Monday, December 30, 2013

social acceptance?

A few days ago I was listening to NPR and a feature about social acceptance. I've been thinking about that and about my art. Is my desire to communicate my vision of a scene really the need for acceptance by others?  What would I paint if I had no contact with the outside world? What would my work look like if I was truly painting for myself? And, who are the others?

Other artists: I love getting feedback from them on Facebook; they applaud experimentation and abstraction.

My galleries: Sales indicate that traditional, more realistic work is appreciated by the majority of purchasers. Receiving monetary appreciation feels good.

As I look back on my work of 2013, one of my favorites is "Ambiance," a 6x6 inch pastel. And, as I look forward to 2014, I will strive to paint the truth from my heart.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas is over!

Christmas night, the lights on the top half of the tree burned out. I took it as a sign that Christmas was over. The tree is gone and the treasured-memory ornaments are carefully stored away. Left over  Christmas cookies are in the freezer awaiting game day here with kids and grandsons on New Years Eve. Annie is recovering from all the excitement and our plans for the coming year are progressing. Here is the floor plan for my new studio.

Friday, December 20, 2013

waiting days to Christmas

aahhh...heat! Love the new furnace. And, the sugar ants that came in from the cold to hang out with us are gone. Everything is coming together for our Christmas Eve family gathering here. I have rearranged the studio to make space for overflow from our little house. If all goes as planned, this will be the last of our 26 Christmases here and next year I'll be blogging from the lake. These are the waiting days before Christmas. My shopping is done because I won't join the throngs in stores and it is too late for free shipping for online purchases.  But, it is too early to make the last of the cookies and pies, clean the house or set the table.

This is a good time to write my annual Letter to Mama - she passed away in 2004. This year, I will tell her that I threw out all my reference photos and am painting from memory, or my "minds-eye." I threw them out so I wouldn't be tied to specifics of a scene. I have a tendency to be too literal so when using crisp, clear reference photos; I end up in a struggle between what I see in the photo and what I see in my mind's-eye.

An avid picture-taker with her little Kodak Instamatic camera, Mama will be glad to know that I still have her box of photos. Her photos are very bad...and I mean that in the best way! They are blurry and usually have me guessing what it was she was aiming for. But, they are scenes through Mama's eyes and that idea really appeals to me for a series of paintings. Here is the first one I'm interpreting: it appears to be flooding in our home town, Auburn, Washington.

I'm using a glazing technique for this oil painting. That means drying time between each painting session. The final step will be to add some detail and hard edges to this amorphous foundation but right now I'm working with value, temperature and mood.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

goodbye dusty noisy

Two weeks ago the refrigerator repairman was here. Last night the furnace repairman broke the news to us that our dusty, noisy old furnace has passed away.
Annie and I will be cozy in the house with the wood fire for a few days until the new furnace is installed - just in time for grandsons to visit for a couple days.

Plans for the new house on the lake are getting final tweaks, Jay is making the annual baklava for his customers and I am working hard to paint my best so my new easel doesn't wish it had been delivered to some other artist.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

out of the closet

During all the years of growing up in the little house on "M" Street in Auburn, Washington, there was a small, two-drawer chest in my parents' closet under the stairs.  As a teen-ager, in a effort to make our old furniture more modern, I did bad things to it. I painted the chest brown and took the hack saw to my wrought iron bed to make it into a Hollywood bed frame. For these and all my sins, I am heartily sorry.

When we moved Mama to an assisted-living apartment, the little chest came to live with me in my studio. I apologized to it and stripped away the awful brown paint. Moving furniture around is a favorite pastime of mine but the little chest came to me with only three wooden wheels that screeched in protest so its travel around my studio was limited.

This week, I bought four ball-bearing casters for the chest and placed my French Mistress (why is it called that?) on top. Voila! A new mobile life as my oil painting taboret!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

cranky...not cranky

I paint.
The paintings pile up.
I wonder why I am painting new paintings just to pile them upon old paintings.

•  I paint because when I DON'T paint, I get cranky.

•  The paintings pile up. I could forget about this and let my heirs deal with them... but would they end up in garage sales or go into the burn pile with my journals? I would not like that. A better idea is for me to move them on to new homes. So, I just posted these two small pastels on ebay. This will be my first try with art on ebay...we'll see.

Windmist  |  pastel  |  7.5 x 7 inches  

Afternoon Passage  |  pastel  |  7.5 x 7.5 inches  

•  I paint new paintings (and pile them on top of old paintings) because when I don't paint, I get cranky.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Whine Line

A little about the Whine Line...

It began when my brother, my sister and I were caregivers for our aging mother. I took Mama to her appointments for eyes and ears; my brother took her to the diabetes doctor and my sister took care of her bills and filled her meds container at the assisted-living apartment. We kept each other updated by telephone and those conversations usually began, "I'm calling to tell you what your mother did today."  Even at the time, we recognized the telling of our frustrations as amusing. Today, 10 years after Mama's passing, they are treasured memories. In recent years, the Whine Line has been used mostly between we two sisters about our spouses, children and grandchildren. We still laugh a lot about Mama even as we see ourselves becoming her.

Today my sister called me, "I'm calling to ruin your day."  Oh oh...last time she called, I misheard her and thought she said her dog died.

"Oh no, what?"
"I put the Christmas Tree up TODAY."
"Whaaat? December first? What's going on?"
"Well, I made my to-do list for the month and decided to do the items I hated doing the most, first."

And so, HER tree is up and she is moving on to writing the poem she has penned for her immediate family every year for the last 40 years while I'm just beginning to think about December.

I've spent the last several days reading directions for programming my new studio phone. One of its selling features is the ability to block calls. I may have to do that.

The photo above is the cover of our shared birthday book with our faces placed upon Ms. Englebreit's art. More about the birthday book in another post.