Saturday, October 24, 2020

House to Home, Volume 2 - Prologue

When I was emptying out closets and filling boxes to get ready for demo, I found this letter.  I haven't seen it in a long time but there's a reason why I found it now.  This part:

She hasn't as yet developed a self-identity of competence and worth . . . but she is so intelligent that although she doesn't consciously realize it yet, she is struggling with this very problem.

The date on the top of the letter?  December, 1972.  It was written by my pre-school teacher and 48 years later I'm still struggling with this very problem.  Why is the letter timely?  Because my House to Home project has been percolating for years and I'm just now convinced I deserve it.  Mostly.  But Christine, you may say - people remodel their houses all the time so what's the big deal?  I don't know, but that little something in my self-conscious that has been telling me since I was four years old that I'm not good enough is powerful and persistent.

As a counter measure, I made myself a vision board to help manifest my home.  I also made one back in Montana when I wanted to buy this house.  Did it work?  I don't know, but I've been living here for almost seven years so there you go.  Here's my current vision board:

I'm going to say this one worked - you should see the giant hole outside where the crappy half of my house used to be.

Build it.  Don't just dream it.

Monday, October 12, 2020

House to Home, Volume 1 - It's Getting Real


Guys.  It's been a long time coming but the view from my thinking chair is about to change in a big way.

This is going to be one hell of a ride and I'm going to tell you all about it as we go, so buckle up.  I have about a week to get you caught up to where we are now, and then it's going to get serious.  I'm terrified.  And super excited.  But mostly terrified.

Stay tuned....

Friday, May 8, 2020

Happy Daffs

If April showers bring May flowers, what does May snow bring?  We're due for a bit of a storm tomorrow so I ran outside today to get pictures of the five variations of daffodils currently blooming.  I have a bumper crop this year - twenty-one!  Woo hoo!

There is a group of three of these between my house and my driveway.  Remarkably, they all bloomed even though Roxie sat on them more than once.

This is another group of three right around the corner on the front of the house.  I love the soft yellow center - soooo pretty.

This single volunteer is a total surprise.  The yellow center is darker than the others but it's still pretty.

I wouldn't choose to plant a bunch of the stereotypical bright yellow daffodils - this one is another surprise volunteer but I've got a group of three that have bloomed almost every year I've lived here.  I didn't take their picture because *someone* flattened them.

These are the only ones I planted.  There were five bulbs in a mixed bag of tulips, daffs and wee tiny crocuses.  Last year all five bloomed and this year they have multiplied into ten!  The color is a softer, paler yellow than the bright ones.

I've never considered myself a real daffodil fan but having the color so early in the season is like a shot in the arm.  My day lily flowerbed is about 25 square feet and I've decided to fill all the empty spaces with white daffodil bulbs this fall.  At least a hundred of them.  I can't wait to see two seasons of color in that one space.

Now we wait for all the tulips to bloom....

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Love Comes Through

I had an idea one day and it was so good.  Elements from past paintings came together - stripes, a template made from sketchbook paper, my super secret art tools - and the end result was exactly how I pictured it would be except better.  That does not always happen for me (see experiment with brushes from earlier this year) but this one -- man.  I impressed myself.

Love Comes Through

I loved this so much I did it eleven more times.

Love Comes Through, In Blue

Love Comes Through, With Grace

Love Comes Through, Darkly

Love Comes Through, With Coffee

Love Comes Through, In Waves

Love Comes Through, Always

Love Comes Through, Under the Pink Moon

Love Comes Through, With Spring Blooms

Love Comes Through, In Unexpected Ways

Love Comes Through, In Full Color

Love Comes Through, With Verve

I could paint these all day everyday and not run out of color combos.  In fact, the next one is on my painting table right now.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

An Uncluttered Mind

Jane Goodall was a guest on Science Friday yesterday, and she said something that spoke to my heart:

"Louis Leakey deliberately chose me because he said he wanted somebody whose mind was uncluttered by the, in his opinion, sometimes not good scientific thinking."

The benefits of an uncluttered mind.  That's exactly how I feel about my lack of formal art training - a mind uncluttered by the "rules" does not make me less of an artist, rather it allows me the freedom to explore *all the things* on my own terms.  After my Jo Sonja post, my cousin emailed me and said she loves my range, to which I replied it's less a matter of having a large range and more a matter of not being afraid to try.  That, to me, is the benefit of no formal training - I can try whatever and however I want without fear of doing it wrong.  There is no right or wrong.

Now.  That being said, I still make a lot of crappy art.  HA!  Remember at the end of my Jo Sonja post I said I was going to try that color palette on mixed media paper?  Well, I did.  Two things about this experiment were new and different for me - painting on paper and using a vertical surface.  I paint flat on a table, not on an easel, and I don't currently have clear table space big enough for a 16" x 20" paper that needed to be taped down.  (I had a hard enough time cutting this piece - the roll of paper is 42" across by eight yards and it is very tightly rolled.)  So I taped it onto my bathroom wall.  That space is Studio B, and it's where all the messy fluid art happens.  Plus a lot of art storage.  Here's what it looked like with my painting on the wall:

Seating for one, right there.  Maybe I shouldn't have said it's the room for "messy" and "fluid" and then showed a picture of a toilet....

But I digress.  This first vertical painting experience was not a total success - I probably should have used a larger palette knife to begin with, and I shouldn't have been so frenetic.  Maybe then I wouldn't have ended up with a face covered in paint.  It was a mess.  Here's the end result (of the painting, not my face):

Obviously my paper-cutting skills are poor, and if you could see it up close you would notice my tape peeling skills are just as poor.  We can't argue about whether the painting is good or bad because that's subjective (I would say it's not great and the composition is terrible) yet we also can't argue about whether it is right or wrong.  To this uncluttered mind it's art, therefore it's always going to be right.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Many, many years ago we had a painting of a pear hanging in the gallery that was about three feet wide and six or seven feet high.  It was glorious.  Another artist poo-poohed it saying that it wasn't "painterly" because it was so much larger than life, and that always bothered me.  Hogwash, I said.  Hogwash.  I haven't thought about the giant pear in ages but it popped into my head last week so I googled the definition of painterly.  Here's a screenshot from Merriam-Webster:

And here's what says:

Mmm-hmm.  I don't see anything about "larger than life rendering = not painterly."  But just to be on the safe side, I checked because surely they would know.

Just as I suspected.  Hogwash.  (Side note, I also Googled "hogwash" because that's a weird one, and click here if you are interested in word origins.)

So anywho, feeling a little vindicated I painted this:

Although at 18" x 24" it's not nearly as big as Genise's pear, I named it Painterly Pear as an homage.  And this is what happens when you have over eager helpers:

Continuity note:  the colors in the pear are the same Jo Sonja paints referenced in my last post, again with the addition of Naples yellow.  And a lot more rose gold.  StanLee approves.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Jo Sonja

Remember that striped painting I did with Jo Sonja acrylics?  I originally bought about five colors in January of last year and here's the first thing I painted with them, which I posted on Instagram a couple of weeks later:

I have no idea how this happened, but I love love love it.  Mixed in with the Jo Sonja paints there is also a Naples yellow, a green gold and something like a red iron oxide.  The background had a real vintage feel so I added a few other colors that worked with that vibe.  It reminds me of something my great-aunt Peg painted back in the '60s.  Those iridescent green bits at the bottom look out of place in the picture, but in real life they work.

At 16" x 12" this is a big piece for me so I painted it three smaller friends.  The first is only 5" x 7":

The next is 10" x 8":

And the third is 8" x 8":

That last picture is particularly bad, but you get the idea.  After all was said and done, I like the first, largest one best - maybe because it was the first and it surprised the hell out of me.  But the last one has the best vintage feel - it almost looks like fabric.  There's something about those transparent colors on top of the grey-green.  The first three paintings are on canvas panels and the fourth is stretched canvas, but I just got a roll of mixed media paper and I think I will try this color palette again to see if it looks any different on paper.  I shall report back with my results.