Monday, November 30, 2009

Purple Skies

"Purple Skies" 8x8" oil on canvas. Click for detail. I'm outtie!


"Breath" : This is a 16x20" oil on canvas. Click on it once or twice to get more detail. It has to dry for a couple of months before I can offer it for sale. Boy, around March I'm going to have a lot of oil pieces that I'm finally going to be able to sell. Switching between watercolor and oils instead of just doing watercolors, makes for much work and for seemingly little productive output.

Again, I'm sorry to see that the journey is over. I love living in the painting while I'm working on it. Now I have to close the book and open another one.

I met several new artists on Facebook this morning while I was having my coffee. If you're an artist, please leave me a comment and a link to your blog, if you have one. I like to stay connected with the art community.

I can't think of a thing to say, except I'm so very, very glad that the Thanksgiving meals are over and done with. Too much work, too much worry, too much of everything.

It's Monday. I think my brain isn't functioning just yet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

After Thanksgiving

I haven't been able to paint for a couple of days now and I can't stand it. I sneak in and pick up the brush for a few minutes, but family is around and there are holiday type things that need adoin'. I imagine that I'm not going to be updating with any finished work until Monday. Oye. My type "A" personality is not pleased.

I'll post a couple of pictures from the Panama Canal today so I can feel like I'm actually getting something done, when in reality, I'm not.

I hope everyone out there is having a nice weekend and that you're eating lots of yummy leftovers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pumpkins Pies

Jeff is in the kitchen cooking pumpkin pies for my Mom while I hide. She was watching him for a minute and then said, "Well, I won't hang around and stare at you. I don't want to make you nervous." To which I said, "Well you feel perfectly free to stand around and tell me every move to make while I'm cooking something!" And she does. She's a total cook. She loves to cook but isn't so agile on her feet anymore so I think I'm just a pair of arms to her. I'm not that into cooking but it's fun to work together. She's the brains, I'm the...brawn? Eh.

Let's just start being crazy with the pictures, shall we? I travel a LOT and I have a zillion pictures from all over. I might as well bore you all with them.

This is a black squirrel from Michigan. When I first saw one I just freaked out. They look like house cats with tails. Aren't they so pretty? This is the kind I'm used to. Plain old generic brown/grey. Every time I see a black squirrel I get a little giddy. I see a lot of them so you'd think that would get old, but no.

I like fences. I took this one at a camp ground out at Lake Huron. Can you name all of the great lakes? I can only ever remember Lake Huron because I've been there. I just saw it for the first time this past summer. (And ate Zebra on that trip out there. But that's another story.) The Great Lakes really do look like the ocean-they go on for forever and they have waves. Weird.

Where are the other 3 little paintings I started last week, you ask? Well...they're right here of course. Sitting against the wall, unfinished. I'm waiting for them to ripen, by which I mean, I got excited about doing something else and so am halfway through 2 large oils...tropical island paintings. They're so peaceful and calming with the green and the blue..mmm...water. Very enjoyable painting with the tropical colors. I love looking at water. True, it terrifies me to be ON it, but painting it is all good.

Much cooking tomorrow and then Thursday is Turkey day, so I guess I won't get any pieces done until, Friday?

Hey, Jeff and I were watching "House" in the bedroom next to my studio. I was at a crucial part (which means I was having fun) of my painting so I would run into the studio to paint during commercials. "House" was only on for 3 or 4 minutes at a time and then 3 or 4 minutes of commercials. Which is stupid beyond belief! We rarely watch TV but when we do remember "House", we like to watch it. Apparently, the sponsors know that about all of us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"After The Rain"

I finished this 8x8" oil on canvas this morning. I enjoyed working with the clouds in the sky. I do love me some clouds.

I finally decided to de-link my blog from my Facebook page. There's something not-s0-fun about my blog posts being linked to my FB page. Hopefully it worked.

This week is going to be a lean work week, I imagine. I have a lot of cooking to do and then will be having fun with a lot of family toward the end of the week, as I imagine most people will be doing. The fun part I'm looking forward to. The cooking part, not so much. The cleaning up part...not at ALL.

I'm going to be working on some entirely different pieces in the near future, tropical island pieces as we are looking into Costa Rica at the moment...for a very, very long visit, or perhaps a retirement home. So, to that end, you'll see me painting all over the board, desert scene one week, ocean scenes the next. Sort of like how the thoughts ping around inside my head, darting from one thing to the next.

Hope everyone out there in blog land has a great week. I should have another piece ready to upload by tomorrow morning, if I stay on track that is.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Almost the end of the work week

Here we have a pyramid of little just-begun paintings. I like to shoot back and forth between little canvas and large canvas. I'm like a monkey. My mind gets bored so easily.

So here you can see what I'm working on at a slugs pace.

My husband never likes to look at what I'm painting until it's done because he can't understand what direction it will take, nor how it doesn't resemble what it looked like in the beginning...when it's done. That was an impossible sentence to write. I swear I can't think of how to say that. I think my mind is numb tonight.

This one? I learned how to put text on things. Wow. Maybe I'll leave it like this. If I was Andy Warhol, I might even be able to sell it like this. I'm waiting for the toning to dry a bit before I get into this one. It's going to have a massive white, fluffy cloud..a la New Mexico. People never believe there can be such bizarrely huge clouds anywhere, until they visit the Southwest. The first year we lived there I must have taken hundreds of pictures of just the clouds alone. They thrill me.

That rock? I think I've discussed my rock that I took from Georgia O'Keeffe's property. Ok, outside the fence, along the highway, but still, her property. But hey, people. It's a rock. And the coolest thing? Hold on, I'll take a picture with my iphone.
Ignore the piles of canvas there. A girl can never have too much canvas. See what the rock says--right there, embedded in the rock? I know you can see it. Don't play coy with me. It says "O" and "F" just as clear as day. Isn't that just something? Now I just have to find the rocks that say "K", "EE" another "F" and another "E". This rock is another of my muses. That, and it also holds up my canvases so they don't fall face-down onto the floor, making me cranky.

Saturday, we're going to a Pow-wow at the native school my sister teaches out. I'll be able to take some great pictures, I hope.

In the meantime, since all I gave you today was pretty much rocks and stuff, here are a couple of photos:

1 block away from our house, about 10 miles of open space desert. In the way background, that's the Santa Fe Mountains.
And just because it makes me happy, this is the view outside of my Mother's girlhood home in Dora, New Mexico. It's never changed, never grown in fact there's almost no commerce left there but for farming. I love this view of fields sweeping out endlessly into the blue of the sky. It's so quiet and big.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Coffee Shop"

I'm done at last. It feels like I've been working on this painting forever, though I know it's been less than 2 weeks. This piece is oil, 16x20" on masonite board. I love the shadows on the wall.

My kind photography and art student friend, in Michigan, allowed me to use her photo to develop this painting. You can see Satpreet's work here. Click on the pic for details or double click for really close detail. Ahh...feels good to complete this one. It feels so peaceful to look at....I'm going to miss working on it.

Taos Blue

I'm marking time by putting this cool blue chair in the place of where my latest piece should be. I have 2 more fingers to paint and a tiny piece of the palm, and...what do you know? One of the fingers turns out to be completely in the wrong place. Stop work, repeat, repair, go on. Everyone who doesn't understand the phrase, "Can't see the forest for the trees," should take an art class. This is why relationships are so hard. We can't see what's right in front of us.

I'll be done with this piece of art later on today and will update then. Until then, take this:

And this:

And finally, this:
See the blue in the doors, chair, etc? That's "Taos Blue". It's THE blue in New Mexico and it always looks lovely against the desert and the adobe walls. I was doing some research once, a few years ago, on the net, and I came across a page on the minutes of an Albuquerque city meeting. They mentioned that some business owner in the city stood up and requested approval on the color he wanted to paint the door to his business. The reply in the minutes was, "We told him that of course he could paint it any color he wanted long as it was Taos blue."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Santa Fe Door

It's a great day, is it not? I'm proceeding nicely with the piece I'd like to finish today. I honestly don't know what I was thinking last week when I was working on it. I think I must have been brain dead. I'm having a do-over at it and it's so much nicer today, so much easier. Proof that it's easy to be so close to a painting that you just can't see what's going on. Better to put it away and give your mind time to dwell on it.

Speaking of which: I drew all night long in my sleep. I laid out a great composition for a painting in my sleep....literally over and over and over. It was perfect in every way and I marveled over it. I'd wake up and, I want to draw that out right now. Hmm...can't remember it. Go back to sleep and presto, perfect composition. I know the basics of the idea, but when I was asleep, it was magical. Maybe I ought to sleep more often. I seem to do really great work in my sleep.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meditation Bench

I've finished my last little piece that I had under way. "Meditation Bench" 8x10" oil. Click on it to embiggen it if you want to see more detail. You'll see a lot of wet paint too if you do that.

On to finish that large work I have going on. Well, it's 16"x20"...pretty large compared to the little guys I've been finishing up lately.

Breezeway to Piedra Lumbre

A little 6x8" oil of a breezeway heading out to the beautiful hills of the Piedra Lumbre. I hate that in the winter it gets a little too cold and snowy up in the Abiquiu area for me to want to attempt the drive in my pickup. Spring always seems so far off at this time of the year.

Good morning, Monday. I thought I'd upload a couple of photos that I dinked with last year on, until I can get back on and post some finished work. Today, I'll finish one, maybe a second, and then on to try and work out the problems on the larger piece I'm working on. After that? I'll have exactly no paintings in process, but 10 all drawn out of freshly gesso'd canvas.

That's the tricky part for me. Being in that place where there are NO works in progress. Yes, it's just for an hour, but it's weird. It means no finished works for a week or two.

I admit, I like the end of the journey-and the finished product, so that I can see if what I was attempting worked out, also, to see what I learned from each piece, good or bad. Being at the beginning of 3 or four fresh pieces is akin to facing a blank page for an author. But then there's the excitement to that too, no?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


"Nesting" 6x8" oil. Since this one needs to dry for a couple of months, it won't show up on my Etsy page or my online gallery for a couple of months.

Painting and listening to Pandora. I'm not sure I love Blogger's new system to upload messages and pics. Confusion reins in my head when I get going on it. I tried switching back to the old editor but apparently Blogger doesn't want me to have it now. It must trust that I can learn the new way. As I shall...sigh.

I have 3 paintings halfway done but won't be able to complete them until next week as I, apparently, have to take a break for the weekend. Sister coming for lunch, husband done mountain climbing. Must re-introduce self back into the real world.

"2012" The new movie

2012 is probably the most exciting end-of-the-world movie I've seen. The visuals are astounding. I want to buy the DVD when it comes out just so I can watch the destruction again, it's really quite amazing. The story is just cloyingly precious at times and I can't stand that...but still, it's ok. The action makes if fully worth the price of the ticket.

I get pretty terrified in movies so my legs continually jumped up and down as I wrung my hands. I don't know how my husband can stand to sit with me. My grown kids always reprimand me and grab my hands to hold them still. Rotten kids. Anyway, loved the movie.

Husband is out hiking up a mountain today, so I get an extra day of painting, and I am warm and cozy in the house. To which I say, "Yay".

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday blues

Made sourdough cornbread and put on a pot of pinto beans for dinner.  That's sort of the highlight of the day thus far.  I hope to see the day improve and my patience along with it.

I mixed a new medium that wasn't exactly like the last bottle OR the green paint wasn't dry in areas.  Pick one.  I was doing a blue wash over the green of the shadows on the walls and as I hit the big areas...hello!...picking up green paint with the brush as I passed over.  As you can imagine, this was not good.  To say it was the end of the world would be an overstatement, but the continental plates might have shifted just a smidge when it happend.  I'm sure I felt that.

I love this painting and I want so much for it to work out, darn it!  I've decided to let it sit for maybe 4 more days to see if that green will finally be stable.  I can finish the left side of the piece and then I'll give another go at the whole shadow area.  I have plans.  I will re-try the wash I was wanting to do, one more time.  If that doesn't work, I'm going to try something more funky which I won't say, in case it's a major disaster-even bigger than this one.  If that doesn't work, I'll repaint the whole of the shadow area.  Which is what I should probably do in the first place, which I may come to acquiesce to do on Monday morning.

*Acquiesce: to assent tacitly; submit or comply silently or without protest; agree; consent: to acquiesce halfheartedly in a business plan.

Yeah...the "without protest" part is probably not going to happen.

I only see about one movie per year in the theatre so it has to be one I really want to pay the money for.  Tonight, husband and I are going to go see 2012.  I love movies where the earth implodes or explodes or seas rise up and wash land masses away.  I'm all gentle like that.  Can't wait. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adobe Walls

I love painting adobe walls. It gives me huge satisfaction. Since I'm deep in the art trenches today, painting...and making progress on all four paintings, I'll upload some pictures of some interesting New Mexico things.

Window at the church at Taos Pueblo. About 200 or so natives live here year round without running water or electricity. So, basically my dream place to live. I'm not kidding.
A home at Taos Pueblo. I'll have to scour my pictures for pictures of the pueblo. I store pictures on my computer by dumping them all into a file labeled "June-Dec 09, etc. So that by the end of the year I have several thousand photos all lumped together. It's hard to find anything. I keep saying that someday I'll organize them, but what usually happens is that my computer of the moment dies a sudden death and I lose all of my pictures. The end. Start over again.

This time, at least I've uploaded a lot of my favorites to Snapfish so that I can access them in case of dire happenings like crashing computers. I know that I need a backup thingy. Procrastination is not my friend but it is sometimes my companion.

In the meantime, click the link above to learn more about Taos Pueblo. We had to pay to get into the Pueblo and then pay an extra entry fee for my camera. Yes. My camera.

The above two photos are from a tumbling down adobe home that's located directly in back of Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiu home, the one in town. If you can call Bode's store, a mission church, a tiny library and a post office, "town". I'd live there in a heartbeat, but that's me. I'd live in a mud hut or a tent if I could get away with it.

So....I wonder what would happen if you picked up a lump of the crumbling adobe home above and carried it home with you and put it in your studio so that you could be constantly reminded of a place that you love so much? Hmm...I wonder. Who would ever do such a thing?

I love this old house so much that it took me almost a full year to realize that Georgia's house was right there behind me-behind an adobe wall. Because I am dense like this.

Here's the little mission church located in the same tiny dirt crossroads and directly beside Georgia's home.
And because I love odd angles, this is my favorite photo of the church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not enough hours in the day

I am a working fool, even on 4 or so hours of sleep. Ugh. I'm working on 4 pieces at once so I thought I'd share the beginning stages and then the finished product a little later this or next week. Plus, if I post pictures of what I'm working on, my mind can SEE that I'm working.

I am driven. Always have been. I do very, very, very much enjoy the journey of painting each piece, but the thrill of finishing-and liking a particular work? Too great. And so when I have many things going at once, (because oils, they sometimes need a few days to dry before I pounce on them again) I begin to feel as if I will NEVER FINISH ANYTHING, ever again. Because I'm all calm and not dramatic at all.

I have an insane fondness for all chickeny things. (I am allowed to make words up as I need them.) And yet I have no chickens. Sigh. I grew up with chickens and I think they're just wonderful. When we sell our Albuquerque house and move to Las Cruces, New Mexico, where we'll be retiring...then I'll have chickens. Until then, I'll paint chickeny things.

This is a doorway. To what? You'll have to wait and see. It's a cool surprise. I really like this painting thus far, even if it is just at the toning stage.

Lastly, the bench in the meditation garden at Ghost Ranch.

Today, just to be at the peak of insanity, I'm preparing 9 more small canvases. I love oil painting but it doesn't work for my incredibly low patience levels. Watercolors let me work on them from morning till night until I'm done with a piece.

Then why do I work on seven watercolors at once? See patience thing up above. Also, I get bored and frustrated and tend to get lost in a piece until I can no longer see the forest for the trees, to use a cliche that probably came from an artist, or it should have. Working on multiple things keeps me at a distance. When I get tired or start to overwork a painting or reach a point where things aren't working out, I shift to a different piece and feel fresh and ready again.

I used to do one piece at a time, start to finish, no matter how long it took. In fact I always have...until just a few months ago. I started to feel that, when I was working on a really detailed painting, that I had to drag myself to the easel. I much prefer this way of working. There are so many fun things to play with that I just bound out of bed every day. So this works for me and my bizarre need to do everything at once, 24 hours a day.

And now I must return to my madness. Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A little better shot

Here's a much-less-scary picture of the little piece I finished yesterday. I really don't think it's attractive to show close-up blobs of wet paint. So, this is a better shot.

I'm visiting my Mother at the moment. My husband is working in the Seattle area and here I sit in my little studio that my Mom so graciously lets me have all to myself. As you can see from the oh-so-tidy picture below, I am ready to spend the day painting. I have my cup of coffee and my iced tea. Because you have to have both.

This is the piece I'm working on today. So far, I'm loving it. It's the piece I mentioned yesterday-the one in which I'm working from an art student's photo. I'm pretty sure that was a horrible sentence structure just now.Note the pine cone on my large easel. That's the one I took from the bottom of the tree outside of Taos. The Lawrence Tree that Georgia O'Keeffe painted from the bottom up. You might also notice that I keep a framed postcard of Georgia on my painting table in amongst my junk. And that I drink from a Ghost Ranch cup, one of several that I have scattered around the country. If anyone touches one, they die.

What? You think I'm obsessed with Georgia O'Keeffe and Ghost Ranch? To that, I say...Duh.
They are, collectively, my muse. Muses. Musi.

The sun is shining and I must get to the painting. These puppies won't paint themselves.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pedernal Dusk

"Pedernal Dusk", a little 6x6" oil. As you can see, this is still very wet. But I am impatient if I am anything, and I like to do an initial photo of every piece I do. I'll re-do the picture later, when it's a little drier. Normally I would say, "click to enlarge", but don't do it! This piece blows up really big and since it's wet, it looks a bit odd. You're going to do it anyway, aren't you? You naughty thing, you. Come back when it's a bit dry and give it another chance, eh? This piece will be held until it's dry and varnished, so in a few months, it will be available on my Etsy Shop or my Gallery.

I'm very happy that my most favorite place in the world, Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiu, New Mexico, has requested the shot of my painting, "Box Canyon" for their catalog. It's a huge honor to be asked as I love the place so awfully much.

I'm working on a sweet piece right now and I'm not quite sure how it will turn out. I am NEVER sure how things will turn out. Ever. I have a young artist friend who's a college student in Michigan who takes the greatest photos, thousands of them. One photo in particular, I just covet and she gave me permission to work it up into a painting. So that's what I'm working on at the moment. It's just a very quiet, peaceful scene and it brings me much happiness. Please check out her page. It's listed in the sidebar as "Reach For Something". The very talented, Satpreet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Home To Ghost Ranch

"Home to Ghost Ranch" 16x20" oil on Masonite Board

I finally finished this incredibly challenging piece that took me at least 40 hours of solid concentration. I loved working on it and am pleased with how it turned out. If you're interested in this piece, you can find it at my Etsy Shop or my Gallery in a few months. Since this is an oil, it needs several months drying time. Click on the picture for a detailed view.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cheese Making

Look at this! 4 pounds of yummy cheese goodness. I made wheels of cheese this week! That's 2 pounds of Monterey Jack from whole milk, and in the front is a 2 pound wheel of Cheddar, also from whole milk. They each took 2 gallons of milk to make. Anyone who thinks that milk is just an empty calorie drink, should look at these hefty babies. I didn't realize it at the time, but I could have taken the whey (liquid--not the curd) and also made a gallon of ricotta cheese for lasagna! Next time.

These babies will be cured and ready to eat in 2-6 months.

Later this week I'm going to get some non-fat milk for making parmesan cheese and will make another wheel of New Mexico Green Chilli Cheese! Which I've never seen anywhere. I'm going to use my trusty dried green chilli.