Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some of my faves

Here are six of my favorite paintings that I have decided to keep until the end of time.  There are more - in fact, in a small moment of cleaning frenzy at work on Saturday I collected up all the unframed paintings I had at work and there were billions - but these in particular have special meaning for me.

First up is one of the first things I painted when I switched from oil pastels to acrylics.  There are two of these, and I think they are at least eight years old.  I'm pretty sure this guy has made an appearance on my blog already.  I pilfered the image from a postcard advertising a show somewhere at Shelburne Farms.

This next one is from the same era as the scarecrow.  I discovered molding paste, and in my first few attempts I used a very light hand.  Later on I really dug in; my favorite tool to apply molding paste is the plastic scraper that came with my mini food processor.  I've had people here in the gallery look at my Valentines and suggest it would be a great project for kids.  Sure, people, and by the way that stuff is toxic.  But this is an abstract landscape and for some reason the colors and the wee bit of texture appeal to me.

The next one, with a blue flower on a brown background, is so simple but again - it moves me.  Perhaps because I am simple as well.  Meditative.  Zen.

Fave fave fave.  For additional inexplicable reasons, this is one of my faves.

Next up is East.  As I mentioned previously, I have this piece hanging so the arrow points east.  The frame is more impressive than the painting, but put together they are pretty cool.  This is one of the very few paintings I've ever done - also from the scarecrow era, I think - that has a beeswax finish rather than a high-gloss varnish.  Love the look, but that stuff is stinky!

Last but not least, here is my signature piece.

Get it?  Signature piece?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Dang, I'm funny.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Insert sad face here

Shame on me.  I am a bad mother.  I TOTALLY missed my poodleversary.  I didn't even realize it, until a looky-loo in the gallery just asked how old Roxie is, and suddenly I thought, "CRAP!"  Our 3-year poodleversary was on February 20th.  Two whole days ago, and I blew it.  It's like this every year with Frame of Reference -- over 15 years of having the business and we have never once remembered the anniversary of the day we opened the doors.  That would be May 1st, FYI.  Even though I am a bad mother, I would love to zip into Kalispell after work for two-day-late poodleversary Chinese food, but I've been carting around a laundry basket full of dirty clothes since yesterday morning and that is more pressing.  Plus, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel in my checkbook this week so buying Chinese food wouldn't be prudent.  It may not stop me, but it wouldn't be prudent.

I can't believe I missed it.

You can admire this lovely little painting I named "Pond Grasses" while I lament my shortcomings:

I can't believe I missed it.  What a dope.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Q & A

I have a lot of seemingly random questions for the universe.  For instance, why does a typical mortgage last for 30 years?  Who picked 30?  And why is it that, in the animal kingdom, it is usually the male of the species who gets all prettied up to attract females?  Think red-wing blackbirds, or peacocks, or even lions.  And conversely, why is it that with people you often see dumpy looking dudes with pretty hot looking chicks, but never the other way around?  Recently I had a couple of my universal questions answered, but they were questions I didn't consciously realize I had.  I found out that SPAM stands for spiced ham.  Whew - glad to know there potentially is real meat in that can.  My dad likes SPAM, and a meal I remember from my childhood (and still make to this day but with hot Italian sausage instead) is diced SPAM and a potato browned in a frying pan, then eggs scrambled in.  It makes great pile food.  Then there's Arby's.  Did you know that stands for the letters R and B spelled out?  And - lightbulb moment - the R and B stand for roast beef.  This photo notwithstanding, I've never been much of a roast beef fan, so I've never eaten at an Arby's, so I've never thought about the origin of the name.  But now I know.  I feel so much better.

I forgot to take pictures of my private collection last night so all you get today is this:

Am I the only one who is mildly disturbed by the number of paintings I have accumulated in a relatively short time?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Have a Heart

Here's a wee small heart.  Very wee small - that's the smallest canvas I have.  4" by 4".

My mother left today for a week in Colombia.  Jealous, a bit, am I.  She is on a flight from Newark to Bogota as we speak, and when she called me earlier from the Newark Airport I forgot to ask her to bring back some extra Aguardiente.  So mom - if you read this - please bring back some Aguardiente for Wayne and Eletra.  The same stuff we brought back a couple of years ago.  Thank you.

No other news here except that I tendered my resignation to the Museum Board yesterday.  There isn't enough room in my head anymore, and that's all I'm going to say about it.  My working theory is that the fewer things that tether me to Bigfork, the easier and faster I will be able to head back East.  Hey, that reminds me of a painting I did years and years ago that I called East.  Someone wanted to buy it, but I said no.  I hang it at home facing East as a reminder.  I think in my next post I will show you all the paintings I have done that are in my permanent collection, including my signature piece.  Yep, that's the ticket.  Stay tuned.  I'm sure it will be fascinating....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesdays with Mory

Well.  After this week I was pretty sure my potential superhero status needed to be revoked.  No exercise since last Monday, and I can’t seem to kick my sugar habit this month.  Thank you very much, Hallmark, I do not like you.  Poodle and I woke up on Sunday to find snow coming down in buckets.  No running for us, but we did walk two miles.  Then I ate a bunch of crap and went to bed feeling like an utter failure.  So Monday, when we woke up to blazing sunshine, I convinced myself it was time for redemption.  From what I could see out my window, it looked like the road was clear again.  On went the tights, wool socks, running shoes, turtleneck, tshirt, fleece pullover, fleece hat, sunglasses and mitties.  On went poodle’s lightest coat.  Out the door we went.  My view of the road was a bit deceptive as that was practically the only spot where it was clear.   I ran through a lot of mush and over lots of slick spots.  In fact, at one point as we were going around a blind corner I hit total ice and got very little traction.  I thought for sure we invented a new sport that I was going to call dogjoring, but apparently skijoring works with either dogs or horses.  You can read about it here.  Anyway our goal was 4 miles if all my bits and pieces cooperated and because it was such a fabulous day, we ended up getting 5 miles.  We are rock stars.  My knees didn’t start to hurt until a couple of hours later.  You know how you carry your body differently when you are walking on ice and are afraid you are going to wipe out?  All that extra tension?  Yeah, that.  Enough said.  I may have to break down and roll out my shins on a lacrosse ball.  If that sounds painful … it is.

Here are a couple of pictures I took last Sunday.  This is what it looked like yesterday, too.  I think I got a bit of a sunburn.  I also have a 12 second video of nothing at all, but I can’t figure out how to shrink it so I can load it on here.

Flying poodle!

Roxie totally cut that little pad on the bottom of her front left foot the other day while running through the woods with Bones.  I tried to tell her she was benched for a few days, and luckily Bones was out of town Sunday and most of Monday.  It was looking better, then Bones got home and away they went.  *sigh*  Kids these days.  I wrapped it up last night and she was being very protective of her footie.  Good thing there wasn’t a bloodbath because Momma would have passed out on the floor.

 I didn’t paint much last week.  I didn’t really feel like it, and then on Friday I found out my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor (yes, you read that right - he named it Mory) and I spent the weekend thinking about life and priorities.   Everybody on the planet knows I want to move back to Vermont, and I am done sitting around waiting for someone else to make that happen for me.  Time to be proactive.  Time to rearrange my priorities.  Time to get where I want to go.  I still need someone to come buy our house and our commercial building, but I can get ready in the meantime.  I can start to swim instead of just treading water, you know?

Decision made, then I painted.

Yummy dark umber paint that looks like a gooey brownie.  Awesome.

The rooster canvas was originally going to be a word painting that said BACON.  I loved the sides of the canvas, but the front looked pretty yuck.  So I bagged the bacon, repainted the front, it dried all crackly and cool, then came the rooster.  Were it not for the fact that he is a boy, I almost have bacon and eggs here!  HA!

The end.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Broken Record

Poodle and I ran three miles outside on Thursday.  I mentioned that already, didn't I?  We also ran three miles outside on Sunday.  Then changed our shoes, grabbed the camera and walked a mile and a half. Warm and sunny weather in February is a rare thing indeed.  I took some pictures but they are still in the camera.  Not to sound like a broken record, but Poodle and I also ran three miles outside on Monday.  Cold, cloudy and windy, but still clear roads.

Here is a bee:

Did you like that segue?  My favorite kind - nonexistent.

Anyway, I ordered this photo frame from one of our vendors a while back because it was being discontinued and I've always loved this moulding.  The frame has been at home, in the box, for months, waiting for just the right thing.  So I painted a bee.

Bees and flowers, bees and flowers.  I also painted a poodle-ish painting.  I must have been on a flower theme.

Recognize that yellow background?  This is "Daisy Dog."  The third painting I was working on yesterday will probably end up in the trash.  I'm not liking it.  I will salvage the canvas if I can, but the paint is pretty thick and I might not be able to paint over it.  Time will tell.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snow days

So it appears Phil's prediction was only true for part of the country.  Here in western Montana, we have hardly any snow on the ground and it has been warm enough for wimps like me to run outside.  My family in New England, however, will be digging out of a snowstorm for days.  The pictures they have been posting on facebook are awesome!  Remember when we were kids and winter had so much snow you could actually tunnel through it and build forts and stuff?  It's like that.  Cool.  Poodle would love it.

But back to Montana.  I'm hoping it stays just warm and sunny enough to run outside again tomorrow.  Gotta let my knees know who's boss.  Oh, and I restarted my 21 days today.  I hardly ate any chocolate at the thingy last night, but I did have two glasses of bubbly.  So of course I went directly from that event to the grocery store, where I bought some other chocolate, and put myself in a food coma when I got home.  I really need these next 21 days.  I'm going to be a superhero by the end of the month.

Here was my door prize when it was all dressed up.  I left the event early - I hope they remembered to give it away.

And here is a photo to show that there is a tool for every job:

That was my lunch yesterday.  No microwave at work so thank goodness for the heat gun from our shrink wrapper.

Hmm.  What else.  I've got another poodle dog painting.  I think I need to name it Stretch:

Heh heh.  And here's a sneak peek at what I've been doing when I'm not at work or reading or painting:

I have so much of this stuff hanging around at home so I've decided to open a cvbead Etsy store.  It's a ton of work, taking a zillion pictures and then trying to remember what all the stones are and writing up descriptions.  Like the necklace above - I know what the blue stones are (blue lace agate), and I think I know what the yellow ones are (butterscotch agate?) but I'm not positive.  There is nothing in my store yet - I want to have a handful of crap ready to go before I list anything.  Next week, hopefully.

Now back to work.  Derek is insisting I take down the Christmas ornaments today.  Poo.

Oh hey - P.S.  I sold GIRL POWER yesterday, and here's the funny part.  I told the customer that this is my second GIRL POWER painting and that the first one went home with a family from New Zealand.  Her eyes bugged out and she said, "But I'm taking THIS one to New Zealand!"  HAHAHAHAHA!  Internationally collected, with the same painting going to the same country TWICE!  Hope it's not going to the same girl....  I've got a little landscape in Australia, and three of my Hello Kitty flowers went to another foreign country.  Can't remember which one.  Something Asian, I think.  I am creeping out into the world.  Look out.  World domination is next on my list.

Okay, now to take down the ornaments.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Show Us a Little Love

A new show opened down the street at the Museum today.  It's this one:

The premise of the show is to submit pieces that represent something you love, and each piece has a description with it explaining what it is you love and why.  I have four pieces down there - Fire Flowers (I love Windex), Heart of Gold (the first painting I did after Nonna died), I Fly (the word painting that says WHEN I RUN I FLY) and a new one called Blue Skies:

That's my girl.  Speaking of my girl, here she is from the other day, getting comfy and playing with a new toy:

She doesn't really fit on there, but she loves it.

We ran three miles outside yesterday.  Yes, outside, in February, in Montana.  It was quite glorious, although I actually ran only about 2.25 of those miles, and poodle was barely trotting.  Momma was slow.  And Momma's knees weren't very happy about the whole idea.  We got back home, ate some junk for dinner, read a book, then worked on four paintings.  Here's one, so far:

Hey now, don't judge.  It took an artistic eye, a light hand and three different shades of yellow to make this mess.  I am awesome.

As a final note today, here are some poodle parts:

She's a keeper.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

LMAO yeah yeah whatever

I'm not a fan of the deterioration of the English language thanks to text messaging and social media.  I don't LOL.  I will never be ROFL.  I've never LMAO, or LMBO (for those more sensitive souls) or even LMFAO.  And I don't plan to.  Ever.  I will admit to a couple of OMGs, but that's as far as I go.  With the one major exception of this.

I almost didn't post this because I will be embarrassed if my mom calls to ask what this means (mom - it's a bad word).  But sometimes a girl just needs to say WTF.  And to take the sting out, I'm saying it in party colors.  So there.

I finished the triptych.  Are you tired of me talking about it yet?  We've picked moulding and hopefully by the end of next week it will all be on its way to Boston.  Then I will post pictures.  The middle panel took forever.  There was math involved.  And a wee tiny paintbrush.  How unlike me.

I blew my second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox so I will be hitting the reset button on Saturday the 9th.  I figure I will wait until after the champagne and chocolate event on Friday, rather than beating myself up when I blow it again.  Chocolate truly is one of my favorite food groups, but I know after Friday I can give it up again for 21 days.  Three short weeks.  Then February will be over and it will practically be summer.  Shoot, which means I need to start running.  Once a month isn't going to cut it.  My marathon relay teammates will be horrified if I show up in May all flabby and out of shape (good thing they can't see me right now).

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Yes, that's right, I saved it.  Fire Flowers, that is.  Giving it a Windex soak and a good scrubbing was probably not the best way to fix it, but hey - it worked!

Phil has predicted an early spring, and so far his prediction has come true.  The high today is supposed to be 44 degrees, but the sun is out and I could probably take the roof off the jeep and drive around quite comfortably.  Most of the snow here in town has melted.  Spring is here, at least for today, and poodle can't figure out why nobody is taking her to play ball.

Here's a wee bit of bubbly in anticipation of Valentine's Day.

The Museum is hosting a fundraiser for a non-profit group next Friday called "Champagne, Chocolate and You."  I think I'll donate this painting as a door prize.  Minus the poodle-face, of course.  I might have to take a one day break in my second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, which I started yesterday.  It will be hard to spend a couple of hours in a room full of champagne and chocolate - those are my two favorite food groups!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Darn it!

I made a boo boo.  I had a little 7" x 5" canvas that I painted a lovely red with some swirly copper bits.  It was going to have a word on it, but I accidentally ended up with too much texture.  Which was cool.  I added a couple spots of teal, and was going to name it Fire Flowers.  The first layer of varnish went on and this is how it looked:

See all that chunky goodness?  It was my ultimate downfall.  I added the second coat of varnish and went to do something else.  Came back later and the varnish was all puddled up in between the chunkiness.  It was horrible.  You know how thick white glue looks when it is the type of glue that doesn't dry clear?  Yeah.  Instant learning experience.  The bottle of varnish says it is removable but you have to call the manufacturer to find out how.  Something to do with ammonia.  So I got out my trusty Windex and soaked the whole thing.  I ended up at the kitchen sink for about ten minutes with the Windex, a scrubby sponge and running water.  I may have salvaged it, but I'm still waiting for the wooden stretchers to dry.  It may be warped.  Darn it.

*** We interrupt this program to note that Derek is upstairs cutting a bunch of moulding and it smells like cake.  A boxed cake mix.  Weirdness.  ***

Here is the piece I was afraid of ruining - the one with the cool background.

I added this one to my Etsy store today.  Maybe it will sell.

That is all.  Except for the sleepy poodle.