Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Inadvertently Ruin a Good Pair of Shoes

Last week I read a blog that offered seven reasons blogs fail and what to do about it. Mistake #4 is "you don't produce useful information." The solution was to demonstrate ones expertise by offering valuable content. Well, here is my valuable to inadvertently ruin a good pair of shoes.

Perhaps it's a little eccentric that a 47 year old woman considers a pair of pink chucks to be her good dress shoes. (And the fact that I only paid $6 at a consignment store for them is beside the point.)

As a color to use when painting, phthalo blue is beautiful. Sort of a bluey green, it becomes a rich delicate shadow when mixed with white. Mixed with red, it becomes almost black. It mixes well to make gray, and is lovely to use for an overcast Texas late winter sky, when applied correctly.

As an artist, I am aware that phthalo blue, once applied, is impossible to remove. This fact was discovered, rather discouragingly, after a young child touched one of my wet paintings and promptly proceeded to clean his hands on the nearest soft surface -- the yellow sofa. That stain is a daily reminder to practice what I preach -- that people are more important than "things" -- but in this instance, I see the sofa more than I see the child. It's just easier to blame the child, because the sofa was an innocent victim -- a bystander -- who was in the right place at the wrong time. (In vain, I try to cover the stain with a throw blanket.)

Yesterday, when Hilary announced that she was going to run a few errands, I jumped at the chance to tag along. After not painting for nearly two weeks, I was back in the painting spirit, but tired and ready for a break.

While shopping with Hilary, I noticed some paint on my hand. (Uh oh. How'd that get there?) Then Hilary noticed paint on the front of my shirt. (What?) There was paint all over my shoes. I had taken off my shoes and socks to try on some sandals, which is how the paint ended up on my hands. (and shirt?) That also meant that the paint somehow got on my socks, which means that the paint is inside my shoes. The paint that was on the inside of my right big toe was kicked all down the side of my inside left foot, and consequently back up the inside of my right foot. In short, the shoes I was wearing, my pink chucks, my good shoes, are covered in a paint color that refuses all forms of stain removal.

It must have had something to do with gravity, because how else would the phthalo blue Texas winter sky have ended up on my shoe?

The helpful advice is this: gravity causes paint to sometimes fall toward the ground. If ones shoe is in the way, and the paint is phthalo blue, this could be an insurmountable problem. Be very careful of gravity (and small children) when using phthalo blue.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Heart Ride

The art hearts have moved again. The one I painted is now on the northeast corner of West Gray and South Shepherd in the River Oaks Shopping Center. It will be there through the first week of August.

Not too far away is Archway Gallery where the painting that was inspired by this art heart is on view.

An Ice Cream Social on July 31st from noon to 6pm will close out Archway Gallery's Third Annual Juried Show. Chicago Kim will be on premises with her Sweet Ride ice cream truck. Purchase your favorite frozen treat, walk through the gallery, see the art, and enjoy a free beverage. It should be fun for all ages. I mean, come on, who doesn't like an ice cream truck?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I gave myself a personal goal a year ago -- to paint 35 paintings. At the end of completing those 35 paintings, I would assess their cohesiveness and see if there is continuity and an emerging style. If there is continuity, at that point I'll consider what to do next, as far as continuing to pursue art as a career. "Hilary in a Gray Shirt" was my 32nd painting since setting that goal, so I'm really close.

"Hilary in a Gray Shirt" was also my 218th painting to date....whatever that means.

There are 97 paintings (of mine) in our house right now, which means that more than half of them live somewhere else.

According to my research, it appears that my paintings live in at least 75 different homes or offices.

My paintings have been in 21 different galleries.

Approximately two dozen paintings have been donated to various causes. I'll continue to support the causes with good will, just not with paintings for their auctions. However, I'll consider donating a painting if the artist gets a percentage of the auction bids, gets to meet the winning bidder, and gets a free ticket to the event.

The last time the website was updated was 50 paintings ago. There's got to be an easy way to keep it current. Any web designers out there want to barter a professional, easy to update website for a painting?

There are ten blank canvases in the studio. I've no clue what to paint next.

There are at least three paintings (of mine) that I'd love to keep forever.

This blog entry is my 505th post.

All of this has happened within the last six years.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hilary in a Gray Shirt

Close up of the portrait of my 3rd daughter, Hilary.

20" x 24" oil on linen portrait of "Hilary in a gray shirt".

Monday, July 11, 2011

From a Fan's Point of View, the Best Opening Reception EVER

This past weekend was the opening reception for Archway Gallery's 3rd Annual Juried Competition. It was SO much fun.

The Amazing Reese and I got there relatively on time, which gave us time to take the requisite photo of the painting and me posing in a gallery setting. Expecting a crowd, the gallery very wisely had fans positioned throughout the space in order to facilitate air flow, which lent itself to more than one Marilyn Monroe moment with my full skirt.

The juror for the show was Bert Long, a Houstonian and internationally acclaimed artist. As stated before, I've long been an admirer of his. When Archway Gallery sent out the artist call for this show, the main reason I entered was so that Bert Long would see my work. Then when "Cottonwood" was selected, I was beside myself because here, finally, was my opportunity to meet Bert Long.

(Can you tell how excited I am? That's Bert Long!) Devotedly, I followed him around like a puppy dog waiting for the opportunity to introduce myself and thank him for selecting my work for the show. Had I been an actual puppy, it would have looked like my tail was wagging, but that was just the gallery wind blowing up my skirt.

I'd like to think that we became fast friends the moment we met, but the grown up in me knows better. He very graciously spent some quality time with me talking about the painting, the technique, the brush strokes, etc., and how he selected "Cottonwood" not only because it's worthy on its own today, but because he sees promise in my artistic future. (!) The critique was very humbling and affirming at the same time.

The gallery had the right idea about the fans. The opening reception was absolutely packed. Several groups of our friends came out in support. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying the art -- not just "Cottonwood", but the whole show. Bert Long did a fantastic job of selecting the pieces in the exhibit, showcasing artistic skill, heart, soul, messages, and variety -- lots of variety.

It just so happens that Bert Long and I have mutual friends, he's a neighbor of some of our long time friends, and I'm a neighbor of one of his long time friends. Of course, as this was pointed out to him, he briefly and silently studied me, peering over his glasses, like he couldn't decide if I was crazy or not. (I'm not -- really.) Bert Long didn't know it, but we've been one degree of separation for years.

The delightful evening wouldn't have been possible without the Amazing Reese. Not only is he adorable arm candy, without his supportive enthusiasm, it wouldn't have occurred to me to consider being an artist as a "career". It's incredible to think that all of this has happened in the last six years. (And that Bert Long talked about my FUTURE as an artist! So cool.) Thanks, Amazing husband Reese.

At the end of the evening, the very approachable Bert Long, with a little nudge from his lovely companion, Joan Batson, agreed to pose with me in front of "Cottonwood". I couldn't have been happier.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Joy at 19

Delightfully, sweet daughter Joy agreed to pose for me yesterday. I started with a quick sketch on a toned canvas, just to make sure the eyes, nose, mouth, and hair were all in the right places, more or less. They were a little less than more, but the general idea was there.

Then, as I started applying color, the shape of the face became more defined. The eyes, nose, and mouth all found their way to the right part of the face, too. At this point, it was getting late, and Joy was tired of sitting...maybe I should say tired of sitting I took a few reference photos to finish the portrait later.....

....which I did this afternoon.

This was one of those paintings that I dreamed about in the night, so finishing it was easier than some of the other paintings I've done. I don't know why that happens sometimes, the dreaming, I mean. (?) Why do some paintings flow, and others languish in painter's purgatory? It's a mystery. Funny thing, though, just a week or two ago Joy posed for me. That painting (on this exact same canvas) was so horrifying that I wiped it off before anyone could see it.

Joy is happy with this portrait, as am I. It's always a huge plus when the subject of the portrait likes the finished work. It's a 14" x 18" oil on linen.