Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whoa, Nelly!

It has been a comedy of errors in my itty bitty studio lately.  Actually, it has been a routine of near-miss dumb-ass moves.  Two highlights:

First, I wanted to finish this piece,

so I needed to paint the canvas.  Normally I would slap some paint on, add texture to the sides, wait a day for it to dry, add the pear, wait for the medium to dry, then varnish.  Time consuming, yes, but relatively easy.  The fly in this ointment was that I didn't have enough of a dark red paint to cover the canvas.  I don't like to mix paint on a palette - when I mix colors it is more of a mingling rather than a mixing so I do it right on the painting itself.  I don't do it to create a new color, I like to see them all swirled up.  Does that make sense?  (I do actually have something I use as a palette, for painting words mostly.  Strangely enough it is the plastic lid from a bucket of ricotta cheese.)  Anyway, I needed to mix some colors and because it made perfect sense at the time, I did it right on the canvas.  So far, so good.  Until I turned the canvas sideways to paint the side, and didn't notice until it was ALMOST WAY TOO LATE that my blob of paint was cleverly sliding down the face of the canvas, and mere moments away from hitting the floor.  Oops.  Quick save.

Second close call involved this one:

I don't know what happened but I had to make another quick save as the canvas was taking a nose dive to the floor.  Ended up with hand prints all over the wet canvas and paint all over me.  Bleh.

I painted a ginormous pear but it is still in the questionable phase.  Not sure if it is going to make the cut.  Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cloud 9 World

Lately I have been struggling.  A lot.  The Big Three I thought I conquered simultaneously back in March have come back to haunt me.  Well, one and a half of the Big Three.  I did my 30 days of Paleo and felt better than ever.  Then I crashed and burned.  Hard.  And I haven't been able to pick myself back up.  The exercise element of my trifecta has been hit and miss but the food thing has been horrible.  Every morning I wake up with renewed optimism, and by middle of the day I have wrecked it, and by end of the day I am berating myself for being so stupid.  Rinse and repeat.

But yesterday I got a visual reminder that I can do better.

I saw a beaver swimming in the Swan River.


My beautiful cousin Maria Candelaria is one of the founders of a fabulous company called Cloud 9 World.  Please visit their website at http://www.cloud9world.com/.  In a nutshell, in their own words:

Over the last half-century, our fast-paced culture has radically altered the nature of the American family. Our children are required to grow faster and in doing so are faced with challenges in life that can be very difficult to over come. Unfortunately now a day their self esteem is exposed to a number of situations at school and in their everyday activities.

Cloud9World™ was created by mothers who developed a common language that helped them aid their own children during challenging times. The messages were simple, but results were incredible.

Thus, the Cloud9Kids™ collection was born. By instilling good thoughts, engendering good behavior and boosting the wearer’s self-esteem, Cloud9Kids™ products empower both children and parents to become better human beings.


I saw a beaver swimming in the Swan River.

Perseverance is being committed in your heart and persistent in your effort. You commit to your goals and overcome obstacles, no matter how long it takes. Like a strong ship in a storm that doesn’t let wind blow it off course. You ride with the current instead. When the going gets rough and you figure out a way to hang in there and reach your goals, you are showing perseverance.

The beaver represents the importance of setting goals, the value of hard work, and the rewards of perseverance.

I am tackling my life with renewed perseverance (and yes, I pilfered that image directly from Cloud 9 World).  Here is my normal morning routine:  poodle wakes up sometime between 6:30 and 8:00; we get up and pee; I feed her breakfast; we both go back to bed until it is no longer possible to get to work on time.  This morning, however, I changed it up a bit.  In the spirit of setting goals, recognizing the value of hard work and desperately wanting to realize the rewards of perseverance, Rox and I got up at 6:30, peed, she ate breakfast and went back to bed while I ...

wait for it ...

STAYED UP!  I finished a painting and worked on another one, read a chapter in my book, and by ten after eight I was lacing up my running shoes.  There were a lot of people heading to work so it was a slower four miles than usual.  All of our runs are training events for Rox -- every time a car comes towards us I say "car" and "wait."  Sometimes the wait is kinda long.  Even though her release is a verbal cue, she has to look at me before I give it.

So today is going to be a much longer day for me than usual, but getting four miles out of the way before I normally get out of bed is a huge accomplishment.  I have set a new goal and will work hard to achieve it because being proud of myself is a fantastic reward.  I feel great today.  I haven't hit my usual mid-afternoon slump that triggers the word "PEPSI" in my brain, which is the beginning of the end for me, and I won't because I have a new word.  PERSEVERANCE.  I need to paint that one for myself.

I am so glad I saw a beaver swimming in the Swan River.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flower Power

This next one still needs a second coat of varnish.  When I got up this morning to let poodle out to pee, I put the first coat on without realizing until it was too late that some of the paint was still wet.  Oops.  And I can't decide which direction it faces:

And, just for kicks, here is a reject painting I did a few weeks ago that I varnished for the hell of it.  I call it "Little, Chicken."
AND, because I don't have enough pictures in this post, here is what I accidentally painted in the bottom of my kitchen sink.  It is less than a half inch wide.

Heh heh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


On Saturday last my parents went to a surprise birthday party for Poldi.  In honor of his birthday, I wore this shirt for my 4 mile run:
Actually, I wore this shirt for all ten of my running miles last week.  It was so full of stink it could stand up all by itself. 

The wind was crazy here over the weekend.  At one point on my Saturday run I got such a huge tailwind my ponytail was out in front of me.  Normally this would be great, but unfortunately I was on an out-and-back, and this happened just as I was about to turn around.  When we got home Roxie and I were playing ball in the field and we watched a six foot long branch fall out of a very tall tree.  I picked up another huge branch that had stabbed itself into the ground with such force I could fit my entire hand into the hole it left.

Spoiler Alert:  Did anyone else cry like a baby when Reepicheep sailed away into Aslan's country?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Abstractions V

The abstract piece I painted last week has two new friends.

They all live together.  Therefore, they really look like this:
The dark brown paint (Van Dyke Brown, to be exact) looks pretty black so I suspect these will end up in black lacquer frames.  Mmmm -- shiny.

Today is another bright sunny day and it was a busy one at work.  I hope to get my third Kermit run of the week this afternoon - the 4 miles I intended to run yesterday but didn't because I was here late.  I think channeling superior muppet mojo will be a good thing for me; my second 3-miler was better than the first, and today will be the best yet.  Now if I can just master the whole getting up early to run before work concept.

Our meeting on Monday is a go -- keep your fingers crossed.

Still haven't heard whether my painting sold last night, but this little guy sold this afternoon:

All in all, I am ending the work week on a high note.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Star Light, Star Bright

I had a particularly bad day last week.  The next morning when I got to work I found a big sign on my desk that said,

"When it is dark enough you can see the stars."

Now, if you have known me for any length of time, you know I have a thing about stars.  I quoted Oscar Wilde in my high school year book - "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."  When the Art Center auctioned off hand-painted chairs as a fundraiser several years ago, mine was a child's chair with a "Twinkle, Twinkle" theme.  One of my very first word paintings said, "I shine like a million stars."  Hell, you remember my self-portrait called "Star Ascending," right?  And of course you have seen my tattoos.

So anyway.
"When it is dark enough you can see the stars."
-- Persian Proverb

This led me to:
"Even a small star shines in the darkness."
-- Danish Proverb

Isn't that beautiful?  Those Danes are clever.  And then here:

"I will love the light for it shows me the way,
yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars."
-- Og Mandino

Living in Big Sky Country, this one is SO true:

"I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach 10,000 stars
how not to dance."
-- e.e. cummings

And finally, with feeling:

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars makes me dream."
-- Vincent van Gogh

Here I am with these quotes, each of which resonates with me.  It is comforting to feel like there is always a silver lining, even in our darkest moments.  Then, not four hours later I get an email from my Uncle Tato.  About van Gogh.  In fact, it's about van Gogh's "Starry Night."  Whoa.  That's just freaky.  Oh, and it's also about bacon.

Bacon as art.  Can it get any better?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Well, I finally broke in my new running hat.  You know, this one:
I think Kermit will make me stronger and faster.  (Although my 3-miler the other day was weak and slow, but I haven't run in a while so I'm cutting myself some slack.)  Today will be 4 miles after work while Poodle-face goes to Uncle Derek's house for a bath.  When we were playing ball yesterday I accidentally threw one a little too close to the pond.  Roxie got it, but she came back with a wet face and smelling like swamp dog.  Stinky poodle.

So.  This has been an up and down week.  I am on day 5 with no soda and although this is a good thing, today REALLY wants to be a Cherry Pepsi day.  And that is the least of the "down" things.  Ugh.  On the flip side, however, it has been fairly busy at work and we may have sold a bunch of framed art to the designer down the street who just finished a HUGE job.  That would be sweet.  We also have a meeting tentatively set for Monday that could lead to a VERY good thing, but I can't tell you what because I don't want to curse it.  And I'm not getting my hopes up because ... well ... been there, done that.

I haven't been painting very much because I'm still trying to get my shit together, but here is a picture of the glass shelves at work that I sort of claimed for my very own.  I tried to take a picture of the front window (3 of my pieces are in the window) but the reflection was terrible.  Maybe later.
And here is a terrible picture of the piece that is hanging down at the Bigfork Museum in the Members' Show.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Five Days Later

Sunday and Monday (my weekend) were particularly nice days, and Poodle-face and I spent a lot of time outside.  Billy, my landlord, took down the fence that borders my yard, and now Poodle is beside herself because suddenly her yard encompasses the field next door.  It is great for running around, except it is a minefield of deer poop, turkey poop, probably some leftover bear poop, and now goose poop.  Goose poop is gross.  Speaking of which, sort of, on Sunday I saw a woman standing on the side of Highway 35, talking on her cell phone, and holding a leash that stretched out into Daphne Pond.  As I drove by I looked to see what kind of dog she had, thinking how rude it was of her to disturb the pair of Canadian Geese that nest in that spot every year.  But it wasn't a dog.  It was the biggest brown goose I have ever seen.  On a leash.  Huh.

Today is also a beautiful sunny day, and the second day this year I have not worn a coat to work.  Livin' on the edge.  Temps are supposed to be in the 70s by later this week so we may be totally flooded by the weekend.  Fun times ahead.

Here are the three things I painted on Cinco de Mayo, five days later.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Derek has been doing some spring cleaning on our Frame of Reference blog.  Check it out:

We also did a bunch of spring cleaning in the gallery, and hopefully will have pics up on the gallery blog soon.  I re-hung everything (Derek desperately wants to say on our blog that the gallery is "well hung") and since it was a lot of climbing on a chair, I am sore in strange places.  Hmm.  I want to go for a run today, but my strange aches and pains may get in the way.  At least my feet are feeling better, thanks to Five Fingers.

So you know how I have been all about the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation lately?  In an hour we are meeting with Steve and Nancy Cawdrey (Nancy is one of the artists we carry) to hammer out the details of a miniature art show and sale we are organizing for the COC event.  This will be a juried event, with very specific rules about image size and content.  Tentatively we are thinking a music theme, or possibly a guitar theme.  Should be fun.  Potentially a lot of work, but fun.

And speaking of miniature art shows, the Hockaday show is this Friday.  This is the show to which I submitted "Signs of Spring."  Loads of artists send work, and a jury picks 60 of the pieces to be part of a live auction at the Hilton -- a swanky event that includes a fancy dinner.  The rest of the pieces hang at the Hockaday Museum, which is exactly where I anticipated my piece hanging.  WELL.  Wasn't I surprised when I checked the Hockaday facebook page to see the 60 live auction pieces.  Mine is lot #49.  Right after Nancy's piece.  Heh heh.  It might not sell, but I am thrilled it is in the live auction.  Thrilled in a "that's kinda funny" way.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Hi.  It's me.  Just wanted to mention that the Livingston Taylor concert last Saturday was FANTASTIC.  He is a wonderful performer, song writer, guitar player, keyboardist and story teller.  And perhaps the best part of the concert was the OTHER concert we attended, on Sunday night.  We were invited to a private event as sponsers of the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation (which you know all about, having clicked on the link I posted a while back).  Here is a picture of Livingston Taylor performing the song I requested, "Grandma's Hands."
The second concert was less music, more story telling.  Also fantastic.  I'm glad I went.

So.  Cinco de Mayo.  I painted some things with which I am very happy, so I guess I'm not totally washed up.  They still need varnish, so no pictures yet.  Today we are rehanging the entire gallery because the artwalk is tomorrow.  The food we are serving will be Mexican, in honor of Cinco de Mayo (or Siete de Mayo, as the case will be), and tonight my kitchen will be full of drying paintings and cookies.  Pseudo Mexican wedding cakes and aniseed cookies.  I really, really need a better place to paint.  Our friend Tabby invited me to use her studio if I need a bigger space, but I would probably make a mess and feel bad about it.  And I would be jealous of her space.  She converted a free-standing golf cart garage into a beautiful studio.  I'm already jealous, and I haven't even seen it yet.  Someday....