Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What would your Portrait look like?

I am in one of those periods when my neck and upper back are giving me fits. It seems like I am stuck at the moment with ice and rest helping very little. Certainly painting and what I am doing at the moment are not contributing to healing. Very frustrating.

In the 2003 documentary "Living With Michael Jackson", which has been reaired lately, I recall seeing an intriguing painting. I know MJ loved and collected art, but he also had a number of portraits painted. I was unable to find the one in the film, but did find these two fascinating paintings. All I can say is what a complicated soul.
If you had endless cash, what would a your portrait look like? Who would paint it (living or dead, for fun), what style, what setting? Give me the details.
David Nordahl
Poem: "I am the thinker, the thinking, the thought, I am the seeker, the seeking, the sought, I am the dewdrop, the sunshine, the storm, I am the phenomenon, the field, the form, I am the desert, the ocean, the sky, I am the Primeval Self, in you and I."

Norman Oak, 1995

Monday, June 29, 2009

On the Easel: Phobetor

It is really difficult to photograph these dark paintings in various stages. I am afraid to take it out to shoot because it freaks out my neighbors. The paintings, I mean. Not for everyone, I get it, people.

But I am really excited about where this is going and you can get the general gist from a less than optimal image. Looking for moths now, that will be emerging from the cocoons.....is it synergy, or something more sinister?

Artomatic Saturday

We finally had the opportunity to go to Artomatic as patrons on Saturday. Friends Chris and Kari Mercer, with Sophie and unnamed baby number two, joined us for lunch and a few hours to view the artwork. I think the only floor we haven't visited yet is the ninth.

A few stand outs are Joseph Hale and Michael Boone (hit the "paintings" links.) In particular Hale's artist statement resonates with me. He has only one large painting in his space that I keep returning to look at each time I am at AOM. Unfortunately, it isn't on his website.

On a light note, here is one artist's display with a spin on China's terra-cotta warriors:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Andrew Wyeth and Michael Jackson

I have read the biography "Andrew Wyeth, a Secret Life" (Richard Meryman) three times and have revisited passages since his death at 91 this past January. While keeping an eye on CNN and Fox coverage of Michael Jackson yesterday afternoon, I remembered that the two had met in 1985 and that Meryman recounts the story in his book.

Jackson sent word to Wyeth that he wanted to have his portrait painted. When Wyeth's entourage of dealers and agents heard of the possible portrait, they were thrilled at the idea of the millions that would be made from the painting and subsequent reproductions. Andrew refers to them "like mafia" who used him for money and didn't care about him at all. And, of course, they all wanted to be photographed with Jackson who apparently had an entourage of his own.

The two artists met at the Brandywine River Museum where they looked at Andrews paintings and talked.
Andy states," I found him a very sweet, sensitive person, very nice, very intelligent."
At some point a man from Jackson's entourage marched in the stated that Michael had ten more minutes and then they were leaving.
Andy goes on to say, "We had a real thing going between us and then these shits got into it. The poor guy was owned by these people. I felt sorry for him. God help any artist that gets caught up in that."
Though he felt a real connection to Michael, Andrew bowed out of the project saying, "Imagine me painting with those guards standing there."

So, we have no amazing portrait of Michael Jackson by Andrew Wyeth, two great artists who sadly now are both gone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today's Paintng: From a Dream

Back to the painting from a dream I had. I have had this one on the shelf for weeks. This is what painting and creativity are about as far as I am concerned. No set up, not photos...just wide open. There are an infinite number of little details I can add. Today, it was little veins in the nose/blowhole, a sort of plant tendrill/nerve from the eye.....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Today's Painting

No story, no clues yet.....just an beautiful, snowy white bird. I am waiting expectantly for some information.
Tammy Vitale gave me a shout out, along with nine other artists at AOM, on Lenny Campello's blog. Humbled, again.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Have Been Brashed

A veteran Artomatic artist asked me a few weeks ago if I had been "brashed" yet. I hadn't heard of this and knew nothing about what it might be. She explained to me that there is a poet who writes poems for the artists participating in Artomatic. It is a great honor to be Brashed. There is a fair amount of mystery surrounding her (or him?) and everyone is content to let it be so. When I went for my shift Saturday, there was my Brash poem. What an honor, indeed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Today's Painting

oil on masonite, 5 x 7
I neglected to mark the back of the photo and therefore have no idea what manner of bird of prey this is.....any thoughts anybody? Hard to tell not being about to see the entire body. Resembles a Tawny hawk, but I am not convinced.
Have a great weekend, all. Thank to everyone for all your comments and encouragements this week. Saturday morning, I am off for my second volunteer shift at Artomatic.

Artist Theo Jansen

I am quite fascinated by dutch artist Theo Jansen. He builds kinetic sculptures that are not only the work of a keen engineer, but also an artist with extraordinary sensitivity to the beauty of form. Be sure to go to the "film" section to see the animals walk.
Here is a TED talk he did explaining his work.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tammy Vitale Blog Interview

Fellow Artomatic artist Tammy Vitale is interviewing select artist from this year's show. You can read my interview here. It will be a quick read since I am, indeed, a woman of few words.

Tammy, who is a sculptress, has teamed up with Heather Bartlett to create "Body Politics", a collaborative work that addresses concepts of body image and thus opens a great dialogue about the issues surrounding how we see our physical selves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sculptor suicide

Sculptor Peter Farrow committed suicide yesterday in his gallery. I don't know much about the situation, but he was an accomplished artist living and working in Vermont. My elation about the days sale is quite tempered by this tragedy of yet another extinguished talent.

Delivery of "Pen"

This morning I delivered "Pen" to a collector. These wonderful people love art and are so excited about my work, I always end up visiting for awhile. They want to know every detail and take such a an interest in what I do. I feel so very grateful for people that feel so strongly about the work, like all my blog family, and the ones that can and must have a piece. Anni received her painting , "Guilty" this week as well and sent such a lovely and overwhelming response.

Over the last few years I have wondered about all the paintings I have created, and what their purpose is in the world. At times, as they piled up on walls, in closets and under beds, it seemed like they had no purpose at all. Once the work began to go more and more out into the world, I realized how important it is to my life for the paintings to "connect" with another person and what an opportunity I have to bless others in a such beautiful way.

"Pen's New Day Rising"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Today's Painting: Phobetor

I had the idea of these plant tentacles coming off of the body.....that one of these is holding the tarsier in place. Still plenty to do and some things to rework.....

Pen and the Infamous Baboon Painting

"Pen" goes to her new home in the morning, so I am preparing her to go today....
The infamous baboon painting that some of you have agonized over with me hangs in my bedroom incomplete. I believe in this painting, and have been waiting for the right time to go back to him. Yesterday, I put it on the easel and immediately got more information. Initially, I thought that the painting was a dream that another animal was watching...from her perspective. Now I know the dream is the baboon's. I realize I have to paint over most of the background in order to follow the next bit of information, so the meticulously painted birds will probably have to go.

Here is how it looks as of yesterday:

Let's see how it goes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Push and Pull

Monday. I feel sort of a slowing down, a pacing, coming on as we have worked hard to prepare for Artomatic and now move into the third week of the show. There has been so much energy expended between AOM, thinking about and painting for upcoming fall shows, naturally I am in a funky mood today. I don't want to paint. Today. I feel a need to take a few steps back. And I don't normally paint everyday, but am ALWAYS thinking about it in many facets, and often have trouble "turning off" from mulling over my painting.
Realizing that I have seriously neglected my home, I was glad to get into that the cleaning/organizing nut head space this weekend (which even that I do in a creative way...there is no escape!)
After a last minute coffee with a struggling friend, I ran off to the thrift store (Monday is 30% off day!)
I guess I should go paint, huh?...Maybe I need to organize my drawers......paint drawers. Does that count?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

He Bears Repeating....

I have posted about the brilliant Richard J. Bailey before and I am going to do it again. He illustrated and wrote a book called "The Needful Head" that has actually been made into a short film. Be amazed at this amazingness....(that is now a word!) We have become fast friends and saw him again last night at Meet the Artist Night at Artomatic where he showed me his sketchbook and a few pieces he is working on. OK, what is another word for "amazing?"...They are so creative and beautiful...I just don't have words. I do believe he has signed copes available if you are so inclined.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today's Painting: Luna Moth

Last night we took Reuben for a walk to the park across the street. We let him go mental on the field, which usually lasts about three minutes. The benefit of having a giant breed dog is that they are low energy, have only sparks of craziness and then are ready for bed.

While I was watching him do the crazy dog, I saw a white object on the ground and walked over to discover a luna moth. I am not sure if Reubs stepped in it or not, but it was in bad shape. It ma have just been at the end of life. How sad to see a creature so exquisitely beautiful and delicate missing a wing, nearly shredded on the ground. I brought him home and made a painting of him today. I was reminded of the tenderness of God that He could make such a fragile thing. He died sometime during the painting.

Luna moths only live for a week and their only purpose is to mate. They don't have a mouth so do not eat once in the moth stage. The one I found is a male, which have bushier antennae than the female.

Artomatic 2009 and ArtsDc.com

ArtsDc.com has made a great short film featuring some of the artwork at Artomatic 2009. My wall shows up at about a minute and sixteen seconds.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


After sitting in Panera for three hours this morning with my friend, Diana, I drove home thinking how vital it is that we are careful not to surround ourselves with people who mirror us. Diana and Greg have four kids that they home school. I have two cats and a ginormous dog. She is very conservative and politically minded, I am more moderate and politics make me sleepy. But we connect. I have learned that part of being an adult is to be OK with others being different from us and finding common ground.

Anyway, so back home I decided to work on my narratives, which I have woefully neglected in my painting frenzy.
New words for Nee, Pen, The Flowering Bull, and a short and to the point line for Liar.

Met to Exhibit "Torment of St Anthony"

It is fairly uncontested that "The Torment of St Anthony" is Michelangelo's earliest known painting. The painting, a copy of a Schongauer engraving, is among only a few easel paintings attributed to Michelangelo. Here is the story.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today' Painting

I worked mostly on the tarsier today. My eyes are burning from working so small with such detail. The paint needs to set a bit, so it is time to stop for the day. You can see some wet patches.... More layers tomorrow....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Today's Painting: Phobetor

I love when the eyes begin to have life. It is a moment that nothing compares to in painting. It is the moment of true inspiration. That word is perfectly defined by "to inflame" or "to breathe."

I feel painting by painting I am moving back to my surrealism roots, though it is happening slowly. I am in a constant battle with my left brain that wants to rationalize my ideas, to make them fit some sort of straight line of thinking, to categorize. I walk a line with the work, balancing the push and pull of each side of my self.

Meaning is vital, but when meaning becomes narrow, creativity is stifled.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Richard J. Bailey

For my first volunteer shift at Artomatic Saturday, I was able to be on the same floor that my work is on. I worked at the information table with the multi-talented, amazing Richard J. Bailey. Richard is a NYC artist who is making the transition to D.C. I felt an immediate connection with him and had a wonderful afternoon working together (well, mostly talking...and directing people to the bathrooms...) Please visit his fantastic work linked above. His Artomatic wall is the most creative use of space I have seen this year.

Thanks to all my friends for coming down to see me.....

my "brothers", Mike and Chris....

Friday, June 05, 2009

On the Easel: "Phobetor"

This is the beginning stage of "Phobetor." It was important to get the masses laid in before the weekend. That is a tarsier sitting on his head, sort of a beautifully creepy kind of asian monkey.

For those of you who need a brush up on your Greek myth, Phobetor is one of the the Oneiri, who were the sons of Hypnos, god of sleep. Phobetor, or Icelus, was the personification of animals in dreams.

I am off to my first voluneer shift at Artomatic tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone, And as always many thanks for your great encouragement and comments.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Today's Painting

After breakfast with a friend and running some errands, I really only had a few hours to paint today. These small paintings are done alla prima, and since I don't typically work in this manner, it is a nice way to hone in on technique exclusively.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Anna Webster posted about my work on her blog, Strange Proportions, with a link and humbling comment.
Thank you, Anna.....

And thanks to you all for your comments this morning on my earlier post. From my easel, I keep looking out of my third story window for a limping black figure anywhere in view....

Sad Morning....

Coming home from an errand this morning, I spotted a black dog next to the road. Doubling back, I hit my hazards and got out of the car. There was the saddest dirty, scrawny chow mix I may have ever seen. My vet-tech training began to surface automatically even though it has been years since practicing. Calling Craig at work he gave the the go-head to take him to the emergency hospital if I could somehow get him. My amazing husband said, "we will work out something to pay for it...a payment plan."

To my surprise, when I whistled, he came toward me and I assessed he had experienced a traumatic injury at some time, probably via car. He followed me at a distance as I walked back to my car, and he then kept walking. I hurried home, just yards away, to get a leash. I found him again in the wooded path behind our complex and again he came toward me when I whistled stopping just short of my hand. It was then that I realized I forgot to bring food, which is the most important offering to have if you are trying to rescue an animal. Stupid, Tracey! I tried anyway, but as soon as he heard the slightest sound of the chain, he hurried off. Calling him again, I walked back toward home. He really wanted to trust me but just couldn't bring himself to and walked off in the other direction. Defeated I walked home. With each step I became angrier, because I forgot the food and it was obvious by his reaction to the leash that someone had mistreated him. I could smell the food from the various restaurants across the street and wondered what it must be like for him to inhale those lovely odors and not be able to get to any of it.

Back home I put on my muck boots, grabbed a can of Reuben's Wellness and a fork and headed back to the woods. If I can't get him, at least his belly will be filled. Whistling as I went along, I circled three times, but he was gone. Back home I made the decision to report him to animal control. At least he MAY have chance if they pick him up, but I realize it is unlikely, just as it is unlikely he will survive on his own.

I cannot tell you all how heartbroken I am this morning over this dog. And angry. Because of lack of responsibility and respect for God's creation, a sickly, injured, terrified dog is wandering around waiting to get hit by a car or starve to death. I hope the officer can find him before it is too late.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Today's Painting

I have a lot of paintings I can work on today, and a few to start, but I wanted to get a little further with this one. I will start "Phobetor" tomorrow as I have had that painting in my mind for sometime. Now that Artomatic is up and running, time to get on making new work for the upcoming shows is November.