Thursday, April 29, 2010


Blog Entry Ideas

1. two simultaneous John Singer Sargent exhibits at MFAH
2. Alice Neal exhibit at MFAH, movie, finding Ginny Neal's glasses
3. the old air conditioner and new old a/c
4. Hawaii high school friend coming to House Art Show
5. Russian friends coming to visit
6. Houston/Austin friends
7. being sick (and tired) for two weeks
8. being extremely frugal except when painting
9. how long it takes to work on portrait commissions
10. how it feels to paint...
11. the importance of naps

Ideas for Paintings

1. Reuben from Jamaica
2. El Mariachi
3. Reese singing with the Mariachis
4. Sarah & Reese dancing
5. little girl laughing
6. girl reading
7. lonely bicycle
8. amaryllis before the bloom fades
9. roses from the back yard
10. scene from the studio window (?)
11. night sky and shadows
12. Mary
13. neighbor lady at the wedding
14. studies of shapes and colors at Rice University
15. the neighbors' 100 year old trees
16. assorted views from the front patio
17. mother and child, child nursing
18. siblings holding new baby
19. Houston old buildings and warehouses in Midtown
20. Japanese Garden (again)
21. portraits of people at Bike Workshop
22. portraits of my neighbors

Ideas (dreams) for House & Garden

1. paint the living room happy yellow
2. plant hydrangea so that I can see it always from the kitchen sink
3. re-design and re-shape the front garden (scoop in instead of out)
4. clean and organize the garage
5. turn garage into art studio
6. build patio area for the grill in back yard
7. replace window to hopefully fix leak in entryway
8. finish caulking and painting ceiling in study

Ideas for Life

1. write a book
2. write a book
3. write a book

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

El Mariachi

Some day, this will be a Sarah Hazel painting. Well, at least that's what I've been thinking.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anna is Home

Anna is home.
My nose is runny.
Winnie the Pooh
likes to eat hunny.

Anna's been gone
for ever so long
now she is here,
and singing us songs.

Guitar she plays
her sound pure and raw,
mesmerizing -
I listen in awe.

Soon she will leave
adventure awaits
Anna, it's true
You ARE super great.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Reader

This painting almost didn't go in the House Art Show. At the last minute, I decided to go ahead and hang it. Apparently, it sparked some discussion. The eventual buyer was intrigued at this painting's ambiguity. Is the reader male or female? What kind of book is it?

For my part, it's one of those paintings that has been sitting in the studio for a year. Every instance at putting it on the easel to work on it, I would stare at it for a while, and then decide that it didn't need anything more. It was finished. But it's not like my other paintings.

What is art, AND should I be defining my art so early in the game? Honestly, here I am working at a craft for which there is no consensus of definition. Art is so subjective.

It's an 18" x 24" oil on linen. It lives with someone else now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

San Miguel Beggar Woman

In Mexico, it's not uncommon to see beggars, especially sitting on the ground or steps outside the cathedrals. It's a way of life. Their world is a blur of poverty upon poverty. They seem to be mostly ignored, even by the Mexicans.

This is a 14" x 18" oil on linen painting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Spirit and Truth

Portrait commissions are tricky.

After struggling on a commissioned portrait for five months, yesterday, I decided to start over from scratch. Five hours later, this is what was left on the canvas.

So, does all the time that I spent on the first painting count toward the completion of this one, because I've been thinking and painting and planning all along and working through internal conflict and debate over how to paint this person?

On top of that, it's not what was asked for when I was commissioned. The patron wanted something very specific, and this is not it. The subject of the painting hated this reference photo, and asked me to PLEASE not use it. But I think she looks beautiful here. Her delightfully winning personality shows in this painting (in my humble opinion.) She's quick to laugh, highly intelligent, loving and giving, and as if that wasn't enough, she's sexy and beautiful.....I adore her.

The Amazing Reese just asked if I was going to put a photo of the first portrait up for comparison purposes, so you, gentle reader, could visualize exactly what was creating all the artistic fuss. Looking back through the photos on the camera card, I noticed an earlier incarnation of the painting in question...before I repainted it again and again AND AGAIN, and that was at least the second re-painting at that point! Reese and I see beauty in both paintings and can't decide whether or not it looks better in the-three-re-paintings-ago-state than it does now.

So, in order to give the patron exactly what they asked for in the beginning, I guess I'll re-paint the first portrait ONE MORE TIME, and then let them chose between the two portraits.

To completely finish this painting, I'll let it dry for a week or so, and then go back and do a minimal amount of touch up on the eyes, mouth, and nose, just to slightly tweak it in order to confirm, for the viewer and patron, the full resemblance, in spirit and truth, to this beautiful (sexy) lady.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Loose Ends

This lovely flower arrangement was given me by two sweet young girls who came with their parents to the House Art Show. The girls picked the flowers themselves. It reminded me of my own sweet daughters who used to delight in bringing me flowers that they had picked in the backyard. So precious.

It's extremely flattering to know that people enthusiastically appreciate my work. Just one of the many nice things that those in attendance last Thursday said was,
"Thank you for welcoming us into your awesome home! In addition to observing your fantastic artwork, I observed many in attendance and all were appreciative and truly inspired by your art."
Twenty paintings and two sketches sold (so far) through the House Show. Wow. Thanks y'all. Even though 20 paintings sold, there are 80 paintings left on the walls; something for everyone -- come see for yourself!

As previously mentioned, for this show there was to be an apple painting give away. The guidelines for this particular give-away included the names entered from the last painting give-away. The Amazing Reese held the bowl high above my head so that I couldn't see which name I was picking. A long time reader of the blog and personal friend, James Newman won.

On Friday for lunch, Hilary and I went to the Rice Gallery artist talk AND the student run exhibit space, Matchbox Gallery. Another good friend and student at Rice was exhibiting in Matchbox Gallery... located in the courtyard of Sewell Hall, which turned out to be off the beaten path, down a twirly staircase-- and locked -- though we could see her work through the front French door type windows.

The Rice Gallery show was quirky and fun, and will be on view all summer, so if one is so inclined, by all means, go see it.

Hilary and I often go to the Rice Gallery talks. This go around, we met a lady who was there with her 45 year old daughter. They first started going to the gallery together when her daughter was 20. It was fun to think that in 25 years, Hilary and I might still go to the gallery talks with each other. I hope we do.

It just so happens that I was wearing one of my vintage jewelry pieces. The same super sweet lady (doesn't she look nice?) used to work for Tiffany's, and after careful examination of my necklace, convinced me that it's silver, even though it's unmarked. (It's the same necklace that I'm wearing in the photo below.)

As if all of that isn't exciting enough, on Saturday night, Reese and I had the pleasure of meeting, listening to, singing with, and dancing to the lyrical, jazzy, boogie woogie blues music of the legendary and incredibly great pianist, Johnny O'Neal. This guy knows how to play! He's extremely unassuming and humble in person, but sit him in front of 88 keys and be prepared for heart throbbing, toe tapping, body swaying excellence.

(He played the role of Art Tatum in the 2004 Academy Award Nominated film Ray.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Treatment

Scene: House Art Show. The house is full with art, patrons, and friends. It's noisy with background chatter -- like the sound of a typical Hazel party; adults and children interacting comfortably and with enthusiasm. Reese, Sarah, and Carolyn, a long time friend, are in the den, a long, thin, wood panelled room with large windows toward the back of the house. Reese offers Carolyn some wine.

Reese looks at Carolyn: "Would you like some wine?"

Carolyn, thinking with one raised eyebrow for a split second, then heartily agreeing with a twinkle in her countenance: "Sure. What the heck? I'll have some wine."

Reese, the consummate host, looks at Carolyn: "Red or White?"

Carolyn smiling: "Red. Red sounds good."

Reese, looking beyond Carolyn at another lady, Jen. He raises his eyebrows and asks Jen if she wants some wine: "Jen?"

Carolyn -- laughing, but with a questioning "WHAT?" look on her face: "No, I don't think that I need any GIN. Red wine is OK. I'll just have a red wine."

Reese doesn't notice, nor, apparently does Jen.

Sarah talks under her breath to Carolyn with an amused look on her face: "I'm sorry. We don't have any gin. There's a lady named Jen behind you."

Both Carolyn and Sarah are immensely amused by the play on the word "gin" and both start giggling and squirming with laughter. Reese, oblivious to the situation, hands Carolyn a glass of red wine.

Carolyn graciously accepts the wine.

All photos are courtesy of Hilary Hazel.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

101 Paintings on View

On view, for the House Art Show tomorrow night, (April 8th, 6-8pm, 2315 Addison Rd, Houston) will be 101 paintings. The house isn't that big...there are paintings everywhere; sketches, too.

If the math is right, I've painted 175 paintings since November of 2004, just over five years ago. It seems weird crazy that I had never picked up a paintbrush before then, and now there's this, by sheer numbers, body of work that has been accomplished in a relatively short time frame.

Based on at-large response, we're expecting a decent crowd for the House Art Show. With that in mind, some furniture has been moved to the garage to make room for people to mill about the place, and see all the art. It seems silly, but I feel like I'm slightly betraying the furniture. More than anything, it would be great for everyone to get the total Hazel experience, and honestly, I feel like the furniture is part of the Hazel House "package." Ridiculous, I know. This is my (rolls eyes and shakes head) public apology to the poor chairs and things resigned to the dark lonely garage for the duration of the show.

For those who attend who haven't been here before, remember to go in the back yard if you haven't seen the mural, yet. Just to repeat, art work is all over the house....upstairs, too. Enjoy yourself. Oh, and put your name and contact information in the bowl for the painting give-away.

Sarah Hazel Open House Art Show
2315 Addison Rd, Houston, Texas
April 8th, 6-8pm
Light refreshments will be served

Monday, April 05, 2010

Little Towngirl

I was a town girl.

My daddy was the preacher, and we lived in the manse just a little short block from the church on Main Street. It seemed like all of my friends lived out in the country. Looking back on it, we all lived in the country because Centreville, Mississippi was in the middle of nowhere, though it was the center of my little world.

My best friend, Nona lived on a farm out on Old Macedonia Road. It thrilled and terrified me when her momma, Aunt Kay (pronounced ain't) said we could saddle up the horse and go for a ride. Aunt Kay wasn't my real aunt, but this was southern Mississippi, and since Nona and I were so close, it just didn't feel right to call her Miss Kay, or the more formal Mrs. Hughes. No, in Centreville, she was just Aunt Kay.

Usually, Nona and I'd ride their old Shetland pony, Sunshine. Even I wasn't afraid of Ole Sunshine. But sometimes we'd saddle up the real horse...the tall ones. Of course, all horses were big compared to Sunshine. I could ride Sunshine till the cows came home, which, incidentally, they did every evening around five. No, these horses were so big that it scared me a little bit. Oh, I don't remember their names, but I do remember their hot hides, and the way they would look at me when I tried to hoist myself in the saddle. I never could remember which side to get up on, and which side to slide off, so both the horse and I were a little nervous. But getting to ride a real big horse....oh, that was something exciting, special.

And at the end of the day, somebody'd come pick me up and we'd go back to our house in town. As much as I liked riding horses and running through the pastures, going back to town suited me just fine -- still does.

Life Imitates Art

The Kiss, by Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917, in the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden.

The Kiss, by Sarah & Reese Hazel, 1963 and counting, in the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden.

Friday, April 02, 2010

In-the-Morning Dove

Just a week ago (OK, maybe two weeks) this garden bed was, by all appearances, dead. Look at it now. All sorts of growing things are coming back to life.

This is what the doves like to do -- daily. They perch atop the cherubs and drink from the fountain gurgle. Sometimes, if their little beaks hit the fountain at just the right angle, the water shoots in a stream 6 or 7 feet out and away. That's how the Amazing Reese first noticed that the doves had discovered our water supply. He saw water shooting across the yard and wondered what was happening. It's funny to watch, and also partially explains the ever decreasing water level in the pond...those rascals.

Yesterday, I tried taking a photo of the event from inside but the click of the camera -- even inside -- scared them away. Plus, the outside of the window is still dirty, so the photo didn't turn out very well. So this morning, I sat very still in the back yard for a very long time waiting for the doves to not be afraid of me, or the camera.