Friday, March 29, 2013

And ... FINALLY!

Here, at long last, are some pictures of the commission I did for my cousin Andrew.  In these pictures the paintings are hanging here in the gallery, but they currently reside behind Andrew's desk in his office in the Prudential Building in Boston.  Cool.

Okay, wait.  This first picture was taken at home.  This was the test piece, which I liked so much it ended up being one of the final three.

And here is poodle helping me decide which should go on the bottom and which should go on the top.

That last photo is the middle panel.  I have a curious fixation with Morse Code.  Luckily for me, Andrew and Stephanie were (accidentally) clever enough to name each of their four kids with a six letter word, so this panel says Andrew, Hailey, Cooper and Oliver. 

So there you go.  When I started this project I intended to do something linear because ... well, here - look at the wall where the paintings hang:

See?  The shape of the wall, the shape of the windows, the shape of the buildings in that gorgeous view.  I didn't want to compete with the view, so I of course used pretty bright and dark colors.  Doh.  After the test panel I had to make myself a cheat sheet so I would remember what paint colors I used in each layer.  I added some metaphysical time-space elements and  -- nah, just kidding.  Thanks Andrew.  This was nerve-wracking, yet fun!

Moving on to another subject, Derek had been saying for a couple of days that he was going to cut the cheese, and he finally did.  Cut the frame for the cheese, that is.

I crack myself up.

Poodle and I went for a five mile run on Monday and it was glorious outside.  Then we walked down to the river to look at our favorite view.

I asked Roxie to hold still so I could take her picture.

"Ready for your close-up?" asked momma.

"Wait!  What's that?"

"Okay.  I'm ready!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's a Good Thing

Many, many years ago we used to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  In the magazine there was always a little column that was called "It's A Good Thing" and it highlighted some clever or funky project or doo-dad.  That's also the name of the BIOGRAPHY profile of Martha that came out in 2001.  When I googled the quote (actually, I dogpiled it), I went to wikiquote and found this:

Martha Stewart (born August 3, 1941) is a television and magazine personality known for her cooking, gardening, etiquette, and arts and crafts projects, and as a general lifestyle guide and homemaker. She is also a successful businesswoman, an American icon, and a convicted felon.

HAHAHAHAHA.  That cracks me up.

Anyway, I painted something last night and it's a good thing.


I named it "Up Through the Weeds."  We've had this frame hanging around for a bit - it used to have a different word painting in it - one I painted way back in the beginning of time that said FRAGILE.  As I wrote in the description of this painting in my Etsy store, I love the juxtaposition of a sweet painting with a rustic frame.  Yes, that is a nail hole.  Genuine barnwood - that's pronounced GEN-YOU-WINE, by the way - straight off some old barn.  We had to take down our barnwood samples at work ages ago because people just didn't get that the wood really did come off a barn.  Nail holes, moss, scrapes and scratches, light gray, dark gray, light brown - we had no control over all that fun stuff so the moulding hardly ever matched the samples.  I'm glad I finally found a good home for this frame.

P.S.  Poodle and I did go for a last-day-of-winter run outside.  I also ate about 85% good crap on that day, so there's two legs of my trifecta accomplished in one day.  I didn't paint anything, tho.  Not unless you count the 5"x7" canvas panel that I painted a solid blue.  I'm not counting that.  I did, however, cross another item off my list of March to-do stuff, but it was a small task I accomplished by necessity only.  Sweeping the kitchen floor.  I filled poodle's lunch box (it's a plastic Wonderbread container the size of a sandwich) and when I stood up my arm hit the handle of the stove.  Poodle food went everywhere.  Oops.  What a dope.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Last day of winter!

I was going to get all clever and say this post is brought to you by the letter B and the number 2, because I had two new paintings and both were words starting with B.  Then I didn't finish one of the paintings so that potential cleverness went out the window.  And anyway, I think I forgot to show you the newest sheep in my barnyard.  Does this look familiar?

His name is "Wool Coat, Spring Snow."  And I painted this during March Madness, so my artistic endeavors this month haven't been a total wash.  Plus there was the cheese, standing alone.  And BACON.

It's about time, eh?  Wayne asked if this is a painting of a bacon omelette.  I was thinking fried eggs, but omelette works too!  (As an aside, blogger doesn't like the way I am spelling omelette, so I went to and found that this spelling is acceptable, but it also said this, to which I say WTF?:

[C17: from French omelette,  changed from alumette,  from alumelle  sword blade, changed by mistaken division from la lemelle,  from Latin (see lamella ); apparently from the flat shape of the omelette]  )

Sooooo.  We have had crazy weather here lately.  Beautiful and sunny, then cold and blizzardly, and now beautiful and sunny again.  I am hoping that by the time I get home from work I will have convinced myself to go for a run with poodle (who is currently crying like a baby at the back door because she wants to go out and roll around in the old-deer-poop-laden grass out back).  I'd like to have one more day of running outside in winter before we spring into spring.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Significant Moments

"I've always thought people would find a lot more pleasure
in their routines if they burst into song
at significant moments."  -- John Barrowman

If ever there was a painting that would encourage you to burst into song, I think this is it:

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Not the song you were thinking of?  A friend had this as his facebook status ages ago and I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen.  When was the last time you hummed along with Farmer in the Dell?

This is the painting I started last July.  I tried to get all kinds of cheesey colors in here, including Velveeta.  In the bottom picture you can kinda see I even have some Swiss cheese texture going on.  I need to lop off about an inch on the right side and find an appropriate frame.  Maybe ... cheese-colored.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 9, 2013


This is a donation for a fundraising auction.  I had a painting at home somewhere that I thought I would give them but when I dug it out of the sauna I didn't like it.  Same word, different color palette.  So I painted a fresh one.

I painted something else brand new two nights ago but it's in the questionable pile.  I named it Fractured, but I might not save it; it's an abstract painting that doesn't really work.  Well, it doesn't really work for me.  Maybe.  I'm not sure yet.  It reminds me of my new theme of breaking down the big picture into a bunch of little pictures, which is good, but it has a piece in it that looks like a unicorn head with the horn broken off, which is bad.  Perhaps I shall take a picture and let you decide.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Big Picture

I am one of those people who get overwhelmed by the big picture.  For instance, when we first bought our house and were thinking about landscaping, I thought about everything we needed to do ... then did nothing.  I was not able to break it down into manageable bits and do one at a time until the entire project was completed.  Instead, I suffered from potential sensory overload and froze.  So I'm trying to teach myself a new skill.  I need to stop looking at the big picture and instead see all the little pictures, then choose one and get 'er done.  Then choose another.  To this end, I've made myself a list of things I need to do at home to make me feel like I'm making progress in the "moving back east" department, and I'm trying to do one every day for the month of March.  So far my list has 24 action items, and some of them are on the list more than once because I know it will take me more than one shot to get it done.  Like going through every article of clothing I own - that's a three day project I will be finishing tonight.  Some projects will only take five minutes.  But when the end of the month rolls around, I will be able to look back and feel a huge sense of accomplishment because I got a lot of crap done, and it's all crap that needed doing.

I'm going to try this new system at work, too.  We wanted to have our building on the market by the end of February, but we keep telling ourselves there are a few things we want to do first.  Then we never do them.  It drives me crazy, but apparently not crazy enough to do something about it.

I'm like that in all areas of my life, come to think of it.  For those of you who have been hangin' out here for a while you know that March Madness for me has zippo to do with basketball.  This is when I try to conquer my personal trifecta - art, food and exercise - and I always fail.  I can't seem to be good at all three at the same time.  And really, how hard can it be?  Paint a bunch of cool stuff, eat a bunch of good food, run a few times a week.  Boom.  Done.  Except I can't do it.  Almost one week in to March Madness 2013 and I am failing again.

I was awake pretty early on March 1st.  It was 5:10, to be exact.  And one of the first things I saw on facebook was this quote:  Determination is the missing link between setting goals and achieving success.  Therein lies my problem.  I lack determination.  I have the desire to get things done, but not the determination.  Why is this?  Do I not care enough?  Am I lazy?  Or am I just a self-fulfilling prophesy:  I am constantly setting goals and then sabotaging myself, so now I don't want to bother with goals because I know I'm never going to reach them.  How do I change my mindset to something more positive?  Do I set even more goals?  Bigger ones?  Smaller ones?  Easier ones?  Do I tell even more people what I want to achieve?  I watched a wee tiny TED Talk the other day - it was less than four minutes long so it was like a TED commercial break - by a guy who said people should stop sharing their goals.  We share our goals because we feel if other people know about them it makes us more accountable and less likely to fail.  His premise is that when we share our goals, the act of sharing makes us feel as if we have already started doing.  And when we feel we have already started doing, when in reality we haven't actually started at all, we are less likely to really do.  Get it?  No?  Okay, go watch it yourself here.  I'll wait.


Got it now?  I'm conflicted.  To share or not to share, that is the question.  I want to be held accountable, but there are no real negative consequences to failure, no matter how many people I tell, other than just knowing I failed.  And having to admit it.  Over and over and over.  And that doesn't make me any more determined to succeed.  If I knew my right arm was going to fall off if I didn't meet my goals for the month -- that might motivate me a bit more!  How do I grow some determination?

This is why I haven't posted anything on here since February 26th.  All the voices in my head have been debating the issue, and we haven't come to a unanimous conclusion.  Plus, I haven't painted anything good in a while.  I worked on three pieces over the weekend and one is going in the closet for future evaluation, one is going to be totally painted over, and I can't even remember what the third one is so it must not have been anything special!  I haven't gone for a run in about two weeks.  And I have hit the restart button on my Sugar Detox so many times the button is wearing out.  Fail.  Fail.  Fail.  Boo, hiss.  However, on the bright side, today is day 65 with no Coke/Pepsi.  That's a good thing.  And I have crossed five or six things off my March list of mini goals.  That's another good thing.  I like to concentrate on the positive, so I may start only telling people when I reach a goal, rather than broadcast the actual goal ahead of time.  I like the idea of being able to say, "Hey, guess what I did!" rather than, "Yeah, I know I said I was going to, but I didn't."  This doesn't solve my innate lack-of-determination problem, but it limits the amount of negativity I put out in the world.  I'd rather put art out into the world.  Wouldn't you?