupid economy). Things quieted down after the holidays though and the site sat rather quietly throughout the year, getting only a few hits here and there.

This season everyone is still into the project however, and so we decided to update and make another push. Most of The Fine Art Department artists are on Facebook now and so we also have a FB page this year too. That in particular has been a lot fun; over 700 hundred fans have joined since we published the site on Thursday night! True teamwork, baby! We sent out invites to our own FB friends and I have to admit to being really excited about so much activity there. Um, and very obsessive, I probably refreshed our page 47,000 times this weekend, watching the numbers go up!.

Anyway, FB attention aside, and I know I am totally preaching to the choir here, but I greatly encourage you all to consider purchasing a piece of art as a gift for a friend, a family member or oneself (my favorite thing to do;)). Most artists struggle even when the economy is good. And of course the stupid economy still pretty much sucks so every little bit helps us to continue to make our art, buy supplies, support our families etc.

The Fine Art Department is also working along with The Small Art Showcase (a few of our artists overlap) and Whimsical Paintings, so go on and visit them as well. There is some wonderful art to see and to buy. Have fun!

PS. The Fine Art Department is not currently accepting submissions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting There

So I am plugging away in the studio, trying to get some paintings done for the show in January. My goal was to have all the landscapes and barns finished by the end of November so that I could spend the month of December focusing on the six portraits that will also be included in the show.

This plan is working out ok, although I do wish I were a bit farther along with the landscapes. But I have had a ton of distractions and interruptions, so all things considered, I am actually doing ok.

I am feeling a bit strapped for subject matter though, I haven't had the chance to get out to do some driving and take some new reference photos. The other day I went through the box of photos (yes, photos that were on FILM and then DEVELOPED! It's like they are antiques now!) that contained images that I took during the first year or so that we lived here. I found some images that I can use, but what really struck me is that it seemed obvious that I had never seen a tree or a field before we moved here. Heh. It seems that I took hundreds of pictures of fields with trees in the back......

I am also a bit strapped for barns as well, but that is easily handled. I haven't painted our barn for awhile and Mother Nature was kind enough to give me a very atmospheric morning in which to get some good reference photos.

Gotta love her!

The other side of the barn:

Friday, November 13, 2009

More Adventures in Painting (The Walls)

So a few weeks ago our oldest son finally moved out and into a residential home on the campus of the school that he goes too. Due to a variety of reasons, it took years to get him into a placement (he is 20, mentally disabled and will always need to live in a supervised setting) and by the time he moved, everyone's nerves were frayed from the waiting.

But his small, dark cave of a room turned into a good project to distract us (well me, really, I did most of the work).

My daughters have always shared a room and were pretty happy for the opportunity to each have their own room. Actually, 'over the moon' comes to mind. Heh. It was decided that Ginger, the youngest, would get my son's old room and that Sophie would stay in the old one:

Which usually looked more like this:
Sigh. I know, I know.

For the longest time Ginger wanted her new room to be lime green and so I was envisioning that too. At the last minute, like the day before we bought the paint, she decided on an aqua color. Ok. As I was rolling the aqua over the dark blue walls, I thought it looked great, but after I did the whole room, I thought I was gonna die:
This picture does NOT express the full spectrum of that first color. It was like a hopped up, drug induced, blue light special version of Kmart blue/green. It was SO intense, the room seemed to vibrate. Even though the aqua was lighter than the previous wall color it was still too dark and way too vivid for the small room. I told Ginger that we would have to paint the room the lighter shade of the same color. She went all drama queen on me, but I put my foot down. That crazy color was spilling out of her room and making the whole hallway blue, I couldn't bear to look at it every time I walked up the stairs. So I did the second color and it was just right, even Ginger (eventually) agreed.

So we got her all moved in, a new rug from Pottery Barn, and a lot of shelving for her stuff (we put HER in the small room to help curb her hoarding tendencies;)) and viola! A bright, cute and shiny new bedroom in the house!

And naturally since she got a new room, the old room needed an update too. I loved the soft periwinkle/lavender color that the girls picked out when they were 4 and 6, but Sophie had visions of something different now.

I talked her out of red, then out of black (!) and we settled on orange. She picked out a color card and I ok'd it. After our experience with the first version of aqua, I was a bit concerned that the orange was going to be prison jumpsuit or traffic cone orange once it was on the walls, but it turns out that is was a food kind of orange. White trash food, to be specific. Heh. Depending on the light I was thinking Velveeta, Cheetos, Cheez Whiz, Orange Creamsicles, etc. for the several days that it took to paint this room. And omg, I thought the painting in there would never end; it's a large room, about 17x17 and had four windows plus the doors. Lots of edges! And it turns out that that periwinkle was more intense than I thought. I had to paint three coats of the orange before it finally stopped showing through. Which means three times around all the edges. Gah!!! I guess I should have primed the walls first, but I still would have been painting that room three times so that wouldn't have made much of a difference.

I spent a whole day cleaning and sorting through the rubble that had been left (we are instituting new and very strict 'clean your room' rules), and rearranged the remaining furniture. Found a nifty new rug (at Target online) that reminds us all of the Yellow Submarine animation and viola! A second bright and shiny new room!

I am incredibly glad that this round of painting is over, there were no injuries, only a few pulled muscles, no major paint spills and no footprints or pawprints tracking the splatter throughout the rest of the house.

But now I notice that the kitchen could use a bit of brightening up too.......

And PS. Read here for what happened when I repainted my old studio/new living room. And here is the room all finished.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Show Prep (and neverending orange walls)

Break On Through, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 9x9

I am currently working on paintings for a show in January at The Harrison Gallery in Williamstown, MA. This is my fourth solo show at this gallery and I am very grateful to have this exhibition opportunity again. Sales in general have picking up a bit, so that is encouraging too mostly because I am totally running out of storage space.

I have been making good progress in the studio despite constant interruptions and my current obsession with Facebook. Heh. But the plan is to get the landscapes finished by the end of November and then work on six portraits for the show during December. While my landscapes do quite well in this gallery, the director has agreed to include a few portraits this time. I should have been working on those earlier in the fall but for some reason I kept putting them off. I think maybe I just have to breeze in at the last minute and knock them out. Sometimes that works best. And I have decided not to stress if it doesn't. I will have plenty of landscapes ready for the show.

I probably should be painting in the studio today but instead I will be painting the walls in my daughter's room today, which has become a neverending project. Will explain all that in a future post, but just so you know, today it feels like I will be painting orange walls forever.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Food Shopping

So this is what can happen when an artist goes food shopping.

I saw this thing at my favorite organic booth at our local farmer's market and just had to have it. The guy said it was celeria and told us of a few ways to prepare it. However, I didn't really pay attention to what he was saying because I could not. stop. looking. at the celeria. So for two bucks I now have this thing to gaze upon. I might make a drawing or a painting of it, but actually I just want to enjoy looking at it; it is very textural, voluminous, earthy and kind of bizarre. I consider these to be very good attributes.

I guess I might end up cooking it or maybe I will buy another one next week so I can still have one to look at for awhile. I found some recipes and they look interesting.

Will keep y'all posted. Heh.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obituary for a Really Good Rooster

So in 2006, Doug and I decided to embrace the country life that we had been all prissy about for our previous three years here on the farm. He got bees, I got baby chicks. A surprisingly wide variety of accessories, tools and equipment was purchased. We 'remodeled' the old outhouse, built a chicken run and then received a chirping box in the mail with 27 egg layer chicks inside. Turns out that checking the chicken butts to determine which are the females is not entirely accurate and by the end of the summer we realized that we had two roosters in our flock.

After Number One Rooster in Charge (accidentally on purpose) met his untimely death, Rooster #2 stepped up to the plate and he was a very good rooster. First of all he did not attack me or the kids like the other one did, so that was good. And even though he was a little bit rough on the ladies, I always knew he genuinely cared for them. Heh. When we got several new chicks two years ago, he gave them a lot of special attention so they would feel at home, heheh. But I greatly enjoyed watching him keeping an eye on everyone while they all free ranged and he was fair but firm and he always let the ladies peck at the scratch before he did. He was also smart, over the years there have been a few times that the coop door closed before the chickens could get in for the night and he would come up to the house and make a ruckus to let us know that they needed help. It's true that chickens are not especially bright, but they are very intuitive and their instincts are a wonder to observe. More about my chickens and their antics here and here

Anyway. Every morning I go out to the coop to give them fresh water, check their food and then I throw a scoop of scratch through the wire fencing into the chicken run (they stay inside the coop until mid afternoon, so that their eggs will land in the nests rather than all over the yard). We have a routine with the scratch; when the chickens see the red scoop come out of the bin, they scatter, except for the rooster. He stands there and just takes it right on his back. Then he shakes his wings and fluffs up, rounding everyone up so they can scratch and peck.

This morning he wasn't out, which seemed odd and when I went inside the coop to gather eggs, I saw him laying dead on the floor underneath the roost. I was so shocked, as he seemed perfectly fine just yesterday! There were two hens on the roost and they were quiet and seemingly stunned. Well, I can't be totally sure of that, but they WERE very quiet. I asked them what happened (duh, rhetorical question) and then went to the garage to find a bag.

Now so far, I have been able to avoid actually handling the dead chickens that we have had over the years, but Doug is out of town and everyone else was at school. Bleh. But I manage to buck up; I picked up the rooster by his stiff legs (and yes, that was totally skeevy:)) and got him into a bag, aaarrggghhhhhh! It was awful. He was all cold and stiff so I guess he had been dead for most of the night.

I guess I will try to find another rooster. I liked having one with my flock and they are good to have around if the chickens free range. I have a few friends who raise chickens and will ask around, I guess.

Sure am going to miss my beautiful red rooster though.......

PS. and now I feel bad that I didn't take more pictures of him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Nothing of a Post

Right Through There, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x16

Sorry, folks, this is a real nothing of a post today. This last week was almost a complete wash in my studio. Yesterday, our oldest son, Kurtis, moved into a residential home on the campus of his school and my studio time was interrupted almost every day by meetings, packing, shopping etc. And during the few chunks of time that I did have to work, I found that I was too distracted to do anything that looked even remotely worthwhile.

So I have about five underpaintings sitting here, waiting for their color and I will try again first thing Monday morning. I am posting a larger version of a 6x6 painting that I did a few weeks ago. While I do often paint the same barns and scenes many times, I usually take some time between each version. However this time I found myself working the same images simultaneously. Not sure if I will do that again, or maybe I will do it all the time; it seemingly made no difference in the outcome (other than that both pieces are pretty similar in color), both paintings are fine, the small one sold right away on my other blog (thanks Bridgette!)and this one was shipped to The Harrison Gallery> last week.

Ok, well, looks like I managed to eke out two paragraphs about nothing much today. Huh. How about that!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Peek Inside My Drawers

Heh. You didn't seriously think I could resist THAT title, did you???

Last week, Janelle asked me what I stored in my flat file and so I took some pictures of the inside of each drawer. It is awesome to have this for storage and I do believe I have put every square inch of it to good use!

First of all, the flat file has a huge top surface which is where I keep a jumble of photos for reference, paintbrushes, and other junk:

It looks like a mess, but the photographs are actually sorted into VERY IMPORTANT piles and I actually do use everything that is laying there almost everyday. At the back I have some tabletop easels which is where I set the smaller paintings to dry:

And on one side of the flat file is an added storage bonus, shelving! I could have used this for more junk, and was sorely tempted, however I decided to use it for some of my art books. Doug usually gives me a good art book or two for my birthday every year and I often buy a few when I visit a museum, so I have a good collection going. It's nice to keep my favorites in the studio:

Now on to the drawers. I have posted this image before:
I keep all of my paints in the top drawer (I used to keep them on the top surface, which I thought I preferred until I put them in the drawer and now I like them better there for some reason. Gives me more room for a jumble of junk, maybe.)

Drawer #2 contains a stack of watercolor paper and the initial portraits that I did almost two years ago when I was at the Vermont Studio Center. I like to keep them on hand to look at once in awhile as I continue working on the People You Know series.

Drawer #3 has another stack of watercolor paper, although this stack is mostly gessoed paper, ready to work on. It also contains some of the small format paintings that are available through my sales blog, as well as a few flower paintings that are well, just sitting there. Heh. Part of my painting inventory, I guess.

This is the drawer where I keep the bulk of the small format paintings for the sales blog:

And drawer #5 is where I keep all of the work on paper that I have done. You can see some the abstracts on top and under those are all the People You Know paintings that have been done on gessoed paper.

The next five drawers are used mostly for storage of other flat

Figure drawing pads (used and unused) are in this drawer:

Drawing boards and primed oil paper pads (which I never use):

Pastel paper pads and other assorted papers, plus a few larger scaled abstract paintings on gessoed paper:

Gessobords, and pads of palette paper.

As I do more work on paper, I will probably relocate the pads of paper. I love the idea of filling every single drawer with my work on paper! And considering that I can't resolve how to display those works, they may just sit there forever.

Anyway, I dearly love my flat file, it is useful but more importantly, it was a wonderful gift from a gallery director in NYC who showed my work for a few years before the gallery closed (sob).

So feel free to show us what's in your drawers, k???