Monday, August 31, 2009

On the Easel

Usually, in my paintings you won't see any ground. I prefer the sense of ambiguity that is created without placement and the largeness and heaviness of feel the use of sky alone alludes to. I am unsure about the "ground" but it works. I just have to figure out the imaginary lighting. I like the weird feel of the sky. What seems funny to me now is that the tamarin does not look like a real animal. He looks like something out of children's illustration. Yet, the reference photo I am using looks like this. Overall, it is evolving into something special. My light is gone, so time to step away from it.


These questions are for everyone. Not just those who are artists. I think these are important questions we all should ask ourselves.

From a personal level, what is the ultimate goal of your work? Or why do you do whay you do?

What is the one thing that holds you back? What is that proverbial thorn in your side?

When you are stuck what do you do to "start again" or move toward your work again?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back on the Easel

This painting has been hanging around my studio for a long time. I have almost painted over it on numerous occasions when I was in immediate need of a canvas, but every time I look at it, I see something worthy of completion and I can't bring myself to let the image go. I sketched over it a bit today....I never liked the back on the body just sitting, I thought about water....or snow....or a field of tall somethings the tamarin is immersed in. I think he looks afraid...or somehow hopeful and expectant. Maybe that look, an expectancy to be completed, stays my hand. So, the more I look at it, the more I see. Again, often the paintings tell me what they want to say or be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On the Easel: The Landlord

A working title..... Yes, that is a hole in his forehead.

On the Easel...In progress

"Unikoi" get the picture...still some way to go on this one.

Fascinated for a lifetime with the myth of unicorns, their unfortunate watering down from a many-faceted animal to a cartoon horse with a spiral horn saddens me. In the world I have created there are unikoi. Clever, no?...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bad coffee and Temperament

We lost our internet connection last Friday, so I currently sit in Panera with a weak cup of coffee catching up on emails. A tech is supposed to come out and make it right Tuesday.

I took the Keirsey temperament test this weekend. I take it about once a year when I feel like I need to have someone confirm that it is OK to be me. I go through periods of feeling like I am so, so unlike most of the folks around me (I realize this is common in artists.) Sometimes, I feel alright with that and sometimes I don't. At the moment, I feel I have been trying to squeeze myself into a way of being that goes against my natural grain. I have a very structured, focused mother who is logical and a fairly black and white thinker. My father, who I did not grow up with, is very much an artistic temperament untapped. All of these qualities are good, but I think being like them both by gene, yet being raised by my mom, I often feel I have to work hard for that right brain way of being. Had I been raised with them both, I probably would have a more balanced access to it it is ok to BE an artist.
Even so, though I am an INFJ/P (J and P are always equal scores), I almost always come out fairly equally left and right brained on these tests...which if you think about it, may cause insanity in some folks. Hopefully, not in my case....although it can fee that way.

There is a side of me that kicks against structure, yet wants things to be structured, a part of me that hates schedules, yet feels the need to schedule......that sees things linearly, yet can see things from all angles....yep, so you see my dilemma.

My weak coffee is cold and I should pack up and go home to paint. Or maybe I can analyze this idea a little more.....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Painting

What is this beautiful thing that came out of my mind?? Finally complete.....I can't keep my eyes off of it....

A little better.....

This song has helped me so much in the last week with the depression I have been walking through. So much about what Cee-Lo conveys in the song I can relate to, and, each day, I do feel a little better. I hope it encourages you, as well.

Gnarls Barkley "A Little Better"

"Now I can sing you the storyline
And if you like my story fine
But ain't none of the glory mine
See my life was a lonely one
And I was still momma's only son
With no idea what I'm gon' become
And I didn't have long to know
That you don't have to be grown to go
I could have died so long before
Then I finally saw the sign
And I made it on down the line
One step at a time

I feel better!
I can smile at it now, I feel better
Ohhhh, better!
And even a little is still better
Oh, have mercy on me

Ohhh it's probably plain to see
That I got a whole lot of pain in me
And it will always remain in me
So cold, it's a cryin shame
Yet here I am, tryin again
Cause I refuse to die in vain
The circumstances put soul in me
And there ain't no holdin' me
I've got a heart made of gold in me
Hah, can you believe this is where I've been?
And when adversity comes again
I'll deal with it then

I feel better!
I can laugh at it now, I feel better,
Ohhhh, better!
And even a little is still better
Oh, have mercy on me

I said everything's fine, you can take your time
What would be on your mind, if you knew you was dyin
I would wanna just feel this one more time
I said everything's fine, take your time
What would be on your mind, if you knew you was dyin'
I would wanna just feel this one more time
I wanna thank you morning sun
I wanna thank you lowly dirt
Now I know I'm not the only one
I, I wanna thank you friendly ghost
When all the calls were close
It seems like you cared the most
I, I wanna thank you Mom and Dad
For hurtin me so bad
But you're the best I ever had
I, I wanna thank you.."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scam Alert

I had an attempted scam sent my way this past week and want to notify you of what happened since the person has visited my sites and may get to your sites via mine. Apparently, this is am ongoing scam.

I received an email from Note the odd english.

Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creatives works on your web site and i will like you to get back with more details if they are still available for purchase.
Diamond, Ringleader of the Spring Revolt and Not One Sparrow

I will appreciate an urgent reply.

Best Regards,

Here is the lowdown from Art News Blog. You can see this email added to the list toward the bottom.

New Painting

I haven't settled on a complete title yet, but it will have the phase "seeds of doubt" located somewhere within it. Any ideas are most welcome.

Finally, my first real newsletter goes out tonight.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Art and Depression 2

One of the greatest blessings of the Internet is the opportunity to connect with like-minded (and opposite-minded) people about our lives. When I opened my email yesterday and had so many responses to my post about depression, I felt so encouraged and more than that I felt connected to other artists who experience the same struggle confirming my strong belief in community. Knowing that across the world there are others in the game too, helps me immensely. Each one of you that commented offered priceless insight and I am so very grateful.

I had a scare with my beloved dog since returning from West Virginia which compounded the darkness for a short time, but he is cleared and well and, slowly, I feel the veil beginning to lift.
I am certain that we cannot empathize with those who have suffered without suffering and we cannot appreciate the mountain without the valley.

Having said all this:
Leslie, I am learning to embrace that gift of sadness, to sit with it and be OK knowing that God still has me. Your words mean so much... and yes, it makes complete sense.

Dean, you have been beautifully transparent with your own struggles since I have known you. I know we are comrades in this. I have often read your blog and said to myself "I know how he feels! I get that!" I have had a lot fo fantastic counseling, working through my family of origin issues, and for a time was on medication and both were a Godsend. I now experience this thing for much shorter periods and much less intensely, so I can tell you, as someone older, that it gets better when we get help.

Deb, thank you for the great insight. Like I said to Dean above, medication helped a lot as well as counseling... I agree and hear you that this is part of being an artist for many.

Peter, I so respect your work and willingness to put your hand up. I need the reminder that dark days do come to an end.

Cat, ahhh! Yes! And it has become more like a job with all three shows coming and carrying this weight to produce enough. I might have wondered over the last several months if this is really what I want. Thank you for that insight....

Sila, I don't even know how to respond to your beautiful comment. Yes, indeed, Christ knows exactly all about it and He allows it for His purpose and you know what? Against all human understanding, it is in these times that my faith is stengthened.

Janie, you and I have had many face to face (and long distance) talks about this. You remind me to give myself permission to fill the live a create life, and to look at my own "unspoken commandments" of being an artist, many of which are distorted. And to revisit and reassess those expectations.....

Have a fantastic weekend, all. Aiming to be back in the saddle Monday.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Art and Depression

Some people have tried to discourage me from being so transparent on my art blog, but I place a very high premium on authenticity. I feel we can make a deeper connection with others by being honest about our common struggles. My goal with the blog is not just to show off my art, but to process my life as an artist, as well.

I am experiencing a weird intense apathy coupled with feeling pretty depressed currently. Depression is like an old friend in my life and though her visits are less frequent as I get older, she still shows up and at times with a large suitcase.
I tend to over think things talking myself into a corner and wonder sometimes is I can afford to be a artist. Do I have the fortitude to do it for life and the drive to keep on? Is my work really valid? Sometimes, especially in dark moments, I think not. I hear artists say all the time that they love their craft and would do it all day every day if possible. I can't say the same. Painting can wear me out at times! Claude Monet said, "I am very depressed and deeply disgusted with painting. It is really a continual torture." I get that.

And trying to make a living at it can really be difficult unless you are bent that way, and though I feel I have come a long way on this, I still loathe it at times and wonder if anything will come of it. Honestly, on a rare occasion I wish I could go work a normal 9 to 5, have someone tell me what to do and get a weekly paycheck. See? I am in a weird place.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stendhal Syndrome

I heard a while ago about a psychosomatic illness called Stendhal Syndrome which apparently happens to people while they are looking at art. Very bizarre. Shows you how incredibly powerful images are....

Monday, August 10, 2009

West Virginia Trip.....

Wow, so the question is how to get back to work after four days in the West VA wilderness?? I am tired and sore today. I think Reuben has not moved since last night.

I do feel refreshed after immersing myself in river water and breathing in sweet mountain air. There is something about the fragrance of damp earth and all sorts of bushes and blooms mingled with some faint wild animal scent that makes me so full and contented. I have always sensed the presence of God in His creation and in quiet a place like we were, it is almost emotionally overwhelming.

You can see the photos here.

Reuben outside the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV making sure the hippies obey the sign...

I want to catch up with you all, so off I go to your respective blogs... looking forward to seeing what has been going with each of you......

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Home.... is hard to return home.....after this.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

West Virginia

Craig and I go to the beautiful Canaan Valley in West Virginia each year on our anniversary and we head out today to celebrate our 10Th. We have very generous friends who have a ski home there, which is what most people go there for, so it is fairly empty when we go in August. I woke up with a horrible sore throat yesterday, so hopefully I will be ready for a hike tomorrow.
I am so thrilled to be able to get back deep into the woods.

from our 2007 trip...Otter Creek Wilderness in the Monongahela Forest

I leave you all with this article one of four from Alyson Stanfield's brilliant blog:
The first of four steps to selling you art: Devote yourself completely to a studio practice
Talk to you all next week!

Monday, August 03, 2009


Why is it that often I read an artist statement and come away from it feeling like "what??" Why is that when I look at contemporary art and mostly feel I just have been exposed to an expression that exists solely for the purpose of uncovering self-mania, obsession, and often, perversion? (I am in no way speaking about art that addresses hard issues.)
Anyone but me? Can anyone explain?
Can anyone be an artist? Is art really in the eye of the beholder? What makes a piece of art last over generations?
I realize this is as old a question as "what in art...."