Monday, December 31, 2012

Ordinary Times are Here Again

Ordinary Times are Here Again
The calendar is CLEAR again
Time for painting, never fear, again!
Ordinary  Times are Here Again

No, I don’t bid the holidays a sad farewell.  Tomorrow, New Years Day, I will gladly move forward into the New Year by pulling down and packing away Christmas clutter, and restoring our home to peaceful simplicity. 

And, already this week, I’ve made a good start on beginning what I have realized is my favorite season: Painting Season.
 It starts after the holiday season, and seems to come to an end when gardening season and then the concurrent cottage season both begin.  These run until late fall (with a slight easing in gardening midsummer, which is compensated for by cottage season) when, amazingly enough, holiday season again takes over.
Each season has its own upsides and downsides.  I am just learning to accept that they seem to drive me instead of me them.
To celebrate the start of Painting Season,  I’ve already started a BUNCH of paintings at once.  I’ve drawn several designs from my floral sources onto half-sheets,  then stretched them onto boards.  Many of my watercolor friends eschew stretching, and I sort of feel the need to apologize to them.  No, I DON’T think it’s necessary  or important – for your paintings.  But I really do like to start my paintings this way for myself.   Even the process seems to get me into the painting mood.
And what’s more important than that? Especially as the Season Begins!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Town 2012

Last week was a fine week for this artist.   The Birmingham Community House held its annual fundraiser, "Our Town" (no, not the play, as my sister assumed).  Perhaps 100 artists and twice that many works of art are represented, and well heeled Birminghamers come to the opening night for wine, wonderful refreshments, and art.  Artists whose work is accepted into the show are invited, at no cost, and it makes for a great party, especially as generally one knows quite a few other artists with whom to meet and greet.  I saw friends and fellow SOBs  Diane O'Neil and Barbara Markham, and quite a few others.

Best of all BOTH paintings that I entered in the show sold. One, Momentary Revelation, is shown at the left.  The other, Fleur de Tulip, is shown here.

Needless to say, I was a happy camper, even though both of these paintings were favorites, with important locations in my home. Now I have to get busy and paint more with this kind of impact!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

All pictures few words

Back from a vacation week with a head cold. Hope it's kosher to post some pix without many words. Here are some original notecards I spent time on while on vacation, to try to get started again after a long long hiatus from artwork. They'll be nice to have on hand when I need a card in a hurry! 

Perhaps more words  later  this week after our monthly SOB/CEO meeting: it's been requested that we talk about CONTENT.  Maybe some interesting discussion will ensue?  No content to speak of here  . . .. sorry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Sisters of the Brush have a Brush with Fame!!

Lots going on for the Sisters of the Brush this fall, most of it THIS WEEK!  

First, please check out this wonderful article in the Observer/Eccentric newspaper from Sunday (I bought enough paper copies for the SOBs, and then some . . . ). Click HERE.

Second, we open at Lawrence Street Gallery . . . TONIGHT!  We certainly hope you will be there to see our work and meet us.  We are also hoping to sell one of Mary McCarthy Anderson's paintings (see at right: "Forbidden Passage") to support the scholarship fund established in her name. If you've always wanted to own an original MMA watercolor, come tonight!  For more information about the gallery, and directions, click HERE. 

The picture at  left shows the Sisters of the Brush assembling the limited number of card sets (one from each artist) that will be available for sale at the gallery: look for the display stand near the front door. Get yours fast, these are bound to go quickly!

Third, Friday night is the opening reception for the BSWP's annual exhibit, this year entitled "Crossing the Lines". The art is awesome and the refreshments are world-famous.  And I even have a painting in the show! 

Personal Definitions

I live by making my own personal definitions.  I think a life skill of mine has been acceptance, and defining what I need accordingly is the corollary.    As I have endeavored to become an artist over my lifetime,  I have redefined for myself what an artist is.   After all, don't we all have our personal definitions of what constitutes (or qualifies as) art?  I certainly do, and my definition is very narrow-minded,  for the bleeding-heart-liberal that I am about most other things.   But that's not my subject today.
            I've also defined and redefined success over the years. I've found it is the sure way to achieve success - you should try it!  Once, success in art would have been many sales.  Later, I decided, many awards. Not having achieved either of these, I've had to redefine . . . again.   These days, I'm measuring my success in Wall Hours or Wall Days.  This is a measure whose formula I have yet to perfect and apply, but has something to do with getting my artwork out of the house and hung up on someone else's wall.  In Wall Days, I've had an excellent year, probably my personal best.  Starting last fall with Florabundance (with Pat McGraw) at the Birmingham Unitarian Church,  I've had more work in more places for more days then any other 12 month period.  Success!!!
               This month my redefinition involves creativity.  No, I still have not managed to start any new paintings.  I've spent most of my summer days since returning from our cottage preparing to show work.  I've worked and reworked old paintings, photographed and rephotographed same, then framed and re-framed too.  All to achieve more of those Wall Days.   But, still, I am deciding that this too feels creative.  Mind you, I've had enough now, and am ready to start  stretching some paper and spraying down my pallette. But, this work is part of being an artist too. At least, per my (new) definition!
           The painting shown above (poorly photographed by me, I should have taken it to Eric Law!) is one that I had decided was a failure, and had consigned it to the scrap heap.  Generally, these eventually get gessoed over with white gesso and reused for cat paintings. In this case, I decided to rework instead.  This is one of the paintings that is now at Lawrence St Gallery - obviously I decided to define it as successful!  Come see it in person and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All Girls, No Boys in Our Town

I hate having a post without an illustration, but the summer has not been a good one for creativity time.  It's been a good summer, don't get me wrong. But the basement studio has not been used to the best purposes in recent months: more often a dormitory for extra cats than an artistic haven. Oh well. Winter seems to be my creative season. And, sorry all:  winter IS on its way!

I am feeling more encouraged, actually,  about my art.  The Sisters of the Brush will have our third exhibit at Lawrence Street Gallery, which begins in September. Each of us will have about 6 works in the show, and we hope to manage some note cards as well.   For more information about the reception, check out the Sisters of the Brush web site.Maybe you've received a postcard from one of us or from Lawrence Street Gallery. If you didn't, and wish you did, be sure to find our contact-us page and let us know!

Also I'm very pleased to have had two paintings accepted into the Our Town exhibit that's held every year at the Birmingham Community House in October.  Always a pleasure to have been selected, because the artists are invited, (free!) to the opening reception which is QUITE a shindig.  Okay, it's also terrific artwork and a lovely venue too.

It's not been my best  year for success with submissions, so having a couple coming up is reassuring. The problem now is, the BSWP (Birmingham Society of Women Painters) annual exhibit is also coming up.   The work entered in this juried exhibit is always quite strong - I've been VERY lucky to have had artwork accepted both of the first two years I entered, and also was awarded honorable mentions each time. HOWEVER - I just don't know what work I have right now that I feel honors the high standards of this group.  Of my current work, the best are already committed to "All Girls, No Boys" and to Our Town.  Can I create something new of  adequate caliber, in only a few weeks?  Unlikely.  Maybe that will have to be next year.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lost in Space and Line

I need a better path back from these ‘dry spells’ when art takes a back seat for too long.   I haven’t touched brush to paper in about a month, and the passion driving the two unfinished paintings in the studio has dissipated. 
I’ve mentally written 2 or 3 or 4 blog entries, though, often in the middle of the night.  Somehow I have to turn those ideas into something like a project, involving paper, ink, paint!
COLOR – Thought - and read - a lot about this recently.  What colors make my ‘heart sing’?  (That’s Pat M’s expression, and what a good one for evaluating art). Usually, although often I don’t much LIKE abstracts (please don’t spread that around, it’s my guilty secret), the paintings with singing color are just that: perhaps because the abstract artist can abandon local color.  When I’ve frozen in front of a painting for its color, it’s often abstract, with acres of neutrals/grays/muds, and a jewel of a spot with a BIT of glorious, pure color.  How can I figure out how to achieve this when my subject is, so often, flowers?
LINE and DRAWING – recent success with a ball point pen: successful both in the result on paper ( a good likeness of a friend’s cat which I have failed to capture with several attempts painting), and more success in that I was in that wonderful zone, when I know I’m spending my time in the Right Way.
But – what to do next with all this in mind? It’s a puzzlement!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just found out, I can draw dogs too!

My role with PAAW (Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren) has become quite creative.  One function that seems to becoming my own is the generation of thank you notes – plain yet personalized in many cases, but handmade and unique when a contributor goes above and beyond.        
Just recently a good friend to PAAW, we’ll just call her Jenny,  contributed the princely sum of $1000, to pay for surgery for Shatzi.   Here’s my drawing of Shatzi, done while I was attempting to create a card that could adequately express our gratitude for such a gift.  Not possible, but I tried.                   

Let me have Shatzi speak for herself:
“Hi! My name is Shatzi! And I am a super sweet and lovable Shih Tzu who was recently rescued by PAAW! I came into the rescue in bad shape, having been neglected by my previous owner who used to feed me Cheerios for dinner and didn't take very good care of me. Prior to my rescue, I was hit by a car and my leg was badly broken. My owner said he was going to take me into have me euthanized and threatened to just "take me in the back and shoot me", because he didn't love me enough to have my leg fixed and give me the care I needed. I was very sad and was in a lot of pain, and was wishing someone would come and help me!

Lucky for me, my neighbor knew one of the volunteers from PAAW, and she jumped in to save me right away! She picked me up and took me to the vet, and my leg was fixed up in a jiffy! I am in foster care now, and have pins in my leg and a big cone on my head while I recover. But my surgery was very expensive, and I still have other work that needs to be done, including my neuter and some badly needed dental work! :0 PAAW desperately needs help to cover my expenses and continue to give me the special care that I need! If you can find it in your heart, please donate today! Thanks for your support! xoxo  Shatzi”

Please note that Shatzi will be available for adoption soon. If you are interested in giving her a GOOD home, contact PAAW through their website, and fill out an adoption application.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kingsford has become Bubastis

Some of you have asked for further information about Kingsford the Short-Tail cat.  Well, he's not our baby anymore.  But I just got an update from his new partner in life, KB.  I will include her words here - obviously we are pretty thrilled at just how lucky Kingsford has been.

"I ended up re-naming him after all. His name is now Bubastis. It was an ancient Egyptian city, the largest dedicated to the worship of Bast (the Egyptian cat goddess) and cats in general. The name is also referenced in one of my favorite graphic novels. One of the characters lives in solitude, his only companion his lynx named Bubastis. I figured, since he's missing a great portion of his tail, he looks a bit like a lynx, and the name seemed fitting. I call him Bubs for short. 

He and I have become quite a couple. As I'm often out and about, I've taken to bringing him with me. He even walks on a leash! People generally seem to be pretty impressed with him. He's so fearless and very talkative. He's managed to convince three of my friends that have always been "dog people", that cats can be awesome too."

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A HOT summer for artistic pursuits

About this heat, all I can say is, thank goodness my studio is in the cool basement.

A VERY active summer for art so far this year.  The Sisters of the Brush have had our work displayed for the past month at the Bean and Leaf coffee shop in Rochester. That display comes down tomorrow, but instead,  a NEW exhibit goes up at the Fieldstone Winery.  This neat place   has an agreement with the Firebrick Studio and Gallery to hang artwork and hold (wine-tasting!) receptions as well, and the SOBs were invited to fill in for the month of July.  Note that the (wine-tasting!) reception for our group will be held on Friday, July 20th, from 6 – 9 pm. It is hoped  (by every business on Main Street!) that by then the road construction that has brought the town of Rochester to its knees will be ending.  In any case you need to check out both the Firebrick Gallery (great artwork and gifts) and the Fieldstone Winery (excellent wine, and so much fun to make and bottle your own!)
Iris Tapestry I  (watercolor) - 11 x 14 framed.

These are my paintings that were hanging at the Bean and Leaf. The "tapestry" behind the iris blossom is invented of course, but even so required some inspiration - can you detect what inspired that pattern?

The cat in the next painting is my mother-in-law's Archie, named after her late husband.  Archie turned out to be a girl, but kept her name so that Irene would have someone by that name to talk to all day.  The pearls are NOT really hers.  And they are NOT really pearls, either, but that's another story.
I do hope you will be able to come by Fieldstone Winery to see which  paintings will be hanging there: I might post them here AFTER the show comes down.
My very newest paintings  –  NINE pieces finished in the past few months! -  are currently being photographed by Eric Law.   One or more may get entered in the Our Town competition, and others will be  getting  framed and ready for the Sisters of the Brush exhibit to be held at Lawrence St Gallery in September.  The reception for that event will be held on Thursday, September 6th,  from 6 – 9pm. We are certainly hoping to see many of our friends there!
It's Mine Now (watercolor on gesso) - 12 x 17 framed.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Back to ART, thank goodness.

Getting my money’s worth
I’m tempted to name this painting that way.
It seems like the majority of the artists I know say that “it’s about the process” – that they do their art for the enjoyment of the making.  Being in the moment, not planning, not finishing, not framing and selling: we mostly enjoy the PAINTING.  That being said, this sheet of watercolor paper has paid for itself in the hours of enjoyment I’ve reaped, regardless of the result.
 I painted the marigold blossoms on a full sheet but wasn’t happy with the “end” result.  I taped it to the studio wall to alternately study and ignore.  Shortly I decided it was a failure, which opened me up to a myriad of possibilities – that’s often when I get the happiest and most creative.
I took it to the laundry tub and SCRUBBED it, and folded it and wrinkled it and spread it out and dried it.  I had shadows left, warm colors, very subtle.  Taped it back to the wall to study and/or ignore for some weeks.
 Then, having returned from Judy Morris’s workshop at Kanuga feeling justified in my constant cravings for pattern, I just started in.  Every time I returned to the studio, I mixed up another analogous color and added another pattern area.  I visited the whole surface, breaking up areas, pulling other areas together with similar colors or patterns.  Not thinking, just reacting and wielding a brush.  All in all,  I’ve spent more enjoyable hours over this piece of paper than I can remember on any other.  Got my money’s worth: way cheaper than a round of golf or a movie or even a bestseller book.  And it may not even be done yet. Any opinions on that?