Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pink Tulips in a Garden

"Pink Tulips in a Garden"
3 1/2" x 10"
pastel on Wallis sandpaper
I love painting these long thin pieces.  In the past, they were my favorite.  At one time, I think I did a whole show with just about all art in this format.  It isn't surprising I find my comfort zone here.  Funny, how one relies on those old ideas to get revved up again.   It's kind of like most playing piano or guitar or the proverbial "riding a bike"...gotta start somewhere.  However, each time I stay away from the easel for awhile,
I feel I lose something. 
I think maybe just the lack of forward movement creates this odd feeling
And therefore - everything I do that is involving my art feels this way,
looks this way and IS this way. 
Can't explain it, but I know I am going to go find it again!  
For sale in my Etsy shop. 

Where I Stood...

This is getting to be difficult for me. When Sunday rolls around, I am often right here on the farmstead...not going nowheres...☺. So I have decided since I DO go other places and sometimes they are fairly interesting, I would do more of "Where I Stood...".  Last week I went to a neighboring town to have coffee with my friend Jan.  Along Highway 281 there is this little...
plaque, attached to a star shaped base of a mini-replica of...

Lady Liberty.  Notice the star platform.  It stands way up on a hill...

looking down on the flats below.

The wind blows (it usually does here)...the trees swish and sway...

and one can spy the Prairie Palaces in the distance.
It's one of those many places to sit by yourself and reflect and listen and breathe.
On a side note, the great little coffee shop that
we (my friend and I) have been hanging our art in is closing. 
April 30th is their last day.  We love that little place and will miss it terribly.  The owners also have a Bed and Breakfast, and have difficulty running it all at once.  So it's up for sale...hope someone buys it that wants to keep it a coffee shop. 
The atmosphere is class-A and the owner people are genuinely the best!
Ain't that the way it goes?

Friday, March 26, 2010

We Interrupt This Program...

I have mucho frustration lately -  I can't seem to get back to painting.  If it's not one thing, it's another...poor planning for the days; off and on tax prep; house prep; land prep; meetings; places to go and people to see and on and on...I hope I land in the studio soon!!
In the meantime I thought I would post a photo or two.  The photo below are four barns I photographed in Colorado, shortly before moving to Kansas.  I was taking a digital photography class at Red Rocks Community College and 'barns' was chosen as my focus for my final project.  Seemed appropriate at the time, as I was driving to and from my new home...seeing LOTS of barns dotting the landscape.  I love old barns.  They are really a piece of Americana.  There is such history in the way they are built and the uses they had.  Do you recognize any of these and where they might be?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Where I Stand Sunday

Not having a doggie door in this house, keeps us on our toes. Lately - you open the door and no one wants to really go outside - especially when they see the snow or wetness that is covering the sidewalk leading to this door.  Today was a great day!  It was sunny and warm and no wind!  We spent a lot of time outside!  More of those on order!
 Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me and a few others (who faithfully post this day) by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave me a message or a comment and we will include you in our fun.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where I Stand Sunday


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said--
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.

Shel Silverstein

One of my favorite children's authors...this damned rain has been in my head  for some time now, it needs to go away.  I am sure you feel the same, living in most parts of the U.S. 
Ok, that said - let's all think SUN!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Playing Around with Something Different

Doesn't even have a title...Taos Pueblo - I?
oops, didn't measure it, but it's about 6" x 8"
watercolor on Arches
Watercolor intrigues the heck out of me.  I have never taken a workshop or class in it.  I have a huge pile of watercolor technique books.  This is just a practice piece - sitting at the kitchen table, watching TV...playing with the cakes of watercolor and the water. Washing and adding color and watching it bleed and run...that seems to be the fun and experimental part.  So different from oil or pastel...where you work dark to light/glazing and layering. Watercolor is a completely different idea, and it requires a whole 'nother mindset.  I have done some major WC pieces, when I was younger.  I don't think I really knew what I was doing, but then it didn't seem to matter.
As I worked I remembered - there is no totally wiping off and starting over...once it's down, it's pretty much there, unless you are able to get the paper towel after it quickly and at that there is a tint left behind.  Protecting the areas to stay light or white is fun.  I have friskit/masking fluid but forgot to bring it inside from the studio.  I used ONE brush - a number 8.  I like that.  I try to do that with oil, but end up using several different sizes.  In that respect, this was a good trial. 
A nice break from the usual.  I think I was hearing others who were saying to try something
different to drive the 'frustration' of the dreaded 'lizard brain'.
In my next life, I want to be a watercolor artist! (or perhaps this one?)
A side note: Road trip to KC right now.  Visiting mom and dad.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Make Mine a Still Life with Tomatoes, Onions and Cheese

"Tiny Dancers"
6 1/2" x 9"
pastel on Wallis paper
purchase info at my Studio 165 Etsy shop
Perhaps just writing about my frustrations at the easel with others has helped.  Feeling back in the swing - so much of life is on a pendulum.  Upon using all the 'know how' I have with still life and pastel,  I covered the surface with the darkest darks and the local color and used Gamsol and a brush to fill in the surface.  Then I worked the colors on top of that to give a rich and heavy look of pastel.  My focal point are those little cherry tomatoes in the foreground...that's why I titled this one "Tiny Dancers". 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Return of the Muse

"Great Horned Owl"
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
pastel on Kitty Wallis sanded surface
purchase info at my Studio 165 Etsy shop's ba..a..ack.  I have decided that my muse must have been having fun torturing me these last few weeks - it's not the first time, nor will it be the last - that I can count on.   I love this surface...I can always count on it.  The pastel hangs on it so well and the colors pop and stay rich.  Thanks for all your comments on Sunday's post.  You can still leave a comment, I won't mind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where I Stand Sunday

As the buds pop out...maybe we are too late, but we needed to trim a lot of lower branches off of trees where we drive the lawn tractors to mow this season. Tired of hitting our heads or knocking off our hats - kind of thing.  This is the apple orchard.  Hubster had the chain saw cranked and I pulled the limbs out of the way so he wouldn't trip over them as he moved along.  (We may have looked like "Saw - the Return".)  We probably trimmed about 10 trees for now.  Hope it didn't harm the trees by being a little late in doing this, but it HAD to be done. 
Some of these poor trees had NEVER been trimmed or taken care of.  So, on to today's thought..

This is a charcoal sketch of a Great Horned Owl, who has been in my thoughts a lot lately - something about a little black and white visitor that was possibly taken care of without the use of a varmint gun.  It could have been a piece to go in a frame eventually, but if you look closely, the paper has little nubs in the surface. I have had this drawing pad forever...and never noticed this finish before.  It really shows if you blend the surface charcoal.  It's called OMNI, so if you ever see it in the store...know that it DOES have a tooth to it, an unusual one at that.  Only about 1/2 done, it is one that won't make it past this point...I am irked at this surface.  This is just ONE example of what I am writing about in today's post.

I have come to the conclusion, that it's true, 'art dies' when it stops moving...kind of like this blog lately.  It's important for me to paint or draw or create - that is how I express myself and interpret my world.  Lately, the process of doing art seems to be hanging up - I am not satisfied with the outcome.  I have no problem with having ideas to be creative - no 'block' there.  
However...the last two weeks have been a big frustration for me. It happens once in awhile.  I take myself seriously while I stand at the easel.   I think, I plan, I execute.  Nothing has changed in the studio...I have everything I need.  Something in the process isn't right.  (Sometimes I have technical issues with the materials - as above.)  When this happens, I step back and watch myself.  I dream about myself doing art, I think about myself doing art, I pine away to be in front of the easel - non-stop. There's being an artist and doing art and then there is a whole other world to address - being a homeowner/domestic doer...sometimes there is an imbalance.  I try to let it flow and roll with it.  MOST always it works out.  Right now? It isn't. (Ready for analysis and prognosis, doctor..☺) 

What do I do in the meantime?  I keep trying...I realize that I need to spend less time actually 'doing art' while in this state - maybe painting in little spurts instead of allowing myself this great big let down after working for hours, only to shake my head and wonder what is wrong?  Most importantly I realize, that doing the OTHER art things would maybe be a good idea.  Like reading magazines and books, blogs and viewing websites (it's like going on a gallery walk), sketching usually irons the kinks out.  I have noticed that this happens more when I take too long of a break between 'doing life' and painting.  More than three or four days...this gremlin will creep steathily (unseen) into my studio. 

I see this condition like it is an applause meter - you know (those of you who are old enough) - the needle on the half circle responds to the clapping and cheering in a modulation of high and then lower and then higher and then lower...that's how it goes for me...right now that meter reads real high as I go into the studio, but it wanes as I paint.  Right now?  The heat is on, the music is churning and I am headed out there.
Now, my question to you is - does this ever happen to you?  What do YOU do when it happens?  Feel free to leave a comment.

BTW - Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo
and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.