Monday, January 30, 2006

Misty Birthday Morning

Today is my birthday and I am celebrating at home painting and reading and doing yoga and later eating that pint of Ben and Jerry's Fish Food ice cream I bought for this occasion. It is warmish today, high 30's and the snow is being eating up by the warm air so it is so foggy I can hardly see the road across the meadow. I can barely see the trees across the stone wall too so I painted that this morning before I did anything else.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pink Snow

It's funny how in this almost colorless landscape of New England in the winter I am seeing color everywhere. Maybe it is because I need color to lift me up a bit out of the winter doldrums, but maybe it is because the environmental palette is so neutral that I am seeing color leap out at me. Saturday morning the sun was rising as I began painting. The snow seemed tinged with pink and purple shadows, the deciduous trees and mountains far away were deep gray/green. This one is larger than the other paintings I've been working on, maybe 12x10". It's amazing how much of a Sennelier paint stick I can use on a format that small. I'll continue with this one on Sunday and Monday too I think, so this is a work in progress.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Murky World

My son talks about the New World Order, makes connections between things that make my mind spin. Is his world spinning or is mine, is it the same world we live in? When he talks it seems we live on two totally different planets. I washed the "global warming" painting in white mist last night, misty confusion.

"Judgment day, everyone will think they're crazy". I'm watching Angel's in America the past few nights, Tony Kushner's play (in video form with Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson). Hell, heaven, life, death, angels, madness, an amazing play. One character, a Mormon wife statue who steps out of the tableau, talks about what happens when God calls you. She says, "He reaches inside you and grabs your insides, wrenches them out, then stuffs them back inside all dirty and dusty, leaving you to sew yourself up". I think of the power of spirit in my son and how he is wrangling with it and the world. "He had great need of understanding, his need was prayer, his prayer brought understanding", says a character in the play who is talking about the prophet Joseph Smith. I think my son has a great need to understand life, his role in it and he finds solace in his radio preacher's sermons.

The world is a murky place, spirit sweet, let me not judge where one finds solace.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Global Warming?

I was so tired last night I just had to play. I liked these colors, smeared them around to see what I'd get, and now I'm entranced with the possibilities. What can happen here? I need to wait and see.

An art teacher friend mentioned that I should comment on the size of these pieces. Almost all of them are not much bigger than a postcard (or two). I've got a large sheet of heavy smooth paper taped to a board and have divided it up into sections. The largest one is about 10x12" and it is the "Hot Landscape on a Cold Night", the rest are much smaller.

I like working this small because it isn't daunting, especially since I'm so busy with my other work stuff and have little time for art. Even spending 5 minutes every day makes me feel so good though, I'm really glad I'm doing this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Tonight I was tired and almost didn't make art. But I found, when I sat down with the promise to myself that I'd only work for a few minutes if that's all I felt like, I became rejuvenate by working with the materials and color. This door is from a photo I took on a country lane in Ireland last summer. We had to stop the car so I could capture it. I loved the greenish door scraped through to hot pink underpainting contrasting with the yellow ochre building. Ireland is full of colorful surprises. Many come from painted doorways and window trim in very old stone or masonry buildings. I remember being so struck by this in England back in the mid-60's when I first visited a country outside of the states. The row houses there were all the same dull gray, but each one had it's own painted wood trim color scheme and the combination with flower boxes was just stunning and stays with me today.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Color

Last night I experimented with using any old content but pushing the color as far as I could. I like the result although I realize I still stuck with fairly realistic colors. Maybe next is a series of totally unrealistic oranges? I can't remark enough about the quality of the Sennelier oil pastels, and to think these have sat on a shelf in my studio for years. I think my French cousin gave them to me for Christmas one year. Bless that man!

I liked playing with the line at the horizon/table edge. Is it too distracting to have red and yellow there or does it add to the overall composition? I'd like to hear your comments.

I pasted a link to Eric Aho's work in a reply to Lady Di, but here it is for anyone else who would like to see. You can see his color is certainly nothing that is inspiring me, but his landscape forms.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Painting w/ Lipstick

Sennelier oil pastels are, as I said yesterday, kick ass. They truly are so soft and luscious that they seem almost an extension of my hand. The warmth of my hand, fingers, softens and blends so easily I find myself doing a quick sketch then "finger painting" for the rest of the painting until I need some more color. Then a few more dashes with the stick and more smearing. Lovely. This morning I had a revelation that I can do color exercises w/ any content. Damn, I wonder why these "ah-has" which are SO SIMPLE need to keep coming back and slapping me upside the head? I know I've thought this before, many times probably, but here it is again to maybe nudge me away from the landscape and see what else I can do with color.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Landscape as Color Exercise

I went to a poetry reading and slide show Thursday night (on my way home from the workshop) and was inspired by the artist's landscapes. His work was loose and dark, muddy, earthy colors. After the slides I browsed the museum gift shop and got REALLY excited by the color work of various artists. This little landscape was done in oil pastels and is a quick color combination sketch. I'm pleased with the colors, not too pleased with the quality of the pastels I was using (a box of my daughter's school grade oil pastels). I'll have to get out my Sennelier's which are like painting with lipsticks. Stay posted - more color work to come.

Thursday Doodle Art

Thursday I spent the day on the road and in a workshop. Since I wasn't going to get home until late I've chosen one of my doodles from my workshop notes as my "art" for the day.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Time raced away with me and here I am two days later finally putting up the clementine I've talked about previously.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stipple Hell

Sorry, no picture, my camera battery is dead, tomorrow it will have to be.


Tonight I stippled a clementine. Stippling sucks. That said I'd like to add that there is something intensely gratifying about making a drawing of only dots. I chose the clementine because I wanted this to be a 5 minute art project, ha! Is there such a thing, I don't know, but 5 minutes of stippling gets you nothing but acne on your paper. As I was dotting away I started thinking about my child the fundamental Christian, something about the monotonous, repetitive motion allowed my mind to wander. I thought of this child of mine (this child I reared, because at this point in my life, with young adult kids, I feel they are just loaners; kind of like stray cats one adopts, feeds, grooms, gives medical care to, loves, cuddles, and adores - then they run away.) This adult child is so rigid, so clear on what is right and what is wrong. Like stippling my child is trying to fit into a rigid pattern. The monotony of stippling can be soothing and it too can be frustrating. After about 15 minutes I find my clementine is fairly much there, but fairly wane. It needs bolder, stronger blacks. I yearn for a LINE, but no, stippling is dots only. So back in to the drawing I go with my pen, dot, dot, dot. Trying to fit more dots into spaces that seem too small for even a space. I think, "God only, no doughnuts, no psychology, no feel good anything", how can my child be like this. Yeshua and Satan, black and white. He is living a stippled life.

Hot Landscape on a Cold Night

Working late last night on this oil pastel, which I began this fall. I had rubbed most of it out because it was insipid. Last night saw it sitting on the table in the living room and realized I hadn't done my daily art (I'm at that moment between semesters when I have 175 report cards to do and 3 online classes, and many face to face classes, to prepare, which begin Weds. arggghhhhh-computing nightmare). I was frustrated, angry, and so scribbled away. Also, I didn't like the damn thing to begin with. So here it is. It's better. I like the hot and cold contrast, I might do more, not sure.

I was watching Artemisia, about Artemisia Gentileschi, Baroque Italian painter, last night her mentor Tassi said, "Don't do what you are familiar with, do something different", as a way to move her beyond what she already knew as a painter. Words of wisdom.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I will make art every day

I will make art every day. This sounds like an easy thing for an artist to say but somehow the rest of my life seems to grab my attention and suck me in. I am reading Julie and Julia right now and got the idea of making an art blog as a way to keep myself accountable and make a public promise to myself: make art every day. So I begin with a little Photoshoped image of myself.