Friday, February 27, 2009

Chicken Eggs

Just stopped in this morning to post a photo of our beautiful fresh eggs. Lisa Call has really been jonesing for more chicken info and this is the best I can do right now. The chicken house is still surrounded by snow and muck and so they are still housebound, poor things. As soon as the ladies can get out to free range I'll take a few pictures of them. The chickens do look wonderful and so refreshed after their recent molting induced makeover. Heh.

I will be going to Albany this weekend for my daughter's swim meet which I am looking forward to. I get to spend time with my very cool 11 year old, plus I get some chat time in with the other parents, while we sit and sweat in a sauna like pool area waiting for our kid's events. However I am a bit worried about missing a few more days in the studio. I have a number of paintings ready for my upcoming show, but I sure would feel better if I were further along. I am really going to have to buckle down and crank out some work in the next few weeks.

Also, I just wanted to thank all my lovely readers for such nice comments and support during the recent anonymous comment hubbub. I am grateful to have such wonderful friends and fellow artists here. Thanks!

And have a good weekend, all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Three On The Side, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 8x10

Last week, in response to my question asking what viewers here were seeing in a portrait that I painted (see the post here) I received this response from anonymous:

I see paintings lacking in subject matter. They are all about technique, and that is not interesting enough. They don't tell a story. I can't imagine a gallery being able to sell this work. Just being honest. Look at Eric Fischl. Look at what he is doing with tension, a stories being a told. These are just a painting of a photo of a grandma. If the viewer does not know this person, it boring. It's just lacking so much. Stick with it, but grow.

Normally, I don't pay much attention to anonymous comments; I tend to believe that if one can't stand up and put their name to their own words then they probably shouldn't be saying them. But obviously the internet just breeds anonymous comments and so I don't think my opinion on that matters much.

But, anonymous brought up some points that have been on my mind with this series of paintings so I have decided to address this comment.

I see paintings lacking in subject matter. Yes, that concerns me. That also has been an issue for me with my landscapes. I would like to have more content, be more narrative in my work, knock viewers over the head with my opinions about politics, religion, the environment, etc. But I am not that kind of an artist. I express my feelings about what I see. That's what I do. It might be successful, it might not be, but that is how and why I make art. Period.

Over the years though, I have noticed that plenty of people see a lot of stories in my landscapes and now in the People You Know series. My conclusion on that is that the viewer has some responsibility concerning what they bring to a piece of art. Some viewers will understand what I am trying to express, some will find their own meaning, and others, like anonymous, will see nothing. I am ok with that. In fact, knowing that my work can affect people in so many different ways is very gratifying to me.

I can't imagine a gallery being able to sell this work. My response to this one is very clear: I don't really care if a gallery can sell this work. Friends and even my own husband have been telling me all along that these won't sell. But that is totally not my intent here at all. Now that's not to say that I wouldn't like to sell these paintings at some point and yes, I do plan on submitting them to galleries and juried shows just to see what will happen. Either way though, I will keep going. As an artist, I need this challenge and I am incredibly drawn to telling the stories that I see in these old photographs. I am pursuing this series because I want to. Figurative work can be a tough sell, and I'd be crazy to be worrying about all that. Sheesh!

Stick with it, but grow. Well, duh. Isn't that always the hope and the inevitable result of continually creating art? My landscapes have changed a lot over the last five years. Sometimes after I have had some personal issues, a professional setback OR a success (actually, not so much after that, a success often messes me up:)). But mostly the growth has occurred gradually because I have kept painting, painting painting. I do not doubt that that will happen with the People You Know series as well. But if it doesn't, well so what? I really get to do what I want here.

I appreciate the fact that someone has a negative opinion about these portraits, like I said previously, that fact makes this all the more intriguing to me. And after receiving this comment I felt I needed to more completely formulate my thoughts and intent concerning this work, and that is always good.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Memory Lane: Ely's

Illustration Thesis Exhibition
Each spring, the illustration program presents one of the most exciting events on campus, the William H. Ely Illustration Exhibition. This competitive exhibition features the work of the entire senior year class and gives illustration majors the opportunity to show their work to thousands of people.

Shown above are the illustrations that I did in 1987 for the Ely Thesis Exhibition at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts). It was a long project and involved choosing the subject, a proposal, notes, sketches and various thumbnails, and "semi-final" illustrations. We had to do four pieces, they each had to be the same size and I can't recall for sure but I think we could choose the topics and format; record album covers (old days, remember?), book covers, posters, etc. Mine were posters for performances of four plays by Tennessee Williams.

On the day of the deadline, near the end of the school year, all of the illustration majors left their final pieces in the gallery at the school and a group of teachers placed the where they felt they should be displayed. Mine got a primo spot, visible as soon as one walked into the front door from Broad Street. Way exciting! Then all of the students had to come back in and hang their pieces, which was pretty interesting as most of us had not really done that before and well, hammers AND glass were involved. But all went well, and there was a pretty kick ass opening party which of course, continued on at Dirty Frank's (my favorite dive bar) after.

Anyway, I was very proud of my work for this event, and actually looking at it now I still feel that way. I admit to faking my way through the preliminaries just a bit as planning a final painting was never my strong point (still isn't, actually) but I wasn't sure how to express my intent in sketches. I knew I wanted to combine my realistic painting abilities with the more abstract and textural qualities that I had been playing around with and somehow, um, and luckily it all just fell into place at the end.

The type was definitely an issue and the way I handled my mine caused a bit of hubbub with the graphics department. Adding type was a requirement and back in those days (you know, before electricity) options were pretty limited not to mention very expensive for financially challenged art students. Most of the other students had type printed on a clear sheet of plastic which was then placed over the painting and a few incorporated more formal type into their images by painting it directly on the work, in the space designated for it. And back then getting something printed was complicated and involved going to a printer, not like now when we can so easily print everything from our own computers and printers. Anyway, after getting input from all of my instructors as well as other students, I debated about the type until the last minute. Finally, late one night I just decided to do what I felt was the proper solution-I scratched in the hand lettered information. I had been warned not to do it that way, but when it was done I recall that almost everyone thought it worked. Except for about half the graphics students, and maybe a few instructors who felt it should have been done more formally. I have a vague memory of hearing something about a graphics instructor holding a meeting in front of my paintings and discussing the type, but that could have been a rumor. Or a product of my faulty memory. However, I still think I did the right thing. It actually related to the style of the painting unlike professional printing would have done.

But despite all that and having the work placed in such a great spot (a wonderful vote of confidence from the instructors who laid out the show), my work did not win any of the awards given, not even an honorable mention. At the time I was pretty sure there were some politics involved (a common refrain in something so subjective as art college, I am afraid), but to be honest, I couldn't fault those did win. It was all good work and everyone had worked just as hard, if not harder than I did.

And one more story about these paintings: While I was still in college, I became friends with Tom Leonard, who had taught a few classes in illustration a few years earlier. We have kept in touch over the years and awhile back he sent me a book that he had illustrated. He wrote a few things about our friendship and included a reference to the iguana I had painted for the Ely's. He still recalled that image after almost fifteen years. That might be better than any of the awards that I didn't get.

Also, while I did my Ely's in my senior year, I ended up having to come back the following year to finish up enough credits to graduate (and after that I still was short about 8 credits and so never did actually graduate, shhh). I didn't have to do the Ely's again, but I had to watch the next group of students go through the same crazy process which was pretty interesting.

Close ups below, and in case you are wondering, the white specks are where the paint has been rubbed off, due to the fact that I just stacked these paintings together with nothing in between each one. What a moron. Anyway, the paint in general has held up really well and I believe my process was similar to how I paint now- a monochromatic underpainting, followed by a layer or two of glazes. I think I also did a bit more alla prima painting especially in the representational areas. I don't recall exactly what I used to do all the scratching, but it was probably either an x-acto blade or some sort of scratch board tool. All four pieces are 18x24 and are oil on illustration board.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winter Break Update

Long Lines Late in the Day, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x24

Here's what's up this week:

1. The kids are home all week for winter break and just to insure that I don't get much of anything done, Doug scheduled a business trip for this week as well. Actually, he didn't do it on purpose, usually I mark the vacations on the MASTER CALENDER and he is supposed to check the MASTER CALENDER when he schedules a business trip but I missed this one for some reason and so he has been gone since Sunday, returning tonight, thankfully. I guess I shouldn't complain because this snafu is definitely my fault.

2. And I really shouldn't be complaining at all about not getting any work done this week either as the kids have been totally doing their own thing and while they have been coming up to my studio quite a bit with various issues, physical ailments, and their side of the story concerning the most recent argument, overall I have been able to be in the studio everyday. I haven't been terribly productive but it's been ok. The KIDS should be really bored, but they don't seem to be. I guess it's nice for them to take a week and just do some quiet relaxing things, like reading, art projects and watching tv, as normally they have pretty busy and full days when school is in session.

3. Part of the reason that I haven't been terribly productive is that I fell off the wagon and straight into a river of chocolate! I was doing great with the no flour/no sugar thing (still no flour actually) but I had a few Lindt truffles which sent me spiraling out of control and back into a full out obsession with procuring and eating chocolate. Dang! Will be spending the next few days trying to get that back under control again.

4. Mr. Wilson is feeling better today after his return yesterday from a night at the vet's office. He had um, a procedure, and is now, well let's just say he is more neutral about things. Lately he has been driving us all crazy with his doggy adolescent behavior, panting and whining all the time and humping Penny's feet (he's short, she's tall, it's all he can get to), the cats (they were not happy about that) and even the furniture legs.

PS. If you are opposed to altering pets and feel the need to write to me about it, save it. I already know the pros and cons of this issue, plus I am also a little crabby today so my response might not be pretty!

5. And while I am at it, I may as well give an update on the chickens too. They stopped laying eggs in September or so. I figured they were molting, although I was a bit surprised that they were all doing it at once, since some of the hens are a year younger that the others. But after talking to a few friends that also raise chickens I learned that often the whole flock goes at the same time. I could have messed with the molting by supplementing their light to get them laying again, but our chicken house is pretty rustic, no power, no water and so getting them extra light seemed like way too much work. So I let the chickens have a rest from popping an egg out everyday. Anyway, we really suffered without our daily eggs, it was a sad day when we started buying them at the store again. Even the cage free organic eggs were disappointing. Not as fresh as what we are used to I guess. The chickens look beautiful now though after their rest, they grew back all their feathers (some of them were almost completely bald before they began molting, they looked VERY scary) and they seem more friendly too, although I might be imagining that. They gradually began laying eggs about a month ago and now we are overflowing with eggs again.

6. I have five landscape paintings finished for my upcoming show (one is kind of iffy, so there might just be four), and also have four underpaintings ready for color. If I work on those this weekend I will be able to get right back on schedule. I am really enjoying getting back to the landscapes. After a six month break from painting the landscape I wasn't sure if I would feel good about them again, or stifled.

7. Am still working on the People You Know series, today I plan to work on the two larger panels that I started a few weeks ago. I worked on one yesterday, but kept getting sidetracked, but I will try to finish it up soon.

8. Oh and I missed my blog anniversary again. It's been three years (as of February 10), 635 posts, and over 200,000 unique visitors since I started this project that has nearly ruled my life! I am still enjoying all this but also sense that some changes here in Tracyland may be coming too.

Well, I guess that's it, that's all I have going on. Even though I have much work to do, and am making progress with it all, I still feel like I am floundering around in a haze.

I blame the chocolate.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poofy Dress Girl

Me and My Poofy Dress, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x16

While I am so NOT a formal dance type of girl, I admit to being totally drawn into the photos of girls, and of couples all dressed up and ready to go to the dance. I have been trying to hold off on these because I want to clarify for myself about how to approach them; with irony, sadness, sarcasm, derision, admiration, envy, yearning, sweetness. Well, probably NOT sweetness, too obvious and again, not me. I have come to no great conclusions however, so I decided to just dive in and at least do one to start with. Maybe I will be able to find my way by doing rather than thinking which is usually the best way for me anyhow.

Oh, and big surprise, I am not a formal wedding type either, but you can't imagine how many wedding snapshots I have willingly collected. I am anxious to get to those too, and I am pretty sure there will be no sweetness there either. Hopefully the formal dance images will help me figure out how to do the weddings.

Anyway, I am pleased with the poofy dress girl. Maybe you all can tell me what you see in it?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, Monday

Aunt Bettie Looks Just Like Margaret Thatcher, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 16x20

Wow, I have been a bit neglectful concerning this blog. Not intentionally but the last part of last week got pretty hectic with a variety of different things and I just didn't have the time or energy to come up with anything for you folks here. Will try again this week to get back on a more regular blog writing schedule. Not only for all you lovely readers but also for me, I tend to feel a bit out of sorts if I don't post regularly too.

I have also actually been pretty busy in the studio. Soon you will be seeing landscapes here again, I have several that are nearly done and will start posting them as soon as they are photographed. It was actually quite nice to slide back into the landscape work. I hadn't done any (with the exception of the very small pieces for my sales blog) in over six months and so really wasn't sure what would happen. But it's all good so far; only one for the sand down pile in this batch, not bad odds really.

The above painting is the most recent portrait in the People You Know series. It was looking a bit blah until out of desperation I added a transparent green glaze and then: zowie! Pulled it all together and gave it some zip to boot. I still have two larger portraits to add color to and hope to get to them this week.

Might be tough though, as it turns out that this week is winter break (I learned that fact last Thursday-obviously there was a glitch in my Master Calender procedures) and so the kids are all home, all day, every day. They have however, agreed to sit quietly and watch tv for at least part of each day so that I can get some work done anyway. We'll see how THAT goes. Heh.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Memory Lane (Part 3) More College

Doesn't every art student draw their shoe?
The shoe drawings were done in my freshman year at Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I know that because by the time I transferred to Philadelphia College of Art in 1985, I was so over the moccasins. Before I left Minneapolis, I bought a pair of black leather ankle boots which I wore until they fell apart. They were completely impractical as they had no traction whatsoever, and they absorbed water like a sponge. But they were in fashion and by god, I was going to be in fashion when I started my new life in Philadelphia as a new and much more hip person. Heh.

Anyway, the following work was done during my first few years in Philadelphia. I have a vague memory of the instructors who gave me the projects and in most cases that helps me place the year. Approximately. It has been about 25 years after all and now I see that while I often wrote the month and day on my work, I left out the year. Back then I guess I thought it would always be 1985.

These were done at Penn's Landing one spring day in 1985:
I was nearing the end of my obsession with Doc Martin's inks but I totally enjoyed doing these. I remember feeling for years that I should do more, although I never did. Looking back I also think these were the most colorful things I had done and they almost foreshadow how I handle color now. Of course at the time, I was just squinting to see shapes and then throwing down some fairly random color down on wet paper.

The assignment here was a street scene:It was a rather involved project, we had to have references, including photos, sketches and written notes. Preliminary drawings of a variety of compositions then a monochromatic sketch done in the planned medium. And then finally we could move on to the final painting. I had a great street scene all planned out that mostly focused on some mannequins with the reflections of the street in the window in front. I went through the whole process, the references, the sketches, everything, and got about halfway through the final piece when I decided that I completely hated what I was doing. I was painting very precisely and realistically and even though it was pretty good (sorry, I thought I had that unfinished piece, but I couldn't find it) I just couldn't keep doing it. So the weekend before the final project was due, I put together some new references, sat down and whipped this painting out in acrylic. The teacher loved it and even though I enjoyed doing it, over the next few years I kept started pieces by working tightly then bailing on them after I lost interest in working like that (examples of that are in this post). I can't believe how long it took me to begin a painting by working loosely, I sure hung on to how my head wanted to paint, rather than what my heart wanted.

And of course a copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait:
I enjoyed doing this and it was a good introduction to working with an underpainting and glazes. I gained a new appreciation for work I had previously thought of as somewhat stuffy and obviously, Rembrandt has nothing to worry about as far as I go.

The following work is from a series of still lifes:
We were required to work in different mediums but from the same objects. I think I did many more in this series but I guess these were the only ones I thought were worth saving. I recall one of the crits where I put up this particular piece:and the instructor never talked about it. Someone mentioned that she missed one but she didn't hear that comment and I was too embarrassed to say anything. To this day I wish I knew what she might have said about it-she did really good crits, very constructive and honest without being insulting. Maybe I should email her and send her the jpeg. Heh.

Here are a few figure drawings done with ink:
I know I did about a million more, but I haven't found them. Probably just as well, surely they are not as good as I think they were.

A small drawing in graphite:

I have no memory whatsoever of this painting:but my name is on it and so I guess I did it. I think I like it. It looks like an illustration assignment and I recall that by my junior year or so I was working on putting design elements together with more organic subjects so I suspect this was done around then. Also, there is space on the right which is probably intended for some sort of copy, which was always a part of any illustration assignment.

Next time I will put up my senior thesis paintings. It's pretty cool to see how they relate to my current work. Thank goodness something I did back then does, I was starting to get worried that what I do now came from out of the blue.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kmart Family Photos

I have been sorting through boxes of family photos lately and have come across some real gems. A handful of photographs from high school and of my graduation. Many pictures of both Minneapolis and Philadelphia that I took as reference for various school projects, and which are now fascinating microcosms of 80's fashion. A few images of Doug and I back when we actually took vacations to places like Cozumel and Montserrat. Many pictures of our two cats who are now in cat heaven. And of course, beginning in 1993 when our oldest son came to live with us, tons and tons of family photos.

I have boxes of photos of classic family photos: freshly birthed babies, babies breastfeeding, naked crawling babies, babies covered with food, sleeping babies and crying babies. Halloween costumes, Christmas, school program performances, birthday parties, vacations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (including the buffalo that was right outside our hotel room window), visits with family, first day of school, LAST day of school, panoramic shots, picnics in the backyard, plastic swimming pools in the backyard, girls playing soccer, my son as a boy scout, endless, it's just endless.

Of course I have photo albums which is where all the really good photos are, but they badly need updating. I think the last time I added any new ones was in 2003. And now switching over to a digital camera has really messed up my system and I haven't figured out a new one yet. I miss having all those pictures (and negatives) in my hands, or at least in boxes, you know?

Anyway, I think some of my very favorites are these photo booth pictures. The Kmart in North Logan, Utah had a beautiful old black and white photo booth and a good evening's entertainment was to take the kids there and give them each a few minutes alone in the photo booth. The first time we did it was with our oldest son, who pretty much just sat there and drank his soda (top left), unconcerned and not understanding about posing for a picture, while sitting on a stool behind a curtain. Doug and I laughed for days about that. He finally got the hang of it a year or so later (top, second from left) and even smiled. My oldest daughter, did her crazy, poser smile in the first shot but it all kind of spiraled downhill after that and she looks pretty ticked off by the last one (below, middle). I see that we tossed the baby in with our four year old son (below, bottom) and then of course we always did one where we all piled into the booth and made silly faces. And/or tried to keep a wiggly kid in the shot (top right). Good times.

Alas, no photo booths within at least a few hours of where we live now, plus they all seem to be full color now anyway, which is somehow very disappointing to me. When the black and white photo booth was eventually replaced with a color booth at the Kmart in Logan, we considered making an offer on the old one, but of course having it in our living room would have taken all the novelty away. It probably would have turned into a clothes hanger or a toy bin. A big heavy toy bin with chemicals.

So I will settle for putting all of these strips into their own photo album as yet another lovely reminder of days gone by.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Here I Go


I am hoping to work on this painting tomorrow, along with another large piece from the People You Know series.

However, and I feel like I should be shouting this out VERY LOUDLY-tomorrow is also the day I officially begin the landscape paintings for a solo show that I have coming up in April at The Harrison Gallery in Williamstown, MA. This is the first time since last July that I have had an exhibition to works towards. Frankly, I am over the moon to have a real live goal again. The self imposed ones just weren't cutting it.

Time to ROCK!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Memory Lane (Part 2) High School!

Well, I should probably be really embarrassed to be putting this work up. Hopefully, it won't wreck my career. Heh. In my defense however, I grew up in a fairly unrefined setting, and fine art was NOT a part of my childhood. Somehow though, I always knew I wanted to be an artist and I was lucky that most of the people around me were supportive of that. I suspect many of those people (like my mother-she didn't understand about 50% commissions, supplies, expenses and taxes) had the deluded idea that if I became an artist, I would certainly be famous and rich. Heck, I thought that too, at least until I actually began working as an artist. Anyway, I always loved to draw and paint and by the time I was in high school, there was an artist label affixed to my forehead. Thankfully, I had that, I managed to get through school with a small bit of admiration from my classmates, rather than being completely invisible or horribly harassed which was the usual treatment for kids like me back there!

Some of my best memories of high school were of the hours spent in art class (this was before many of the art and music classes were cut from public schools). A few of us were really into The Doors, The Who and The Grateful Dead, so many of our projects revolved around depicting those musicians. Hey whatever it takes to create, right? We had a very tolerant art teacher.

Well on to public humiliation.

So I did a lot of clown drawings, mostly in pen an ink:I don't know why really, I find clowns to be a bit sad and creepy. A teacher in school asked me to draw this clown and she bought the drawing for $10, the image above is a copy of it. I suppose the ten bucks really had me intrigued so I kept drawing the stupid clowns and I did sell a few more. I think I was in tenth grade when I did this one.

Full color printing!When I was in eleventh grade the students in art classes throughout the area were encouraged to enter a local Christmas card contest. The winner received a cash prize of $100 (which was like a thousand bucks to a sixteen year old) and the winning entry was printed on the card, which was then sent out to the um, trucking company's customers and employees. This might have been the pinnacle for me in high school, I gained a lot of self confidence from winning this contest and having my picture on the front page of the high school newspaper didn't hurt. Woo-hoo! My first press!

This was the first time I worked with acrylics:I worked on it in art class each day at school. I believe it was pictured in that year's yearbook, although I haven't looked at the book in a long time so I could be wrong. I think that maybe there should have been a rule about a high school student including an empty (cheap!) wine bottle from her own collection in a still life, but I could be wrong.

Again another school contest winner:Blech. It seemed so good at the time. This is the program for the homecoming dance in my senior year, however, my artist status did not get me any dates in high school and I did not go to this (or any other) dance. Waaaaaa.

And here are a bunch of ink drawings of Jim Morrison and the Doors, one of my biggest obsessions in high school. I copied various book and album covers photographs. I really enjoyed doing these, and even though the subject matter is questionable now, I still am a bit impressed with how I handled the line quality and ink washes at the age of 17. Not so sure I could do that now as it's been years since I worked with ink!

Another acrylic painting, also from a photograph, obviously:

And here's a drawing on scratch board:I loved working on scratch board and did as much of it as my meager budget would allow. After looking at this piece I can see how even then I had the same preferences as I do now. In fact I am actually slapping my forehead because it all seems so obvious now. My underpaintings always begin as a dark and I pull out the lights, exactly how one works on scratch board. Wow, I am kinda floored to see the similarities here.

This is a graduation card for a friend of mine:
I did a lot of these sorts of things; invitations, announcements, letterheads. I think I was paid about $50 for something like this, plus the printing costs. Clearly these were done before everyone had a computer and access to clip art. Everyone always really seemed to appreciate these though, I enjoyed doing them and of course the money was handy too. No regrets, even if they do seem incredibly cringe-worthy these days.

Also, this is an example of my use of pointillism in drawing. Looking back, I can see that I was working in such an obsessive manner during a time when my life was spiraling out of control and I was overwhelmed with the changes and the impending adulthood that I was not prepared for at all. Once I began to figure things out a bit, I loosened up and stopped with the pointillism. I think if I did anything like that now my head might explode whereas back then it was very calming to me. Anyway, I did a ton of pointillism drawings for a few years and I will put up another one in the next post which will focus on more college work.

A Quick Hello Plus a Few Links

In Front and Behind, 2008, Oil on Cradled Panel, 6x6

Not much here today, as I really want to get to work on the paintings I have in progress. I did one yesterday that I am pretty pleased with and I am anxious to finish it up today. I will begin posting them soon.

David Castle is doing a cool little project over on his project and I am pleased to be a part of it. Unfortunately, we had a (long!) series of grey days and I wasn't able to get any sunny snow views from my studio window to send him. So I have posted a few that I took this morning. It's nice and sunny today, just a teaser though, before the snow showers we are supposed to have for the next three days at least.

Oh and I will throw another link in for free while I am at it. I found this blog via Gary and frankly if I weren't happily married, I would totally have a crush on Ben. What? I can have a crush even if I am married? Ok, good. Anyway, I love the photos of Ben's studio, a beautiful space that clearly contains a lot of creative energy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Goals Update (January)

First Red, 2009, Oil on Cradled Panel, 6x6

On Sunday I was feeling kind of sad as it was the day I would have headed to Vermont to start my second month long residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Maybe it's just as well that I decided not to go this year as I have much to do for the next few months and last year I got a bit off track after I returned. But when my tween daughter was glaring daggers at me during some sort of fit, I couldn't help but think how I would be almost arriving in Johnson, with my car loaded with art supplies all ready to focus on painting and to enjoy great food and company as well. Sigh.

Ah well. The tween fit passed eventually and I was able to spend much of my day actually getting some things done in my own comfy studio. I'll go to Vermont next year and it will be fine. I will even have a few more shots at getting a full fellowship, so that is good.

At the end of December I posted a few specific goals and while I haven't been working as much as I hoped (many kid related distractions!) I did pretty well. I thought I'd go through the list, maybe the public humiliation will add just a wee bit of pressure on me in February. I am going to borrow from Stacey here and list my goals (in italics) and then explain what I actually did.

I will finish 20 figurative paintings on panel in January and hopefully at least 15 of them will be good enough to send out in order to pursue new representation.

I sure didn't do 20, but I am pleased with what I was able to accomplish. The People You Know series is tough and each painting really takes a lot of energy. I finished up three pieces that I had started in 2008, one 22x30 didn't work out and I finished three pieces (2 18x24 and 1 12x24) that I am very happy with. I have five pieces ready for color glazes right now and will finish them up this week. Three of them are mid size, one is 24x36 and the other one is 30x40, so the larger scale has slowed me down a bit too. If the five turn out (no guarantee!) I will have fourteen presentable (in my opinion) paintings that I can start sending out. After I gather up my nerve, that is.

In conjunction with the figurative work I will do at least five monochromatic underpaintings on gessoed paper each week, of the figure, with the intent of leaving them as is, meaning no color glazes.

I have had the prepared paper all ready to go, but never did get to these. Part of the problem is that I don't have enough room in my studio let them dry while leaning vertically (the paper is taped to a piece of masonite as a work surface) and the other problem is the distraction of the dang computer. Heh. Will be working on a solution to the drying problem as I really want to do these. Actually I NEED to do these.

I will continue to paint 5-10 small paintings per week to sell on my other blog.

I did twelve this month. Not bad but I should have done more, because as soon as I posted eight of them, three sold right away. How much more motive does a girl need for crying out loud?

And even if it kills me to do it so early, I will put together all my tax info from 2008 by the end of January. It actually doesn't take that long, it's just one of the things I really tend to put off doing each year until the very last minute.

Ick. Didn't even touch the pile of receipts. Will try again to tackle that one in February too.

I will also spend an afternoon each week or so, working on some collage ideas I have which combine my painting with the photographs I have been collecting for the figurative work. I did some of this in college and it was something I never really pursued after. So naturally, that's all I can think about doing now. heh. Anyway, this is just a fun thing to do, something I didn't do enough of in the past when I had so much going on.

I did one small piece that I kept seeing in my head, but it didn't really do what I wanted. I either need to think about it a bit more or do a few more and try to figure out what I want to do. This thinking part would be easier without the computer too.

And because no list of resolutions goals is ever complete for me without including losing a few pounds and exercising more I will add that as well. I have let my exercise go in the last few years and even more in the last few months, so that along with a recent issue involving Lindt dark chocolate truffles means I need to get out for a walk each day at the very least.

While I didn't specifically put it on the list, I was planning on eliminating sugar and flour from my diet. I did pretty well with this in January, not perfect but enough to feel so much better each day. Unfortunately I kind of bailed on walking everyday even though it always makes me feel so good when I take the walk. I went out a few times but it was so cold and even though I do actually own warm winter clothing I mostly stuck with the "too cold outside" excuse. I had some other options for exercise, like the awesome spin bike in my studio, but neglected to get it together to do that either. Will keep trying though.

This month I really must grow up and stop with the excuses. I have a show in April to prepare for and I really have to get started on that. Also I know that my outlook will be so much more positive when I can start getting my goals accomplished.