Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Perks

Because of art, I have been blessed to meet so many new people. At times, I have been taken back by their enthusiasm for my work. Elisa Miller has become one of those wonderful people with whom I have gotten to know on a personal level.

I first heard her name when my framer called to tell me that someone had purchased one of my paintings as it was being framed for an upcoming show. Elisa had seen the paintings lined up ready to go, and when it was all said and done, purchased two paintings before my show ever hung in the gallery. I can't express what an encouragement it has been to have her affirmation as a "fan", but much more to have her interested and caring as a friend.

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling particularly frustrated with my art career, she sent an email with a cherry message inviting me to have lunch with her. I got a real treat as I stayed with her until late afternoon. I was able to meet and get to know her beautiful children, prove how terrible I was at Dance, Dance, Revolution with Sydney, and listen to Elisa as she shared what was going on in her life.

We are excitedly collaborating on a commissioned painting inspired by Mom's Home Cooking that will showcase some of her lovely Yellowware.

Thank you for your friendship and encouragement, Elisa!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Key to My Heart

One Valentine's day while my husband and I were dating, I gave him this old tin with the skeleton key inside and a little note pledging that he held the key to my heart. With it, no part of me would be kept from him. No other key would ever be made or given and he will forever be the sole owner of it.

This Valentine's day as a gift to my husband I painted the same objects to keep that closeness of our relationship ever before us in a tangible way.

Here is the unusual set up that was necessary to get the perspective I wanted on the pieces. I don't think I've ever painted on the ground, before, but it was pretty comfortable. At the time this photo was taken I was waiting to begin as a shadow slowly moved across the still life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Retreat Update

On Friday morning the painting began, and three separate canvases were worked on. However on Saturday, I was forced to give in to the sickness that had been oncoming for the last two days. I regrettably had to leave the studio Saturday morning as I was ruining my current painting due to my departing energy.

I can show you the start of one of the paintings from Friday evening. This painting had been in the plan ever since it looked like I'd have the weekend alone. It was a painting that I'd promised my husband for our anniversary, but never got around to starting. It is a 16x20 oil wash on linen - unfinished as you will see. And, of course, there is a story behind the painting.

While I was in grad school, I pulled an all-nighter with my roommates during finals. Two of us were art students and the other was music. We spent all night painting and writing papers. I had 3 paintings to complete in one evening - my own fault, I'm sure.

Well, I did it, and to my surprise they ended up being 3 of my best and strongest paintings. One of them was purchased by the college. And my husband has commented since then that it was one of his favorites and how he wish I hadn't sold it. So I am attempting to recreate this painting in style and subject matter. The style is a sienna wash of a subject matter that is lit only by a candle. I thought that I would have to add at least a little artificial lighting, but I can see it very well. Here is the setup.

Any light you see that is not coming from the candle is only from one small lamp set up so that I can see my canvas.

I am still on the mend and hope to be painting again on Friday. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize for the wait.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Weekend Retreat

I'm going on a weekend retreat . . .

. . .with my brushes

. . . in my studio.

It's okay, my husband knows I'll be spending quality time with my brushes while he's away for the weekend. I have four projects lined up which I will present consecutively after the painting weekend is over.

During this weekend I will paint in the morning, afternoon, and evening; socialize little; miss my husband terribly; cook only if I want to; and say "no" to housework. By the end I expect to see improvement, be tired yet refreshed mentally, be energized and excited about painting.


By the way, the apples are coming soon, I promise!

Friday, February 02, 2007


It’s been on my mind lately. What is it about painting and art that is so fulfilling? Why do I and countless others find such enjoyment in recording and interpreting what we see? What is our inspiration?

For many artists the answers to those questions vary and can be quite complex. Some are motivated by special memories that an object or a place holds. Some have a journalistic thread running throughout them compelling the artist to paint scenes that promote awareness about current issues, or important stories to be told.

Or it could be as it was for me last night simply seeing something that catches the eye. The way light may fall on a subject and how that object is shown and reacts to the light.

We were cleaning up after having some guests in our home, and as I put a bowlful of uneaten apples into a smaller bowl, it hit me. The only light in the room was coming from our stove hood. When it hit those deep red apples that I had just placed into a bright yellow bowl, my first thought was, “now there’s a painting”. A feeling of excitement came over me, as many times before, I envisioned this beautiful still life already painted on my canvas.

When this happens, it’s almost like a food craving. I’ve got to paint this, now. Unfortunately life doesn’t always allow one to satisfy such cravings. There’s the lineup of already in progress still lifes that should be completed before I start anything else. Plus there are the promises to others of paintings yet to come. Or any one of the many important and necessary duties a wife has that will take priority over such desires. Then there is the dreaded day job that most artists must endure.

But sometimes I think to myself. “Surely I can paint this in just a few hours. I’ll let the laundry wait one more day. I’ll find a tiny spot in the studio to set up this one quick painting. If I don’t paint it now before the apples are eaten (I noticed this morning that my dear husband took a few for his lunch), or before my excitement runs down, it will not get painted.”

So with that, I close my blog.
Excuse me, I have some apples to paint.