Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

Indeed.
My paintings are now at the I.Wolk Gallery in St. Helena, California!



For anyone who doesn't know, St. Helena is one of the communities in the Napa Valley, and a very popular area not only for grape growing, but also for the variety of ways in which one can spend their money on Main Street. (Isn't that a nice way to put it?)

But really, it's a lovely town, surrounded by incredible California agriculture, nestled in the valley. The tree lined streets are straight out of any feature on "small town America" or "charming cities" as they are oft sited in the popular media.

But back to me.
So, the large plum painting is being featured in the front window (!) That's 21 square feet of plumalicious goodness. (3x7')
It's an oil painting on canvas with an overlay of gold leaf.



The persimmon painting, measuring 3x6 feet is equally ripe, featured just inside the door above that gorgeous farm house table. See how the ray of light coming down from the heavens is illuminating it?



I love the paintings with the sculpture.
If you're planning a trip or just want to burn time looking, the gallery link is here.

Thanks to my friend K, for generously taking these photos. Todays post would have looked a might different with out them!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This week at the studio


Paintings delivered, projects started, events prepared... It's all good.

It's been busy week at the studio. One in which I could easily say that the hours were simply not enough. Even employing my sitter for two afternoons, when one has clients who want finished work NOW, time can become scarce. And scarce it seems to have become.

Stretched canvas onto, gesso'd and began three paintings this week for a gallery as well as finishing another for same gallery location.

I am able to have my stretcher bars custom built now and with the addition of extra lumber it now has a hefty depth of about 2 and one half inches. Very sexy indeed.

If you paint and stretch your own canvases and especially if you work in large format like I do, you can appreciate a meter square canvas with a two and a half inch depth, can you not?

To that I say, "ooh, la-la"

This saturday is our first "Second Saturday" event in which we will open our doors particularly to the tourists in Napa, staying at the various hotels. Everyone is looking for an alternative to wine tasting and G studio welcomes the opportunity to show a visiting art lover the inside of the artists studio. At work, making art.

I'll post photos next week as I anticipate a robust turn out and a productive afternoon of making and selling art.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fearless or Ruthless


I am in the middle of reading a book I recently checked out of the local library called: "Cezanne to Picasso, Abroise Vollard, Patron of the Avante-Garde" Rebecca A. Rabinow, Editor, Douglas W. Druik, Ann Dumas, Gloria Groom, Anne Roquebert, and Gary Tinterow.
The current chapter, "Bollard and Degas by Gary Tinterow, with research by Asher E. Miller", is of particular interest to me as I've been thinking quite a bit about how ruthlessness and fearlessness are used by the artist. This particular tome more so about the dealer of art, Abroise Vollard, and his relationships with the prominent figures of the french impressionists movement.

I must add that part of the conversation that I've been having with myself has been about the artists that I consider the game changers of art, not all individuals: the impressionists, Dali, Picasso, and Pollack are some of the last 120 years or so. This comment of course applies to the old masters, but for the point of this blog, I am merely focusing on the more contemporary. Feel free to comment on whom might be added to this list.

I recently watched a DVD about the art of Degas and although a interesting and visually lovely, I was intrigued by a section of the the film that mentioned how Degas had begun a new medium: pastelized monotypes as to generate up to three sellable prints from one original work. The film only touched on this fact and much to my surprise, the book listed above delves much more deeply. I regret that the following is not focused on the dealer Vollard, but rather the Durand-Ruels, also art dealers and promoters, contemporaries of Vollard.

"The Durand-Ruels, both father (Paul) and son (Joseph), had good reason to feel proprietary about Degas. Though they had no contract, their gallery had been the primary-though never exclusive- outlet for the works that degas wished to sell since 1874.
During the 1870's and 1880's Degas wished to sell almost anything he made (with the notable exception of sculpture), and he even developed a new medium, pastelized monotypes, in order to generate up to three works from the same composition and thus increase his salable "articles" as he called his commercial output. He needed the income because in addition to paying for an affluent bachelor's life, three to five nights a week at the opera, models, and a maid, he undertook, with his brother in law Henri Fevre, to redeem the debts accumulated at this father's bank by this profligate brother Rene. It was not uncommon for Degas to send his maid or a porter to Durand-Ruel, pastels in hand, with a note demanding that he dealer hand over 500 francs in cash to the bearer. Degas treated the gallery like his private bank, depositing work and withdrawing cash. He never never shrank from asking Durand-Ruel to pay his bills or to buy something-usually a a work of art- that he wanted."

Fearless? Ruthless? Or something else entirely?

All images shown are by Edgar Degas

Friday, October 22, 2010

Again, with feeling.

I am re-publishing an image of my dear friend Igor. This time the picture taken with a high quality, knows what it's doing type camera, taken by a high quality, knows what they're doing type friend. I'll be delivering Igor to his new home here in Napa Valley and I'll truly miss him. I won't miss the daily stare down. He always wins.

Igor Stravinsky, final
64"x41"



Secondly, the painting "tuesday" sold this week (yay!) and will be shipped out of state. Taking advantage of above aforementioned high quality, picture taking friend, I was also able to get a picture of this painting before dismantling for shipping.

What? you say, art, ehem, taken apart?? Well, a painting of this size (5.6 feet by 6.8 feet) is extraordinarily expensive to ship to the east coast. Not for weight, but for size. Since the stretcher bars were custom made to the size specification I'd requested and not a canvas "off the rack" (I was on a custom size, build me something so large it may not even fit through the door kick. I know, I have a bit of an eccentric side)

I knew that it could successfully dismantled and shipped to the client, cutting the cost down considerably. (think one thousand dollars in if left on the bars, down to $230, dismantled) So, removed the staples and tacks from the back, took the canvas off of the bars, rolled canvas, protected by my handy kraft paper over a cardboard tube, unscrewed all the joints of the stretcher bars, took apart said bars, sanded the ends of the joints where the wood glue was applied (that's one of those mundane jobs that maybe I can skip, but someone with an evil eye for detail will notice my slacker naughtyness so I best not skip it) put all the wood pieces inside tube, cap off each end, wrap entire enchilada (no, not an enchilada, a canvas painting and it's components. I was once verbally diced for taking too many shortcuts in my language style. So here I am explaining myself to no one in particular) in bubble wrap, insert into 24"square, eight foot long box, send to client.

If you've read this far, congratulations. I'm up to the part where the bars are laying on the floor waiting to be sanded. If you must know. That would be the mundane step pointed out about five lines up. I already feel like I have eyes watching me.

"tuesday"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

painting every day

After a few small details added in with the valuable input of two artist colleagues, I am calling Stravinksy finished.
Since I am well before my deadline, I took the opportunity today to tighten up the canvas, will paper and wire the back, log it into my inventory and hopefully get a few really good photographs of it for my files. In case you have not noticed, the camera that I use is of not very good quality and duh, the images on the blog are dicey at best.
I'm alright with that. When I photograph something for my files or to put on my website, it is of the highest quality possible, but for the purposes of an everyday blog, the quality of the image is not necessarily the priority. Yes, I know any photographer out there reading this just had a small stroke in the back of their heads. I'm a painter. There it is.



Igor Stravinksy, final
So, yesterday and today in the studio I have begun to start using some small canvases that I've had on my work table for some weeks. Most measure about 12x14" or so and by comparison to what I can easily get caught up in by way of size, these are miniature.







"almost may" work in progress

Sunday, October 10, 2010

art is in the details

About 3 weeks left I suppose, to keep working on the portrait of Igor Stravinsky. It's a self imposed deadline as the clients who are commissioning this painting don't need it until into November, but I'd rather be finished sooner than later as it keeps me painting through the fall.

Throughout open studios, this particular painting did give me a good opportunity to determine it's accuracy as a portrait. In the portrait genre, likeness is key. The concept seems obvious to me as most clients, whether a portrait of themselves, a loved one or a notable person (in this case) should actually look like the person. Right?

Classical music lovers could all identify the subject of the painting as they entered my work space, so I was pleased and those that did not listen to/follow classical music were unable to identify the subject. Fine by me. At the risk of sounding elitist, those with knowledge of Stravinsky's music were really the opinions I was most interested.



Igor Stravinsky (in progress)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

back to our regularly scheduled program...art

Admittedly Liz and I have been sidetracked by the critter that seems to have taken over the bottom drawer in the kitchen, died and then sent another one of his kind. I could not resist the opportunity to channel rodent like attitude and since I have known Theodore Geisel on a intimate basis since my childhood and now Primo and Terzo's childhoods, I was compelled to rhyme and snark. I was so pleased that Liz felt compelled to respond and of course, I need very little encouragement to play...

The two weekends of Open Studios Napa Valley have come and gone... and what a swell party it was. Our total crowd numbered around 800 for the four days, art lovers were appreciative of our offerings, we sold paintings, glass and mixed media work.

As the studio owner, Liz also out does herself as hostess. We always offer wine as well as small bites; passed by a server. Never on a table to be pawed. Eww.
Our partime resident movie director Shahin is also a gifted chef and spent all four days sending out platter of bites; figs with goat cheese and honey, brie with organic pear, a roasted bell pepper mixture with goat cheese on toast... I could wax on about this but alas, I promised to get back to the art. But I must add that on the first day of the show, I counted 9 separate appetizers offered.
Oh, and not to be forgotten, Shahin also made a big pot of soup for the artists on each day of the show, so that we would not have to suffer (hardly) on appetizers alone, but had a nice, filling meal at mid day. Lucky us!

The following are images of my space, actually between weekends, as that is the time that I always rearrange, reassess and hopefully reap the rewards of repeat clients seeing something fresh on the second weekend, remixed.

What a swell party it was...




Friday, September 24, 2010

once more in the spirit of the holidays at the studio

Oh dear Liz, I speak to you from my cool grave
I regret what I've said, how I did misbehave.
You hate me, you loathe me, of that I am sure.
But intentions were honest, they were good, they were pure.

I thought we'd be friends if only you'd tried.
My feelings were true, but now they have died.
With some time to think from this place they call heaven,
It calls for some bread, preferably unleavened.

So bid me farewell, oh lovely, fair Liz.
But my friends are about, ready to give you their shiz.
I've told them about the abode they could storm,
How the drawer is still there, cozy and warm.

The dogs itty kibbles, available and tasty.
Just sit for the taking, oh my friends...they no wastey.
Once they're done with the kibbles, they'll want something more.
They'll be looking around, your home's a rat store.

I've already told them about your two hounds.
Both sleeping all day, like comatose mounds.
They're there for the taking, they won't even mutter.
Into the pot, a quick stir and some butter.

When you arrive home, feeling tired and spent.
Come into the kitchen, breath deeply the scent.
Of the stew that they've made you, I know that you'll savor.
It's tasty, you'll know it, but can't name the flavor.

Bon Appetit!,
Rat

Thursday, September 16, 2010

'Twas the night before, the night before ( an open letter to Liz from the rat)

'Twas the night before Open Studios
And all through the Nut
Not a creature was stirring
none except for the rat.

His evidence had been found
Though we'd used a trapper.
He'd left behind dog treats
And a fragrant brie wrapper.

"Oh, Liz," he'd say
If he could speak.
"I'm smarter than you
And I should now think,
That you would provide me
With things that are nutty,
Food that is juicy
And nothing too cruddy"

"I'm more than a rat,
I'm vermin, I'm weasel.
I'm plague and I'm icky,
I squeak and I squeezle"

"And if you can't meet
my demands in your lair,
Your dogs will be first
The one with the black hair."

"It's Pixie, I'm sure
She's the one that I want.
She's smelly and stupid
And no doubt piquant."

"Squeeze her into that trap,
I'll nibble her toes
She'll soon stop that yapping
When it's off with her nose!"

"I do like it here,
it's so fun, so artistic!
So exciting, so thrilling,
and sometimes quite spastic!"

"But the fun shall soon end
As I am a fiend,
Cause the one that I want,
Is the dog you call 'Been' ".

"I've seen her cavorting,
scampering and hopping.
Pooping and pissing,
All requiring mopping"

So if you can stand it
Or I'll take my leave,
Meet my demands and
You'll not have to grieve."

Chicken, potatoes,
Fois Grais and cheese!
Crackers and sausage,
Make it spicy, oh please!"

"Salmon and cupcakes,
Bread now and then.
I hear that you're able
to get some from Ken."

"My set up is good,
This drawer is ok,
I'm here when you're sleeping,
When you're up, I go play."

"So let me please ask
As the humblest of critters,
If you'd mind if I stayed
Or would you get the skitters?"

"I could mop, I could clean
I could wash all the dishes
I could be your best friend,
And fulfill all your wishes."

"We'll be happy, I swear it
With these modifications
Once demands are all met,
With quality libations."

"So let me please stay
I implore you dear heart.
And you won't hear a sound,
Not a peep, not a fart. "

signed,
Rat

Friday, September 10, 2010

It gets worse before it gets better

Less than a week for Gstudio artists to get ready for Open Studios 2010. Our fearless leader, Liz L. is the brainchild of a rather genius (evil genius?) strategy: A few days before our Open Studios Event here in the beautiful Napa Valley, we at Gstudio host a "Concierge Party" on the wednesday evening prior to the first saturday of the show.
Genius? yes. Here's why: For concierge in the valley, we are able to offer them something to offer their clients... besides the obvious wine tasting. So simple. Also, it forces us artists to have our work spaces ready well in advance of the o.s. date and thereby, we are shiny and delivered this tuesday, rarin' to go with a bit of a dress rehearsal and with what? Wee gift bags for the lucky concierge that take the time to check out our motley crew of talented, albeit bohemian assortment of artists.
We're a good party and are getting a modest reputation in the valley for being able to offer good art, enthusiastic artists with genuine ability to convey passion for what they do and of course, an interesting, lively environment in which to share it.

It's all good.

Before the show, thought I'd share some of the images I took today of my space...albeit rough around the edges. It's gonna get worse before it gets better, right? I can embrace that.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So much to do, so little time

Tomorrow being 1 September, this date marks the real beginning of crunch time. Igor will be slowing down a bit up until Open Studios beginning on 18 September. My self imposed exile from him will also give me a small bit of time to do more research on portraiture, devise the "route" I'll take to get to where I want to be and remind a friend of mine that they may have a book with a photo of Igor that may depict him in a color photograph. Because of the period of history that Igor lived, most images I find are in black and white or sepia tone images.

The studio is a bee hive of activity mixed with a very generous helping of mild hysteria and concern. Think: fire department, building department, building codes. Even to the uninitiated, these words are the makings of a healthy dose of lunacy.

But, we go on. There is an art show to set up, prices to determine, walls to patch and paint, individual studios to clean, postcards to mail, evites to generate, exhibits in which to hang and participate, floors to scrub, wine to aquire, food to cook, details to look over and over again. Decisions to make. Life is good.


"stravinsky" progress

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Igor... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I take quite a bit of liberty with the Shakespearean quote, I know. But with a name like Igor, well... the only other person I know of in history as well known as Mr. Stravinsky is the able bodied (yet wildly misunderstood) assistant of the body part collector, Mr. Frankenstein.

I am spending a portion of each day at the studio taking a break from my Open Studios preparedness tasks (O.S.P.T.) to work on Mr. S. He's a welcome break as the tasks and chores of big show preparation can make a lass a might cranky, and we wouldn't like that now would we?

So to have a an actual painting commission to work on and as a bit of frosting on the cake, a oversized portrait, which happens to be a favorite subject and format, I must say that I am tickled by it all. The cherry on top would be the fact that I have the luxury of time. The clients don't expect the painting until November which gives me a full two months to go back and forth, ponder, reassess and put not only my creativity but my best work onto the canvas. If only all projects could be this ideal, yes?

Igor's progress

Friday, August 27, 2010

"here it is, I say here it is"

click on invitation to see a larger, more readable postcard for the Napa Valley Open Studios event. Hope to see you there!


If for some reason, you are unable to make one of the two weekends, contact me and I'm happy to arrange a studio tour.
katesalenfriend@gmail.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

not unlike his music

Stravinsky's music, and specifically two that I'd cited, Firebird Suite and Rite of Spring. Abstract, bold, pushing the envelope. Just a few words of many used to describe his style. Not unlike the face itself. He is being depicted as a younger man, say around 1913 when Rite of Spring made it's Paris debut and caused scandal.

This may sound obvious, but when doing portraiture, it's all about the likeness. The artist either nails it or they don't and many times there's a single spot or subtleness to an area of the face that is the "thing" that captures the sitters or subjects essence.

I'm near there. Like walking on a path through a wood and knowing that the clearing that I'm familiar with is right around this corner... Luckily I have time to keep at the path for now
Stravinsky's progress
41"x64" oil on canvas


.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Passion to composer of passionate music

Jumping off points, as they are, seem to be everywhere. My series that I've not officially ended but am stepping back from for a short bit called "the Passion series" has been replaced by a portrait of Igor Stravinsky, composer of passionate compositions such as "Rite of Spring" and "The firebird Suite"

Igor Stravinsky
oil on canvas
41"x64"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Artists on eccentricity

*for the record, I did not make these up*

Creativity is a the heart of eccentricity.....David Weeks

What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?.....Theodore Roethke

Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence- whether much that is glorious- whether all that is profound- does not spring from sdisease of thought- from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.....Edgar Allan Poe

I dare affirm that any artist...who has nothing singular, eccentric, or at least reputed to be so, in his person, will never become a superior talent....Michelangelo

Sunday, August 15, 2010

holding back

Out of canvas, out of money for supplies, not out of ideas. Head exploding.

So many times I have been in this place and time. Seven weeks or so before a show, much to do in the way of mundane studio work like papering the backs of paintings, wiring them, logging them into my inventory, pricing and then of course, show prep itself: scraping all the flotsam and jetsam off of the studio floor, cleaning and making pretty, but oh, not too pretty. It is a working studio after all. Clients love to see the gritty underbelly of the life of an artist in their studio. So, the filthy paint brushes swimming in a soup of paint and turpentine will stay, my coffee can of same that was Reuben's before he died will stay. (heaven help the hand that tries to screw with it. I'm funny that way) My ever growing inspiration board and all the weird artifacts hanging off of the birch branches (also Reuben's) will stay.

I will anticipate the usual questions: "how long did it take to paint that?", "where do you get your inspiration?" "what do all these titles of these paintings mean?"

But can't paint. Nothing will be dry in time for the show. But, but, and that's a big butt, I can. I have one commission that I've just begun. It's a painting of the composer Igor Stravinsky. Sized 41"x64" and will reside in a place in the clients living room that looks down on the couples grand piano. Never more appropriate of a location I think.

Started today in the style in which has turned into a signature of sorts: big, bold and oversized. Igor, straight frontal view 3/4 of his face only. Will post image soon-
in the meantime...

a couple of views into the studio, pre show, warts and all. Thanks to my friend K for consistently encouraging me to photograph this type of thing. Of special interest would be the palette that is loaded with two months worth of paint from the passion series.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Passion" complete

My series, "Passion" is coming to an end. If only to say I've run out of canvases to pilfer, I've run out of cash and I feel like I have a respectable amount of paintings to show a cohesive body of work during open studios.
Once a series feels as if it's come to a natural end, I need to move to the next idea and inspiration. Of course, that begs the question, what is the next idea and inspiration? From where does it come? Age old question. How does an artist answer?
Travel? sometimes. Life's experiences? Many times. Observations? often. Often the next series happens from the last jumping off point.
Liz, who owns Gstudio, is hard at work selling my paintings and has a client currently very interested in work that's available. This can sometimes be that jumping off point. Last fall, when I completed my portrait of Giacomo Puccini, that was a jumping off point to other portraiture. I know that the jumping off point is the passion series, but to where? I'm still in the midst of it, enjoying it but to where do I go from here? I could easily paint more of these paintings because I feel like I have many, many more in me, but I've run out of cash and run out of old canvas. Reality takes hold and I have to think practically.
Napa Valley Open Studios: You're officially invited but I have to figure out how to attach the PDF file so you can view the catalog. Stay tuned.

"definitely monday"
24x30
oil on canvas

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

All you need is gum...Gum is all you need



Visiting my parents with my kids up in the great Northwest this week. Of course the trip is never complete without a trip to Pike Market and specifically Golden Age Collectibles, buried deep inside, two floors down, west stairway...who cobbled together this maze? I love it.
Bisecting the market is Post Alley, a bit of an underbelly approach to the market, as one enters into the market through a virtual tunnel, of well, gum. There's a giant gum wall located directly under the Post Alley sign, presumably to welcome visitors. My son Terzo was more than happy to oblige.




Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I could while away the hours..." scarecrow

I'm nearly finished going through ten years of unsold paintings that I have stashed, hid from view or otherwise shunned due to their supposed unsaleability. (this is doubtful as a word, not unlike impactful. So. not. a. word.)
What I've done with those ten years of unsold and unworthy paintings is to paint over them, using the canvases for this new series of "passion"
Collective gasp.
I know, I know, painting over another painting?! Is nothing sacred?!
It's actually what I consider a high form of reuse and recycling. As a sometime expert in both garbage/waste management and Feng shui practices, it is a near spiritual act of a higher calling to embrace the once cast off canvas with the new life and rehabilitative energies that lie within the pigment of the oils. Once this is done, new found energies emerge from the canvas in the form of a visual journey known as "passion".
Did I really write that? I am so full of shit.
It must be five in the morning, because I write my best (worst) at this early hour.

I am a virgo (yes, my birthdays coming, send all gifts to gstudio) and by definition, a die hard planner. The passion series is so out of character for me because of the spontaneous nature in which I began the series, painted the art and feel whilst I am in the act if you will, of painting them. I generally plan everything in my life, write lists, check off items and add yet more. But, I've been able to let go of some of that control with these paintings and it's felt good to go with my passions. It's been a long time since I've done something like this. Dare I say...never?

"passion"
oil on canvas
16x20

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Into the home stretch

And by that I mean to say that the Open Studios event is right around the corner here in the Napa Valley. The event is the last two weekend's of September and it's much sooner than one might think. I'm taking my boys to see their grandparents in Washington next week and then after that, it's all about open studios and getting prepared. I've begun to go through the studio and examining all of the paintings from the garden series or what I am beginning to call the "passion" series. I can't take credit: a friend of mine calls it the passion series and I must say that I think it fits. Passion seems to be what this is about...Or more specifically, following ones own passion...?
Are you following your own passion?

"dirty fun" final rendition

Sunday, July 18, 2010

work in progress as a painting

Back this week from a vacation in Mexico. Visited the area known as the Mayan Riviera. As has been the last seven trips to Mexico, the most lasting impression for me has always been the water of the Caribbean. I now have a solid mental snap shot that I plan to apply to a painting sometime soon, but for now, I am focusing on two things: finishing up the garden series that I'd started back in early June as well as a beginning a commission portrait of Stravinsky.

As a working title, "work in progress" is all I have right now. I went to the studio at 5:30, and usually am able to not let fatigue affect me through out the day after working in the studio that early, but I painted until about 12:00 pm, only having the distraction of sitting down for a short while. That time spent sitting relaxed me to such an extent, I am now feeling quite sleepy and can only wish for a nap.

With that, a title is born:
"afternoon nap" (work in progress)
36x48"
oil on canvas

Friday, July 2, 2010

this week at the studio

In the last few days thinking about the beach, isolated stretches of sand, long moments of thought.
windy, windy days...I love the wind.
"breathless"
16x20
oil on canvas

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

more from the studio

"morning coffee" 20x20" oil on canvas




"lingering scent" 24x30" oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

this week at the studio

"secret place" 24x36" oil on canvas



"no clarity today" 24x24" oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

things are not always as they seem

I was struck recently by a statistic that I read within an article announcing Al and Tipper Gore's splitting up. The so-called experts were weighing in on the split as well as siting the statistics of success and failure for (presumably) straight, married couples. Of course, the "facts" were measured by the factoid that the Gore's were high school sweethearts and were married like, forever. Or about thirty or forty years. Can't remember and doesn't matter to make my point anyway. The statistic that was most shocking was that married couples that each partner has been married previously: odds of success: 10%. That's a 90% chance of failure by married couples that each come from divorce.

A painting that I worked on today is really a commentary about things not being what they seem. The thought that comes to mind first is when, after my son Noah died, how people wrongly assume that since I "looked like I was doing just fine" that things were fine. The truth is that I don't wear sweat pants, sneakers and old t-shirts. I always dress in presentable attire and I always put on lipstick. That's just me. I was dying inside and looked just great. Painful isn't it? But it certainly wouldn't have helped me feel good about myself to look like what was really going on. And would have been frightening to everyone around me.
We're all going through private and sometimes secret moments of some part of our lives. The Gore's are a perfect example of that.
"But she looked like she was doing just fine" oil on canvas, 44"x44"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

another work in progress

"the act of making art is a leap of faith. exhibition of one's own art defines an artist as true."
I included that quote today just for a chuckle.

"dirty fun" 24x36" oil on canvas

Thursday, June 10, 2010

this week at the studio

I'm noticing a definite trend in the paintings I've done this week. That's why we call it a series...
1. the composition moving toward the diagonal (I am drawn to the movement of this direction)
2. they look wind blown, all to the right. (it's been very windy here this week)
3. they all look a bit like my garden, at different times and from different vantage points

I like it in my garden. I'm content there because I'm enjoying what it's becoming and how far it's going to go. I think that to call something a yard is to conjure up a place to look at, all utilitarian and without much personality.
But true lovers of gardening are not yardworkers, they're gardeners. There is no work involved.

"secret place" 16x20 oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

and happen some more

making art, that is.
Another productive morning.
I'm a admitted control freak and usually plot and plan my way through most paintings, knowing what the end result will be before beginning. I've been able to let go of that control this week and have been able to paint freely, letting myself find my own direction as it happens.
I've been getting and giving up control all week. Feels nice.

"blow a breeze towards me" 20x20" oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

sometimes things happen

So many things in life come about that we have no choice in. Emotionally, mentally, physically.
Maybe a result of raging hormones within the crazy of perimenopause, but sometimes paintings just start happening.

My time devoted to painting was all planned out to work on portrait work, but plans get abandoned, emotions get followed and the palette knife will not be denied.

Since yesterday's "crazy making garden foreplay" needs to sit for a few days untouched so that the paint can start setting up and I can continue on it, I started "Grow a tree in my garden" 36x48" oil on canvas.

Monday, June 7, 2010

when is a painting just a painting?

"crazy making garden foreplay" is on day 2 of it's evolution. Yesterday's post got me to thinking about a painting being a view into the soul of the artist. I am still having an internal debate about that but some might see things clearly.

I told a friend recently that sometimes I feel like my life is playing out in some sort of opera. The equivalent of an off-off broadway show to be sure, but an opera nonetheless and without the benefit of a working title.

I am old enough now that I have some serious history of my own life. Some successes, some failures and plenty of joy as well as sorrow along the way. The cumulation of all these experiences has resulted in right now, right here, where I am. The biggest lesson learned through my greatest sorrow, which was the death of one of my children: live now. Lesson learned through great joy( and I've had much joy in my life): live now. All that is in between the joy and the sorrow: pour a nice glass of wine and live now.

(I have always preferred and find plenty of reasons to live in the joy, lest you think that this blog entry is dwelling on the sorrow. it's not)

Occasionally I'll have a friend confide in me about an issue or problem that they're facing and my summarized answer in at least the last few years has been "live now". don't worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Find your joy in the right now of your life.

By contrast, in the opera of my life, I am hoping that I won't be the one jumping off of the turret. I just want to be the one with the amazing voice that convinces one in the audience that there might very well be a God if one person can have such a gift as that. That is to say, sometimes when my own troublesome thoughts take over, I am unable to find my own answers.

p.s. please don't worry, this is not a suicide note.

I hope that in this painting the viewer sees passion being played out. The way that I see passion.



post script: I found out this evening that my grandmother, Cicely Robertson Szabo, passed away yesterday. My grandparents, Cicely and Bill had a huge place in my life. I am the daughter of their eldest of ten, so my place in their life was more so as a daughter as their youngest children were my age. When my grandfather died of heart failure, they lived with me in my home in southern California and had both just graduated from college at the age of 76. Cicely's death will be marked by much grief, much laughter and memories shared. She was the mother of ten, wife of a hungarian commercial fisherman, daughter of a scottish artist.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

art as a view into the soul

A commenter recently wrote that a painting could or might be considered a view into the soul of an artist. That very large statement I am sure has been debated and pondered for generations. I am certain if for nothing else the sheer joy of debate.

I have been painting in what I describe as very "tight" style which is to say that some of the direction of the new work demands a very precise hand, very concentrated effort and much reflection on achieving the goal. The goal being a likeness of a persons face, but with the challenge of the face being five to ten times larger than a human face. The exaggeration was a natural step for me considering I do most of my favorite subjects (fruit) in large, exploded, outscaled size. How natural to do the human face then. As it is equal parts enjoyable and challenging, I need a release from the precision that it requires.

My release is to work through a landscape painting, largely using a palette knife. One of my absolute favorite tools to use, the palette knife allows me to work quickly, thickly and aggressively through the painting accomplishing in the case of this painting, a new work that has been rattling around in my head (not really, it was a spontaneous thought) as well as a release of sorts. From the restraint of the portraiture? From the various crazy making stresses that comprise my life? Both really.





This is painted on my favorite well built 44"square. Impressive and intimidating canvas heft.
"Crazy making garden foreplay" is it's name.
I am unsure what someone would comment on what this painting is windowing, but I do wonder what it says about me.
I think it's still a work in progress. As am I.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

this week at the studio

This has been an exciting week at Gstudio. With June 1st, we have two new artists moving in to a couple of vacant studio spaces.
I am very excited to have a "full house" again and these two, both being Napa residents, will be a fun addition to our space. One, an establish professional and the other, what one might describe as an "emerging" artist.

I am posting the latest version of "Tuesday" as well as it being an un-cropped image, so that you can see a small peek at the other paintings that I was eluding to in my last post.