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.
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.
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.
I hope all is well with you and yours this week. Anyone else sick of winter yet? Here in North Carolina we had one of those Spring teaser days this week. I spent the entire day outside working on projects. It was a glorious 60 degrees with sunshine and too good to waste inside. No regrets for thowing all my indoor projects aside. We are back to grey and gloomy with impending rain now. Typical February weather for us and extremely depressing.
Today I started on the fox painting above. In case any of you wonder how and why I pick my subjects, they are almost completely random right now. I have many personal photos that sometimes become paintings, but in the case of the fox, I used a website called Paint My Photo. Photographers upload their photographs and give permission for artists to use them as reference material. I have several files of images that I like saved and when I need a subject I just go and look through them until one them says, “paint me, paint me!”
Eventually I plan on doing more series and maybe have some deeper thoughts added in, but for now, under my current situation, I just paint random things that make my heart sing a little. I am drawn to the non-human creatures. You get direct and honest feedback from animals as long as you learn their language. Laid back ears on a horse, a donkey or a llama is a warning that they are not happy. A certain twitch of a tail will tell you the same thing about a cat.
I will digress a moment and tell you a quick story. Our horse Cinder is an absolute sweetie and everyone who meets him loves him, BUT he quickly gets bored and finds mischief. Day before yesterday I watched him pester our horse, Asher. Asher is the Alpha here and was trying to nap, but Cinder wouldn’t let him. Everytime Asher dosed off, Cinder poked him with his nose or nipped at him. Asher finally got fed up and chased him off. I thought that was the end of it.
Yesterday morning I was walking the dog before dawn and noticed Cinder standing in the pasture alone while the other equine were in a group by the barn. I told DH that it looked like Cinder had been excommunicated. He said, “funny you should mention that, something happened between Asher and Cinder last night after feeding.” He went on to explain that when he let them out of their stalls after their supper there was no usual calm strolling out of the barn. Instead Asher immediately threw his head (dominate posturing) and chased Cinder out of the barn, nipping at his rear.
It seems that Cinder’s antics had gotten on everyone’s last nerve and he was temporarily kicked out of the heard for a day. I was in the barn last night for feeding and Cinder wouldn’t even come into the barn. He’s usually the first one in. It took some persuading on DH’s part to herd Cinder into his stall and those big, brown eyes were very sad and confused. Things seem to be better today. Like I said, animals keep it honest and direct. Cinder will probably behave better now…for a while anyway.
Now back to the fox. I’m painting this fox today and I kept getting a glare from the overhead light on my reference photo. Then I couldn’t get my canvas to stay still. Did I mention that I’m now painting on our guest bed? Only slightly better than trying to paint on my lap in the living room. I can only use acrylics right now because I have no where to let paintings dry if I use oils. I have a love/hate relationship with acrylics and after using oils this summer I am finding the fast drying time of acrylics very irritating. All those feathers and fur I’ve been painting lately would probably be easier with oils.
I am SO ready to get to work in my attic. I daydream of having my easel set up ALL THE TIME. Lighting that I can control. Tables I can leave my mess on and not have to clean up to eat dinner or have a guest over. Supplies that I know where they are and not have to hunt through a dozen mystery boxes.
“When will your attic be done?” you ask. I have no idea. This is where we are right now. I started priming the drywall last week, but I haven’t quite finished and I can’t set up my easel until that overhead piece goes in, then the lighting. It’s a little bit of torture having to work one bit at a time. No, it’s a lot of torture. I have the vision, but we are no where near it yet. Sigh.
I am not going to stop doing what I’m doing. It’s taken me a lifetime to squeeze out the small amount of time I have right now to do this. I ain’t gettin’ any younger here! I will admit though that this is the most impatient I have been over something, maybe ever. You might want to say a prayer or two for DH. He has to live with me.