Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Time To Take Stock

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This is the time of year to take stock in what we have.

I have my health (relatively speaking). As Fonzy would say, “Eh, you aren’t twenty any more ya know”. I have family and friends, and I have my painting. My mental health depends on that last one. If I could not paint, I would feel oh so sorry for my husband.  He tolerates a lot and supports me by cutting boards that I prepare for painting, coming to openings he could care less about and to receptions where he feels about as necessary as lipstick and a tutu on a biker. Yeah he’s a keeper and for that I am thankful.

And I am still gobsmacked when I get up in the morning and find what we got last night. Snow.  This was our first here in Southern NM, this year.  Wow! Transformation!  Our move five years ago for this part of the country was so very right for us both.  I have missed the change of seasons for many years.  Now it is more pronounced than it was during our time in San Diego county, a visual cue to me of the transitory nature of our lives.  It makes me want to grab those I love with both hands and not let them go.  It reminds me that we have today. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. 

So after throwing on my clothes, and getting my first of several cups of coffee, I painted this little 9x12.  I call it “Towards Tyrone”, mostly because this is the southern view from our property, towards Tyrone NM.  The sheer beauty of this place takes my breath away.  Some days you think “if heaven isn’t this pretty I ain’t going”. Really.  I can understand how the indigenous people hated seeing us all coming in and taking over this land. We would have tried to defend it too.  I think when a body paints the landscape, farms it, hunts it and protects it, you develop a reverence for it.

This is painted on prepared board, one that has been gessoed and sanded, sealed on all sides.  I did not tone the board, figuring who cared if there was white peaking through? Its snow after all.  It peeks through everywhere when it falls anyway.

I am thankful. For lots of things, most of which you cannot touch except with your heart.  I truly hope your Thanksgiving is as heartfelt and profound as ours is this year.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Question From Left Field

A little bit ago, I was asked to put some answers up on my blog from the Patience Brewster websitePatience, if you’re not already familiar with her work, is the artist behind her self named company that designs and produces handmade Christmas ornaments and other fun gifts.
That was interesting. Never before had I had that type of request.
People ask you questions, but I figure they promptly forget the answers and go on to the next important thing in their day. So sometimes I answer facetiously, with answers that would stop you in your tracks, obviously made up and sometimes quite funny.
But I am being serious here, today, for about fifteen minutes.

1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?
Yes, by my grandmother who did lovely pen and ink bird drawings, with light color washes on paper that today has disintegrated and been lost. (Note to self, use good materials). She taught me to draw atop her kitchen table, telling me to feel the item with my eyes, then put down that feeling onto the paper. Best teacher ever.

2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?
I find that when I am working there is a mind shift, and I try to imitate what I see, feel and experience, a true synthesis of the moment. I hope to convey the respect for light and life, and a Higher Power, no matter what the name you use for that Being.

3. What memorable responses have you had to your work? 
"My kid paints." Un hunh. Once I had painted peonies and that person wanted the piece so badly. Peonies were her mom's favorite and the day she saw it was the anniversary of her mom's passing.

4. What is your dream project?
A year in a motorhome, stopping wherever, painting whenever and meeting new friends along the way.

5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)
This list could go on until tomorrow. There is so much to be excited about. A total command of medium and virtuosity is mindblowing to me.  So in no particular order, Len Chmiel, Ken Auster, Irby Brown, Don Demers, and such stalwarts as Monet, Degas, Celia Beaux, Bougereau, and Van Gogh. Standing in front of a Turner has brought me to tears, as has viewing a Sargent. Life is not long enough to list them all. They continue to give us gifts beyond measure and I believe a teeny glimpse into God's mind's eye.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Painting, New Title

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Sometimes the titles of my paintings elude me, like a tiny flower under leaves along a forest path. Would that they were more forthcoming.

Take this painting of a Pinos Altos house allowed to go to ruin. I do not know if anyone owns It. Clearly nobody is currently tending it. It looks as though someone once took pains building a rock wall that is now with overgrown weeds and grasses. The rock wall looks like it will outlast the wooden building. But the house had windows that were nice and large at a time when transporting them was costly and probably pretty precarious. It was probably fairly snug for a house of its time. 

I hesitated to get into those tall grasses as I really do not like snaky surprises. So I painted her from the road.

Not too many people were about in Pinos Altos that morning. There was a honey truck, one person walking her dog and someone who must have been late for work. Most everyone took long looks at the weird painter under the blue umbrella. But nobody interrupted.

I called this painting Pinos Altos Dowager, mostly because she seemed to have seen better days. I can relate. But upon reflection, she might have been better named "Keeping Secrets", the way the entrance was so overgrown, with fallen down tree branches. Is she hiding something, or simply keeping close a time that was happier and more promising?

Keeping Secrets, or, Pinos Altos Dowager?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Its Not A Pig!

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Some days painting en plein air are just plain weird.

Painting buddy Gay Scheibl and I decided to take a quickie road trip up to Lake Roberts and paint. I kept telling her how pretty it was with greenery around the lake and pink cliffs above. So we went as she had never been.

They had drained the lake.

It was a puddle. It was teeny. The fishing pier (brand new) was 50 feet or more from the water. You’d really have to cast to get to them thar fish.

So we decided to go to Upper Mimbres Valley and hunt down a goat ranch we had seen with lots of goats in a lovely sunlit pasture. We found it and partially unpacked. Almost together, we heard at least 5 shots from a gun. At which point Gay, (the decidedly brighter of us two) said “This doesn’t sound like such a good idea”. And I had wanted to drive up and ask to paint on their property! Like I said, one of us is smart.

Run away! Run away! Run away! Sounds like Monty Python doesn’t it?

We ran on down the road and found a beautiful pasture bordered by red /pink cliffs and habited by three horses. A lady was walking her afghan hound and we asked if we could paint on the property. She said yes and we opened the rope gate, closed it to not let out the horses and proceeded to paint. It was beautiful! It was great!

But I can tell you, if you think boats are hard to paint, try horses. They walk away. They pose for two minutes, look at you, figure you’ve almost got them and they saunter on off around the far side of the buildings. They do it on purpose. So here is my painting of Lake Roberts (just kidding). Here is Munching Out in Mimbres Valley, with a bit of a glare for which I apologize. Complete. I don’t usually paint animals. I find them non-cooperative. You wildlife artists are amazing. I just am happy if my horses don’t look like pigs.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Return of a Friend

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It’s been a long time since my last post. I did not want to restart the posts and then fall down due to lack of energy. So I waited a bit. That does not mean I have not been painting, I simply have been building back energy. Plein air can sap it right out of you. So can trying to type in proper English.

Plein air in New Mexico is a tale different from any other. The southern part of the state tends to attract a wide array of personalities and so when an attractive piece of land is posted “No Trespassing”, the prudent thing is to not trespass, no matter the enticement to paint it.  Luckily there are often pull outs along the road offering safety from traffic and views like nowhere else on earth.

Today’s offering is called “48 Ford Firetruck”. There are two of these old gals in Hillsboro New Mexico. One is being cannibalized to give new life to the other. I like to think of it as an amalgam of the best of both, affording the ability for both to live on. The historical society is working on the transformation. Both sit in a field, just off the main road through town. Because the field was fenced and cordoned off, my buddy Gay and I did not want to overstep bounds and tred on sensibilities. So we painted from the roadside. But after having met some of the locals who are working on the trucks, we now have permission to return and enter the field to gain a better vantage of these living historical icons.

This was my view from that day, glorious sunny and warm. So was the welcome from the Hillsboro residents. This is “48 Ford Firetruck”, an 11x14 oil on board, and soon to appear in SouthWest Art magazine.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Settling for Fewer Plein Air Paintings

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Fall is the best time to go out and see the colors in nature before winter settles in. Late summer is what I had to settle for this year. August was as far as I got.

To not belabor the facts, I started with a leg infection in June, it went to my artificial knee and I ended up only having one knee after the surgeon plucked out the offending joint, mid October. There went my plein air painting for the better part of the summer and into winter. Can you say envious???

But I did manage to get to Maine to paint about nine paintings, some of which are still awaiting finishing details and slight attention in the studio. This painting is one that was done totally onsite, so very early in the morning, that the pink was still in the sky. It made it into the Randy Higbee 6 inch squared show in Costa Mesa. Some day I am going to go and actually see one of my paintings hanging alongside some people whose work I greatly admire. This entire show is populated by pieces no larger than 6x6 inches. Its a big show made up of teeny tiny paintings. 

So if you get the chance to stop by and take a peek, its on Kalmus Street, Costa Mesa, and will run from Dec 6th through the month.

Here is my little painting "Dawn, Port Clyde Me."

Dawn, Port Clyde Me.
6x6 oil
Currently showing at the Randy Higbee Gallery, Costa Mesa, December 2014
Plein Air pieces may be sparse from me for a bit.......there's a new knee that's gonna be under the Christmas tree this year. About time!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Panting in Maine

Life has been hectic since my return from a painting trip to Maine, combined with a BIG loop to visit family and friends, through Tennessee and North Carolina. I intended to paint along the way, but the rain followed me and dogged my route. Huge sheets of it. I thought Texas was having a drought?

Coupled with last minute preparations for the BRAI sponsored plein air competition and show we are having October 9th to the 12th, getting into the El Paso International Show, and the Clifton AZ  Colors of Copper Show, makes my plate just a tad bit over overflow right now. But I thought you might enjoy a few of the paintings I did in Maine. I am intuitively dialed into that palette and have to feel my way to the palette of the Southwest. Growing up under a canopy of trees makes you welcome the quiet places, shadowy and light dappled. Occasionally I have to return to refill my soul and to hear the accent that filled my ears as I grew up.

The first piece is the view to the left of the Port Clyde, Me. Lighthouse, titled “The Sentry”. I love the pines in the Northeast. They have obvious character, having survived the onslaught of numerous murderous winters. They reach for the sky and they thrive. There’s a lesson there.

The second piece is a view of a garden along Turkey Cove, an ocean inlet just outside Port Clyde and Thomaston, Me. The light filtered through the boughs, and gently teased it’s way through the branches to fall on the flowers. The house was nestled in among the trees and was totally at home surrounded by the huge pines. You could smell the ocean on the breeze. The entire experience was timeless. There was a feeling of permanence to the lovely grounds, so I call this piece “Timeless”.

Both of these pieces 8x10 were executed during a workshop with Don Demers. He is astounding. Best of all for me, was his total New England wit; slightly sarcastic, self deprecating and insightful. Loved it. It was wicked good. His ability to drill into the crux of the painting problem you are having, and gently suggest solutions was very helpful. His demos were worth the trip alone. I have at least six more pieces from that week that are not ready for viewing and one is a germ for a much larger piece to keep me busy while the winds howl here this winter. It was worth every interminable mile that I had to drive in the mugginess and rain of the Eastern part of the country. 

The sun came out to play the whole time I was on the coast. Maine sparkles in the sun, like a gem. It was a welcome to remember.