Wednesday, August 24, 2016
One rainy morning was all the proof needed to discredit any success of the durability of the little book house. The rain caused several areas of the roof to swell and split, which is really not good. In fact, it's quite bad. So, yesterday, after a journey to the hardware store with the intention of building a new roof, I realized that I needed MORE. More of everything and anything that would help protect the little house from rain.
Another trip to the hardware store yielded a sack full of waterproofing supplies, which, upon exiting the car, the doubled plastic sack ripped and all of the contents of the sack fell into the goopy gutter, and gentle reader, remember, it had just rained the day before.....the can of primer paint burst open, spilling 7/8ths of its contents in said gutter, and splattering everything in its vicinity....all of those new waterproofing products. But wait, there's more.....
One of the products that I got at the hardware store is this liquid plastic stuff in a spray can called flex seal. (As seen on TV, just not by me. It probably would have been wise for me to have seen that "as seen on TV" commercial, but alas, all I did was read the back of the can, which, presumably, should have been enough, but, not in this instance.) Two people had recommended the product, which is why I bought it. As per the instructions on the can, I cleaned all surfaces to be treated, and sprayed the surface that I wanted to coat from 8 to 12 inches away in a side by side motion. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and all the saints -- this is not what I thought it was and isn't doing what I thought it would do. Some of the product accidentally got on the window of the front door, and the plastic coating is not coming off of it....not with alcohol, not with turpentine, not with salt or baking soda, not with Windex, not with Scrub Daddy....nothing. And there are flecks of plastic all over the surface of the little house, and the whole thing looks pitiful, is pitiful. Oy vey what have I done? Maybe, hopefully, the library is/will be protected until I can build another roof, but in the meantime, I've made a huge mistake. Like the sign above says, library temporarily closed. :(
Friday, August 19, 2016
|This is the beginning of mixing paints to get more or less the right shade of blue.|
|That yellow square is the future front door, made from a scrap of wood leftover from a dresser mirror.|
|Front door installed, which is surprisingly difficult -- this took the better part of a morning to finish.|
|These tiny things are going to be the shutters.|
|The Amazing Reese is a blur of activity. He dug a starter hole, and then pounded the four by four into the earth. Next, he screwed in the platform for the little blue house.|
|Installed with books! I'll admit that I got a little verklempt at this point.|
|Look how cute those shutters are, with books visible through the windows.|
|Even though it's been less than 24 hours since it was installed, I've already had several readers stop by to get some books.|
Friday, August 12, 2016
The Little Free Library is nearing completion, and to that end, a dear, sweet, kind hearted neighbor has donated a great batch of books to the cause, one of which is a biography on e. e. cummings that I've already started reading. Look for more updates soon!
Friday, July 29, 2016
Looking into my neighbor's trash heap a few months ago, I had an eureka moment. The scraps so carefully placed by the side of the curb would be the perfect stuff to build a Little Free Library! The Amazing Reese and Tilly the Wonder dog were with me, and helped me haul it all back home after our run. Well, Reese helped. Tilly was nonplussed. First order of business was to see if any of the scraps were usable. Some were. (Yay!) Then, I had to piece together bits here and there to build walls and re-shingle the roof. A trip to the hardware store yielded Plexiglas for the windows, which Reese graciously re-cut for me because I had measured the space incorrectly where the windows were to be installed. I am not entirely sure how to properly seal these little Plexiglas windows, and for the life of me can't figure out a way to attach a front door, and don't even have a front door because, well, just because I can't figure it out.....for the life of me. The space for the door needs to be at least that big, (see above photo) so that the future librarian (me) can put in the books, and random strangers (and friends) can remove books to take home to read, when the time comes. The books never have to be returned. The idea is that anyone walking past can just grab a book to go. We live near an elementary school, so one of the things I'm most looking forward to is having a kid section, though there will be books for all ages and tastes, fiction and non. The thing is to have variety! Back to the "building it" story, the most recent obstacle, I thought, was making the little house water tight. The fella at the hardware store suggested caulking the cracks with silicone, which is water tight, which I did, but it just so happens that you can't paint over silicone, which, of course, I plan to do, half of the fun has been deciding how to paint it, so guess who gets to sand off all of the silicone that I just spent hours squirting into every nook and cranny? Yep, me.
So, even though I haven't been painting as much as before the great creative mind drought of Sarah Hazel of 2015/2016, I have been hatching other ideas, just not pursuing any of them as fervently as before the brain cloud. And, I'm tentatively happy that this Little Free Library will be finished by the end of the year.....that gives me time to make and hopefully fix a few more mistakes, which, seems to be a regular occurrence these days. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm happy to make the mistakes, because it means that I'm finally doing something.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
So, it was incredibly confirming, when, after not painting for a year, that this painting that was barely dry off the easel, was accepted into the Eighth Annual Juried Exhibition for Archway Gallery! The juror was John Runnels, seen here with me in this photo. The show will be in the gallery until August 3.
The Amazing Reese was graciously taking photos, an inordinate amount of photos -- this one is my favorite.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
After months of inactivity in the studio, I did it -- I spent the afternoon painting. Since starting painting 12-ish years ago, I've never gone this long without painting, or writing. Suffice it to say, it's been a weird stage/place to be. Hopefully, this is the start of a new beginning, a renewed focus, and inspiration to continue toward a pursuit in the arts. This took heart, hands, intellect, and all of the bravery in my soul just squeeze paint on the palette. Phew. What a day!
The subject matter was chosen because it affects no one but me if it's a lousy painting. #selfieportrait
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Lucille was faithful in spurts. Not withstanding the rusted out floorboard, which we covered with newspapers, she did get us from Colorado to California to Texas, but she preferred cold weather, and she really needed a push to get started, preferably a small hill so that we could give her a few good tries before reaching the bottom of the slope. It's neither cold nor hilly in Houston, so, not too long after we moved to here, we sold her. From that day till this, I've missed her. My one consolation is, as silly as it sounds, that the famous monster truck Grave Digger is actually the reincarnated Lucille.
For almost as long as I've lived in Houston, there has been an Art Car Parade. We've attended many, many parades, volunteered in a few, but what I've wanted for years was have/create an art car of my own. It's been on my bucket list for some time now.
Last week while checking my twitter feed one evening, I saw this:
Looking for a sweet ride to turn into an art car? This could be yours if you get it out of my driveway. pic.twitter.com/kv4ML68Tvk
What? Is it really true? Is someone really giving away a car? All these years of wondering if I'd ever actually have an opportunity to create an art car of my own, and this one is falling in my lap? YES! YES! YES!
Arranging for a tow truck felt like planning a surprise party. To add to the fun, the tow truck driver couldn't have been more delighted. All the way home, people would nod or wave to him from the streets and he would honk his horn and wave back. Reese and I were both giggly on the way home, and a little horrified that our "new" car was going to fall off the end of the tow truck bed. (Roads in Houston are a bit bumpy, to say the least.)
We are SO pleased to announce that we are now the proud "almost" owners (still have to sign the papers) of a 1980 Buick stretch limousine, affectionately named Lucille Two, in honor of our 1950 Chevrolet Panel Wagon, and a gentle nod to Lucille Two (Lucille Austero) in Arrested Development.
She's parked in our driveway RIGHT NOW!!!
Lucille Two, being a 1980 vehicle, needs quite a bit of TLC. The Amazing Reese has already started the process of changing/replacing various fluids and we did crank her up for a few minutes, but she's not quite ready for the open road -- not even close. For one thing, she needs new tires.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2015
This painting first began churning around in the the cavernous spaces of my brain back in 2009. Some paintings are like that -- I think and think about them, sometimes dreaming about how to convey what will go on the canvas without getting overly bogged in details, instead to focus on the big picture and (perhaps) a smaller message, if that makes any sense. For this one, however, it wasn't until last summer that I actually put brush to canvas and started on it. Started is the key word in that last sentence, because it was left VERY unfinished. It languished on the floor of the art studio for the last year collecting dust. It got shuffled around the studio, finally, firmly wedged between a pile of paintings stacked against the wall. Recently, someone reminded me of it, and last week or so, it got put it back on the easel just to see if any inspiration would unclog the enormous mental block experienced every time I glanced at it. This process took several attempts at painting something, then wiping it off, painting something, and wiping it off again. This is about the fourth attempt at the background and thankfully, it was a successful one, if not exhausting. I'm VERY pleased with how the background completes and complements this painting, and brings out the clear green of the eyes. And good grief, it's so much better than the other three attempts.
Portrait of a Homeless Man -- Louis is 20" x 16", oil on linen.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
The drought seems to be confined only to the creative aspect of my life. It is all encompassing -- writing, painting, cooking, gardening, playing music -- all has suffered. I can pull an occasional rabbit out of the hat, but mostly, the tricks are old, tired, and exposed.
This isn't a complaint -- honestly -- it's just an attempt at an explanation. Only my creative life has been disrupted -- I'm more stunned than anything, surprised that the normally fertile soil of my brain is such a parched desert of a landscape. Hopefully, just explaining this vacuous mind suck will revive something.....anything to reconnect my normally creative mind and hands to my heart, soul, and spirit. And hopefully, soon, I will find beauty in this desert.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Sometimes creativity is hard to come by -- like for the last month and a half. That's how long it's been since I painted anything. This painting has been on the back burner for a while and certainly isn't finished. It will likely be Monday or Tuesday before I can work on it again, which is just fine with me -- it will give me time to figure out how to paint the background. That looks like it's going to be complicated.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
This painting is a 16" x 20" oil on canvas.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
The entire show is strong, with artists from seven states represented in it. 587 artworks were submitted and only 58 pieces were selected, so I'm very pleased to have had "Tree at Menil Collection" chosen from such a large pool of entries.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Just a reminder for those who would like to join the Amazing Reese and me -- the opening reception for Visual Arts Alliance Open Juried Exhibition is May 25th from 6-8pm on the mezzanine lobby of Three Allen Center, 333 Clay Street, Houston, Texas 77002. This painting, Tree at Menil Collection, will be on view until July 11th.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I'm very happy to announce that this painting, Tree at Menil Collection, was selected by juror, Clint Willour, for Visual Arts Alliance 31st Juried Open Exhibition. The congratulatory notification said that out of 587 artworks entered by 152 artists, the juror chose 37% of works submitted by 29% of the artists submitting. (Somebody had fun with math coming up with those statistics.)
Please join me and the other artists whose work was selected at the opening reception next month, on May 25th, from 6-8pm in the lobby of Three Allen Center in downtown Houston.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
This painting is 12" x 15" oil on board.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
This is a 12" x 14" oil on wood that I actually painted last week. The flowers are from the camellia bush that came with the house when we bought it 16 years ago. It is growing in a very unlikely location - I often wonder how it survives year after year, though to my delight, it does. This is the latest it has ever bloomed - must have something to do with our unusually cold and prolonged winter.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Besides figuring out what to paint, which is an enormous undertaking, the next biggest challenge is, besides covering the entire canvas with paint that resembles the vision I have in my head, cleaning my paintbrushes. Last week, because I was trying to work through several paintings, cleaning paint brushes got to be very cumbersome, and the painting that I did on Thursday, the Tree in Landscape, was done entirely with a palette knife, which, of course, made cleaning the brushes that day super easy, as there were none to clean.
Today, I started out with the palette knives just putting colors where I wanted them to be. Then I worked for a while with a few round tip paint brushes. I usually love using the round tip brushes because they so easily swirl and twirl the paint, which is what I like to see in my work. However, today it all seemed so tedious. So I started painting with my fingertips. It immediately reminded me of being four years old and in kindergarten again. The control achieved with my fingertips was pretty much exactly what I wanted to accomplish with this painting. There are a few tweaks here and there that will likely be made, and clean up is easily done.
This painting is 20" x 24" oil on linen.