Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dueling Dragons - News From the Front

There's a war going on - but it's not one of the unfortunately real ones taking place in the world today.

This epic battle is taking place in my imagination and the two protagonists are:

Snapdragons vs Dragonflies (click on images to enlarge)

I thought I would share this whimsical skirmish with views from the garden battlefield:

(And, of course, the first view I previously shared)

There will be at least a couple of more scenes to come. I will keep you posted with more breaking news from the Dueling Dragons front.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sounds from the studio

I cannot imagine my life without music. I dance to it, sing along with it, clean house to it, drive to it, and I especially paint and draw to it.

For a non musician, music is incredibly important to me. I have eclectic tastes, but as I was painting today, I thought I would share my favorite studio music with you. I listen to everything from Tom Petty to Kate Wolf (folk ), to Diana Krall (blues/jazz), just to name a few.

One particular studio favorite may not be familiar to you. A few years ago I had the great fortune to attend a teaching institute for a week in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the most amazing week, spent with 24 dynamic, passionate teachers from around the country. I can only say that if our nation's school systems were completely staffed with educators like these, our children would be in a great place.

One of our assignments was to create a movie on the computer using photographs from the week. I loved this assignment! Wanting to put my movie to music that suited the subject, I went to the Williamsburg gift store and listened to CDs. I wanted a sound of colonial America and I found it from an artist named Timothy Seaman. I contacted him to ask for permission to use his music for this purpose. A former teacher himself, he graciously permitted me to use it.

I now have three of his CDs. A master of the hammered dulcimer, Seaman's instrumental music makes me feel like I do when I'm hiking - connected not just to nature but to something big, grand, and magnificent. His music is rooted in Celtic, Appalachian, and early American sounds. If you want to listen to some of his grand, magnificent music, listen here.

Big News: The Friends of the Centennial Trail Auction was WONDERFUL! Here is a picture of our local channel 5 meteorologist, Kris Crocker introducing the print of my painting, "On the Trail".
There was a lovely bidding frenzy (maybe a bit of an exaggeration), and my print went to a wonderful home.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Positively negative

As part of my trench work I have been thinking negatively.

That's so fun to say. It invokes an immediate response of "Oh, think positive"!

I'm talking again about negative painting. Rather than painting the shapes themselves, the artist creates designs by painting around shapes - not painting the shapes directly - in a series of washes. The result is loose and somewhat unplanned. To some degree, all paintings involve some negative painting. Negative sounds so, well, negative but it is actually a wonderful way to think and paint.

I've shared before that I feel weak in this area. It is a flabby, out of shape muscle, so I've been exercising it. I guess I'm a direct person and I like control. You have to be willing to let go of that control and see the possibilities. These examples are all painted using the same photograph. I just played around with technique and color.

I'll keep exercising this muscle. I like that idea of letting go and seeing possibilities. I don't really have as much control of things as I like to think so I may as well embrace it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the Trenches

I'm slogging today
doing trench work

A day in, day out, labor of practice.
The shiny patina of brilliance supported by a thick under layer
of boring, unremarkable, foundational rock.
We don't see Olympic athletes in their daily grind,
We only see them in their moment of glory
and we wonder how they became so magnificent.
Trench work. Unsung. Unheralded. Solitary.
At times gloriously refreshing and strengthening,
Often beset with doubt.
What if after all of this digging and building,
and slogging through muck
there is no gold?

People think that art is magical,
gifted visionaries effortlessly creating
"Oh I wish I had your talent", they say.
"Nonsense", I think.
Do you want it enough to toil in the trenches?
When the walls you carefully and painfully dug
fall back in on you,
do you have the will to shore them up again
and sometimes again, and again
with no guarantee of the outcome?

I'm slogging today
doing trench work

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let there be light!

At last, clarity has come to me in the studio.

Really...I can actually see what I am working on thanks to newly installed lights.

I had previously operated under a makeshift trio of propped up lighting that was woefully inadequate and at various times threatened to electrocute me as I would move something and one light or another would threaten to tip into the wash water. The jury-rigged lighting failed to illuminate much except a part that measured a small square. I would turn paintings so that the area I was working on fell into the magic square of illumination.

Thanks to my wonderful husband, I can now see clearly. In fact, I think airplanes can track Spokane Valley from the light spilling out of my window.

As if that isn't enough of a blessing, I now have gorgeous, totally unique business cards created by Katie Blair Designs.

The designer is my talented and very supportive daughter. These cards are actually printed on watercolor paper featuring several of my paintings. The other side has my signature and all the important contact information.

Aren't they incredible?

These generous acts by two of the most supportive people in my life have truly spread light into my life. And they are not alone. Several people have done so much for me and I am thankful for each and every one of them. If I don't say "thank you" enough, please know how grateful I am. I hope that my actions do the same for others.

Let's all go spread a little more light.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dueling Dragons

I've been having so much fun painting dragonflies that I decided they needed to be part of a bigger composition, so I paired them with a perfect nemesis: snapdragons!

Snapdragons are wonderfully fun flowers. You can pinch their blossoms to make them look like they're opening their "mouths". You can even imagine them sticking out their "tongues" at the approaching menace.
What a perfect foil for dragonflies.

I think you'll be seeing more of these "Dueling Dragons".

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Summertime Mojo

Not going to complain about snow in March. No whining here.

Instead, I called forth some serious summertime mojo.

Looking forward to my favorite time of year, I've been drawing and painting dragonflies:


and, serious power here - I cooked up a jello cake (and ate it!):

Winter cannot withstand.

It must yield.

Bring on:

running any day I feel like it


wearing shorts

eating on the deck

having all the windows in the house open

watching hummingbirds while I do dishes

the richness of late afternoon light

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy

fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high"

(Yes, this is my ringtone! Thank you, George Gershwin)

What's your favorite time of year?