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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016....Welcome!!!

On New Year's Eve, 2015, I went into my studio to turn off my lights, and bent over to reach the switch under my easel..........(don't know why I had it set up like that) and the painting I had just spent the previous week trying to finish, fell off the easel onto my back!  It was a heavy mounted board, with thick impasto paint, which was then in my hair and all over my sweatshirt.....I managed to catch the painting before it hit the ground, (balancing it on my back, lol) so I tried not to have a total meltdown, and check the damage.

The brushstrokes, which were important to the background were totally messed up, and because of my three cats, and landing in my hair, the big problem was getting the hair unstuck from the paint...ha ha!  It actually didn't take that much time, and luckily the figure was not wet, so other than having to fix some hair, (on the figure and myself) and smoothing out the background for a fresh layer of paint, I think the painting is salvageable.  Although I decided to put the painting on hold, to dry, and move forward into 2016 with a fresh start!!!


"Pies", 12" x 12"




"$$$$", 12" x 12"
 
Last year was an interesting year, as the painting landscape continues to change.  It seems every time I feel like I am hitting my stride, and painting exactly what I want, the pendulum swings, and I am once again faced with not only painting to the best level I can, but also painting something that people will want, and as much as I hate to say it.....work that will sell.  I have written about this before, and although I am pretty sure that most artists would like to paint what they want, damn the public, we do have to keep in mind what is selling, and the current "trends" in the market, if we are to remain relevant, and make a living with our art.

Having said that, this year for Art Mrkt San Francisco, I painted 7 small 12" x 12" paintings, (with only 4 actually making it in time for the opening) that incorporated obvious Pop Art in the backgrounds of my beautiful models.  I am calling them "Pop Portraits".  What I realized is that a 12" x 12" painting takes me almost as much time to paint as a 24" x 24" painting.




"Target", 12" x 12"

"American Woman", 12" x 12"
 
"Hot Tomato", 12" x 12"

"LOVE", 12" x 12"
 
"Heartbreaker", 12" x 12"

 I am actually quite proud of those little paintings, and besides showing in San Francisco at my gallery; Scott Richards Contemporary Art, and Tangent, 4 of them are now in Denver, showing at Abend Gallery, along with 2 of my still life paintings.  I am very excited to show my work in Denver; an amazing city, and where I was born.

Along with the small "Pop Portraits", I managed to finish a  few larger paintings with the same format.  I love Pop Art, and painting in the style of my favorite Pop Artists, allows me to pay homage to Warhol, Thiebaud, Dine, and Johns, just to name a few.

"Mousetrap", 24" x 24"

"Calling Me Home", 24" x 24"

"Sovereign", 30" x 24"

 

Then to finish off the year, even though looking around my studio I have 4 (or more) paintings in progress, I painted another Day of the Dead painting just for myself.  I don't know why I  am so fascinated by that cultural celebration, but I think I will always paint Dia de los Muertos images.  A great reminder of those who have gone before us......



"Dia de los Muertos II", haven't came up with a better title yet, 24" x 20"
 
Once again I would like to say thank you to everyone who follows this blog, and all the people who support me and my artwork!  I really do feel lucky to be able to call myself an artist and to paint every day.  I would like to say thank you to my gallery Scott Richards Contemporary Art in San Francisco, Abend Gallery in Denver, and of course my wonderful, beautiful models, Amy, Harmony, Deserae, and Ayla, who help make my work possible.  I am looking forward to 2016, and have many new ideas I am currently working on, as I write this.  Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

New Work!

My last post was talking abut creativity, and as the creativity continues, I thought I should post some new paintings!


"Mouse Trap" or "Fantasy"....still can't decide......24" x 24"


This is my latest finished painting that you may remember from the previous post.  There was no background then, and I am so happy that I added the Andy Warhol painting; "Double Mickey Mouse 1981"! As I have said before I like to let the figure inform or dictate the background, but for this one I wasn't 100% sure it would work, with the dark Mini Mouse ears against the black background.  As I looked at this painting when it was finished, I kept it to myself for awhile, because I liked it so much.  I wasn't sure what people would say.......it just seemed so strange, and yet to me it seemed extra  special!

I posted the image on FB and once again asked for title suggestions.  I got so many good ideas, I still haven't decided what the title will be.  I wanted to go with "Magic Kingdom", but since it is trademarked I am going with "Mouse Trap" or "Fantasy".

The painting before this one was my model Amy wearing a Crayon Crown.

"Sovereign", 30" x 24"

After making my multitude of crowns, I really fell in love with them, as odd as that sounds....To me Crayons are like the starting blocks of any artist, and a crown of them feels like being the Queen of Art!  (Imagine wearing this crown in grade school!!)  I wanted to stick to the same color theme as the crown, so I added another Warhol painting; "$ (4) 1982" .
 
 
Not to think that I am only painting crowns, I also completed another painting of Harmony, that moves me, almost, like no other...

"Calling Me Home", 24" x 24", oil

I have painted a similar photo of Harmony in two other paintings, from the same photo shoot...actually our very first shoot, which was almost exactly 4 years ago today.  For some reason, this look on Harmony's face has a beautiful sadness that I love!  I decided to add Robert Indiana's painting; "Decade: Autoportrait 1961", and when I first decided on this painting for a background I didn't even notice that it said Chicago on it.  I was looking at the design, and the # 1, and star.  After I painted it, I was listening to some Frank Sinatra music, and heard "My Kind of Town".  The song is about a great love for Chicago, and the words calling me home, gave me my title.  I love when titles are "given" to you, by just being aware!  The fact that Harmony has moved to Chicago, made the title all that more perfect!
 
These are not the only paintings I have painted, but I am feeling a subtle change may be on the horizon, although I also feel like I am painting exactly what I should be painting for this moment! 


Friday, June 5, 2015

The Creative Process...

Often times I look at my paintings drying in the bathroom, or stacked up in my studio, and am captivated by the image!  A painting in progress is sometimes more "intriguing" than the finished painting.....at least to me.  But then again, I love to see artists in their studios with their work, or works in progress.



I think the feeling is....what could have been, and what still can be........the actual creative process!  Not one of the paintings above looks at all the same as in this photograph. (And not one of them is completely finished.....close though.) One thing that helps me make a decision on the final piece is that I know I can always paint another painting incorporating my new ideas.....once I work them out in my mind, as well as figuring out how to actually physically accomplish the task.  The concept is sometimes the easy part!

When I was doing the silver leafing, and stenciling, some of the images, especially adding the reflections in the mirror were beautiful to see.  My photography leaves something to be desired, but they are only meant to be a reference of the process, and a moment in time


When incorporating the silver and gold leaf, the whole process became that of a craftsman, and I loved the feeling of creating something "more" than a painting! Although it took quite a bit of learning, and many trials, it was well worth it, and I am planning more silver leaf soon.  Oh the gold and silver leaf I went through......it was littering the whole house!

 

It is also interesting to me to see, in hindsight, what paintings I was painting at the same time.  So different than looking in my painting "ledger". 

As you will be able to see, I have way too many paintings going at one time.  Like I have said before....I love to start a painting, love to finish a painting, but that middle part is where I struggle....lol



So this morning, as I passed the "drying room", I felt compelled to photograph the drying paintings, even taking it as far as to arranging them on my studio floor.....





Way too many paintings.......but the creativity continues!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015...WELCOME!!

2014 was a year of retrospection and trying to decide my future painting direction.  The year was filled with highs and lows, but nothing like the previous year, when my father passed away.  I still feel his presence, and am motivated by the fleeting shortness of life, to create my best work possible, and venture into terrain that I have not yet explored.

I have wanted to be an artist since I was in 2nd grade, and am so happy and proud that I have achieved that goal!  Like I have said before, it is not always easy, but to have something that I can call my own, that I can always count on is invaluable.... My family has my heart, but art may have my soul....

My year started with Super Hero paintings, and I am happy to say that they all sold!  Thank you Scott Richards Contemporary Art!


"When You Read My Mind", oil, 24" x 24"

"Double Espresso", oil, 30" x 24"


"Energize", oil, 30" x 24"
 
The show was a great success, and my painting; "Double Espresso"  was even on the poster.  I was so excited to be on the invitation with my painting right next to Mel Ramos'!


My son Shane, taking a photo outside the gallery.
 
Sometime during the summer I decided that although I am very happy with my painting, I really needed to try some things that I had always wanted to do...gold and silver leaf.  It was quite a learning experience, and although the silver and gold are easy to apply to canvas, I found that what is under the leaf is important, (brushstrokes, etc.) and that the silver tarnishes, and silver polish destroys the leaf......after probably 4 layers of silver on each of these pieces, I am calling them finished.

"Ice Queen" or "Icing Queen"  haven't decided yet...going to framer next week. Oil with silver and gold leaf, 24" x 24"

"Full Bloom", mixed media with silver leaf
In "Full Bloom", I used a stencil, which I also had to learn to use, and then make my decision on how to varnish.....I think I have it down now.

Like usual I have many unfinished pieces, due to my working process, but after making many crowns for my models, (also this summer) I painted "Liberty",


"Liberty", oil, 36" x 24"
 but closed the year by going back to my favorite: Pop Art by Wayne Thiebaud......"Let Them Eat Cake"


"Let Them Eat Cake", oil 36" x 24"
 
Once again I would like to say.....Happy New Year to everyone who follows this blog, and all the people who support me and my work!  Facebook friends have been a wonderful resource again, and thank you to all the artists and photographers who inspire me with their amazing work!  I would also like to thank my gallery: Scott Richards Contemporary Art, in San Francisco, who work hard for me every day.  My new gallery Scarlow's, in Casper, WY.   And of course my models; Harmony, Deserae, and Amy, who my work would not be possible without!

"Bottoms Up!", 24" x 30"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Artist and Muse.....

Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

That is the dictionary's definition of a muse. 

Throughout time there have been many famous artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and even Andrew Wyeth, who have made history with their muses.  The most famous of muse and artist collaborations are probably the ones we read about that involve a romantic, or sexual involvement, because those are the hot blooded, fiery exchanges we all love to believe in, or fantasize about.  

I believe that every artist has many muses throughout the course of their career. be they male or female.  Being a female artist, my muses are also usually female.  I don't paint men, but I am influenced by them, and they may be a source of inspiration, that I then incorporate into my paintings of women. 

"Icing Tips", (Amy cropped)

I often ask for advice, or suggestions from the men in my life, and a painting coming to fruition sometimes comes not from anything tangible, but from something deep that inspires me. And if I am extremely lucky that inspiration will manifest itself through my use of paint on canvas, into a successful painting.



"Dia de los Muertos", (Harmony cropped)

I would even say that my dad was my muse for my "Dia de los Muertos" painting, because although my "physical" muse was my model Harmony, my dad's life (and death) was my inspiration for the painting.  Harmony was able to personify the feeling into something meaningful that I could paint.

I feel each portrait or figure I paint is a self portrait of sorts, and I have been greatly influenced by my female models, and their effect on me.  Each model brings something different to a photo shoot, and how they personally interpret my ideas.  It is really incredible to work with the same model over the course of a few years, where we create a bond, and settle into an ease of working together, and become a team.  I try to evoke the feeling out of my model, so she will look how I feel, or how I imagine, and want my painting to make people who view the painting to feel.

"When You Read My Mind", (Harmony cropped)

A model does not always become a muse, but the few that I have felt were my muse, become much more to me than just a model.  My first muse was my daughter, Leah, whom I have painted at least 20 times.  Painting Leah drew my first attention from galleries, who were interested in my figurative work, and secured me a spot in my first gallery in San Francisco.  Painting Harmony has enhanced my career, and Amy is now becoming my current muse, as I am painting my third painting of her as I write this.

When I was painting my daughter, (which I plan to do again soon) I would look for the moment when she was unaware of her expression, when her "guard" was down, and I could feel a deeper connection to her, and that is what I would photograph and paint.

"If Only", (Leah cropped)

Some of my work is light and humorous, but my favorite paintings are the ones where I can feel some emotion by looking at my model/muse's face.  When I look at one of my paintings, it takes me back to what was happening in my life when the piece was painted, and the emotions I was feeling at the time....kind of like seeing an old photograph....


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Painting continues....






After a wonderful vacation, and gallery opening in WY, (which I will post about soon) I am back in Albuquerque, painting.  As I continue to explore this new surface, Ampersand's Gessobord, the struggle with the way the board accepts the paint is still confounding me....This surface needs quite a bit of paint, to move across the surface, and every single brushstroke I place, needs to be smoothed with a soft brush, or a fan brush.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is my first layer of paint, and in my "rush" to have the image look like what I am painting, it usually does take me (at least) two passes to complete a painting. 

What I love about this surface is that the skin seems to look like skin, and the smoothness is beautiful!  I will continue to push and pull the lights and darks, and am planning a wonderful background!  Many hours of painting are ahead of me on this painting, but I will continue to post for those of you who are interested.....
 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Painting.....




I am thankful every single day that my "job" is making art, and being able to paint whatever my heart desires!  Yesterday, while starting a new painting, I was so immersed in the building of paint, and pushing and pulling the darks and lights, it seemed almost like sculpting with paint. I truly feel that watching the 2 dimensional surface become a 3 dimensional image is one of my greatest pleasures.


First day of painting on Gessobord
Because I am still exploring different grounds, that may make the gold and silver leaf "better", I am painting on Gessobord, by Ampersand.  I have painted on gessoed board before, but I would usually gesso the final layer with clear gesso because I found it had a little more tooth for the paint to grab onto.  This gessobord (that's how they spell it) is very smooth and "slick", and it doesn't accept paint like canvas does. 

I am not used to it, but there is an undeniable smoothness, that I forgot I liked.  The paint feels like the texture of suede, with no weave of the canvas to deal with, but you have to be careful of the brushstrokes, and I remember having to leave the first layer of paint to dry, before you can get a "grip" with the second layer.

Three of the same images....but different...(the big painting is covered with plastic)
The image I am painting is one I have painted before, but this time I am cropping Harmony, and planning a different background.  Having the finished painting in front of me to look at while I paint, has been kind of different......I never paint the exact same image the exact same way.  In fact, as I look at the previous painting in progress, (on canvas) it is quite different.  I am liking the one on canvas, so far, but to be sure, I will eventually get the new one to the same likeness.  I would love to work on the face on the gessobord some more, but the paint is already tacky, and I know that I better not touch it until it is dry.....I will see if I can stay true to that today....lol  I will continue to post photos of this painting as it progresses.  (The eyes and mouth seem much better on the canvas image.)

Canvas
Gessobord
Painting is not always easy, and there is always something to be learned, but at the end of the day, making art is always, always an escape I can count on to take me where I want to go....