Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With Admiration

It's not that the day was bad per se, it's just the few things that did happen this afternoon were amplified by the fact that so many things have been going wrong lately. And honestly, even of those things going wrong, it has all been just stuff. Who really cares if a car is broken or if ones a/c isn't working or if someone has a leaky house? Those things aren't eternally significant. It's just more stuff to navigate.

And today it was the same thing -- not really important, but it was on the heels of all these other things and some other crap (sorry for the crappy language, dad.) Because opening night was so crowded for the Salon des Refusés exhibit a few weeks ago and because I hadn't seen the Big Show at Lawndale yet, and because both shows are closing on August 7th which I just this moment realized wasn't this weekend but next, my neighbor Fran and I planned an outing to see both exhibits this afternoon. First Lawndale -- because the Refusés exhibit was born out of the Big Show rejects and we wanted to see what "made it" first. Maybe it's obvious from the type of art I paint, maybe not, but some of the more "out there" art works aren't really my cup of tea. Fran, on the other hand, is much more receptive to the avant garde than I am. Neither of us was wholly impressed with the Big Show.

Back in the parking lot to go to Gallery 1724, the suburban wouldn't start. We've been having "issues" with the suburban off and on for a while lately. Reese has replaced the fuel filter twice and we got a new battery and we drove it to Galveston and back with no trouble, but sitting in a parking lot for 30 minutes while we saw the Big Show apparently made the suburban unhappy. While we were both trying to call someone to come rescue us the suburban started. We came straight home....

And, though slightly fazed, we hopped in Fran's car to see the Salon des Refusés exhibit at Gallery 1724. I had called ahead to make sure it was open, but when we got there the door was locked. The back door was locked, too. It was at this point that I became a performance artist. I won't go into the details except to say that I have a four inch bruise on the back of my leg in memory of the performance -- witnessed only by Fran, and she's not talking. Fran? Not talking, right?

The Salon des Refusés exhibit was absolutely wonderful! Fran and I both reacted with delight and in praise of the art. And best of all, just as we were about to leave, I saw a piece of work that I instantly recognized. It was a beautifully rendered bronze statue by the artist John Nichols of our daughter, Anna. In May of 2007, John and I were both in The Glassell School of Art 2007 Studio School Student Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Our respective paintings were side by side in the gallery at Glassell. John was working on this statue as far back as 2007.

As soon as we got home, I composed a note to the artist.....

Hey John,

I was just today completely amazed by your bronze statue of Anna. On opening night at the Salon des Refuses exhibit, it was so crowded that I didn't even see the statue. Had I known it was there, I wouldn't have left without seeing it. You are incredible. It's a beautiful piece of WORK, and I know how hard you worked on it. Thank you so much for sharing it with Houston in Gallery 1724. Seeing the quality of your bronze art work makes me all the more glad that my own painting is in such good company.

With admiration,
Sarah Hazel

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fiesta de Santa Ana Do-Over

I love Mexico.

A couple of years ago we went to Guadalajara on a mercy trip with some kids from our church. It was wonderful. Several paintings have been born from the trip, this being the latest.

This painting was started on once before but I was so disgusted with it that it ended up in flames in the Weber grill in the back yard. This is a do-over.

What if we could take the ugly parts of life and let them burn in a pit in the back yard and re-paint them beautifully someday? That would be nice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the Texas Bar-B-Q Trail

Reese and I are always game for good barbecue. This last weekend, we stopped in Lockhart, Texas to try Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q for the first time. It was delicious.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Humbled With Merit

The other day I was whining to a long time friend about being repeatedly humbled by the art world. He very astutely replied,
"Don't take humbling as without merit - those experiences happen every day and you dust off the knees and keep moving forward with what you enjoy. Don't let 'em win!"

"Don't take humbling as without merit." It's been a constant companion in my thoughts for several days. It's easy to forget that being humbled has any redeeming value at all, but it does, and I know it, and it was a jolt in the right direction for me to be reminded of it.

Thanks, friend.

Now, time to be humbled (again) by this latest portrait commission.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's Happening

So many people have been asking about my hair since my self induced home hair cut about a month ago. It's short, frizzy, and uneven. People have been really kind about it in person, for which I am grateful. This photo is with the addition of fancy conditioner in my hair. See? Still frizzy.

Our downstairs a/c is on the blink again. It's hot outside, therefore it's hot inside. At least the upstairs a/c is working, and a tiny window unit that cools our 120 square foot study. When at home, most of the day is spent in the study.

The suburban isn't working, either. We've run out of gas a few times lately, which apparently isn't good for cars these days. It's probably the battery; that, or a repeatedly clogged fuel line. At least Reese's car is still going strong.

Thankfully, the Amazing Reese fixed my bicycle. It had been stuck in third gear. Because of the reluctance of the bike to move quickly when starting in third gear, life and potentially instantaneous death took on new meaning at every street crossing.

Fact: It is unpleasant to ride a bicycle to the grocery store in this heat.

The Salon des Refusés exhibit opening was packed Friday night. It was wall to wall people, inside and out. See the link for photos courtesy of Emily Sloan. I forgot to take pictures.

My newest portrait commission is in the works, but progress is very slow. It'll get there...just taking a bit longer than expected.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Salon des Refusés

Back in the day, any artist who wanted to be "recognized" was required to have exhibited in the Salon. The Salon was the official exhibition of artists' work in Paris and exerted great control over artistic expression, mainly accepting works based on traditional subject matter and highly polished technique.

In 1863 the Salon jury turned away an unusually high number of the submitted paintings. It caused a huge uproar amongst the artists. In order to prove that the Salons were democratic, and "Wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints," Emperor Napoleon III decreed that the rejected artists could exhibit their works in an annex to the regular Salon, which became known as the Salon des Refusés. The critics and public ridiculed the refusés, which included Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) and James McNeill Whistler's Girl in White. Other famous artists who were rejected in Salons through the years are Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Mary Cassatt, Pissarro, Degas, and many more. Today, it's a rare museum that doesn't clamor to have one of these artists works in their collection.

Every summer in Houston, Lawndale Art Center invites artists living within a 100 mile radius of Houston to bring art works to be considered for their Big Show. This year, 976 works of art were dropped off. Understandably, because of space constraints and other considerations, only 114 works were accepted. Perhaps tongue in cheek, perhaps not, but in grand historical tradition, Emily Sloan of Gallery 1724 has curated an exhibit for the refused works from the Big Show. Taking my chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greats in art history, my self portrait will be in this exhibit.

"Salon des Refusés" opens Friday, July 9, from 8pm-10pm. The exhibition will close August 7.

"Salon des Refusés" is an exhibition of artworks rejected from the Big Show 2010 at Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main St, Houston, Texas 77002. The BIG Show will be opening the same evening from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Time To Rest

For the entire week last week, I didn't paint once. Maybe the unrelenting rain in Houston dampened my spirits a bit, but it doesn't seem right to use that as an excuse. The truth is, besides some art related paper work, I've been a little afraid to start on this next project. It's a portrait commission.

Portrait commissions, for me, are intimidating. They are tricky (in part) because three things need to happen. One, the person who commissions the artist needs to be happy with the finished painting. Two, the subject of the painting needs to be happy. And three, I need to be happy with the finished painting. It's hard to please all of us.

But today, I actually put paint to the canvas. And as overwhelming as it was to start, it's a good beginning. It's to the point now, though, that the painting needs some time to rest. The more I look at it in this incomplete state, hopefully, the easier it will be to see what it needs to be finished. Plus, I've got some issues to work out regarding the background. That'll take some time to figure out, too.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Readin', Ritin', and 'Rithmetic

There's nothing to change, there's just some catching up to do. As regular readers know, I only started painting a few years ago. It's been an incredible blessing to paint, and in many ways, an incredible responsibility as well. There have been so many new skills to learn, and a style to develop, and on top of all of that, there's this huge business side to art as well.

The style develops the more painting I do. But to help with the organizational side of art, and the business side, or as they say in Texas, the bidness side of art, I've started reading books on those subjects. A book in my lap right now is Writing For a Good Cause by Joseph Barbato and Danielle S Furllich. How does writing have anything to do with painting, you ask? It has everything to do with painting.

Painting, as with a lot of things, is not an inexpensive lifestyle. There's so much more that I want to accomplish artistically than there is money in the budget to cover. All of these ideas are constantly running around in my brain about art concepts....everywhere I go, there's a new thought about a new project. If I could just figure out how to capture all of these ideas with the written word, and get someone else (as in the board of an organization) as excited as I am about all of it, then the entire stress of financing my artistic pursuit would be lifted.

Maybe this new book will help pinpoint ways I need to grow as a writer, so that I have more opportunities to grow as an artist.