Monday, January 29, 2007

Chinese Grace

For the next week, we are hosting a Chinese student as part of an exchange program between Lamar High School (where two of our daughters go) and Dalian, China. When Grace (her American name) first came home with us, we asked her what she wanted to do or see while she was in Houston. She said,


How absolutely perfect....I immediately started taking a mental inventory of some favorite museum collections here in town. Time is not an abundant commodity while Grace is here. If at all possible, several stops should be on a list for all Houstonians and visitors alike.

Our first stop on Saturday was the The Byzantine Chapel at the The Menil Collection. This is probably my favorite place in all of Houston, besides my own home. The Menils redeemed fragile frescos from the black market and designed a small museum around their preservation. The chapel is stunning in it's simple beauty and is always a place of peace and calm.

And then a most amazing thing happened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston(MFAH) on Sunday. It just so happened to be family day, and the focus of the event was celebrating the Chinese New Year! We walked in to the beating of enormous Chinese drums chasing out demons of last year (presumably.) One drum had to be at least six feet in diameter and eight or nine feet deep---huge. I can't even describe the booming sound it made. There were also Chinese crafts for the kids to do, such as Chinese character writing. It was sweet to watch Grace; she was so excited to see something familiar.

After making our way through the museum's collections, we ended our jaunt strolling through the Sculpture Garden. The weather couldn't have been more perfect; crisp, cool, and clear.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Martha asked,

"Are you painting anything new, and can I come see?"

"Of course!" I answered.

We walked through the house to the studio and I showed my sweet friend Martha the newest painting. When most people come over to see the paintings, we spend a few minutes looking around, and then move to other topics of conversation. Assuming this was the drill, I pointed to the newest painting, then quickly moved to another painting when Martha said,

"Wait....I'm not finished looking at this one, yet."

She paused, thoughtfully considered the painting in front of her, and then proceeded to discuss the choice and use of color, the brushstrokes, the emotion of the painting, the style as compared to other paintings, the influence and was amazing. There I was listening to a small lecture on my own painting(s), and I wasn't even the guest lecturer! She then moved on to talk about other paintings of mine and their similarities and differences. She had some specific theories concerning my use of color that I confirmed were basically true. What is so curious now looking back on it was that Martha was analyzing me through my paintings! Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was just a different and new experience.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Tribe Report

Martin de Vore's column in Art Valet has the first mention of the group show at Earth Gallery of which I am a part. Click on the title to see the whole page. His preview below:

Sacred Spaces and Beauty of the Everyday

Aren't those kind of the same? Well, at least to a landscape painter. But maybe not to you. Judge for yourself. Come to Earth Gallery and check out their February Group Show on Saturday, February 17, from 6-9 p.m. Phillip Tague and Mandy Tague describe it this way: "When we can appreciate and see beauty in the everyday, we are making the most of the possibilities around us. When we create sacred spaces, we are healing and nurturing ... making the most of ourselves. This shows artist motivation and works are about Sacred Spaces and the Beauty of Everyday Life." Featuring the work of Sarah Hazel, Shirley Bianchi, Leslie Entsminger, Monique Weston and critically acclaimed Russian artist, Yaver Sultanov, the festivities concide with the new moon and eve of the Chinese New Year! Earth Gallery is located at 365 W. 19th Street in The Heights. For more information about Sacred Spaces and Beauty of the Everyday visit the Web site at or call (713) 880-2121.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007


The newest news is that Earth Gallery in the Heights is now representing me. The owners, Mandy and Phillip Tague, are very personable, and it's a delight to work with them both. Though the gallery is young, the owners have a history on the Houston art scene. Phillip was the manager/curator for October Gallery before making the move to open his own place. The space is filled with a cohesive variety of art, from Chinese Silk Scrolls to a Norman Rockwell sketch to Murano Glass and French lithographs. One of the artists they represent recently gained international attention when he was named Russia's artist of the year, Yaber Sultanov.....I think that's the story. The gallery is in a great location, and Phillip is held in high regard within the Houston art community.

A few of my pieces will be a part of a group show on February 17th.

Friday, January 05, 2007


When I was a little girl, Miss Dortha gave me a giant coloring book, probably as a Christmas gift. It was filled with the outlines of young ladies in elaborate dresses. There was a lot of detail to color in, and for a while I was content. But to my recollection, I never finished even one of the pages in the coloring book. There was just too much detail, and I wasn't satisfied to color with a solid where a flower pattern was indicated.

Fast forward to today. There just isn't a lot of precise detail in my paintings. Instead of painting what I know is there, I paint what I see. So even if I know that something is physically there, if I can't see it, it doesn't get included in the painting. Also, I tend to leave out excessive patterns. My brain can't handle pattern overload.

An instance of painting what I see, and leaving out detail is evident in one of my newer paintings, Young Girl with Fan. Intellectually, I know that this young girl has blond hair. But when the sun light was shining in her hair, it looked like golden honey. And maybe her eyes aren't exactly that shade in real life, but the look in her eyes is just as sweet and true. What I really like, though, is the precious smile, most likely caused by the fact that she was the undivided center of attention of two teenage young ladies. How sweet and wonderful life is when we are priviledged enough to see true delight in the eyes of a child.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fiesta Forever

Mexicans are very enthusiastic about life. Celebrations and festivals start with booming cannon fire way too early in the morning, and continue long into the night with sporadic, yet continuous fireworks. By the end of our week in Mexico this past summer, I was yelling, "Viva la revoluciĆ³n!" at each thunderous bang. (Though corrected for my ignorance of the actual date of the Mexican revolution, the loud booms naturally prompted my visceral response, especially considering that we were in Mexico, and my "command" of the Spanish language is limited to various, easy-to-learn phrases.)

Several charming evenings were spent on the rooftop terrace of our rented casa in San Miguel this past summer; telling stories, laughing, and watching the sun set. Just to the south, the view included the tree in the above painting. Maybe it was the cerveza, or the combination of loud and continuous fireworks with a cerveza, but this tree looks as if it celebrates all that is wonderful about Mexico. Hearty and firmly rooted in Mexican soil, it trembles in excitement as if a Mexican fiesta has exploded in it's branches.

Which is true....we also used the same tree for Joy's birthday piƱata.