Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coming Up!

"Cottonwood" was selected for Archway Gallery's Third Juried Exhibition!

Bert Long was the juror, which is very exciting for me, because I've been an admirer of his for some time. (We've never met.)

The opening reception is July 9th from 5-8pm at Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy (in Houston). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of any artwork in the exhibit benefit the Houston Area Women's Center. Bert Long will also auction one of the photos from his collection with all proceeds going to the Houston Area Women's Center.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Since it's been a while since I painted a portrait, I asked her if she minded being an art guinea pig. She replied, "Honey I don't care a whit about the risks and dangers of being an art guinea pig. I'm just coming because you asked for sitters, and sitting is something I can do. Just play with it!"

Sure enough, she was great at sitting. You'd think she had done it all of her life. Well, besides the obvious that she HAS been sitting most of her life, she was a very good art guinea pig, I mean model.

The bottom photo was taken after two hours of painting. The top photo was taken after letting the painting dry for a couple of days, and then going back with a reference photo and touching up the finer details in the face. She was fun to paint.

At this point, the paintings will stay in my collection. (I'm working toward building up a cohesive body of work. The last time I painted a portrait from a live model sitting was last September, unless my self portrait counts, and in that case it was last November.) It's such a blessing and never ceases to amaze that people will come sit for me. Much thanks to Lauren. After two hours of intently studying her face and enjoying good conversation, I can say with certainty that Lauren is beautiful inside and out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What She Said

In spite of not painting all last week, I have been busy with art related stuff. The best part of the week was visiting with my art friend, Joan. Besides the fact that she is WONDERFUL, we can talk "art" for hours....and did. It was incredibly refreshing for my soul to have her here, and she was especially gracious to stay and visit considering that the downstairs a/c is on the blink. It was 84 degrees in the cool part of the house when she left. Sorry about that, Joan.

Believe it or not, I consider reading (and since it's art, looking at pictures) part of my continuing art education. And because it's been so hot downstairs, I've taken the opportunity to "read" (look at pictures) upstairs where the a/c works just fine. (Why didn't I think to take Joan upstairs for our visit? Oh, right, the bedroom was messy.) For the first time ever, I learned about (in American Art Review) and fell in love with an artist's work, by the name of Robert Henri. In particular, I like his portraits of Irish children. The portraits were painted toward the end of his career and are poignant and beautifully rendered; not too fussy, but not too loose, either. Beautiful.

I also read an article in Professional Artist magazine by Jack White about earned success. He states, "Earned success is when you do something to the best of your ability and are pleased with the results." It is very easy, as an artist, any profession really, to get caught up in the amount of money one makes or awards received. Not that there's anything wrong with achievements. Plus, awards are huge confidence builders. And Lord knows without commissions I'd have a hard time paying for paints and canvases. But "art" is so subjective that to spend too much energy worrying about every professional rejection would be foolish. So, in this instance, have I painted to the best of my ability, and am I pleased with the finished painting? More and more, the answers to those questions is YES. In fact, I'm so confident that I'm on the right track with my painting that a recent professional rejection hardly stung at all, (though it is a little hard to admit it to you, gentle reader.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This is a public apology to the blue tree painting from the previous post.

Dear Blue Tree painting, formerly known as "Exhibit A,"

As you sit on the easel waiting to dry, much to my delight and surprise, I actually like you. Please accept my sincere apology for referring to you as a crime scene. The fault lies with me for being unaware of the quirky beauty of your blue trunk and limbs. It is my sincere hope that you live in light, happiness, and comfort on a wall, not in a sad, dark closet.

Thank you in advance for providing cool shade for my soul, never ending branches for my thoughts, and deep roots as I continue to grow as an artist. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

With much respect and affection,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crime Scene

The other day I was looking though a closet trying to find a pair of work boots, and saw this..... well, a version of this. The version I saw was at least the third version of the painting, which makes this one at least the fourth, maybe the fifth version of the same scene.

I don't remember the first time I painted this or even where it is. It's one of the paintings that was troublesome from the beginning. Why? Who knows? But it was. Still is.

It's a mess up close. Even now I'm shaking my head in disbelief....that so much effort could go into something for so little result. (It's probably going back in the closet after it dries.) The only reason I'm not throwing it away or burning it is because the canvas was so dang expensive. It's fancy Belgian linen and the Scottish in me can't bear to waste it.

Daughter Hilary looked at it and said, "You're trying too hard." She's right, but believe me when I say that it looks better now than it did a few days ago. (not saying much)

I'm calling it "Exhibit A."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Wiki Wow

Daughter Anna wrote a Wikipedia page (about me) as a gift to me for Mother's Day. It was a complete surprise. Friends on facebook have teasingly suggested some revisions....

For the record, I like real craft beer, not "lite" anything.

My sister's name is Elizabeth. She's 10 years younger than me and super cool.

My first love was Running. Though I have fond memories from our time together, we split up quite a few years ago. Running and I were no longer in a relationship at the time, but it didn't stop me from going to meet running icons Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. Frank and Bill even signed my old running/training logs (which I still have -- why?) Big, big thrill.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lily Pondering

As mentioned in the last blog entry, for a couple of weeks, I've been working (floundering) on a painting of the back yard lily pond. It had gotten to a point where I was ready to put the painting away for a while, not because it was finished, but because it was extremely unfinished. I couldn't figure out what to do to make it "work."

Then today happened. The first wonderful thing that happened was running into a dear friend while on my morning walk with Tilly. Anyone can attest that I'm not a morning person, but seeing such a dear friend made the morning sweet. Then, after two generous cups of coffee, I got a phone call from dear friends who now live in Austin. Someone had sent them the local news article of the art heart and they called to share in the good news. How nice is that!?

Instead of putting the painting away, a hint of inspiration appeared, directly correlating, I believe, with the generosity of heart felt at having seen and talked to dear friends. Working with a new spirit, starting to get lost in the creativity, there was a knock on the door. Another long time friend, the kind with whom instant history is shared, dropped in for a short chat. Just as she was leaving, the dearest of friends dropped in on their drive from Missouri to Corpus Christi, TX. Needless to say, such sweetness of friendship fills my love tank. Not only that, but my artistically creative tank was filled as well. (I'm pretty sure the lily pond painting is now finished....)

And even though I feel extreme gratitude that painting is a gift, (I DO love painting,) being an artist is ofttimes a very lonely pursuit. But today, today was different. Today I was given the best of both worlds.