Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pink Chucks

Lately, I've been working toward getting ready for a 12" x 12" show at Betz Gallery on November 6th - 25th. All artwork in any media is considered for the show, as long as it fits the 12" x 12" format. It's not a size canvas that I normally work with, and it's been relatively restrictive (for me) as far as what can fit on the canvas.

For this painting, I was inspired by Vincent van Gogh, who painted several "portraits" of old work shoes in his day. These are my favorite everyday shoes at the moment. It's hard to leave them set up in the still life and not wear them until I'm finished with all the fine tuning of the painting. As silly as it sounds, I really miss wearing them. FYI, if the top lace hole is left unlaced, the shoes are easy to slip on and off.

A couple of weeks ago, I painted The Yellow Plate in preparation for the same exhibit, and have painted some sunflowers, too, that I've yet to photograph.

Three paintings can be entered for the jury process in the 12" x 12" show. What that means is that all three paintings might not be accepted in the show....AND, I'm not even sure that this painting and the sunflower one will be dry enough in time to enter them in the exhibit anyway.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Abstract Sunflowers

A gazillion....that's how many times people have suggested that I try my hand at abstract art. Why would people say that? To my face? In front of my obviously non-abstract art?

Yesterday, I worked on....this. So far, I'm calling it Abstract Sunflowers. It's 12" x 12" very thick (impasto) oil on canvas.

It's going to take a while for it to dry.

Monday, October 25, 2010


In order to pose next to "Reese and Hilary in Galveston" (painted by none other than yours truly) at the opening of the Good Gulf exhibit at the Art Car Museum, the Amazing Reese and I had to get a little creative. Thankfully, artist friends were in abundance at the opening, and Jeanne graciously agreed to take our photo, which turned out great, thank you, Jeanne.

About an hour later, the Art Car Museum folks had us reprise the pose. We were flattered, and crazy enough to oblige.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Other News...

My friend, Joanne came over to paint with me yesterday. She has painted with acrylics many times, but wanted to brush up on her oil painting skills and asked for a bit of advice. She actually wanted a lesson but I thought that it would be more fun if we panted side by side, and I could give pointers and tips as I remembered them.

Since she's a former art major, she already know many of the basics of drawing, color, and composition. Apparently painting with acrylics is very different than oils. Much of what I was telling her about the oil painting process was in contrast to how she normally paints.

With oil painting, it's advisable to start with the darkest color shade first and build toward the lightest color. I tried to emphasize painting color planes versus painting the actual image, though I'm not sure that I explained it well. Except for her signature, Joanne's finished painting is in the photo below. I'm really proud of the work she did.

Before she came over, I had communicated that we would paint a non fussy still life. We both laughed several times while painting, because the still life absolutely refused to be non fussy. Good grief. Flowers are complicated to paint. Sorry about that, Joanne.

For whatever reason, I was exhausted when she left, and my own painting was as yet unfinished. After a substantial amount of ingested food and an insufficient amount of rest, I got back to work -- a full days worth. The last paintbrush was cleaned just before 7pm last night.

This morning, I took a photo of my finished painting and the set up for the still life. (It's a 16" x 20" oil on linen -- really quality canvas -- I enjoyed painting on this brand. Will go buy some more.) Notice that the lamp (to control the light source) is propped up on four thick art books. See little Skipper resting in his bed. He's always happiest when he's close to me.

In other news, the Amazing Reese and I have been married for 26 years today. Happy anniversary, Reese.

Also, this Friday night (October 22nd) is Lawndale Art Center's retablo exhibit. (See my work here.) And Saturday night (October 23rd) is the opening for the Art Car Museum's Good Gulf exhibit. I have a piece in both, plus hope to have something in HCAA's Greater Houston Open Show -- also opening Saturday night. I won't find out until the last minute on the HCAA show....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Yellow Plate

After days of languishing in the studio, arranging and re-arranging still lifes, sketching and erasing images, in addition to various other painting related forms of trial and error, I painted The Yellow Plate.

It's nice to actually accomplish something after lots of nothings.

It's 12" x 12", painted on a cotton canvas.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


In preparation for this super busy fall, (between now and the end of November I have 16 different art due dates and events,) I spent the day cleaning and organizing the art studio closet and desk....which wasn't on today's list, but as I was moving things around trying to look for something, I bumped into the turpentine which spilled all over some unused canvases and the floor in the closet, and as I was trying to scoot the canvases around to clean the floor, I bumped something else which spilled, and by then it was easier to just take everything out and re-organize and clean the whole closet. I even fixed a broken closet shelf with some epoxy (instead of screws and nails) and consequently got a little loopy from all the fumes, being in an unventilated closet and all. Duh.

Then I spent some time toning a canvas for a particular project that is due in less than two weeks. Toning is when one mixes oil paint and turpentine to paint a thin layer of color on the canvas, (instead of always starting a painting on a white canvas surface.) I used to never do this, and now I almost exclusively do it. It's a great way to use leftover paint and for whatever reason, psychologically, it's easier to begin a painting on a toned surface versus the typical white canvas.

Maybe it's the fumes, because even though I've made a dated list of when everything is due and taped it to the mirror in the studio, I'm still a little confused as to what exactly is due when.... What am I forgetting?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Aphrodite, aka Hilary

For the fourth year in a row, I'm participating in Lawndale Art Center's Retablo exhibit. A retablo is a small devotional painting often painted on rectangular sheets of tin. The first year I participated, my offering was specific to the idea of honoring a dead loved one, my gramma Mills. For purely sentimental reasons, it's probably the only piece of work I've done that I really want to buy back. Is it right for the artist to admit this? Probably not.

Basically since last year, I've been thinking about how to incorporate the sheet metal that Lawndale provides for the artists' use in this year's retablo piece. The work evolved up until the last possible minute, with the photo showing the finished result. Good grief, I spent hours working on this, first painting the portrait, thinking, cutting the sheet metal, sanding the sheet metal, sealing the sheet metal, thinking some more, placing and affixing the heart necklace, painting the edge black, attaching the eye hooks and wire on the back, photographing it, more thinking, and finally naming the piece and delivering it to Lawndale.

Almost as soon as I got home, I thought of another, possibly better name for the piece, and am half tempted to go back to Lawndale and try to re-name it, only as Hilary pointed out, I wrote it on the back in Sharpie. But the look in her eyes does bring to mind Botticelli's Birth of Venus (aka Aphrodite), gentle, serene, and lovely.

Of august gold-wreathed and beautiful
Aphrodite I shall sing to whose domain
belong the battlements of all sea-loved
Cyprus where, blown by the moist breath
of Zephyros, she was carried over the
waves of the resounding sea on soft foam.
The gold-filleted Horae happily welcomed
her and clothed her with heavenly raiment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Scissor Hand to Heart

The Amazing Reese came into the art studio yesterday and exclaimed, "Wow. Those are some big @ss scissors!" He promptly went to find the camera to document the work. The scissors have to be big and sturdy. I'm using them to cut through steel sheet metal preparing for Lawndale Art Center's Annual Retablo Exhibit and Gala. The due date for the finished work is this Thursday so guess what I'll be working on all week?

Some of you will remember this Diva Hair painting from a few months back. It's painted on panel and was specifically cut for the retablo exhibit which specifies a maximum finished work size of 12" x 14". Since then, I've been thinking and thinking of how to incorporate the metal retablo into the work.

This years retablo offering is still evolving. Quite by accident, I've ended up with more than a few tiny steel hearts because of trying to make one perfect heart, which, as we all know, is not possible. One heart led to another, and before I knew it, there were hearts out the wazoo. (not really)

Seeking sympathy for suffering for art's sake, what I was trying to show in the photo was the bruise on my hand from using those big @ss scissors, though it's virtually impossible to tell. Looking at the photo now, the old Shakers' saying comes to mind, "hands to work, hearts to God" -- always a good thing to remember, and practice.