Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Art Action

      Not only was it fun to have three paintings (The Fire Trilogy) in Fairytales, Folktales & Fables, but a bit of a write-up in the local Belmont paper. That done and nostalgic for my roots, I started an oil painting "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the skies are not cloudy all day." I'm not sure how it will clean up! I have some more tunes in mind. Click to enlarge photos.

      Then Joe and I headed to NYC for an art trip, courtesy of son Jim and Colin who were on the road traveling. Joe and I first hit the Neue Gallery for a touching show Before the Fall, about art life during the rise of Hitler and before the Holocaust, the works of artists of different persuasions at that time and what they offered. There were only a few masterpieces in the show, but the collections there were moving. We didn't want to miss the Met Breur's Like Life with all the shocking and amazing bodies. Then we ran to the Frick for the last day of Zubaran's Jacob and his sons, giant portraits of the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Other days there were Grant Wood nearby at the Whitney and the Met's thoughtful Thomas Cole with paintings reminding of our three years nearby in South Hadley when Joe taught at Mt. Holyoke. I loved Cole's warnings to America at the time of Jackson's presidency!We stopped at MOMA and saw paintings by the Brazilian artist Tarsal do Amaral who wanted to paint her homeland.We made it to several gallery shows, but David Hockney's was by far the most exciting to me with his new giant digital photographs and shaped canvases. We went down to the Bowery to see the Triennial at the New Museum and learned Banksy had just been nearby. Then to Chinatown for blue and white bowls for our new blue and white dining room. 

     Joe and I had fun eating very casually at The Rocking Horse Cafe for Mexican food, Neue's Cafe Sabarsky for Viennese food, the Whitney Studio Cafe for toasts, La Bonne Soupe down from Trump Tower, the Empire Diner and Le Grainne in Chelsea near the High Line, the Oyster Bar with a stop at the New York Public Library, and Atticus in New Haven on our way to the fantastic New Britain Museum of American Art for the Prendergast brothers.  I will continue the magic with books I got for myself and the children. Joe has his thrillers. It is finally 63 degrees here and the jackets are back on their hangers!

for Linda

for the grandchildren and Linda

for the kitchen from Japan

Monday, April 2, 2018

April's March Mixups

     Snow moved the March opening reception to April for the Belmont Gallery of Art's Fairytales, Folk Tales and Fables. I have three paintings hanging: The Fire Trilogy.

       After the fire in 2016 at our home of 40 years, I found painting therapeutic.

       In the first of the trilogy painted shortly after the conflagration, in Medieval imagery, the Mouths of Hell were consuming in fire all our earthly treasures — including my beloved library of art books, unfinished paintings, easels and a studio full of art supplies.

       In the second painting, Courage, ladders reached to Heaven through the smoke, destruction and chaos for strength to bear the insurance negotiations and restoration predicaments.

       In the third, Phoenix Rising, our house like the ancient Phoenix rose from its ashes; and its champion, the Sun, broke back through.

      The weather was confused and snowed the day after sunny Easter. However, I am thinking sunflowers. I got some good artificial blooms from Michael's and look forward to painting them again in my new upstairs studio w lots of sun. I want to do more Southwestern themes for Joe to finish as he did my recent sunflowers that I love. Joe is a super in-house picture framer. He also replaced my table jigsaw at a Sears closing so I can cut out some clever shaped canvas/frames in the future. His wood workshop is in the basement along with my other art studio.I always said my jigsaw machine was the first thing I would take out in a fire, but I took out myself, wisely, instead.

        Easter was a two-day celebration with surprise additions, food and activities.I will only say my "aging" grandchildren are never too old to hunt eggs and turn it into Olympic seriousness. In the drugstore, I ran into other mothers who still send off chocolate eggs to children in their 20s and 30s and fill baskets appreciated by their spouses or boyfriends as well. Good bye March and April Fool! The children did giggle at asparagus and broccoli in some of the plastic eggs.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hearts on display

    It is easy to remember the grandchildren's birthdays....one on Valentine's Day, another during the Boston Marathon and a third at Christmas. Birthday presents are getting more difficult, but I painted each child some hearts for the holiday.They last and don't take up space. I was almost late for Valentine's Day and almost late for my February blog.

    I am excited to be back working with oils in a studio with plenty of desk space. February 28th sneaked up on me so I don't have a photo of the convenient upstairs room, but February was not getting past me! I found a $5 light at Target to cast shadows, mini canvas and easels at Job Lot, oversized candy hearts at CVS. I primed the canvas with alizarin crimson and mixed the rest of the paints. I have one canvas left for some candy kisses for myself...or chocolates for next year.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Throwing on the Paint...in the diary

     Whenever I have trouble getting back into painting or coming up with ideas, I remind myself that Picasso said it is but keeping a diary. A best friend from Amarillo childhood took me back to the Texas Panhandle this week by sending a book about friends who developed the range. Joe's family also ranched around or by those parts from Hereford to Kansas and I wanted to do a series when a cousin sent more photos.Adding to the mix, was the indulging in a DNA quest with more contacts and materials.

      Needing a post for January, last night before the State of the Union addresses, I grabbed an old painting (with a first layer) and started throwing on and dragging around more paint with a brush. I didn't know how to solve the problem of missing dark tones or how to carry the painting beyond the photo taken at my 50th high school reunion at the Palo Duro Canyon. But in the midst of working, I solved some problems. I had great fun dragging thick paint around the edges of the sunflowers.I should return w a special brush for the grass and another for the sky to "make it better" as my art teacher always said. But wow did I have fun. It has been awhile. Will it ever dry?😊

      I am using some Gamblin oil paints because I like their oderless thinner and mediums. I hope to get back to Winsor and Newton Griffin Alkyds for their jewel-like and  fast drying oils.You can imagine how I get Gamblin and Griffin mixed up. Gamblin has a fast drying matte oil, but I like the shine of Winsor and Newton's Griffins. I guess I could use a shiny varnish over the Gamblin mattes.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Art Start for the New Year 2018 Brrrrr!

        After the fabulous early Christmas at 48 Stults Road, and everyone scattered, Joe and I took in some museums.

Click to enlarge

      In the spirit of family first, we headed to Salem's PEM to see the big Georgia O'Keeffe show. After all, she was head of the art department in my home town Amarillo. Someday it will be acknowledged. I was stunned by the brooch Alexander Calder made for Georgia O'Keeffe from smashed brass wire and was tempted to revisit the earrings I made from thick brass wire 50 years ago when I first saw Calder's work. I bought the fattest "gold" wire, cut off about 3 1/2" w wire cutters, twisted the wire with needle nose pliers and took a hammer to smash the shape flat atop a concrete basement floor. An anvil and better wire would have been smarter. I put on jump rings and ear clips. The procedure took only a few minutes. Gifted years ago, one person thought them gold. Pinterest has many examples and adaptations.

     Then Joe and I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and later New York City, Christmas Day. Joe and David Hockney are 80 this year and Edvard Munch lived to 81. We saw lots of portraits, especially self-portraits (a good thing to paint every birthday!) I got so many ideas from Munch's paintings which had presence in subjects and backgrounds. Hockney's intelligent experiments in many media is a path close to my heart and instincts. Both had their own individual, varied style in contrast to what was hip at the time. I was also able to pick up a Kerry James Marshall catalog about his show I waited all year for and had to miss. A few more were printed HOORAY!

       In the meantime, I would say I had been very good if I didn't know better. My children gave me a 12.9" IPad Pro with Pencil which can bring a tear to the eye, but also puts the pressure on to learn the App ProCreate in more detail. Fun in my immediate future. Dog Harry's gift is the snow. He loves to romp in it. I, myself, think it is too cold to even open the refrigerator door!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mighty oaks from little acorns might grow....

watercolor/tissue collage
     Mighty oaks from little acorns grow glamorizes what I am up to now. Our little half bath is in desperate need of a dramatic fix. I had no painting to work in the high ceiling and small narrow space. However, it was good fortune that I ran across a little watercolor collage made in the early days of my marriage. Somehow, it made it out out of the smoke and fire damage. I decided to enlarge this little windmill to many times its original size and to do so in oil paint.

      Unfortunately I sketched it in charcoal on to the canvas rather than use a watered down acrylic. I want to finish it in oil, but I first decided to get the basic colors on in acrylic (hiding the charcoal) and then go over it in oils which are so beautiful. However, this means everything will have to be layered again and I may never finish.I like the paint to be beautiful close up, so I have work to do.

large version, acrylic, pre oil

two together/oil next
      In the meantime, we again got a real (tall and skinny) tree, and put it up. Target had the dearest hand-made little people and animals on sleds and in little knitted sweaters and hats for only $3 each. I got many. I could never make them in time. I put  wide ribbon on a boxwood wreath from Trader Joe's looking up how to do it online. When we got the boxwood home, we put it in a cold bathtub of water overnight and it almost doubled in fluffiness. Joe is rebuilding his cactus collection. It is fun to be home.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Eighty can be art!

    What a year! ~the election, the fire, reconstruction, and Joe became 80 on the 26th of October! No wonder our hearts accelerated. What a guy! He has been hanging paintings and photos, shades and blinds, building his workshop, walking the dog, and suffering insurance. Grass doesn't grow under his feet. He also tends cactuses or cacti! If I paint his portrait it will be he with cactus forming an 80, copying the grandchildren's idea. Joe will wear his sweater to walk the dog, read in his chair, and enjoy the photo of the grands shaping an 80 with their bodies.Over birthday dinner we enumerated his special attributes starting with the letters E I G H T Y.Eighty doesn't seem so old with Joe! It's an art.