Friday, January 29, 2010

Study Hall

12x8 oil on linen

Thanks for all your well wishes. Maybe the good karma is working. I had more success today. It still wasn't coming easy, but then nothing worthwhile does. Or so we are told. Sometimes it does though.
Anyway- some of you brought a smile to my face and others made me laugh out loud. Like Dennis Dame who wrote that some panels are just "crash test dummies."
I liked his suggestion to not wipe it but to keep going. Perhaps I think things should come too easily!
I did start anew actually - twice - determined to make this scene work. And I am happy with my final results. I found inspiration in looking at Quang Ho's website. He's brilliant. I really want his videos. I don't recommend looking at too many other artist's work though when you are blocked. I find that I begin to loose my own voice and forget how to apply the paint in the way that comes natural to me.

The crash test is below. I had started to scrape it... but didn't. Might be a good reminder to sit around silently telling me "DON'T do it like this again!" There is just one spot I like... her leg/jeans. Strange, huh?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I have begun to post numerous times this week but ended up walking away every time. Much like my painting of late. I am really struggling now. Its all these extra things that get in the way of painting. Even when I do have the time, I can't seem to get into the spirit of it.

I struggled several hours this morning on a cafe scene. I hate it. But I'm not going to wipe it off. I am just so bummed now and out of time to figure out what it needs. Maybe fresh eyes tomorrow will help.
To let you know what is up I will just fill you in on the last few months. My daughter developed this habit of pulling her hair out. She is half bald, but has stopped pulling it at least. We're working hard on finding out the reasons why she started it and trying to reduce stress in general. Good luck with that. The new year isn't going so well for my husband at work and apparently the 50+ hours he was already doing wasn't enough so now we hardly see him. And as you might expect, he isn't the funnest person to be around when he is home. ;-)
I am starting menopause at 41. Is this too personal? Might explain some things, however. And my allergies have been awful! Its like a cold that lasts for 2-3 months.

On a good note... which I feel I should end on....I have a solo show in July at Studio 47 in Vermont. So, my studio days right now are focused on trying to create work for that. Also, new works are going to Castle Gallery for their annual Valentine's show next week and I promise to share those here.

Its funny how a blog becomes a link to an audience that I feel some responsibility for. I am still here and still working (trying) and I think about all my friends out there. No need to deluge me with sympathetic thoughts. I am sure you are thinking it and I am sure you all have your own troubles that interfere with your passion. But if you have some idea how to paint when nothing inspires you, let me know! 

Below is the one success I had this week.

12x12 oil on panel

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

This month's challenge, an apple, a spoon and something glass, was certainly a challenge for me. I can't set up a still life. I really do think that setting up such requires talent - sort of like decorating maybe. Getting the right grouping, the lighting, the backdrop. Its creating a scene... I just want to get to the painting!

So, I took the concept literally and painted the elements separately. I wanted to zoom in really close and almost abstract them - but that only worked on the glass - which is my favorite hot cocoa mug. The spoon gave me trouble and wouldn't stay upright (no surprise) I taped it to the board in front of me. So what you have there is sort of an impressionistic trompe l'oeil. LOL

This group continues to be so fun. I am glad to do it each month and glad to be a part of it. I would encourage others to get together, online or locally, to see how you each interpret a theme. It really makes me think and gets me out of my routine.

Enjoy our efforts below!

Apple, Spoon and Glass
8x10 oil on paper
© 2010 Robin Cheers

Aunt Bea's Morning Glories
5x5 oil on panel

Baked Apple Reflection
10x8 oil on panel
© 2010 Vicki Ross

Kitchen Lovelies
7x5 oil on hardboard
© 2010 Diana Moses Botkin

Wooden Spoon and Friends
10x10 oil on canvas
© 2010 Suzanne Berry 

Spoon Bridge
6x6 oil on board
© 2010 Michael Naples

Saturday, January 09, 2010

California Coast

Somewhere on the California Coast
3.5 x 2.5 oil on playing card

The cards I've worked on these last couple of days were "reclaimed"... I found them on the street actually a long time ago. So they have a few divets or pock marks from being run over. They are adequate for my initial experiments. Though I have several decks of cards in the house which we never use. I will gesso them this weekend and get them ready to work on.
What to do with the miniature paintings? Well, they are the size of the ACEO - or art cards - so they can be framed, matted or floating, or compiled in an album collection.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Changes and Challenges

Ace of Hearts
3.5 x 2.5 oil on playing card

I'm slowly getting back to work here. I sort of fell short of expectations yesterday but today did better. And in an endeavor to make my blog more fun, I am going to paint a pack of cards. Not as a subject, but as a support.

"Why?" you might ask. Well, Why NOT?

First, I find that I have a hard time choosing a subject for the small "daily" painting... and often want to save images to work larger. So I hold off. And I don't want to paint the same thing twice. And I can spend as much time on a small work as a larger one. So it makes more sense to do my best work for my galleries and shows.

So - enter the playing cards. They are conveniently packaged. Its a goal. Its so small that I must just paint loose, bold, simple subjects. They transport easily. And they can still be framed nicely. A whole grouping would be really fun I think. Its similar to the ACEO or artist's trading cards.
So today, after I put my best energies into a challenging figurative work, I quickly chose a critter to put on this card. I'm excited about this new endeavor. 51 more (at least) to go!

If I'm making no sense, its because I am FREEZING. Its so cold in Austin... and I am a wimp. I'm shivering and can't type. More on this tomorrow.... or Monday.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Artist's Way in 2010

My friend Kate Merriman and I were talking recently about our creative blocks and challenges. She has worked through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron some time ago and was very inspired by it. I've had the book for probably a decade or more and never read it. I'm bad about that. I have some very nice and inspiring books I am sure. But I don't read much about art or technique... I just look at the pictures. I might read a caption or two....but the reading I prefer is fictional (escapist.)
My father in law and some other artist friends are very into the technical side of painting and have read extensively about the qualities of paint, oils, mediums, grounds, permanence, etc. I know enough to get by. I don't add much to my paint though. I use it right from the tube (mostly winsor & newton or gamblin) and then I let it dry and varnish. Voila!

I digress. Maybe this is like a morning page entry. The early part of the book suggests writing 3 pages every morning - which I've begun. And what better time to begin this project than the start of the new year?

We have made a blog (of course!) to post some of our thoughts and experiences as we go along. The book is divided into 12 sections - weekly steps. We might take a couple of weeks per section as we are both busy juggling multiple interests. We welcome others to come along for the ride and read the book, post your comments and thoughts and share with the creative community.

The Artist's Way in 2010
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