Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Backyard Amaryllis

Sometimes, it's such a struggle to find time for working in the studio. The last few weeks have been quite full of everything and anything except for painting. Thankfully, today it finally happened. I painted. Hallelujah.



This painting is 12" x 15" oil on board.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Daffodils

Spring, glorious spring - this is oil on wood, 12" x 14".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Camellia on Wood

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

El Mariachi

Going through some old stuff recently, and I remembered that I've been meaning to paint this for a long time.....several years. This is 12" x 15" oil on board.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy Anna's Birthday, aka Valentine's Day

The Amazing Reese and I had a simple Valentine's day, yes, full of love and contentment, but simple. We happily rented a redbox movie, Austenland -- very cute, and surprisingly enough, got McDonald's to go. I can't remember the last time we had McDonald's. I'm pretty sure it was years ago when we were on the hunt  for the teeny beanie baby surprise in McDonald's happy meals. With four young daughters, we had a lot of happy meals in a relatively short amount of time, and I think we just sort of burned out on McD's. Last night, Reese and I were both so hungry that we scarfed down our burgers, after which we reasoned that if we were both that hungry that it took us 2 1/2 minutes to eat, then we didn't deserve to eat at a fancy restaurant for Valentine's day. Last year, we went to Brennan's -- my absolute favorite restaurant of all time -- and had lousy service. Brennan's is still my favorite restaurant, and we've gone there in the past for lunch on Valentine's day with great success, it's just that they were much too busy last year during dinner service to pay us any attention. So, I guess in typical over compensating fashion, we went in the complete opposite direction this year. It worked just fine for us, plus the burgers and fries paired really well with a nice bottle of red wine. Long, rambling story, but there it is.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tree in Botanical Gardens in San Miguel


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.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Green Vase with Philodendron


One of my biggest challenges as an artist is trying, for the life of me, to figure out what to paint. Especially with my newish self imposed painting a day challenge (I didn't paint yesterday), today was no exception. I searched the house and yard (in between all the rain) for a considerable amount of time, just looking. The best idea I had was to paint a still life -- too shloshy to paint outdoors. (Is shloshy a word?) Often, with a still life, I rearrange some furniture and arrange the items just so to get the composition and lighting correct. But the day was getting away from me, so I grabbed this estate sale vase from a shelf, and placed it on this particular window sill in the art studio directly in front of the easel that looks out to the neighbor's brick wall. Without a ruler as a guide because that would have entailed another search and rescue mission to who knows what corner of the house to find it, this is eyeballing the angles. This is 12" x 14 1/2" oil on canvas.

On another note, with all of this shloshy weather (there's that word again), poor, sweet, adorable pet Tilly didn't get a walk. She's a little (a lot) on the wiggly side.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Little Boy Playing the Piano


Well, I'm not quite finished with this one -- still have a lot of details to suss out -- but the gist of the image is done. It's a sketch I started over a year ago -- just haven't been inclined to work on it until now. It's 16" x 20" oil on linen, but remember, it's not finished....I don't think. We'll see.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Tree in Landscape


12" x 14" oil on board - Tree in Landscape

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Window in San Miguel


As a family plus one Spaniard, the only time we made the journey to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico was in 2006. All seven of us piled into the Suburban and drove for two days to get there. We rented a little house on the hill and immersed ourselves in all things Mexico. We shopped in the local market everyday. We walked everywhere. We ate the best, real, authentic Mexican food I've ever eaten in my entire life. By the end of our week, I was even dreaming in Spanish. I loved it!

Window in San Miguel is very typical of the type of architecture that is all over the town. This painting is from a photo that I took on one of our many walks. Maybe we'll go back there some day. I hope so. It's an absolutely charming place.

Window in San Miguel is 11"x 23 1/2, oil on wood.

Camellia in Vase


While I'm not promising to paint every day for the next 21 days, I'm not saying that I won't. This is what I painted yesterday. It is a 10 1/2 x 11, oil on board -- Camellia.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Doing Something


Sad to say, it's been two and a half months since I've painted an actual painting. Yes, I've been busy with other things, but that seems like a weak excuse for not pursuing this artistic life. I'd like to make a promise to paint for X number of days in a row, or something, just to kick start an actual, legitimate painting regimen. It's something I did back in 2008 -- 21 days of painting in a row -- the idea being to start a healthy habit. To think of it now, though, it seems like too much of a commitment to add painting everyday to an already full life. But if I don't do something, well, I'll do nothing, which is not good. So, even though I'm not promising to paint for 21 days in a row, I am deciding to do more than nothing, which is something, even if it's as still yet undefined. So, here goes something.  This landscape is 11" x 28" oil on board.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Hair Ball

Much to the delight of everyone in attendance, Lawndale Art Center's Hair Ball was a hair raising success last Saturday night. It was a privilege to be a part of the host committee for the evening -- my "job" was made easy by a wonderful group of friends who volunteered to help, and by the kind-hearted Emily Link who did the lion's share of coordinating said volunteers.


Reese and I arrived early -- he rocked his cornrows while I sported the blue feather boa hair-do so recently created.  Our picture was included in two Houston publications (which was fun to see) -- Culture Map (photo 15) and the Houston Chronicle (photo 11).



My dear, sweet friend Diane was there and looked like a diva in her gold lame jumpsuit and red hair wig. Isn't she cute?


And this:  I can't tell you how many times over the last 29 years I have seen the Amazing Reese bust this move on the dance floor. It is, however, to the best of my knowledge, the only time this move has been captured on camera for generations to enjoy. He's still got the moves....and my heart.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Blue Hairdo

Lawndale Art Center's Hair Ball is tomorrow night. For weeks I've been trying to figure out how to fix my hair for this event, but for some reason have been in a creative mind slump, and consequently, have had no idea what to do with my do.

After visiting a gazillion stores looking for inspiration, yesterday, at the suggestion of a friend, I wandered through the aisles at a local craft store.....


where I found pipe cleaners,


feather boas, yarn....


and a couple of hours later -- voila! It's certainly not perfect. As I was starting to take it all apart to completely re-do it last night, a friend invited me over for a glass of wine. It's funny how quickly I decided that it was indeed finished. We'll see if this is what I go with or not tomorrow night. Stay tuned!



Friday, January 17, 2014

Liberty Kitchen on a Wednesday

Yes. I'm still here. It seems that I've temporarily forgotten how to say things. Or perhaps didn't feel as if I've had anything to say. Either way, life is a little emptier when I don't write. I love writing. Why did I stop for so long?

Liberty Kitchen on a Wednesday -- that's where one can find the best fried chicken in Houston. Trust me. I've been on a quest for a while and eaten fried chicken all over town and this place knocks it out of the park. But they only serve it on Wednesday. And when they run out, they run out. I'd love to meet for an early lunch at Liberty Kitchen on any given Wednesday. Call me. Or text. Texting is good.


Art -- consists mostly of a few (two?) visits to the MFAH, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and Lawndale Art Center. I haven't painted creatively since my self portrait on my 50th birthday. That's just sad.

Lawndale Art Center -- community volunteer coordinator for the Hair Ball, which means that my name gets put on the host committee list, while sweet Emily actually does all the work. She should get the credit, not me. Well, I am grateful to be helping Emily a little bit. She really is a sweetheart. Now, to figure out what my hair do will be next weekend -- or hair don't.

Tilly -- still a Wonder dog, but we took a few weeks off from our hospital pet therapy visits due to the holidays. We'll get back in the full swing of things in February.

Chores --  been working on a lot of chores around the house -- stuff that's been left undone for years and for myriads of reasons is now getting done. It takes loads of time to do these chores and none of it is very exciting, so I just haven't written about it. I've been painting (rooms), organizing, rearranging furniture, deep cleaning (closets/garage/drawers/baseboards/etc.), throwing junk away, caulking, and just a bunch of other mundane boring chores.


See? The Amazing Reese, Tilly, and I are making sure the bed we just moved into the downstairs bedroom is stable enough for guests. It is.






Tuesday, December 03, 2013

These Three



It's interesting to see these three self portraits all together. The self portrait on the far left is from 2009. The story is here about how it happened on the day it was painted. The self portrait in the middle is from 2010, and when it was painted, I wrote about it here. And, of course, the portrait on the far right is from a couple of weeks ago.

I suppose it looks a little conceited to have these three self portraits all in a row. To be sure, I've painted myself time and time again -- not just these three. Why, you ask? Because it doesn't matter to anyone but me what it looks like in the end. I can experiment with color and technique, painting to my heart's content and no one complains. At the very least, with self portraits, it's not a "commission", which is, within reason, generally catered to the patron and is (or has been for me) more restrictive creatively to paint. Not that I'm complaining -- I love painting portraits. If I could paint only portraits from this day forward I'd be a happy woman.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Self Portrait at Age 50



When I decided yesterday morning that a great way to spend my 50th birthday was by painting a self portrait, who knows what romantic notions were going through that humidity puffed head of mine? Next time I do this, the easel has GOT to be closer to the mirror, because it was really hard to see my features, hence my wearing glasses. And it's not like the details need to be there exactly, but it is generally nice when a nose looks like a nose, and lips look like lips, and of course, that since it's a self portrait, that those features look like the ones on my actual face. 

So, yep, this is how I spent my 50th birthday. It's 14" x 18" oil on linen.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Yellow Brick Path


One of the recent guests to our home was the niece of Ray Bolger, who was the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Her name is Chris, and she wrote a little memoir about her life, which was greatly influenced by her famous Uncle Ray. Reading Chris' book became the catalyst for Reese and me watching YouTube videos of Chris' Uncle Ray (in particular, a video of Judy Garland interviewing Ray Bolger - it's absolutely charming), it led to us watching the movie again, and for our 29th anniversary last month, the Amazing Reese gave me the first book in the collection of stories about the land of Oz. Reese is even reading a chapter aloud to me each night as we go to bed. (Just another example of why he is the Amazing Reese.) It's a fascinating book, and super interesting to get background information about how the Scarecrow became the Scarecrow, how the Tin Woodman became the Tin Woodman, and the stories of the flying monkeys, and well, everything. It's a really great story and we're both thoroughly enjoying it.

Because of the influence of Uncle Ray on my new friend and our consequent renewed interest in all things Oz, I've been thinking about how to create our own yellow brick road....because sometimes the quest and the journey and the destination are all the same. The journey sometimes becomes the destination, and consequently, the after looking back on ones life, the destination has evolved because of a quest filled journey. And really, there's no place like home, so what better path for our yellow brick road to take than one that leads us home? But the timing for painting the bricks yellow has been off. Today, however, was the perfect day for it -- pleasant weather, no rain in the forecast, and best of all, house work that can wait.

And by golly, I'm turning 50 tomorrow. This yellow brick road is a good reminder that this is my life, this is where it is, and this is where it goes....and it's a happy place to be.

Friday, November 15, 2013

This is not a box.


This is 22" x 24" oil on board.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Melting!


Thinking that yesterday would be a good day to tackle a chore I've been planning for a while, I set about mixing colors to get just the right shade of yellow to paint our front door. For this project, I concocted my own mixture using Sherwin Williams Sunflower (yellow) and China Doll (soft white).


The door has been in pretty bad shape for some time.


The yellow is bright, but the right kind of happiness I want to convey when people walk up to our front door.

Now, normally, I use oil paints. But for this project, decided to use some house paint that I had gathered for a previous art project that never quite materialized. Turns out, yesterday was a little damp and humid, and even though I used a big fan to dry the door, since the paints were water based instead of oil based, after a few hours of rain this morning, this is what happened.


The paint is literally melting off the door! It's a little sad, but if this is as sad as it gets for today, it's still a pretty good day. The biggest bummer will be all of the adorable little trick or treaters tonight. It honestly wasn't my intent to trick my treaters, but there will no doubt be some tiny little knuckles with yellow paint on them by the end of the night....and a front door that looks worse for the wear, but is more than happy to open, greet, and welcome each loved one, friend, neighbor, guest, and yes, the little goblins, too.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This

This. This is one of those paintings that happened organically. This was a challenge but not a struggle. This is what I've been working on for the past couple of days. This is a beautiful child.


This is 16" x 20" oil on linen.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Life Just Happened


This years retablo offering for Lawndale Art Center's 26th annual Dia de los Muertos gala is...well, this. Interpret it as you wish.

It is 8" x 10"  "strawberry margarita" nail polish and Sharpie on sheet metal. Opening bid is $50.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Random Thoughts

1.  Yesterday, I was very good at not managing my time well. Not on purpose, it just happened that way. Maybe after several weeks of being super efficient with work related activities, my brain rebelled. Whatever it was, when I mentioned it to the Amazing Reese at the end of the poorly managed day, he said, "That doesn't bother me one bit."
2.  The first thing that happened to me yesterday was that a bird pooped on my leg. I know Italians believe that bird pooping on humans is good luck, but I'm not Italian. Maybe the bird poop incident is why it was such a wonky day. (?)
3.  I wonder if the smell of cooking bacon ever tempts vegetarians to not be vegetarians anymore. (?)
4.  If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them taste so good?
5.  Beef stew.
6.  I laughed out loud when Reese said, "When the knock on the door said alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, I naturally thought it was a delivery." 
7.  The last two times I went to the farmer's market, I bought myself white flour chocolate chip cookies. I'm pretty sure that is not the healthiest-for-you item to buy at a farmer's market.
8.  Speaking of which, today is farmer's market day. I find it weird that all I can think about is those cookies. I love locally grown super fresh veggies and farm raised meats and eggs. Why  am I only thinking about those cookies?
9.  As much as I love and appreciate delicious craft beer, I don't actually consider it to be a breakfast juice. It's just not something I drink with my bacon and eggs in the morning.
10.  I'm in a bit of a creative dry spell as far as painting goes though I'm happy to report that I did just paint....my toenails. Hey. At least I'm painting again.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tide the Knot

There was a little bit of an issue tying the bow of the sash on Hilary's wedding dress. First of all, the ribbon was made of satin and kept coming loose. So, I used a small safety pin to pin the bow to itself, so it wouldn't come undone. After that, the sash/belt kept slipping down, so I borrowed another safety pin and pinned the sash and bow to the dress. But the big eye of the safety pin was still visible. Now, when our daughters were small, there were a LOT of bows and ribbons in our house. The Amazing Reese became the official bow tie-er in our house.  Because I had done such a mediocre (lousy) job with the wedding dress bow, the Amazing Reese came in to save the day. He was able to turn the big eye so that it was not visible in the back! Most excellent. But in the process, he pricked his finger, which wouldn't have been a problem, except he was bleeding all over Hilary's bow and sash! The entire room of ladies in waiting (bridesmaids and friends) freaked out. Someone yelled, "Get some club soda!" Another yelled, "Use cold water!" Then bless her heart, the maid of honor pulled out of her maid of honor emergency kit and yelled, "I have a Tide to Go stick!" Someone yelled, "It doesn't work on blood!" But hey, we were running out of options. Amidst the frenzied "discussions," someone yelled, "Try it anyway!" So the maid of honor unscrewed the Tide to Go stick cap, dabbed it on the blood droplets, and guess what? IT WORKED! 


Friday, September 06, 2013

Oscar


This is a clever little boy, full of purpose and delight. It's a portrait commission that I've been working on for his grandmother. It's 16" x 20" oil on linen. He's one of three. His two sisters are here and here.

My original intent was to have all three portraits finished before our daughter's wedding last weekend, but I spent so much time shopping for shoes (just kidding, but not really --it's been a super busy summer) that I just couldn't squeeze out a big enough chunk of time to devote to it. This week, I finally had three days in a row, enough time to complete the sketch I had originally drawn for this about three months ago. The first day of painting went OK, but I ended up scraping off a large portion of what I had painted - many many hours worth of work. Yesterday I put in a FULL day - morning until bedtime - literally. The light was lousy at the end, well, it was full on night time, there was no light, even with all of the lights on in the studio, but I was making such good progress that I hated to quit. And then today.....another several hours of working with tiny brushes  and voila.

People ask me all the time how long it takes to paint something. This portrait started with several (at least three) photo shoots for reference, trips to the photo lab, several initial portrait sketches, one final loose sketch, and hours and hours of actual brush to canvas, plus all of the clean up and running back and forth to the store to buy art supplies. Suffice it to say, I work hard at this....and I LOVE it!

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