Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wonky Eyeballs

The newest painting I'm working on is (to me) quite challenging. For whatever reason, the lines are ending up all wonky, eyeballs are in the wrong place, and lips way too large. If this was my intent, it would be fine. But it's not. Quite the opposite, in fact. So for this painting, I have resorted to doing math.

It's not the first time I've used basic math to finesse a painting. Fibonacci and his theories of beauty are often considered when I paint. OK, maybe not often, but frequently enough that I sometimes get out a ruler. It's been a while since I've used a ruler while painting, but the trial of what I'm working on now has prompted a re-visiting of the 12th century's famed mathematician's theory of divine proportion.

And the painting that yesterday looked like The Joker, is now less creepy to view, though still not ready for public consumption.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mostly Finished

"Hilary Holding the Baby" is mostly finished. It will dry for a while before I do anything to it again, if ever. I re-worked the baby's dress and added highlights to Hilary's hair. I also added some lighter skin tones in the baby's face to round it out a bit.

The baby is the much loved and prayed for adopted daughter of our dear friends, Joan and Kevin. Every time I see her I am amazed at how much she resembles her parents.

A few Sunday's ago, we visited the St Paul's United Methodist Church where Hilary sings in their choral scholars program. During the service, there was a baptism. Reese and I were especially moved by the congregants response, which I would like to repeat over this precious one.

"With God's help, we will so order our lives by the example of Christ, that this precious one, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to eternal life."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


On Monday and Tuesday, all housework was abandoned in favor of painting. It dawned on me that it was the first time using my new pallette. For Christmas, Reese had a glass top cut to fit the desk in the studio. The entire desk top can now be used as a pallette. It's great. What's a little sad, though, is that it's been so long since I last painted. Two months (since I last painted) is too long to wait.

This painting will have some wispy highlights added to the hair of the young lady, and I am thinking about changing the color of the baby's dress. Even though I generally avoid adding details in my paintings, this one will need a few other minor adjustments before it's finished.

There was a modest internal struggle over whether or not to post this photo since it's a work in progress.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Honeyboy Edwards

Reese and I just got back from Austin. We went to the Cactus Cafe to see Honeyboy Edwards play some good old fashioned Mississippi Delta blues. Honeyboy is so old that when we first got wind that he was scheduled to perform, we held our breath hoping he would live long enough for us to see him play. He was live all right. With the added inspitation of having just won a grammy, he played for two hours straight. It was hypnotic, like being in church. Deep down one knows the preaching is good, and even with a few amens one's soul is lulled -- takes a breather -- like a good afternoon nap on the Sabbath day of rest, and heavy eyelids start to droop.

My roots are deep in Mississippi soil. Hearing Honeyboy play was a going home. This music must have floated in the air, on the river, and grown in the soil of my childhood home. Honeyboy's music nourished me deeply; I am satisfied.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Artist Statement

I've been debating whether or not to publish my newly refined artist statement. Please don't copy it without my permission.

"Art is beauty in ordinary moments.

My work is most accurately described as postmodern, except that it is not limited to figurative work. It has been influenced by the Impressionists, Neo-Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists. There is a realistic quality to my work, but it is more about a moment, rather than getting bogged down in details. I purposefully leave out details in order to tell a better story with my paintings. My work is slightly messy, utilizing bold strokes and bright colors. Even so, the general impression is one of tranquility.

Subject matter for my paintings is propelled by my personal belief that common moments are beautiful and worth capturing in a two dimensional format, in my case, oil paints on linen. My audience is people who appreciate being gently reminded that daily life is full of small simple as holding a child, practicing the piano, the clump of trees at the end of the block, or even flowers gathered from one's backyard.

A luxury of being a self-taught artist is picking one's influences. Being a long time fan of the Impressionist movement of the late 1800s, and of Cezanne and Matisse, it would hardly be a stretch to say that my style has been heavily influenced by studying this group of artists in books and museums.

Above all, my life as a stay-at-home mother -- taking my daughters to museums, the park; eating supper together nightly; laughing and growing together -- has been the greatest influence on my work. Having the full support of a loving husband has allowed my creativity to blossom in all areas of life. It wasn't until I started painting, though, that I found my heart's desire."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Blessed Blue Skies

Just shy of two years ago, I started my third mosaic project. Honestly, by now I thought it would be finished. But with more pressing art commitments, the mosaic project got put on hold. First, it languished in the studio. Then it was moved to the study, which was completely out of everyone's way...except for one thing. We moved into this house when our daughters were ages 6-12. We never had babies living here. But I love babies, and encourage all of our friends with babies to visit often. It never fails that something somewhere is not baby proofed.

All the tiles were in place for what my overactive imagination thought was a masterpiece. Isn't it amazing how much little humans are fascinated by small prettily colored bits of ceramic. One event at our house with more than two little bitties, and the great work was but a distant memory.

Settling into my studio again after the holidays, it dawned on me that the timing was perfect for finishing (starting) the mosaic project -- again. Enter Helen. I met Helen when Reese and I went to Palacios for an afternoon. She came over yesterday for coffee, and when she found out that I needed sky tiles for my mosaic, she just so happened to remember that she had been saving some broken plates and bowls...and three of them were blue! She very generously gave them to me. Who else in. their. right. mind. would get so excited to receive someone else's broken dishes as a gift? This is a very rough photo of the beginning of the tweaking phase of this motley mosaic. It's still a long way from being finished, but I see blue skies ahead.

Bless the little children for "messing up" my previous work. This is so much better than what I had before.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Freeze Tag

Remember playing freeze tag as a kid?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Prove It!

The words in my brain are bouncing off the walls. It's been a week of constant word tweaking and form filling and question answering and more word tweaking and editing and contemplating to the point of brain frazzled exhaustion. The first stage of grant writing is complete; now it's time to gather the final documents, which might be impossible.

One of the things one has to do for a grant application to be considered is to prove citizenship in the city of Houston. They ask for 24 consecutive months worth of utility bills, or something to prove that one has lived within the city limits for at least two years. The first problem is that I am not that organized to have ready access to such records. I throw things away constantly, and only keep one month's worth of records before I destroy/shred everything. So I called the city of Houston, to see if they would provide me with documents from the past 24 months saying that I have lived at this current address. VERY graciously, a city employee gathered one year's worth past water bills, and a letter certifying that we began water service at this address in 1993, but the utility bills are in Reese's name. All the bills are in Reese's name.

So it's very likely that my grant application might be thrown out on a technicality. I am a citizen of the city of Houston, but can't prove it.