Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dust Enough

Several weeks ago, sweet daughter Anna suggested that before the house art show (on April 8th, 6-8pm), it would be a good idea to dust. She knows that dusting (for me) is not a top priority in life. That said, I do believe that it's just good common courtesy to have a relatively clean home when entertaining. Not all the time, maybe, because then we (the proverbial we) would never "show hospitality." The point being that if we all waited for the house to be spotless before we had people over, then we'd NEVER have company...because the house would never look or be good enough. Remember our saying? Confession time: sometimes I use it (the saying) as an excuse to NOT dust. (but my mom already knew that.)

So, I was planning on dusting anyway, cheered on by Anna, but the reason for starting today is that someone requested a private pre-viewing of the art before next week's show. (They will be here in a few minutes.) It's a good thing, too, that cleaning type work started on the house today, because there's still so much dust left to dust. (They assured me that the house need not be dust free in order to see the art. In fact, the exact quote from them was, "Don't dust! Hell, we wont be able to breathe!")

AND, it seems like a mistake, now that the work has begun, that I started cleaning the inside of a few windows, too...because now I can tell how dirty the windows are on the outside. Oh, well, live and learn. (To tell the truth, I'm not sure what I'm learning, but there's a whole lot of living going on around here.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Fighting Iris

This Louisiana iris has been a part of the family for a long time.

We first noticed it as a volunteer in the back yard of our old house, 25-ish years ago. How it ever grew there is beyond me. The conditions at the little blue house were atrocious; gummy soil, under a pecan tree so no sun, and no nutrients. But every year a half dozen or so of these would bloom. So naturally, when we moved (12 years ago,) I dug up a few to bring with us to the this house. In spite of valiant efforts to plant the iris in a moisture rich compost friendly environment, right next to the water hose, it had not thrived like it should have. Well, that is until last year when some of it was re-planted right next to the fountain. It LOVES living there and often rewards me with blossoms.

This was my first time to paint a Louisiana iris, which is quite lovely, but a very complicated flower to paint. It also smelled like stale socks when I brought it up to the studio....not pleasant. Even though the weather was cool, I had to open the studio window just to air out the strong lingering stink of the oh-so-beautiful iris.

From now on, I'll just enjoy the blooms from a distance.

The top painting is 6" x 6" oil on canvas. The painting below is 6" x 8" oil on canvas.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the Path

Reese and I hold this truth to be self evident, that all people at all times are more important than stuff, or doing stuff.

One of Reese and my guiding philosophies is that people are always more important than things or doing things, even when a deadline is involved. There are times when one needs to put ones nose to the grindstone, so to speak, but by and large, most chores can wait. And honestly, the work gets done eventually....

Which is why I was delighted when, while working on the front footpath yesterday, a sweet friend dropped by for a visit. She apologized for interrupting the work, but I assured her that she was far more important than the work continuing RIGHT THEN. At which point she made a very astute observation (and this is a quote as best I can remember), "You're right. What good is it to have a perfect footpath if there are no people in your life to walk to your front door when the work is done?" Exactly.

Midday, the winner of the apple painting give-away came by to receive her painting, and my soul was refreshed by another delightful visit.

Now y'all remember, there will be another apple painting give-away at 8pm-ish on April 8th (during the House Art Show.) Everyone who has already entered for the first free painting give away will be automatically re-entered for the second give away. If, however, someone attends the House Art Show, they are allowed and encouraged to re-enter, in effect doubling their chances for the second painting give-away.

Work continued.

This is what the new path looks like from the front door toward the street. Ten bricks up on the far right of the photo used to be a chunk of garden. (The chunk of garden is visible in Monday's photo -- top left.) It took some creative figuring to decide how to tie in the new work with the old patio (not visible in the photo.) This was the best idea -- to remove a chunk O' garden.

And this is what it will look like (from the street to the front door) when YOU come to visit.

At the end of the day, neighbor friends walked up the new footpath for an impromptu celebration bringing wine, fellowship, laughter, and conversation. There's more work to be done, but isn't there always?

Monday, March 22, 2010


Sweet darling daughter Anna asked today how the preparations are progressing for the house art show on April 8th. My answer to her started with, "On Friday, I noticed that one of the neighbors had a big pile of sandy dirt in their front yard with a sign stuck in it that said 'FREE DIRT'...."

In typical fashion, because of the FREE DIRT, I've started a particularly big, yet completely unnecessary project, considering all of the other things that need to get done in preparation for the house art show. Because of the FREE DIRT, I thought it would be a great time to re-design the front footpath -- the path that leads guests to our front door, which, of course, has created extra work, which, in effect, had already been done, but now...I'm doing again.

The DIRT may have been FREE, but it's costing me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

All Akimbo

It seems as if painting's in limbo
my brain and paintbrush all akimbo
don't know what to do
besides crying boohoo
or try painting (again) just this once mo.

From whence shall come more inspiration
while spring is all springy elation?
You'd think it's be easy
new flowers all tease-y
(I think my brain needs a vacation)

So instead of painting, I'm baking
and cooking while thoughts are gestating
I sure hope this slump
is no more than a bump
in the road to a muse re-awake-ing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

All the Kids

The Amazing Reese helped chaperone for Yellowstone Academy's rodeo field trip this year. Of course, all the kids loved him. The first thing one of the kids said to Reese when she saw him was, "Hey! Down here. You're tall."

They loved Reese for protecting them from the scary kids (aka baby goats) in the petting zoo.

They loved Reese when he gave them piggy back rides.

They loved talking to Reese, and climbing on him, and they loved eating ice cream, too.

They had fun planting pretend seeds and watching them grow and "sort of" learning about farm life.

These two kids were NOT afraid of the kid goat. His fur was soft.

Getting to share a few hours with these kids was a delight. Of course, Reese being Reese made it fun for all of us. My favorite things....holding hands, laughing, eating and sharing a turkey leg (and funnel cake) with the kids, and having Reese there to share the whole experience. After we all devoured the turkey leg, we saw a live turkey, and one of the kids said, "That's what you like to eat."

And to top it all off, on the bus ride back to school, one of the girls looked at me and said, "Your hair is grey, but you're not old. You're young." Bless her heart.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Absent Minded Almost Accident

As mentioned previously, while preparing for the house art show (April 8th, 6-8pm), I've been painting black edges around unframed paintings and putting them on the floor to dry. I'm also reworking several paintings for the show (such as the ole rooster.) When working on a painting, to gain perspective, I walk backwards away from the painting on the easel to get a feel for how the painting looks from a distance.

Yesterday, while backing up and looking at the work-in-progress-painting on the easel, my foot planted right in the middle of one of the drying-the-black-edges-paintings on the floor. Thankfully, it was a painting that wasn't completely stretched tight, and the canvas surface gave a little, instead of ripping.

The whole absent minded incident freaked me out a little bit (just kidding...but not really.) It's just a painting. Life, health, safety, eternity....none of those things were compromised in any way. It's really just a painting.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

All Jacked Up

The old 1993 Buick Roadmaster has been on the blink for well over a month. And because things have been rather tight at our house financially, there just hasn't been money in the budget for the luxury of having two working cars. On most days, it's easy enough to live as a one car family. But this winter, it's been cold and rainy, and riding a bike to the grocery store and church just isn't as much fun in bad weather. Not that I'm whining....I enjoy a good challenge, and coordinating our schedules around the one working car has been a kind of game.

But NOW, thanks to our friend Mike, who actually enjoys working on cars and helps others out of the generosity of his heart, the car is completely and totally fixed. (It was the starter.) And even though I love riding my beautiful yellow 1973 Schwinn 3 speed, it will be awesome to run errands in the car today, especially since it's dreary, drizzly, and chilly here in Houston.
(My task was to stay close that 911 could be called in a case the car fell on top of them. That's the Amazing Reese on the right, and our friend, Mike on the left.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Blacking Out

On the advice of someone much more experienced than I, the Hazel Art Open House Show has been changed to April 8th, from 6 - 8pm. Refreshments will be served.

On that note, I'm very busy getting the paintings and the house ready for the show. Sweet daughter Anna suggested painting the outer edges of all the unframed paintings black. This gives them a finished look, in spite of being unframed. (It a fairly common way to go about preparing paintings for a show. If memory serves, there are even paintings in the Menil Collection with this type of finished look.) It's slow tedious work, and requires no creativity, though as precise as I am about details (in certain things,) it's good that it's me doing the work, and not someone else. In any regard, to finish a painting this way is contemporary.

I am a contemporary artist.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Young at Art

Other than feeling ancient, the Critically Caroline/Massive Collection Show opening was quirkily fun. Shannon Duncan did a great job curating the exhibit considering the wide variety of art produced for this show. Street signs and bike parts were placed next to photographs and spray painted found objects. There were several paintings, mine being the most "traditional" in the sense that it depicted a general representation of a "place" discovered in my bike wanderings around the city.

One really cool feature of the exhibit was a giant wall map of Houston's inner loop pinpointing the exact locations (and names of the artists) where inspiration occurred for the created works of art in the show.

It was glaringly obvious that I was the oldest artist showing in this exhibit....probably by, at the very least, 15 years....maybe more. Any other person in my age range who was at the opening was a parent or close loved one of the fellow showing artists. My heart and spirit still feel young, but by night's end, both Reese and I had aching feet, misaligned backs, and were generally exhausted. That said, had "art" happened at any other point in my life, I wouldn't have had the time or emotional energy to devote to it. Therefore, in spite of being more advanced in years (especially in this show,) the timing and pursuit of art as a "career" still seems right.