Monday, December 31, 2012


My current supply of varnish is woefully inadequate.  Really, I'm down to just barely this much.  So I visited my good friends at last night, which took forevah because my wifi kept blinking out.  By the end of the night, I had accidentally ordered two 32 ounce bottles of varnish, 48 canvas panels, 30 canvases, one varnish brush and 19 various bottles or tubes of paint.  I say "accidentally" because I only meant to order one bottle of varnish.  Heh heh.  The new varnish brush is because my old one, the brush I have used to varnish every single stinkin' painting I have varnished since the dawn of time, is broken.  The ferrule broke, which is curious because it is seamless.  Here, look:

It still works, but some of the bristles have fallen out.

So today I was at the grocery store in Kalispell and I ran into a friend.  Initially, this was an unfortunate incident, as I haven't taken a shower in several days and was hoping my disguise would keep me incognito.  Alas, no such luck.  However, when Leslie saw me she said, "Oh Christine, I've been thinking about you.  Do you still want to be killed off?"


Woo hoo!!!

Is that not the coolest thing ever to have happened in the produce section???

What -- doesn't make sense?  Ok, so, a few months back Leslie was telling us about the murder mystery she is writing (final edits happening as we speak, book to be published in early August) and I begged her to kill me off in a book.  Truly, I begged.  And now it's going to happen!  She has to introduce me in book two so she can kill me off in book three.  I CAN'T WAIT!  How's that for a great way to end the year?  BANG!

Or maybe multiple stab wounds.  Not-so-accidental drowning.  Poison?  Thrown off a cliff in Glacier Park?  I am so excited!  It's going to be hard to wait and see how I end up.  Or how I end, I guess I should say.  I will keep you posted, but it will be a while.

What else.  Of course, everything else is anti-climactic now that we are all contemplating my fictional demise.  Maybe I could be hacked to pieces and stuffed in a vat of paint....

So.  Paint.  My friend Linda wants to commission a rooster, but she wants one in more realistic colors.  Here's the problem:  I'M NOT SURE I CAN DO THAT!  Yesterday I took that other canvas panel - the one I have repainted four times - and tried a more natural rooster.  Here's what happened:

Oops.  He's actually really normal colors - Van Dyke brown, burnt sienna, unbleached titanium - but the background kinda throws it all out of whack.  He's lovely - he's what I refer to as "a sunny kitchen."  And I will try again with a more normal background.

There's more in the flock, too:

You can't tell in the picture (and you can't really tell in real life either) but the background of this canvas is a deep dark purple, not black.  The next one, which has a brown background, was painted in the dark of night when I couldn't sleep.  Literally.  Like 3:00 a.m.

The first one is 8" wide x 6" high, and the second one is 18" wide by 6" high.  Interesting.  I was showing someone my Roxie portraits the other day, and the first two sheep and a few of the roosters were out on the counter.  She said, "Man, you sure do have a style."  I guess that could be interpreted in several different ways but I chose to look at it as a good thing.  Remember when I was saying I couldn't find any artists online who paint like I do, and it was making me feel mildly freakish?  I've decided I'm okay with my individuality.  Even when I find work by another artist I like and I try to emulate their style, it comes out totally different.  I showed Derek the painting that inspired the first poodle portrait and he says they look nothing alike.  Which is actually true, but it's interesting to be able to adapt a reference photo or painting to my style.  I've decided it just makes me awesome, and pretty soon I'm going to be killed off, too!  Just think - if I can get other people to kill me off in their books, I can become a professional murder victim.  I'd put that on my resume in a New York minute.

It's only 9:45 pm here and poodle has already put herself to bed.  I was hoping she would last until midnight.  Maybe she's just resting before getting her second wind.  Like last night.

Happy New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Year Three Commences

My blogiversary was yesterday.  Or the day before - I can't remember.  We have now entered my third year as a blogger and I would like to say that it is only going to get better from here on out.  Except yesterday I came into work and told Derek I think I've shot my wad as an artist.  I got nothin' left.  I have two canvas panels at home and I can't even figure out what to do with the background of those - one I've painted over twice and the other one I've repainted three times.  Derek said, "Well, it was good while it lasted."

Turns out I had at least one more painting left in me, which I finished last night.  I'll show you that one in a minute.  First, here are a couple from the other day.

Another pear for the "Midnight" series.  I like the first one better, but this isn't too shabby.  I've also got another baby water dragon:

He needs a name and a story.  If you know any kids who can help out in that department, I'm all ears.

Poodle was re-arranging the furniture.  Actually, she was organizing the pile of dog coats on the furniture.  Oh, and I guess that's my coat, too.  She is very helpful around the house.

I really finished two paintings last night.  The first is called, at least for now, "Top Heavy" and it is on the canvas panel that I repainted several times.  This isn't my best work - it's more a texture study than anything else - but it's growing on me.  In the pictures you can't really see how it looks kinda crackly and crinkly.  I think it will look better when it is framed.

And here is the one really good thing I did yesterday.  Love love love.

I left the plug in the photo so you can get a better feel for the wee size of this canvas (7" x 5").  Truly, it's a lovely painting.  I would buy it in a minute but it's not for sale.  I'm giving it to myself as a blogiversary present.  Happy happy, poodle poodle.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Poodle and I had a lovely, relaxing, bad-carb-filled day today.  I swear, I don't think I've eaten a single bit of protein.  Yikes.  Only a couple of days left for culinary debauchery, then I turn into one of those New Year's Resolution people I tend to ridicule every year.  Oh well, such is life.

This afternoon we got all bundled up --

-- both of us --

-- and went for a short walk down to the river.

I was hoping to get a family Christmas picture.  It was a bit chilly so I didn't have much patience, and someone else was busy sniffing everything she could find.  I waited and waited and waited....

Still waiting....

"Hey look, momma, there's a donkey over there!"

She finally sat still for one quick minute.

This is the best we could do without me growing a third arm:

Merry Christmas, from poodle and momma. xoxo.

Monday, December 24, 2012

My first poodle portrait

I will write more about this later, but I just want to mention how thrilled I am that I have been allowing myself to try some new things lately and for the most part they don't suck much.  I told Derek today it would be boring if I felt I needed to spend the rest of my days painting trees because that's what works.  Oft-given advice to writers is to "write what you know" and I have felt the same about painting.  Painting what you know lends a sense of authenticity to each piece, right?  Then again, I don't know shit from water dragons, and the first two have come out just fine!  And besides -- how are you supposed to learn and stretch if you don't try new things.  I hope I always consider myself an "emerging artist" because I always want to be experimenting with new ideas.

So, speaking of new things, I painted another rooster last night.  HA HA HA!  Thought I was done with roosters, but since two of them have sold already my barnyard had some extra room.

This is the last of the previously-painted canvas panels I have found.  It started its life navy blue, then it became the orange and yellow with blue bits sticking through.  I pull it out of the closet periodically but hadn't - until yesterday - figured out what it was waiting for.  It was waiting for this rooster.

I think I'm going to work on a small series (small meaning 5" x 7") called "Midnight in the Garden of Fruits and Veg."  Here is the first installment:

This is a lovely little piece in real life, if I do say so myself.

Now, getting back to the water dragons.  My test dragon was painted on paper.  Because I wanted him shiny, I needed to mount the paper on something else so I could varnish the crap out of it.  This is how it looks now, and I'm keeping it forever and ever.

And remember that blue and white canvas I hadn't finished yet?

Cool beans, man.  Derek is giving this as a Christmas gift.  He thinks the dragon's name is Drac, which has historical significance.  I think the dragon needs a backstory.  Every dragon I paint will need a backstory.  For this one, I hope the recipient will have her kids write it.  For future dragons, I need to line up some kids.  More on this later, as it develops.

And this brings us to poodle.  I have resisted painting her portrait because I didn't think I could do a good job.  Last night I told myself to try.  So here she is:

My best good girl.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stuck between a tree and a penguin

First I need to mention that I decorated my Christmas tree a little bit more.  I added a tree topper.  Here is a series of pictures (pre-topper) so you can better appreciate the magnitude of the tree's size.


In this last picture I am standing literally right inside my front door.  Panning to the right a tiny bit would show you the rest of my kitchen/art studio.  Now, here is the new tree topper:

It's vintage.  And hecho en Colombia, which is why I snagged it when someone donated a box of old ornaments to the Festival of Trees.  I have three of them - this green one and two yellow ones.  Here is my holiday self-portrait:

Next, in my pile of all kinds of stuff, here is a piece I am working on:

I don't know what this is going to be yet, but I love the way the background came out.  Waiting for inspiration.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

I am mentioning it because ....

I know, he's only a baby water dragon, but that does not make you any less crunchy.

Last but not least, here is what may become Dylan's Christmas present, if it passes inspection tomorrow.  He likes penguins.

It is called "Penguin in a Field Picking Flowers."  Dylan also likes pink.  Gotta love a kid who likes pink.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Good, The Bad and ... The Questionable

I've been listening to Anne Murray's Christmas CD today, and I'm not embarrassed to admit it.  Roxie is so tired of hearing George Winston's "December" she gets up and leaves the room when I turn it on - I've been playing it non-stop since early November.  So we've moved on to Anne Murray.  Give it a whirl.  It's got all the classics.

Strange things have been happening around here the past couple of days (Anne Murray notwithstanding).  I bought a Christmas tree today.  Yes, it's a 3-foot tall faux tree, but it's the first tree I've had in about six years.

I have decorated the tree with a strand of wee tiny mirrored balls, and I hung some other lights in my kitchen.  It's downright festive in here.

And now, a strange thing:

I know.  It defies explanation.  Truly.  Enough said.

This next one also defies explanation.  I was going to send a picture of it to my cousin Andrew and tell him it's the study for his commission.  Can you picture this, bigger than its current 28" height, hanging behind an attorney's desk?  Heh heh.  Awesome.

I need to figure out how to loosen this up a little.  I'm not so good with tight paintings.  And he's not standing up in the picture because his varnish is fresh.  Speaking of which, I did two new things today.  First, I had a senior moment and picked up a painting to look at more closely, forgetting I had JUST ONE MINUTE AGO varnished it.  Poo.  Second, I dropped a painting FACE DOWN on the counter.  While I was painting it.  Double poo.  It happened with these guys, my faves of the weekend:

They live quite nicely together like this:

Sheepsies.  Poodle has a stuffed toy I named sheepsies.  It's a ... sheep.  It is flat and looks like it should hold a hot water bottle.  I got it for her when she was a baby to keep her company in the car.  Remarkably, it is still in one piece, with all four footie squeakers intact.  We were playing with it today, in fact.  Before we crashed on the couch.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last wreath

I forgot to mention the other day that my cousin Andrew has asked me to paint him something for his office.  WOO HOO!  I am excited and terrified, all at once.  He is an attorney in Boston, and the wall he wants to fill is between two windows that look out on the city skyline.  The space is 33" wide by about nine feet tall.  I'm thinking of trying a set of three pieces, each 26" wide by 16" tall.  Once hung they will be over four feet tall.  And I think, because of the view and the fact that this wall is right behind Andrew's desk, it will need to be a bit abstract.  Stay tuned -- this is going to be interesting.

Here is my last wreath of the season, the one I made for Eletra.  It matches the colors in her house.

I finished this one on Monday, but didn't want to post the pictures until she saw the original in real life.  Didn't want to ruin the surprise.

So.  I've had exactly 4,700 page views on this blog as of when I checked a few minutes ago.  About 4,000 have been me.

My barnyard is getting crowded.

Terrible pictures, yes, I know, what's new.  Blah blah blah.

I have thoughts about both of these paintings, but won't share them because - as it turns out - the bits and pieces I DON'T like about my paintings are the bits and pieces some other people DO like.  For example, the weird red head in the last batch.  Go figure.

I was about to say I'm done painting roosters for a while, but just remembered there is another one I haven't photographed yet.  It's on paper instead of canvas.  Hang on while I get the camera again.
la la la la la

The very first one is still my favorite.  And I think he has a new home!  WOO HOO!