Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Different Slant

Experimenting time is an important element of being an artist. I don't have much time to do that during show season. But, with only one show remaining this year, I've been working on a variety of things--although admittedly I haven't yet tackled my 48 by 72 canvases. Will keep you posted on that!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

As Promised

Yesterday I posted about seeing colors without my glasses--seems my bad eyesight allows me to see the important things and delete the minutiae ...Thanks, Wolf

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blessings in Disguise: Ode to Wolf Kahn

I don't have good eye sight. In fact, it sucks. But, it turns out this can be a good thing. Today, as I was standing in my studio, looking out the window to see if it had started snowing yet, I took my glasses off to rub my eyes. Before returning the glasses to their resting place on my nose, I looked out the window. What I saw was a really cool, albeit blurry, image. What most impressed me with this vision was the color. Glorious color. And, color I really never see. I think he brain translates too much of the color to what you think it is supposed to be. Green grass, brown tree trucks, etc. But, those weren't the colors at all. The trunks were purples and violets, some of the leaves were green, yellow and pink, the grasses were shades of peach and yellow with violet in the shadows, white sky with twinkles of pink and gold. So, I took a few oil pastels from my pastel table over to the window and did a quick sketch. And, while the whole thing wasn't perfect, I absolutely loved the color!

And, while this might sound like I am bragging on myself, I thought immediately that the piece had an air of Wolf Kahn to it. And then I remembered that he has macular degeneration--and can't see super well. But, what his eyes can see is color and shape and really everything essential for a good painting or drawing. I'm going to remember to take my glasses off every once in a while. That way I'll see better. Or truer. And I'll post the sketch tomorrow. It is snowing now and I don't want to go outside to get my camera! Plus, it will be too dark to get a good image.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Comfort Food--Jen pancakes

We had "jen" pancakes for brunch today. They are more commonly known as Swedish pancakes. When I was a little girl, mom would make these for us before she and dad were going out on a Saturday night. So she wouldn't get frying butter bits on her good clothes, she'd come downstairs with makeup on, in her hose and in her navy blue slip and cook us the pancakes, then go up and put on her dress.

I felt like them this morning. So we made 'em. Yum! And easy, peasy!

Mix well in a bowl:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
dash salt
2 eggs---that is the recipe for one person

Get a frying pan hot, then add good butter--organic unsalted from Pastureland Coop was delish!, get the butter brown, then pour in batter--small amounts and roll around the pan--the batter, not yourself! They cook a bit like crepes. Flip. Turn out on plate. Make another one, and another. (The amounts above make 3 plate sized cakes--enough for 2 for me and one for the dog!) I like lemon and powdered sugar on them. Bug (my dog) doesn't like the lemon. As a kid, I always also liked raspberry jam in the mix. Eat in cut up bits or roll up!

Friday, October 22, 2010

That Time of Year: Confessions of an Itinerant Artist

Unless you win an award at a show, you have to apply and jury in if you want to participate. It doesn't matter how many great shows you've been in before, or how many paintings you sold the last time you did a certain show. You basically apply for your job each and every time. It is one part about my job that I don't particularly like.

I like how I draw. I like what I draw. But not all juries do. And that is rough. So, here we are when most of the applications for a bunch of the spring shows are coming due. And this is the time when I start second guessing myself. Wondering which shows might have me. And thinking about other artists whose work maybe doesn't really look like their application images and others who get into just about any show they apply to. And then there is me. I get in sometimes. I've done many of the top shows across the country. And I've done well. But I don't always get in. And that is frustrating. It is a time when I think maybe I should alter my style, or at least prove to myself that I can paint/draw in a slightly different manner.

Usually I do a few pieces that are out on the edge for me and then I realize, all over again, that I like what I paint. The above images are such an experiment. But, I do like elements of these a lot. Even if they are somber and dark. So, some of these elements may show up in my day to day work. And that is a good thing!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Homage to Autumn

Our color has been spectacular this fall. The aspen have an incredible glow to them that I don't think I've ever seen in such abundance in the 15 years I've lived here. It is as if their is an inner light to the individual leaves. I feel so lucky to live here. Although, the snow in the forecast for later this week has me wondering. I could maybe wait a couple of weeks for that!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson One: You get what you pay for.

Okay, so the oils worked better today. Or, really, I should say my brushes worked better today. Turns out, like all art supplies, you get what you pay for.

I have people all the time come up to me and ask why their oil pastels works don't look like mine. For one, they are theirs, but maybe more importantly, those who ask, are generally using an inexpensive, off-brand. Translation: more filler: less pigment. Less pigment: less coverage.

But, I get that it is hard to plunk out lots of money if you are not even sure if you are going to like the medium. So, when I bought my oils , I did spend up. But, being the wise fool that I am, I thought I could skimp on the brushes. You know, with oil pastels, you don't even need a brush, so why should they matter so much. Then, as I was out there in the internet art world--yes, I was procrastinating--I kept reading over and over again how good brushes were a key to successful painting. Well, it turns out I do have some very good brushes--they just weren't the clean looking and tidy ones I purchased 2 winters ago for the first "oils experiment." So, I used those. I'll keep the others for craft projects and the like but will not reach for them first when working with my new-found medium. Never, if I can help it.

But, that begs the question: where do you get and what are the best brushes? Well, again I forgot the blog and my computer closed down during still another power outage today (they happen on a very regular basis around here!) so I can't even look at my history to find the artist who recommended the site I'm dying to buy from: Rosemary and Company.

Rosemary and her staff of several women make hand-made brushes that are supposedly to die for. She lives in West Yorkshire, England, ships to the US and is about one half the price as the art supply stores I frequent. So, I think the next time I sell a significant piece, I'm gonna treat myself to some of her brushes. She's on facebook too--I'm gonna go find her there!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Little Overwhelmed

Finished this oil pastel today.... Too bad it was dark out by the time I finished it or you'd see a better pic (maybe).

I've only got one more show for the year and always look forward to the time when the shows don't come as fast and furious. It is a time I relish as I get to go out to the studio and try some new things, test some ideas, and recharge my art batteries. So, I pulled out the oils that had been languishing in their box and started working with them. But, as with most things in life, painting gets easier with practice. And I, simply, have not spent enough time painting. I draw, with my oil pastels, a lot. But paint brushes and mediums and paint squeezed out on a palette are still a sort of foreign thing for me. Things take more time. And they are more frustrating. But, I do think working in media that aren't your forte is a way to inform and improve your art. So, I'm going to
continue working with the oils over the new few months.

But, I've got some other ideas I want to pursue--fresco and venetian plaster. I've got a gazillion things to do around the house, and at the other house. And, I've got to create some new work for a temporary gallery in Seattle, I've got to replenish my own inventory so when I go to my last show I actually have enough panels--since there are about 30 hanging in the Angel Fire Visitors Center through December. Then, there is the issue of show applications. There are some upcoming deadlines for some spring shows and I should probably work on getting some new pieces complete for some of those. But do I want to create an entire new body of work? OR continue my "landscapes"? Or, should I just not worry about it?

I read on some blog the other day that one of the things about having too many things on your to-do list (sorry, I can't recall the blog--), even if you get some of it done, you don't tend to take the time to enjoy your accomplishments. So, maybe I won;t make such a long to-do list in my head. And then maybe it won't seem so overwhelming. Maybe.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It is that time of year--when the elk are bugling, when the aspens take on their autumn glow, when my show schedule has become much more manageable. It is also one of my favorite times to go traipsing around New Mexico, to take more pics of the landscape that inspires me. My work is based on the real places of northern New Mexico but I have been known to use my super-human powers to move a building forward in a composition, or to delete the propane tank and the old auto up on blocks (unless, of course that car is a truck and turquoise and from the 50s or before!).

The photos I have posted above are pretty good examples of the types of reference photos that I use. They are not perfectly "shot". I generally don't even stop the car (or van) although I may ask Rees to drive a little more slowly so I can get a few more burst shots while we drive by. In fact, I most prefer using my little Sony Cybershot, which we got after the van was vandalized in St Louis 2 falls ago to replace a little Exalim. I absolutely HATE the un-intuitive menu on the Sony but you can really take some decent shots with the "burst" feature.

So, we're off later today to do a little scouting about, along with doing a quick grocery run in Taos, and see the Taos Fall Arts Festival--Taos Invites Taos and the Taos Open. I hope I get some good shots. I'll share some of them with you. And, hopefully, I'll be inspired!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Return from Dallas

This is how I felt after 6 days of eating in Dallas--like the largest pig at the Texas state Fair--1201 lbs!
Got a chance to visit with Rees' Uncle Bill & Aunt Shirley in Waxahachie!
Now I know where horse tail braid comes from!
The tallest ferris wheel in the western hemisphere at 212 feet--it wasn't even scary! But it does beg the question "What is the tallest one in the eastern hemisphere?"
The pumpkin carving was incredible!

So, we arrived in Dallas a day early for the Cottonwood show and I dragged Rees & his sister, Laird to Canton for the biggest flea market I had ever seen. I didn't bring anything home (this time) but it was really fun to see. Plus, we found a really good diner place that had a mostest wonderful chicken fried steak!

The Cottonwood Art Festival was wonderful--perfect weather--which is quite unusual for this show.

Then, on Monday, we went to the Texas State Fair where I consumed my annual Fletcher's corny dog--really, there is no other that is as good!

A visit to a client home on Tuesday while Rees golfed and then dinner with dear friends, Don & Judy Lambert. And, then it was time to leave--just in time too as JuneBug's nails had worn down to almost the quick from all her fetching/jumping in Laird's pool!

Real blogging starts tomorrow!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Hi--as promised, I'm in booth 111 at the Cottonwood art show in Richardson Tx this weekend. I'm on the east side of the show, east of the little road that runs through the middle of the show, about a row and a half south of Beltline. Hope you can come by!