Friday, October 13, 2017

10 year anniversary

11x11 pastel, from Bath County Plein Air

So here it is my ten year blogger anniversary...yay!

Time to think about my relationship with my blog. It began as a a tool. I was finally beginning the journey as a full time artist. I was super excited and scared. I didn't want to fritter away my precious time. So many artists had warned me that you need to prioritize. Now that I am not reporting for a "job" it can be difficult for family members to realize that it is a job and no I'm not free to use my time freely. ( I still do do some part time teaching.)
To help me I did two things, first I set a work schedule. Next, I decided that I would no long rely on photos, instead my work would be done on location or from my memory.

Thus the blog was born. For many years I blogged very single day, without fail. I painted everyday, including Christmas, rain and snow. Finally, after 6th year (I think) I decided I needed more time to work conceptually on the works and not worry about blogging each day.

That is when my work took an new leap.

Now I still love painting and blogging my small works outdoor and from memory. I still have a schedule that I adhere to. But it is through dedication and the ability to have my work on the brain all the time that I think it has grown the most.  It's like wearing a hat on my head all the time. Sometimes it feels just right. Sometimes it's too hot. The hat never comes off.
Things that help that I had no idea would help.:

1. reading poetry
2. meditation practice
3. walks to SEE
4. plein air competitions (now that's a love/hate relationship but it's always a benefit in the end.)
5. friends, especially my art friend Christine Troyer
6. remembering the creating is about constant play and not knowing.
7. creating from my heart and not worrying about how different and out of place my work can seem at a plein air competition.
8. my husband's undying support

Thank you to all of my loyal supporter and blog followers. A special thank you to Marking a Mark super blogger - Katherine Tyrrell. She noticed and displayed my work to a wider audience through her book and blog. Thanks Katherine!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bath County Plein Air

This week I am staying in a small cabin that is completely off the grid.  No cell service what so ever. This makes for state of silence in the mind that is a breeding ground for creativity. With small requirements on the artists this plein air festival is sweet. I love having the saturation of time and energy just on my art.  I call it bliss. More about the event when I return home.

Monday, September 18, 2017

we can't be creative if we refuse to be confused


pastel, 19x19

Embrace confusion.
We can't be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always begins with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it's scary to give up what you know, but the abyss is where newness lives.  great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. We must move thru that space that is bathed in fear. On the other side is the reward...beauty reinvented.

I was reading an article by Margaret J Wheatley titled, Turning to One:Simple Conversations to Restore Hope for the Future. This is basically what she said, but interpreted to art/painting. It has stayed with me for the past year. Think about it and tell me what you think.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Secrets


 I once read that a great painting has secrets that the viewer wants to know. 
Now I think about that. I see George Inness. I see his Home of the Heron than makes me want to be absorbed by it, like a sponge.




Monday, September 4, 2017

life's imperfections

I don't remember where I read this, but it has stuck in my mind for a long time now.

I will paraphrase,
"Scratches on the old record, this is what life is made of. It's life's imperfections that make it beautiful."

I find myself thinking about that when I create. This particular pastel made the idea tangible.

Friday, August 18, 2017

paint what you love

Washington State
I have been traveling (without my computer) for most of the summer. I have missed posting and will try to wrap up my thoughts in this one post.  When I thought about where I go when I travel I noticed a thread. I paint what I love.
Chincoteague
1. I return to the same place, sometimes even the exact same field for 10 plus years, like I do on Whidbey Island
2. lI ook for the same concept over and over- fields or water with large masses


This year my obsession with fields extended to working with the horizontals and verticals that break the monotony of simply horizontal planes. Chincoteague and Washington State seem to rule. The bottom line is I paint what I love and know intimately. I am not searching for the next big thing. I am not painting postcards to "remember my trip."
The concept is already here, in my head.
Prince Edward Island
Think about it, why do you paint what you paint?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fog

Fog is the great unifier. Down at the Potomac River, this morning. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Construct and deconstruct and repeat


I have learned that the reason why I paint is truly to fall in love with wonder, over and over. Each time I am at the easel I begin with an intention, yet I allow the painting to truly lead the way. This way painting is more like a good conversation. You can't plan it...you can plant seeds, but you need to listen and respond.
My painting falls somewhere between realism and abstract. I constantly construct my landscape and in the next turn deconstruct  the whole piece. Oftentimes, when I  I leave the easel for the day  my painting is unreadable. When I come back I find my way thru again.
These particular paintings are pastel on top of oil.

Friday, July 14, 2017

chincoteague Inspriation

My recent painting trip to Chincoteague was inspiring: fog, colored air, quiet and unbelievably- no bugs!
Both of these paintings began with a fluid acrylic underpainting. Then I took notes to describe what the landscape felt like.
Later, back in the studio, I added clear gesso and marble dust, then pastel. The buildings are simply found in the paint, not drawn. It just appears like magic.... a conversation with the painting.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

those pesky greens




So many people dread summer just because it is GREEN. Here are a few tips I use for working with greens.
1. Find the possibilities. I do many smalls before beginning a painting.
2. Try using different colors underneath for your under painting. What happens if you use only neutrals? Or just complements or analogous colors. Stretch!
3. Make a tiny hole with your hand.  Look through it to isolate the color. It's not really green, right? Most of the greens out there are layers that make an interesting warm or a cool and many are neutral.
4. Push it. Sometimes you need drama.    Exaggerate.

Here are three in summer...all green and all different times of day. All three were painted within 5 miles of my home.




Friday, June 23, 2017

creating smalls to prepare for large paintings


My recent workshop artists in Cincinnati embraced the challenge of creating "smalls." That means that each member is creating a small 3x3" or 4x4" painting a day. The point is simply to be there and respond. Easy, eh? Unfortunately I can not show you their work since it is on a private Facebook page, but I will show you two of yesterday's smalls.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Whistler- and seduction by realism

study from Sanibel Island
Whistler talks about this in some letters. Here is one recipient's quote,"He complained that he was seduced by that damn realism and it was so easy to just paint what was out there. And I think maybe he worried that he wasn’t being original enough, that he was too closely associated with Courbet, that he hadn’t been well-trained. And that he had kind of gravitated to Courbet’s realism because of his lack of training.”

Ruskin was too ill to attend, but several artists, including Burne-Jones, took the stand to defend Ruskin’s position, though the defense of Ruskin was more of an attack on Whistler. Under questioning from Charles Synge Christopher Bowen, counsel for the defendant, Burne-Jones characterized Whistler’s work as “incomplete . . . an admirable beginning,” “deficient in form,” and without composition.
Oh, to be as deficient in form as Whistler!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

The horizon line and red buds

The horizon line is a tyrant that demands you find a way to manage its particular demands. How do you bridge the two completely different and unrelated elements (sky and land) in the landscape? How to deal with " the line?" Each situation is different and requires a new way of adapting.
I have been painting by the red buds since their arrival this spring. The silvery beauty of the naked trees contrast to the golden greens of the bud leaves...and then you add the pow! of the red buds and wowza!!!! Fun! I just can't stop.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Visual kiss


Painting is like a visual kiss.  Touching you deep inside. It's not our job as artists to simply take inventory of what we see. We are not describers of what we see.

Remember how you see is different than what you see. 


I'm on Sanibel Island enjoying the warmth. The feel is so obviously sultry and yet exciting.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Value always does the work

The master Jean-Francois Millet wrote in a letter, "If a sketch seen in the dim half light at the end of the day has the requisite balance- ponderation- it is a picture: if not, no clever arrangement of color, no skill in drawing our elaborate finish, can ever make our a picture."
That said- as one surfs the slippery tide of color vibration one can easily get lost. My solution is to also spent time making large value pastels. It's one of those catch 22s. The abstract of the painting is always the mos important..if that doesn't work it will never work. We want to be free to answer to the painting rather than impose the "scene." Therefore I make these and then put them aside.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Be still

8x8 pastel

Be still and alone. In your silence the world will offer itself up to you.
This painting had to sit for two years. I had to learn to listen to what it needed rather than force my agenda.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Vincent van Gogh and mistakes

In a particularly impassioned letter to Theo from October 2, 1884, Vincent writes:
If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.
You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.
Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”
Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.
But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, “violates”…
Think about it. Working on old pieces that you long ago gave up on is a great way to feel some freedom. You no longer have the inspiration in front of you. If you began from a photo you hopefully no longer have that...and bingo you are completely free to make a beautiful song with the painting.
Ever since I have been in my walking boot (8 weeks and counting) it has been difficult to stand for a long time to work on my super large paintings.  During these weeks I have taken time to review my plethora of unfinished or unloved works stored in my tracing pads. This was one I did in plein air (last summer) and later gamsoled down in places. I had that reduced piece on my shelf for weeks. Looking to see the secrets that lay inside. When I finally returned to work on it, it was easy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Doing smalls




Here are four small paintings done by the roadside. They are done quickly, without thought. I simply respond.
It's funny how if you just allow yourself to  react without making a color plan, the light even feels better.  I love these little Haikus!
Try it sometime and let me know how it goes. I think you will love the spontaneity.
BTW I will exhibit some of these little jewels in the Waverly Street Gallery's show -Process and Inspiration. Here is a link to the show.

Monday, January 16, 2017

memory continued and making magic


Here are two versions of the same snow scene. The scene is inside me so now I just explore color options. Question to ask self......Yes, it's snow...but how can I make it a bit more magical?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Memory


Memory is a wonderful potent yet very open tool.  You see it. Absorb its essence. Then you distill it to its most important part. That is the reason why I like to create these small paintings. Even though the memory is there I need to play with the layers of color to see how it feels. The vibration of colors is important and there, are so many options to combine.  I hope this grows to a super large format...but for now I am still figuring it out.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Home and Design Magazine


Happy New Year everyone! I am delighted to begin 2017 with great news. Home and Design Magazine has an article about my work in their January/February issue.
A big thank you to Jeanne Blackburn for noticing my work.
Because you are my blogger friends I will give you a small story from the interview process. My interviewer and writer, Jeanne Blackburn, and I spoke often by phone. One day she came to my studio and we talked a long time. You may not know this but my studio assistant, Miss Poochers, was left in the house to attend to duties there. She was extremely unhappy about this situation and began to sing an aria to bring the attention back to her. Jeanne suggested that I allow Miss Poochers to join us.
hmmmmmmm.
Miss Poochers is an extreme extrovert and athlete...or should I say cathlete? Jeanne was very polite. She pet and oohed and ahhed over Miss Poochers, but in time our attention faded to the talk of art. Needless to say Miss Poochers was dismayed at this new situation. She decided to regain control.
She proceeded to climb the french door screens to the top of the doors. then she jumped 4 more feet to the sill of the arched window. From there she began to sing.
Miss Poochers walks the door, a normal activity
Of course she received more attention for her performance, but once again we moved on to the task at hand, the interview. You could just see the think bubble in her little head. "What can I do next?" After that Miss Poochers promptly flew off the sill straight down to the rug with a loud PLOP! Yipes! The flying cat scared both of us! This was a first for my cathlete! That was when Miss Poochers politely (or not so politely) returned to the house.

Here is the link to the article.

Miss Poochers since that day she likes to be up in the window.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Toni Morrison and the job of an artist in turbulent times

pastel from Whidbey field, re-done. Peace.
That task of the artist as a grounding and elevating force in turbulent times is what Toni Morrison (b. February 18, 1931) explores in a stunning essay titled “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” included in the 150th anniversary issue of The Nation.





Toni Morrison (Courtesy  Alfred A. Knopf)
Toni Morrison (Courtesy Alfred A. Knopf)
Morrison writes:
Christmas, the day after, in 2004, following the presidential re-election of George W. Bush.
I am staring out of the window in an extremely dark mood, feeling helpless. Then a friend, a fellow artist, calls to wish me happy holidays. He asks, “How are you?” And instead of “Oh, fine — and you?”, I blurt out the truth: “Not well. Not only am I depressed, I can’t seem to work, to write; it’s as though I am paralyzed, unable to write anything more in the novel I’ve begun. I’ve never felt this way before, but the election….” I am about to explain with further detail when he interrupts, shouting: “No! No, no, no! This is precisely the time when artists go to work — not when everything is fine, but in times of dread. That’s our job!”
I felt foolish the rest of the morning, especially when I recalled the artists who had done their work in gulags, prison cells, hospital beds; who did their work while hounded, exiled, reviled, pilloried. And those who were executed.
With an eye to the various brokennesses of the world, past and present, Morrison writes:
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.

I found that piece in the site called Brain Pickings. Love that site! So no matter from which side you look - go back to work. Complaining never finished a painting. It is our job as artists to help society heal.
Happy New Year friends.

Monday, December 19, 2016

painting and relationships- how they are the same

 You need to have an idea and hold onto it. From there it is almost the exact same dance as a relationship. You speak and the painting speaks. You need to listen.... not just think of what you are going to say next. Feel and respond. Painting is passion.