Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Paintings Cleaned? and Delivered to Temporary Housing

   Temporary excitement! The painting cleaner/restorers delivered 6 of my 50 or so paintings that needed to be cleaned after the fire. Insurance paid to have them removed from the frames, vacuumed and wiped. A few days after the fire I was told the paintings must go to these restorers in Newton, even though I said surely I can clean them myself. We waited and waited for the pick up, insurance payout and cleaning. I was so excited to get some of them yesterday. Last night Joe and I nailed them up only to have our fingers marked with soot or residue from the smoke. Not what we expected.

    Joe and I put Miles to Go Before I Sleep with myself surrounded by favorite artists, painted in their own styles, over the dining room table in our temporary housing. Several tables in the dining room now, with plenty of company! We draped Bounce sheets on the hanging wire, not to cover the hint of smoke smell, but maybe to neutralize the odor somehow. Seems to work a bit. The company said they can't ozone the paintings because it lightens the colors. I might risk it. They didn't feel they could remove canvas. Huh? The company volunteered to try again, but I want my paintings now! Maybe the next paintings will be cleaned better.

     The next painting was Linda and the Painting Teachers,  installed over my new little Yamaha with real piano key touch. Note the earphones so no one in our temporary apartments has to listen to me play the piano. I work from a salvaged book of son Bill's classical pieces brought to my level of expertise: Classics to Contemporaries, early grade piano pieces selected and compiled by Marie Hill.  I ordered Reader's Digest's books of songs arranged and edited by Dan Fox. Dan Fox is the name to remember. His arrangements of popular and beloved songs are wonderful and manageable. The piano is so relaxing.

      Finding more soot was not a thrill. A simple swipe along the edge of the painting to the frame seemed so easy to accomplish at minimum?...a wipe with white cloth over the painting gave a brown cast to cloth. What to do. And they recommended varnishing my paintings...over this? Maybe to cut the action? Smoke is damaging. Much to learn. Google!
I will see what I can find out at the museum.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Up in Smoke: my February post

     Deadlines surround in February and March. I missed my February blog posting yesterday by one day, but I finished rebuilding my lost website to renew it and my domain name, just in time.

      Up in Smoke is a bigger painting (24" x 30") I started this past month in my house fire series. I have had a devil of a time working out what to do with this montage to keep it simple. But today I stopped the clock, gave myself no more time and made it publishable today. All for my blog! A blog is an impetus to create regularly, in my case once a month. A blog is also a place to store one's work for free. I am one day late.

     The paint is not dry yet, so the oils will settle to make it look better. I will surely work on it more, since a photo helps one see more clearly what needs work! You can see the loss and resilience of art.

       Months ago, my website disappeared from my computer on an overnight visit to the Apple Store, but the old software remained. The site remained up on the Internet but I could not add to and subtract. 

         Using the old software, I hopefully totally rebuilt my website from scratch, made a few additions and visited Go Daddy to renew my domain name, Lindahicksweb.com (don't forget the word "web" after my name) and GoDaddy's hosting for 3 years. I can add and subtract paintings to the site on my own, whenever, with no more expense.

      When painting, I often borrow from art history, this time from the great London fire. Also, an IBM ad I saw this morning gave me the idea for the dollar bills floating into oblivion. I had planned to have flying papers symbolizing the nightmare of insurance claims, but the fleeting dollar bills were more fun.

      Last night I found some old photos of the destroyed studio taken after I got Ikea chests to hold my art supplies. Now I can visit the old place nostalgically. In the first photo you can view the circuit breaker box in the closet where I first saw flames that looked like angel wings. Arcing filled the room. Smoke gathered quickly. It was good I forgot how to use the fire extinguisher in the kitchen since it is the wrong kind for an electrical fire! The table beyond the easel reveals that back then I was into encaustic painting. Must do some more soon. I found an electric grill that would be perfect. Always new beginnings! Things are moving along fine. Blessed.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Post for January - Time Flies

        Not only does time fly, my fire painting has objects soaring from the house, belongings/lives disappearing to dumpsters, things coming unscrewed.  Just last night I was needing my camera to photograph the paintings for a show and I realized my two digital cameras got lost in the fire. I am amazed I got out of 48 Stults Road with my purse which I sometimes search for.

        HouseFire1 and HouseFire2 will eventually have more pointed names. They may not be art but were therapeutic. When distressed by the bad things, I discovered drawing/painting helped. I stole from Medieval paintings and El Greco to express. They still aren't finished but I love them. Little jewels for me. I hinted at the angels and the grace we experienced amid the unpleasant.

        The fire paintings are 14" x 11", oils, Winsor Newton Griffin Alkyds. I used Gamsol for my thinner and Galkyd Lite for my medium. No smell in my temporary 4 x 6 foot studio. Fast drying all. Alkyds are a genuine oil color made with pigments that are modified with alkyd resin. They can be mixed with traditional oils and thinned with usual solvents. They dry to the touch in 18 to 24 hours and can usually be varnished in 30 days. Blick art store says the colors remain workable for 4 - 8 hours and dry at the same rate to a uniform semi-gloss finish. I love alkyd oil paints which I have used for years! Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Yes, Linda, there is a Santa Claus

       Major stress follows a house fire. I was only inspired to draw after I looked up "hell mouths" in old medieval paintings. I will have to add paint to the sketch below.  But son Jim made our day by taking a 35" x  60"painting I had given him about the Museum School. He removed the frame and stretchers, rolled the linen canvas with the oil side out, drove from NYC a third time to our temporary home to reassemble it and hang. We missed having paintings. Blanche was correct: "Yes, Linda, there is a Santa Claus."

               Eureka, there are more....thus all the angels and saints (thinking of Jeanie) in the hell mouths sketch!

        Paula Brown dropped by with a wonderful portrait she had made of me (my serial selfies were lost in the fire). I was thrilled. Paula's imagination and original works knock my socks off: paulapitmanbrownart.com  She once recommended we draw each other with careful observation. We did many versions using Micron Pigma Graphic pens. My drawings of Paula were in the basement studio and lost along with my selfies. She inspires a Phoenix wannabe.

       Christmas Eve, Neal presented me with his repaired whirligig he made long ago of our house, myself painting and the pets, that was somewhat crumbled and broken apart in the putting out of the fire. Brought tears to my eyes. So heartwarming to have it back home!

       I made sketches of the house flying up as I tried to reach to grab it. I sketched the Charles River walk across the street with its beautiful trees and leaves. But I just can't get started painting. I have a mini projector to hook to my iPhone to make fast the sketching of some other ideas...but you still have to paint. Maybe tomorrow, now that I have gathered my paints and posted this blog. I will have no more excuses. Sebastian Smee's book The Art of Rivalry is also pushing me along. I regret my poor photography. Click to enlarge photos.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

After the fire!

     Life is full of surprises. Who would have thought at age 77 our house, packed with art collections, books and crafts, would catch fire at the fuse box, wiping out my studio and art supplies...smoke ruining most of the rest of the house. A life lost?

      Hopefully life goes on down an unexpected path, one of opportunities. Many stressful challenges and decisions ahead. I am not sure I want to make art about the fire. I bought canvas and paint yesterday. Do I repaint the pic that was vaporized? Or what about the one I found inspired by Bochlin and had not finished. I am thinking about Matisse who said, "What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue."

     My present studio for a year is between the dining room area and the living area and the kitchen. Paul Klee painted at his kitchen table. Hopefully I will rise to the occasion. I will have to be neat until the house is restored. The blog posting is one step forward.

Monday, September 19, 2016

RED and Babel

Dr. Colin Bethel MD
     How to post in September when extending the relaxing mode of summer? "I have no ideas?" It is in the doing (painting, writing, movie making) that ideas appear! I made a movie for granddaughter and was shocked how many ideas occurred in the making.That is my lesson this month. Paula Pitman Brown said it, and I found it true! She also said, "Red is your color." (Van Gogh had his sunflower.  :*)) Click on to enlarge photos.

     Back in November 2005 I entered the Cambridge Art Association RED show an encaustic painting with copper leaf, Dr. Colin Bethel MD. At the same time I encouraged Cindy Ryan to enter her huge cups painting which won the prize! RED is a biennial show. This year I found lots of reds in my stash: Misappropriation, The Breakfast Club and Erika Zen-ing Out to enter.

Erika Zen-ing
      The political painting Pen and the Dragon which is up now in Harvard Square's University Place gallery will be coming down from the Fall Salon. This reminds me of my Vanity in Aspic, my redo of Breugel's Tower of Babel,  the babble of the political season...the vanity and breaking of hubris.

The Breakfast Club
Pen and the Dragon

Vanity in Aspic
Pen and the Cashdragon:
The contest of good and evil, saint and demon, hero and villain, liberator and tyrant has long been a favorite of artists and writers. Here Raphael's St. George and the Dragon meets the cyberpen vs. wealthocracy. In the saddle of the white horse, wielding the pen and paintbrush, sits Arianna Huffington, icon of cyberjournalism. In the supporting wing stands Anita Hill, as the Statue of Liberty. The dragon emerges from the cave of the forces of pharmaceutical, petroleum and financial industries. The Supreme Court can be seen far in the background as the ultimate referee.

Vanity in Aspic:
The painting starts with the Flemish painter, Pieter Breugel's Tower of Babel, showing the foolishness of men's social pretensions as they strive to build a tower to God. As I was painting it, the men started to look like ants, and tower to look like aspic which melts or dissolves. The artist falls off the top.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gathering to Create

       Going to NYC and Maine in the summer is not only a break, but a time to gather ideas. In son's NYC home, I took a photo of my painting relevant to the political season. At the museums I looked for jewelry in ancient Egypt and Rome. (Once I was in a museum when Paloma Picasso wanted to research some jewelry.) I went to the bead stores along 6th Avenue between the NYC Public Library at 5th Ave./42nd all the way to Macy's at 34th to replenish supplies. Before leaving town, we visited the Museum of the American Indian on the tip of Manhattan for more. Of course the paintings always inspire, and this time I focused on beads and Gaugin's still life paintings that nearly always have a person in them. Focus can be good. Click photos to enlarge.
Abandon Sin and Do Good 
oil on shaped canvas
72 3/4” x 32”
  •          At home it is easy to drop in on my bead area to make a necklace or earrings in less than an hour or two. This month I made some more necklaces and wondered how to show my supplies in a post. I some times have trouble parting with a necklace which I did for some birthdays, so I should always make two. Joan in Maine gave me some fish earrings I wore swimming. Jean gave me a leaf necklace from Stray Cat; and I look forward to getting back to polymer clay to make my own leaves (see YouTube for how-to's). That is probably a better activity than baking pies and cookies that I lean toward and have no self-control near.

         Happily, we gathered up 3-year-old clever Harry at the Rhode Island Animal Rescue League! He fills our hearts with happiness.
Tools and findings for simple necklaces and earrings...Click to enlarge.

leaf necklace from StrayCat

Harry and Joe

Drive to Boston MSPCA