Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Because I have had so many inquiries about small 5" x 7" paintings on panel, there is now an official link on my website so those interested can find all the specifics in one place.

This has been a week of catching up with friends and updating my website. I did find time to work on the baboon and tamarin paintings yesterday and I am quite excited about the direction they are headed. I pick up the work from the Athenaeum on Sunday and it is nice to bring home a lot less than I dropped off. I hope to have a few paintings to add to those for the Caton Merchant show which opens on the 4th of February.

Being an artist who likes to introduce other artists, I leave you with Greg Simkins work today. For me, creativity coupled with technique is the one quality that attracts me to most art. Greg's work is really at the pinnacle of that mountain. Though I don't always connect with his work on an emotional level, I am blown out of the water each time I see one of his new paintings. As someone who works with narrative, I often wish he would share verbal bits of info along with his paintings. Coming from a graffiti background, for descriptive purposes, his work falls under the pop surrealistic category. I am sure your responses will sit along the spectrum, so let me have it.
And, uh, yes that is acrylic paint he uses. Amazing.

c. Greg "Craola" Simkins

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Christmas......

I am sure many of you got as much snow as we did over the last few days. Being socked in, I have had plenty of time to cook, which is really just a thinking exercise. As Christmas and the close of the year approach, I stand in my studio, thinking about the paintings created over 2009, wondering about how well I executed each, where I can improve and concocting new ideas in my mind. I plan to follow this frame of mind through New Year's Day. I have about five paintings in early stages, but, if you have known me long enough you have figured out I tend to start painting after painting as the ideas are just too big to sit on. They seem to carry with them birth pains and I can so nothing about it. They are coming to be. But I commit to finish those waiting as soon as I am back to the easel the first week of January. A New Years' resolution of sorts (...we know how those tend to work out....)

At the close of 2009, a grateful thanks to each of you for encouraging and challenging words, for supporting me in a myriad of ways in my life as a painter, a life I would not have without your presence.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a blessed New Year to each one of you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the easel...

I have about four of five painting that have been waiting to be addressed. This one is finally coming along and some new ideas are bubbling up....

commissioned painting
5" x 7 " oil on panel

(I have had many orders for these small paintings, so if you'd like to get in line for one, just email me.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Small paintings

The 5" x 7" paintings on panel are in high demand of late and I have been working on those commissioned pieces over the last week. I have sold four that hang in the Athenaeum show and have a few commissions in line. Although I really prefer to work on a larger surface, I can understand the attraction of the little paintings from a subject matter and price perspective. They really work well for small animals and have a very intimate feel. And $250 is a very reasonable price for a framed oil painting.

Hoping to have at least the baboon painting and maybe one new painting completed for the Caton Merchant Gallery show in February. We will have to see with the commissions and holiday travels.....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Women Artist

The interesting current letter from Robert Genn at the Painter's Keys.

"Dear Artist,

Last night I was giving a short talk and signing books at one of our local art clubs. I happened to notice no men were in the hall. The club has many male members, they assured me, but apparently they don't come out on rainy nights. Not to listen to me, anyway. I wasn't crestfallen--I was being sociologically informed. I've always noticed the 80/20 split in these organizations, but I knew the full-female thing was just around the corner. Anyway, it was a combined lecture and holiday-season windup, the shortbread was good, and no one asked me to dance.

If you don't mind, I'm going to lay some statistics on you. Of the 82 new people who signed up for the Twice-Weekly letter yesterday, 56 were women. That's 68%--which pretty well mirrors our current ratio of 67% women subscribers. Maybe this means females might be more willing to listen to males than males are. If true, one wonders what percentage of males is willing to listen to females.

Yesterday, among the people buying my new book on PayPal, 65% were women. Funnily, more men paid by check-in-the-mail than women. One might conclude women are what social scientists are now calling "early adopters."

Fact is, women are more into growth, self-improvement, networking and learning than men. In a recent UNESCO study, more women than men got university degrees in 75 of 98 countries. This goes for most professions with the exception of engineering, computer science and math. Some fields are being overwhelmed with women. The vet school in Guelph, Ontario, for example, reports 80% of current grads are women.

The fact that boys lag behind girls in school is well known and not peculiar to our times. Studies show that as early as grade nine girls crave learning more than boys. Apparently the boys are now lagging later and later. The new statistics might be alarming to some. Roles may be reversing. Are men going to be stay-at-home-daddies while the women go out into the world and slay dragons? Is breeding going to grind to a halt? Are women going to be all the doctors, lawyers and artists? And by the way, do men just not want to listen because they already know it all and need to get on with it?

Best regards,


PS: "It's not ridiculous to say women will have the upper hand in a way they haven't in the past." (Economist Ross Finnie, University of Ottawa)

Esoterica: The "demographic bomb," as it's being called, may have its short term benefits, but the longer picture is not so rosy, particularly for Western cultures. If women are busy building empires, where will the new customers be coming from? One more statistic and I'll shut up and get back to my easel: In my four top galleries it looks like 27% of living artists represented are women. Ten years ago it was 24%."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wright to Read Program Wednesday Night

We had seven Wright to Read kids and tutors (and friends) last night at the gallery to do some creative story writing about my paintings. This whole experience was new to me, but I worked really hard to step out of my comfort zone and in the end it was a really wonderful time. I hope to get copies of the stories they wrote soon so I can post them.

After an introduction, the kids spent time choosing a painting and then writing a story. We then had each one read there interpretation and I would read my narrative.

Children have a wonderful ability to see things as they really are. Some of the stories were very concrete, and some were very detailed with great sensitivity. I find many adults don't notice the slight nuances in my work, but most children do see the less obvious. Hearing the interpretations of kids is such an incredible experience because they SEE and see in a unique way. This way of seeing happens before the creativity is all but wrung out of us all by the time we are 13 or so. In some ways, it is sad to think that most probably they will lose that sense over the next five years. But I am glad to have a hand in encouraging the imaginative mind and with the help of the tutors and Twig, the gallery director, hopefully, there were seeds planted that will blossom into a creative life.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wright to Read program

Tonight, kids in the literacy program Wright to Read are coming to the Athenaeum gallery to hear me talk a bit about creativity and then choose one of my paintings in the exhibit to write a short story about. This is new territory for me, but I am really excited about interacting with kids and promoting the importance of creativity and imagination. And, of course, I am very interested in hearing the stories they create. I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow along with photos.

While cruising around Etsy yesterday, I stumbled across the most brilliant and beautiful sculptures by artist Robin VanValkenburgh. I cannot find much about her process, but I think she uses antique molds to make the sculptures. I have my eye on this one.

c. Robin VanValkenburgh
"Matilda Marrie"

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Today's Painting

This particular painting has been hanging around unfinished for a long time. It is one of the few paintings that I was wrong on for the original idea. Usually, a painting ends up almost exactly like the original vision. This one had at least four different transitions of idea and many, many countless hours of painting and repainting.

It also has been to source of hours of frustration, despair and doubt since I began so long ago. At least one thing I have learned from it is persistence in the presence of pain.

Having loved this baboon from the moment I saw him and I knew somewhere in that image was a character to be created and a story to unfold. The last few days he has become a beacon of creative energy. I am so grateful for that gift today.

Now....what would he sitting on?..........

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Self Portrait

The portrait. I keep thinking it is done (like the baboon painting....which, I worked on today) but I began to think about what it says about me...being a self portrait. My love for animals and the fact that they are the subjects of my painting coupled with my strong feelings concerning their welfare, I decided on baby mice. They are to me are the most helpless of creatures. Every dream I have has a animal in it and most usually the appearance is that of young or baby animals.

In my own life, I constantly walk a line of joy and pain, as I am sure many of you do. There are moments when we see the triumph of mercy, kindness and goodness, in my fellow humans and then there are great periods of darkness when it seems all the earth is filled up with the pain and misery we inflicted on our fellow creatures human and animal.

The weight of innocence lost or destroyed is a heavy, heavy one.

I painted in the mouse nest and then went back after meditating more and made the hole in the they are in the wall.