Friday, May 28, 2010

Summertime is here! We have been picking beans from the garden, blackberries for cobbler, planting more flowers in the garden and preparing new planting beds...oh, and taking photos in the garden for possible reference. Deluged by all the craziness of Spring, I have cleared some clutter in the studio, prepared umpteen panels for painting, planted, nurtured, and generally created a more serene space in my life.
I finished the self-portrait I began on my visit to Susan Carlin http://www.susancarlin.com/ in San Antonio. The reference photo was taken by her charming friend Ugur, who skillfully captured a great reference in one shot, and was delightful company as we painted. Ugur is a highly skilled Graphic Designer and Photographer. Thank you Ugur! The photo is priceless to me.
Yesterday, I put finishing touches on 4 paintings that have been sitting around the studio, and totally reworked another. I framed, tagged, inventoried and prepared them for exhibiting at The ART Lounge Gallery for the month of June. It was a very productive day.
I think I need more frames! Ha!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finished today........maybe. You know how it is...........

Monday, May 24, 2010



Although the studio clean up is not TOTALLY what I want, I can't stand not painting any longer. I have ideas churning around in my head, and have got to start working with them. My intention is to begin a new piece, and work on some unfinished business..... Paintings which have been sitting around in the ugly stage need to be worked on and finished or tossed and begun again. That is always a tough decision for me. That is why I needed the time to clean up and develop a plan of action.
We had a yard sale recently and some of my studio clean-up included old painting props I no longer intend to use. You know how that goes.....get rid of it, then you plan a painting and that's the ONE element you need! Well, I will just have to live with that. I could no longer live with the clutter. Oh, I still have clutter, it's just more easily contained now.
Mike and I will probably head out one day this week for a photo op. You just can't have too many reference photos! One day soon I would like to do some still life set-ups outside on the patio. I think it will be a challenge to get the set-ups done in natural light. Previously, I have always set up my still lifes in a box arrangement with a spotlight on them. I want something fresher this time. I will just have to see how that works out and let you know.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

I have kept a closely guarded secret for months, and now, am able to reveal it...

This is my painting to be used as the cover art for a new historical novel, which released this month to book stores and online sales venues. Ambassador International Publishing's best-selling inspirational fiction series by award-winning author, Ruth Carmichael Ellinger is releasing its third novel in the Wildrose series. "Sword of the Wild Rose" will be distributed to international markets, as well as in the United States.

Our collaboration began when Ruth, a local author, attended a function at Center Place Arts and Civic Assn. in Brandon, Fl. in December. I had a display of my artwork, titled "The Masters as Teachers" on exhibit in Mook Gallery there. Impressed by the subject matter and painting style of the oil paintings, and discouraged by the prevalent use of graphic art designers and their inability to visually capture her ideas, Ruth contacted me with the suggestion of creating the book cover she envisioned.

Delighted with the project, I used the text of the manuscript as my primary inspiration for the painting. I also drew upon my research into vintage period clothing, as well as the Davidson family history and colonial historical references in compiling the piece.

I painted two oil sketch drafts, depicting elements designed to capture the heart of the story. From among these, we chose the strongest visuals and worked out their placement. These decisions made, I then worked at capturing the essence of the story in pictorial form.

I am pretty sure I don't have to say...........I was ecstatically happy to work on this project! I am even happier still, that I was able to keep the secret from Mike until I could put the book in his hand! Ha! :)



Sunday, May 9, 2010

"ART After Dark" at The ART Lounge Gallery, held monthly on the second Saturday, although always an enjoyable event spent with colleagues, friends and art-lovers in general, held a bonus for me.
Cheryl Kuck, correspondent for the Tampa Tribune, and a wonderful artist herself, and her husband Walter attended the event. Cheryl's success as a gallery owner and art columnist are well known in the area. Although I hadn't had an opportunity to speak to her for some time, Saturday we had a delightful conversation about art and artists in general, and, as always, I found her well informed, educated, perceptive, and enlightening. She really struck me with a comment she made concerning artistic growth. To paraphrase, she said, "Sometimes an artist has a great idea......and has the same idea for twenty years..."
That immediately brought to mind, visions of several contemporary artists, whom I greatly admire, whose bodies of work, for the last few years, all looks the same.....same figure, same model, same color palette, same textures........same, same, same... Some of these artists' work is extremely lovely, and I hadn't previously thought about "sameness" so much as "style" when viewing their work, until now. It was in the midst of that conversation, that I realized that although their artwork was beautifully and well executed, the artists themselves had ceased to grow.
Maybe they had found a safety zone from which they were not willing to venture forth. Perhaps, the monetary gain or the recognition of style was too flattering to resist. So, now, my thoughts revolve around this question: have they sacrificed a large portion of originality, creativity and artistic growth for the sake of the coveted "style" with which most artists seem to be so concerned? I don't know the answer. I am still very much in an evolution myself, when it comes to my own direction, learning and "style". I can guarantee this about myself; I will never view that often elusive and frustratingly difficult to achieve "artistic style" with the same awe and yearning as I had previously.
Anyway, wherever this process leads me, I hope to always keep Cheryl's seed planted firmly in my conscious mind as I make my artistic choices, and I hope never to cease to grow in technique, "style", and especially ideas. Thanks Cheryl!


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