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.