Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks

I think I am developing some kind of neurological disorder.  I trip over my own feet a lot.  On Thanksgiving Day, I was carrying a fresh-from-the-oven pre-baked pie shell to cool in the other room, when I tripped over my own feet.  Ouch.  Got some good carpet burn on my knee, but I didn't let go of the pie plate.  Today, in what has turned into a terrifically unfortunate event, I tripped up the stairs between the gallery and the work room (that would be a grand total of two steps).  You know how you tend to flail your arms out when you trip, in an effort to catch yourself?  I flailed.  And I smashed my arm on the corner of our computerized mat cutter.  Ouch.  Two hours later and I've got a huge goose egg on my arm and it hurts like crazy.  I think I cracked a bone.  This is particularly bad news considering the amount of crafty crafty and cookery cookery stuff I need to do tonight.  I.  Am.  A.  Dope.

In other news, however, Derek may have sold my "A Thousand Christmas Trees" painting.  We will know tomorrow.

And in different other news, I shipped a box with four paintings in it to The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery in Burlington, Vermont for a non-juried show called Small Works.  Each piece needs to be less than 12" in any dimension. It is a two month exhibit, from December 7th through January 26th.  I didn't know what to send, since I wanted all the pieces to relate to each other in some fashion.  I ended up with four abstract pieces, one of which I just noticed I don't have a picture of at all.  Poo.  So that's that.  Go to the S.P.A.C.E. Gallery on Pine Street in Burlington and buy my paintings.  You would make a girl with a goose egg on her arm very happy.

Of course, when I win Powerball tonight, I will be giving my paintings away for free.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On a Snowy Evening

I painted another tree landscape.  It's bigger than the last one.

It goes on forevah.....

In the interest of staying in a multi-faceted rut, I am naming this one "On a Snowy Evening."  Also with a nod to Robert Frost.  He's my go-to guy right now.  I think this canvas is 8" high x 24 " wide. 

And in the interest of messing around with my new camera, here are a few random bits and pieces of the new painting.

I was hoping to leave this canvas unframed, but I didn't purchase it from my best friends at Dick Blick, so it isn't as deep as I would like.  Ergo, it has what we affectionately refer to in the framing industry as the potato-chip effect.  It is warped.  You can see in one of the pictures above that the sides of the canvas are a mottled green and white - I had painted the canvas a dark green ages ago to use for a completely different purpose (a landscape I painted on paper, that now needs another home).  When I stole the canvas for this painting, I only covered parts of the sides with white.  I am quite fond of the way they came out, but unfortunately I think they will be covered by a frame to give the thing some additional support.  We shall see.  Maybe my framers will come up with a clever alternative.

Here is your poem for the day, by my guy Robert Frost.

Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Cyber Monday.  Send all your friends to shop on my Etsy store.  Please and thank you.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Artist Statement

First of all, it made the cut.  I named it "A Thousand Christmas Trees (with a nod to Robert Frost)."

The framing concept is one we came up with for an artist client, and I have stolen it for my own.  Instead of the canvas panel sitting underneath the rabbet of the frame, it sits on top.  It creates the look of a very modern canvas floater, and only works with moulding that has a fairly steep slanted face.  Clever.

Secondly, last night I drafted an Artist Statement.  I think it is quite good.  Derek has suggested I add a bit about having 15 years of framing experience, and how that enables me to conceptualize my half-baked ideas.  I will work on it, and see how it feels.  In the meantime, here is my draft:

"Decide who you are, and then do it on purpose."  - Dolly Parton
At the tender young age of 43, I decided what I want to be when I grow up, and I began dedicating myself to it with some degree of purpose.  I think we all want to be surrounded by things that make us happy, but not all of us take the time to figure out what those things are.  The act of existing can be so complicated, there is often no time left over for living.  And before we know it - poof!  It's too late.  My own personal roadmap delivered me to a place where I finally gave conscious thought to what makes me happy, and in doing so I decided who I am.  I gave myself permission to actively pursue a creative outlet and it is incredibly rewarding to see the way ideas and half-formed images in my head manifest themselves in real life.  To create something beautiful with my own hands makes me happy.  Whoever said money can't buy happiness wasn't spending it on the right things.  Semi-prescious stones.  Glass beads.  Copper wire.  Paint.  Mostly paint.
I have no formal art training but rather than allow this to be a stumbling block I believe it frees me to embrace the unconventional.  My drawing skills are dismal, but my painting skills are quite unique.  I love color and texture and words, particularly all mixed up together, and it is sometimes surprising yet always fascinating to see what ends up on the canvas.
I appreciate how art appeals to many senses at once.  I love the texture I can achieve with molding paste, or chunky paint and a palette knife.  I adore the smell of oil pastels.  I am fascinated by the way colors create different patterns when they swirl together on the canvas.  And I am most at peace when I am splattered with paint, a glass of bubbly in one hand and good music playing in the background.
My work makes me happy.  Everything makes sense; there are no hidden meanings.  I am not attempting to capture a multi-spatial perspective, my work contains no ambiguous fragments, and I have no idea how to combine metaphysical time/space elements.  I paint, and when I think I am finished, I stop.
(The end.)
You will, of course, recognize bits and pieces of this masterpiece from here, my blog.  I have no immediate need for an artist statement, I just felt the urge to write one.  Perhaps, out in the universe, I DO need one but I don't know it yet.  Stranger things have happened.
Thirdly, I have a book in my shopping cart on Amazon.  It is called "Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain.  This book was written about me.  For example, from the description, introverts are "the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion."  Yep, yep and yep.  I will buy this book to read more about myself, but I couldn't bring myself to make a purchase from on Small Business Saturday.  It would have been rude.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is that a good thing?

I have just spent some (quality?) time online looking at art galleries.  I can't find any artists who paint like I do.  Not even close.  I do not know how I feel about this revelation.  Part of me feels kinda unique and special.  Part of me feels like a freak and somewhat stupid.  (And part of me still wishes I were on vacation, sitting on a beach.)

Here is the painting under consideration from last night.  I like it.

Some would say I am stuck in a rut.  I prefer to think of myself as thematic.  In fact, I got some lovely, unsolicited feedback on the painting I donated to the Festival of Trees.  It was the tall tree from a couple of posts ago.  Made me feel like less of a freak....

Poodle is having a birthday tomorrow.

As you can see, she is very excited.  Can hardly contain herself.  We left work early today and got home with enough light outside to play b-a-l-l (I have to spell it so she doesn't wig out).  Someone was a happy camper.  Now Momma has to drag her sorry ass off the couch and clean up the kitchen.  I really really really want to make my two pies (cranberry orange and chocolate pecan) plus a kale tart tonight so I can sleep late tomorrow morning.  I believe last Thanksgiving, in what I am embarrassed to admit was my usual state of procrastination, I didn't bake the night before and had to get up wicked early.  What a waste of a day off.  I adore the feeling of waking up, looking at the clock, and realizing I don't have to get out of bed for hours and hours.  Call me slothful, I don't care.  I don't even know if that's a word, and I don't care about that either.  I get my best sleep after I wake up.  Go figure.

Come again some other day.

It.  Is.  Raining.  Crazy rain.  I don't remember November being monsoon season, but it sure is this week.  Part of me wishes it were snow.  And the rest of me wishes I were on vacation on a warm, sunny beach.

This last week was long and exhausting, yet not long enough to get everything done.  I finished a couple more ornaments - steps one and two are shown in a previous post and here is the finished product:

Snowballs!  I have eight more smaller ones ready for their ribbon.  I don't think they will get little signs - they are just too small.

By the way, I finally figured out how to decrease the size of my photos while also decreasing the dpi, so uploading these is a snap.  Phew.

What else, what else, what else.  The public preview of the Festival of Trees opened, and someone asked me to make her an ornament wreath.  That's on tap for Friday or Saturday.  First I have to clear all the sparkly junk off my "dining room" table so I can roll out pie dough.  (Still doing my best to manifest for myself a living space wherein the art crapola has a dedicated area separate from the, oh, say, food prep area.  Send positive energy my way, please.  Envelopes of cash are good, too.)

Varnish is drying on two more paintings.  Wee small ones.  I shall call them Tiny Tannenbaume.  That would be the plural of Tannebaum, but it needs those two little dots over the second "a".  Or maybe just "O Tiny Tannenbaum."  That has a lovely ring to it.

I say "tiny" because these canvases are 4" x 4" turned on the diagonal.  Hey.  That reminds me.  I was thinking about these while I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about them being turned on the diagonal, which made me think about the word "diagonally," which made me think of Diagon Alley which made me wonder if that is where J. K. Rowling came up with the name.  Most probably, the answer to that question is yes.  I just looked it up.

Anyway, you should see the painting I have drying in the kitchen right now.  Not sure it will make the cut.  I think I like it, however, I shall re-evaluate tomorrow morning.

A nose only a mother could love.  That's my girl.

And that's my girl with her piggy.  It's almost her birthday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Look, Ma! I painted something again!

I have a lot of photos to upload today, so this may take forever.  My wi-fi is quite touchy, which makes it slower than dial-up.  Remember dial-up?  But first - does this look like it might be getting a bit cold in here?

This was actually from yesterday, but today I had my first-of-the-season full-blown frozen fingers incident.  I think it's going to be a long winter.

So.  It is still crafty crafty central around here.  I'm making a forest full of wee trees.

It's quite clever what you can do just playing with mid-tones and shadows and stuff in Photoshop Elements.  Someday I will understand it all.

More to come - three wee trees does not a forest make - but I probably won't subject you to pictures of every single one.  Unless I can't help myself.

Here is the painting I did.  Yes, totally predictable, another tree.  'Tis the season, and it is for the Festival of Trees, so what did you expect?

I have another bunch of ornaments I am working on, but I won't know if they are a success until tomorrow.  Here are steps one and two:

Stay tuned for the final product.  I have to wait for the paint to dry, and it's on there pretty thick.

Last but not least, we started with a picture of poodle so we shall end with a picture of poodle.

Somebody looks good in Momma's new hat.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brown-bagging it.

Brown-bagging it.  I thought of that title the other night when I couldn't sleep.  It's accurate to a point.  For my third ornament wreath, the brown and red one, I bagged the brown.  Get it?  Bagged the brown?  Yeah, I'm funny.

This one might be my favorite so far, even though it is not the colors it was supposed to be.  For some reason it was harder to finish than the others.  I had to stop in the middle and finish it the next day.

Start to finish, excluding shopping time (I do not like shopping), one of these takes about three and a half hours.  I was maybe two and a half plus hours into this one and just got stuck.  Had to go to bed.  That was on Sunday.  By late Monday night, we had this:

Notice - there is no brown.  I still think brown and red would be pretty, it just didn't happen here.

I had an unfortunate incident with my hot glue gun while making this wreath.  They're not kidding when they say  "hot" glue.  Put a nice blister on my finger.  And poodle got so bored she put herself to bed with Stitch.

Actually, I think she is having just as hard a time as I am with the heat in here.  There is a non-existent sweet spot on both of my heaters.  In the living room/dining room/kitchen/art studio side it is either too hot or too cold.  And lately it has been too hot.  I would love to be able to keep the heat really low during the day when I'm not here, then turn it up at night.  But it wouldn't be worth it because it takes too long to heat up.  In my bedroom, it is either too hot or no heat at all, and if I go with too hot I wake up with a bloody nose every morning.  So now I have no heat on in the bedroom and about a zillion comforters on the bed.  Too hot on one side of my wee home and too cold on the other.  I should sleep in the bathroom, where it is just right.  Me and Roxie and Stitch and Charles, the spider.  Yep, he's still here.  Yep, I named him Charles.  Doesn't mean I won't squash him like a bug if he comes out of hiding, though.

So here's the other thing that happened on Sunday and Monday.  Take my advice on this:  engaging in a grand total of zero exercise for the entire month of October is no biggee.  Unless you join a fitness challenge on Facebook and commit to 50 squats per day for a year starting on November 1st.  Fifty squats per day for a year is no biggee.  Unless you join the challenge on the 4th of November and owe 200 squats.  Two hundred squats is no biggee.  Unless you engaged in a grand total of zero exercise for the entire month of October.  I did 100 of the 200 squats I needed on Sunday.  Again, no biggee.  Monday morning I could barely walk.  So poodle and I did the logical thing - ran three miles to loosen up the old quads.  It was a beautiful day outside and yeah, I was going to bang out some squats after that run, no problem.  I got five.  And they hurt like you would not believe.  So I figured I would do sets of five, crying like a baby between sets.  Guess what my total was for Monday.  Six.  That would be six.  And Tuesday I still had a hard time getting around.  Today was much better, and tomorrow we will get back on the squat wagon.  By tomorrow I will owe 300 to catch up.  I don't think I will be doing all 300 in one day.  No way, no how.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Second Verse, Same as the First....

Let me start with a photograph of the cutest little trick-or-treaters ever.  I have no idea who these kids are:

Their mom kept telling them to smile and I said, "No no no!  This is perfect!"

We only had about 900 kids come through this year.  For the first time ever, we had leftover candy.  Weird.

So it was beginning to look like Christmas threw up all over my "dining room" table.

Here is the second ornament wreath I just finished.  I'm still peeling strands of hot glue off my hands, my arms, out of my hair.

Whoops - that's the "almost done" picture.  Here's the finished product, followed by a bunch of reference pictures for me (if you read my last post, you know the drill):

Hey look!  It's a wee tree!

This poor wreath looks more "wine country" than it does "Christmas" but I still like it.  My original intent was loads of dark green, some silver and just bits of purple.  Huh.  Yeah.  Oops.

And for my next trick, I'm thinking brown and red....