Saturday, March 28, 2009

Painting Cradles

Right Curve, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 30x40

So here is the official jpeg of this lovely painting that I am so pleased with. It is nowhere near as good as the actual painting, alas, but it will suffice I suppose. I always struggle to keep these pieces painterly, and they actually are in real life (a few close ups below to prove it:)), but somehow they tend to look stiff when photographed.

Anyway, I am finishing up the cradles on the last two paintings and am also putting on the picture wire, etc. Someone (sorry, can't recall who!) asked me awhile back about painting the edges so I thought I'd explain that a bit today. Obviously there are a lot of different ways to handle the edges. I have seen them left unfinished, I've seen the image painted around the sides and then the other day I saw a solution that I also like on Mary's blog. I think what Mary does works perfectly with her work. I probably would lean towards leaving my cradles unfinished, however when I do the underpaintings I always get the paint smudged all over the edges, it is nearly impossible not to since I work with my hands at this point. I have tried to tape the edges so that they'd be protected but then I got all kinds of weird clumps of paint chunks stuck between the tape and the corner of the panel, which was a look I didn't care for. Finally, after some experimentation, I decided that that I should just paint the edges. I experimented with using different colors, but that got too complicated and I eventually settled on black. So now I apply wood primer when I prep the panels and after I am entirely done with the painting, I sand the cradles and then paint them with two coats of black paint, sanding in between coats. I use a sanding block so I can just drag it flat along the surface. I have gotten this all down pretty well over the years, but when I paint the cradles I do sometimes get a ridge of the black paint on the actual surface of the painting. So whether that happens or not, I run a cotton rag along the edge of the surface of the painting after I paint each side, just in case.

I like how the black cradles look on my paintings: clean and modern, and allows the focus to be on the painting. And of course I love working on the cradled panels-I am very emotional about my edges and despite how easy it is for the corners to get dinged without the protection of a frame, I MUCH prefer that everything shows. However, as I tell my gallery directors, the cradled piece can be framed if one desires, but please, don't tell me about it!

Close ups of the painting shown above:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Deep Red Farm, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x24

I wish I had something exciting and fascinating to talk about here. Lately, each day has been melding into the next. There has been a lot of puttering in the studio, trying to finish up the last few paintings and tidying up. Spring is coming and so thoughts of vegetable and flowers gardens are on my mind and I am feeling very tempted to take a break from painting to focus on the outside work.

However, last year was a good long break for me and at this point if I don't want to get a day job, I must keep painting and get my work out to try and drum up some exhibition opportunities. Otherwise known as doing the hustle. heh.

So no break for me and I will be ignoring my upcoming post show meltdown too. I am going to get back to work right away on the People You Know series and will also start putting together info to send out in search of a new gallery.

Bleh! Why can't the gallery directors be calling me? That would save us all a lot of time and energy! heh.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Show Preview

Back Up Against the Shadows, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 6x12

Last Friday night I emailed jpegs of all of the paintings I have ready for the show at The Harrison Gallery. A few folks had already called the gallery after receiving the show announcement (yayy!) and so the director wanted to get a preview up quickly. She had chosen about 21 paintings out of the 29 jpegs that I had sent which might ordinarily send me into a rejection fueled tailspin (what? they don't immediately want EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER PAINTED?!) but really just made me feel relieved that now I have some good work on hand for my next show which is in August. Anyway, you can check out the images here.

There are still a few paintings that will be added. I have two larger barn paintings, one of which may be included, as well as the 40x60 I have been prattling on about for awhile. I did the underpainting on that today (image below) and I should be able to put some color down on it on Thursday or so. I am going really simple with this one, and was certainly thinking about Rothko here too. Despite its size, however, I am not feeling a lot of pressure about whether it will work out at the color stage. I have at least one large painting that is really nice and will certainly be included and so this huge one is optional. The worst that can happen is that I will have to sand it down and start again, and it sure wouldn't be the first time I do that.

But don't think I am not daydreaming about it turning out beautifully, being included in the show and then selling to someone who wants ten more! A girl can (day)dream right?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Still Working......

Lavender Gambrel, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 8x10

I still haven't gotten the underpaintings done on the 40x60 panel. It's all prepped. sitting on easel #2, and is totally in the way. Whoops! Not gonna complain, still way more space here for this sort of thing than I had in the old studio. But twice while trying to get out from behind it after turning on the stereo, I bumped the back of the panel and nearly knocked it off the easel. It would be bad if it fell, certainly there would be damage. Must be more careful! Anyway, looking at my schedule I am thinking I might not be able to get to it until Monday, which will give me a week to get it finished, thereby certainly ruining my fabulous plan of no rushing to finish at the last minute this time. Bugger!

And yesterday I felt giddy at the end of the day. I worked on this painting: all afternoon and I am very pleased with it. Such a great feeling when a piece just flows out of me and when afterwards I can't recall any of the decisions I made, or even whether I was there or not at the time. Heh. Makes up for all the crappy, frustrating and unproductive painting sessions.

I will put up the official jpeg of this one next week sometime. I suspect that it's going to be a tough one to photograph and will probably end up lugging it two flights downstairs to the primo spot for photos and then back up again. Good times.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NOW My Studio is a Mess

Horizon Lines (Twenty Three),2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 6x12

I have been really busy with family related stuff the last few days. School meetings, doctor's appointments etc, and I am really itching to get to work today. But I wanted to post something here, as well as clean up my studio at least a little bit. All of a sudden there is stuff everywhere. I know it's bad when things start randomly falling off my desk:
My drawing table is really a mess, it seems to be the current holding area for everything that I don't know what I should do with:
With the exception of some final touches on a few smaller pieces, I have three paintings left to do for the show. Two are ready for the color glazes and the really large panel (40x60)is prepped finally and ready to go.
I plan to do the underpainting on that either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. I nearly always paint such large panels in a vertical format but this time I am going to work in a horizontal format, and I think that will be a big challenge for me. Especially because I am not quite sure yet what the image will be. Heh.

First up today however. Color on this piece:

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Panel Prep

Often Repaired, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 6x12

Well, I was planning to get back to my usual chatty posts, today, however I ended up being out all day due to several meetings. And tomorrow I will be going to Syracuse for Ginger's 3 month check up at the diabetes clinic. She is doing well, although Doug and I are exhausted after finally realizing that chasing the right blood sugar number every day, every hour is a never ending race.

Today I am posting a photo of the 40x60 panel that I am in the middle of prepping. So lovely to be able to do this in my roomy new studio! I always had to spend a day moving everything around in the old studio in order to have enough space for a panel this size. This will be the last painting for the show, although I do still have two other larger paintings that are in progress right now. So close!

Now if I could only figure out what the heck to paint on the thing!

I'll be back on Wednesday with a good long post, 'k?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, Day 12

Horizon Lines (Twenty Four), 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 6x12

So the last two weeks have been very productive and I am glad I decided to do a really big push to finish the bulk of the paintings now. Instead of waiting until the very last minute which is what I usually end up doing. While that can be very exhilarating, it's a bit risky too.

As of the this morning the tally is:

17 finished paintings
4 are almost finished
4 are in progress
and I still plan to do a large panel, I will prep that this weekend and work on it next week

This morning I set all the finished work out and wow how exciting it was to do that! I never had enough space in my old studio to spread paintings out and look at everything together. I always had to cross my fingers and just hope they would all work together as a group. Anyway, Doug thinks that it's a good group of paintings. He did point out a few that he thought weren't as strong, however we both agreed after recalling his track record at guessing which pieces will sell and which won't, not to remove those paintings from the show. Heh. He's a handy filter, that guy.

I plan to get a lot of time in the studio this weekend and at least make some headway with the unfinished work. But we are expecting nice weather here for the next few days so I may end up doing a little digging in the flower gardens too. Hopefully I can get time in doing both.

Four of the paintings I worked on yesterday:

This is what I will be working on today:

I don't usually post videos, but I am listening to The Band this morning and this is one of my very favorite performances in The Last Waltz. So I high tailed it over to youtube to check out Evangeline (like I haven't already seen it a million times) and thought I'd put it up here too. Have I mentioned my love for Rick Danko before? It's true, I love him. That voice, mmmmmmmmmm. So sad he's gone.......

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, Day 11

Late Summer Evening, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 6x12

Yesterday I got the cradles painted and today I will put the picture wires and all that on the back:and will then paint the cradles on another batch of finished pieces. I learned a long time ago to do this part as I go, when preparing for a show. Nothing is worse that trying to do this on all of the paintings at the end of the process, it always gets put off too long and then you find yourself tying picture wire ten seconds before delivering the work. Ugh. Too stressful.

Then it's on to more painting today on the in progress pieces.

Bonus shot of my morning studio companion, Mr. Wilson:He is allowed in the studio for his morning nap, but is only allowed to be on his little bed (he is house trained but there are just too many things in my studio that have new and interesting smells and frankly, I just don't trust him to keep his little leg down) Mr. Wilson is a smart cookie though, he always runs directly to his bed, rolls around a bit, then curls up to nap. When he has to go out, he stands up, looks at me and I quick hustle him outside. Mr. Wilson is almost two but seems to be a perpetual puppy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

(Oops, forgot I was numbering these days) Wednesday, Day 10

Orange Barn in Place, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 18x24

Today I am going to paint the cradles of these finished paintings black:

I did two large underpaintings yesterday. One is on the left here (30x40): and you can see where I had to stack other paintings to get them out of the way until I can get back to work on them. My son came home with an awesome ceramic sculpture that he made in school (on the table, far right), there are works in progress on the table, prepped panels on the floor and the vacuum cleaner is up in the studio so I can suck up all the dead flies and the flying ones too. If I can catch them that is. Heh. Now there's a mental image for you.

The other underpainting (24x36):

Plus a bonus shot of my chickens today:
They are on alert because our dog was barking a lot when I took this, and since she has actually killed a few of them in the past, well they should be concerned.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two For Tuesday

Stuck in the Middle Again, Oil on Cradled Panel, 18x24, 2009

This is another new painting for the show.

And I loaded five new small format paintings onto my sales blog last night:
Field on Donlon Road, Oil on Cradled Panel, 4x6, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Black Flies and Other Such Nonsense

Horizon Lines (Twenty One) 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 18x24

Still plugging away here. I managed to get three of the four 18x24 paintings finished on Friday:
I didn't get as much done as I hoped over the weekend but I did ok. All of the underpaintings that I did last week are ready to get color and I managed to finally get the gesso on the three large panels I started last week:
Since we don't use pesticides in our home (or anywhere actually, we are all organic!) we usually have a good number of black flies buzzing around the light fixtures and windows each spring. The cats enjoy taking care of the ones that are downstairs but I am left to fend for myself in my studio and they sure have been piling up. When we cleaned out the attic before remodeling it last year, we literally shoveled out piles of dead flies that had been accumulating for years. They like the attic. Anyway, while I was working on the panels last night, four flies and a ladybug landed in the gesso. I almost felt sorry for the flies who floundered around in the gesso until they died, but then well, didn't after I had to pick them and um, all their parts out, and then repaint the area.
The ladybug walked away in a very dignified manner, which I appreciated, and is still on the side of the table today.

And in a related story (black, wings, I know, it's a stretch) this crow now lives here too. It was part of our Halloween decoration collection but one of the kids took it out of the Halloween box because the feathers were starting to come out (future PETA member) and somehow it ended up in my studio. It kept getting in the way and finally I just hung it up on one of the beams. It's three weeks later and I have finally stopped jumping every time I walk past it and see it out of the corner of my eye. Well almost, anyway. It still surprises me a bit if I am in the studio late at night. Heh. (I am not kidding.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday, Day 5 **Edited to Add**

Into the Shadows, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 16x20

Whoops! Didn't get much done in the studio yesterday! I did begin to prep the large panels and was puttering around, getting ready to paint, when the kids got home early from school. I might have planned for that had anyone actually told me that it was only a half day. Hmmm, wonder what else those kids aren't telling me?

Anyway, I will be working hard today to make up for the lost day. I have four 18x24 underpaintings ready to go and even if it kills me, I am going to get them done today.

Have a nice weekend, all. I will be holed up in my studio while Doug is on meal, house, kid and chicken duty. Heh.

PS. The above image will be on the postcard for the upcoming show at The Harrison Gallery.

**If you'd like a postcard email me and give me your snail mail. Don't worry about me sending you too much junk mail-I am TERRIBLE about getting stuff into the mail.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday, Day 4

The Road, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x16

I did several more small underpaintings (on the left) yesterday.
Finished paintings stacked in front, panels to be prepped at the back (not sure I should be doing larger panels, but could use the "stretch" right now), and paintings in progress on the wall:
I am trying to be optimistic that all this work won't just end up in my storage space. Not much room left there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday, Day 3

Early Bird, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 8x10

The studio is NOT significantly messier than yesterday:
I did the color on these small pieces (6x12) yesterday:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Working Space

Deep Tracks, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 16x20

I am making some progress on the paintings for my upcoming show in April. However, it looks like my husband has to do some traveling at the end of March, plus I seem to have an incredible number of meetings and appointments during the week of the 16th. So I am going to try and finish up the remainder of the work that I need to do in the next two weeks. Huh. That should be fun. I am planning to do one huge piece, a few sorta big ones-24x36-ish and maybe a few more 8x10 pieces. Those along with the ones I have finished and the eight or so that are in progress will give me plenty for the show.

But because I really have to hustle for the nest few weeks I have decided to make this a more visual blog during that time. I like writing my posts and prattling on and on and I seem to have an audience for all that silliness, but putting everything together sure can take a chunk out of my day and I can't lose that time right now. What I am planning to do is to put up finished work each day, as well as photos that will illustrate the gradual deterioration of my usually tidy studio while I am preparing for a show. I have always wanted to document that and now seems like a good time.

So this is what it looks like today:

The project tables are where I prep my panels and also paint the edges of the panels, and put on the hanging wire after the paintings are finished. It's also where I stack the stuff that I don't know where else to put.

I used to have all of my paint tubes on the top of the flat file, but I put them in a drawer so that I could have more room to stack the rest of the stuff that I don't know where else to put. Heh. Right now it is loaded with finished paintings for my sales blog and also piles of reference photos for the People You Know series. I also keep the small scale paintings that are drying in between glazes on the tabletop easels here.

I do most of my painting at this easel.

I use this easel for the in progress paintings. Right now two portraits are there, but I will need to move them as soon as I begin the large landscape panels.

They both need more work but here are some close-ups of the portraits. They look a little washed out in these photos, but you get the idea. I am very happy with the redhead in the bottom photo and Doug really, really likes the seated woman.