Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Stable Friends

Last week, with permission, I borrowed an image (to paint) from a friend of mine whose horse and dog clearly get along well. The subtleties of the friendship between the horse and dog, the similarities of their coloring, as well as the neutral warm tones of the wood in the stable made for interesting, albeit complicated to paint, subject matter. As the painting has dried over the last week, the colors have continued to develop a certain richness. Who knew neutrals could be so exciting!?

"Stable Friends" is 18" x 24" oil on linen.

Since a well known gift giving time of the year is in the not too distant future, in case anyone is interested, all of my paintings are listed at $2 a square inch. And, for a limited time, all of my paintings sized 12" x 16" or less will be $1 a square inch, which includes everything in the photo below, which means that the paintings in the photo range in price from $35 - $180. (There are four 12" x 15" 's on the table.)

Come have a look.

Ever thought about commissioning a painting? There's still time for the work to be finished before the holidays, and I'd love to paint something specifically for you. Commission work is $3 a square inch.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Voices of Trees

Last week I stopped by MotherDogStudios, a 22,000 square foot warehouse space, to view a very impressive show that John Runnels has gathered and curated called Voices of Trees. 91 artists' works are on view, I personally have three pieces in the show, so that gives one an idea of the scope of show -- it's huge. The cavernous space lends itself to presenting large pieces well, and the smaller works are carefully curated to not diminish their appeal to the observer, as noted by the five smaller paintings flanking my own "Cottonwood". (above) (That's Andy Dearwater's pear still life to the right of Cottonwood.)

"Glenwood Oak" is another of my paintings in the show, surrounded by cutouts and what appears to be black and white photography. To be honest, I was distracted by the conversation, John Runnels was a thorough tour guide, and spent more time listening to his musings than contemplatively looking at the work.

"Hermann Park Trees - 3" is my final piece in the show. It's a piece that I started in 2009, but recently reworked. It was hanging in our dining room before this show, and seemed to become more nuanced daily. Isn't that what happens when we fall in love with something/someone? Each day, we are more amazed than the day before, and we find new things to accept, embrace, admire?

"Hermann Park Trees - 3" is on the wall beyond this multi tiered tree branch chandelier. Very cool.

These are some works in the front gallery space. Apologies for not remembering or recording the artist's names for the corresponding works. The above photo is NOT upside down. Those bare trees are hanging from the ceiling!

The show is on view now, open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (ish) (or by appointment 713 229 9760)  at 720 Walnut Street in Houston's downtown warehouse district. The Amazing Reese and I plan to be at MotherDogStudios for a couple/few hours during Art Crawl on November 19th, probably late afternoon/early evening. (I'll verify times as the date draws nearer.) In the meantime, I'd be more than happy to meet anyone there to view the show together. Let me know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Failure 101

Recently, I watched two separate talks by two different people on the value of failure. Back in late July, a mere three blog posts ago, I even wrote about several of my failures regarding the building of our little blue house library. I honestly thought that all was well, and that after a rousing successful soft opening of the little blue house library in our front yard, where neighbors came and borrowed books and left books for other neighbors to read, including me, I'm here to say that failures, while they might be character building, don't go hand in hand with building a teeny tiny house.

One rainy morning was all the proof needed to discredit any success of the durability of the little book house. The rain caused several areas of the roof to swell and split, which is really not good. In fact, it's quite bad. So, yesterday, after a journey to the hardware store with the intention of building a new roof, I realized that I needed MORE. More of everything and anything that would help protect the little house from rain.

Another trip to the hardware store yielded a sack full of waterproofing supplies, which, upon exiting the car, the doubled plastic sack ripped and all of the contents of the sack fell into the goopy gutter, and gentle reader, remember, it had just rained the day before.....the can of primer paint burst open, spilling 7/8ths of its contents in said gutter, and splattering everything in its vicinity....all of those new waterproofing products. But wait, there's more.....

One of the products that I got at the hardware store is this liquid plastic stuff in a spray can called flex seal. (As seen on TV, just not by me. It probably would have been wise for me to have seen that "as seen on TV" commercial, but alas, all I did was read the back of the can, which, presumably, should have been enough, but, not in this instance.) Two people had recommended the product, which is why I bought it. As per the instructions on the can, I cleaned all surfaces to be treated, and sprayed the surface that I wanted to coat from 8 to 12 inches away in a side by side motion. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and all the saints -- this is not what I thought it was and isn't doing what I thought it would do.  Some of the product accidentally got on the window of the front door, and the plastic coating is not coming off of it....not with alcohol, not with turpentine, not with salt or baking soda, not with Windex, not with Scrub Daddy....nothing.  And there are flecks of plastic all over the surface of the little house, and the whole thing looks pitiful, is pitiful. Oy vey what have I done? Maybe, hopefully, the library is/will be protected until I can build another roof, but in the meantime, I've made a huge mistake. Like the sign above says, library temporarily closed.   :(

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tiny Blue House

Thanks to an extensive amount of help from our daughter, Anna, a couple of weeks ago, and a copious amount of work since then, our little free library is finally up and running! It hasn't be officially registered with the Little Free Library people, but it will be soon.

This is the beginning of mixing paints to get more or less the right shade of blue.

That yellow square is the future front door, made from a scrap of wood leftover from a dresser mirror.

Front door installed, which is surprisingly difficult -- this took the better part of a morning to finish.
These tiny things are going to be the shutters.

The Amazing Reese is a blur of activity. He dug a starter hole, and then pounded the four by four into the earth. Next, he screwed in the platform for the little blue house.

Installed with books! I'll admit that I got a little verklempt at this point. 
Look how cute those shutters are, with books visible through the windows.

Even though it's been less than 24 hours since it was installed, I've already had several readers stop by to get some books.

In the meantime, take a book, leave a book -- and to that end, the Little Blue House would appreciate  any book donations, especially children's books, but anything really. I'm really looking forward to sharing this with the community. Come on by!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Little Beginnings

The Little Free Library is nearing completion, and to that end, a dear, sweet, kind hearted neighbor has donated a great batch of books to the cause, one of which is a biography on e. e. cummings that I've already started reading. Look for more updates soon!

Friday, July 29, 2016

One Man's Trash

Looking into my neighbor's trash heap a few months ago, I had an eureka moment. The scraps so carefully placed by the side of the curb would be the perfect stuff to build a Little Free Library! The Amazing Reese and Tilly the Wonder dog were with me, and helped me haul it all back home after our run. Well, Reese helped. Tilly was nonplussed. First order of business was to see if any of the scraps were usable. Some were. (Yay!) Then, I had to piece together bits here and there to build walls and re-shingle the roof. A trip to the hardware store yielded Plexiglas for the windows, which Reese graciously re-cut for me because I had measured the space incorrectly where the windows were to be installed. I am not entirely sure how to properly seal these little Plexiglas windows, and for the life of me can't figure out a way to attach a front door, and don't even have a front door because, well, just because I can't figure it out.....for the life of me. The space for the door needs to be at least that big, (see above photo) so that the future librarian (me) can put in the books, and random strangers (and friends) can remove books to take home to read, when the time comes. The books never have to be returned. The idea is that anyone walking past can just grab a book to go. We live near an elementary school, so one of the things I'm most looking forward to is having a kid section, though there will be books for all ages and tastes, fiction and non. The thing is to have variety! Back to the "building it" story, the most recent obstacle, I thought, was making the little house water tight. The fella at the hardware store suggested caulking the cracks with silicone, which is water tight, which I did, but it just so happens that you can't paint over silicone, which, of course, I plan to do, half of the fun has been deciding how to paint it, so guess who gets to sand off all of the silicone that I just spent hours squirting into every nook and cranny? Yep, me.

So, even though I haven't been painting as much as before the great creative mind drought of Sarah Hazel of 2015/2016, I have been hatching other ideas, just not pursuing any of them as fervently as before the brain cloud. And, I'm tentatively happy that this Little Free Library will be finished by the end of the year.....that gives me time to make and hopefully fix a few more mistakes, which, seems to be a regular occurrence these days. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm happy to make the mistakes, because it means that I'm finally doing something.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Who can explain a creative drought? Even as I sit here and try to think of clever words to type, my mind is blank, so perhaps I'm not totally out of this wilderness of unspiration. Artistically, I've been at a complete loss of what to do. That's not normal for me.

So, it was incredibly confirming, when, after not painting for a year, that this painting that was barely dry off the easel, was accepted into the Eighth Annual Juried Exhibition for Archway Gallery! The juror was John Runnels, seen here with me in this photo. The show will be in the gallery until August 3.

 The Amazing Reese was graciously taking photos, an inordinate amount of photos --  this one is my favorite.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Self Portrait at 52 and a Half

After months of inactivity in the studio, I did it -- I spent the afternoon painting. Since starting painting 12-ish years ago, I've never gone this long without painting, or writing. Suffice it to say, it's been a weird stage/place to be. Hopefully, this is the start of a new beginning, a renewed focus, and inspiration to continue toward a pursuit in the arts. This took heart, hands, intellect, and all of the bravery in my soul just squeeze paint on the palette. Phew. What a day!

The subject matter was chosen because it affects no one but me if it's a lousy painting. #selfieportrait