Friday, February 27, 2009


I have done so much stepping back is these last few weeks and really feel I have had a setback of sorts in my confidence as a painter. I haven't experienced this before and hope to use it to make me a better painter, a more creative artist. Some strange internal thing is going on and I wonder what God is telling me about my work. Painful, but redemptive.

My sister and nephew are coming up tomorrow, so a day of cleaning. My Ikea desk came in, and though I enjoy these sorts of projects, putting it together was a major feat in itself. Out with the ancient, massive antique taking up my studio and in with a smaller, sleeker desk. All the while, my tragic simian hero and the "memory stag" are staring at me.........

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oil Painting Research Day

I had coffee with a friend this morning and spent the afternoon researching color theory, tcehnique and my medium of choice. This is quite an overwhelming task as everyone who uses or has used oil considers themselves an expert with opinions on even the minutest of details falling anywhere on the spectrum. From brands, to mediums, to palettes colors, to suitable palettes, to brushes, to how you hold the brush, to...well, you get the idea.

I was afraid to use oil paint for a long time. In my mind, it is the Mother Superior of all mediums. The smell, the messiness, the technical aspects and careful treatment required had me paralyzed and stuck on acrylics. Even now, there is a lot of hit or miss and trial and error involved for me in working on oils. I probably do a lot of things the long way around.
Bill Martin's site has great vital info to refresh the experienced and inform the fledgling oil painter.

So, with my brain exploding from information overload........I look forward to "The Office" tonight.......... cheers.

Hope you all had a great creative day......

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shepard Fairey

Did anyone see the Shepard Fairey story on CBS Sunday Morning this past Sunday? Thoughts or comments anyone?

Painting Update


Amazing how a name can totally change the message and feel of a painting. Throw in a few wasps and wow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today's Meeting

So, the meeting went great with the NVFAA. What a great space for a gallery. The building was built in 1851 and has a lot of cool history. You can read about it here if you like that sort of thing.

So, this board member is really excited about my work and is pulling for me to get a show some time in the future. How awesome is she? I love when you meet someone who just SEES the work and somehow on a gut level it just clicks with them. Apparently, the other two board members weren't sold on my proposal, so she is going to have me come in again when they can meet with me as well. We will see how it goes.

Hope everyone had a great day painting, or will tonight.... so thankful for you all.

Currently on the Easel and Update

We had really bad weather here yesterday, so this is the first opportunity to get an image of where I am on this.

Also, I had an idea for painting that I thought was already finished. This happens on occasion and the clear image came while I was running a few days ago. "Liar" resides on my bedroom wall, so I see it every morning. A wasp or two more to add and his story will be complete.

This afternoon, I am off to Alexandria for a meeting with the NVFAA about a future exhibit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today's Painting

Back to my simian friend today. I really have battled with my mind over the last week or so after such a set back on this painting, but I was damn determined to get to it this morning.

I have exchanged the sparrows for swallows which was the right fit all along. I remembered the pair that returns every summer to our breezeway. I wrote about it on The Helium Burden blog back in June. What a great lesson on perseverance they are and I needed that reminder while struggling with this painting. So, I have talked about the crap lighting in here, so I will unload a photo in the morning of work done today with my swallow lesson in mind and Marvin Gaye as my musical companion.

Thanks, all, for your kind words and encouragements regarding this painting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gallery Opening and Tag

Silk painting artist Deborah Younglao tagged me in a post today. This a third tag for me, but you can read my own tag post from back in November here. Many thanks Deborah.

Craig and I went to the Touchstone Gallery last night for the Double Vision opening. The gallery is a co-op and for this show members of the gallery invite another artist friend to exhibit a piece along with one of their own. What a great idea for a show. I don't get the opportunity to connect with other artists face to face often, so chatting with Michele Cormier and Charles St. Charles was a treat. Both were engaging, friendly and even interested in my work (my husand tells everyone.) It has been some time since I went to an opening and have in mind to go regularly this year. The district and surrounding cities have great art walks monthly, so there is no lack of art to see and other artists to connect with.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thanks all....

Thanks to all for such great and helpful comments on my revised artist statement. How amazing are you guys?!

I just learned that my mom and dad are coming tomorrow, so on a cleaning and cooking frenzy today. I have had a string on introspective days lately mulling over "that painting" and another in the wings. I am not sure I will be able to paint again until Monday.

I was invited to meet a local museum director next week to talk about the possibility of a future exhibit of my work. So, though my proposal was not accepted, I still may have the opportunity to exhibit at some time in the future.

Hope you all are making good progress on your amazing works of art this week. We all struggle along together.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Music and Painting

Music is such a huge catalyst for my own creativity. I was reminded of that Sunday night watching Radiohead and Coldplay on the Grammy's. I have heard every possible mantra about listening to music (or not) when doing creative work. One guy insists that artists should listen exclusively to classical music because of the lack of words which he believes interferes with right brain waves. Another claims silence is the ultimate companion. Even musicians follow the same lines of thought, many feeling that listening to a lot of music contributes to their work, others feel it is intrusive and go on musical fasts at various times.

I have been almost exclusively listening to Shearwater with a few slices of Bon Iver in between for many months. For me abstract words and non-linear lyrical structure really stir the creative pot. The lot of paintings that have come out of my recent musical companions has been really strong. There is something in the meshing of the music, particularly Shearwater, and words that expands my creativity in a manner that is difficult to articulate, but I feel and see the result.

Revised Artist Statement

Write an artist statement is hard, right? You have to put words to all the intuitive ways you move in your work. I worked on mine today after getting a proposal rejection.
Here it is. I covet any thoughts or feedback from my artist family (i.e. is it coherent? does it seem complete? good opening and closing? get the idea.)

"As a child my three ring binder full of drawings of horses was a prized possession. To me, horses had a mystical almost phantom-like quality I was drawn to from an early age. I became transfixed just seeing one in an open field from the car window. Today, I recognize this mark in all animals as the fingerprint of the infinite imagination of the Creator. In my experience, there is a creative communion that takes place between me and God when painting or in the presence of animals.

With animals as my subjects, I discover great freedom in employing my own imagination as a catalyst for new mythology. My paintings pair dramatic images and short narratives to set the stage with a surreal and timeless atmosphere as inspiration for this new mythology. I invite the viewer to continue the journey by finding a story in their own imagination.

A painting begins in my mind with a word, a string of words or a clear image that appears like a dream. I am an oil painter."

Monday, February 09, 2009

Currently on the easel: Painting that is Threatening My Sanity

Having to face the current painting this morning and still be in a battle this late in the day is disheartening. I am not even going to post a photo, but you can see it as it was before today by looking at previous posts. The reworked background is still unsatisfactory. A break for lunch (and for my sanity) before going back.
I may have to put this one aside for the week and move on to another painting looming in the wings. There is a point where you have worked and reworked until the medium laden canvas needs to rest. I look at my lovely subject and feel like I am abandoning him there is some watery dream without his friends, who have been painted over.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I need a do you.

I have had such a painful painting experience today. That is all I have to say about that.

Douglas Hoover posted a photo of his hair band days. I just loved it and decided to look through some photos of my own for my punk days. That was my "work" shirt. I know because it has a collar and wasn't black with a band name on it. If you have a Facebook page, find me for more amusement.
I need a little humility today. So....

1986, Hollywood, FL, Vibrations Records

It is time you all see the true madness that is Tracey Clarke when it comes to oil painting.
So, way back, losing several days work here at the end of the week. It has been a rather frustrating day. I went for a run after throwing a few things this morning (don't tell me you guys don't do that, too) and came back fearful of confronting my mess. In hindsight (why can't it ever be foresight?) I failed to listen to my gut and not only painted the birds too large but also chose the wrong birds.

In painting over the birds I have to repaint the background, so all the transitions have to be reworked from left to right. I am only fairly certain I have completed the left side. It will have to wait until tomorrow to be sure. Because of the crap afternoon light, the right side is way off in color.

Man, do you ever just have one of those days?..... I give myself a headache.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Painting Update

More fun at Michael's today after a morning coffee with a friend. I haven't been in some time and needed a can of picture varnish. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I picked up retouch varnish. After the long check out line of little elderly ladies buying fake greenery, I am terribly resistant to returning for an exchange and repeat. I do have a few cans of Soluvar around , so will have to use that in a pinch. "Chosen" is going to its new owner this weekend and needs varnish. It is about 30 degrees out today, so this will be an interesting project.

I felt the necessity to walk away from my current painting today. I feel rather frustrated and see that I must take a few steps back in the process. Throughout the afternoon I have walked into the studio for one thing or another and glanced over at the easel. My response is an emotional one, first of awe at what I see coming to life on the canvas, the second is dread over the elements that have to go or be reworked. Can I pull it off?......

Another issue pressing me is the studio lighting, which is poor. A string of headaches in the afternoon alert me to this problem. I understand that this can be easily remedied. If anyone in my artist family has any ideas or would like to share their own lighting situation I am sure I would be greatly helped.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Painting Pain

All I going to say is my left brain won the war today (see below.)
I let out an "Arrrghh.!!".....and retreat a few steps on this painting today.

Yesterday's Painting

Now we're rolling......I wasn't quite sure of the size of the birds yesterday. This obsessive thought created an unsettled mood most of last evening.

My left brain states in this manner: "Shouldn't the birds be the appropriate size in relation to the actual size of the baboon? You need to take out your ruler, measure and adjust accordingly." Blah, blah, blah. Somebody shut that thing up!

Being an equally left and right brained person, this surely is the source of my madness. This morning on first viewing my right brain cheerfully answered the annoying question with:
"Its called make believe, Tracey! All of it! Not any of it is really real! How 'bout that?!"
So, as of Wednesday morning the birds remain as they are.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Every day in the studio....

In the middle of painting this morning I look over to my left to see this scene which presents itself daily. Each weekday morning I get up, have breakfast, take Reuben out for a walk, feed everyone, have quiet time and then on to the second bedroom/studio, coffee in hand followed shortly by Reuben, Shane and Eli. The studio doubles as a dog and cat lounge. I can't count the times I have stepped on tails and paws. But it is a comfort to have my babies with me. While I do my thing, they do their thing.

Painting Update:Yesterday's work

I painted another layer of blacks and glazed a few elements on the face yesterday. As well, I started to put in the birds....More of the same today. Craig made me put the distant islands of grass back in.