It’s here… sort of

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are well. Hope you are warm and dry. Lots of you seem to be getting snow, ice, cold. So sorry. Here we are just sinking up to our ankles in mud, with more on the way.

This is going to be quick because I’m running out of day and the list is long.

My online store is LIVE! Ok, it only has 6 items at the moment, but I am working hard to get more on there. I set myself a deadline of January 31st to get it running and decided since this will be an ongoing process, just do it.

Now, I’m not really sure if all the bells and whistles are going to work correctly right out of the box. Please bear with me as I work through stuff. Shipping will probably have to be tweaked yet. If you try it and have questions or think the shipping seems to be running too high, please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com and I will see what I can do.

More than orders right now, I would appreciate you signing up for my email list. First, I need to see how it’s working and second, I can let you know when new items or features are added. I promise not to bombard you with emails! I’m thinking once a month will probably be all that happens most of the time.

Ok, I gotta go. Please go to https://bloomtownstudio.square.site/ and check it out and let me know what you think.

Have an awesome week.

Christel

https://bloomtownstudio.square.site/

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Hello Sunshine!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well and safe. It seems like the whole world has been having crazy weather. TODAY I am feeling good. Yesterday, not so much. We have had many days of gray, gloom and rain. TODAY is BEAUTIFUL! Yesterday I dragged my poor, depressed body from chore to chore and was ready for bed by 6:30 pm. L. and I got out to run some errands this morning while she is out of school for exam week and a few minutes ago I walked around the yard in the sunlight soaking up some Vitamin D and taking some pictures to share with you.

I have started a few more paintings this week and put the disappointing ones aside for now. This one is still a work in progress and will probably take a while. The other two are just at the very beginning stages and I can probably show them next week.

My main goal is to have my online store up and running by January 31st. It is close to being ready. I’m not sure how many items will be available right away, but I will at least have a few prints available. I will have a place for a newsletter subscription if you want to be notified of new artwork or sales. That is my only plan for a newsletter right now. I get too many newsletters in my mailbox so I don’t want to do the same to you.

This is going to be short and sweet this week. I need to get outside some more, drop off goat feed and shavings for the chicken coop. More rain is coming so I need as much Vitamin D as possible to get me through.

Have a great week!

Failure week

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well and safe from the storms that seem to be hitting everybody this winter. Snow, rain, tornados. We had all sorts of crazy thunderstorms yesterday evening. I don’t think we had any storms all summer that matched the ones we had yesterday. Weird stuff.

This has been a tough week. Why is it that you can go along just fine for a fairly extended amount of time and then, “BAM”, everything seems to go sideways all at once? In the spirit of truth, let’s just discuss failure. You know, the stuff that doesn’t make it onto social media. All the beautiful photos, but behind the camera is huge pile of dirty laundry, kid toys and cat puke.

Last week I worked and worked on two paintings. Hours of my life put into them. By Friday I was realizing one is probably a complete failure and one is definitely not working the way I wanted it to. Generally I do not do artwork on the weekend and I hoped that by Monday I could figure out a way to save them. Nope. No such luck. By Monday afternoon I also realized that a life situation wasn’t looking too good either. Monday was super Mondayish. It was one of those days that would have been better spent in the bed with the covers over my head.

The featured artwork above has been my mood all week. Tuesday I hurried through my morning chores to get in the studio and pour out the angst in the drawing. I do not consider myself an abstract artist at all, but there is some serious therapy in just drawing or painting emotions. I believe it’s Betty Edwards’ “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” that goes into how much humans can understand just from an expressive drawn line. I imagine that musicians and dancers can work out their demons in a similar manner.

So here are the paintings or parts of them that may disappear soon. The horse’s head is workable, but the back end of the horse that I’m not showing you (I just can’t bring myself to look at it here) is a hot mess. Horses are my nemesis (“the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall” – perfect definition!) even though I have four live models outside my window. I probably have 4 or 5 more horse paintings planned. Talk about self abuse!

Now the sheep are in the gray area. This is the second time I have done a painting of these sheep. The first one went in the trash. This one is better, but still not matching the vision in my head. By the way, this one was titled “The Gossips,” years ago when I took the reference photos. My skill with oil paint just isn’t there yet. It may just turn into a drawing so that I can move on.

“The Gossips” copyright 2023 Christel Huttar

So, what do I do about failures? I would love to hear what you do to get through them. There is no sugar coating them. They feel awful and maybe we can help each other through it.

Yesterday I started a great big (well, big for me and the available space) new painting that will either work out or I will fail at it in flying colors AND I started a new drawing. Drawing is my happy place and my safe place. I know how to work a pencil and charcoal. I also don’t agonize over trashing a drawing because the supplies don’t cost so dang much. So basically I am forcing myself back on the horse in a manner, but with a slightly safer subject to build skills and confidence in my painting. The drawing is to sooth my tortured soul. I can go into that wonderful place called FLOW and lose all track of time. My brain is on auto pilot and not beating myself up for failing.

As far as the life situation goes, the drawing process is a salve until I know what to do. Part of it is in my control, but a good bit of it is totally out of my control. It will not be easily fixed and it is not something I feel I can walk away from as tempting as it is right now. I guess the human reaction is to run from hurt, but the spirit needs to find the strength to walk through the muck to the other side. If you are dealing with failures, just know you aren’t alone. We all project the pretty pictures to the world, but we need to clean up the cat puke.

Hang in there and have a good week!

Christel

Ominous

Hi Everyone!

It is one more gloomy January day here today. As I headed out into the rain this morning to feed goats and horses, the skies were rumbling. Winter thunderstorms are not common and usually mean that snow or ice will be arriving soon. The goats were looking kinda miserable while they huddled under their shelter and shoved each other to get at their food. The horses had no arguments with coming inside the barn for breakfast. The squishy, slippery mud is a little dangerous when you weigh what they do and I was more than happy to feed them inside the dry barn instead of in the pouring rain. Glad that DH accomplished his goals of 2022 to get water and light to the barn.

I haven’t really set any resolutions this year other than doing my best to get at least two hours a day in my studio to paint and draw. Wednesdays are for administrative and cleaning duties though. We will see how well this goes. I have tried this many times over the years and life (aka Murphy’s Law) has always shown up to throw a wrench in my plans. Here are a few details of some work in progress. I have a horse painting that I have put several hours into, but I’m afraid it’s not going to make the cut. I also have a commission in progress that I can’t show yet.

As far as life in general, is anyone else noticing that 2023 is starting out with more than usual gloom and doom? Normally a new year has at least a few cheerful predictions mixed with some negatives, but I haven’t seen anything cheerful this year. My walk in the rain and rumbling this morning felt like an omen. I’m not one to bury my head in the sand to try and avoid bad news, but I am making extra efforts to balance the gloom with more positives. My studio time is wonderful. I can literally lose track of time altogether. I am also trying to find some good, fun and positive books and movies to enjoy. There is some much needed exercise happening right now too. Are you getting the same ominous vibes? If so, how are you handling it?

Time to go. My computer is misbehaving today. Better finish up before it decides to let Murphy in!

Have a great week, be safe, make some fun.

Christel

Main Photo by Lucie Morel on Unsplash

Sliding into 2023

Hi Everyone!

I am doing a quick check in before 2022 gets away from me. Several times I considered getting a post done here before Christmas, but those of you who know, know I would have only whined the whole time about how much I don’t like Christmas. Folks, I try. I try so hard every year that now it’s beginning to cause me some pretty serious anxiety. It’s Monday morning, December 26th and I already have half my decorations down. I am so over all the extra stuff in my house, the sugar overload (and the extra 5 lbs that goes with it) and the relative that has given away, thrown away, donated or returned every gift I have ever given them. Pretty sure I could give them the winning Power Ball ticket and it still wouldn’t be right. Anyone else have one of those?

Ok, I still slid into whining. Sorry about that. I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful one. I certainly don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer for the whole world. I also hope those of you who have been in the Siberian Polar Vortex path are beginning to thaw out and get to your family gatherings now.

I already have my 2023 planner filled out and ready to go. Even though January and February are bleak, I can at least start getting some seeds planted, the days are getting lighter and I have 6-8 months before I have to start dreading Christmas again.

We have plans to take our niece to see a college she is considering and that will give us a road trip to the mountains. I need to plan a visit to see my daughter and her family AND we have a wedding in the family this year. Ooops, we have two weddings this year. Happy things.

I am planning on finishing the studio, getting an online store going and lots of painting this year. Currently, I have three landscapes in the works. I don’t generally do landscapes, but am trying to work on some new skills. Below is a work in progress. Yes, it’s a little bleak looking too, just like the mud photo at the top. Gray and muddy is the state of being most of the winter here. Snow is rare.

Gotta go. Unfortunately I have to brave the after Christmas shopping crowds so the kid can finish her shopping and spend some of her Christmas money. Prayers would be appreciated. I will check back in next year!

Stay warm and safe,

Christel

Rainy days

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. We are having a cold, rainy day here. My least favorite weather. The upside to a rainy day is that I can’t get outside to work and can escape into my attic studio.

My current projects include trying to finish some unfinished paintings and work on this website. DH pointed out the other day that I don’t have any of my commissioned work on here. Over the years I have had little time to pursue shows or galleries because it has been hard to build a body of work to use. I have been able to consistently take commissions though. They have been my bread & butter artwork.

It is still a work in progress, but if you look under the MENU tab above you will see my Commissions page now. These are samples of work I have done in the past few years. Somewhere I have more photos of more work, but they seem to be MIA. Does anyone else need a better system of filing your photos? If you have a good system, PLEASE tell me how.

I have a table full of unfinshed work and some canvases I’m getting ready to start on. It has been an absolute pleasure to finally have some consistent time (did I mention that our niece got her license so my taxi business has retired) to paint. My minimum daily time is about 2 hours most days. Today I have been holed up here for almost 4 hours. Other than a lack of heat up here, it has been wonderful.

Trying to improve my website has proven just how scattered and fragmented my art time has been over the years. I have reference photos everywhere – digital and hard copy, photos of finished work stuck in weird places and finished work in equally weird spots. Finally I have one place for all my supplies, files, work, etc. Slowly I am cleaning out dried up paint, art that should be burned, craft supplies I will never use again and crazy stuff I wonder why I kept. Now if I can just get my studio construction finished, it might not be as cold and would certainly look better!

Well, folks I need to wrap this up, go thaw out my feet and put some soup on for dinner. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, I am on Instagram and Facebook under Bloomtown Studio. Usually I post the same stuff in both places so just pick one to visit. Also, check back here when you can. I am determined to get my act together (stop laughing, it could happen) and get this website in better shape.

Have a wonderful week!!

Christel

Getting back to it

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are well. Today is Election Day in the U.S. DH and I went out early this morning to vote. I’m old school and prefer to vote on Election Day instead of early voting. I always think of my Dad during elections. One of his favorite things was helping at the polls and he did it for as long as he could. When I went to vote for the first time at the age of 18, he almost followed me into the voting booth while he was instructing me on how to vote. You would have to have known my Dad and his side of the family. They loved to argue politics and they did it loudly at every family gathering. Guess what. They never got mad at opposing views and never stopped being a family. I always told my kids that they should appreciate the peaceful transfer of power in our country. My prayer today is that this country continues to uphold that process and that families don’t stop being a family over politics.

Moving on to artsy things and to start catching you up on our current crazy…

My studio is still under construction, but I am able to work fairly comfortably in here now. With all the other projects that have to be done, we are only working in the studio on rainy Saturdays. We haven’t had many of those in the past few months. While I am working away up here I do have to occasionally move around furniture and storage as we work on baseboards and painting. MOST of the boxes have been unpacked and I have purchased some shelves. I have a color scheme picked out for when I finally get to the pretty stuff, but I have decided that the wood floors need to be painted. They are hardwood, but they have lived a hard life and it’s not worth the time and money to try and refinish them. I also need more light up here and think a glossy white paint should reflect what light I have around more. Do I even need to mention that oil and acrylic paint has a strange way of escaping a paint brush and throwing itself around everywhere? White gloss paint covers a lot of ugly and messes.

The main photo above is a current work in progress. Lately I have been slightly obsessed with clouds or things that make me look up and have many photos for reference. I’m working small right now just to get back in the swing of oil painting. Maybe I’m the only one, but switching between acrylic paint and oils requires a major flip in my process.

Our niece got her license back during the summer and though that is a double edged sword for a parent, it has finally given me a little more time back in my life and my goal is to get in a minimum of 2 hours studio time each day. That does not seem like much, but when it has been more like 2 hours a week or even a MONTH, it’s a huge improvement. My attitude about life reflects the change. I am so much better mentally when I get my art time in. Hopefully I will have some art work finished by the end of the year and can update my website and add a little store onto it. Life goals.

You all have a great week, stay safe (it’s crazy out there) and do something creative.

Christel

Anyone still out there?

Hi Everyone!

Yes, I have been MIA for a very long time. There are several reasons for my absence. Primarily it has been an extended creative block. I have been doing some artwork, but was struggling to get into it. I decided to pull out the sewing machine and start making myself some much needed clothes. Maybe something about switching up my focus started getting the creative juices flowing again. I think it may take a different turn, but I will start sharing what’s happening and give an update on my studio construction (hint: it’s not done yet).

I have closed my Etsy shop. Maybe I will explain that decision later. Many folks have been disgruntled with Etsy and I was one of them. I am looking into just adding a shop here on my website if I can afford it. I am also considering starting a newsletter. It would only be sent out when I have a major update or important information. If you would like to be added to the newsletter email list please email me at bloomtownstudio@gmail.com and tell me you would like to be added.

That’s my update for today. The handsome pup is a recent commission that I finished.

Have a great week and I should be back posting soon.

Christel

Cats and S.A.D.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all are well and that if you are getting a snow dump this weekend you are ready. I don’t think we are getting too much this time hopefully. This is going to be a quick check in today. The TO DO list is long.

It has been too cold to accomplish much in the studio even with two heaters running. I do have a drawing in the works and am working on the admin stuff from the living room right now. Next week is looking like better temperatures. I need some serious time upstairs. Winter is getting to me.

Things around the farm haven’t been too bad lately. We had one horse jump the fence on Tuesday morning. You are enjoying that first cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and realize that there is a traffic jam on the road in front of you. Then you get that bad feeling that the traffic jam might be caused by someone who belongs to you. Sure enough, it was our long legged, DARK horse, Cinder, on the loose. He was lucky that someone saw him in time to stop. Later in the day I found the spot on the fence that he either squeezed through or jumped over. The tuft of black tail or mane stuck on the fence might have given it away. That and the hoof prints on the other side! You can’t imagine how many times in a week that I shake my head wondering what these four legged fools were thinking when they got into trouble.

We have also had an influx of stray cats. Normally we have one at a time, but now we suddenly have THREE. One big ‘ole white tom cat with one of the largest heads I have ever seen on a cat. One tuxedo cat that has been around for awhile and I suspect shares DNA with our Sweetie Pie. One young orange tabby that showed up this week. Most of the time we are pretty tolerant of strays and will give them a meal if they look too thin. This time having so many along with our cat is becoming an issue. Sweetie Pie is a small (but mighty) feline and she has been fixed. Jughead (DH named the big, white tom) has not been to the vet and could also be named Scarface. The tuxedo cat and the young tabby we have not been able to verify their kitten making status.

All I know is that there are too many cat fights going on. Sweetie Pie got chased into a tree and I had to rescue her the other night. Over the years I have taken more than one cat to the vet with abcessed puncture wounds and do not want to do it again. We also do not want to find a litter of kittens in the hay bales. We had hoped the puppy would at least scare them off. Not hurt them, but make hanging out not so fun. Nope, Phoenix likes cats. The cats know this. So much for that theory. So, we are now trying to decide how the handle the feline population. Shaking my head again.

This week the Seasonal Affective Disorder began to settle in. I’ve done better this year. Normally it moves in right after the holidays. I think puppy therapy has helped. Phoenix will drive me crazy with the puppiness, but she keeps me too busy to think about the gloom and doom. I am seriously fighting the urge to stay in bed, shave my head (I don’t understand the hair thing, but I have now heard that other people also want to do drastic things to their hair during the winter), and eat biscuits and gravy all day. You would think after almost 60 years of this stuff I would have figured out a treatment or two. But no and I dread it every year. If any of you have suggestions please pass them along. I keep as much light in the house as possible, try to get outside for sunlight when I can stand the cold, eat pretty well, but still it affects me.

That’s about it for now. There is lots of gloom and doom out there in the world and most of it’s not winter related right now. Try to have some fun and look after yourself. I will do the same.

Faith, Hope, Love, PEACE

Christel

Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash

The joys of winter

Hi Everyone!

Hello to the new readers. Welcome. How is everyone doing? In my part of the world winter has arrived in force. We were snowed in over the weekend and expecting more snow and ice tonight. Hopefully not much this time. I am very tired of slipping and sliding my way to the goat shed every morning.

Our temps are not supposed to reach above freezing all day. Yuck. The wood stove is working hard! Even both of my kids who live at different parts of the East Coast are expecting significate icing tonight. One is having to spend the night at the hospital where she works and I’m sure my firefighter son will be busy with wrecks and possibly space heater fires.

I have been trying my best to use my winter confinement wisely. We won’t discuss the cookie baking and biscuits and gravy that have been happening! I finished the blouse I had started last week. The original plan was for long sleeves, but I did not have enough fabric so it became a summer blouse. I am happy with the pattern (the fabric was a beast and I will avoid such slipperness in the future) and am planning a dress in the future from it. If anyone is interested, it is the Rhapsody Blouse & Dress from Love Notions pattern company.

I am still working on DH’s sweater and am playing a serious game of yarn chicken. There are going to be some creative sleeves on this baby if the beige yarn runs out too early. Sewing and knitting have their share of drama! I am using the Flax pattern from Tin Can Knits, but not doing the garter panel on the sleeves.

For a long time I have been wanting to learn stranded colorwork, but have been intimidated. I have enough trouble controlling one ball of yarn much less multiple. But the time has come. I am joining a Knit Along in February to see if I can master it. I have visions of Fair Isle sweaters in my closet, but I’m starting with a hat. I will let you know how it goes.

Artwork is limited because it’s just too darn cold in my attic studio. I am still slowly working on a drawing. If I get this post done soon enough I am going to work on it today. The puppy is down for her nap and I have a heck of a time accomplishing any detailed projects when she is awake. We see glimmers of hope that she will eventually become a big, squishy puddle of pit bull lazy in the future, but we aren’t gonna be there for months yet. She is losing her baby teeth and that has been exciting. I haven’t had a puncture wound for almost a week now!

That’s about it from the frozen wasteland of North Carolina. We won’t discuss the mud levels either when the ground thaws. Double yuck.

Stay safe and warm out there!

Faith, Hope, Love and Peace,

Christel