Hurricane, Utah

Today is my birthday.  I'm forty-four years old.  

As a nice little service, Shutterfly sends photo albums of what you were doing three years ago this week and reminded me of some great shots I got of southwest landscapes near Zion National Park.

My buddy, Jenny, and I both have birthdays in April, and that particular year, we decided to meet up in Las Vegas, and drive to Zion to celebrate our many combined years.

I've wanted to paint the photo below for a long time but never had the nerve to try.  But today I woke up with an abundance of nerve, and honestly feeling quite blessed at the years I've been granted, wanting to attack life for the next forty years instead of simply living.  Not that I'm discontent with my lot.  Quite the opposite.  I just want to have many more great photos of beautiful people (my family) and places (near and far) delivered to my inbox, reminding me of the rich life I've been granted (but could never deserve).

This is Hurricane, Utah.  I'm putting down the underpainting today on a 20x20 canvas and hope to at least get it sketched out and somewhat shaped in by the time the bus gets here with my lovies on it.

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Inspiration photo (above) that I took from the back of a rickety (but dirty and awesome!) old Jeep with my Nikon.

 Prepped canvas (yes, I do like lilac...)

Prepped canvas (yes, I do like lilac...)

 My sketch -  I really enjoy the free hand sketching which allows for changes here and there to accommodate the shape of my photo vs. my square canvas.

My sketch -  I really enjoy the free hand sketching which allows for changes here and there to accommodate the shape of my photo vs. my square canvas.

 Two hours later!  Woo Hoo!!!!

Two hours later!  Woo Hoo!!!!

 Here's where I stopped today...

Here's where I stopped today...

I'm planning to do a bunch more tomorrow after this is dry.  Painting wet on wet doesn't allow super crisp edges, which I plan to use on this piece in order to create some really nice definition.

I really LOVE southwest Utah and we'll be taking the kiddos in a few months to see all this beautiful terra in person.  I'm pretty excited about that and so are they.  We love to hike and our youngest is finally big enough not to be carried around in the backpack all day.

Thank you for stopping in to see my work today.  I've been very bad about posting lately and I'm sorry.  Too much to do.  I was actually pondering what my days will look like in about thirteen years.  Of course, all that quiet won't be nearly as inspiring as all the young, vibrant, and endless energy my little ones have that keeps me entertained.  If I wasn't such an old dog, I'd have another one.  I've never been as creative as when we're adding to our brood.  

See you tomorrow.

Thank God for Def Leppard!

There's this painting....I've reworked it four times now.  I think that's a record.  And after tonight, I swear on my Pappy Van Winkle that I am done.  Because if I'm not, I'm going to stab myself in the left eye with a shrimp fork.

I'm really a wreck over my paintings that are to be installed on Monday at Circle Gallery.  I nearly finished my "Blessed Vessel" piece, a very large and time consuming composition, only to find that it does not look good next to the companion piece.  Because they are so similar in palette, they almost steal each other's thunder and can therefore not be next to each other and I don't want my girls on the wall fighting over the eyeballs of passerbys.

So, Cold Feet #2 will be put up with The Bathers instead.  And the piece formerly known as Kiawah Waterway is now a Southwest landscape.  

Maybe it was the fact that I spent last weekend in San Antonio and Fredericksburg (and other nearby Hill Country haunts)?  Is it coincidence that I relish a balmy evening at a Honky Tonk named Hondo's....or had a killer pulled pork sandwich in Luchenbach while sipping the official national beer of Texas (yes, that's what they call it).  Is there anything better than listening to some truly talented up-and-coming talent under a hundred-year-old Live Oak?  Maybe not.

I must admit here that I think Merle Haggard is overrated (but not Willie Nelson). However, the song, "Luchenbach, Texas", was pretty fun to listen to after actually being there.  I'd go back again for sure.  Not at all what I expected.  The bathrooms were super tidy, is was serene, low-key, and people were very cool even though it was pretty crowded.  I think I like Texas.

So, here's "Perdernales Gets A Drink".  It was dry in Texas and there were enough dried up creek beds to make a girl feel parched, even with a cucumber lime Gatorade in her hand (yes, they have that flavor in Texas, and it was refreshing).

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The colors aren't as vibrant as they are in person.  But after I glaze it, it's going to really pop on that big white wall at the gallery.

And here's a little story about how Perdernales came along...

I sat at my work table for nearly two hours staring at paintings I needed to work on this afternoon. But I had a serious case of anxiety-induced painter's block.  All my ideas were crap, and I had no direction for where I wanted to go today.

Enter Def Leppard.

I listen to classic rock and 80's/90's stations when I paint, unless I specifically need Ben Howard or the Beastie Boys.  Today was no different except that today's radio tunes were flatter than San Antonio. I was about to make another liter of French Press coffee so I could get a buzz or at least be half awake, when "Photograph" came on.  

There's an Eric Church song called, "Springsteen" that is about how memories and melodies are so intimately bound.  And as soon as "Photograph" came on, I was in sixth grade again, listening to my boom box in a pink and gray checkered puffy-sleeved top and a pair of painted-on jeans with cartoons printed on them.  Good times.  And just like that, I was hopping around, sorting colors, and laying down paint!  Photograph is a song that I will never tire of.  

So, thank you 1983!

I appreciate all the visits to my site recently.  I have not posted much lately, but I am always working on at least two or three projects at a time that I don't always post.  I'm working on some furniture stuff after having a good idea last week for upholstery materials. This was due in part to the fact that my puppy, a seventy pound weimaraner named "Moe" ate the corner off of my custom made 8' Pottery Barn couch while my mama was watching the kiddos.  It only took half an hour for him to eat the thing down to the stuffing.   Reminds me of the time Mom thought our other Weim (RIP) was uncomfortable in his crate and so put my husband's wool West Point cadet blanket in there to supplement the dog's bedding.

Of course, the dog ate the blanket.  That didn't go over well with the hubby.

Anyhow, thank you to new viewers as far away as Pakistan and as near as Baltimore City....I wish you a restful weekend and thank you for spending some time with me this week....

 

then in came the legion...

Happy Saturday!

I'm still half asleep at 4 pm after a night out in D.C. last night!  Our eight year old son is on a travel hockey team and they played a short scrimmage after the first period at the Capitals game last night!  So exciting!  We took the entire brood plus my folks to see the game.  Of course, the Caps killed it!  

To celebrate, my folks took us out for a late dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest tavern in Washington, D.C. (who in my opinion has the best service in the tri-state area!).  The crab cakes were very good (not as good as Koko's in Baltimore or Casa Mia in Parkton) but my husband's filet knocked my socks off!  The really fun part is that our family has been going there together for nearly 25 years!  

We didn't get home until midnight, and quite honestly, I am out of practice.  I don't get out much and am more of a homebody...

But this morning, while sipping coffee with my fella, I looked up at "Blessed Vessel" and (I think) decided which direction it needed to go in order to tell the story I intend.

Here's some in process about an thirty minutes apart...

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I took the rough paint sketch of an anatomically correct human heart and used charcoal to add detail...

 Filling in the background with my Roman soldiers...

Filling in the background with my Roman soldiers...

 Drawing soldiers is dirty work...I accidentally smeared charcoal all over the canvas.

Drawing soldiers is dirty work...I accidentally smeared charcoal all over the canvas.

 Here's where I stopped today.  I wish I could sketch faster!

Here's where I stopped today.  I wish I could sketch faster!

This, as well as the six other pieces are due February 24th.  Although I'm pretty nervous, it's always exciting to get my wall up and see how it looks alongside of the work of fellow artists.

Stop by Tuesday to see where were at with this piece above.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to see my newish nephew who I've tried to see for three months now.  My house kept getting sick and I had to cancel.

Atlanta, here I come!

 

Another day off of school

We again had treacherous roads glazed in layer upon layer of ice this morning.  The kiddos are home with me, but they are being SO GOOD today that I was able to get the deep dark blue glaze on the background and start fooling around with copper leaf.

I'm really unsure about many things as far as how and where to go next, but I'm going to stop here for today because the canvas is too wet to do anything else right now.

Here's what's going on at my kitchen table...

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Hope to see you tomorrow!

Ice Day (again)! No school!

The good news is that the sun is out!  It's remarkable how how relatively warm 27 degrees and full-on sun feels after teen temps and cloudy days of never-ending precipitation.

I needed crampons this morning to feed and water the chickens.  Poor things were sliding all over the place, trying to grab a beak full of fodder before sliding down the incline (bobsled track) to the other side of the fenced in (frozen) chicken utopia that is their quarters and surrounds.  

They are indeed spoiled chickens (as opposed to buttered chickens) but they feed us, so i'm happy to indulge them.  Eggs aside, they also help our family waste less.  Today, for instance, they noshed on a warm pile of cooked dry goods that were very expired in the pantry.

I had a cup of faro, wheat noodles, lentils, and whatever else had been opened two+ years ago that would never make it to our table.  Our daughter, Lilly (14) cooked it up then bravely took it out.  The hens really liked the faro!

Today I was able to get some smoothing/shading done and add another layer in the background on Blessed Vessel.  Tomorrow, I will be applying the Payne's Grey glazing that I did on the companion piece.  Then Thursday, I'll use the fixative to lock in the charcoal before adding copper leaf, creating a modern icon.  

Here's a peek of today's progress:

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Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned for some metallic!

Update- On My Easel

This weekend, I've been tooling around with shapes and sizes of babies in bellies of women online.  I like to have my subjects, particularly in a more realistic piece, to have reasonable dimensions.  I came across a photo of a little one with the lifeline curled around him (or her).  

I liked the look because the cord really provides the life support.  I imagine little babies in a scuba sort of situation.  Remember those big, heavy metal diving suits with those thick hoses that provided oxygen?  The cord from mother to child is kinda like that.  And according to my husband (who's cut four of them against his will) they are every bit as tough as a rubber garden hose!  He still talks about how gross that was.  Poor fella.  Being a dad is so demanding!

So here's what I've got for you today.  The baby is almost sketched here after a few unsuccessful attempts of an upside down baby (more realistic but didn't look right on the canvas) and a baby that was too big to allow the belly to show at all, and quite frankly, I like her belly.

Tomorrow i'll be putting some more shading in and working on the background so that it's consistent with "The Bathers", a companion piece.

Hope whoever you're rooting for tonight (Super Bowl!) wins...as long as it's Tom Brady launching that pigskin into outer space!  Philly is only two hours from us, but Tom Brady is 40, and therefore gets my vote just for the fact that he's old (for a QB) and still hits it hard on the field and consistently wins with a team of relative nobodies.  Superstars seem to ruin a team.  That's perhaps what happened to our hometown team, The Baltimore Ravens.  Too many glorifying themselves instead of glorifying each other....

Stop back tomorrow for some major additions to the piece below, "Blessed Vessel".

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Thursday, December 21st. The Bathers. Done.

Had another great day today!!!  Such a blessing and I am very thankful.  I finished "The Bathers" and also determined that "Sand Beach" is better an abstract after placing it on it's side and adding some drippy paint.  As I said yesterday, all the pieces for this show must look as if they were birthed from the same artist's brain.  This is a challenge as my work depends on my mood and my moods change at will (although in my defense, I lean positive).  

As with "The Bathers", inspiration may come from anything...like a photo from last year of a mother and daughter readying to jump into a river (or something) in some tropical locale.  I thought the figures, with their unusually long blonde locks and arms would be interesting to paint.  I like my subjects to have a little whimsey and exaggerated features meet that criteria.

This afternoon, I decided that I liked it as is, without a spectrum of color.  I had cleaned up the skin and hair with acrylics then added charcoal and did some smudging...I hope you can see what I see-- a simple composition that doesn't anything else to be of interest...

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Here's a sneak preview...(above) It still needs to dry and some artist's adhesive to get the charcoal to stay put!  I've already signed it though, which means (maybe) that it's officially done!

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Here are the other two pieces that will be in the show so far...Notice the colors are all from the same palette, since I'm all over the place in both size and composition.  I'm going to add some texture to the abstract tomorrow perhaps in spherical shape (or not, just thinking out loud here...) to finish it off.

Thank you for stopping by!  Hope to have lots more for you soon.

 

Tuesday.

After a trip to the art supply shop this morning to buy a VERY large canvas for my next piece entitled "The Bathers" for the Melange show in Feb/Mar 2018, I put my in process piece on the kitchen island to glance at and make some decisions.

After choosing what I really really wanted to paint next (a rather modern figurative piece), I determined that my little landscape was just a little too literal for the one in the pipeline.  Having one piece chosen for a show is one thing, but having a seven foot wall to cloth in eager canvases presents a whole other issue...that is, the necessity for a cohesive grouping.

So, after a little pouting (I hate changing courses when I'm nearing the finish line on a painting!!!) I decided that my landscape would instead be a seascape, and I'd add a little more abstract.  Today I did just that, but needed to stop because I hope to do some glazing tonight/tomorrow and need the undercoats to be pretty dry to do so.

Here's where I stopped today:

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Meanwhile, I prepped and underpainted "The Bathers".  This piece will be a big one, 30x48".  It will be my statement piece for the show and the one that hopefully lures gallery wanderers in for a closer look...

I'll be sketching that out either this evening, or tomorrow, early.

Signing off for now...

Maryland Federation of Art's 2018 Melange I Show, February 28th-March 10th

I just got a confirmation email that I was chosen with a group of eleven other artists for the first half of the Melange Show, which will take place at Circle Gallery in Historic Annapolis from February 28-March 10.  I will have wall position # 2 in the gallery, my very own square footage!  Other artists include:

Mike McSorley, George Sass Cam Miller, Deborah Kommaan, Elizabeth Kendall, Chris Fowler, Jane Knighton, James McDonald, Mary Ellen Geissenhainer, Richard Starr, and Kari Melen.

Artists Reception will be held at Circle Gallery, March 4th, 3-5 pm

Consider yourself invited! (and thank you for stopping by!)

Landscape for Upcoming Show....Preview....

Good evening.  I've been away from my paints for too long due to a sick house.  It's been through all six of us which has been about as much fun as a dozen ingrown nose hairs. 

But today, I finally got to put down three or four layers on a new piece based on a photo that my eleven-year-old took while we were driving. She can't keep the camera still and her photos are always blurry, but I was driving on this particular occasion and wasn't able to pull over and accommodate her.

At first the blurry photo seemed like a bad composition....then this morning after further analysis, I saw perhaps what she saw through that iPhone lens...the potential for a piece that offers a morning with the mist lifting on a wheat field this past spring.

I put four hours in on this piece today, and hope to make this a two day piece and not a week long one.  So, if all goes well tomorrow (i.e. I don't get another call from the school nurse again) then this landscape should be ready to go hang tomorrow (after it dries for a bit).

Here's the inspiration photo that my daughter took:

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And below is what I have so far on this piece in one hour increments:

 Foundation

Foundation

 Basic lines and first application of color to sky...

Basic lines and first application of color to sky...

 Shaping the sky...

Shaping the sky...

 Adding some definition here...

Adding some definition here...

 Experimenting with shapes and color for the terra....

Experimenting with shapes and color for the terra....

 Here's where I stopped.  I thought some aging techniques might soften it a bit...

Here's where I stopped.  I thought some aging techniques might soften it a bit...

Any ideas for a title?

Thank you for plugging along with me and I hope that you are all stockpiling some rest before the holidays get here (in case you have lots of company coming like we do!)

See you tomorrow...

Thank you Collector's Choice Attendees!

I am happy to report that I did not have to do the artist's "walk of shame" on Sunday night.  Luckily, my piece, "Runoff" was one of the first pieces chosen from nearly two-hundred art works available that night.  I am also thrilled to share that a lovely young couple took it home.  I truly pray that it brings evermore happiness to their home!.  On behalf of the artists who donated, thank you for supporting local and emerging artists through your participation in the 2017 Collector's Choice event.  I'll post photos (or at least links) as soon as they are available.  

Today, after some paperwork and catch up (the hubby was gone all last week and weekend) I've gotten back on track.  First order of business is to tweak Cold Feet #2.  I was looking at it this weekend and it needs to a warmer shade of cool.  I'm going to be adding some payne's grey to the light blue violet hues to create more contrast.  Gray is perhaps better to set off the fleshtones, but a little gentler on the eyes than the current ultramarine/cobolt blue that makes up the majority of the piece.

So, here's a look at the before photo of Cold Feet #2 (the larger one on the right).  I'll post the "after" later today.  Then below that is my next landscape that I plan to sketch out today as well.  I'm really feeling the love outside since fall finally arrived!

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Cold Feet #1 (left), Cold Feet #2 (right)  I think I know who has the bigger feet here...

 

 

 Next up is a landscape of nearby Grace Road.  Sorry it's not super clear but our eight year old took this for me while I was driving.  She takes photos about as good as I do...terrible.

Next up is a landscape of nearby Grace Road.  Sorry it's not super clear but our eight year old took this for me while I was driving.  She takes photos about as good as I do...terrible.

Thank you as always for stopping by and for all the love and support here and abroad.  Still tickles me to death to think that folks take time from their busy schedules to spend at my website.  See you later today!

 

Collector'S Choice Event! October 22, 2017 at Volvo Annapolis

Once a year, Maryland Federation of Art asks it's vast pool of artist members to donate an original, quality piece of art for their annual fundraising event.  

MFA is unlike other art organizations because it is entirely self funded, non-profit, over fifty years old, and through events like Collector's Choice, makes a concerted effort to keep participation costs for membership, submissions, and commissions low.  This helps artists enormously.  

For instance, for every gallery or art festival, there is a fee to enter.  Fees can range from $25 per art piece to $75 per entry and up.  MFA keeps entry fees for members at $25, and only five additional dollars per additional entry per show.  And if your piece does make it past the juror in traditional shows (Thank you, Jesus!), then 50-60% of any sale is kept as a commission by the gallery.  Not so for MFA who charge 30% commission. Add in cost for materials, marketing, and travel to and from, time spent promoting the show, etc, and the artist is left to, well, starve.  This is why original art is so expensive, and why MFA is such a vital lifeline for Maryland artists in which to hone their craft and venture to make a reasonable living. 

The Collectors Choice event is something I'm passionate about and not just because each year I've donated, my piece is often among the first grouping to be chosen.  It is a chance for artists and collectors at every level, to mingle over good food, talk art, and for $185, every ticket holder and their guest goes home with one piece of original art that is valued far above the $185 ticket price.  MFA encourages direct contact between the artist and the art enthusiast, instead of being the traditional art gatekeeper and middleman.

Yesterday I drove Black Betty (our big truck) to Annapolis to drop off my piece for this year's Collector's Choice event.  Which one did I donate?  Well, it's large, colorful, and valued between $1200-$1500.  I saw the pieces my artist contemporaries have already dropped off, and will be buying a ticket so that I can take one home too! 

My piece and the donated art of my colleagues will be hung on Monday at Circle Gallery in Historic Annapolis for viewing.  There is still time to attend!  I've got the invitation below so consider yourself invited!!!!!  See you there!

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Go to www.mdfedart.org for more details.  Please consider attending!