Friday, December 29, 2006

Harlequin Romance

The latest addition to my evening wardrobe are my very own harlequin designed Gap pajama pants. Only because of a conformity to societal norms am I choosing not to wear them all day every day.

Though clownish by nature, harlequin is and always has been one of my favorite designs. It is perhaps for this reason that Picasso remains in my top twenty artists. Picasso used the harlequin design in several of his paintings. In Harlequin with Glass, Picasso put himself in a harlequin costume surrounded by friends, or at least acquaintances at a cafe. It looks like he was heavily influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec with the rather cartoonish figures in the background. The painting is a departure from his more somber blue period with his addition of reds, yellows and greens with warmer tones of brown for a background.

Another painting of his with a harlequin design is Family of Saltimbanques. Even though the family members seem distant emotionally, the physical proximity of the figures, especially with the father holding his young daughter's hand, is altogether charming. Much has been written about the melancholy nature of the figures, but to me they seem content in each other's company.

Perhaps my favorite Picasso painting of all is Paul in a Clown Suit. The absolute command of his portrait abilities is reflected in the subtle expression on Paul's face. Masterfully drawn, the sketch like quality of the rest of the painting further emphasizes our focus on his son's face. We aren't distracted by frivolous lace or an ornate chair. We only see a father's love for his young son. Given Picasso's well-documented narcissism, it's pleasant to see a painting that demonstrates a love for someone besides himself.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Anchors Away

More often than not, we have dinner together as a family every night at 6:30. Reese and I started as a young family, and as we added daughters, the habit carried forward. This supper schedule kept us as sane as one can be in the middle of all the changes that happen as a family grows. It has been our anchor of courtesy and community as the Reese Hazel family.

The main thing we do for every meal, besides pray and hold hands before we begin, is everyone tells their favorite thing of the day. This way, everyone gets an opportunity to talk and be heard, and the conversation is kept positive.

As our daughters are growing up, and keep schedules of their own, a very small dilemma is taking place. Sometimes only one somebody is home. But to me it's important to keep on keeping on. So two or three of us sit together and share a story and a meal.

Yet, here I am tonight, it's 6:25, and I've fixed so much turkey tetrazini that it had to go in two different casserole dishes. And I'm the only one at home. It's not quite the same to tell my favorite thing of the day to the empty chairs around the table. Oh wait, I hear voices...someone unlocking the front door! They're home for dinner!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mrs. Claus

One of the things that I like about my studio is that there are usually several paintings going at once. Leading up to the show, I spent a lot of the last month or so re-working around 20 paintings. Then I was so busy with preparing for Via Colori, and Thanksgiving...that it took me a little time to get settled back in the studio (which is our downstairs/guest/daughter Erin's bedroom.)

Now that I'm getting settled again, it's Christmas holiday, and time to paint gets squeezed around other family activities. Not that there's anything wrong with that....I love my family.

The point is that in the last two weeks, I have made tremendous strides toward several painting projects, though I'm still miles away from the finish line. OK, maybe yards instead of miles, but still several paintings are in the works. And with this busy season, there is conflict with the desire to paint versus the desire to be a good mom. But what does it mean to be a good mom? In this instance, part of it involves the whole Santa conundrum.

So with five, maybe six canvases ready to be worked on, I still need to remember the priority of being the Mrs. Santa Claus.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Red, White, and Blondie

Our alpha male white toy poodle, Skipper is head over heals in love with the at least four times his size Blondie, the Xoloitzquintle, or Mexican hairless dog who lives a few doors down. When Blondie's owner, Fran drops in, she usually brings Blondie with her, which absolutely thrills our little poodle. Skipper spends most of his time trying to become intimately acquainted with Blondie, which is endlessly annoying to my friend's pet. Skipper is completely undaunted with his one-sided devotion and admiration of the large mostly hairless Latin lady dog.

While painting yesterday, Fran and Blondie, so named for the few tufts of blond hair on her forehead, came over for a visit. A few minutes later, my friend, Deb also stopped by, but that's another story....We were all outside in the backyard enjoying the sunny weather and light refreshments when I noticed two big globs of red paint on my khaki trousers. No problem. People (and their pets) are more important than things, so I ignored the paint; there would be time to clean it later. That is, until Blondie, in a valiant effort to escape Skipper's advances, rubbed against my trouser leg. She ended up with red paint smeared all over the skin of her back. Fran sent me inside to change clothes before the mess spread to other random dog or body parts. Had the paint been on Skipper, it would have been a major ordeal to clean, but the paint on Blondie's skin cleaned right up with Dawn dish soap, water, and a little light scrubbing. Not too worse for wear, with more scrubbing and Dawn dish soap (Dawn takes grease "and oil based paint" out of your way), the khakis cleaned up, too.

Skipper is on pins and needles waiting for the next social call from Blondie. As I enjoy my companionship with Blondie's owner, Fran, I'm also looking forward to their next visit.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's All Relative

Over the weekend, The Amazing Reese and I went to Austin to watch sweet daughter Erin graduate from UT.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Two Weeks Before Christmas....

'Twas two weeks before Christmas
and life was sure busy
with regular chores such as
feeding our Lizzy.

The stockings aren't hung
they are in a big box
with the other decorations
in the attic, perhaps?

The daughters were asked
to write a wish list
of which I've seen one,
the other three missed.

A nap would be lovely
this time of the year
maybe restoring
that lost Christmas cheer.

I look out the window
see the delivery truck
take presents to others
And I say, Oh,....look,

They remembered to order
their presents online,
It's all coming early
for those who plan fine.

But how can I shop
when there's painting to do
three canvases full
of red, green, and blue?

And yellow, and lavender
and orange in the sky
the mountain all swirly
and foreground sublime?

As I paint and I think
of house decorating
and shopping and cooking
and endless list making....

and laundry and sweeping
and all the leaf raking
and shopping again
and more Christmas baking...

The question I struggle
with everyday,
"Will this bring God glory
in any small way?"

Or is life just too busy
to slow down a bit
and visit the neighbor
who's kid just got sick?

Cottage Industry

My daughter, Anna added photos of her two latest house commissions to her website. Click on the title of this piece, or Anna Hazel Art at right to view her work.