Saturday, January 29, 2011

Red Trees

Mom - the red trees I was talking about last night look something like this:
Wow, that is a terrible picture.

No-brainer lesson number one:  unless you are trying to achieve a rough, sandy texture it is not a good idea to eat oatmeal cookies while painting.  This I learned last night.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hard at Work

I have developed a terrible habit.  I get home from work and all I want to do is sit on the couch and read.  Roxie eats her dinner, then climbs under the blanket with me and she is out like a light.  Last night I read a book.  The whole thing.  It was 312 1/4 pages.  My original plan was to go for a run, then cook some chicken before it rots away in my fridge, paint, read a little, then make oatmeal cookies.  Yeah, four of those things didn't happen.  The artist in me has not been very productive.  And unfortunately, the framer in me hasn't either.  We have had some motivational issues here at work.  I submit the following photographic evidence:
I think I had to interrupt a good game of solitaire on the computer to take this picture.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day.  I did get some good feedback this morning from a local artist I respect very much.  And I have a few ideas percolating that may produce some interesting results.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Words

I had been thinking that I haven't painted any words recently, except the two I gave as Christmas gifts.  Before that it was a commission piece back in August.  (From mom and dad to their 15 year old boy.  It said BEAST.  Long story.)  But then I remembered COWBOY, with the brownie batter.  And there was this one, from right before Christmas:
I started a new one a few days ago, and the background didn't turn out at ALL the way I thought it was going to.  It didn't seem to fit what I wanted it to say.  I thought about it while it dried and came up with ... nothing.  No pun intended, but it didn't speak to me.  Until suddenly, it did.

When I was in elementary school, my best friend's father used to call me funny face.  He even gave me a mirror with those words and a goofy picture across the bottom; it hung in my room for years and I was terribly upset when it broke.  The painting is hanging right by the front door in the gallery and will potentially offend everyone who reads it on their way out.  I don't care.  It makes me laugh.  Here's to you, Harold Anderson, from one funny face to another.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Fortune

Here are the two fortunes I got with my Chinese food the other night:

"Investigate the new opportunity that will soon become an option."

"Take that chance you've been considering."

Good omens, both.  What do YOU think these mean?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Size DOES Matter

Lesson learned:  bigger is not always better.  My way big tree piece from last night was not a success.  Not quite.  I still like it, but the "brush strokes" are different on a bigger piece and I need to figure out how to make them work.  I put "brush strokes" in quotes because I don't paint with a brush.  I use a palette knife.  But you get the idea.

So bigger is not always better.  But sometimes SMALLER is way too cute.  Example:

This is the apple tree out in back of the gallery.  Strike that -- this is the apple tree out in back of the gallery as I see it in my head.  You can't really tell from this photo but it even has some little apples.  And the paper is only 7" square.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Combo Platter

Yep, so I did something potentially cool the other night.  I wanted to paint more pieces that don't need to be framed, so I copied something I had seen here at work.  Here is the prototype:
I painted the background on a piece of paper, then painted the trees.  I also painted the sides and front of a stretched canvas.  Then I "glued" the paper onto the canvas and voila!  Paper AND canvas.  A combo platter.  I added a little texture to the sides of the canvas so they wouldn't be 100% boring.  I don't know if you will be able to see it in this picture:

So there is my prototype.  This one is only 5 x 7, so I need to work on bigger sizes.  Getting the paper down on the canvas without air bubbles is going to be an interesting challenge.

I also painted a larger tree piece on paper to be framed and hung here in the gallery that is WAY COOL.  And last night I did the background for my largest painting to date.  Hope that one works out.

Gotta go pick up Chinese food for dinner.
Not getting the combo platter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


So you remember I have the vat of paint that looks like brownie batter.  I also have a tube of paint that looks like peanut butter.  And it spreads like peanut butter.  Don't know how it tastes.  Don't want to know - I don't like peanut butter.  But I LOVE this painting.  I call it Peanut Butter Sunflower.
Derek doesn't like it.  Just goes to show - art is totally subjective.

I did some cool things last night.  Photos soon.  In the meantime, 5 miles down and 995 to go.  Woo hoo!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Molding Paste

The first painting I ever sold was a little snowman.  It looked pretty much like this one.

I sold it on February 20, 2008.  Every time Linda comes in to the gallery she says, "Remember me?  I bought your little snowman!"

I think my favorite part of painting is the texture.  That's why I love molding paste.  It is kinda like shaving cream, and the type I use is mostly hard when it dries.  If you poke it there is a little bit of give.  I haven't used molding paste in ages, but I'm feeling the itch and am waiting for inspiration to strike.  So far, I have used it in Valentines:

(pardon the bad picture - I think I did this in the scanner); and this fish, which I love:

and the snowmen.  Here's another one:
The red is supposed to symbolize their hearts (note the heart in the top right corner) but after I finished I thought it made these poor guys look like gunshot victims.  Derek had it hanging in the gallery with a nametag that said "CSI: North Pole."  heh heh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Setting Goals

I decided yesterday that I would apply to the Festival of the Arts here in Bigfork this year.  The Festival has been an annual event for over 30 years, and I am pretty sure I can get in -- I was the co-chair for a lot of years and I think that will play in my favor!  It is a big commitment:  I will need to paint a crap load of stuff, and I will need to man the booth myself, which means talking to people about my work.  That might be hard for me.  There are logistical issues to work out, too, but the Festival isn't until August so I have time to hammer out the details.  If nothing else it will be a great learning experience.  Check it out at

Of course, I also decided I am going to run 1,000 miles this year.  So far I'm 2 down, 998 to go.  Historically I set goals and then sabotage myself when I'm getting close.  This is the year I change history.  Guess that means I better hit the treadmill....

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Ok, here it is.  As you know, since you read this blog diligently, I wasn't sure if I was going to post a picture of this one, but it is growing on me.  Shipwreck.  Not trainwreck, although that may be what it is, but shipwreck.  I think it looks like a tall mast, going down.

So yesterday was day three of no sugar and no alcohol.  And guess what.  I got sick again.  There is a lesson here.  Round two of my love affair with DayQuil is underway.  Last night my head was so full of crud I almost couldn't hold it upright, but I started a new piece anyway.  So far, it's kinda cool.  But for now, the lesson is:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It was WICKED cold here last night.  So cold, I slept under a blanket and two comforters, wearing a fleece hat, tank top and turtleneck, fleece jacket, fleece pajama pants and brand new fleece socks.  This morning I had no hot water in my studio.  Translation:  this morning I had no hot water in my kitchen.  My landlord got a little heat on the pipe and all is now well, but it was a bad deja vu moment.  I had frozen pipes where I was living two years ago, and that led to a frightful experience with bursting pipes.  Thankfully disaster has been averted this time around.

Anyway, it was too cold to paint last night.  When I got home from Crossfit I had enough energy to make a quick dinner and eat it while sitting on the couch under a blanket with poodle face, reading a book I just got from the library.  A book that starts out explaining the embalming process - really excellent dinner-time reading.  But right before I went to bed I felt bad about not painting.  I hadn't even varnished a finished piece, and that would have taken mere moments.  So I added another layer to a 5 x 7 canvas panel and ... I think I wrecked it.  In the spirit of "nothing is a failure" (see previous post), I am going to varnish this little piece when it dries, call it Shipwreck, and see if it grows on me.  I might post a picture.  I might not.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Kitchen Counter

Welcome to my "studio."

Yep, that's it.  I wasn't kidding when I said I paint at my kitchen counter.  I can only have a limited number of pieces in the works at a time -- I've only got so much space for them to hang out while they dry.  This one is, well, right there.  Another is on my toaster oven.  A third is on the counter (on a muffin tin that I haven't put away yet).  There is one on top of the refrigerator and two more on my "dining room" table.  Gettin' kinda crowded.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Abstractions, Part II


"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try."
- Beverly Sills

I have been told that although Beverly Sills may have said this, someone else said it first.  I don't care - I just like the sentiment.  It particularly applies to me at this time in my life, in many ways.  I am trying new things, and I am not afraid to fail.  There is no failure - everything is a learning experience and even if you don't succeed to the level you wish you had, that doesn't mean you failed.  If you can learn something from the experience, how can you count it as a failure?

That being said, what have I learned from this piece? 

It certainly did not suceed in the way I hoped it would.  I see a flower in this painting, but I also see something else, and it is that something else that keeps it from being the success I wanted.  There is something Mapplethorpe-esque here.  Maybe that should be a new series....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

words, words, words

This is for my Hailey girl, painted last summer.

Me:  "You're a drama queen."
Hailey:  "No, you're a drama queen."
Me:  "No, YOU'RE a drama queen."
Hailey:  "No, YOU'RE a drama queen."
Hailey:  "Hey!  We're BOTH drama queens!"

Heh heh.  She is my cousin and she is four.  Actually, she is my cousin's granddaughter.  Mi primita, eh?
(Like that?  Two languages in one sentence - spanish and canadian!  HA!)

And this one is from yesterday.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Random Nothings

1.  Something you need to know about me immediately:  my favorite writing implement is a fine point black Sharpie.  I especially like writing with a fine point black Sharpie on index cards.

2.  I am all blogged up.

3.  In the pile of new yummies I got from my best friends at there is a vat of burnt umber paint.  Colorwise it is pretty much brown, but mixed with a little burnt sienna and a couple other things it says COWBOY to me.  And tomorrow it will say COWBOY to you.  It is the color and consistency of brownie batter; I had to keep reminding myself not to lick the spoon.  No, I don't actually paint with a spoon, but I DO paint at my kitchen counter, and had there been a spoon handy we may have had a problem.  I think I accidentally flung a glob of paint somewhere - I saw it leave the jar but I didn't see it land - so we may have an altogether different kind of problem.

4.  I wish I had taken a picture of the painting I did for my friend Corey.  In a word, it is AWESOME.  I was worried while it was in progress because it truly looked like a hot mess, but a high gloss varnish makes all the difference.  Man, the colors really pop.

5.  Which reminds me:  I like shiny things.  I think I was a raven in a former life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ripped from the Headlines!

Ok, not really.  But I did steal this from my own facebook status.  Happy New Year.

It's going to be a bumpy ride, whether you take the freeway or the road less traveled. Potholes. Black ice. Construction delays. Unavoidable detours. Last year I hit a deer. Last week I ran out of gas. But for every valley there is a hill, and sometimes, when you least expect it, you crest a hill and the view just takes your breath away. Crest more hills, my friends. I wish you breathtaking views.