Preakness Posterior (2018)

This piece has been living on my wall for three years, looking at me everyday, wanting a change.  It wasn't until I put my head down for a nap this very humid Sunday August afternoon (the AC  broke last week and we're in line for service) that I realized what I needed to do to really make the piece below be what it was intended.

I'm super excited about how it came out, although it was pretty scary painting overtop of a piece that I felt was a strong piece to begin with, at least in theory.  

I hope you like it.  Thank you for stopping by.  I'm going to get that nap now...

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Lake Trout!

I apologize for the lull in posts. We just got back from two weeks off the grid in Northern Michigan, catching up with the hubby's family and making some new memories for our own immediate family unit.  I took some nice potential painting photos, primarily landscapes and seascapes (or lakescapes?) to (God willing) put on canvas in the very same abstract technique that has held my interest for the past month or two.  I'm looking forward to getting some underpainting down this weekend then a layer or two of paint by Monday afternoon.  

Here's a photo of the 5.8# lake trout I landed (and consequently ingested and digested) a week ago today:

 That was the big girl I caught after losing two others.  A good reminder of why patience is a virtue (or is that persistence?).  Pardon my appearance, but I hadn't had a shower in nearly two weeks.  The fish smelled much better than I did...

That was the big girl I caught after losing two others.  A good reminder of why patience is a virtue (or is that persistence?).  Pardon my appearance, but I hadn't had a shower in nearly two weeks.  The fish smelled much better than I did...

We also drove to see my husband's beloved uncle, Norm, who has recently been transitioned to Hospice at home.  He's been fighting pancreatic cancer like the tough nut that he is for many many years but his body is simply not up for another battle.  He looked so happy though, with his kids all around him and about fifteen grandchildren running around the yard, swinging, and climbing.  After we visited with them, we drove a couple hours north to Indian River, Michigan, to the largest crucifix in the world, to say a prayer for Norm and another dear friend of mine who was also declining and only had a few days left.  The cross was made from a solitary California Redwood and the statue portion, bronze.  It's breathtaking.

 55' high and 22' across (if I remember correctly).

55' high and 22' across (if I remember correctly).

Lastly, here is a photo or three of Northern Michigan that will be debuting on my easel in the coming weeks/months.

 Hascerot Beach on Old Mission Peninsula, with a storm rising on Lake Michigan in the background.  I think we were the only ones swimming...

Hascerot Beach on Old Mission Peninsula, with a storm rising on Lake Michigan in the background.  I think we were the only ones swimming...

 Michigan wine country, also on Old Mission Peninsula

Michigan wine country, also on Old Mission Peninsula

 The view from the back of the fishing boat...  You can see my rod in the right lower corner.

The view from the back of the fishing boat...  You can see my rod in the right lower corner.

I'll have some more visuals early next week.  Thank you for stopping by and a hearty hello to NY, NY, St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida), Cleveland, Cincinnati, LA, Southern Virginia, Texas, and all my other recent visitors.  I appreciate you spending some of your time with me here on the blog.

One more quick thing (I just remembered).  I just got word that a painting of mine may have made the cut for the Maryland Federation of Art's 50th year anniversary art book.  Considering how many shows they've had each year x 50 years, being featured (or even considered) for this commemorative book really tickles me.  If you'd like to purchase one for yourself, pre-order is available at:  www.mdfedart.com  I believe the books will be $50.  I already ordered mine!

In-process photos of "And Then I Woke".

My paint supply has yet to arrive, but I found an old tube of my much needed hue that had about a teaspoon left in it.  I squeezed every last drop out of the tube and was  able to lay down a little more whitish space on the canvas I'm working on.

The interesting thing about abstracts is that they can be flipped, turned, and hung in four possible ways.  This process is even more fun with larger pieces because the way a piece is hung can really change a room!

Below is the in process piece, "And Then I Woke", kind of a dream-inspired, prayer-petitioned composition that I've been updating this week after having it in a large closet for nearly twelve years.

 here's the piece right side up

here's the piece right side up

 here's the same piece upside down (which i think i prefer?)

here's the same piece upside down (which i think i prefer?)

I got a new iPhone this week after shattering my trusty 6 last week in a bike accident.  As much as I protested getting a new one (i am not a fan of new stuff in general), the camera in the 8 is really much better, and the colors more vivid and crisp.  I guess there's an upside to everything.

My car also died in the garage yesterday, so I'll be doing car stuff tomorrow.  Geez.  I hope that the rest of this week is a little easier on the ole pocketbook....

And then I woke up...

Every once in a while I draw a blank when attempting to conceptualize a new work.  In the instance of the painting below, I started the piece the morning after sending up a desperate Divine petition to restore my creative juju after a severe draught (months of crappy paintings).

That was (if I remember correctly), twelve+ years ago.  And that night, while I slumbered, I got enough suggested material for not one, but two pieces.  

Twelve years ago I was pretty enthusiastic about the ideas that came to me while sleeping....or shall I say were placed in my head (?).  But since then, I've really developed as an artist, gotten cozy with new mediums and learned how to layer color to get the depth I desired.  My work from twelve years ago looks a little inexperienced compared to now.  But, I couldn't give up on this piece entirely and thought it should have a chance to hang again (with some sprucing up).

 My work rarely turns out as initially intended, but sometimes that's better.  After all, they are just ideas until Something magically turns them into something else during the studio process.  I realize this may sounds cheesy, but I can't explain it any other way.  Art often happens on it's own, the artist simply being the medium rather than the mediums actually being the medium.

Anyhow, today I took the piece below from my "old work" closet in my studio and decided to rework it, maybe improve upon it, and perhaps in the process, bring it up to speed with my other recent work, particularly abstracts.

If you've never tried abstract painting, I'd like to challenge you to pick up and paint and brush and give it a try.  I'm not trying to make it sound harder than it is, but the fact is, it's definitely harder than it looks.

I have to confess that I find abstracts harder than creating representational art.  You have to be a confident paint slinger to do abstract art because it's so darn subjective.  There are no true parameters other than avoiding the ultimate unforgivable curse that comes when one copies/mimics the original work/style of another.  Taking ownership of someone else's creativity is indeed, deplorable.  It's the only real no-no for artists.

Below is what I finished up today of "And Then I Woke Up, #1"  I would like to finish it this week, but that is unlikely as my favorite mixing white is out of stock everywhere (!) and it won't be delivered for a week.  So frustrating.  But, that will give me a chance to work on another piece that I have started downstairs in the studio...stay tuned...

 A close up of some wet, swishy paint...

A close up of some wet, swishy paint...

 I have no idea what this is but I like it.

I have no idea what this is but I like it.

 I know what you're thinking...That the best part of this photo is my gorgeous pooch on the couch in the background...and you are right.  But, I think this piece will surely be worth hanging when I'm done (please excuse my dishes!).

I know what you're thinking...That the best part of this photo is my gorgeous pooch on the couch in the background...and you are right.  But, I think this piece will surely be worth hanging when I'm done (please excuse my dishes!).

I have another, much more representational little nugget to share with you today as well.  Our little guy (who just finished up KG) asked me to paint, "the house upon the sand".  It's a little song that starts out, "The wise man built his house upon the rock....." 

Anyhow, for some reason, our little guy is consumed with the house upon the sand, despite the fact that is went "splat" when the rains came down and the floods came up.  Maybe because a house in the sand seems idyllic this time of year.  This week, he asked me to paint him one, so here's the house upon the sand:

 Our son likes paintings that actually look like something so this one's for him.

Our son likes paintings that actually look like something so this one's for him.

Thank you for spending some of your Sunday with me. 

"Tree Frog with Four Prong"

As I grow in my craft, I'm finding myself more and more attracted to abstract paintings but also feel myself moving in that direction.  The fact is that the best ideas often come from nowhere.  And, I can either switch gears and ride whatever wave is granted me, or try like heck to make what I intend on making, often being disappointed in the end result.

So yesterday I began by creating a seriously saturated canvas.  I has every major color family intermixing, shifting across a wash on my canvas.  When all of that charged energy began to dry, I was left with a really truly colorful but dark piece.  Here's a photo:

 I was really happy with the composition, but not the amount of light or "white space". As for the underpainting, instead of a light blue violet or red or lilac, which I often lean on as my base color, I blended parchment with some Payne's Gray and created an inky wash with little areas of white and deep turquoise.  Not sure why, but laying down paint on a darker surface was actually easier and required less paint to create the opaque look that I desired. 

I was really happy with the composition, but not the amount of light or "white space". As for the underpainting, instead of a light blue violet or red or lilac, which I often lean on as my base color, I blended parchment with some Payne's Gray and created an inky wash with little areas of white and deep turquoise.  Not sure why, but laying down paint on a darker surface was actually easier and required less paint to create the opaque look that I desired. 

 Three hours later, after adding back some calm, I had this on my canvas.  Pretty excited.  And the piece immediately took the form of a tree frog using a four-prong cane.  Weird, I know, but I can't help what my head does.

Three hours later, after adding back some calm, I had this on my canvas.  Pretty excited.  And the piece immediately took the form of a tree frog using a four-prong cane.  Weird, I know, but I can't help what my head does.

It's the birthday of our great nation today, and if you served, please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude for ensuring the freedoms that our citizens are privy to.  We are indeed blessed to have the ability to disagree with one another in a lawful manner, and to express our happiness and discontent in whatever peaceful means we chose.  Thank you so much for willingly fighting and for offering your youth and comfort for my freedom.

Tomorrow we're headed to Charlottesville, Virginia, to show our kids where Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, lived much of his life.  I hope it's not 200 degrees outside!

"Estuaries"

I began a new large abstract piece today.  At 24x36", this piece is at once soothing and demanding of attention.  As I experiment more with looser paint and brush strokes and more "white" space on the canvas, I'm feeling that my work is presenting as calmer, gentler works that would perhaps be more appealing to folks looking for something that would be just at home over a rustic hearth as it would in a workspace or sitting room.

"Estuaries" is inspired by the Chesapeake Bay.  As soon as warm weather arrives (or basically the weather goes from 50 degrees to 90 degrees in two week's time), folks around here start making plans for crabs, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia beaches, and waterside meals of burgers and dogs.  

I was looking at the Maryland map this morning and thought it might be nice to attempt an abstract topographic map of sorts in some softer hues.  I had two mixed colors left over from yesterday that I didn't want to waste, so I started there.  Two hours later, I had this:

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Since this photo, I've added more thick paint and water.  I'll post another in-progress photo tomorrow.  I suspect this piece will be finished up by tomorrow night.  Hope you'll stop back to see the completed composition.

Thank you as always for spending some of your day in my studio...

"Badfish" Done!

Good afternoon!  It's 3pm and I've just signed my newest piece, "Badfish", a little nod to my Gen X cohorts and a song by Sublime that I often listen to while painting...

Yesterday, after all that swirly paint and water dried, it was much too dark and busy.  So this morning, I had the crazy idea to add some loose "Parchment" tinged with "Green Gold" and see what happens.  I had about two hours to work and am really happy with the final result after giving the piece some areas for the eyes to rest while viewing.  

Here are the before and after shots, then a detail shot of some paint on the piece:

 Where I stopped yesterday (above)

Where I stopped yesterday (above)

 Finished piece after I stopped today.  DONE!

Finished piece after I stopped today.  DONE!

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Here's some upclose and personal detail.  This morning really was enjoyable and I was able to lighten up the piece and make it much less complicated and dark.

I have an idea for tomorrow brewing in my melon....but I need a big canvas to get started.  I'm also running low on paint and almost all of my favorites!   I think I'm going to do another, larger piece in this style but another palette.  

An aside...it took every bit of willpower I have in my 69" to keep myself from putting turquoise or teal on the piece above.  But, I need to stop and give some other colors a chance.

Thank you for stopping by!

On My Easel Today...

I'm going all out abstract on this one.  It is a landscape of sorts, but I just let it happen vs. trying to make it something that it just didn't want to be.

I got a new spray bottle!  Ok, not what every girl has on her wishlist, but I found one that is smallish enough and has a really nice, fine spray.  My old one just spit the water out, and it was really not steady.  May as well have been a field sprinkler.

I'm not sure what this one it called, but I do know that I'm not going to change it around like last time with Red Rock Evening.  I need to just be happy with what I've given sometimes, and today is precisely one of those occasions. 

 Any ideas for a title?

Any ideas for a title?

Thank you for stopping by today!  Summer is officially here and I'll be painting with our four kiddos at the kitchen table from now until September!

Clouds and Canines...

I was really excited that my husband was going to work from home today.  I was thinking we could have lunch together...maybe some mid-afternoon coffee.

But it's 1:37 pm and he's only given me one sentence today.  And it wasn't until a moment or two ago that I realized why.  He's protesting.

After the kiddos get home, I'm taking "Moe", our 80-pound male weimeraner puppy in to "get fixed" and my hubby is mad.  Never mind the fact that poor Moe has almost gotten hit three times this week trying to lose his virginity to the hot-and-bothered lady dog across the street.  

I can hear her (and so can he), calling out to him with a "Come and get me, Boy!" sound.  Moe has been sitting on my bed all day, his nose pressed to the screen of the nearby open window, listening to her summon him from across the road.  Poor Moe.

Then finally, a few thoughtful words from my husband..., "Maybe we could get him some of those fake testicles so his skin doesn't just hang there..."

"Is that what you're upset about? You want to get Moe some 'Truck Nutz'?!" I retorted.  "How about some standard marbles? They're cheaper..." I suggested.  He didn't find my rebuttal the slightest bit amusing.

And that was the end of the discussion.  He's mad.  He doesn't want to get the dog fixed, even though the dog has been marking up my house and running across the road. 

On the upside...All that silence worked in my favor!  I was able to get about halfway done on a not yet named painting depicting a really lovely cloud and sky.  I'm really excited about how lofty and tender these clouds are.  I used a dry brush technique and the result is really soft edges.  

The composition is loosely based on a photo I took of a nearby farm road with a rather large storm cloud rolling in from behind.  

 

 About two hours in, with my inspiration photo above the canvas...

About two hours in, with my inspiration photo above the canvas...

 I spent about an hour defining the clouds here...

I spent about an hour defining the clouds here...

 I added some highlighting then stopped here today.

I added some highlighting then stopped here today.

I'll be laying down the rest tomorrow afternoon and will have this one wrapped up by Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday is the last day of school and after that, I hope to be painting with the kiddos each day and posting as we go!

 

Making Lemonade...

This morning I'm updating some of my ShopVida.com products.  This is a great way to fore into textiles with a minimal amount of cost and (wo)man hours.

Transferring photographs, drawings, watercolors, and unfinished work (or work that didn't quite work) to fabrics, leather, and other wearable items is very much designing but with my own original images.  Ever wonder where all the lovely prints on nicer clothing, scarves, handbags, or pocket squares come from?  Much of the time they are commissioned or purchased (or "borrowed") from artists like myself.  Through ShopVida, I can forgo the ever-present middle man and put my own images on finer quality wearable art.  Every once in a while I'll add to my little collection.  This morning I uploaded an image of a wet "Red Rock Evening" in-process photo.  The painting looked great wet, but as mentioned on my blog, looked pretty crappy and bland after it dried.

But here it is on a leather clutch, where it's found a happy new home:

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-rynbrandt/products/red-rock-clutch

Here's another one that I really (really) like of my painting, "Sand Beach, Acadia":

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-rynbrandt/products/acadia-leather-clutch-5

The site won't allow me to copy the image and post here (that's a good thing!). But you can see my images all over products at the ShopVida sight.  Be sure to take a peek at my favorite item "Sleeping Beard", a men's pocket square/scarf that looks even better on silk than on canvas!

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-rynbrandt/products/sleeping-beard-square

I put down some underpainting today on a new figurative piece and will be working on that and a new abstract landscape that may also end up on a wallet or something...

I'll be making a real post with a new painting on it in about four hours so come back after dinner!

 

Red Rock Evening, Hurricane, Utah (almost done!)

Hello!  Had a splendid weekend and hope you all did as well.  I made a surprise road trip with our eleven year old to the Hudson River Valley in NY.  It was a really lovely weekend of taking our time, browsing little local shops, some good food, and no schedule.  No schedule being of upmost importance.  I am generally running ragged weekdays and weekends so having a little break (traffic aside) was really both needed and enjoyable.

Rhinebeck is a cute little town that I'd recommend seeing if you're ever up by Albany (in warmer weather).  Our daughter fell in love with the area, even asking about going to school up there in the future.  There were a little colleges dotting the way, not to mention a fantastic view of the Hudson from the Vanderbilt mansion, and the Culinary Institute of America!  I love food, so any trip must include stops at little restaurants with great reviews.  Also made a stop at a very elegant little farm stand with delicious maple syrup, English peas, and tiny beautiful strawberries that resembled the alpine wild varieties.  Our girl ate an entire pint herself so it's good that I bought two.

Back to work today on this southwest evening landscape...here's where I stopped today.  It's still very wet, but this time I upped the pigment so that the swishy wet spots dry into deeply hued schmears rather than rather bland, subdued tones like last time.  I'm hoping to add a little highlighting then be done with it!

 I had to chop off some of the sides because I was photographing on a flat surface (because the canvas is so wet.  I'll have better photo tomorrow.

I had to chop off some of the sides because I was photographing on a flat surface (because the canvas is so wet.  I'll have better photo tomorrow.

I've already put the foundation on a new piece as well, a 16x24, that will likely be another landscape.  There are a few photos I would like to try to put down on canvas, and I should be sketching that one out tomorrow after the underpainting is dry.

Thank you for stopping in....especially to Dublin!

Home Stretch....Although, I'm thinking a nightscape now...

Good afternoon!

Poor lighting aside (damn rain!), I'm having a great day with my current "in progress" work, Hurricane, Utah.

All that delicious sloppy paint that I swished around on the canvas yesterday lost much of it's saturation when dry.  Rather disappointed that the colors faded with the water (considering those babies are $20 for a small tube).  Uh.  Paints are priced by pigment, and unfortunately, my favorite hues are those of the blue/green variety.  And don't get me started on the reds...

So, after my minor setback this morning when I checked the drying paint, I decided to move forward with more deliberate brushwork.  I'll add some mood at the end by mixing a tinted glaze to go over the sky that will be left to swirl around a bit, offering a little modern nod to what has become a more traditional/representational landscape.

Here's where I stopped today...

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I also decided to whittle down the palette a bit.  As much as a light violet sky appeals to me, it doesn't offer as much a contrast as the "lagoon" teal blue that has been layered overtop of it.  There was just too much going on and I needed to make a change or two. Now I'm wishing that I hadn't spent so many hours on that sky yesterday....live and learn, I suppose.

I've got about eight layers of paint on this piece so that texture is part of the composition.  I like it when a little schmear of paint here and there jumps off the canvas.  It also really looks great after it's varnished.  

Happy Friday and thank you for spending a little part of your day with me.

Memorial Day Break

Artists are no doubt inspired by nature and when I'm out of ideas, getting outside is the best way to find my creativity again.

Over the weekend, I took two of our four (plus one German Shorthaired Pointer) to my folk's cottage situated on an inlet of the Chesapeake that used to be two rows of fisherman's shacks.  It's not so low brow anymore since being discovered by D.C. dwellers in recent years.  There are only a handful of the original 1940's cottages left, ours being one of them.

After hurricane season each year, repairs are made, and the little cottage that could is again residable. Not to say that it isn't quirky...having a big ole' hot water heater next to the throne in the one bathroom does not make for peaceful deposits, and it's hotter than hell in that little place once June gets started.  But, native Marylanders are used to humidity.  I'm just a little sensitive to the heat since experiencing Minnesota and Michigan summers, sunny, 80-degree days with no stickiness, no baked car interiors, and no need for cold mid-day showers from constant overheating.

Memorial Day weekend was near perfect this year at the cottage.  The threat of rain kept many away, so the roads were near empty for bikes.  The glut of holiday weekend fishermen/women/children were nearly non-existent.  And Point Lookout State Park, only a bike ride away, is always on the itinerary for an early morning bout of exercise on wheels with my dad.

That morning, the location of what was arguably the most cruel of all civil war prison camps, Point Lookout, offered quiet, calm waters, and a coolish breeze to enjoy the natural beach and native birds crafting nests of weathered driftwood twigs the hue of common button mushrooms.  You can see Point Lookout from our cottage deck and Civil War reenactments are a local staple, celebrating our country's young struggles and those who died while bringing together those who deeply disagreed on the issue of state sovereignty and the equality of "all men" as penned in the Declaration of Independence.  Both sides honor their dead on towering monuments only an acre apart.  The union memorial consists of two obelisks.  The single confederate monument was privately funded years later.   Both are covered with names of the men who died and what state they were originally from.

Below is a photo of the beach that the cottage sits on.  My parents got engaged on that very beach where I learned to swim years later.  It's where our dog spied a sea turtle leaving eggs in a burrowed dune concealed by a large log and some robust grasses.  We also saw the remains of an egret...a mound of marbled feathers, that must have been injured, then done-in by some hungry nearby blue crabs.

 Near the turtle egg laying spot

Near the turtle egg laying spot

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Low Tide in the evening....the best time to wade...(above)

 

And in the studio today...I worked on my Hurricane Utah painting all morning today and am really excited about where it is going.  As soon as I let go of my hyper-controlled lines/strokes, I started to feel like the color and composition was very representative my work.  Below is where I started today, and then where I stopped.  My canvas is absolutely soaked! So, I have to wait until tomorrow to add more paint.  It's starting to bubble up and I don't want to lose the underpainting...

 This is where I started this morning...

This is where I started this morning...

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Thank you for stopping by...I expect to have "Hurricane, Utah" wrapped up by the end of the day tomorrow.  Super pleased with today's progress!

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!