Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Open Studio

Every Year, I have wanted to have a Holiday Open Studio but was never able to pull it off until this year. Another personal goal, was to start some way of connecting my art to those who give support to the mentally ill. As many artists do, I have been juggling multiple jobs and for the past eight plus years having been a grade school art teacher, teaching adults in my studio along with being an artist.  At my Holiday Open Studio, I am raffling a cow painting with the proceeds going to NAMI. This past month, I even managed to create my first calendars, created new cards and am working on prints. I even have next years date set and am working on concepts how to expand my raffle to include more prizes. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Sunday Tapestry

  Life is an amazing journey. Recently I heard it described as a "tapestry" with all those wonderful moments woven in with the tragic ones. For me, this struck a chord. I have known for awhile that it is the sorrowful moments that let one appreciate joy and visa versa.  I sit this Sunday morning writing to you, surrounded by my three dogs in our office that was once my childhood bedroom. Today is a good day with the most amazing sunrise this morning and unbelievable views from our livingroom picture window.  I am thankful.

  My becoming an artist was a decision that arrived later in life.  Married with three children, a family member became ill. Ill not in a way most people would assume.  It is an illness that is not acknowledged enough or understood.  We sure did not understand it and went many years searching and learning.  The illness I am talking about is mental illness. It is painful, scary and unpredictable.

    During that period we discovered NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provided vital information and support to our family.  I have always wanted to thank NAMI and this year decided to raffle a painting with all proceeds going towards them.

  Today is a good day.  The family member who is ill at is also doing well and we are thankful. And it was from that dark period that I emerged as an artist.   When everything was unraveling and I had hit rock bottom, it was time for a change.   Taking inventory of my life, I realized that the most joyful moments came from creating art and I was in place where I needed that joy for balance.   The above painting is titled "Joy" and raffled proceeds are going to NAMI.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Roughen It

Here is the finished version and another personal favorite from my trailer series.   One of my personal goals this year is to work more on including figures into my paintings.  Unlike my "Let the Good Times Role", this painting was painted on a pre painted canvas so some of texture and color coming through is from the last painting.  It makes the process a totally new experience.  When I start on a blank canvas, it is a very direct road to where I want to go.  Using abstract or previous paintings I find myself looser and more experimentive. I will make washes for shadows leaving some traces of the former underneath or leave bits of unexpected color peering through.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Let the Good Times Roll

Just finished my first weekend of Sonoma County Artrails.  Had a wonderful time sharing my newest works and it is always great to see people return to the studio. I decided to paint a series of vintage trailers inspired from a show at our local campground.  The above was one of my favorites from the series. Had so much fun painting these that I decided next year I am going to rent a cabin at the campground so I can paint plein air and catch some trailers in morning and evening light.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Trailer Series

New trailer painting on the easel.  Very excited about this one.  I am happy with the figures and light.  Still a work in progress.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Heart Sings

The above painting is one of my most recent ones.  I was so excited painting it that I found myself so driven so that I could not focus on anything else.  This is a friend's niece visiting from Japan.  They went to San Francisco Academy of science.  I painted it using a poorly printed image from my computer.  I had a teacher once tell me that "poor pictures can make great paintings".  His point was that the artist has to fill in the blanks instead of being so caught up in the details of a photo. At one point, I left the photo and began experimenting with edges and values.  This is a large piece 48" x 30".  The title was a gift from a friend who  said when she looked at the painting it made her heart sing.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Silver Lining


An unexpected breakthrough arrived recently after a long frustrating day of painting.  Though I usually paint tractors and landscapes, lately I have been drawn to portraits.  They are both painful and compelling to paint.  Painful because of how exacting the measurements must be to capture a persons likeness and compelling because of the desire to capture their expression and their spirit
on a flat surface. I have found myself working countless hours on the same piece feeling guilty of neglecting the beautiful spring fields now awash in yellow mustard flowers.
     The other week I entered my studio with the conviction I would not touch the portrait but force myself to paint a landscape but upon seeing my recent portrait all my conviction evaporated.  My painting time is precious with the rest of my time divided between teaching and family. So it was on that day, I continued to struggle through the portrait only to find after five hours that I had only made it much worse. I was deflated. It was time to take a rag and wipe it all out.   Soaking a rag full of turp, I prepared my usual attack to remove all traces of my day's failure.   Then it happened.   I did not erase with my usual valor but went slowly as if unpainting my days work and what emerged was an unexpected breakthrough. The hard edges blurred and my strong colors mixed and my days catastrophe turned into a happy accident.