Friday, November 18, 2011

I thought I knew me. Turns out I didn't.


On another note...Look what's up! The big, bold, big cypress painting.

Officially titled: " l'ordre du chaos" , unofficially : "more order, less chaos"
6 feet tall, 10 feet wide.

Now installed at I. Wolk gallery in St. Helena, CA

Loving it's grandness in the gallery and I'm so happy it's getting "hang time" on the wall in this public space. Art should be seen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Make more art

No apologies for my lack of posts in the last six or so weeks. I've been busy. There. I enjoy posting on the blog, but when I feel like I'm not coming up with anything of particular interest to anyone but myself, I tend to stay away.

That is not to say that I am not frequently writing things down in my mind of subjects to post: "Change is good" morphed into "Change addiction". "Art as a business" morphed into "Shit, I'm busy !"

You might sense now where I'm getting stalled out.

But, shit, I am busy and that is grand. I love to be busy doing what I love.

The big 6'x10' painting is finished. Painting and leafing this bad boy was good fun. I will miss it in all it's largeness, but shall be happy knowing that it will be going to a good home.




That's what this is about:

art out-money in-make more art.

Not a very romantic or eloquent way of stating it, but I'm fairly pragmatic by nature.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

my big fat primed canvas

Continuing on my theme this week, let me introduce you to my new best friend: Six by ten feet of cotton, gesso and wood with a healthy dose of wire for the stability every artist seeks in a new relationship.

These two images show me, first stretching the canvas onto the stretcher bars and the second image after priming the canvas with an undercoat painting.

The second image is likely a bit shocking as a contemporary painting is not my goal, but this base coat serves a purpose in the finished painting.





















Of course I am not going to tell anything about what I have planned of the painting itself. You'll just have to follow it's progress.

Like me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

How does she know?


She seems to know exactly how I am feeling...Not a chicken with her head cut off, as the common expression goes, but rather
a woman with a chicken on her head, albeit confused. "How is it that I have a chicken on my head?" , she seems to be saying.

I've oft felt these exact feelings, especially of late. My one true calm amidst the head chicken is making art. In the studio I find that it not only calms me (and the chicken?) but also takes my mind off of the constant round and round of worries and concerns, running lists and issues.

"How is it that I have a chicken on my head?" I say to myself over and over through out the day, but cannot find the answer to this question.

Some sage might suggest that instead of asking why said chicken is on head, suggest to oneself to remove the chicken.

Sometimes it's the simple answer that is so obvious.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

work is good


(passion series painting, in progress. 24x48")
Indeed. Work is good. Takes my mind off things, helps me focus on something other than me. The ID.

I am continuing my series of paintings begun last year at this time: the "passion" series.
People occasionally ask what the meaning of the passion series is about.

"uh...passion?"

I thought it was obvious, but what do I know..

Passion: (noun) 1. Strong and barely controllable emotion. 2. State or outburst of such emotion. (from dictionary.com)

1. a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred or anger. (the freedictionary.com)

So much about making art is the act of making art. Not waiting for inspiration, reading books, grand life experiences.
In my opinion, so much about making art is the act of showing up in the studio and getting to work. Chuck Close said it best:
"Inspiration is for amateurs. Art is about showing up and getting to work."

Passion drives making art.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

inspiration


"order from chaos" kate salenfriend
The word inspiration or the notion of being inspired, here in my happy valley, if not the universe of art, tends to be a word of romance.

At one time or another, we have all learned the back ground of a particular work of art: When he lived in Spain and ....
during the golden age of Paris... in his home in the French Quarter...

Of course I would be foolish to say that art in general is inspired by the romance of our lives. So much of art comes from tragedy and loss, insanity, destitute(ness?), lost love, seeking.

When I participate in art shows I am always struck by how many collectors are very interested in the "story" behind the art.

At the beginning of my art career, I scoffed at this notion that there was a story or an experience that "informed" the art itself, but over the years, I've thought through this idea and have come to the conclusion that yes, I do paint from inspiration. Sometimes from joy, sometimes loss and sadness.

But that is exactly what might be a difficult pill to swallow.

If a collector is considering a painting, does it matter that the story or inspiration behind it is one of happiness or sadness?

Does a cloud of doom somehow follow that art with the collector into their home, only to remind them of this story every time they look at the art, or does the collector base his or her feelings about the art on their appreciation alone?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

focus and inappropriateness


(random image: "dancer" inspired by Degas. painting by me, photo by me)

So much happening in this wee land of Napa and my art business. Because I don't have an art subject to write about this evening and this is as a matter of fact, "my" blog, which is to say, a diary or journal, it is rather tempting to carry on as if you, fair reader are my "friend" or confidant. Just you and I and a cup of tea.

Skooch in closer and I'll fill you in on all the things happening in my, uh, personal life...

Or not.

I have, just behind this screen, another window opened wherein I am commencing online traffic school.
(I bow my head in shame)
I've been a successful and safe driver for over thirty years and I have always been quick to brag my chops. Not one ticket! None, never, nada.
Till two weeks ago: four way stop, on the way to pick up Q from school. Distracted, spaced out, lazy.
Rolled. Through. Stop.

The officer that pulled me over must have been seriously considering upping the ante when I couldn't stop giggling as I felt like this was a bonding moment between he and I: really, first ticket and all.

But alas, here I am, on the first leg of a alleged several hour course.
What can I not get out of my head in order to avoid writing inappropriate content in my blog?

I short song or ditty that I've known for many years, inappropriate from any angle.

(I dare say, I am unawares even of it's title)

Gee, aint it grand,
To have a girl so big and fat
That when you hug her,
You don't know where you're at.

Just take some chalk in your hand:
Hug a while,
Chalk a while,
see where you began.

Then one day,
As I was huggin and a chalkin'
And 'a askin her to be my bride,

Comes along a man
With some chalk in his hand,
Chalkin' up the other side.
Over the mountain.
Chalkin' up the other side.


My apologies to fat girls, chalk, brides and song writers everywhere.

As an artist, I should know better than to perpetuate such nonsense and I should be ashamed at least for having such a tune
still stuck like dried oatmeal spilled on cement pavement to my brain.

But there it is.

Art business is great, business is happening, art is being made.
No fresh posts tonight (unless you count this one)
Am hoping that by finally writing out that song I can once and for all purge it from my brain....?

If you see me at the studio, ask and I'll be happy to fill you in on the melody.

Well sing it together and it can be yours too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

no excuses!

Studio beautified, floors painted, smaller work table installed?
-check.


Larger number of canvases purchased, primed?
-check. check.



Paint palette scraped and cleaned? Paint brushes pulled out of turpentine soup and cleaned?
-check, uh...not yet, but really, I will.


Inspiration?
-check.



Wonderful things are bound to happen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Four Stars!


The Saturday Gallery exhibition could not have been better! I.Wolk's staff was as professional and well prepared as ever, their enthusiasm and knowledge quite apparent.

Not only did all of the artists sell work, we also had a harmonious presence as each of us were able to talk with collectors about our work, explain the process of using metallic in the form of paint or leaf and generally inform and entertain the invited crowd.

Well done!

Sunday's "salon" at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley (located a short fifty meters or so from the French Laundry) was equally impressive. The staff there as well was prepared, enthusiastic and welcoming. We had as great turn out as well as collectors who then made purchases so that the artists (including me) could sign or inscribe the paintings, take a photo and get to know the warm folks that came out to see the art and artists.

I truly adore the collectors who take the time to introduce themselves to me and are interested in what I have to say about my art. It also lets me inside their homes when they tell me what they have in mind regarding the placement of the painting, what led them to this purchase and what specifically drew them to my art.

It should be no surprise that most artists, myself included enjoy and have continued relationships with the collectors of their art.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

what a difference some paint makes...


not in 24 hours, but a few more than that.
I've painted at G studio for three years and from the feet down, my space has been looking sorry and sad.

Since our theme collectively as far as the tone of the studio lately can best be described as "manic on steroids", and since I'd completed and delivered all of my paintings for the gallery exhibit, naturally I looked to the paint brush.

What did I see? Filthy, dirty, paint dribbled (and not in a Jackson Pollock-y way) floors.

I hit the paint closet and blended a color as close to the floor color as possible and of course like a good painter, cut in the edges and began.

Half way through painting my space, on my knees, I lifted my head and looked at what I'd done: Oh, shit.

The painting of the floor: all good.

The fact that I'd begun a project that would absolutely have to be finished to the end: Oh shit.

Well, I was in.

And this is no small task: Approximately 3,000 square feet of creative energy.

I have only two more areas to go, the conference room and the small gallery.

The floors look fantastic. and more importantly, clean.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Busting out all over

Spring finally arrived this week in Napa after a very rainy and stormy three weeks of March. In like a lion, out like a lamb?
It seems so.
The last two days: eighty plus degrees. Break out the dresses and skirts. California heat has a way of bringing a resident to it's knees.
I was born and raised in California, lived for six years in Hawaii and back to California again. I have a bit of experience with this type of weather, but what I know for sure?
When someone points out how hot it is? The temperature goes up a degree.
Really.

All paintings for the I.Wolk and Ma(i)sonry galleries have been delivered.

I lie: all but two which are still waiting to dry and get gold leaf.

But, and here's the real reason for this post: With the more or less emptying out of my studio, some furniture movement this week and a new artist moving into the studio to make us a group of six, I took advantage of the energy and space and begun tackling one of the biggest and also most rewarding of projects: painting the studio floor!

This afternoon I also self diagnosed: painters shoulder.

I'll continue this floor painting project this week and post images soon.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The working artists studio

Well, for anyone who read the last post and the poetry of time, I feel that you needed to be rewarded with some visual content today with the likes of me returning back to the business of art.

I didn't leave the business of art, but as you can read by the last half dozen or so posts, I have been quite busy in my imagination and have been posting most anything but images specific to making art.


(my studio is hard at work this week)


As I have previously written I have a group show coming up at I.Wolk Gallery in St. Helena and Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley on April 9th and 10th. The art featured will be there for a month or so if you can't make the opening itself.

Beating dead horses is not something I savor, but I can go on about making art a business and todays post is no exception.
So often the lament in casual conversation with another artist is that "there is no time" or asking me the question of "where and when do you get inspiration?" "Do you ever feel uninspired?"

I cannot stress enough to anyone who will listen that inspiration is a bunch of hooey. Crap.

Sure, we all like to see the awe-inspiring sunset, the unique textiles of Marakesh, the colors of Taipei, the masterpieces of Europe.
Well, duh, who doesn't?
But the fact of the matter is that most of us have a day to day in the here and now.

But a walk around the block, a bike ride to the market or a favorite path,

a drive in the rain,


an hour on the internet, a conversation with an interesting person, a movie, a magazine,

a tree,


a plate of donuts are sometimes all you need.



Really.

Or maybe encouragement from another artist.

Making art is about showing up and doing it.


Give it a try.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time


Indeed the clock is ticking. Deadlines are looming and progress is being made on so many levels. My group show at I.Wolk and Maisonry Galleries is coming up on April 9th which leaves me a scant two weeks to finish up all the paintings that I've been working on.

Delving into the subject of time is an entertaining pastime in itself and within this diversion I was pulled in by what else? Poetry about time

A few stellar examples:

"On Time" by Milton

I journeyed Into Time" by Sri Chinmoy

"I could Give all to Time" by Robert Frost

"Sonnet VII, When I do Count the Clock that Tells the Time" by William Shakespeare

"Times Revenges" by Robert Browning

and my personal favorite for today:

"The Flight of the Duchess" by Robert Browning, in it's entirety. Get a cup of coffee, tea, or glass of wine and enjoy...




The Flight Of The Duchess by Robert Browning
I.

You're my friend:
I was the man the Duke spoke to;
I helped the Duchess to cast off his yoke, too;
So here's the tale from beginning to end,
My friend!

II.

Ours is a great wild country:
If you climb to our castle's top,
I don't see where your eye can stop;
For when you've passed the cornfield country,
Where vineyards leave off, flocks are packed,
And sheep-range leads to cattle-tract,
And cattle-tract to open-chase,
And open-chase to the very base
Of the mountain where, at a funeral pace,
Round about, solemn and slow,
One by one, row after row,
Up and up the pine-trees go,
So, like black priests up, and so
Down the other side again
To another greater, wilder country,
That's one vast red drear burnt-up plain,
Branched through and through with many a vein
Whence iron's dug, and copper's dealt;
Look right, look left, look straight before,---
Beneath they mine, above they smelt,
Copper-ore and iron-ore,
And forge and furnace mould and melt,
And so on, more and ever more,
Till at the last, for a bounding belt,
Comes the salt sand hoar of the great sea-shore,
---And the whole is our Duke's country.

III.

I was born the day this present Duke was---
(And O, says the song, ere I was old!)
In the castle where the other Duke was---
(When I was happy and young, not old!)
I in the kennel, he in the bower:
We are of like age to an hour.
My father was huntsman in that day;
Who has not heard my father say
That, when a boar was brought to bay,
Three times, four times out of five,
With his huntspear he'd contrive
To get the killing-place transfixed,
And pin him true, both eyes betwixt?
And that's why the old Duke would rather
He lost a salt-pit than my father,
And loved to have him ever in call;
That's why my father stood in the hall
When the old Duke brought his infant out
To show the people, and while they passed
The wondrous bantling round about,
Was first to start at the outside blast
As the Kaiser's courier blew his horn
Just a month after the babe was born.
``And,'' quoth the Kaiser's courier, ``since
``The Duke has got an heir, our Prince
``Needs the Duke's self at his side: ''
The Duke looked down and seemed to wince,
But he thought of wars o'er the world wide,
Castles a-fire, men on their march,
The toppling tower, the crashing arch;
And up he looked, and awhile he eyed
The row of crests and shields and banners
Of all achievements after all manners,
And ``ay,'' said the Duke with a surly pride.
The more was his comfort when he died
At next year's end, in a velvet suit,
With a gilt glove on his hand, his foot
In a silken shoe for a leather boot,
Petticoated like a herald,
In a chamher next to an ante-room,
Where he breathed the breath of page and groom,
What he called stink, and they, perfume:
---They should have set him on red Berold
Mad with pride, like fire to manage!
They should have got his cheek fresh tannage
Such a day as to-day in the merry sunshine!
Had they stuck on his fist a rough-foot merlin!
(Hark, the wind's on the heath at its game!
Oh for a noble falcon-lanner
To flap each broad wing like a banner,
And turn in the wind, and dance like flame!)
Had they broached a white-beer cask from Berlin
---Or if you incline to prescribe mere wine
Put to his lips, when they saw him pine,
A cup of our own Moldavia fine,
Cotnar for instance, green as May sorrel
And ropy with sweet,---we shall not quarrel.

IV.

So, at home, the sick tall yellow Duchess
Was left with the infant in her clutches,
She being the daughter of God knows who:
And now was the time to revisit her tribe.
Abroad and afar they went, the two,
And let our people rail and gibe
At the empty hall and extinguished fire,
As loud as we liked, but ever in vain,
Till after long years we had our desire,
And back came the Duke and his mother again.

V.

And he came back the pertest little ape
That ever affronted human shape;
Full of his travel, struck at himself.
You'd say, he despised our bluff old ways?
---Not he! For in Paris they told the elf
Our rough North land was the Land of Lays,
The one good thing left in evil days;
Since the Mid-Age was the Heroic Time,
And only in wild nooks like ours
Could you taste of it yet as in its prime,
And see true castles, with proper towers,
Young-hearted women, old-minded men,
And manners now as manners were then.
So, all that the old Dukes had been, without knowing it,
This Duke would fain know he was, without being it;
'Twas not for the joy's self, but the joy of his showing it,
Nor for the pride's self, but the pride of our seeing it,
He revived all usages thoroughly worn-out,
The souls of them fumed-forth, the hearts of them torn-out:
And chief in the chase his neck he perilled
On a lathy horse, all legs and length,
With blood for bone, all speed, no strength;
---They should have set him on red Berold
With the red eye slow consuming in fire,
And the thin stiff ear like an abbey-spire!

VI.

Well, such as he was, he must marry, we heard:
And out of a convent, at the word,
Came the lady, in time of spring.
---Oh, old thoughts they cling, they cling!
That day, I know, with a dozen oaths
I clad myself in thick hunting-clothes
Fit for the chase of urochs or buffle
In winter-time when you need to muffle.
But the Duke had a mind we should cut a figure,
And so we saw the lady arrive:
My friend, I have seen a white crane bigger!
She was the smallest lady alive,
Made in a piece of nature's madness,
Too small, almost, for the life and gladness
That over-filled her, as some hive
Out of the bears' reach on the high trees
Is crowded with its safe merry bees:
In truth, she was not hard to please!
Up she looked, down she looked, round at the mead,
Straight at the castle, that's best indeed
To look at from outside the walls:
As for us, styled the ``serfs and thralls,''
She as much thanked me as if she had said it,
(With her eyes, do you understand?)
Because I patted her horse while I led it;
And Max, who rode on her other hand,
Said, no bird flew past but she inquired
What its true name was, nor ever seemed tired---
If that was an eagle she saw hover,
And the green and grey bird on the field was the plover.
When suddenly appeared the Duke:
And as down she sprung, the small foot pointed
On to my hand,---as with a rebuke,
And as if his backbone were not jointed,
The Duke stepped rather aside than forward,
And welcomed her with his grandest smile;
And, mind you, his mother all the while
Chilled in the rear, like a wind to Nor'ward;
And up, like a weary yawn, with its pullies
Went, in a shriek, the rusty portcullis;
And, like a glad sky the north-wind sullies,
The lady's face stopped its play,
As if her first hair had grown grey;
For such things must begin some one day.

VII.

In a day or two she was well again;
As who should say, ``You labour in vain!
``This is all a jest against God, who meant
``I should ever be, as I am, content
`` And glad in his sight; therefore, glad I will be.''
So, smiling as at first went she.

VIII.

She was active, stirring, all fire---
Could not rest, could not tire---
To a stone she might have given life!
(I myself loved once, in my day)
---For a shepherd's, miner's, huntsman's wife,
(I had a wife, I know what I say)
Never in all the world such an one!
And here was plenty to be done,
And she that could do it, great or small,
She was to do nothing at all.
There was already this man in his post,
This in his station, and that in his office,
And the Duke's plan admitted a wife, at most,
To meet his eye, with the other trophies,
Now outside the hall, now in it,
To sit thus, stand thus, see and be seen,
At the proper place in the proper minute,
And die away the life between.
And it was amusing enough, each infraction
Of rule---(but for after-sadness that came)
To hear the consummate self-satisfaction
With which the young Duke and the old dame
Would let her advise, and criticise,
And, being a fool, instruct the wise,
And, child-like, parcel out praise or blame:
They bore it all in complacent guise,
As though an artificer, after contriving
A wheel-work image as if it were living,
Should find with delight it could motion to strike him!
So found the Duke, and his mother like him:
The lady hardly got a rebuff---
That had not been contemptuous enough,
With his cursed smirk, as he nodded applause,
And kept off the old mother-cat's claws.

IX.

So, the little lady grew silent and thin,
Paling and ever paling,
As the way is with a hid chagrin;
And the Duke perceived that she was ailing,
And said in his heart, ``'Tis done to spite me,
``But I shall find in my power to right me!''
Don't swear, friend! The old one, many a year,
Is in hell, and the Duke's self . . . you shall hear.

X.

Well, early in autumn, at first winter-warning,
When the stag had to break with his foot, of a morning,
A drinking-hole out of the fresh tender ice
That covered the pond till the sun, in a trice,
Loosening it, let out a ripple of gold,
And another and another, and faster and faster,
Till, dimpling to blindness, the wide water rolled:
Then it so chanced that the Duke our master
Asked himself what were the pleasures in season,
And found, since the calendar bade him be hearty,
He should do the Middle Age no treason
In resolving on a hunting-party.
Always provided, old books showed the way of it!
What meant old poets by their strictures?
And when old poets had said their say of it,
How taught old painters in their pictures?
We must revert to the proper channels,
Workings in tapestry, paintings on panels,
And gather up woodcraft's authentic traditions:
Here was food for our various ambitions,
As on each case, exactly stated---
To encourage your dog, now, the properest chirrup,
Or best prayer to Saint Hubert on mounting your stirrup---
We of the house hold took thought and debated.
Blessed was he whose back ached with the jerkin
His sire was wont to do forest-work in;
Blesseder he who nobly sunk ``ohs''
And ``ahs'' while he tugged on his grand-sire's trunk-hose;
What signified hats if they had no rims on,
Each slouching before and behind like the scallop,
And able to serve at sea for a shallop,
Loaded with lacquer and looped with crimson?
So that the deer now, to make a short rhyme on't,
What with our Venerers, Prickers and Yerderers,
Might hope for real hunters at length and not murderers,
And oh the Duke's tailor, he had a hot time on't!

XI.

Now you must know that when the first dizziness
Of flap-hats and buff-coats and jack-boots subsided,
The Duke put this question, ``The Duke's part provided,
``Had not the Duchess some share in the business?''
For out of the mouth of two or three witnesses
Did he establish all fit-or-unfitnesses:
And, after much laying of heads together,
Somebody's cap got a notable feather
By the announcement with proper unction
That he had discovered the lady's function;
Since ancient authors gave this tenet,
``When horns wind a mort and the deer is at siege,
``Let the dame of the castle prick forth on her jennet,
``And, with water to wash the hands of her liege
``In a clean ewer with a fair toweling,
`` Let her preside at the disemboweling.''
Now, my friend, if you had so little religion
As to catch a hawk, some falcon-lanner,
And thrust her broad wings like a banner
Into a coop for a vulgar pigeon;
And if day by day and week by week
You cut her claws, and sealed her eyes,
And clipped her wings, and tied her beak,
Would it cause you any great surprise
If, when you decided to give her an airing,
You found she needed a little preparing?
---I say, should you be such a curmudgeon,
If she clung to the perch, as to take it in dudgeon?
Yet when the Duke to his lady signified,
Just a day before, as he judged most dignified,
In what a pleasure she was to participate,---
And, instead of leaping wide in flashes,
Her eyes just lifted their long lashes,
As if pressed by fatigue even he could not dissipate,
And duly acknowledged the Duke's forethought,
But spoke of her health, if her health were worth aught,
Of the weight by day and the watch by night,
And much wrong now that used to be right,
So, thanking him, declined the hunting,---
Was conduct ever more affronting?
With all the ceremony settled---
With the towel ready, and the sewer
Polishing up his oldest ewer,
And the jennet pitched upon, a piebald,
Black-barred, cream-coated and pink eye-balled,---
No wonder if the Duke was nettled
And when she persisted nevertheless,---
Well, I suppose here's the time to confess
That there ran half round our lady's chamber
A balcony none of the hardest to clamber;
And that Jacynth the tire-woman, ready in waiting,
Stayed in call outside, what need of relating?
And since Jacynth was like a June rose, why, a fervent
Adorer of Jacynth of course was your servant;
And if she had the habit to peep through the casement,
How could I keep at any vast distance?
And so, as I say, on the lady's persistence,
The Duke, dumb-stricken with amazement,
Stood for a while in a sultry smother,
And then, with a smile that partook of the awful,
Turned her over to his yellow mother
To learn what was held decorous and lawful;
And the mother smelt blood with a cat-like instinct,
As her cheek quick whitened thro' all its quince-tinct.
Oh, but the lady heard the whole truth at once!
What meant she?--Who was she?---Her duty and station,
The wisdom of age and the folly of youth, at once,
Its decent regard and its fitting relation---
In brief, my friend, set all the devils in hell free
And turn them out to carouse in a belfry
And treat the priests to a fifty-part canon,
And then you may guess how that tongue of hers ran on!
Well, somehow or other it ended at last
And, licking her whiskers, out she passed;
And after her,---making (he hoped) a face
Like Emperor Nero or Sultan Saladin,
Stalked the Duke's self with the austere grace
Of ancient hero or modern paladin,
From door to staircase---oh such a solemn
Unbending of the vertebral column!

XII.

However, at sunrise our company mustered;
And here was the huntsman bidding unkennel,
And there 'neath his bonnet the pricker blustered,
With feather dank as a bough of wet fennel;
For the court-yard walls were filled with fog
You might have cut as an axe chops a log---
Like so much wool for colour and bulkiness;
And out rode the Duke in a perfect sulkiness,
Since, before breakfast, a man feels but queasily,
And a sinking at the lower abdomen
Begins the day with indifferent omen.
And lo, as he looked around uneasily,
The sun ploughed the fog up and drove it asunder
This way and that from the valley under;
And, looking through the court-yard arch,
Down in the valley, what should meet him
But a troop of Gipsies on their march?
No doubt with the annual gifts to greet him.

XIII.

Now, in your land, Gipsies reach you, only
After reaching all lands beside;
North they go, South they go, trooping or lonely,
And still, as they travel far and wide,
Catch they and keep now a trace here, trace there,
That puts you in mind of a place here, a place there.
But with us, I believe they rise out of the ground,
And nowhere else, I take it, are found
With the earth-tint yet so freshly embrowned:
Born, no doubt, like insects which breed on
The very fruit they are meant to feed on.
For the earth---not a use to which they don't turn it,
The ore that grows in the mountain's womb,
Or the sand in the pits like a honeycomb,
They sift and soften it, bake it and burn it---
Whether they weld you, for instance, a snaffle
With side-bars never a brute can baffle;
Or a lock that's a puzzle of wards within wards;
Or, if your colt's fore-foot inclines to curve inwards,
Horseshoes they hammer which turn on a swivel
And won't allow the hoof to shrivel.
Then they cast bells like the shell of the winkle
That keep a stout heart in the ram with their tinkle;
But the sand---they pinch and pound it like otters;
Commend me to Gipsy glass-makers and potters!
Glasses they'll blow you, crystal-clear,
Where just a faint cloud of rose shall appear,
As if in pure water you dropped and let die
A bruised black-blooded mulberry;
And that other sort, their crowning pride,
With long white threads distinct inside,
Like the lake-flower's fibrous roots which dangle
Loose such a length and never tangle,
Where the bold sword-lily cuts the clear waters,
And the cup-lily couches with all the white daughters:
Such are the works they put their hand to,
The uses they turn and twist iron and sand to.
And these made the troop, which our Duke saw sally
Toward his castle from out of the valley,
Men and women, like new-hatched spiders,
Come out with the morning to greet our riders.
And up they wound till they reached the ditch,
Whereat all stopped save one, a witch
That I knew, as she hobbled from the group,
By her gait directly and her stoop,
I, whom Jacynth was used to importune
To let that same witch tell us our fortune.
The oldest Gipsy then above ground;
And, sure as the autumn season came round,
She paid us a visit for profit or pastime,
And every time, as she swore, for the last time.
And presently she was seen to sidle
Up to the Duke till she touched his bridle,
So that the horse of a sudden reared up
As under its nose the old witch peered up
With her worn-out eyes, or rather eye-holes
Of no use now but to gather brine,
And began a kind of level whine
Such as they used to sing to their viols
When their ditties they go grinding
Up and down with nobody minding:
And then, as of old, at the end of the humming
Her usual presents were forthcoming
---A dog-whistle blowing the fiercest of trebles,
(Just a sea-shore stone holding a dozen fine pebbles,)
Or a porcelain mouth-piece to screw on a pipe-end,---
And so she awaited her annual stipend.
But this time, the Duke would scarcely vouchsafe
A word in reply; and in vain she felt
With twitching fingers at her belt
For the purse of sleek pine-martin pelt,
Ready to ptlt what he gave in her pouch safe,---
Till, either to quicken his apprehension,
Or possibly with an after-intention,
She was come, she said, to pay her duty
To the new Duchess, the youthful beauty.
No sooner had she named his lady,
Than a shine lit up the face so shady,
And its smirk returned with a novel meaning---
For it struck him, the babe just wanted weaning;
If one gave her a taste of what life was and sorrow,
She, foolish to-day, would be wiser tomorrow;
And who so fit a teacher of trouble
As this sordid crone bent well-nigh double?
So, glancing at her wolf-skin vesture,
(If such it was, for they grow so hirsute
That their own fleece serves for natural fur-suit)
He was contrasting, 'twas plain from his gesture,
The life of the lady so flower-like and delicate
With the loathsome squalor of this helicat.
I, in brief, was the man the Duke beckoned
From out of the throng, and while I drew near
He told the crone---as I since have reckoned
By the way he bent and spoke into her ear
With circumspection and mystery---
The main of the lady's history,
Her frowardness and ingratitude:
And for all the crone's submissive attitude
I could see round her mouth the loose plaits tightening,
And her brow with assenting intelligence brightening,
As though she engaged with hearty good-will
Whatever he now might enjoin to fulfil,
And promised the lady a thorough frightening.
And so, just giving her a glimpse
Of a purse, with the air of a man who imps
The wing of the hawk that shall fetch the hernshaw,
He bade me take the Gipsy mother
And set her telling some story or other
Of hill or dale, oak-wood or fernshaw,
To wile away a weary hour
For the lady left alone in her bower,
Whose mind and body craved exertion
And yet shrank from all better diversion.

XIV.

Then clapping heel to his horse, the mere curveter,
Out rode the Duke, and after his hollo
Horses and hounds swept, huntsman and servitor,
And back I turned and bade the crone follow.
And what makes me confident what's to be told you
Had all along been of this crone's devising,
Is, that, on looking round sharply, behold you,
There was a novelty quick as surprising:
For first, she had shot up a full head in stature,
And her step kept pace with mine nor faltered,
As if age had foregone its usurpature,
And the ignoble mien was wholly altered,
And the face looked quite of another nature,
And the change reached too, whatever the change meant,
Her shaggy wolf-skin cloak's arrangement:
For where its tatters hung loose like sedges,
Gold coins were glittering on the edges,
Like the band-roll strung with tomans
Which proves the veil a Persian woman's.
And under her brow, like a snail's horns newly
Come out as after the rain he paces,
Two unmistakeable eye-points duly
Live and aware looked out of their places.
So, we went and found Jacynth at the entry
Of the lady's chamber standing sentry;
I told the command and produced my companion,
And Jacynth rejoiced to admit any one,
For since last night, by the same token,
Not a single word had the lady spoken:
They went in both to the presence together,
While I in the balcony watched the weather.

XV.

And now, what took place at the very first of all,
I cannot tell, as I never could learn it:
Jacynth constantly wished a curse to fall
On that little head of hers and burn it
If she knew how she came to drop so soundly
Asleep of a sudden and there continue
The whole time sleeping as profoundly
As one of the boars my father would pin you
'Twixt the eyes where life holds garrison,
---Jacynth forgive me the comparison!
But where I begin asy own narration
Is a little after I took my station
To breathe the fresh air from the balcony,
And, having in those days a falcon eye,
To follow the hunt thro' the open country,
From where the bushes thinlier crested
The hillocks, to a plain where's not one tree.
When, in a moment, my ear was arrested
By---was it singing, or was it saying,
Or a strange musical instrument playing
In the chamber?---and to be certain
I pushed the lattice, pulled the curtain,
And there lay Jacynth asleep,
Yet as if a watch she tried to keep,
In a rosy sleep along the floor
With her head against the door;
While in the midst, on the seat of state,
Was a queen---the Gipsy woman late,
With head and face downbent
On the lady's head and face intent:
For, coiled at her feet like a child at ease,
The lady sat between her knees
And o'er them the lady's clasped hands met,
And on those hands her chin was set,
And her upturned face met the face of the crone
Wherein the eyes had grown and grown
As if she could double and quadruple
At pleasure the play of either pupil
---Very like, by her hands' slow fanning,
As up and down like a gor-crow's flappers
They moved to measure, or bell-clappers.
I said ``Is it blessing, is it banning,
``Do they applaud you or burlesque you---
``Those hands and fingers with no flesh on?''
But, just as I thought to spring in to the rescue,
At once I was stopped by the lady's expression:
For it was life her eyes were drinking
From the crone's wide pair above unwinking,
---Life's pure fire received without shrinking,
Into the heart and breast whose heaving
Told you no single drop they were leaving,
---Life, that filling her, passed redundant
Into her very hair, back swerving
Over each shoulder, loose and abundant,
As her head thrown back showed the white throat curving;
And the very tresses shared in the pleasure,
Moving to the mystic measure,
Bounding as the bosom bounded.
I stopped short, more and more confounded,
As still her cheeks burned and eyes glistened,
As she listened and she listened:
When all at once a hand detained me,
The selfsame contagion gained me,
And I kept time to the wondrous chime,
Making out words and prose and rhyme,
Till it seemed that the music furled
Its wings like a task fulfilled, and dropped
From under the words it first had propped,
And left them midway in the world:
Word took word as hand takes hand,
I could hear at last, and understand,
And when I held the unbroken thread,
The Gipsy said:---

``And so at last we find my tribe.
``And so I set thee in the midst,
``And to one and all of them describe
``What thou saidst and what thou didst,
``Our long and terrible journey through,
``And all thou art ready to say and do
``In the trials that remain:
``I trace them the vein and the other vein
``That meet on thy brow and part again,
``Making our rapid mystic mark;
``And I bid my people prove and probe
``Each eye's profound and glorious globe
``Till they detect the kindred spark
``In those depths so dear and dark,
``Like the spots that snap and burst and flee,
``Circling over the midnight sea.
``And on that round young cheek of thine
``I make them recognize the tinge,
``As when of the costly scarlet wine
``They drip so much as will impinge
``And spread in a thinnest scale afloat
``One thick gold drop from the olive's coat
``Over a silver plate whose sheen
``Still thro' the mixture shall be seen.
``For so I prove thee, to one and all,
``Fit, when my people ope their breast,
``To see the sign, and hear the call,
``And take the vow, and stand the test
``Which adds one more child to the rest---
``When the breast is bare and the arms are wide,
``And the world is left outside.
``For there is probation to decree,
``And many and long must the trials be
``Thou shalt victoriously endure,
``If that brow is true and those eyes are sure;
``Like a jewel-finder's fierce assay
``Of the prize he dug from its mountain-tomb---
``Let once the vindicating ray
``Leap out amid the anxious gloom,
``And steel and fire have done their part
``And the prize falls on its finder's heart;
`'So, trial after trial past,
``Wilt thou fall at the very last
``Breathless, half in trance
``With the thrill of the great deliverance,
``Into our arms for evermore;
``And thou shalt know, those arms once curled
``About thee, what we knew before,
``How love is the only good in the world.
``Henceforth be loved as heart can love,
``Or brain devise, or hand approve!
``Stand up, look below,
``It is our life at thy feet we throw
``To step with into light and joy;
``Not a power of life but we employ
``To satisfy thy nature's want;
``Art thou the tree that props the plant,
``Or the climbing plant that seeks the tree---
``Canst thou help us, must we help thee?
``If any two creatures grew into one,
``They would do more than the world has done.
``Though each apart were never so weak,
``Ye vainly through the world should seek
``For the knowledge and the might
``Which in such union grew their right:
``So, to approach at least that end,
``And blend,---as much as may be, blend
``Thee with us or us with thee,---
``As climbing plant or propping tree,
``Shall some one deck thee, over and down,
``Up and about, with blossoms and leaves?
``Fix his heart's fruit for thy garland crown,
``Cling with his soul as the gourd-vine cleaves,
``Die on thy boughs and disappear
``While not a leaf of thine is sere?
``Or is the other fate in store,
``And art thou fitted to adore,
``To give thy wondrous self away,
``And take a stronger nature's sway?
``I foresee and could foretell
``Thy future portion, sure and well:
``But those passionate eyes speak true, speak true,
``Let them say what thou shalt do!
``Only be sure thy daily life,
``In its peace or in its strife,
``Never shall be unobserved:
``We pursue thy whole career,
``And hope for it, or doubt, or fear,---
``Lo, hast thou kept thy path or swerved,
``We are beside thee in all thy ways,
``With our blame, with our praise,
``Our shame to feel, our pride to show,
``Glad, angry---but indifferent, no!
``Whether it be thy lot to go,
``For the good of us all, where the haters meet
``In the crowded city's horrible street;
``Or thou step alone through the morass
``Where never sound yet was
``Save the dry quick clap of the stork's bill,
``For the air is still, and the water still,
``When the blue breast of the dipping coot
``Dives under, and all is mute.
``So, at the last shall come old age,
``Decrepit as befits that stage;
``How else wouldst thou retire apart
``With the hoarded memories of thy heart,
``And gather all to the very least
``Of the fragments of life's earlier feast,
``Let fall through eagerness to find
``The crowning dainties yet behind?
``Ponder on the entire past
``Laid together thus at last,
``When the twilight helps to fuse
``The first fresh with the faded hues,
``And the outline of the whole,
``As round eve's shades their framework roll,
``Grandly fronts for once thy soul.
``And then as, 'mid the dark, a glean
``Of yet another morning breaks,
``And like the hand which ends a dream,
``Death, with the might of his sunbeam,
``Touches the flesh and the soul awakes,
``Then------''
Ay, then indeed something would happen!
But what? For here her voice changed like a bird's;
There grew more of the music and less of the words;
Had Jacynth only been by me to clap pen
To paper and put you down every syllable
With those clever clerkly fingers,
All I've forgotten as well as what lingers
In this old brain of mine that's but ill able
To give you even this poor version
Of the speech I spoil, as it were, with stammering
---More fault of those who had the hammering
Of prosody into me and syntax,
And did it, not with hobnails but tintacks!
But to return from this excursion,---
Just, do you mark, when the song was sweetest,
The peace most deep and the charm completest,
There came, shall I say, a snap---
And the charm vanished!
And my sense returned, so strangely banished,
And, starting as from a nap,
I knew the crone was bewitching my lady,
With Jacynth asleep; and but one spring made I
Down from the casement, round to the portal,
Another minute and I had entered,---
When the door opened, and more than mortal
Stood, with a face where to my mind centred
All beauties I ever saw or shall see,
The Duchess: I stopped as if struck by palsy.
She was so different, happy and beautiful,
I felt at once that all was best,
And that I had nothing to do, for the rest,
But wait her commands, obey and be dutiful.
Not that, in fact, there was any commanding;
I saw the glory of her eye,
And the brow's height and the breast's expanding,
And I was hers to live or to die.
As for finding what she wanted,
You know God Almighty granted
Such little signs should serve wild creatures
To tell one another all their desires,
So that each knows what his friend requires,
And does its bidding without teachers.
I preceded her; the crone
Followed silent and alone;
I spoke to her, but she merely jabbered
In the old style; both her eyes had slunk
Back to their pits; her stature shrunk;
In short, the soul in its body sunk
Like a blade sent home to its scabbard.
We descended, I preceding;
Crossed the court with nobody heeding,
All the world was at the chase,
The courtyard like a desert-place,
The stable emptied of its small fry;
I saddled myself the very palfrey
I remember patting while it carried her,
The day she arrived and the Duke married her.
And, do you know, though it's easy deceiving
Oneself in such matters, I can't help believing
The lady had not forgotten it either,
And knew the poor devil so much beneath her
Would have been only too glad for her service
To dance on hot ploughshares like a Turk dervise,
But, unable to pay proper duty where owing it,
Was reduced to that pitiful method of showing it:
For though the moment I began setting
His saddle on my own nag of Berold's begetting,
(Not that I meant to be obtrusive)
She stopped me, while his rug was shifting,
By a single rapid finger's lifting,
And, with a gesture kind but conclusive,
And a little shake of the head, refused me,---
I say, although she never used me,
Yet when she was mounted, the Gipsy behind her,
And I ventured to remind her,
I suppose with a voice of less steadiness
Than usual, for my feeling exceeded me,
---Something to the effect that I was in readiness
Whenever God should please she needed me,---
Then, do you know, her face looked down on me
With a look that placed a crown on me,
And she felt in her bosom,---mark, her bosom---
And, as a flower-tree drops its blossom,
Dropped me . . . ah, had it been a purse
Of silver, my friend, or gold that's worse,
Why, you see, as soon as I found myself
So understood,---that a true heart so may gain
Such a reward,---I should have gone home again,
Kissed Jacynth, and soberly drowned myself!
It was a little plait of hair
Such as friends in a convent make
To wear, each for the other's sake,---
This, see, which at my breast I wear,
Ever did (rather to Jacynth's grudgment),
And ever shall, till the Day of Judgment.
And then,---and then,---to cut short,---this is idle,
These are feelings it is not good to foster,---
I pushed the gate wide, she shook the bridle,
And the palfrey bounded,---and so we lost her.

XVI.

When the liquor's out why clink the cannikin?
I did think to describe you the panic in
The redoubtable breast of our master the mannikin,
And what was the pitch of his mother's yellowness,
How she turned as a shark to snap the spare-rib
Clean off, sailors say, from a pearl-diving Carib,
When she heard, what she called the flight of the feloness
---But it seems such child's play,
What they said and did with the lady away!
And to dance on, when we've lost the music,
Always made me---and no doubt makes you---sick.
Nay, to my mind, the world's face looked so stern
As that sweet form disappeared through the postern,
She that kept it in constant good humour,
It ought to have stopped; there seemed nothing to do more.
But the world thought otherwise and went on,
And my head's one that its spite was spent on:
Thirty years are fled since that morning,
And with them all my head's adorning.
Nor did the old Duchess die outright,
As you expect, of suppressed spite,
The natural end of every adder
Not suffered to empty its poison-bladder:
But she and her son agreed, I take it,
That no one should touch on the story to wake it,
For the wound in the Duke's pride rankled fiery,
So, they made no search and small inquiry---
And when fresh Gipsies have paid us a visit, I've
Noticed the couple were never inquisitive,
But told them they're folks the Duke don't want here,
And bade them make haste and cross the frontier.
Brief, the Duchess was gone and the Duke was glad of it,
And the old one was in the young one's stead,
And took, in her place, the household's head,
And a blessed time the household had of it!
And were I not, as a man may say, cautious
How I trench, more than needs, on the nauseous,
I could favour you with sundry touches
Of the paint-smutches with which the Duchess
Heightened the mellowness of her cheek's yellowness
(To get on faster) until at last her
Cheek grew to be one master-plaster
Of mucus and focus from mere use of ceruse:
In short, she grew from scalp to udder
Just the object to make you shudder.

XVII.

You're my friend---
What a thing friendship is, world without end!
How it gives the heart and soul a stir-up
As if somebody broached you a glorious runlet,
And poured out, all lovelily, sparklingly, sunlit,
Our green Moldavia, the streaky syrup,
Cotnar as old as the time of the Druids---
Friendship may match with that monarch of fluids;
Each supples a dry brain, fills you its ins-and-outs,
Gives your life's hour-glass a shake when the thin sand doubts
Whether to run on or stop short, and guarantees
Age is not all made of stark sloth and arrant ease.
I have seen my little lady once more,
Jacynth, the Gipsy, Berold, and the rest of it,
For to me spoke the Duke, as I told you before;
I always wanted to make a clean breast of it:
And now it is made---why, my heart's blood, that went trickle,
Trickle, but anon, in such muddy driblets,
Is pumped up brisk now, through the main ventricle,
And genially floats me about the giblets.
I'll tell you what I intend to do:
I must see this fellow his sad life through---
He is our Duke, after all,
And I, as he says, but a serf and thrall.
My father was born here, and I inherit
His fame, a chain he bound his son with;
Could I pay in a lump I should prefer it,
But there's no mine to blow up and get done with:
So, I must stay till the end of the chapter.
For, as to our middle-age-manners-adapter,
Be it a thing to be glad on or sorry on,
Some day or other, his head in a morion
And breast in a hauberk, his heels he'll kick up,
Slain by an onslaught fierce of hiccup.
And then, when red doth the sword of our Duke rust,
And its leathern sheath lie o'ergrown with a blue crust,
Then I shall scrape together my earnings;
For, you see, in the churchyard Jacynth reposes,
And our children all went the way of the roses:
It's a long lane that knows no turnings.
One needs but little tackle to travel in;
So, just one stout cloak shall I indue:
And for a stall, what beats the javelin
With which his boars my father pinned you?
And then, for a purpose you shall hear presently,
Taking some Cotnar, a tight plump skinful,
I shall go journeying, who but I, pleasantly!
Sorrow is vain and despondency sinful.
What's a man's age? He must hurry more, that's all;
Cram in a day, what his youth took a year to hold.
When we mind labour, then only, we're too old---
What age had Methusalem when he begat Saul?
And at last, as its haven some buffeted ship sees,
(Come all the way from the north-parts with sperm oil)
I hope to get safely out of the turmoil
And arrive one day at the land of the Gipsies,
And find my lady, or hear the last news of her
From some old thief and son of Lucifer,
His forehead chapleted green with wreathy hop,
Sunburned all over like an thiop.
And when my Cotnar begins to operate
And the tongue of the rogue to run at a proper rate,
And our wine-skin, tight once, shows each flaccid dent,
I shall drop in with---as if by accident---
``You never knew, then, how it all ended,
``What fortune good or bad attended
``The little lady your Queen befriended?''
---And when that's told me, what's remaining?
This world's too hard for my explaining.
The same wise judge of matters equine
Who still preferred some slim four-year-old
To the big-boned stock of mighty Berold,
And, fur strong Cotnar, drank French weak wine,
He also umst be such a lady's scorner!
Smooth Jacob still rubs homely Esau:
Now up, now down, the world's one see-saw.
---So, I shall find out some snug corner
Under a hedge, like Orson the wood-knight,
Turn myself round and bid the world good night;
And sleep a sound sleep till the trumpet's blowing
Wakes me (unless priests cheat us laymen)
To a world where will be no furtiner throwing
Pearls befare swine that Can't value them. Amen!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

all that glitters

As you've likely surmised, I am back to planet earth from my trip to all parts fantastic. So much work to be done for the upcoming group show and one wouldn't want to shirk responsibilities.

Even if the trip is of the mind. (I think that would play worse, actually)

Yesterday I spent a few hours applying gold to some paintings: the upcoming group show is called "Gold Digger"
Several artists, myself included, showing work that has some element of gold.

After all, right now, gold reins.

Tomorrow at the studio I will continue this process and begin work on yet more art....

Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

additional art show updates and general navel gazing

The group art show in which I am so truly thrilled to be a part of has been pushed back by one week to April 9. Quietly I exhale whilst saying that the changed date works for me. Secretly very appreciative as this will give me several more days painting time.

Told recently that I could pull a dozen right out of the sky (actually, another word was used) I proved that observation right and the first bakers dozen or so of ideas and paintings have happened seamlessly indeed.

It's the last six or so that make an artist pause. Since there is a definite theme to this art show, that of gold leaf specifically, I cannot go randomly willy-nilly into the fantastical world of my imagination and pull out of my hat any which thing that might please me. No, no!

I have been charged with specifics: Landscape. Napa Valley Landscape.

It's what I do. I enjoy it. I keep painting it. The seasons continue to change and I never go tired of the inspiration I see daily here.

So, just when you are expecting a peek at one of my vineyard landscapes, I will leave you with a thumbnail of a tree painting.



Winter Birch (unfinished)
oil on canvas
2011
Kate Salenfriend

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lucky Me!

surprise! Today it's Vienna!







My fantasy trip would not be complete without it as I am a worshiper at not only Mozart's slipper's but Gustav Klimpts remarkable work! Simply said: It takes my breath away.

" to take the ordinary and elevate to spectacular: Sublime"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Having a marvelous time!!

First Paris, now Prague!





I'm certain there's no time to drop you a card!

I'll be gone for quite some time but don't fret, I'll be back for the group show on April 2nd.

air kisses to you!

Kate

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Look where I am!!








In my mind of course. But oh, what a lovely trip it is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

apropos of nothing

I would like to displace this gent and live in this room myself.






image borrowed from here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Previews

Who doesn't love a preview? I not only like a movie preview, but I don't even mind a spoiler. I am so o.k. with spoilers, I've told friends to please tell me the end of movies. Yes, I still enjoy the movie too.



But would previews be suitable for everything in our lives? I have a group art show coming up on April 1 and will give you a few sneak-peak thumbnail type previews here and in the weeks ahead, but what of everything else?


How about life? What's my next car going to look like? What's happening next month? Or next year? Haven't we all experienced the feeling of watching a film or reading a book that we can barely stand not knowing how the story will end? Oh tell me?! How does it end, I say? Happy? Sad? Someone dead? Does he run away? Does she escape? or beloved Flora, throwing herself off the turret?


We can plan, strategize, organize and do our best to aim our personal intentions in the general direction of wants and needs.


Not every arrow can be pointed the way we want them. Agendas change, goals adjust themselves. Needs and wants are adjusted and battle it out. Oh, and have you heard? People change. I for one know that I have, do, and will again. Hopefully into who I am.



What I know for sure is that life is all about change. Oh...and I'm in charge of the decisions in my life. I'll work on that one.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

so many...



So, so many times, I have told myself in a somewhat sheepish voice, "oh, here's the subject for my next blog!" or, "ah, yes! a title!"
Only to fizzle once sitting down at my monitor, never quite getting to the point of articulating my thoughts.

Possible titles you ask? So, so many to name a but a few:
"Liz and Bret's adventure"
"Sabotage of oneself"
"When life goes south"
"My nutalicious life"
"Why people still move to California"

I will wait whilst you ponder....

Times up.

In the last two weeks or so, ahem, since my last post, many many things. Main focus has been L, her brother passing and all the fall out that death of a brother implies. Complicated would be an understatement, but she and dear friend Bret are off to N.Y. where they are headed into the "eye" of sorts of what's being called "Snowmagedden". Funny thing is, only thing worse than Snow magedden: Family Magedden, During a funeral.


The weather here in the beautiful Napa Valley has been beyond lovely. It's been freakish. Yesterday: 80 degrees fahrenheit.
At 10am.
Even in California, although it's true that our brains are half fried from the sun, the love and the weed that that kind of temperature in early February is just plain scary.

So, my mind and my heart are all pulled this way and that. I keep painting, thinking about my dear friends L and B, hoping their trip is not only eventless but that they come back to sunny lovin' California, unharmed, unscathed and feeling groovy.

Couldn't help it, I'm a native after all.

Monday, January 24, 2011

sunny and warmer expected

Napa has been beautiful this last week. Not even the end of January and I'm seeing budding on trees, and gasp, mustard flowering under the grape vines on the many drives up and down valley.

When I first moved here three years ago, the rains fell, day after day. My bank, unfortunately enough, was located 25 minutes up valley in St. Helena, a community as yet undiscovered by me.

What I found was dirt black, gnarly vines, growing from neon yellow fields of grape vines under cool mist colored sky.

Sublime.

Thus began my vineyard paintings, sometimes "realistic" sometimes abstract. (Think vineyards at 60 mph)

Going back up valley a few days ago, the third year of my residing here, the vineyards did not let me down.

This week in the studio: Here's a look at me spackeling then brushing on a layer of gesso on a stretched canvas panel. It's like frosting a really big cake.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This week at the studio

Have logged many hours at the studio this week. In order to sell art, I have to keep a rather large inventory of art at the ready at all times, and this requires me to be painting, researching and creating new work during all of my studio time.
It is time I enjoy immensely.

If I get a call from an interested client, I have to actually have paintings to show.
If I am contacted by a group that wants to show my work at their space, in multiples, I must have available paintings that are ready to go.
If a gallery I show in sells work, I need to have possible replacements and new work available.
I must always have new work in the hopper for upcoming shows, in anticipation of selling.



Indeed, I have about sixty paintings that are farmed out, in production, showing at a gallery or hanging at the studio at any given time.

The images today are paintings in progress. Generally taking two to four weeks or more of time from stretched canvas to the final varnish coat. Two to four paintings are being worked on at various stages.

The business of art is one that like fashion looks like all glamour on the outside, but is very dirty, scruffy, hard work. Much time and energy goes into a finished painting, exhibition, catalog, gallery, installation.

Heads roll, hands wring, teeth gnash, fur flies.

I love a good metaphor.