Friday, April 30, 2010
Went to the Springville Art Museum today to see the show that I didn't get into. Some very nice things and some confusing choices..but I love this place..Spanish style building with sculpture garden, wonderful tile floors and courtyards and great art. Another show called "Hard Times" was on the second level and really wonderful work from national artists.
I then took a nostalgic tour of houses I lived in over 30 yrs. ago in Provo Utah as a young college student and a young married Mom.
I had a bit of an epiphany today. One part was based on Ralph's wonderful blog and I made the decision to do small drawings in public places and give them away to strangers. I also took pics of the houses I lived in, and friends lived in and will do a series of paintings.
I am including the pics here. The mountain photos is of an area where an old miner's house was..I lived up there for 3 years in early 70's with my wonderful roommates. We were isolated but had a great view of Utah Valley. The house is gone. The house with the trimmed shrubs is now called the Hacienda..but when I lived there in 73-74 it was the Lemon House because it was yellow. Hubby's house is the brick house.and the white house was where my youngest,Thomas, was born. The log cabin house belonged to a friend.
The other bit of my epiphany was to try to quit wanting a charming house somewhere else and make my little place the wonderful artist retreat it can be. Some repairs, paint and art additions to the outside areas..like the soft sculpture "Wedding Nest" I have hanging from a tree in the rear of the property. I have taken pics of it for the last 3 yrs. It was a class project.
Next time I go to the museum I will take pics of it..because it is a wonderful place.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Correction to my previous blog..my friend Scott Stanley actually got Best in Show in the Arizona show and a third place! I went to Salt Lake City today to see Scott's show at the Anderson Foothill Library. I had been there years ago but couldn't remember how to get there..So I enjoyed my jigjog around the cute neighborhoods and drooled over wonderful flower gardens and small tudor, or victorian houses for sale. Then I passed the library and had to do more back tracking to get back to it as there is a median out front and no u turns! More wonderful little neighborhoods and then I got into the little parking lot. Scott was a fellow student while we were at the University of Utah and we became close friends. I would love to have his energy! His sketchbooks are a wonder! so many figures, animals..piled on each other, dropping off pages, he has a great line quality and gets the figure in a few wonderful lines. His paint colors are bright..just like his personality.
I got to see him at my open studio..his cute Japanese wife and their 1 yr. old baby boy. Made me happy to see them. So when I got his posting on Facebook about his win..I truly was thrilled.
I fully intended to take pics today but forgot! Quite unlike my Mom who has a camera that needs to be surgically removed from her hand! I had determined I would not see the world through a camera lense. I was shocked at the over 1000 pics I took in Europe..but glad to have them. So I was trying to concentrate on driving and didn't get pics of the lovely gardens. And pursed lipped little old librarians were suspicious enough of me..if I had whipped out my little camera..I was afraid they might tackle me!
I have my last guitar lesson tonight. I did not practice because I was so sick this past week. And today the arthritis in my hands is acting up with the major weather change coming. But that is ok. we had a nice group and learned alot of tools to help me should I get to practice more. My goal is to have at least 5 songs memorized and flawless...then I can move on..that should take me the rest of the year!!!!
Decided to make stuffed green peppers today too..smells good. I so rarely cook but felt like I wanted to use up my produce before it goes bad!!
Oh and yesterday my hike with my son was good. You have to understand that I have been gaining weight, and been eating all wrong, and not moving enough. This week of sickness really rang the bell for me. At my age i should be so much more fit and vigilant. So I am like a real out of shape novice and Shane is adamant that I get into shape so we can see the world on foot not from the car window!!
How nice to have a son who really cares enough to crack the whip on his old Mom!
He wanted to take a portion of the Bonneville Shore Trail. This is a trail that follows along the upper benches of the Waatch Mountain range which runs along the East side of Salt lake City, from Ogden in the north and Santaquin in the south. It is a trail based on the shoreline of the ancient Bonneville lake of which the Great salt lake is the remaining bit of it. You can find petrified shells at around 6000 ft above sea level as you follow the old shoreline. The trail isn't complete yet, portions still need to be finished but we decided to take a bit that was in Pleasant Grove. Trouble was we ended up on the wrong trail and it was all uphill! So we retreated and went to the Provo canyon Trail and walked 2 miles of it. It is paved and follows the Provo river. I really felt good afterward. I am the kind of person whose body responds quickly to exercise..you would think it would make me want to get into better shape..but...
Anyway Shane made me drink a protein drink right after the hike and one bfore I went to bed and my muscles felt a little sore but not bad..lots of water too. This is good for someone so overweight and sedentary..now I need to keep it up.
But again..no pics because my hands had my walking sticks and I was simply enjoying the walk.
So here are my tulips
Monday, April 26, 2010
Son forced me out of the house for a hike today and I needed the push..feel tons better..one of my friends got an award at the AWS show in Arizona..I was so happy he was still doing art after he graduated especially since he had gotten married and had a baby right before his graduation!! Tomorrow I going to the city to see his current show and another friends show. In the meantime I did this tiny painting. with gouache for fun..and have ideas for some more...
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Ok I am officially sick of being sick! Forced myself to get to the grocery store and bought mostly paper and cleaning products as food still does not appeal to me yet. Most people would lose weight when they are sick but I rarely get sick and and rarely lose weight!!!
The horses got loose twice in the middle of the night..something they never do,. Thankfully my son and husband did the rounding up, and gate repairs at 3 am so I could stay dry and warm in bed.
I keep expecting I will be able to at least draw but I still ache from head to toe and feel like all I can do is lay on the couch. At least the sun came out today and warmed up everything. I hope to get pics of my tulips tomorrow.
sniff, sneeze ,hack, cough...sorry!!!
This was a little painting I did of my Frankie and sold at a student show...
Friday, April 23, 2010
The new hen graced us with an egg today, her first since coming here and not having a coop. The dog house is temporary, and I am surprised she felt comfortable enough to lay an egg..it has been cold and rainy for days!I have one of those awful head colds and thought that since I was house bound I could sketch but even that didn't happen..just lay around sneezing and aching. The baby chicks are getting their feathers in and need a bigger area!
A friend invited me to a show of her artwork. She is technically very good and produces a lot of work, but maybe not so inspired..to me. But it is nice that she is getting recognition. Another friend got into the show that I didn't get into..That has happened 3 times now! Kind of amusing. We have decided that if she wants to get into a show I should enter it too so she can get in.
I feel like I am not producing anything..haven't been in the studio for days and fighting this cold makes me want to sleep not paint. I know I have to take care of myself but this is getting tiresome! Dealing with illness, depression and rejection is asking a lot!
Someone did buy a greeting card of one of my paintings today..I got a whole .63 for it! Talk about baby steps!
I am posting the "Three Wise Ones" the one that is now a greeting card for some nice person!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Well the rejection sting lessened considerably after I saw the 800 works that were rejected!! my gosh there are talented artists in Utah! Now the curiosity is to see what actually got in and how funky, avant garde it is..should be interesting. Posting pics of my newly aquired rooster and hen. My good friend said the rooster attacked her teen son and was being attacked by the other rooster..hence the shortened tail feathers. So I agreed to take him, but said he would be lonely without a hen since the chickie babes were too young to put out..so she let me pick a hen and she is a beauty! I think he is a Dominique and she is an araucana..I hope. Also she has a lovely litle peach tree in bloom and it looked so prety against the sky today before the big old storm came in..which I am also posting!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Today had so much promise..so pretty..big fluffy clouds scudding across the blue blue sky, actually got a bit of sun while wrestling fence panels and gates into place for the baby chicks when they get their feathers in and the promised barred rock rooster that a friend is giving me..lets hope the chicky babes are all hens!
I checked the Springville Art Museum site for the juror results for the salon I entered..nothing yet,..so I kept cleaning and planning my day and then later went back and the results were posted. I was dreading the results..oh I didn't want to be disappointed, wanted to have reason to rejoice and feel better about my art that has given me much pain of late..but alas..it was not to be ..both paintings rejected. My friend Nancy got one in and I really was happy for her. Also the very young girl who hired me to teach the drawing class got one in, and of course the standby and standout local and regional artists..Trent Alvey, Susan Gallacher, Gary Ernst Smith, Brian Kershisniak, Emily McPhee, etc. out of over 1000 entries 214 got in..so I am sure I am in good company. But still I was bummed for a while, maybe a bit still..
It would have been a lift..so I worried it like a dog with a bone and decided not to enter any shows and planned a bonfire of the sheep and wolves for tomorrow and then my son told me to quit being dramatic and get on with life..of course he was right and I went to the ranch store and bought chicken scratch and poultry netting and went to my guitar lesson. Now as I lay abed with the laptop and Dvorak playing I am aware that the chicks are still cute , the pugs still snore, I still can't play the guitar but there is hope that with practice I might..the weak watercolors will be collages and I will enter the damn sheep and wolves in other shows while I struggle with the new work..life goes on..
one thing is for sure though..I will not enter anything under that juror again..3rd times the charm..she is on my list I don't care if it is the only Utah show left ever..I won't pay for the privilege of her rejection..I think I will go for a hike tomorrow..an easy one as I am out of shape..with my birthday present of new and expensive boots...
the self portrait was done a few years ago..the skunk painting is called"Jesus Loves Me Yes I Know",
Monday, April 19, 2010
These last few weeks have been a lesson in humility, a search for inspiration, the questions. Depression and losing my way..painting in vain and struggle with everything. I have thought that I have worried too much about success, feeling hopeless that I would ever sell, wondering about the decisions of entering shows..am I ready? Should I take the time to quiet my thoughts, not overthink this, paint for enjoyment..is it ever enjoyable? The brief connection with my child memories, the scintillating flash if the brush or paint or composition actually work..not enough of these moments makes me want them more and hence the overthinking, the frustration and mistakes. Am I trying too hard? Am I worried that I am too old to get this going, that I will run out of time and health before I actually get it right for me?I want to just sleep, to dream of my paintings, to live in that netherworld that doesn't ask much of me but to just observe. Is that what I have ben missing all this time? Just observe and be aware? What ever it is I am stuck, and fighting to get out. Like quicksand I think to myself that I should just lay back and float out of this but the fighter in me kicks and screams and hurts and cries out..not much different from my childhood!
Reading " Design and composition secrets of professional artists" put out by International Artist Magazine. The artist Alan Bruce says " I suggest students not hanker for success because it is "the process" and the resulting individualization that is most important.If the art you produce is the best you can do,success will come to you in due course, otherwise you can create a whopping blockage-which is what often occurs. The way to establish your art is through honesty and integrity. An abused gift will always fly back to haunt you."
The word hanker is apropo...I do want success, I do want adulation, I do want money to defray bills and feel like this is the right way to go...I guess I am just insecure..no news there.
So I think it is time to back off a bit and just paint to paint. maybe garden a bit..garden myself and my ideas, visualize them more fully, I am surprised at how hard it is to paint..and I have been painting for such a long time! maybe I need to be much more honest with myself,
I am posting a painting I did in high school after a student exchange in Mexico.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I am excited about signing up for the 4 day watercolor workshop in August with Lian Zhen. See his website at lianspaintings.com. I think he is brilliant. I especially like his animal and fish paintings. I am excited to be excited about something!
So my happiness at doing this workshop has got my mind rolling and I have decided to do a series of small oils about the commuter train stations we have in the Salt Lake Valley. They are usually in interesting neighborhoods near iconic buildings in the areas. I ride for free since the Hubby works for the Utah Transit Authority and keeps the trains on the rails!
In the meantime I am trying to come up with large watercolors of animals, very colorful for the Barnes and Nobles show in June. I had better get cracking!
I am posting a watercolor and ink painting I did for a drawing class a few years ago. It is called "Dark Night of the Chickens". I did a series of ink drawings, and some watercolors, acrylic paintings all of chickens and other wild birds. I got an A so that was great but I was definitely not edgy!!!! My instructor wanted me to darken it all up with images of the horrible commercial chicken farming. ala Sue Coe. And while I have great respect and admiration for Sue Coe and her causes and the resulting art. It is very hard for me to go there.
Sue Coe was an invited artist guest in my final semester last year and she is engaging, talented and driven by her passionate causes for the humane treatment of animals. But her slides and books of her paintings are difficult for me to see.
Especially the stories of the mistreatment of circus elephants and the factory ships from Austrailia with thousands of sheep. My young artist friends surrounded me and told me to not look! How sweet..they all knew of my tender feelings for animals..but I looked and I donated to the cause by buying a Sue Coe print of Topper the famous Circus elephant.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
So posting..or should I say venting got some nice responses. Thanks for your kind words and advice..really I am ok..I worried about the post being too bitter and personal. I have been around too long to believe that I am ignored by the media or jurors because they personally don't like me..I have not reached a audience who values my work and even if it never happens..I will always do my art. So taking all the good advice..handpicking shows and working on my body of work and having some fun while doing it will have to do. I probably am not ready to write up a media blitz just yet!!! Although I do get my letters to the editor in when I do write!! It is usually my strident liberal voice that gets published..haha..
actually writing up an article about me and my art could be a really interesting assignment! I did pull an A in the upper level creative non-fiction class ...I was good!
Maybe all of us artists should write up our own media blitz! It could be fun to see how we really think about our art..learning to talk about ourselves may seem egotistical..but don't we have to write artists statements? And have you really read some pretentious statements and decided you don't want to write those? Don't save it for the last minute..compose it now and read it to friends, post it on facebook, blog it or just put it away and read it again aloud another day and see how it sounds!
I read a statement once that was with some abstract art with lots of lovely yellow paint and the artist was so cool..he said..I like yellow so I use a lot of it. I like yellow because I liked the school bus when I was a kid...it was more than that but that was the jist and it was humorous and yet poignant and real.
I am hoping to sign up for a watercolor workshop in August in Wyoming with lian zhen. I have a book on Chinese painting by him and he is brilliant. Something to look forward to!
I posted a photo I took from my backyard..pretty.
here is one of my drawings I did this weekend. I used the caran d' ache watersoluble pencils. So I got to do clear water washes and satisfy the painter in me. These drawings turned out kind of creepy..which was the idea..see my older post for the first 2. This is a squid that was displayed at the Pitt River Museum in Oxford, England which turned out to be my favorite place in Oxford. Reminded me of all those old Indiana Jones style movies with shrunken heads in old cases and mummies, and skeletons, and drawers in old cabinets full of specimens. The back room was dark and dusty and wonderful..packed full of artifacts from eskimo dolls to chinese jade and those aforementioned shrunken heads. I understand that the museum has been revamped and I hope they haven't changed it too much..
As for my bitter missive of yesterday..I am much better. Just needed to vent apparently! I do feel that the youngsters I spoke of have their focus on one thing that is successful and don't stray from their original ideas...I , on the other hand, try everything. I have so many ideas I need to be alive for at least another 50 years to do them..without trying more new things that I might disover along the way!
I do have the occasion when my pea brain kicks in and says..guess what..you aren't in school anymore and can do whatever you want! You don't need to be the good student..you can be as out there as you want...
When I actually feel that way I feel a real connect to my childhood and the wonder I felt as I read books, sat outside watching birds, hiked in the woods near my home..wish I could bottle that feeling and have it a lot more..but it wouldn't be as sweet I am sure.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Now I am old but went back to finish my B.F.A. in painting and drawing after 33 1/2 years. So I was considerably older than many of the students but not alone in that mature student group. I made many friends among all the age groups and it was so much fun that I didn't really want to graduate last May.
And let me say that I wish all my friends the greatest of success. I truly revel in their successes.
All of that said..the green monster of jealousy got a hold of me the last few days and it is a familiar companion of late. I certainly understand logically that jealousy can sap ones' strength and creativity and health.
I rarely have felt much jealously. I usually have a thick skin, a confidence that keeps me level headed. I will admit that when I get a rejection I allow myself to feel bad, and rail against the world for a day..it actually only takes me a few miserable hours and I am ready to go back at it and keep plugging away.
And I am big enough to admit that I want people to like my art and say nice things.
But it is interesting that the artists who are getting the press and recognition were all juried into a show last year ..35x35..35 artists under the age of 35. Much was made of this show and publicity was great. Even a documentary was made and is shown a lot.
Obviously the more mature of us "emerging" artists could not enter this show and it seems as if we have to create our own venues, publicity, and still toil in obscurity while the young edgy artists are feted. I think that many of us older crowd are pretty edgy too..
We don't seem to fit in the feted older crowd..you have seen the articles about the wonderful 80 somethings still doing their thing. I read of funding for women artists over 60, Funding for Lesbians and gay women, funding for minority women. I applaud all these efforts to help women artists shine. And they do shine. But there really is little or no recognition for those of us who have taken the leap (at an age when most people give more time to their hobbies and lawn care) to get into the art world, enter shows, and put ourselves out there to critics, jurors,curators etc. who simply are not looking for the white, middle class artist who doesn't have the 50 yr. potential that the 20 somethings have ahead of them. Maybe we aren't as angry, don't have the need to be political, or simply aren't edgy enough. I don't fit the conservative group and am simply not looked at .
It does make me look even more critically at my work and wonder if I have any skill, or talent, or good enough ideas. It makes me wonder if I should cave into the "Kincaid"camp and develop something that will sell..not really an option for me. I can't make myself younger, or a minority..well maybe I am in a minority..57 yr. old white female looking for a break!
I realize that many shows have no idea how old the artist is, and people will buy what they want and they don't want my stuff...yet! Also I am impatient..especially when i see these youngsters having so much success. I second guess myself and think if I had had my head screwed on right as a 17-19 yr. old student maybe I would have finished school long ago and made my success years ago..but I simply was not ready then!
I can't change the past. I can only deal with today and plan for tomorrow. I will keep painting and entering shows and hope for the day when someone recognizes my artwork and my friends artwork. I just was really surprised at the jealousy I felt. I was dismayed at my capacity to feel such emotion. Especially since I love the art these youngsters are making and they are deserving of the recognition.
I haven't even sold a card or postcard of my artwork. I feel I am doing many of the right things and trying to find other ways to get in the eye of the art world. Art Calendar always has great articles and advice. I just want the despairing feelings to go away. I want to quit feeling out of time, in so many ways....
So there is my whine...yes I would like a little cheese with that... maybe I am just bummed out that the weather has been slow to warm, a birthday coming up that I am finally feeling my age which isn't so great. The open studio was a bit of a downer..no buyers, no write-ups, no recognition for a lot of hard work..sigh..really this is my last whine!!!
I hope you aren't bummed out by my downer post...
Saturday, April 10, 2010
here are two drawings I did yesterday. I started out doing a tree in my side yard and it kind of morphed into something darker. Then I took that and did the second tree based on a memory of seeing a hummingbird nest on a low branch of a pine tree many years ago. Of course it is all from my head and kind of fun. I used the Caran D Ache watersoluble pencils and drew then washed them with a brush and clear water then I went back in several times and added detail and erased areas. It is hard for me to stay with the pencil since I want to dress it up with color but these little dark style drawings did not need color in my opinion. I thelped to be watching the Harry Potter movie "Order of the Phoenix" while drawing for a creepy factor!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Today it is cool but very sunny. My mood is a bit better. Made to the studio and started 2 small watercolors. I decided I wanted to do some highly colored,washy watercolors with animal subjects. I went to two art stores and spent a bundle on hot press and cold pressed 22"x30" 300# arches and some arches cover for some nice drawings. I also have some tulips and periwinkles blooming so I am posting those pics, pics of paintings in progress and puggies..what would a day be without puggies?
The next step is to finish a few small watercolors to establish how I want to proceed and then do some full sheet paintings..color color color..that is what makes me happy.
The bigger pug looking at the camera is Frankie and the other is Little Jesse James.
The crane in the painting will be a sandhill crane after I remove the frisket. The yellow is actually bees and a flower..many more washes to come.
Tomorrow I have to teach drawing and I am having the students bring in toned paper and pastel pencils or conte, 3 colors only ..a dark, a light and a medium color and I will see if they can build forms with lights and darks only.
Their next assignment in 3 weeks will be to draw a detailed pencil drawing of a tree or plant or even a building from life using a variety of mark making to indicate form, shadow and light.
I have started a tree drawing and am using caran d ache water soluble pencils..they are soft and wonderful to use. I will post a pic of my efforts tomorrow.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I went to the bookstore yesterday and spent way too much on artists magazines and a few guitar books, and a fun yearly called "three by three illustration annual". The funky artwork is inspiring.
But I am still in a funk. I definitely have the blues. Is it a let down from the Open Studio event that I worked so hard on? Or maybe the fact that I want to paint but the ideas and will seem elusive, or the fact that I am paying for studio space and I just want to take a nap?
Whatever it is I just have to ride it out. I can force myself to do things but it it actually depresses me more to do things that seem to have no meaning while I wait for the muse to come back to my life. I don't have ideas for drawing class, I have no real income of my own, I don't want to work for someone else unless it is in the arts, I want the weather to be perfect, I want people to like my artwork enogh to at least buy cards or prints. I hate self promotion..it smacks of such commercialism and my work just isn't commercial.....I hate being 5 days away from 57 years old..I want to do what I want..but what is that really?
Patience Girl, I tell myself..all in good time. Now I think I will go out to the sun....
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I got my two paintings to the Springville Art Museum in Springville Utah. If you ever get to Utah it is a great gem of a museum. They have Russian impressionists on permanent display, Maynard Dixon, wonderful wall of self portraits from local and Utah artists..a great Spanish mission style building. Now I hope one or both get into the show. One of the jurors has been juror of 2 local shows I have entered and she consistently puts in very bad art. (not really just my opinion,but even the gallery owners of the shows she juried couldn't hang some of the pieces she chose because they were so bad) Luckily there is the museum director and another juror. So the hope is that she will be tempered in her avant garde approach,..not all art is good art and just because it is new and different doesn't make it good or even interesting. She comes with great credentials, a super art historian, curator pedigree..but I wonder how her choices will fly at the fairly conservative Springville art museum. I am sure most of the entries will be conservative..ie portraits, landscapes.. This is supposed to be a show that will show the diversity of the Utah art scene..but in years past the majority of the juried pieces have been conservative, traditional styles. Some wonderful stuff but ...typical of the area.
The funny thing is my art will seem very non traditional at this show compared to much of what will be entered. I seem to float between the two worlds of traditional ,conservative and nontraditional. I think that is why I have not had a lot of show success because I am not so easily pigeon holed into a group or style. Believe me it makes me rethink time and again what I am doing, why I am doing it and should I do something different. Artists always tell me to be true to myself and business minded sorts tell me I should do more marketable things. I still struggle with what I want to do and cannot even narrow it down to mediums, much less the style or marketability choices!
It can be really depressing to think about all of this and today all I wanted was a nap. But I did rent the movie "the Girl With the Pearl Earring". If you haven't seen this movie you should try to see it. It is like a painting in its' cinematography. You don't have to be a Vermeer lover to appreciate the story. I did see some Vermeers at the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam and at the British National Museum and they were just tiny jewels..I was so happy to see them.
I am posting the photo of the last minute still life I set up for my drawing class. I love the Paddle plant which is the succulent I bought. But coming up with ideas I can do in the confines of the craft store studio is tough since I cannot do much more than still life set-ups or drawing from photos which I am not too fond of for beginning students. I may move everyone to my home for classes eventually if I can make a place that is cat free! I at least want to do some outside drawing with the students where possible. If it would warm up and quit snowing here..sunny today but still cold.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I finally got 2 large paintings ready for the Springville Art Museum Spring Salon entries. The Saint Sheep is 48"x36" and my husband built a lovely frame for it. the photo shows the frame and how the painting floats in it. The Two White Wolves is not framed. It is 48"x32". It has a deep cradle and I painted it a warm medium gray to complement the painting. Both are oils. Sheep is on canvas and wolves are on board. These were the ones most people liked the best at the open studio..and happen to be some of my favorites too.
The Saint Sheep is not for sale. It does has conservancy issues! Someone kicked a hole in it while it was waiting to be hung at another show, then the paint began to peel! I have repaired it a few times and offer it as prints or cards on Red Bubble.com.
The wolves was a bit of a departure for me in color but not compositon. Actually the Sheep was a departure too..does this mean I should pursue what they are? I am not sure! I liked working big..but smaller sells and really an artist does have to pay for the paint!