Saturday, December 31, 2005

Weather Report

It is -6 celcius out today.
Location is Melnik, Czech Republic, a small town 45 minutes outside of Prague.
There is 6"+ of snow eveywhere. It's beautiful but unbeliveably cold for this Los Angelino.
There is so much I would like to have recorded on this trip, but I just can't seem to find the right time and place to do it.
I have been knitting a lot. And reading a little. Reading makes me sleepy.
I brought the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, but I can't seem to force myself to read it. I know that there is some valuable info in it. Especially pertinent to what I am experiencing here on this trip. This will be the last time that I see my in-laws alive. I can't stop thinking about that, and yet I know that I should just be in the present and love them while they are still here.
We leave in 3 days and I am dreading the good-byes. Last year's were bad enough.
I don't want to think about it, but yet I cannot stop.
This isn't something a person wants to dwell on, I am not close enough to ask them what I could do for them - that's really up to my husband, anyway. I am here to support.
Stay focused on the present and the positive.
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Blaugue

For the past 2 weeks I have been in the Czech Republic. Today, I visited the National Gallery and saw some Czech paintings from the early 20th Century.
I have spent some time in this country, and have come to the conclusion, that Czechs have not really found their own voice or vision yet.
It seems that they were off to a start in the 1920's, when they became Czechoslovakia and then along came the Nazi's, bringing what was the first wave to a halt, then came the communists. We all know where that went.

I find myself wondering, as I stroll through the streets, looking at all of the amazing detail in the architecture, what would have happened, had they been allowed total creative freedom during those years?
What would this slavic country be like?
What would their art be like today?
It seems to me, that their expressions and visions may have been stopped short by the war, and other opressors.
The art deco here is amazing, and really pure. What is in store for them next, I wonder?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fish Tales

"I once caught a fish that was this big..."
You have got to take a look at this

I came to this link by way of NPR's site about endangered catfish in cambodia...interesting story. You can listen to it there too.

For the record, I don't think that I have caught a fish in my life.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Instant Karma

Or something like that. I took a couple of days off from the painting, and I get a call from my freelance agency. It seems that a company I was working for last year needs someone this week. So now I am working full-time hours all week. It's an hour long commute, which means no painting until Saturday, unless I get up at the crack of dawn. Kind of too long for my comfort, since we are less than 2 weeks from holiday departure travel date, and I will be abandoning my art for 3 weeks....I am nervous and stressed, but I will have to make it all work out. If anyone is listening, pray that I can haul my butt out of bed early enough to at least make notes and "live" with the painting in daylight hours....damn winter.

This is positive too, $$. I am also hoping that I don't have to know Adobe In-design too well....in which case, I may be back in my studio on Tuesday, but I hope not. Really. I am ready to work hard.
No additional freelance work after Friday, though. I mean it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I confess....

My studio no longer has proper lighting on those gray days (like today) and when the sun goes down. Most days, I am fine with this, I can't paint everyday and I can keep it to daylight hours. But I still feel the need to create. I have re-discovered the art of knitting, it can be very meditative and satisfying. There is the excitement of getting new clothes, and I love, starting new projects.
I have decided to knit this,"The Ribby Cardi"
I have never knitted a sweater before, I have yet to venture beyond the scarf and hat, so fasten your seat belts folks. I will be knitting it in the colors below, Peruvian Highland wool in Celadon and Nutmeg Heather:


These swatches came from the elann.com site, so I will link it, hopefully I am not in violation of any copyright laws here.
I haven't actually knitted with this yarn, but it is extremely affordable, and comes in lots of nice colors. In fact almost all of their yarn is extremely affordable, which makes knitting possible, for people like me. Check it out.

Because I need someone to hold my hand, I have signed on to the "Ribbi Cardi Knit-a-long", So I will now be held accountable for the completion of this project.
At least that is my strategy. I have a history of not finishing knitted and crocheted projects. Unless, of course an afghan is supposed to take 13 years...
But, before I can start on this, I must finish my husband's Christmas present, a scarf, knitted on size 7 needles, the same ones, that I need to make the sweater with. It's going slow, too. So, I had better get busy!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Procrastination and a Work Ethic

This is a re-occurring theme for me.
Katherine has been talking about not getting things done and progress.

I have been working on a large painting (for me, anyway) and I am 2/3 complete. I have reached that stage where I could finish it or mess it up and create a lot more work for myself. I already skipped a day this week, to let it rest and dry.
To top it off, it's a commission, so someone is waiting for it, so there is pressure.
Am I procrastinating? Have I not developed a strong work ethic? Is it all just part of my process? (that last one always works as the fall back excuse, doesn't it?)
I should know this by now. I don't.

Maybe I will just have to spend some quiet time with it today.

I am always a little hesitant to say my work is complete, scared actually, because in 2 weeks time, I may decide that it is not complete, and it will haunt me. This almost always happens with graphic design projects, because they are deadline driven. And really when it comes right down to it, is anything ever really completed? What was not added (or subtracted) from one work will go into the future ones.

What do I really want to do today?
Bake Christmas cookies and knit. It's one of those days.
Maybe it's just the holidays.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Say Hello to my little friend....



It's been years since I have replaced my trusty sketch book. The Local "Art Store" stopped carrying them. I was told they would be getting them in, but they never did.
I've tried other brands, but the offerings at all of the art stores (Strathmore, Canson, Arches, etc.) just do not cut it. There is something about this toothy paper, it takes dry and wet medium equally well. It's especially good for watercolor crayons, and these are really good for sketching out color paintings. Some of my best work started out this way. It's only 60 lb. so it's not "precious" like the Arches stuff. I can explore and take chances. This allows me to work faster and increase my overall productivity. I like that.

A recent commission has allowed me to replenish some of my art supplies, and this baby was at the top of my list. I just couldn't justify spending $10.00 shipping for a $12.00 sketch book. I found this at a little store in Spokane WA. I have been to Spokane, so I thought, why not? They mailed it, it took a week but cost less than $5. So I bought 2. Now I am good to go. Almost.
I am just so, so happy to have something so familiar to work with, again.
Something from the old days of 5 years ago, when I was really cooking in my studio.
I am coming out of a dry spell, and recent events are pulling me out of it.
Life is good.

So back into the "studio" I go....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Nostalgia




Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood.
My brother, 2 years my senior, has a very bad heart. He underwent triple by-pass and reconstructive heart surgery. He survived the surgery, but now he is dealing with infection and many medications and is back in the hospital.
When we were young, we were very close. It was us against the four big kids in the family. He was pretty protective of me most of the time. I know it must have been hard for him having to drag his little handicapped sister with him almost everywhere he went.

He started school, a year before me, even though he is actually 2 years older. My parents kept him out for reasons that are not clear to me, either because of the draft or because of me. It becomes cloudy over the years, and in a big family, the truth has many versions. I was caught up in the excitement of his first day, but I was also a little sad and jealous, he was going on about his life...without me.

These days we rarely see each other. Maybe once every 2 years. Life has made it difficult for me to be close to my family. I have chosen a path that does not include them.
It was intentional at first, I needed to be able to hear my own inner voice. Being the youngest of six, it seems that there is always someone there to lend advice (orders!) even when I am not looking for it. So off I went. And here I am.
I love my life, and where it has taken me. I am so thankful my husband came into my life when he did. None of this would have happened had I stayed in the hometown.

Now that we are getting on in years, my mother having passed 21 years ago, one of my brothers four years ago, and now with Bobby hanging on...I feel such a loss.
There is something in the past that I want to grasp and hold onto, but I don't know what it is exactly. I find myself treading the waves of nostalgia that keep sweeping me away from my daily rituals.

My pace is slow lately, I am learning to go with it. Maybe I don't want to move forward because that means letting go. To let go means to accept. What is it that I need to accept?

What I have been working as of late.



This is a watercolor-- I'll call it a study, I did it last week. It has inspired me to do more water colors.

The painting below, I posted here in it's earlier state. Now it looks like this.

It still needs a bit of work, but I am happy with it, for the most part.
It's interesting to see it in this format, it adds a new perspective. This is a 30" x 40" canvas, a little too big for me to work on at home. I can't pull back while I am working. I may have to wheel the paint and easel out to the living room,

I think this is the last big piece for a while. These larger paintings take so long.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Process -- a work in progress

I get excited when a landscape pops into my head and I must paint it.



It was my birthday on Monday. I like to paint on my birthday, and I always hope that I will create something that will inspire me to keep going, or find a new direction.
Sometimes I do self portraits, but this year I did this. Another landscape painting.
I love light, and I love to paint the effects that light -- sunlight, moonlight, have on a landscape.

I am thinking of adding pastel to it, to bring out some highlights in order to get the effects that I desire in a painting. There is always the threat off ruining the painting, a fear that all artists have to overcome. It is time for me to let go of my expectations and listen to my instincts. If the painting turns out bad, I will have learned something from it. Usually that something will be used in future paintings, as the journey continues....

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And Another One Out the Door


I sold another painting. A small one that I painted at home -- before I had the studio.
I have always liked this particular painting. I feel like it was a break through painting for me, although I did not go on to paint a lot of others like thisone. It was more about allowing a painting to emerge, which is how I like to paint now, and probably the reason there is so much time from one painting to the next.



I am happy to send it on it's way, it's going to a good home.

Solstice Salad

(My own concoction)
cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata (or in this case Calamata) olives,
Feta cheese, sliced red onion, chopped fresh mint, Olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Use your own judgment as to the amounts. I like to keep things in balance and the pieces small enough so that you can have more than one taste in your mouth at once.

Toss these all together and you have a nice summer salad. We will be eating this again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Solstice

The longest day of the year....and I am still just priming the canvas. I have 3 more coats total to apply and then I will be done with that. Between the work for hire and the priming, I am not creating much new art. I have been doing small watercolors, which hopefully, will inspire new, larger oils.
I am off to the store now to pick up ingredients for a "solstice" salad. I don't know exactly what that is, but that is what's for dinner tonight.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Life Continues

The canvas has been sized, I e-mailed the helpful people at Gamblin Paint and they informed me that I did not have to put more than one coat of size on the canvas. So, I purchased some of their primer and I will eventually prime them. I hope to get to it this week.
As usual, the work for hire stretches on. I keep waiting for that chunk of time that never seems to appear, so that I can lose myself in the process. I did start this painting:

30x40water

This was done a couple of weekends ago. Begun on one of the most perfect Saturday's ever.
It is not finished, I rarely finish a piece in one session. The foreground bothers me.
There is nothing going on there. I took the digital picture, so that I could experiment with it in photoshop.
I am not sure what to do about this at this point, but I know the answers will come.
It's hard to just stop working on something -- the other work gets in the way and I worry that the inspiration will fade.
I am trying to keep this to myself - other than this blog, so that the power of the inner vision stays with me.

A word about the Rabbit Skin Glue: I had a little left over, so I put it back into the fridge, although I think I left it our a few days in the studio. Anyway, it's moldy now. So it really doesn't keep long. 2 weeks I would say at the most. Good to know.
As for the prime, I will do 2 coats and in 2 weeks I will finally be ready to paint on the "oil primed linen".

Monday, May 02, 2005

Filling the well -- This is a long one!

When I am unable to make my art, for whatever reason, I fill in with cooking, and lately, the physical act of stretching my own canvas. I seem to be drawn to what I call "pioneer" crafts, canning and preserving, handmade soap, baking and handmade pasta. I consider stretching my own canvas to fall into this category.
About a year ago, I bought 3 yards of Belgian linen from a seller on E-Bay. I am just now working up the courage to actually do something with it. I have been intimidated by a piece of brown cloth that looks like something you might make a potato sack out of.
So, I dug up my bag of Rabbit Skin Glue, also purchased a year ago. For some reason, I thought I would have to use the entire bag at once, and therefore be forced to use the entire batch of glue in one sitting - or (gasp!) throw out the leftover, as it does not keep well. I read the directions (again) and it calls for 3 Tablespoons (approx) to what amounts to 2 cups of water.
So, as it turns out, I have plenty of RSG to whip up whenever I need it. For years to come. Really.

What you do is let the glue dissolve in water overnight, then you heat it up. You don't cook the glue, just warm it enough so that it has thoroughly dissolved. So I looked through my cupboards to find a suitable jar to prepare the glue in, I found an old hermetic canning jar -- I am sure that Vermeer used the same type of jar to mix his glue in, or he had his assistant, Scarlett Johanssen do it for him. I let the glue powder stuff soak overnight (btw, I was really disappointed when I read about the overnight bit, I had finally cut into that canvas, stretched it, and goddamn it, I was ready to size it too! I was on a roll, or so I thought). So anyway, the next day, I looked at the stuff, and it had dissolved, sort of, into a large mass that sat at the bottom of the jar. Obviously, it needed to be heated.
So, I put a saucepan of water on the stove and let it come to a boil. Then I shut off the burner and put the jar into the hot water and stirred it until it didn't need to be stirred anymore. It wasn't thick, at all, but very thin and watery. In fact, it looked like "clean" pond water. I was feeling like I had the measurements wrong, so I checked and they were correct.
So, into the studio I went, laid down the drop cloth and hoisted the newly stretched linen canvas onto the easel (it's a 24" x 30", I say hoist because I have no room anymore, and I have to lift the canvas over several objects in order to reach the easel)
I dipped the brush into the watery glue and began to paint the glue onto the canvas. When I was about half finished, I noticed that the canvas was sagging, a lot.
A side note here, when I mention to my friends, who are artists, that I am stretching my own canvas, they all look at me like I am insane, and cannot believe that anyone would want to do this, how hard it is, how unnecessary, yada yada yada....
When that canvas started to sag, I heard the voices (of those friends of mine) in my head, and I wanted to cry. I hadn't even started to paint on it yet, and it was already a disaster. I hadn't stretched it tight enough. And there is no way I could have stretched it any tighter, without asking J to help, and I want to be able to do this myself. It was pretty wet. So I just kept on until it was finished, and I laid it flat to dry, which made it sag more. Sigh. I walked out of the room and tried not to think about it, I told myself that I should reserve judgement until it was dry.
I actually did forget about it, too. I occupied my time by taking old paintings off of their stretcher bars, finally admitting to myself that no one was ever going to buy any of these, so I may as well roll them up and stick them in a closet somewhere until I release the apparent emotional attachment I have to them.
So when I did remember to look in on the canvas, to see if it had dried, not only was it dry, but it was as tight as a drum! Beautiful. The only thing now, is that I think I need to put 2 more coats of the glue onto it, and I am wondering if it will just keep getting tighter with each layer, and what will happen when I apply the ground?
I let the glue sit out overnight, which I think is s no-no, but I wanted to have more stretched canvas before I heated it up again, because that process, is what I think diminishes the properties of the glue. A day passed, and I am still not ready. I picked up the glue and it had turned to jello. Technically, I think it is now Aspic
So, since I wasn't going to be home all weekend, I put it in the fridge, and there it is now. awaiting it's final water bath before I apply it to the other 5 canvas that I am almost done stretching.
So now I am back to my thinking, that this is not so hard to do afterall. I am saving myself a siggnificant amount of money, and I will have a painting surface similar to what the masters have used. Sounds good? No?
We will see how this pans out.....

Who is your "Inner European"

I came across this today. Somehow, I knew it would end up being french...It is a shame I do not speak it.





Your Inner European is French!









Smart and sophisticated.
You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

One more out the door.

Well one of the 5, anyway. Another check to deposit in the bank...And that is it.
I have to ship one off to the east coast, and the last 2 will be local.
Back to the drawing board, literally.
Actually I haven't had a chance to get there, yet, but I am working up to it. All I really want to do now, is bake something, and focus on what I will make for dinner. The art will come.

In the past week, I have made homemade pasta for lasagna, made the lasagna. With J's help, I made some fettuccini and served it with a tuna sauce. Tuna sauce with fettuccini may sound gross -- like tuna casserole or something, but it is nothing like it. It starts with an onion (doesn't everything?) and then you add to it from there, some garlic, a little wine, some broth, some herbs and then a can of tuna. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes, this allows the flavors to meld, the tuna breaks down and it becomes a sauce. Then you toss it with the pasta. It's great, really. And very economical. Homemade pasta really isn't that hard, for some reason I remember it to be an involved project that took up the whole kitchen and using the pasta machine might bring me to tears, but no more. I guess I have matured since those days. Ha.

That was last weekend, Monday and Tuesday I made chicken, Monday saut├ęd, Tuesday I oven fried it. Neither one was anything special really, other than the fact that it was done before 9:00PM. Today, was the cook's night off. The husband has his weekly poker match on Wednesdays, so no cooking is necessary. I would have baked something, but by the time I washed all the dishes form last night and today, I just wasn't into it. Tomorrow. I want to bake a chocolate cake with Guinness stout that was in the March issue of Gourmet. The problem is, I can't find the magazine anywhere. I can find the March 2001 issue, but not the one from last month. It's here somewhere.

Oh, and I have my second job interview in 12 years on Monday at 10:00AM. Good times.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Moving ahead, a little

I have made some progress with the new studio. My easle has been set up, along with the pallette.
It's crowded, but I think I can still work on that. J. reminded me that he will not be throwing out the stuff that is crammed beneath the desk, that is being tossed.

I have only released one of the 5 paintings that I have sold. I am ready to ship one to New Jersey. And tomorrow I may drop another one off to it's new owner. It's a wierd (in a good way) feeling to sell your artwork. It has been with me for a while, now it's going to go to someone else's house. It feels so intimate, but probably only to me. They are sort of like my children, and now I am sending them off to other destinations, never to be seen in person again by me. A little sad, but then I get the check for their sale, and I realize that it is time to move onward. To let these go, so that other works of art can be created, and hopefully share the same destiny.

I still have not created anything new. I need to quiet my life a bit, get back to the job hunt (yes, that is still going on). Also, there is more freelance work going on.

Monday, April 18, 2005

La Art Walk

I went to the LA Artwalk, in downtown LA last Thursday. If you have not been to this, it is definitely worth checking out.
The vibe is great, the art is varied. There was some quality art there. I went with another friend, (something I recommend, as the area is a litle dicey). we got a late start, so we just barely scratched the surface, but if you plan to go down there you should check out Bert Green Fine Art.

Someone else blogged about it here in greater detail. And there are pictures.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

This is interesting, and fun....

I don't know Duane Keiser, but I came across his blog: "A Painting a Day"

Monday, April 11, 2005

Art

I'm going to back up a bit here, date-wise...
I wanted to post these pictures of the final exhibition I had in my studio
before I vacated it.


Relocation Project
3/36/05 - 3/31/05
Hollywood, CA

Relocation Project 1


Another Angle:

Relocation Project 2

Moving into the front room:

Relocation Project 3

Here are some paintings that were in the show:

Storm II

Spring

Tropical Storm

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Transition Continues

I am unable to set up the studio until I get rid of the remainder of the stuff that was there before. J will help me, and I can't do it alone, but he hasn't had time. For now, I am working on the computer, not art stuff but business stuff. My desk is here, in the corner of the living room, with a little desk lamp. It feels very nice to be home again. I can start cooking dinner while I work and dinner will be ready for us when J comes home from work. I know this is novel - like changing jobs, but it feels different and new, and I like it. For some reason , I feel like it's OK to go out and run errands in the middle of the day, and not be tied to the office, like I was before. I don't know how that happened, feeling like I could not leave the office for an afternoon. I am self-(un)employed, after all.

I am working on a website for a fellow artist (the paying gig). I got stuck on the paying gig, so I started working on my own website. That's where my head is at now, anyway, my own artwork.
Energy follows intent, so someone once said to me. So I will be thoughtful when it comes to my own energy.
I am really thinking about marketing my art, making more steps in that direction. I don't exactly know what to do, but I am itching to create more artwork. The show was very motivating, and I really need to add to my body of work.
Once my own website is up to date, I will post pictures. This blog needs them, I think.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The relocation...

The move is over, the stuff is home.
I haven't set up my home studio, yet, but I have made progress. I have a website to finish for a client first, so the painting will have to wait.

The Reloctaion Project went well, I sold a total of 7 works of art, and I definitely think I may do this again.
Not relocate (for a while, anyway) but have a solo show. They are really the best, more work, but worth it.
Although some day, I think I would like to have a showing in an established gallery.

About the art...

The lights come down today. When I had the first exhibition here, J hung some lights that were only meant to last 2 weeks. Seven years later, they are still there. Some of the bulbs have lasted that long too.

The computer and it's table will also be dismantled.
Where, in our apartment all of this stiff will end up, is anyone's guess. Somehow it will all work out. It has to.

Why Art, and what is the Other Stuff

I gave up my painting studio of seven years to make room for other things in my life.

It sounds strange, giving up space to make more room, and yet it makes so much sense.

I plan to continue my art career as if nothing has changed. I will post paintings and write about the process.

As for the other stuff, I am looking for a full-time job. If I should cook, or bake something spectacular, you better believe that you will be reading about it here.

Now, as I end one chapter in my life to start a new one, I remind myself that it is still the same life that I have imagined, that I must trust, because, after all, I am still breathing.