Wednesday, September 27, 2006


This morning I'm a little sore....

Yesterday I went to a workshop to teach and inform artists on techniques in street painting. The Center for Hearing and Speech is hosting Via Colori on November 18th and 19th, a two day street painting festival "celebrating the artistic journey for a truly worthy organization. The festival will showcase over 100 artists who will create original works of art on the street in pastel."

After brief instruction, we were encouraged to go outside and try our hand at this new medium. Two foot by two foot practice squares had been chalked off on the asphalt driveway as our canvas. There was a box of pastels for every four artists to share, and that was it. After 15 or 20 minutes of lunging, squatting, and bending as the sun was setting, I became more and more excited. Completely enchanted, I half wished I could jump through the painting. Silly penguins would sing, tap dance, and serve tea. Or maybe I would race through the countryside on my carousel horse, just like in Mary Poppins.

Any artists want to join me? The memory of the evening far outweighs the pain in my legs, back, and arms. Really.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Last week we met with David Baquero of Baquero Gallery to fine tune some points regarding the exhibit in November. We are on track for just about everything, even with all the details that need attention.

When first approached to do an exhibit, I was of course flattered. Then terror set in as I reflected on all the work ahead. The gallery wanted 50 works for a solo exhibit. So, for the last 9 months I have been painting furiously getting ready. Now, feeling sure that things are coming together, paintings and business details, I am actually looking forward to the exhibit.

Who knows how people will respond? That's way beyond my control. I can, however, determine to enjoy the party. If people like the art, great. If people don't like it, well, they don't like it. I've enjoyed the experience either way.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What about Haiku?

Needing a story
for each painting in the show
What about haiku?

Finding my glasses...
Come enjoy reading about
Sarah Hazel art

Art is beauty found
in the breath and the passion
of everyday life

Bold strokes, bright colors
all while the paintings summon
a peaceful response

Paragraph or verse?
keep the attention focused
short and to the point

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Museum Thursdays

On Thursdays, the Museum of Fine Arts is free. Just for the love of it, and the effort to get there, on Thursdays, they let everyone in free of charge.

Not having been in a few weeks, to my delight, they had re-arranged some of the permanent collection. I LOVED IT! There's nothing better than seeing things in a new light, on a new wall, or next to an oldie but goodie.

On a tip from one of my docent friends, I heard that the Suzanne Valadon self portrait was back. Argh. I couldn't find it. I loosely based my own self portrait on the Suzanne Valadon piece. Suzanne Valadon was an artist model, featured in several Renoir, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec paintings. On the advice and suggestion of one of her many art friends, she, too, tried her hand at painting. The result of which is truly magnificent, her self portrait. Her gaze is direct, and the piece as a whole is moody.

And there was a Matisse that I don't remember from the collection. Called "Olga Merson," it clearly demonstrated the frustration of trying to find a balance between the image and the self expression an artist portrays. It is a huge relief to know that an artist as great as Matisse had to re-work his paintings.

And one of my favorite treats every time I go to the museum is seeing the Mary Cassatt of "Susan Comforting the Baby." Mary Cassatt has a way of focusing on the focal point, in this case Susan's gentle countenance. Though her brush strokes are very loose in the rest of the painting, she brings our eyes, and a bit of our hearts to this tender scene.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mission Accomplished

Years ago when our daughters were young, we took a weekend trip to San Antonio. We stayed with some friends, and they very graciously offered to watch our four daughters (ages 4, 5, 8, and 10) so that Reese and I could have a day to ourselves.

This hardly ever happened. Our budget was always stretched to the limit back then, and it was rare when we could afford a babysitter. To have a whole day was almost a dream come true. We still didn't have any money, so we went to the Alamo. It was free.

The Alamo is the northernmost in a series of missions along the San Antonio River. The Spaniards built these missions in the 18th century as a way convert the indiginious peoples to Christianity. The Alamo, or Mission San Antonio de Valero, was one of the smallest missions. Little of the original structure stands today. It is understandably crowded as a site where Texans fought Santa Ana and his Mexican army for independence. It does feel like one is walking on hallowed ground when there.

Along a nine mile stretch of the San Antonio River south of the Alamo sit four other missions. There is Mission Conception, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission San Jose, and Mission San Francisco de la Espada. There is a series of auquaducts that watered the crops grown inside the mission grounds. San Jose Mission still has the outer wall around on the inside of which were rooms for the converts. The strong outer structure was able to protect itself against Apache and Commanche raiders. San Jose Mission has a mill, too, part of the elaborate design of this well known "Queen of the Missions." The sanctuary is enormous, and still used by the local Catholic community for mass.

We were telling this story to our daughters as we were driving home the next day. We were mostly driving home. What we were really doing was driving in the direction of the San Jose Mission. When we suddenly pointed the mission dome and steeple in the distance, our daughters all shouted, "Oh, let's go! Can we go?"

"What do you think, Reese? Do we have time?"

"Sure. Let's go."

Monday, September 11, 2006


Recently my husband informed me that a certain segment of our society is using the term "tweaking" to describe the way a body feels as it's coming down from a drug induced high. The body starts twitching, called tweaking, while the user is crashing and searching for the next fix.

Also recently, a well respected art friend of mine came over to offer advice on my upcoming exhibit. She looked at everything, and with a trained eye critiqued about twenty paintings that need a little tweaking. Just a minor adjustment here and there....and I suddenly understood the druggie's plight. Her advice was sound and well appreciated, but just the thought of the work ahead of me caused me to inwardly twitch.

So while inwardly crashing, I'll get out my paints and tweak more than a few, searching for the right, adjustment. I'm definately tweaking.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


During the age between being a girl and becoming a woman, we lived in the same area as my grandmother (Gram) for whom I am named. At the time, Gram lived in an apartment and didn't have a garden of her own. So on the weekends, she would come spend the night, (we shared a room) and garden in our yard to her heart's content. This was my first exposure to someone who truly loved growing things. Because it was in my mother's yard, she kept most of the garden formal. But on the side of the house that couldn't be seen from the street, she planted a whole bed of zinnias.

No matter what was going on in the house, I could always go outside and sit in the dirt next to Gram. I don't remember talking much. I'm sure we did; we were very close. What I do remember, was being completely loved and accepted. She never judged me. She was quick to laugh. And for whatever reason, I understood that she understood me. I didn't have to pretend to be happy. She just loved me, no matter what.

During the week I would often go to the zinnia bed and marvel at the flowers. How could so many beautiful flowers come from one tiny seed packet? I would try to find a favorite, but in the end I liked them all. I would gather a bouquet and take it to my room, and wait for my roommate to return. Zinnias, in all their glory, became synonymous with perfect love, acceptance, happiness, and contentment.....just like my grandmother. All the best parts of me stem from my grandmother's influence that started growing all those years ago in the zinnia bed.