Friday, June 26, 2009

Painting, Health and Five Birthday Cakes

Things are really picking up around here lately, workwise and otherwise too!

Work: I have 6 new paintings for the show in August, plus a few I can pull from my inventory. I have 12 small painting (that are relatively affordable, I hope) in progress:
I hope to pretty much finish them over the weekend, or by early next week at least. I may do another 6, but will decide about that next week too. The 4'x4' painting is still sitting on the easel for 2 reasons. One is I am undecided about what to do with it. I made some adjustments to the pink swath across the field (thanks Lou!) and while it looks better, I am still not sure it has the ooomph that I want it to have. The other reason, um the main reason actually, is because I have been too lazy to drag the panel downstairs to sand it down. Anyway, I will resolve the issue this week too I think. Busy week for decisions coming up, eh???

Other: I officially got fed up with myself last February and started to see a hypnotherapist to help me with my food and health issues. I went to her thinking I was a crazy out of control sugar addict, but she seemed to think not, that my issues had more to do with self worth. So she treated me accordingly and voila! I started eating less like a crazy person and more like the health conscious person that I am actually am deep down inside. Heh. So far I have lost about 30lbs and because I am still a self conscious girl person I will refrain from posting photos OR from mentioning how much more I would like to lose. However, I will say I have more to go.

And along with all that of course, is exercise. I have always been reasonably fit underneath the extra weight until the last few years (I blame my computer heh) and so I am working on getting that back on track too. I started out by doing my 3 mile walk around the block each day, then alternated that with a 3 mile walk up a pretty steep hill every other day. And then when I reached a weight loss plateau a few weeks ago, I began to add a second workout several days a week. I still usually do the walk every day, and I vary the other workouts. I've been doing swimming, spinning, elliptical machines (I hate treadmills), weight training and a few core strengthening classes here and there. Some time in the next month or so I will probably get the nerve to do the other fitness classes at the gym and I may even try Zumba at some point. It looks fun, but I suspect I will look totally ridiculous doing it and so I definitely need some time to gather myself up to do that one!!

So between painting, all this damn exercise (which is making me feel really good, btw) and kids at home all day now, things are busy. I am making an monumental effort to not bail on the exercise though, like I usually do when I am busy preparing for a show.

PS. I forgot to mention that we are in the middle of birthday season-three of the kid's birthdays, one each week for three consecutive weeks. And because the tween girls MUST have a party we are talking five cakes in three weeks. So far it's two down, two coming up tomorrow and one more next weekend. Blech! And it is SO awesome I can now say that about cake!!! Double blech!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sophie and the Sun

So twelve years ago today I woke with pretty insistent labor pains. It was my second pregnancy and even though my first baby fooled me into thinking he was going to come out every day for a week, I was pretty sure it was the real thing this time! When the contractions were closer together called our midwife Chris and she got to our house within about an hour (she lived about 45 minutes away). We all hung out on the bed while she monitored me, Doug and I and our son who was 2 at the time (we hadn't adopted our oldest son yet) as we were thinking he might be old enough to watch. But in typical fashion, after Chris was there for about an hour, everything stalled. She waited for awhile longer before leaving and we agreed to call her if the contractions started up again. We decided to go about our day and since the plan had been to go to the local arts festival, that's just what we did.

By the time we got there I was having contractions again. They were fairly irregular though so I just kept going because I knew the walking would be help move things along. I was as big as a house, hot and sweaty and so naturally I saw everyone I knew there. I think most people were afraid to talk with me too long though for fear that baby was just going to fall out right in front of them!

Doug and I debated about buying a few things but not surprisingly we were distracted and couldn't make a decision, so we finally left without buying any art. Later after we were home Doug decided to go back and buy an iron cut out that we had liked. I always tell Sophie that we bought the sun for her on the day she was born.
After dinner I still had the contractions and was also feeling kind of funny, so I laid down on the sofa for a bit and then, whammo!!! Things were in high gear all of a sudden! I got myself upstairs and Doug tried to get things ready again, while I, um, spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Heh. A friend of ours who had assisted in Julien's birth came over but by that time things were getting a bit hectic and she seemed overwhelmed. Finally, we called Chris. We actually waited far too long, mostly because and get this: we didn't want to bother her since we had already had her come up earlier in the day!!! Are we polite or what?

At this point I was getting a bit flustered, the contractions were way stronger and harder than my first labor and I kept having to use the bathroom. I felt like I was screaming (I wasn't) and I made Doug close the windows because I didn't want the neighbors to hear me. He told me later he thought I was cold (I wasn't). He was also talking to Chris as she was driving up and I think she was going 90 miles an hour through the canyon (we lived in northern Utah) after he told her I was using the bathroom so often. I didn't realize it at the time but I was ready to push, this labor was so different than my first that I didn't recognize the feeling. Meanwhile, Julien was getting a bit worked up seeing all this hubbub and our friend took him downstairs and parked him in front of the tv to watch a video of about 20 episodes of Little Bear (his favorite show) that we had ready for just this situation.

Just after that, and while I was leaving the bathroom yet again I vaguely recall seeing Chris coming up the steps, pulling on her gloves and when I sat down on the bed, my water broke, I pushed about twice and there was our baby girl. She came out so fast and furious and I was breathing like I had just finished a marathon! As soon as I calmed down I saw our baby was blue and Chris was rubbing her back (I had missed seeing her unwrap the cord from around her neck) and as she pinked up, she started crying. Oddly, I wasn't worried about this at all, I just had this feeling that everything would be fine and then it was. She nursed within minutes of her birth and showed off her healthy lungs many times that night!

Julien came upstairs within minutes and was very excited to see a baby there and when we told him that her name was Sophie he kissed her and said "hi soapy". So of course that was her nickname for years!

A few other bits of info:

Sophie was born at 11:34pm on the first day of summer and it was also a full moon that night which we thought was pretty special and good luck too.

We saved the placenta in the fridge for a few days then Doug buried it in the flower bed in our backyard. More good luck.

And Chris told us years later that we still held her record for her closest arrival to the birth without going over. We like that!

I love to tell Sophie about her crazy birth and she used to love it too, but now it is highly embarrassing to her. I look forward to her enjoying the story again someday but in the meantime I will just tell everyone else about it. heh.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good News and Bad News

Horizon Lines (38), 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 12x16

Well, the good news is that I have six nice paintings (one shown above) finished so far for my show at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in August. I have about 3 weeks left to do about a dozen small ones and one or two larger ones. So I am feeling pretty good about my progress here.

The bad news is that I put the color on the 4'x4' panel (below) that is supposed to be the "centerpiece" of the show, and I pretty much hate it! (although it does look better in person than it does in this photo) I had a few doubts about the underpainting, but since that doesn't always mean the end result will suck, I kept going. However, in this case, I can see now how much better the whole piece would be if I had not extended the tree line up on the right. I usually catch those compositional issues at the underpainting stage but I guess this one slipped by me. Blech. And if I don't catch them, sometimes I can fix them with the color, but not this time. The underpainting of the trees here is so strong that if I were to extend the sky down over the them, I would lose the translucency in that area. And I hate when that happens.

So I will decide for sure tomorrow, but I have a strong feeling this one is headed for the sand down pile, and quickly. May as well try again on that same panel, since it's already prepped.......

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Burn Out!!!

Well, I guess I should just admit it. I am a bit burned out on blogging. And not only have I slowed down on posting I am also not keeping up with my lovely blogger friends either, which makes me feel very sad.

I am not going to say I will post more often, because I don't really think that I can right now. But I don't plan on quitting either. So I guess posts will continue to be a bit sporadic until I get my mojo back. Just so you know. Heh.

I am getting ready for a show in August so I will at least try to post progress images of that, k?

In the meantime a crazy cat picture is always fun. I bought these baskets for the kids to keep their excessive bathroom stuff in. Almost immediately the cats hijacked them and no one wants to put anything in them now because they are all covered in cat hair. Today though, I had to laugh when I saw Jones and Dorrie. A rare tender moment between brother and sister.....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Painting and Dumb Stupid Exercise

Last Bit of the Day, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 11x14

Well, I have officially started to work on the paintings for my upcoming show at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, NY, in August. I feel very relaxed about this, right now anyway! I have a lot of work on hand already, which is good, because it is going to be tough to get much done in the coming month. The kids have crazy busy schedules for the next few weeks, then school is out for the summer and they will be home more.

In addition I have been working on getting my fitness back and have been trying to work out 2x a day almost everyday. I have been doing that for several weeks and while I am feeling good, it sure does take a chunk of time out of my workday. Love/hate dumb stupid exercise......

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crazy Corsage Girl

Crazy Corsage, 2009, Oil on Gessoed Paper, 12x16

So this is the third of the most recent group of portraits from the People You Know series. I have mixed feelings about it, I like the face and gesture, but am not thrilled with the dress and not sure about the corsage. But I am going to move on to the next batch anyway, and hopefully bring along only the good parts from these last few portraits. I wish!

That's it for today's post as I have a rocking headache tonight. This morning I spent two hours in a dentist chair having two molars prepped for crowns. Luckily, no root canal was necessary in the really bad tooth, although there was some "rebuilding" involved there which worries me a bit. Heh. Anyway, I had plenty of novacaine and have some great relaxation techniques (thanks Bradley Method!) to get through crap like that, but now the novacaine has worn off and my head hurts, my jaw and tongue hurt and all my teeth seem to hurt too. Tonight, I feel incrementally better, but today was a lost day and I really didn't accomplish anything. Hoping a good nights sleep will get me back on track tomorrow, I have so much to do!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Road trip with My Son

Julien and Sharon Butler

Saturday seemed like a good day for a road trip, so I decided to drag my 14 year old son, Julien, along with me to attend a gallery opening at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson. He was a good sport about it, after all he is already talking about going to art school, and even did his version of dressing up. He also brought along his iPod for us to listen to in the car and he was kind enough to play the music that I like (the music I downloaded and have brainwashed him into liking, I am SO proud!!) and not his so much. However, I was specifically asked NOT to sing, which was amazingly difficult when Creedence Clearwater Revival came up!

Anyway, it was a beautiful, sunny day and on the way down to Hudson I stopped and took a few pictures of some barns, as well as a few interesting signs. Always love passing Hubcap Heaven:

and of course we were SO tempted to stop for some dinner after seeing this sign:

The show was awesome, both the art and the space. I love the carriage house and its rough, industrial space:
So depressing to be on a strict budget! I was dying to buy one of these small paintings by Molly Herman:
There was a lovely courtyard between the two spaces:
I spent some time talking to Sharon Butler of Two Coats of Paint.which I really enjoyed and I also met Martin Bromirski, whose blog I have been reading for years (he has up a post about the opening too, and I am not the least bit offended that he didn't mention me at all, nope, not offended at all;)). Martin and I also went to UArts in Philadelphia, back in the 80's, although we didn't know each other then. We were in different departments and he was also two years behind me. I imagine we shared an elevator at some point or an evening or two at Dirty Frank's, but I don't specifically recall either of those. Heh. Anyway, Martin also brought his mom (who also reads my blog) along to the opening and she and I had several lovely conversations. Nice mom you have, Martin!!

After Julien and I left the gallery, we walked up the street and had pizza at Baba Louie's. My son is at the age where he can eat a crazy amount of food and the waitress was amazed that he easily put away a 14" pizza.:

The drive home was uneventful, although finally I just couldn't help myself and had to sing at the top of my lungs to Paradise By the Dashboard Light, by Meatloaf until in a huff, Julien switched it to something I didn't know. hehe. Good times.