Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Three in Won

Last Friday, I entered the Houston Civic Art Association's Greater Houston Open Show. Each artist was allowed to submit up to three paintings. Turns out that all three paintings I submitted won awards; one first place and two honorable mentions, all for portraiture. Because of facebook updates, many of you already know this, and have asked that I include photos of the winning paintings. Thank you all for your kind words and congratulations.

This particular art show was judged from the actual work. On Friday, the artists were asked to submit their work. And then at 5pm on Saturday, we were to come pick up the pieces that weren't selected for the show. Since I never received a phone call saying that my work was selected, I naturally assumed that none of the paintings were selected. I thought that I would be going to the HCAA Gallery to collect my three entries. What a delightful surprise to see ribbons on all three paintings!

The fella who did the judging was still there, and was summoned to critique my work in front of me (and a small crowd of folks who gathered around us.) He gushed over "Symphony in Flesh Tones and Pink" which won first place. He especially liked the eyes in the painting, which was interesting because he said that when he teaches portraiture, he tells his students to never draw or paint the eyes the way I did in that painting. He then looked back and forth from my eyes to the painting's eyes and was further convinced that the reason the eyes were so wonderful in the painting was because I had copied my own eyes. (It's not true.) Then he talked about the brush strokes, and color placement, and the this and the that....such technicalities. A lot of what he was saying was going over my head, even though I was trying really hard to concentrate. Heavens, this was a well regarded professional giving me one on one advice and attention! It started sounding (to me) like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoons, "wah wah wah wah wah wah." (Focus Sarah. Focus.) At one point he cautioned me to be careful about not letting art instructors influence my style. Well, that one's easy. I don't take lessons.

He critiqued the two honorable mentions in much the same way, though he preferred "First Time at the Rodeo" over "Hilary Holding the Baby." He admitted that he would have given the second place to "First Time at the Rodeo" but felt it only fair to spread out the awards. Even though it was a blind judging, (all artists' signatures were covered,) he could tell that all three paintings were done by the same artist.

The artist reception for the winners is this upcoming Thursday, October 29th from 6 - 8pm at HCAA Art Gallery, 5202 Bissonet. The gallery is located in the Bermuda, I mean, Bellaire Triangle area. For whatever reason I had no trouble finding the gallery on Friday when I dropped off the work, but by the time I went back on Saturday, the gallery seemed to have magically disappeared. What is it with the Bellaire Triangle? Does anyone else have trouble finding things and places in that little triangle of streets?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fiesta Forever

Lawndale Art Center knows how to throw a good party, and last night's Dia de los Muertos Gala was a festive event. It was noisy, lively, and crowded like a good party should be. Houstonians were out in full force to support Team Lawndale. (My retablo is not visible in this photo. It's actually just left of the last retablo on the top left wall....)

One of my artist friends graciously offered to take this photo (of me) standing in front of "Still Life Goes On." Just as Cynthia was about to snap the pic, an unknown gentleman walked behind her and volunteered a very lovely compliment on my appearance, hence the "aw shucks thank you very much" smile, after which he asked if I would please e-mail him a copy of the photo. Well, here it is mister.

After the Lawndale shindig last night, I joined Reese at our friend and neighbor's 60th birthday fiesta. Ah, more good times. Just see....my big amazing man Reese is singing Cielito Lindo with the mariachis, after which he spun me in his arms as we waltzed around an improvised dance floor.

Dear God, I love that man.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time Crunch

Yesterday, I spent the entire day moving my art studio from downstairs to upstairs, and the guest room from upstairs to downstairs. It was as exhausting and as menial as it sounds. However, I am quite looking forward to painting in the upstairs studio. The room is a little more spacious and has much much very much better light.

While moving everything, I realized that there is some old "inventory" that should be removed forever from this house. It might be time for another bonfire in the back yard to burn all those old paintings.

When I burned a bunch of stuff last time, I regretted not saving one part of one painting. Therefore, on this rampage, I'll take scissors to my work (and cut out parts to keep) before the torch destroys everything.

The Dia de los Muertos Gala at Lawndale Art Center is tonight. Typically, I can't decide what to wear. The weather has turned quite chilly, so that limits the ole wardrobe a bit. Not only that, but the event starts in an hour and a half, and Skipper just rolled in poo. UGH! I have to bathe the stupid dog, right NOW. Gross.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Once, when we were very new newlyweds, we found out that some friends of ours were celebrating their tenth anniversary. We looked at them excitedly and practically shouted, "Isn't it great?! Don't you just LOVE being married?!!!" The husband looked at his wife with a look of defeat and said, "Every year's been rough." She nodded her head in agreement and dejectedly chimed in, "Yep. Every year's been rough." Had they not been looking at each other so wise and knowingly at that very moment, they would have seen us physically deflate. We honestly couldn't believe it.

When we made it to year ten, Reese and I looked at each other and said, "Yep. Every year's been rough."

Sure, there are rough days, weeks, months....but there are great ones, too.

This is what 25 years (for us) looks like. (Our wedding anniversary is tomorrow.) The photo was taken a couple of days ago at the Angel Store opening at Betz Gallery. It reminds me of this:

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore can

Love is all that I can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
Love was made for me and you

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My friend, Lynn

This is Lynn. Lynn is an incredible gentleman. One of Lynn's defining characteristics is that he thoroughly enjoys helping others, of which I have been a beneficiary more than once.

Lynn likes to share. Lynn shares his laughter, his time, his good company and conversation, his strength, his engineering know-how, and his tools. Lynn has more kindness in his pinkie finger than some people have in their entire souls.

Last week, Lynn and I spent an entire afternoon working side by side in his workshop. It was an exceptionally hot muggy Houston day, especially for October. It was exhausting and delightful at the same time.

Without Lynn's generosity of spirit, "Still Life Goes On" wouldn't have been finished in time to submit to Lawndale Art Center's Gala and Retablo Silent Auction on Friday, October 23, 2009 7-9 PM. (Tickets available by calling 713 528 5858) Thanks, Lynn.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Still Life Goes On

The title and piece, Still Life Goes On has multiple meanings. It can be interpreted numerous ways:
1.) Still Life Goes On...meaning that the flowers represent a still life.
2.) Still Life Goes On....when a loved one dies, life for those left here on earth still continues forward.
3.) Still Life Goes On....can also mean when someone dies, the body (as many believe) transmogrifies from bodily form into spirit form.
4.) The flowers are, in the piece, coming out of the faucet, as if when the faucet is turned on, life springs forth.
5.) The working clock represents time and the concept of eternity.
6.) The blue background is the exact color of the Texas sky on September 14th of this year, which represents both the what we see while here on earth and the heavens above the earth.
7.) The saw blade (clock face) represents the harshness and suffering we all "face" at some point in our lives, yet Still Life Goes On.

It was created for Dia de los Muertos at Lawndale Art Center as a contemporary interpretation of traditional, devotional art. Starting bid $150, a bargain at four times the price.

Gala and Retablo Silent Auction
Friday, October 23, 2009 7-9 PM
Admission: $40 per person
$30 for Lawndale Members
Available at the door, by calling 713.528.5858
or email askus@lawndaleartcenter.org

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Ole Cruiser

The ole cruiser (the bike, not me) is still able to ride the streets of Houston, though with quite a few creaks and groans (both me and the bike.) This photo was taken before the start of Critical Mass, an organized chaos of a bike riding event. During the ride, the gears started clacking and changing at will, which led us back to the Third Ward Bike Shop to fine tune the ole cruiser (the bike, not me.) All this to say that the ole cruiser (the bike...and consequently me) was the "pseudo-star" of a story that was finally published in the Houston Chronicle last week.

Last week, I delivered the Angel Oak Tree painting to Betz Gallery for the Angel Exhibit; the opening is October 17th.

Another painting (called Reese and Hilary in Galveston) was delivered last week to Rice University to be part of an art exhibit in conjunction with the Shell Center for Sustainability Houston Water Conference. The exhibit is in Farnsworth Pavilion in the Ley Student Center and is open to the public now through October 29th, during regular hours.

Though not ready, the retablo is due this week at Lawndale Art Center for their Dia de los Muertos Exhibit. (*Deep sigh* and shaking my head); I just don't see from where the time will come to finish and deliver it. (Another deep sigh and shake of the head); it just doesn't seem possible. Good grief! The ole cruiser (me, not the bike) is feeling slightly desperate for more time. Argh!