Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Road Less Traveled

12x12 oil on panel

Rather a philosophical title. The Road Not Taken is a favorite poem of mine. That and Stopping by a Snowy Wood... but that wasn't so fitting for this scene.

My husband really loved the previous version I did of this horse and rider. But he wished it was a sunny scene. So, I made it so. The result reminds me of a colorized black and white photo. It has rather an unreal quality. On one hand, that is cool, and on the other, its unnatural.

I've forgotten to tell you all about the place these paintings are drawn from. It is the Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas. If you remember, we went there just over a year ago during spring break. I had done some sketches which I posted here at that time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rider Approaching

12x12 oil on panel

Continuing my theme here with riders and cowboys. I wonder if one of my galleries will want any of these? Ah well... I'm enjoying myself.

I thought I'd update you about my husband's health. We did finally get a diagnosis - CIDP, though we don't know if the (C) is for sure (chronic) until it happens again. What it is is an autoimmune disease where the myelin sheath that protects your nerves are being attacked. The treatment, which he begins tomorrow, is IViG (immunoglobin) which hopefully turns off, or gets rid of the bad antibodies. Its all a bit more complicated than this, but this isn't the time/place for lengthy medical analysis. We are hopeful that the infusions will help and he will soon feel better. He has two in a row this week, and then we wait and do another session in two weeks, and so on. Thank you to all who have expressed your concerns!

Passion for Painting Blog Award

I thought I had better thank some fellow artists who have been so kind as to mark my blog as one they find inspiring. I'm rather behind on these things... so I'm sorry if I have not responded sooner. Most recently, the very talented Sally Tharp and Dale Blodget tagged me.

I can't say enough about the blog world of art. I am so happy to have made so many friends around the world - its wonderful to be able to connect about our passions, to share ideas or frustrations, to get inspiration and to challenge one another to do more.

As part of this award I am to list 7 things I love and tag 7 other artists for this award.

1. I love artist blogs and can spend a lot of time linking from one site to others and just seeing what I find.
2. I love my family. And my dog. I couldn't be half so productive or good a person without them.
3. I love ETSY! I am routinely blown away by the creativity.
4. I love music - most all types and hearing it live.
5. I love peeking in on my daughter when she is asleep.
6. I love the beach.
7. I love the smell of oil paint.

Now some artist's blogs who really make me happy.
1. Robert Joyner
2. Keiko Tanabe
3. John Fraissinet
4. Kathleen McElwaine
5. Sherrie Russ Levine
6. Laurel Daniel
7. David Lloyd

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weather Beaten

14x18 oil on linen

I really wanted to capture the effects of our Texas sun here. Not just in the glare of the barn yard, but in the worn and weathered look of the woodwork, the baked earth and the cowboy's features. I had a lot of fun with this painting. I think that painting something I would not normally pick was a good excuse to push myself and to take some risks. I put in heavy thick strokes of pure white, left the intense blue in the shadow and had it bouncing in other areas and I put my focal point rather far left in the painting. I like it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trail Boss

30x36 oil on canvas

I really have no idea what came over me today. I painted two small paintings of dogs then began to look through my photos for more. I came across some ranch dogs. And the ranch horses. And the next thing I knew I wanted to paint a large horse. Talk about something completely different. I have always loved horses and spent most of my youth doing anything I could to be around them. I had a nice looking chestnut quarter horse like this. Actually, Tasha was bigger and less elegant looking. Horse and rider are on the trails out in Bandera on a crisp March morning.

Framing Ideas

I have had a couple of multi-panel frames created by Mountain's Edge Frames and love the look of the paintings grouped together as well as the craftsmanship of the frames. I saw on their website a really great idea... some of Edward Gordon's daily paintings framed all together. If you are a collector of daily paintings and want a beautiful way to display them, this is amazing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Les Deux Gamins

12x12 oil on panel

This painting has been MIA for awhile, being repped by Debbie Wells in Georgia. The gallery I had there was sold and changed direction, but Debbie and I worked together awhile longer. And I owe her many thanks!
This and some other work came back to me last week, and today I am packaging up to ship to -- drum roll please -- Loretta Goodwin Gallery in Birmingham. Check out the gallery and you will see most of my favorite artists are represented there. I can't tell you how excited I am. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me - for all your feedback and encouragement. I hope to just create better and better art and now have some wonderful outlets to get that work to you.
While my work is on the up, there is no news on my husband's condition yet. Every time the phone rings my heart starts pounding. I hope we have an answer soon and then I can fill you in. Have a wonder-filled weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Second Choice

9x8 oil on paper

This is another version I played around with for the shoe subject. I distorted the photo image and rather liked the look and decided to paint from it. I love that its been reduced to just a few colors and shapes. Its interesting that it communicates what is going on, with very little detail. It was a lot of fun to experiment. Both paintings are available in my ETSY store.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge Paintings

10x8 oil on paper board

Our challenge was to paint our favorite pair of shoes. Now, if you read this blog, you know I like shoes - a LOT! So deciding
which to paint was a challenge in itself. My favorite type of shoe is a sandal, so I pulled out a couple and then saw my bright red loafers which I adore! I dropped them all on the floor and preceded to set up a photo shoot using the timer on my camera. I am not a very good model, but luckily this required very little skill.

I played around with my painting technique a little too to really challenge myself. This is painted on a "cardboard-like" material and I used heavy black lines around my objects.

Now - lets enjoy what some of my fellow artists created with this month's theme. I love the creativity of this group and its a surprise for me every month to see what they each come up with for our subject.

Shoo Fly
10x8 oil on panel
(c) 2009 Vicki Ross

Red Slippers
6x6 pastel on Canson paper
(c) 2009 Mike Beeman

The Red Shoes
12x12 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Marie Fox

Knights in Pink Satin
7x5 oil on panel
(c) Diana Moses Botkin

Red Silk Espadrilles
11x14 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Silvina Day

Baby Shoes
6x6 oil on board
(c) 2009 Michael Naples

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pier Surfing at Galveston

10x10 oil on panel

Hopefully this looks a little like California because that is where its going. It doesn't resemble Galveston anymore since the piers were wiped away by hurricane Ike. From what I have heard, the damage was great and the recovery slow. Keep your good thoughts going that way.

Tomorrow is the day we post our Monthly Challenge Group painting. I just finished mine but can't show you yet! It was a fun challenge which pushed me in several ways.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Skimboarders at Siesta

12x16 oil on panel

Another scene that brings me joy. The boys of summer. It will be available at Edward Montgomery Fine Art next week.

Tonight I am going to attend the opening banquet for the Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio. The show opens tomorrow and hangs until May 1. Its an exceptional show, at an exceptional gallery and I'm looking forward to the evening being surrounded by art and artists. Maybe I will get to meet Daniel Greene also.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Double Dog Dare

oil on panel

What fun! Fun to paint and fun to remember the scene. You can almost hear them taunting and goading each other. These two were on Siesta Key beach practicing with their skimboard.

This painting is going to Carmel By The Sea, California. I am really excited to share the news that I am joining Edward Montgomery Fine Art Gallery. My paintings should be there early next week. I wish I could go with them. Soon!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Docent Tour

20x20 oil on linen

I am not sure this painting is "right" so I thought I'd share it and get some feedback. Please give me your honest critique!

I am having such doubts of late. But thank you all for your wonderful comments and support. There is nothing like a support group to let me know my doubts are natural and expected. And given that my day was spent in research, talking to insurance advisers and taking my husband for more blood work, I have not had much time to think in the right brain.
The main thing I love about this painting is Mary Cassatt's painting "Little Girl in a Blue Armchair" and I will no doubt put it in a few more paintings in the future. Her relaxed pose makes me feel more relaxed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Deep Thoughts

On Friday, when I cleaned up my brushes and stood back from my easel, I like what I painted, but I had this sensation that it was just "fluff."
It was a museum scene and I like it, and its well painted, but I began to have doubts that it was "art." Doubts perhaps that I am not "pushing" myself.
Those doubts rather increased through the afternoon and I think some of that had to do with the fact that I spent a couple of hours with my husband at the neurologist again. His troubles seem to be increasing and there are doubts now about the toxin diagnosis. Things certainly get put into perspective fast when your loved ones are ill or unhappy. He is in for more tests early next week.

So I think I began to feel like my painting was a nice outlet, and healthy for my mental state, but is it all so important? NOW... before I start sounding like I'm having a big pity party let me go on to say that I've been reading this nice little book simply called The Impressionists (Art in Detail, by Diana Newall) and I began to reflect on the work the impressionists did. Most notably they documented scenes of ordinary life and people. They were perhaps groundbreaking at the time, but they were not trying to set the world on fire. They simply wanted to paint what they knew, what they experienced and understood first-hand.

And that made me feel so much better. I, too, like to paint what is familiar to me. And the reasons are that it is comforting. I paint the places I like to be, the things I like to experience and share. So in times of worry and doubt, I love nothing more than to sit in a quiet corner of a coffee shop, or browse for a good book, or to get together with friends for a nice dinner - to be part of the world, to be "out there." But then to work at home alone in my studio and recreate those moments of relaxation and togetherness is a gift. And its that which makes me want to paint these common scenes, and that which I hope carries forward to those who buy my work and want to look at it everyday in their homes. There is comfort in the familiar.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Night Owls

20x10 oil on linen

I have been painting away, just not posting. I wanted to finally check in with my blog friends though and let you know that I am still here.

There has been a lot going on at my house lately. I have been painting a lot, getting ready to send work to another new gallery. More on that to come. ;-)
When not painting, I am never still - having to pick up more than my "share" because my husband has been suffering some bizarre condition which we've narrowed down to chemical poisoning. Its really rather a nightmare, so take note: BE CAREFUL when using any kind of solvents, stains, paints, etc. Watch out for those neurotoxins. They are bad news. Its going to be anywhere from 6-18 mos. for my husband's nervous system to return to normal (looking on the bright side) all from using a solvent to clean his car for a short while.
This is an important reminder too for all the artists out there. Remember to work in a well-ventilated space and choose low voc cleaners. A good substitute for mineral spirits/turps is walnut oil, but I use Gamsol currently out of sheer laziness. I wear gloves though and I do not use any colors with heavy metals in them (no cads, no lead, etc.) I've found substitutes for those colors. The toxins in such can build up in your system over time too and since I want to be painting for many years, I make my environment as healthy as I can.

My plan is to get back to some small paintings after I get this round of gallery paintings completed. If I finish that up, I will be set through the summer with the galleries I think. Added up, I have quite a few works out there waiting for the right home! Its rather amazing to think I've created so many these past months. Some I've absolutely loved and already miss. But I can't keep them all.
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