Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Visit to the Dentist (again!) and flower in a jar

After a painting free weekend, (studio cleaning, building Ballistas for school projects (don't ask), and recovering from my Toledo visit) I am back in the studio with a flower and a jar (and a bottle of mylanta, but that painting isn't quite done yet, little trouble with the spoon).....I was deterred a bit today by my visit to the dentist where I had 2 (yes two at the same time) teeth drilled for crowns....now I have a very glittery temporary smile for two weeks....sigh....take care of your teeth people.

I painted this yesterday....lots of problems with the composition that I didn't notice until after it was too late.....regardless, I liked the challenge of the clear jar....Because of the upcoming two shows I am in, I don't want anything too complicated so I'm hoping the flowers will last the week....I'm taking good care of them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sometimes the best laid plans......

This week is going to be a crazy week to say the least....I've kind of been in hibernation since January, only coming out long enough to do my daily paintings, then crawling back in my wintery hole waiting for spring. I have seriously (albeit very willingly and consciencly) neglected my glass fusing.

A little history here: When I graduated with my degree in Art Education in 2005 (I was a non-traditional student, single mom of 4, and took the "scenic route" to finishing college.....in other words, it only took me 17 years to complete....TWICE.(a story for another time), I truly thought I would find a teaching position and that that's what I would do until I retired. What's that saying...."sometimes the best laid plans"....or something like that......

Anyway, 6 years later, with a few teaching bits here and there, I've come to the conclusion that I am destined to be an artist, not an art teacher (for now) I'm ok with that, and after much initial frustration, soul-searching, and most importantly the support of my ever-loving, extremely understanding, and supportive love-of -my-life, I'm pursuing my dream of being "just an artist". I realize now that I went the "education" route because I got divorced, and panicked about supporting my 4 kids. When I met Jim, I was given the best gift any artist could ask for: Time. (and of course a huge studio in the barn on 5 gorgeous rural acres to create, my sanctuary)

Ack, I digress....my whole point in this post was to share my glass fusing.

When I graduated, my first job as a "teacher" was at a Boys and Girls Club. If you've never been to one, or don't know what it is, I can't express enough what a haven this is for disadvantaged youth. I was a Unit Director, in charge of implenting programs at a junior high school to keep kids off the streets, give guidance, offer a safe place for them to pursue activities like sports, art, homework, and so much more....this is truly a great place to involve yourself in if you ever get the chance. Having just completed a degree in Art, I wanted to share my excitement for it and also teach the kids something they might not experience even in their regular art class at school. I had been wanting to learn glass fusing for several years, after purchasing a glass necklace at an art festival....I decided I would wear it as a daily reminder until I figured out how it was done......I believe I wore it for 2 years until I learned how to do it....with the help of several "strangers" along the way. This is actually a good story about the spirit of artists and humanity willing to share what they know, give from their heart, and expect nothing in return...a story that deserves it's own "post". Ultimately I learned how to fuse glass, and share it with the kids at the Boys and Girls club, and sell the work they created at the annual fundraiser for the club. You cannot imagine the pride in these kids to have someone buy something they made, to give it tangible value, and in a sense, support themselves.....sigh, another story for another day, and again I digress!!!....such is the mind of a truly scattered artist.....left-handed to boot!

Anyway....I spent 5 years learning the art of glass, selling it at shows locally and online, basically immersing myself in it. Not once in the past 5 years did I pause and think I would ever stop making glass. Right after Christmas, I hit the GLASS WALL. I was just done. Burned out, in a rut, whatever you want to call it. I decided to take a short break and just paint for a couple weeks....ummm....yeah. If you've been following my blog, you know a few weeks has turned into almost 4 months and I'm on a roll now...in painting that is. And I have no intention of stopping for a long time.


I was cajoled into being a part of a huge show in Toledo with a new art group I joined for emerging artists. I did not want to do this event. I politely declined at first, too busy with my painting and hibernating to bother. Then I thought about it. I have crates and crates of finished glass product gathering dust in my studio. I also have a friend in need more than I....A fellow artist and former co-worker , undergoing cancer treatment, supporting a family, and out of work with no pay until he is better. He has a "studio" in his garage that is in need of a few repairs.....well actually more than a few, perhaps a WALL, or some INSULATION, or maybe even an EASEL!!! Shame on me for letting things sit in boxes when they could go to good use in the healing process of not just a fellow artist, but a dear friend who stood by me when times were tough. "Ok", I told the organizer of the event, "I'm in"

I'm a simple person. I don't need my nails done, I get my hair cut once every 3 years, I don't wear shoes often so I certainly don't need 100 pairs , and except for the 10 pounds of weight (ok, maybe 20) I gained when I turned 40, I don't need new clothes...I'll just get paint on them anyway. A long time ago I was taught it was better to give than recieve. Somewhere along the way I was blessed to meet a giver, who gave me new life in the form of a studio, of time, and respect for what I do.....it's my turn to give back too. So here are a few examples of my "other" artform. If you're in the Toledo area and want to stop by the Artomatic 419, come say hello. If you feel compelled, buy a piece of glass....all proceeds go to supporting someone's art dream much the same way mine has been. If you're out of the area, and are interested in my glasswork, I will be posting whatever has not sold on my etsy site in a few weeks to benefit this much needed "recovery studio"......I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Carrot Cake Cookies, Colon Cancer, and Company

Just put a batch of cake mix cookies in the oven, this will be the fastest blog post ever, when the timer rings, I'm off! Headed to Toledo today (an hour drive, not bad) to bring some home cooked soup, cookies and some company to a friend recovering from surgery for colon cancer, so there won't be much painting today! I painted the Tulips yesterday, even though it feels like winter out, my tulips are halfway up and the crocuses are blooming....makes me grateful to be healthy when I have friends who are not.....This week I will be very busy preparing my paintings for display as part of the Public Arts initiative in Perrysburg, Ohio, where I have been blessed to be asked to display my daily paintings. Also, I will be selling my fused glass creations at Artomatic 419, a really cool event in Toledo, Ohio where hundreds of artists take over empty warehouse buildings to display their wares. I love this event, as it in not juried , so everyone is there!! ok, minute warning bell on the cookie timer, posting tulips and I'm off! Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Flowers

These are just the other paintings I worked on this weekend......all flowers, I think I'm ready for spring.

Help Japan Challenge!

This weeks challenge from Daily Paintworks was to paint a painting that the artist must be willing to donate the proceeds to help the victims of Japan. This was the easy part. The hard part was choosing what represented "home" to me. I often think of home in terms of where I grew up, in NH. But also in places I feel at home at my house, like the front porch, or in my studio. I struggled with the subject matter on this one because I wanted the painting to be done well, and as of yet I don't feel like my landscapes or architecture things like porches and interiors would be worthy of such a challenge. So I decided to go with what makes me feel at "home" in my painting. When I first started painting, it was always of flowers, Irises mostly, and I liked to paint them big so I didn't have to work out a background. So for this challenge I chose a Lotus, found in many Japanese gardens and simple and beautiful much like the Japanese spirit. If you are interested in purchasing this or any of several hundred other paintings, all proceeds will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. Click here for the auction link. http://www.dailypaintworks.com/Challenge/FC50B15D-5016-4E5E-87F2-87C3F79BA65B

Friday, March 18, 2011

Make hay while the sun shines and first crocus!

Ok so the sun is shining and I just set up my studio outside so no time for chit chat or blig blog.....here's my outside studio and the first crocus of the season!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Snobbery, Secrets, and more strawberries

I just read a wonderful blog post about "secrets" of the masters, and the idea that hoarding of knowledge in art and technique is unnecessary.....click here to read..the author says it so much better than I..... http://artbabel.blogspot.com/2011/03/secrets-of-old-masters.html

Articles such as this are refreshing to read and further my own beliefs about art and sharing. I've never believed that one should hoard their skill or knowledge, least of all a teacher....Artists that covet such things truly must be insecure in their own abilities and self as an artist. I remember an art show where I was displaying some of my fused glass....another vendor came by and asked me how I had achieved a certain affect on one of my pieces. I proceeded to share how I had done so, much to the chagrin and even anger of my business partner at the time. She stewed the rest of the day, treating the woman rudely whenever she came by to speak to me...telling me I should not share my techniques lest the woman "steal" them...I remember being terribly embarrassed, and upset because after all, it was my "secret" to share....I consider my art as my legacy, and the more I create and learn, the more I am able to share. It is all I will leave behind when I leave the land of the living. I have found many other artists and blogs that have the same unselfish philosophy, and I learn the most from them. While I am new to "daily" painting and immersing myself in the art world, I am by no means new to art and it's snobbery. In fact, I distanced myself from painting for a long time, regrettably, for just that reason....I could not tolerate the "judgement" of certain shows and events with a jury of so called professionals who decide what is art, or more precisely, what constitutes "good art".....These are the same type of so called professionals that decided that Marcel Duchamp's urinal was art, or Warhol's campbell soup label was revolutionary. I'm not arguing that they are not artists, rather that they ARE artists, and judgement should not necessarily be left to the jury alone. I love the online community of artists I am stumbling across daily, mostly on facebook, but in blogs and searches as well. I feel humbled to be able to read the daily musings of artists that are beyond my experience and ability in the so called world of art. Hats off the the artists who share, and play nice in the sandbox. Let me never be accused of being so successful in art or life that I cannot give back what was given to me in the first place.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Hampshire Lupines

A New Hampshire native, I am so drawn to images of the New Hampshire landscape, so from time to time I attempt to paint one.....I think I need to take a workshop on landscape painting.....it's one of my biggest challenges....

Catching up....

I'm catching up on my "daily" posts....lol, I suppose this is one way to do it.

Not sure how to post more than one photo at a time....hmmm

8x10 oil on canvas board

In a rut (and back out I hope)

So I've been in a bit of a painting rut for the last week....It all started when I had to move my easel and paints from the back sunroom to my barn studio(which I love, but it's awfully cold in the winter even when heated) and I was feeling very comfy on the back porch. However, with asthmatic people, oil paint and mediums seem to trigger wheezing, so out I go....I missed a day or two moving things out and organizing and it was enough to throw off my artistic momentum....Leave it to this weeks challenge to pull me out of the doldrums (I'll post that attempt later) For now, here are the paintings from last weeks "rut". You will understand when you see them...I was very disapoointed with the key lime pie....It started out as a regular painting but when it got muddy I just paletted knife painted over it. That seems to be my solution for paintings I've overworked and killed....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekends and Challenges

Most people look forward to the weekend to relax, catch up on housework, etc....but being a "stay at home mom/painter" , the weekends (esp at the tail end of winter) tend to get anxious for me. I have so many ideas in my head of things I want to paint or create, and weekends come much too soon. Weekends are "family" time and I need to learn the fine art of balance. I have 4 children, ages 12,16,17,18..... and It won't be long before I wake up and realize that they've grown up and moved on with their own lives....It's hard because they are at the age where they want to go out with friends but Mom's at the age wondering where did all the time go and how can I make it up? I have a feeling I will probably make it up by painting their childhood since I didn't have time to do so when they were young....For now, I look forward to "family movie night", summers on the boat, track meets, soccer games, new bunnies and kittens in the barn, band and choir concerts, driver's ed, proms, and upcoming graduations....(gulp, sob).....Painting everyday has truly helped me get through some of life's challenges....the loss of a dog, a friend with cancer, and now my kids leaving the nest......What does this have to do with Abraham Lincoln? Well, not a whole lot, except that it was this weeks Challenge on the Daily Paintworks site, and it reminded me of my favorite quote by him. I hope my kids think this about me someday.

"All that I am and hope to be, I owe to my mother"
~Abe Lincoln

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Planning ahead is not my forte...

I've never been good at planning things out. I tend to jump head first into things and figure it out as I go...sometimes it works out, sometimes I realize I should have planned ahead. But always, I learn something. Take painting for example. Like most painters, I always paint a "ground" on my canvas rather than work directly on white.....Unlike most painters, I don't "plan" my painting first and choose a ground color. Often I just use whatever pile of paint is left on my palette and use it on blank canvases. Consequently I have many "grounded" canvases in all different colors. When I went to paint this beach scene, I didn't have any small canvases with a suitable ground prepared. A planner would have just held off on that painting, prepared a canvas of suitable size, and waited. Not me....I think I have ADHD....maybe....but I had just rec'd new paint in the mail and I wanted to use it.....So here is my finished 20x30 inch beach scene, much bigger than I wanted it to be, but I like it.

If you've never tried Daniel Smiths quinocrodine line of paints, it's a must! The pinks of the shirt are a quinocrodine rose, and they are very vivid. Quinocrodine gold is one of my all time favorites as well. I just purchased their set (they're all warm colors, transparents, and the set of 10 is cheaper than buying individually)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekly Challenge "Two's Company"

I'm truly enjoying Carol Marines Weekly Challenges and learning even more. This week's challenge involved using a different color of paint for each stroke.....It took a lot of planning and thought at first, but moved along faster as I painted. I like the outcome, but I think I need more practice to get it just right, but the point was to avoid "overworking" a painting, which I tend to do, so in that respect it worked out perfect.....

Mom always said not to play with knives.....

I watched on online demo of an artist doing a palette knife painting, and she made it look so easy I decided to tackle one of my own. Boy was I wrong. It was VERY challenging. However, I love the way palette knife paintings look when done correctly so I have a feeling I well be visiting my jar of knives again soon, but not until I sell a painting, I almost exhausted my entire tube of white paint on the last one!