Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Visiting Rights

Though no longer in my custody, the new owners have graciously allowed me to maintain visiting rights to this painting, Harmony in Flesh Tones and Pink - Astrid....which will be slightly difficult, since this painting now lives in Paris, France.

Au revoir, until we meet again....some day.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

¿Cuánto cuesta? means "how much does it cost" in Spanish.

If it hasn't been said before, it should have been -- I love win wins. Right now, a friend and I are bartering services. She gets child care from me on Wednesdays for her precious five year old twins, and I get some light carpentry work (provided through her) done on the house. It's a win win for us both. In fact, because her kiddos are so sweet, I'm probably getting more out of it than she is....(but don't tell her that.)

Some of the carpentry work is being done in the art studio. In what I consider the highest of compliments, one of the Spanish speaking workers loves my art and wants his portrait painted by yours truly. It's perfect timing because I've postponed getting serious about starting a portrait series as previously mentioned here and here. It's past time to get busy.

In a different time space continuum, I'm independently wealthy and can give give give to my heart's content. But in this life, right now, I can't; to paint is costly, and so I was trying to come up with a creative barter so that we could create a win win for him to get his portrait painted and for me to get something out of the deal, too. Such as, we work together to paint the living room and dining room walls in exchange for the portrait (which he would keep) -- or something like that. Only he didn't like that idea. OK, so what does he think is a fair exchange? How much should it cost him? And how much should it cost me? What is fair for us both? Ideas anyone?

Friday, August 27, 2010

The French Connection

This is Francoise. She is my dear friend from France. Until this week, I hadn't seen her in over two years. I love her. Her daughter is the subject of one of my most commented on paintings which has also one won a first place and peoples choice award in two separate art shows.

This morning, we went to the Menil Collection, a vast array of art gathered largely by the late French American philanthropist, Dominique de Menil. The Menil has an impressive collection of surrealist paintings, of whom Rene Magritte is my favorite. Neither of us remember the name of the painting in the photo....

....which we snapped just before the guard told us that no photos were allowed. Oops.

Monday, August 23, 2010

At the Log Cabin

For a semi relaxing weekend get-away, Reese and I drove up to east Texas to his mom's side of the family's lake house. It's not so much of a lake house as it is a lake cabin. The most accurate description of the cabin is that it's VERY rustic...rustic and charming.

Honestly, we don't go up there enough. Life, especially weekends, get so full, and before we know it, it's been a whole year or more between visits.

In spite or perhaps because of the rusticness, I love cooking in this kitchen. For this meal, we had black bean chicken simmered in rum and salsa, mexican calabasita squash cooked in butter and onions, sweet potato slices coated with olive oil, salt, and pepper, thin tortilla chips, served with Saint Arnold Elissa IPA and Monte Oton Garnacha red wine, AND home made (from scratch -- the best kind) brownies for dessert.....

....which we ate on the screened porch while enjoying this view of the lake.

Yes, it was hot, especially when the wind stopped. No, I did not take my paints or canvases. Yes, we took the ukulele and guitar but sadly, no, we did not play them. Yes, we sailed on the lake. Well, Reese sailed. I was tethered to the sailboat and floated along behind the Amazing Reese on a chair raft type thing -- super fun. No, we did not take Skipper the dog, poor thing. Yes-can-you-believe-it, we slept for 11 hours one night! Yes, as often happens after a "vacation," I'm still tired. Yes-thank-you, Reese and I both enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The beauty of this painting? Reuben will never see it. Because of the enormous amount of trouble I'm having with my newest latest portrait commission, I painted Reuben as a confidence builder.

As mentioned before, portrait commissions are difficult for several reasons....the artist, first and foremost, has to please the person who commissioned the painting, the artist has to please the subject of the painting, and the artist has to please, in my case, herself.

Reuben did not commission me to paint this. Reuben will never see this painting. And, even in this state, (not sure what to do about the background,) I like it.

The portrait commission? It has hit another snag. I'm getting ready to start a third version and see how that goes. Oh, well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Andy and Philosophy

Last week, in the art section at Half Price Books, I found and have since been reading The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. It's full of quotes and short essays on a variety of subjects -- love, fame, beauty, work, time, success, art -- to name a few. It's surprising to discover that much of his philosophy makes sense...to me.

If someone has a conviction about how to live and doesn't live that way, their life becomes one of hypocrisy. Or as Andy Warhol so aptly states:
"It's not that my philosophy is failing me, it's that I'm failing my own philosophy. I breach what I preach more than I practice it."

Lately I've been thinking a lot about one of my guiding philosophies.
Reese and I hold this truth to be self evident, that all people at all times are more important than stuff, or doing stuff.
If this is not true, if accomplishing things is more important than attending to people, then I'm screwed. And yet, twice last week, one of my sweet neighbors invited me over and I was "too busy" to go. So like Andy, at times like that, I'm failing my own philosophy.

It's only an issue these days, though, because a portrait commission is in the works, needs to get finished, and instead of diligently working on it, I'm (mostly) philosophically living.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Matinée

Based on a true story....watch this short film when you have an uninterrupted ten minutes and fourteen seconds. I first saw it on The Jam Jar back in June....and can't get the clever cuteness (or cute cleverness) out of my head.
"I happen to be one of the few people who can see micro expressions without slow motion video."

Something Left, Something Taken- Full Version from Tiny Inventions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Do you ever have one of those days where you can't think straight because you have so much to do? I'm pretty sure that I even forgot to wash my hair this morning.

Life is full, wonderful, and beautiful -- super busy, but wonderful.

The portrait commission is finally coming along nicely. It's a complete do-over, it's not finished, but for the first time, I feel confident that it will be something wonderful.

And, in honor of Joy's birthday, there's fresh cheesecake in the fridge. Yum.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Big Show Response

The following is excerpted with permission from correspondence received from a reader and new friend, Tami Merrick. She and I met while enjoying some live blues at The Big Easy. In our "getting to know you" chat, I was delighted to discover that one of her works is in the Big Show at Lawndale this year.

Tami adequately and eloquently explains what so many of us in the art viewing public want to know. Namely, what makes THAT art?

Tami's credentials include having curated shows herself and spending a number of years studying (mostly) painting at the Art League, and at Glassell. Although her college degree is in architecture, she also took art classes in under graduate school.

She also mentions that getting in the Big Show eluded her for a number of years.
"I read your blog about the Big Show.

As far as the content of the work, the Big Show has long been considered a survey of Texas artists and the work ranges from amazing to even bad, but is truly a survey.

Art is a very opinionated topic. If I had to explain to someone what the art world thinks is great work, it would be to say that the work needs to speak about the time period it is in. In other words....to only paint what has been painted isn’t enough....but how does it change and evolve to make it unique? Or what way is a painting made that says it is specific to 2010....and not 10 years ago. That makes it very tough call how to make and for the curator to select great innovative art.

I don’t think I have the answer....but I do know that I have spent a lot of time experimenting in my studio and that has become my topic of work..more than painting itself."

Fascinating. I can't wait to visit her studio and see just what she means by that last statement, which, good for her, is probably the very reason her work is in the Big Show this year.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Misunderstood + underestimated = misunderestimated. It's not a real word, but should be. For instance, I misunderestimated the amount of time and effort required for my latest portrait commission. At this point, I'm seriously considering starting over as it's not going well.

Also, even though I've lived in Houston for 25 years, I misunderestimated the heat this summer. The suburban has been unreliable transportation so the bike has played an important role in mobility. It's hot out there folks.

But what's to be done when society misunderestimates their fellow man? When they misunderestimate the love and compassion of a husband? Or when they misunderestimate the commitment of a wife? When people groups and ideas collide, who's misunderestimating whom?