Friday, July 11, 2014

Now it’s just absurd.

giant-eyeball-386487_640Everyone has days, weeks (or more?) when it seems that Murphy’s Law has absconded with your life. The best laid plans don’t work out, mechanical things go on strike, normally self-sufficient areas of your life need intense attention. And sometimes your best efforts to rectify things only make them worse. At those times I guess all you can do is go sit in the corner and say “Fine. I’m letting go. I’ll be back in a couple of days.” (or weeks, as the case may be).

I’m so there.

My car has decided to disintegrate, apparently. It now has so much wrong with it that I think putting anymore major repairs into it is just throwing good money after bad. That’s a hell of a dilemma for someone who has a one way commute of an hour three times a week. While waiting at the repair shop for this delicious news, I tried to slip my phone into the side pocket of my purse and missed. It hit the floor from a distance of 6” or less and broke. For the second time in 7 months.

Meanwhile I’m trying to pack up the house, arrange a garage sale (we are downsizing and have to get rid of a lot!), find a new home for our dog, and manage a household move and vacation within the space of 10 days.

I may be AWOL for the next 6 weeks or so.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One step forward, two steps back.

Some days are just like that. I set to work on a project and every single piece I want to put in isn’t quite right. Maybe I have to cut it three times, maybe I change it out for a slightly different color or texture two or three times. Eventually I get terribly frustrated, and at that point I know I have two choices: force myself to keep going and know I will hate the result, or give up and come back the next day.

Often it’s because something has gone awry either in the andamento or the shading that I can’t quite identify up close, so I’ll take pictures. When I get home and put them on the computer screen, I can usually see where I ran off the rails.

This time it’s the shading. I now know I have to go back and rework some of it to get more even depth on the calla in the foreground.

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You can get a better sense of it from this picture, which shows the reference photo as well:

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I’m fascinated by this process, and I have been using it as a way to check my progress for years. I never really knew why I could see things in a photo that I couldn’t see in person. Then a couple of years ago I was told by a photographer and artist that when translating photos into paintings, you have to remember that a photo will flatten a landscape, so it takes some effort to recapture the depth and dimension. A little light went off in my head – so that’s why! The photo flattens the image, so any missteps in shading and andamento are exaggerated and more easily identified. Eureka! It’s a great tool.

Tomorrow I’ll start with ripping out some tess and replacing them, the move on to finish that flower.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Finnegan, begin again.

Started a new piece today – 3 white calla lilies. This one is 18” square, so it will be a nice, manageable size after the monster I just finished (which, by the way, I don’t have good photos of yet – soon).

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While planning this one last week, my thought was to create 3 stark white blossoms on a dark but intensely-colored background. Already I have run off the rails. I just couldn’t resist some dramatic shading for depth. I really don’t want a flat-looking calla, anyway, now do I? Unfortunately, the light colored violet glass doesn’t register well in this photo. It’s much prettier in person.

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Part of the problem is that my Adobe Photoshop Elements program is stonewalling me, and I had to use a poor substitute to edit it. Oh well, it’s always something….

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No art, only reflections on staying afloat

This is a more personal post than I generally make and there is no art in it – I won’t judge you for skipping it. This is just me trying to motivate myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I have just returned from Seattle – a long weekend visit with our youngest son whom we hadn’t seen in a year and a half. We had a marvelous time – our first visit to the area – and spent lots of quality time with a very special person. I came home utterly exhausted, or as my daughter the Brit might say, ‘shattered’.

And that British term seems to suit me better than any other at this moment. It’s not as if we were rushing around trying to see and do everything possible within our short visit because it was more about our son than sightseeing, so how to explain the fact that I have slept 13 hours of the last 24?

We did take the red eye from Seattle, leaving at 12:20 am yesterday, so yes that’s part of it, but I did sleep a bit on the plane (and didn’t even count that in the 13 hrs). Most likely, it’s the overwhelming anxiety I have come home to.

I’m so elated about my new studio situation, even though it was SO not the right time to start this. But the opportunity was there at that time, so I knew I could either grab the ring or sit at home and feel sorry for myself for letting it go. Maybe there would be another opportunity come up at a better time, and maybe not. So I grabbed.

But this is not a situation where I can just go to the studio and indulge myself in the environment. I have to make it self-sustaining. And I’m terrified.

I know the potential is there – I just don’t know whether or not I have the ability to make it happen. Although, I think the point is less that I have no faith in myself, than that I have little faith in myself to make it happen as quickly as I need it to. I’m a big believer in the “never give up” philosophy – it has been the reason why I have an art career at all. I simply refused to quit, even when it seemed pointless. But it feels as if the stakes are higher here. If I simply filled the house with art that no one else wanted, so what?

I ran across this quote from Hugh Laurie this morning, and it felt like he was speaking directly to me. As silly as that sounds, whatever small comfort I derive from that will help.

“It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There's almost no such thing as ready. There's only now. And you may as well do it now. I mean, I say that confidently as if I'm about to go bungee jumping or something - I'm not. I'm not a crazed risk taker. But I do think that, generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

--Hugh Laurie

I have an artist friend who said something very similar a couple of weeks ago – “The time is never right, the time is NOW”. Thank you, Nancy Jane.

I guess all I can do is to keep feeding myself these little nuggets of wisdom and hope that they are sufficient nourishment until I can see evidence that my efforts are paying off. In the meantime…one foot in front of the other is my mantra.

Monday, May 5, 2014

On second thought, I think I’ll have a nap.

napI’m not very good at setting goals, planning how to reach them, or following through. I usually fall down at stage one, because I can’t even figure out what it is I want.  If I get past that, I’ll probably throw my hands up in the air because I can’t figure out how to get there. And even if I do know what I want and how to achieve it, there’s a really good chance I’ll get worn out thinking about it, take a nap and forget what I was going to do.

Not too long ago I ran across a Google Hangout video of Jason Horejs (of Xanadu Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ) and Barney Davey (Internet art guru) talking about the business of art, and all the things that we artists are supposed to be doing, but of course, are not. And we will NEVER be successful without all these highly regimented plans and courses of action. Now I feel so inadequate.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of artists. A number of them are what I would call successful. They’re all a lot like me. So I figure maybe if I relax about all this ‘business of art’ stuff and just give it a stab, it would be a good thing and not give me heartburn. Certainly can’t hurt.

In fact, in a moment of weakness I signed up for a free email course offered by Jason Horejs, even though I realized it was a marketing tool for his book. Again – can’t hurt, right? Every few days I get an email giving me some things to think about and suggestions for what to do. A lot of it I already know, and maybe even actually do. And as much as I hate artist’s statements, I will admit that after thinking about Jason’s suggestions, I came up with one that rings true for me.

But blimey! I can’t for the life of me write an artist bio! I’ve written about 14 of them and trashed them all. I can’t decide what to do about this. Jason thinks they should be 3 to 5 pages long, and that sounds ridiculous to me. Who cares enough to read all that? But when I try to make it short and sweet, I have to leave out so much that I think has contributed to making me an artist … but then I think “who cares anyway?” … but then if I don’t do this I’m not giving it a good effort … but then why waste all this time if no one will read it … but …

And now I have heartburn. On second thought, I think I’ll have a nap.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Moving and new art!

First things first: I’m moving my studio from my home into the River Arts District of Asheville, NC! I’m so incredibly excited over this I can hardly stand myself. We start moving stuff on Saturday. I’ll have regular open studio hours once everything is in – I hope you’ll stop in!

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This is the building I’ll be in – it’s at the southwest corner of the River Arts District. My studio is #221. See the other artists in the building and more about Riverview Station here.

RAD map

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the green building in the lower left corner.

 

 

 


In art news, I’m getting close to finishing my large black eyed susans, so I’m planning out the next one. Here are some photos I have gathered for inspiration:
dogwood (1 of 1) dogwood via hd wallpapers
dogwood21-18_thumb[1] Dogwood-Tree-Blooms-Spring-Flower1
ForestWander Flowering Dogwood

Although I don’t often draw it out on paper before beginning, I wanted to check the composition, so I have this so far:

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It’s a start…

 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Last push before *another* vacation.

I don’t think the pictures give an accurate idea of the size of this. At 30” x 36” it’s not huge, but the seemingly small bits I accomplish on any given day are larger than you would guess from the pictures.

Unfortunately, I have shed more blood than seemed necessary this week – probably because I was rushing, trying to get as much as possible done before leaving to visit relatives for a week or so.

I love gross stuff and wanted to publish a photo of the bloodshed, but not everyone can handle it, so I refrained. This time. Winking smile

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Women of the Palette exhibit

From May 1 to May 30, 2014, The Women of the Palette (Joy McGinnis, Monique Carr, Nancy Jane Earnest, Theresa Markiw and myself) will have an exhibit at One Acre Café, 603 W. Walnut, Johnson City, TN.  A percentage of the art sales at the café will help support their work of feeding the community. Please plan to visit the café and support their mission!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

~*Happy dance*~

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I’m so excited I can’t sit still. I am moving my studio out of my home and into Riverview Station in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC!

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In May I will begin gradually moving things into Studio #221, and I should be ready to roll by the first week of June. For those not familiar with Asheville’s River Arts District (RAD), the area contains more than 170 artists with working studios in 22 former industrial buildings along the French Broad River. The studio will provide a much larger working space, a long wall (with track lighting!) for display, an amazing skylight, and some much needed community with other creatives.

Following are some pics I took of the studio on the day I signed up for it. The previous tenant still had some furniture and fixtures in it, but you can get the idea. It is an L-shaped studio with the widest section by the entrance.

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Standing in the skinny part of the L looking back at the entrance. The unearthly glow is from the skylight. Might not want to leave any important papers directly under that!

 

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The display wall – the blue paint will be gone before I get in there. It will be painted to match the wider section.

 

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Looking left from the entrance                                                      The hallway outside the studio

 

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One of the cool things about this place is that there is a dog obedience school located in it, so it’s a very dog-friendly space – I can take Gracie with me!

Riverview Station is the first building you come to in the River Arts District if you are coming from Biltmore Villages – the last one if coming from Patton Ave. (the green building in the lower left of the map).

RAD map

I’m planning a grand opening to coincide with the RAD Studio Stroll June 14-15, 2014. I hope you’ll come if you possibly can!

And one last pic – to show you one of the many reasons why I love Asheville so much:

downtown-asheville

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

First world problems.

I need a vacation. From vacations. Once again I’m hurrying to finish a piece. Why do I keep doing this to myself?

This year, I know why, I guess. Circumstances have put several trips in too short a period of time. And you know how it is, the couple of days before and after travelling are NOT productive in the studio.

I am happy to have finished up to the point that I had set as a goal for today. As long as I can keep up with my goals on each day I have left to work on it, I’ll be ok. But it would just be so awesome to stop making myself miserable!

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Sometimes I’ll lay out a few things before deciding whether or not to glue them down – what do you think? Should I glue this one down?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Video progress report

I have a little video I made to show (and explain) what I have going on in the background of the mosaic I’m currently working on. If you remember, this one is inspired by a photo I took a few years ago in my garden.

I’m adding more green leaves in the mosaic (I don’t know why – because I want to), but I do love the background in the photo. You can tell those are leaves behind the flowers, but they are only suggested by incomplete lines and shadows.

So here is the video with excuses explanation.

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