Obviously I haven’t been here for a couple of weeks. I can only blame a few incidences of family life crazy and some priorities. My attempts at a schedule are in vain.
I have managed some artwork though. I worked on this rooster painting some more and a still life. The rooster will probably make it to completion. I’m not so sure with the still life. I am struggling to “say” things that are in my head with the oil paintings. There seem to be some changes in my work coming. When I have broken through the learning curves I will share those. Right now I am thinking, sketching and learning.
My biggest accomplishment was finishing the portrait of my grandson for my daughter’s 30th birthday present. Drawing family members is stressful. If not blood, there were definitely sweat and tears involved with finishing the little guy.
I also spent a few hours making some Valentine’s Day cards for the shut-ins at church. I had some old ones that had been hanging out for years and then I used some fabric scraps and mixed media experiments to make the others. I forgot to get a picture of it, but I also painted a dinosaur with a valentine for my grandson. Fun stuff.
Hopefully I will get some more items on my shop this week. It’s going to be very Spring like here so the temptation to escape outdoors may be more than I can resist. There is a day or two with rain in the forecast that might give me some computer time.
I have some fruit trees I need to go prune (should have been done a few weeks ago) so I will leave you now.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
I am trying to sneak this post in quietly while the puppy is sleeping. Honestly it is just like having a two year old running around again. I can’t take my eyes off of her while she is awake because she will get into something and I try to cram all my work into her two hour morning nap. It’s exhausting.
So 2022 is here and I am juggling lots of things at once. How is your January going? Things are supposed to slow down in the winter, but I really don’t think that ever happens in my life. I am trying to do more cozy activities. The Scandinavians know how to do winter so I am embracing as many of their traditions as possible to get to Spring without diving into my usual Winter depression. Currently three pairs of socks on my feet, wood stove going, candles at night, more books to read and forcing myself out into the cold for some walks.
We are still working on the studio, but I now have three tables up there full of creative endeavors. Yours truly is spending at least an hour a day in her UNHEATED studio. I have one space heater and will probably move another up there soon. Yesterday I had my three pairs of socks on, a hat, fingerless gloves and three layers of clothing while just happily working away on three different projects. When it’s your thing you just do it!
The 2022 plan is to revamp my pitiful Etsy shop and hopefully my website. I am thinking in April I will have a one or two day sale of original paintings and drawings. I am also trying to post current work on Instagram and my Facebook page a few times a week (search for Bloomtown Studio both places) so you can see what I am actually doing in my attic hideaway. Currently I have two drawings in the works and a couple of unfinished paintings I need to get to. With it being so cold I don’t think the paint works as well as it should so I have been concentrating on my drawings. Here is a video of the beginning of one. Yes, to many people this probably seems pretty boring, but I’m processing what I want to do with this piece and pondering life.
I am also working on a knitted sweater for DH and sewing myself some much needed clothes. Yes, I know there are stores that have these things. First, I extremely dislike shopping (hate seems too harsh). Second, I “inherited” boxes and boxes of both yarn and fabric from DH’s Mom and Grandmother. Both ladies were talented makers and left behind very nice fabric and yarn. I kinda feel like it should be used and not wasted. Grandbabies have been getting blankets, DN is learning to crochet with some of it and I am using all of it that I can. There are also several quilt tops and quilt pieces that I am planning to finish.
I suspect many of you that read this crazy blog know exactly what I’m talking about. Makers gotta make. It’s our thing. It’s our sanity. It’s our duty to use our talents. Yes, those folks who don’t have this blessing/curse don’t understand why we will spend hours and hours making something. Something that may or may not be actually good or usable in the end. Something that may not be appreciated when it is received as a gift. I quit worrying about it and you should too. Don’t try to explain it and don’t get your heart hurt when a gift isn’t appreciated. Hopefully they will realize that if you put so much time into something it was given with EXTREME love. We don’t give people these things if we don’t love them! We can go to the mall for a gift for those people.
The grandbabies are wrapped in blankets made by my hands from yarn that belonged to their great-grandmother. DH will get to wear a sweater from yarn that his Mom bought probably hoping to make him one herself (the colors screamed DH). I get to wear clothing I made, that I like (can we admit that some of the styles out there are yucky and the quality is awful) from quality fabric and if it falls apart I can only blame myself. Making things is therapeutic, frustrating and satisfying. What’s not to like? You are going to spend that time doing something. I would rather be making than watching TV and not accomplishing anything.
Gotta get going. The puppy will be waking up soon.
Yes, I’m late this week. I’m going to blame it on the weather. What the heck? Another late season frost similar to last year. I spent time covering up little plants, bringing potted plants inside and cutting flowers to enjoy as long as possible. I’m glad I hadn’t gotten around to packing up the hats and gloves yet. They were needed on the past few late night / early morning walks with the dog. Like 2:30 am or 4:00 am walks. I think his seizure meds are messing things up. Thanks to these walks I have also been groggy and slower than usual.
I forgot to mention that I have new bees too. My brother-in-law very kindly gave me one of the splits he made from one of his hives and also a nuc he made from a swarm I believe. I don’t have the second one here yet, but am going tomorrow to meet the queen. She will probably be moving here in about a week. So I may have spent more than the usual amount of time watching the new girls and keeping them fed with sugar water. I don’t know how things are at your house, but here, 75% of my time is spent feeding things…humans, creatures and plants. There should be a tax write off somewhere in there.
A note to our neighbors…our lawn mower is being repaired. It’s going to take 3-4 weeks to get it back. Yes, the yard will be bad. Don’t panic if you see horses loose in the yard. They might as well earn their keep and mow some grass.
Today has been rainy and cold. Perfect attic construction weather. I spent several hours painting the walls that are up and DH is still up there putting up more drywall. There are some seriously wonky corners, dips and angles. Not easy on 50+ year old backs and shoulders. Some things will have to wait until lumber prices come down. We were going to frame out the window, but one small board to make the window sill was going to be $14! It can wait. DH estimates 2 more months of work. That would be about my birthday. I would be quite happy to have a finished studio for my birthday.
Yesterday morning I helped with a yard sale and by the time I got home the allergies were full on. I got what had to be done taken care of then decided to take some time to do a little painting while my head recovered. It has been about 3 weeks since I have worked in any drawing or painting. It may not help my allergies, but it sure helps my mental health. I am hoping this coming week to clean up the corner of the attic that is 95% done and maybe move a table and easel in where I can start working. Fingers crossed. Next weekend we have one of the grandkids so I know we will not get much accomplished while she’s here.
Have a great week. I hope your weather is warm. Some of you have storms heading your way I think. Be safe out there and I hope to be back on Thursday.
How has your week been going? Things here have been slightly less hectic than last week. Today has been my taxi day. DN had to get her new glasses, braces wire fixed, and dentist visit. In the middle of those I had to pick up some tax info and get the dog’s meds. All this before NOON!
Tuesday school started back up and I had the house to myself again. I celebrated by going out and sketching a while around the farm. I wanted to sketch the horses since they are always one of the most difficult things for me to draw, but none of them would cooperate. So I drew old buildings and hay bales.
Yesterday my plan was to finish a project that I have been struggling with for a few weeks now. It is requiring me to learn new software. We all know how much fun that is. So, I go to open the file I need to finalize and…it’s 95% gone. Yep, hours of work just gone. I have no idea how or why. Bad words were said. This has been one of those projects that could turn out to be a good source of income or it might be a bust. I won’t know until I try, but I will try again next week when I can recover from the high aggravation factor.
Last week I mentioned that I was up to some creative endeavors with a couple of coffee bean bags. So, what exactly did I do with those coffee bean bags?? I made kitchen curtains. I don’t know about you, but when I move into a house (and I have moved into alot of houses) I need to live with a place for a while to get ideas of how I want it to look. Our kitchen has been a struggle. It has one wall of the original 1955 wood paneling that DH dearly loves and immediately let me know that no paint brush will touch it. It has 1990’s oak cabinetry that once again, you-know-who doesn’t want to paint and quite frankly it would be pricey to have someone paint. I have painted cabinets before. That was enough for one lifetime. There are light blue laminate countertops that are not in great shape and mismatched appliances.
Now my decorating style is eclectic primarily because I like very old stuff and I like very modern stuff so it becomes a mismash. Granted, I like the lovely current farm house decor, but let’s be real, real farmer types cannot have wall to wall WHITE. That becomes red Carolina clay color in a split second. We wear boots that daily tromp through dirt, grass and manure. The previous owners put gray tile in the kitchen and while it is very practical, I don’t really like it. To be real again, I will live with it. Not gonna be tearing up perfectly good tile that will outlast me.
Back to the coffee bean bags. My moment of inspiration about curtains gave me a direction to take the kitchen. They are rustic, but not sweet rufflely country. I already have plans to paint the countertops black to tie in with the stainless and black stove (the white dishwasher and fridge will be replaced eventually). DH and I found a sweet deal on two cool bar stools at the ReStore that are wood and black metal. All that ties in the black and the wood. The other kitchen chairs from the ReStore are going to get painted white to lighten up all that dark wood and go with the walls and windows. The rest of the decor is vintage. I lean heavily to the 1930’s and 40’s. Luckily we happen to have some nice pieces from DH’s family that have found a home in the kitchen. I would love to replace the cabinet and drawer pulls, but there are tons of them. I would bankrupt us just with pulls if I got all new. For the time being I will probably get creative with the brass (gotta love those 80’s and 90’s brass things) and black paint and replace a little at a time. Whew!
That’s about it for the creative stuff here. I did get back on a horse yesterday for the first time in over a year. Back when I was taking my grief break, DN and I started taking horse back riding lessons because uncles/husbands shouldn’t try to teach family members, especially a couple of mouthy females. I was loving it, but then a kidney stone happened, followed by Covid. We stopped the lessons. Next month DN will have wrapped up soccer and band and we plan to get back to the lessons. I can’t wait. Even though I had DH lead the horse (horse is still in training) instead of me taking the reins, it was good. I remembered my posture and my weight shifts, etc. The horse, Cinder, is a big, lanky Tennesse Walker. I swear it’s like riding an elephant he is so tall. We won’t even discuss the graceful (NOT) assent and desent I made on said horse. No cameras allowed!
So, I guess whether it’s software or horses, there is a learning curve and everything rarely goes smoothly. I will ungracefully get back on a horse and ungracefully repair my computer file, but will learn new things in the process.