Monday, June 29, 2009

Persimmon Thief and the August 1st Show as well as Grumbling About Art Reproduction


Sometimes the influences of having lived in Taiwan, not to mention having had an interest in Asian art from the time I was about ten years old, comes through quite obviously. This painting, Persimmon Thief, was first drawn in with Chinese ink and brush so that, when I carved the branch out, I retained the feel of those brush lines I so love. Of course, it's tall vertical shape is like a scroll as well. Painted about a year ago (unlike all the other just finished pieces in this blog) it hangs in my husbands Edward Jones office where his clients say they feel like the raccoon, getting away with their higher percentages and dividends and whatnot's, i.e. their share of the financial pie.

Oh but I do so despise (I know that's a strong word but it is such a frustration) art reproduction. This painting is taller than myself and I am forced to tile together almost seven separate photos to create one. Each photos light is slightly different as the camera adjusts itself and by the time I've fiddled the thing into existence it is never quite what is on the wood. This piece is not so 'minty' colored. And it is so hard to view it so small. sigh. grumble grumble.

A few of my paintings (and likely this one) will be hanging what I hope to be a fabulous show August 1st in Healdsburg at the Palette Gallery (who's name may change very soon- Ill keep ya posted). A group show, we have all done labels for EricKent wines, a really fabulous and unusually artist-friendly label. EricKent will be pouring excellent wine as you peruse the wonderful art. Please join us! And check out Eric Kent Wines homepage to see all their fabulous artists and wines!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Studio Contour, Sharing a Studio With Children


Someone recently asked me, incredulously, how I can share my studio with my kids. Okay, okay, so its not really ideal. Generally either I'm helping them with a project or listening to their sleeping sighs through a monitor, or berating them for trying to sneak into the Mommy area once again. And the shared floor space is always a mess of small toys missing small parts, strings, a few washers strung with wires and bungee cords into what Ben has deemed his latest teleportation device, picture books, screw drivers and half dismantled electronics, as well as glasses of murkey paint water, and lately a scary tin can half filled with desicated black olives.

As you may guess, gentle reader, this is not an easy enviornment to paint in, and Im certain passers by get to hear through the thin metal barrier of the garage door the earful I lay on the boys for their mess. Or perhaps they overhear my sad attempts at bribery- a fruit leather treat in exchange for cleanliness.

On the other hand how wonderful it is to flee to this space at nap time or in the evening and know I can rejoin the family as needed without driving across town. And how wonderful to see their creations emerge and line up for display as mine do. And if a small boy, sleepy, comes and finds me still painting, time can be bought to finish using up my mixed color while said child creates another deluge of mess on the other side of my dog gate barrier.

I tried to capture the chaos with my camera but the photo was just that- chaos, and imposible to read. So I tried a contour drawing instead. A single line threaded around haphazardly seemed more sucessful. Thanks to my friend who suggested contour, I shall try to draw other artists studios this way when I interview them. You can make out their table and supplies, my dog gate covered half down with a a tarp and my easles and sewing/small painting desk, as well as the edge of my round table that sits closer to the garage door. I edited out the clutter.

I'm frustrated not to be painting much this week but Im fighting some fatigue causing chronic malaise and must also do other things like shower invites for a deserving friend and wretched laundry. I can't wait to show you my Quail General or the large piece on the easle, which is trying my patience.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And Yet Another Miniature, Jackal, and A Sappy Bit on Being a Parent and an Artist



Being an artist and a parent means updating my blog by pressing as softly on the keyboard keys as possible while they sleep in bed behind me.
Being an artist and a parent means occasionally destroying my brush by forgetting to clean it because I had to RUN from my painting to attend to some duty like scraped knee kissing and sibling or cat claw removal.
Being an artist and a parent means letting go of keeping floors clean and laundry folded.
Being an artist and a parent means making sure the caps on the varnish, painting mediums, and acetate containers are screwed down really tight.
Being an artist and a parent means enclosing the studio behind a dog security gate/fence while my kids run amuk in the rest of my studio like chickens with their heads cut off and somehow miraculously still concentrating on painting.
Being an artist and a parent means always having an ear leaning away from the project.
Being an artist and a parent means finding a way to let them participate and create their own always amazing (to me) art.
Being an artist and a parent means sometimes putting down the child to take up the brush, and sometimes putting down the paintbrush to hug the child.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ibis, Another Miniature Painting, and the Possibility of Interviews


Ibis 6"X 4"

Just a quick post today. I don't usually post on the weekend (you know, in the TWO big weeks I've been blogging so far!) but I am trying to write at least three week day posts a week and last week was a bit post slim.

All this blogging about myself feels so narcissistic, and anyway, how much can I personally write about being both parent and artist? So I am compiling a list of interview questions for parents who make art at home while they also don the mantle of parent. It may take some time to actually finish these lists and pin down interview times so please, kind reader, bear with me and all this me-me-me-writing until then. I promise the interviews will be worth waiting for!

My miniatures aren't all that miniature, just so you know. Ibis was actually the first one, and a bit rough, but also the smallest (by a couple inches). I added the curtain last night, which helped ground the bird. And Jackel is done as of last night as well, but too wet to photograph.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Printing Lace Shadows and Inheritences


Lace Shadows

One month after I jetted off to Taiwan to see what was up with that guy Norman and I, my step father passed away. I didn't have enough money to fly back to the states and my mom told me not to try to return so I didn't. But a year later, when I did manage to get back she had gotten rid off just about everything that my stepdad had owned. Actually-everything. I had nothing to remember him by and being the sadly materialistic person that I am I was quite distraught.

But then, about a year ago I started collecting old crocheted bits of lace from craigslist, garage sales and flea markets. I mentioned this in passing to my mother. It turned out my step dad actually knew how to make lace and my mom still had one of his pieces, albeit a bit ripped. I sewed the lace onto a pillow, embroidering what lines were missing. The other pieces of lace I have found are either speckling my house like the freckles on my hands or being used in a new series of paintings I am working on. I actually roll oil paint onto the lace and print it, wood cut style onto my paintings, and then carve around them a bit. It's fun. I sold the first one, "Stork", already, done in my favorite long vertical, about 6 feet tall.

I just finished Lace Shadows, but instead of leaving only the color of the unfinished wood cuts I stained the wood lamp black in the shadowy cuts and rolled the lighter hue over to catch the edges. I am currently working on a sky themed piece to balance all the dark shadow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Possibilities of a Fabulous Garage Sale Find

Our old friend Mike stayed with us this weekend. He gave me a dollar every time I had to squeeze into the back seat between the kids two car seats. I don't much like mini-vans and I wouldn't buy an SUV but sometimes I do wish we had a bigger car. Still, I made almost ten dollars over two days by insisting we stop at every garage sale we came to (and then squeezing back into my squish spot). On one of these stops Mike persuaded me to purchase this fabulous Tampax dispenser. I plan to weld on groves so I can drop a board/sign down the front listing what I want to dispense. Won't it be superb?! After it is filled with small rolled up photo copies I shall put it up at art shows and make a whopping 50 cents per piece (or sell the whole thing for some exorbitant amount). Every tenth try will still be a Tampax.

But there are just so many choices of what to dispense with! So you, kind reader, must help me out by voting for what you think I should start with. Or if you have some other brilliant idea please comment. Thanks!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Art of Mothering

What do you mean I have been focusing on painting more than on parenting lately??
actually it's amazing Benjamin can even fit into Phin's clothes at all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tea With The Advesary, a Chicken Coop and Critique

A better name for this painting might have been Tax Write-Off. Or perhaps Which Came First-the Chicken or the Egg, because although I really enjoyed this painting I also really wanted to get chickens and to paint chickens (that is- to make paintings of chickens, not to actually paint a chicken which would fall more into the performance art field- who was that guy that swung the chicken about and covered himself in feathers?). And so so so conveniently all my chickens, chicken supplies and what coop materials I had to buy (mostly they came from Freecycle and Craigslist free stuff), were all a tax write off. And for a bonus we, hopefully in a month or two, will get a wonderfully colored selection of fresh, free range, organic eggs (not to mention fabulous chores for the boys to do- the fabulous fun of mucking out the chicken coop).

At any rate- please look for the implements of death somewhat hidden in this rather narrative painting. Next chicken Piece will be a Baba yaga style house-but Victorian- with chicken legs, and it will be hatching a fifties style house. If I only paint the legs can I write off the whole chicken?

The coop leader, alpha hen, and most outgoing of our chickens is Bellina (also known as Chickie). She and the others lived in a refrigerator box in my studio while the coop was being built. Bellina was first to discover she could fly up and roost on the edge of the box. For two weeks every time Id go to paint she would watch me critically from her perch. Some people get Dore Ashton as their critic...I get a chicken.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Noble Egret, A Foppish Bird and the Back of Art


And also a whole other series I'm working on! Are my energies a bit spread out or am I in a creative typhoon? Whatever the case, I have already painted a couple of these miniatures. Clever clever me, I thought I ought to work smaller so as to make my art more affordable to the masses, so I came up with the most detailed little pieces I could conjure thereby making my time worth very little.

In Elizabethan times, lacking a camera, people carried about portraits of their loved ones. For some inexplicable reason taking these and painting them with animal (mostly bird) heads seemed a good idea. Tennie Tiny bits of lace done with negative 1 size brush? But I like them. They are so wonderfully odd with their human hands and fancy frippery. I should like to paint all the old Egyptian Gods this way. I already have Ibis done (soon to be shown here). Jackal will most likely be next. And then I'll paint all the Egyptian gods in punk clothes.

But Im not really showing you, kind reader, any integration am I. So here's a bit of a secret. Many of my paintings have a bonus drawing on their backside by little elves that sneak down into my studio and draw on the wood sitting about- just like Mommy! So I always face the less desirable side out, thus leaving the good grain for my painting and giving buyers a little surprise when they turn the painting around.