Thursday, April 30, 2009

Endangered Species

The Smithsonian just released a photo of a Jaguar caught on night camera on an island in Panama. The last sighting was in 1983, so this is a wonderful confirmation that they are still around even though they have been hunted almost to extinction in South America.

It made me think again about the 100,000 plus gorillas found by the Wildlife Conservation Society over the summer in the Congo. No one knew they existed until 2008 because they live in such a remote and inaccessible area. It thrills me to no end that these animals have never laid eyes on a human being. What a beautiful thing for an animal.
I suppose that is over now, unless the government does something to protect them.

Here is the amazing story. Be sure to watch the video.

Revisting Older Paintings

I had a meeting with the wonderful Twig Murray from the NVFAA today. She came all the way out to me to have a second look at my work and, hopefully, convince her colleagues to put together a show of the work. It is such a blessing to see her enthusiasm for art and for my art in particular. She also gave me really good criticism, as well.

It is a strange experience to have all of my work on front me. There are a handful of paintings that I still feel are unfinished though they have been hanging around for awhile. This one hangs in my hallway, so I see it often. I have never felt it was complete, so I took it to the easel to see what to have a good look at it. The first thing I noticed was how off the drawing is. I did this one two years ago and my drawing skills are radically better, so the entire head has to be re-stated. My natural tendency is to exaggerate reality because I like the way it looks, but I wasn't aiming for that on this one back then. At first I had an "oh, crap, I just ruined this" moment, but I am going to keep working at it because I believe in the idea.

I am also going to return to this one at some point. I want to bring a few things up and take a few down.

Wise Words From Ariane Goodwin

Ariane Goodwin creator of the Smartist Telesummit and author of "Writing the Artist Statement" sends out a artist tips email each week. This section was particularly powerful to me today:

"Noticing a disconnect between the effort you put into writing your artist statement and its marketing impact? Make it more powerful by getting a little naked. Listing your credentials can be impressive... but how many times have you been drawn to someone because of their credentials? Facts inform, but they don't often draw people to you.Instead of using your artist statement as a recitation of bio facts, let people behind the canvas, under the clay, or into your darkroom. People might ask you where you learned your technique, but what they really want to know is....What's it like to be an artist? What time of day do you most like to work? What music do you listen to? What do you do when the muse deserts you? If you couldn't make art anymore, what would you do?Tell 'em what they want to know. Even you might find that your artist statement makes for more interesting reading."

You can read the entire email here. It is full of great stuff....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Today's Painting

It is a nasty weather day to shoot, but this is very close other than the glare. Man, I am loving this.....
I took an oil painting class a few years ago because I had such trepidation about the medium, so I thought jumping right in would help. It was a typical beginner class with still life set ups weekly. One set up was a coffee cup on a fancy cloth and by the end on the painting I had added a handful of my own imaginings. My instructor looked casually over my shoulder and said "You are lying there" because I wasn't copying the reality of the still life.
I really love to "lie" in my paintings. Much more fun. And I am really lying in this one.

Norman Rockwell Exhibit

Morris Shapiro, director of Park West Gallery posted a really interesting and insightful blog post about the current Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Art. This is his response to a less than favorable review of the show by a critic (What a shocker. An art critic that doesn't like Rockwell.)

I give a hearty amen to Mr. Shapiro.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mystery Animal

So the animal from my dream is taking form. The photo is a tight close up. I have defined some of the head but have mostly focused on getting that super realistic eye which is in some sort of "tube" and seems to be like a goat's eye. This sort of painting is pure joy to is all from the inside.

I suddenly became overwhelmed by the huge amount of work I have to do before Artomatic not only to get the space ready but also to get the paintings ready. Several are unframed, unsigned and/or unvarnished. They are all in various stages of drying, so I had to go back through my records to determine when exactly each one can be varnished. I also went back through my narratives as we have an idea to put them right under each painting directly on the wall. So....lots to do. I may have to give myself permission to set new work aside for we install.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I had a dream about an animal that I have never seen before. I am going to try to recreate it in a painting relying solely on the dream. There are animals in every dream I have, but this one is clearly not seen in waking life. I rely heavily on reference photos in my work, so this will be a departure from my normal way of working. It will either be impossible, crap or be wonderful....if I can step away from my left brain a bit..move to the right, it just might come together.
(And I will add that I feel like the animal has of something to do with Soju and Etha....)


Saturday we went down to M Street to pick a space for Artomatic. The raw building backs up to National's Park and is really close to Capitol Hill making it a great location for the event. After orientation we went up to the third floor where I chose a 12' x 8' wall that faces the park and has plenty of natural light during the day. We will need to putty, prime and paint over the next few weeks to prepare for hanging. The third floor also has the singer/songwriter stage and a lounge.
With eight floors of artwork, it may be inevitable that a few small works disappear without some sort of secure hanging. I heard a few artist's works walked out the door last year, so I found and bought a bunch of T-lock security hangers. This has been my main concern, so I feel better about having the work there with the hangers.

I will be posting photos with each transition of the space over the coming weeks and through the event.

Artomatic 2009 building.

My wall. Pretty raw, so I have plenty of work to do....I do have a ready made lighting beam.

Looking to th right of the wall.

180 degrees, facing ballpark.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Another artist found me in space and invited me to become part of the BlueCanvas community. Many of the art sites I am on don;t seem to be very active, but since registering last night I have received numerous comments and made connections with other artists. So, my artist friends, check out BlueCanvas.

I don't feel like I got a lot done today and my product-bent left brain it firing. I worked on a few backgrounds and pushed paint around, but nothing really is coming to the surface yet. I have to constantly remind myself to go with the process, that this process has steps and that each step is not the same, may be unlevel, lead to a long flat surface....or grade quickly.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to work

After being away from the easel for a week, I find myself eager to return but with trepidation and frustration over not being quite ready to begin a new painting. This stag painting is still unfinished and I want to get on to narrowing down all the scraps of notes into cohesive images for new work. I have felt rather down and highly critical of my work over the last few weeks. I understand well the valley after completing well-done painting mountain experience.

Craig returns from a two week trip to Kansas City tomorrow and it is off to the Artomatic site Saturday to get my assigned wall. Here are a few photos of the building and the partitions being built.

Photos by Jennifer Beinhacker

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's that Painting?

Abstract art in its different forms is a bit of an anomaly to me. I have decided to try to understand it better and in order to do that I have to understand the artists. I do appreciate the internal origins of abstract art and in fact put more value on it than the ability to copy what one sees. I cannot have any interest in hyper-realism or photo realism beyond an appreciation for technique and technique is not art. But this internal world, what is coming out of the artist is an endless fascination.

A few months ago we made another trip into the district to visit the National Gallery of Art which houses Jackson Pollock's "Number 1, 195o (Lavender Mist)." I went mostly to get my Van Gogh fix and to look at Rothko's work which I posted about earlier. I took a photo of Craig in front of Pollock's painting and reminded myself to put the movie "Pollock" in my Netflix que and finally received and watched it this weekend.

I can say I have a greater understanding and sympathy for Pollock and his work after seeing the movie which is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga." On You Tube I found a clip of a movie made in the 50's of the artist working and below were at least 1oo comments marking every spot on the spectrum of opinions. Not much has changed. His work is still as controversial as it was in his time. Sometimes it seems the more ugly and hateful a critic is about an artist the more it appears that they are only jealous of the success and recognition of that artist. I can totally see right through that sort of criticism aimed at Pollock even to this day.

In thinking about the drip paintings, whether they are a mindless and reckless slinging of paint or carefully thought out paintings is up for debate, but one thing is for certain, they are original. Jackson was in the right place, at the right time in the culture with an original idea. Note that any artist who would paint that way now would be considered as copying Pollock because it was a style uniquely his. I think this is worth something. It cannot be repeated.

It is interesting to me that the drip paintings, or "action paintings", only encompass a portion of his work. Both his early and late works incorporated the figure and I suppose not many would recognize these works. I decided to post an earlier painting of Pollock's for this week's "What's that Painting." It is still abstract, but not of the drip period and thus probably relatively overlooked.

"The She-Wolf", 1943, Oil, Gouche, and Plaster on Canvas


Thursday, April 16, 2009


Music is such a vital component to my creative work. The music of Austin band Shearwater has birthed such an epiphany over the last several months that I feel I need to give them a shout out for the measureless creative influence they have had in my painting.

Art House Co-op...and Nee

Art House Co-op Gallery in Atlanta has sent out the call for "A Million Little Pictures." 1000 cameras are sent out by request all over the world for participants to document their lives in 24 frames. An exhibit of the work will be held in Atlanta at the gallery and also in the city with the most participants. I love the projects the co-op holds. It really is an ingenious idea to get everyone involved and get their artist on.

I am participating in the co-ops "The Canvas Project" this year. Having received 5 tiny canvases and five words, I must paint a picture based on those words, and may the Lord help me, because my words are:


.....any help would be greatly coveted and eagerly received.......

"Nee" is completed, but I will have to wait until the morning sun to photograph her. I learned over the last few days that swallows turn into creeping plants with tiny flowers as they die...Apparently, they also are of great use during a conflict since they are almost completely indestructable and will certainly destroy anything they fly into. Unless they are hurled by a Rook into rock as was the story with our Nee.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bad doggy manners

Reuben James has a bad habit of doing this when I am watching a movie rather than paying attention to him. Pretty cute, though. It is hard to correct him. And he hardly EVER barks, so this is a rarity.


I ran over the the grocery store for a few things and tore off my receipt along with the sales receipt left behind from the person before me. Gave me a laugh. Damn those impulse racks at the checkout! A healthy snack can get ruined in an instant. Or maybe they thought the cantelope made up for the gross nutritional imbalance......

Question for your input.....

Why is it that one can be a terrible singer with no talent for singing but it seems impossible these days for one to be a terrible artist with no talent for art?
Not everyone can be a singer but it seems that anyone can be an artist.
I am not trying to cause division or attack anyone, I just would like to know other's thoughts about this question.
Thoughts anyone? Let's have a dialogue.

Today's Painting: "Nee"

I feel really focused today and very pleased with the way this painting is coming together.
I am having a hard time moving on the another one. I usually rotate paintings on the easel because I get a little tired, even bored. I have maintained a huge amount of momentum on this one. I have a goal of getting it completed by Friday, though there is a lot of detail work to be dome on that left wing. I noticed a few days ago the swallows have returned to our breezeway. I was "scalped" by one yesterday. Their arrival is an event I always look forward to since they have taught me some very valuable lessons concerning determination and commitment.

As I said before Nee is one of a kind. Of what kind she is, I am uncertain.

My dear friend Janie is coming for a visit in a few days. She is a singer/songwriter from Atlanta and is currently working on her second CD. You can check out her music here. Give her a shout.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today's Painting...not

After breakfast with a friend at Ikea, I bought a love seat from Ikea. Everything from Ikea has to be put together, so my painting day ended up a putting-together-furniture day. But then the bookcases had to be moved so the piece could fit in the studio which meant all the books had to be, 5:30 in the evening and no painting today. When I get going on a project, you can be darn certain it is getting done the same day.
Anyone but me? Anyone?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Painting and Goats

Sometimes I feel pretty out of sorts when I return from visiting family if there is a fair amount of drama and strain. This was one of those trips. We all have them.

A bit off and down today, so I really have just messed around today. I did finally upload "Pen" to the website, re shot a few small paintings and updated my painting records. I am a little behind on my narratives, so I plan to get back to those and "Nee" as a priority in the next few days.

My dad has a small farm and I always enjoy visiting with the animals while I am there. I took a few photos of the goats.

This is Dexter, Big Daddy.

Momma and one of the new babies. She had two not long ago as seen here with my sister, Sarah (photo by Katie):

Monday, April 06, 2009

Painting of Nee

My trip has been postponed until Tuesday, so a little time to paint today.

Last night, I was thinking a lot about the swallow painting in progress. It was revealed that her name is Nee. She dies during the Spring Revolt and the scene is that of her death. So, far this is all I can see. I do not think she is a "normal" bird, but I am uncertain of what that means yet. This one is "unfolding" like many of the paintings do.

Off to pack, now and I am on my way out in the morning.

What's that Painting?

Japanese artist Matazo Kayama's work from 1961 made of gouache, metallic gouache, and opaque white on dyed paper mounted on paperboard also resides at the Smithsonian.
I love this painting.
I find the history of Japanese painting or "Nihon-ga", to be an overwhelming subject since it begins as early as 300 B.C. and there is a wealth of recorded information for each period. I believe his work is most strongly associated with the 17th century decorative screen tradition called "Rimpa." He is probably considered the most important Japanese artist of the 2oth century. Matazo Kayama was born in 1921 and died in 2004.
In 1990, he painted an art car for BMW. You can see a video here which shows some of his techniques. It is in German.
Please comment and add any info you might have about anything in this post.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Craig talked me into going to the Cherry Blossom Festival today. It is probably the most packed you will ever see Washington D.C. every year People come form all over the world to see the almost 100 year old cherry blossom trees around the tidal basin at their peak bloom.

Being a true introvert, I loathe huge crowds. My husband is a huge extrovert, so this paired with a historical and cultural event is right up his alley. Needless to say I couldn't take more than about an hour of shuffling around the basin walk with thousands of people all there to look at trees. It is all too much for me.

I am off to Virginia Beach for the next week to visit family. My brother in law, my younger sister's husband, is returning from Iraq any day now from deployment two and my older sister and her kids are going up from Atlanta. An all around family affair. Hopefully, I can handle the "crowd."

Happy artworking to you all, my friends. I look forward to seeing what you have made.

Craig took this lovely photo today. That is the Jefferson Memorial across the water.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Today's Painting

I am not sure where this is going yet, but it is going. It will be a scene from the Spring Revolt. I am doubting my aforementioned distorted isn't going anywhere. So I focused exclusively on this today.

When I start to feel that hyper critical spirit of my work, I know my perfectionist and idealist tendencies are coming to the surface. I am really struggling with those traits today and had a difficult time facing the work this morning. I usually take a good look first thing in the morning at the previous day's painting. I really avoided doing that this morning. Went to CVS instead.

When I am in that negative head space, watching a movie while painting helps me to quiet down. I got through "The Fellowship of the Ring and halfway through "Two Towers" today while painting. Paul Dorrell said something like, "After all, we are only making art. We aren't ending world poverty." This is a good reminder when I begin to take myself way too seriously.
I think I need a comedy tonight. Oh!... but it IS "The Office" night. Maybe some "Flight of the Conchords," too.

"A Man Named Pearl"

Documentaries are my favorite genre of film. I recently came across "A Man Named Pearl", a film about artist Pearl Fryar.
Have a look at the trailer and be in awe today:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Craig found this site called Museum of Bad Art or MOBA. I am generally of the belief that the value of a work of art is in the eye of the beholder but, once I looked at the site....well, it really is the museum of bad art.

Good work today, but slow. Quality, not much quantity. I am rotating three paintings. It's a rainy, cold day; I hit the wall at 3:30 and took a nap. My front end of the last several nights have been spent thinking and chewing on my paintings until I fall asleep and then each time I wake up over the course of the night, my mind is already there like it kept going while I was asleep. Hence, it all caught up with me today.