I'm blessed and I know it!
I have really Lived this past year...stretching myself to take on responsibilities and perform tasks I had never done before (leadership, public speaking, power points). Artists often say, "I just want to paint", which I find awesome too; but putting myself out into the world more and volunteering with, and for, art associations has enriched my experiences and served the greater good of many. I'm pleased with my accomplishments.
As the holidays approach I'm allowing myself the time to thoroughly enjoy family and friends and look forward to those loving feelings and connections. I know after this short period I'll be busy again in the studio...painting with anticipation of upcoming shows and competition submissions. I'm so thankful for the freedom to wake each morning and do what moves me with passion. In my studio it is effortless to be me!
October 27, 2018
I live a gentle life.
I have worked hard earlier in my life and now enjoy the freedom and independence that feeds my soul. My watercolor paintings gives me the joy that makes me jump out of bed in the morning, get coffee, and venture into my studio for a full day of play.
I am not oblivious of the struggles and violence in the world and just an hour ago read about yet another hate crime at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. In a neighborhood not far from my loved ones.
I'm perplexed but I am not going to spend time on the details. I honor responsible diversity and others do not. Instead I will take in all the beauty and love in my life, the same that inspires my artistic expression, and celebrate the majority who live in kindness as they also cry softly inward at the senseless brutality of the few.
I am certain there are many prayers going out to the families of those killed....prayers of many religions, races, and political identifications.
I'm developing a thought......
This is what I am most interested in now since I last wrote. Taking my idea and experimenting with the various ways I can utilize color, shape, brush stroke, and values. I've had some very nice successes and am keeping notes of color combinations that work well together and pigment characteristics I do not think I'll use again.
Landscapes are lending themselves well to this technique so I've been happily going on photo shoots hikes to gather references. To say I am excited about creating in this new way is an understatement! I am in the studio daily for hours at a time and can't wait to go back down the next day. It's consuming me in a healthy and happy way!
Hope to be showing many more soon.
The same thoughts produce the same results.
The same technique produces the same paintings.
Recently I have decided to take on a student for private lessons. He will be starting soon and I have been developing lesson plans. After much research I completed what I intended, for now.
I also started thinking about what I had researched and wondered 'what would happen if...' Value studies and basic primary colors were swirling around in my brain nudging me to take the next step and formulate an idea. It came as the combination...using red, blue, and yellow in four values...white, light, medium, and dark. Using a good black and white reference and patient drawing... all helped to produce this portrait of my husband...my favorite photo of him bundled up, as we took our kids kids to see Zoo Lights on the coldest day of winter!
New ideas produce new results.
New techniques give me endless pleasure.
Woke early this morning...some may consider it the middle of their night. Lay there, feeling rested, anticipating the day. Quietly left the room and waking the house with lights as I make my way to the kitchen. My familiar routine of coffee making... yet today I attend to the process of 2 and a half scoops in the cone filter and watch the water slowly drip it's fragrance into the mug. My favorite part comes now: Adding a calculated splash of heavy cream and enjoying the swirling effect and color change. A perfect moment.
I've lately been enjoying Quiet. An adjustment of pace. Awareness occurs and I experience more perfect moments. It's summer now so the days heat up and often evenings are breezy. I sat out on the deck and began to observe. The forest was alive! Invisible winds created paths and the Oregon Ash would flip their dark green leaves to show their shimmery silver bellies. I know there are three juvenile owls that live here and I looked for them. Even though I couldn't find them, I felt pleasure in the knowledge of their territorial trait and that I would view them again. Large pines sway and dance to the water music of the stream. This perfect moment is imprinted and will be recalled during the winter months when hope is needed.
My whole, unscheduled, day is before me.... choices and many more perfect moments available. Suddenly it all looks so fresh and interesting.
A busy Springtime is naturally easing into the beginnings of Summer. Everything around me is is full bloom.
I am in full bloom as I continually move about the studio in a sweet creative flow.
Ideas are coming to me and I have made my decision to change a major aspect of my art....to present my watercolors onto a pine or birch cradleboard instead of the classic mat and frame under glass. I appreciate the new beautiful finish and clean contemporary look. I do enjoy working on a full sheet of 300lb paper and have contacted a manufacturer of cradleboard panels and asked they make them in the size I will need. They were in production and available to me within a week! Yeah for me.
It has been such a pleasure to surround myself with artists and their diverse expressions and mediums. Many techniques and talents to hold in wonder and appreciation. I enjoy the experimentation and thrill of play yet the transparent aspects and fluidity of water media pulls me in, and challenges me with every painting. It's this intimate process of knowing myself completely and following the inspirations into color and of technique that makes me happy. That makes me feel good. Ha...I sometimes daydream of the impressionists gathering at their local establishment and how they would discuss their art and their realities of their day. Did they feel that same knowing? The same inner pushing to grow and risk? If I were there and explained my passion to paint my joy, how would they respond? Upon further thinking on this line...how do my contemporaries feel about their art , achievement, or contributions? Would a gathering at an establishment today produce the same concerns and conversations as back then?
Of course there is no recipe to creativity...it is of itself, and blessedly is expressed in a myriad of unique methods that transform, delight, and move the viewer. OK...shocking is a good descriptive too..
This line of thinking brings me abruptly to my conclusion that for all who create, each is powerful and contributes to the expansion of Art as a whole! It always has been this way with cultures...trends, movements, and progressions. I create and contribute. Within the body of diverse artistic expressions...I am a part of this whole yet unique in my Self.
April 30, 2018
Aprils are my busiest month as I involve myself with two large arts events. I give my all, enjoy the moments, and relax as I process. I'm in the relaxing phase right now.
I've been looking at some acrylic paintings I did at a workshop last Fall...loose and interesting to me. Acrylic paints are still water-based but different than watercolor paints. So off to the arts store with nothing more than a notion of what I wanted. The aisle was filled with multiple choices and just as I was starting to think this was a bad idea another artist joined me. A seasoned acrylic painter. Who liked to talk and teach! Within the hour I was in my studio with time, supplies, and excitement tainted with a bit of anxiety.
I gessoed a 300lb paper and just started, making observations and thinking of alternate options to try the next time. I hadn't explored in a while and remembered how emotional it is for me...everything comes out...the joy and fun mixed with doubt and frustration. And I continue... knowing there is music playing and rain with bursts of sunshine outside, until I reach that point where it's not totally finished...but gives the viewer room to finish it themselves.
A successful weekend of discovery.
This is a good time to do more figurative paintings of women in differing expressive poses. My Painted Ladies.
March 15, 2018
Slow and Steady...Slow and Steady....I need to keep reminding myself.
My tendency is to identify what I want, plan it to the end result, take action, then sit back and evaluate and make adjustments. It is easy for me to have laser-sharp-focus when needed, which is quite the asset.
If I am truthful with myself...I want results quickly! Ahhh....this is one of my life lessons I keep bumping into!
My life is different now as an artist. I am settling onto an unknown path and sampling the opportunities and options. There are many of both. As with all goals, the possibilities sometime frustrate me as I want ALL the good stuff and find it difficult to narrow them into my priorities. And here is where it is getting easier for me....I don't have to do it all right away! My Tendency no longer is necessary! I can choose a different way of being... and I like this realization!
For someone who professes to be so focused and driven...I am going to confess that I've tried some 'non-driven' activities lately: like laying on the sofa, mid day, allowing the sunshine from the window to cover my body....while I do nothing for long periods of time! Why did I do that? I don't know...it wasn't premeditated but I can tell you it was amazing and a small shift in the way I now think about my time and action is different. I'm taking more time to notice things and do things that please me...wasting time stuff...which makes it even more delicious! I was painting the other day and it was cold and rainy. Typical Oregon Spring. Suddenly the sun came out bright while it was still raining and I stopped to look at all the raindrops on the trees glistening in the sunshine like crystals and diamonds. Shockingly pretty and unexpected.
So I'm OK now with waiting for several of my goals to successfully complete. Slow and Steady. In the meantime, I'll enjoy taking actions towards them and slow down enough to acknowledge all the cool things that happen around me in my life that I was too laser-focused to see before.
This is gonna be fun!
February 25, 2018
I'm sitting here in the studio eating a spinach salad with apple and that yummy leftover rotisserie chicken we get every Friday night for dinner. It's even yummier with the sesame dressing on it! Cold and rainy outside but cozy warm and happy here, by the fireplace. With my salad.
January and February are my two least favorite months of the year. I paint a lot and also start organizing and cleaning. Some do this in the Springtime..not me...I take advantage of my winter indoor time.
I also Think more; processing my day and experiences. It's kinda like organizing and cleaning my life, but without the productive end results to look at. The results of my thoughts will be evident when I start, and consistently take, the actions I've determined need to be taken.
Some actions are so much easier than others. I have been around long enough to acknowledge the correlation of hard and challenging work = valuable Life accomplishment. Last year I identified that I wanted to become more involved with my watercolor society so I would meet more artists, give back to a really great organization, and challenge myself with some new experiences. Hoo-boy...I quickly became overwhelmed with the scope of the position I was voted into. It took months just to understand the workings of the organization and the language of board meetings. I did what I have always done in my life when confronted with challenges: I jump in... and, I am confidant I can at least keep my head above water.. I am relieved to relay, this is once again the case as I am gaining the knowledge/experience I need to be effective to help with organizing statewide art conventions and juried art exhibits. I'm still not completely comfortable, which is good....keeps me alert and eager/willing to learn and do more. Just this morning I received an email from an artist with questions on how to ship her painting to our upcoming convention. I confidently wrote her back with specific instructions and felt effective and valuable...I had recently created the protocol approved by the board. Ha! A small accomplishment, yes, but I'm building more and more. The biggest bonus has been creating new friendships with incredibly talented and wonderful artists!
So what am I Thinking about jumping into this year, you ask? Nothing! I used to think I had more guts than brains but there truly is wisdom with age. This year I am taking in all the goodness from a year of consistent hard work. Yeah...that's what I Think I'll do.
Another year of Art behind me. Painting nearly every day now. Playing, experimenting, making good Art and learning from great ideas that didn't turn into my vision. Still...I awake in the mornings with a thought of what I'll be doing in the studio before my feet touch the carpet. It's a good life and there is always so much more to create.
The past few months I have been involved in the marketing aspect of my Art. There is much available and many artists who want to discuss and discover more areas to branch into. Galleries are not the only venue now. The internet has opened a world of online marketing, browsing, and purchasing.
I have been happy to paint and display my work in the community with successes. My art now travels regionally to juried shows where it is seen by even more. I like this. I paint to display the beauty and calm of my paintings . I create in a peaceful state and believe this relays to viewers. The creating is my Joy.
But I've found myself more and more involved in the electronics of what I do. The documenting of Art and my thoughts are important to me. The amount of time spent on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook is concerning. It's easily rationalized and easily wasted. I go back to the Why I create and decide to focus on the Soul of my work.
I'll create and gladly move my work into arenas where people will see and appreciate. For now, I'll spend less time electrically and more in the studio. There is time for for marketing and selling. My preference would be to meet my buyers ...to share my painting's story. Old fashioned ....that's OK.
December 8, 2017
How can this be? December!!!
Yes, It's been a busy and wonderful Summer and Autumn with shows and exhibits...and lots of travel. I have enjoyed it all! And now I am settling into the Winter months where I spend much of my time in the studio at work... with breaks over tea with friends.
It's good for me to have multiple pieces of work waiting for me; work I will exhibit in next year's shows or competition. I plan this carefully. But sometime I just want to explore.
Last month I spent a few days at a mentorship workshop in California to paint, and hang around other artists. While there I worked in acrylic paints, which I had never painted with before. Very different than the transparent watercolors I love. Yet, without any expectation, and only for the joy of creating I indulged myself in figurative paintings of women...all with attitudes, I might add. It was lovely and I learned more about myself that weekend...I have a nature to focus, enjoy my work and I take pride in my outcomes. I also can 'finally' allow myself the luxury of play and exploration. Acrylics... alcohol inks, pure pigments, charcoal. It's fun and makes different kinds of messes :)
I hope I never stop being this way!
I see the most amazing things when I pay attention.
Went for a walk and the sun was bright. The path I take leads me into the forest and down to the stream. I've been this way many many times and yet this time the shadows displayed a marvelous deep abstraction and I was moved to stillness. Lucky for me I had my trusty phone to capture the moment and I smiled inward anticipating those shadows in a painting.
After that scene I just started spending less time in my thoughts and more time actually looking and appreciating my surroundings. Peaceful and lovely.
On my way out of the park I passed an adorable couple holding hands and I knew they needed to walk into my painting.
I'm living...I'm learning...I'm growing as an artist as I engage in new techniques and discovery. Discovery in my art and in myself. Recently I have experienced several bad paintings with a technique I kept trying over and over. Each creation had some qualities I appreciated. Those paintings that were not really that good (I don't like referring to them as failed attempts) led my vision and thinking to different areas and ideas....and there I went again....another attempt! You are by now thinking the ending to this story is that I finally created the most perfect beauty! Alas, this is not so. The final outcome was less than stellar... so I moved on.
On a recent walk... the Oregon sun was high in the sky creating these dynamic and interesting shadows! My goal in this art piece was to portray the posts as secondary players to the shadows on the steps and pot. I poured a triad of primary colors in multiple layers to achieve this. The process was creative, challenging, but fun and easy.
I remembered the difficulties with my recent last project. Had the multiple attempts en'couraged' me to proceed...with deliberate action and confidence?.....because I felt fearless and went to that place where magic happens in me and on my paper.
I believe no time in creation is wasted. It affects me in deep ways.
My messes one day obviously open me to my Flow on other days. I will neither challenge or inquire into how this plays out.
Making art is all play. Messy, emotional, beautiful and moody. There are many facets of who I am...my paintings express me, captured in moments of my life. Some are amazing, disappointing, disorganized, and subdued into acceptance. If I am honest with myself, I will follow that need of what to create. Fortunately, the call is always there.
Well, it has finally happened! Summer is here and I am enjoying the return of sunshine and warmth.
I have much to do in the studio getting ready for shows but I am called to get outdoors .....where there is a different and unique arena of living creatively. Observing, sketching, feeling, appreciating, photo hikes, and breathing in the sunshine. This is my time of Inspiration! A few months of easy going awareness and daydreaming. If I take advantage of this special season I'll be busy painting all winter!
Sketching is starting to take on more importance to me. In the past it was a pleasant passage of time, doing what I loved. I am approaching my sketchbook differently now as an opportunity to sit in awareness and observation...a time of study. I am moving into an interest of landscapes and find I want to know the differences in structure of specific trees and bushes. Perspective and values take on more clarity. I'm seeing what I have always seen but with different eyes. I like these eyes.
This study time paints my life with a meaningful wash...I am not just moving through life; I am engaging it... and becoming a part of what I see.
This is "the secret sauce" I will bring to my paintings!
Different than I usually paint, no?
Feeling the urge to stretch myself... so I attended a three day workshop at Menucha, in Oregon's Columbia Gorge...which is probably close to what heaven looks like!
There were 17 of us eager to learn new techniques and become inspired...which happened quickly and easily. Three days of painting, quiet focused times, laughter, and lots of appreciation for other's creativity.
By the end of the workshop the email list was passed around so we could continue to keep in touch.
Making Art is personal and solo. I love my quiet time in the studio. My creations are born in this environment. Yet I am social and crave relationships. Blending my creative time in association with other artists infuses me with a Goodness that lifts and inspires.
Yes, I had fun learning new information and practicing techniques that will find their way into my paintings, but the gold in this experience lies in the sharing and insight of my new art friend's stories. We all have similar creative stories and it helps me to clarify my own strengths and weaknesses through them. Interacting with people in this way makes me grow...and my equally important quiet time allows me to appreciate the value.
I feel a little more interesting today than I was four days ago. :)
I attended, and volunteered, at the Watercolor Society of Oregon convention hosting the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies this past weekend in Eugene. Twelve states of watercolor associations meeting in Oregon to celebrate, learn, and connect. The best of the best saw their painting hung at the Jordan Schnitzer museum and it was very beautiful and inspiring! Even though I did not jury into the show I felt included in this large group of artists who create.
I love, love, love my solo studio time where I am alone to explore but, oh.... these gatherings fill my need for socialization, laughter, and noodling new ideas and techniques.
Connecting with others....surrounded by Inspiration....and that forever eagerness to create......
I am a happy artist!
What a wild and WET Springtime so far...even for Oregon! The TV show, Portlandia, captures the sentiment of life in the Pacific Northwest perfectly...when the sun makes a brief appearance...everyone runs outside to stand in it, and I am no different.
But, it's good solid time in the studio and I am enjoying my productivity.
Of course painting is always the most fun...planning and creating. Yet I set aside a day weekly for the busyness of paperwork, working with inventory, and making contacts to grow my business.
In my early years as an artist, I really never gave much thought to the above...I simply painted. As I have grown, I now am emerging into the community of artists, critiques, exhibitions, competition, collectors, marketing, and sales. Some of these areas have challenged me greatly and others, like creating and maintaining my website and monthly Blog, delights me while documenting my progress and understanding of this new world. I am opening myself to experience it all and take little steps daily towards my goals.
This month I achieved my first large goal of opening the studio and gallery to family and friends. I had prepared for nearly a year with only my vision to guide me. I wished to show them WHO I AM now...a visual artist...a watercolor painter.
It wasn't necessary to reveal the art tasks of spreadsheets, supplies lists, volunteer times at shows, and the multitudes of marketing options...all to put myself out into the art world.
But it's who I am now, and what I do...mostly with a smile.
After 18 months of planning, clarifying my dreams and goals, and taking steps towards my career change... I have made my move. The past three months I have painted like a fiend...enjoying every moment too. I still awaken at 5am to take my coffee into the studio... but now I stay there. I'm finally a full time artist!
Without interruption, I have produced work I am very proud of. Artistically, I am growing and socially, my world has exploded...for the best! I am putting myself out into the art community and have been well received by many in the art associations and groups I now belong.
Looking back..the decision to pursue this passion has been an exercise in RISK for me. Never one to shun challenge, I do so with a modicum of control. I had been used to control through planning with unsurprising outcomes. My life is different now. I am learning that as much as I love and strive for my goals...there is an uncertainty to my outcomes. I am making friends with this. I feel vulnerable...and also limitless in my possibilities.
As I mentioned, I have been busy at work in the studio with my intention to show my work to all who know me on March 4th. I've created a body of work I will eagerly present. I believe I will be acknowledged for who I have become.
We all see our reflection from time to time, sometimes it catches us off guard or we pursue it.
What does a reflection really show us...who we were? who we are? or perhaps; who we want to be.
But reflections only mirror an image... the power actually occurs in how we interpret that reflection, and what we choose to do, or feel.
While painting this plant's reflection I realized it was more complex than I thought it would be. A simple reflected image...but the edges needed to blur and the subject was somewhat distorted. Recognizable but without clarity.
...Ahhh...similar to reflecting on myself and my life.
December 31, 2016.....
Worked like a fiend to finish this beauty by last call of 2016.
Determined not to take old work into the new year as I love fresh starts ...new goals...spiced with determination and action.
Looking back on 2016...I grewas an artist, accomplished my goals, and had loads of fun along the way. This new year will see me as a full time watercolor painter which feels like, like...Possibility.
A friend challeged me to post my art on Facebook for 7 days. I had just planned this painting and decided to post my progress to completion. Occurred during the Christmas celebration, with my kids home, so I woke early and snuck into the studio to quietly paint away...
Merry Christmas to me...doing what I love!
It's going to be a brilliant New Year!!!
Once upon a time....
I lived in the east Bay Area near San Francisco, next to a large and wild reservoir. I started the day lacing up my shoes and running the length of this nature's oasis...wetlands. The red-winged blackbirds sang to me daily and those sing-song notes remain in my psyche. Their's is a melancholy tune, yet I was filled with a joy and peace. I experienced the beauty and goodness of that time, quietly and alone.
My days are busy, as everyone's. My friends and I routinely talk about this and wear our chaos like a badge of honor. Does busyness equate to living fully? I tell myself that.
Yet in my studio, I release concerns and slip into the the depths of that great creative flow. Another place of joy and peace; where my visions take shape and become.
This is why I paint. The how takes care of itself.
....and she lived happily ever after.
Autumn....such a nice time of the year!
And it's been a busy start to the season with art show preparations, volunteering, workshops, and meeting new people in the arts! For me, creating my art is not just a solo practice in my studio. Not at all...it's the beginning, and reason to put myself out into that exciting stream of sharing my visual arts and discovering other people, and their passions! My work introduces me; and there were many introductions this past weekend with my involvement in two simultaneous shows. Successful shows. I met and talked to many talented and interesting painters. A rich experience!
And now it's over and I am surrounded by quiet in the very early hours of the morning I love. Soon I'll be going into the studio to start a new commission piece, but for right now I am enjoying my thoughts and appreciating the goodness of comfort and relaxation. Simple pleasures.
,, An interesting commission for this piece came my way earlier this month. I was asked to paint 'wheat with a blue sky'. The buyer knew my art and left the details up to me.
As I started sketching, I realized early on there was something missing for me...the story. Wheat and sky. Is there a relationship between the two? What is the significance of the wheat? I wanted more information to ignite the passion and meaning of this piece for me so I called and asked.
A gift for one who values the early seeds of good hard work... that grows and grows until ripe, at harvest! Yes! Now this is something I can contemplate as I paint...patience, discipline, and perseverance.. A beautiful recipe for life success. I added colors of Humility and Faith and am pleased to present "Seeds of Harvest".
This summer I'll remember for much happiness around me and the beauty of Nature... at the peak of it's cycle of growth and intensity.
Yes, I run through my days, sampling experiences and occasionally impacting those around me, and my world. I know this is true about myself and also am aware I do this unconsciously. I have moments, occurring more frequently now, when I slow down to warp speed...slow enough to appreciate Nature's song. Perhaps you've experienced these times in passing too! I follow an invisible breeze dancing through trees, upturning leaves and causing them to shimmer. Colors more intense and birdsong so familiar I wonder about it's meaning and to whom it communicates with. Hmmm, maybe me.
Life happens, whether I am aware of it happening or not. Plugging into and focusing on the stream of life happening right now is vibrant, expansive, and quietly (but profoundly) joyful.
I recommend it!
When contemplating comfort… the word gratitude quickly popped into my head…a symbiotic relationship, a compliment of each other, or a beautiful cause and effect. Yes, my mind wanders like that.
I love comfort and seek it out. Often. I can honestly say that I am the queen of comfort: luxurious bubble baths, soft- soft sheets, wrapped in a cozy blanket while reading in my favorite chair. I enjoy this comfort so much and am aware and grateful for this richness in my life
Comfort and it’s resultant gratitude, affects us all. I remember nights of taking warm hats, gloves, socks and blankets to those in need during the winter’s cold. The comfort those items gave were truly appreciated, perhaps even more, given their needs.
Just a simple observation. Comfort and gratitude …they are just good together.
I am an observer of life and love to paint what I see with watercolors.