Monday, August 30, 2010

Untitled 25 (oil)

Here's the latest oil & cold wax painting. 12" x 12".

I'm really enjoying these. During the workshop, it had felt very frustrating to create so many panels that ended up in that artistically nebulous place somewhere between just-begun and not-done. Loading them all up into my car, and then lugging them out from the car into my studio, propping them all up anywhere I could find space and then seeing so many ugly-duckling-phase paintings felt discouraging. But now I guess I'm reaping the benefits of all those partially-finished paintings, because three times in the last week or so I've been able to pick up one of these paintings and finish it in an evening.

I think with this style of painting, in particular, it's extremely important to have several around in different stages; when you get really frustrated with one and it just seems to keep getting uglier the more you work on it, you can put it aside knowing that everything you just did to it doesn't have to be removed but rather will serve as underlayers for whatever you next decide to put on top of it, whenever that may be. It's also really helpful that it's possible to work in this medium on a layer that may be wet, semi-wet, or dry. The reason this is so advantageous is that when you do get frustrated with a piece and put it aside, you can do so without needing to have a plan in mind, or timing, as to what you're going to do next with it.

...Which works well with my artistic temperament. I like spontaneity, intuition, and happy accidents when I do art. Which is odd, because in my house and life in general, I like order and calmness and predictability and neatness. But my art studio is a huge, chaotic, creative mess, and I like to work with a minimum of planning. I wonder why my artistic mode is so different from my normal way of being. Is your artistic mode in tune with your "normal" mode, or is it opposite, like mine?

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Jazzy waits for his dinner...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Heart is a Multi-Chambered Organism, or, The Origin of Species

Hard to photograph these in terms of making them look accurate inre red vs. orange tint. These are a bit more red (less orange) in person.

When you can't decide between two titles for a painting, you use both. Or at least that's what I do.

This is a 3-panel oil + cold wax work, which at some point I will bolt together permanently. This is my first multi-panel work; I love how Rebecca Crowell works this way. (She also has the most amazing wall to hang her panels on and play with the arrangements of them--go look at her video and be highly jealous of that space.)

The three parts are shown below in the order and orientation in which they will appear, and then at the end I have a photo showing how they'll look all together. They're recently completed, so I have not yet removed the blue protective tape on the sides; they have natural wood sides.

The first panel is 12" x 9", second is 12" x 16", and third is same as the first (12" x 9"). Assembled, therefore, the work is 12" horizontal x 34" vertical.


I just don't understand how it can be comfortable to sleep like this...

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Untitled 24 (Naufragio con buen tiempo) (oil)

Here's the latest oil and cold wax painting, Untitled 24 or Naufragio con buen tiempo (Shipwreck in Good Weather). 16" x 16" on museum panel.

And a couple of detail shots:


(Say in David Attenborough voice:) The wild Rumi creature, in its natural habitat, possesses an uncanny ability to camouflage itself when it senses danger. It often chooses an object like this cloth ottoman for the purpose. Alas, tragically, the bit of dark collar gives it away.

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At one of the pools in town during the last two weeks of the summer (and frankly, miserably, at 99 degrees, it doesn't feel like summer is winding down at all!), they have what they call Dog Dayz. For five dollars, your pooch can go in and cool off (no humans allowed, unfortunately. That water sure looks nice and refreshing...). Here's The Husband and Mojito.
(It cracks me up that at the end, there's a guy who watches Mojito leap and seems to be trying to convince his dog to do likewise.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


By popular request, it's close-ups day. The first couple are detail shots of Untitled 23, and the next bunch are from Untitled 22. Both paintings are oil and cold wax.

And it's been a while since we've checked closely on Rumi's dentition...

Bonus pic: Rumi's tummy, for virtual snorgling:

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Untitled 23 (oil)

10" x 30". Oil and cold wax.


The Husband hates cheese. He tells everyone this, and makes sure to get his pizza cheese-less, and makes a face when someone tells him that a dish he's considering ordering in a restaurant includes cheese. And yet, I sometimes see him eat cheese--voluntarily. Yesterday we went grocery shopping and I got some Brie (an indulgence I try to keep to some kind of reasonable minimum, cheese lover that I am). The Husband put away all the groceries and a little while later I decided it was time for me to break out the Brie and enjoy some. I was worried when I saw that the plastic wrap was ripped at the tip of the cheese wedge (thinking, yuck, that went through the cashier line and everything? that's gonna have a few germs). Then I looked more closely at the tip: yes, those were human teeth marks. And they weren't mine. And they weren't there half an hour before, in the store. And only two humans live in this house (both of whom possess teeth). Therefore...

And this is exactly how I found it in the refrigerator. Not even wrapped back up or anything.

I read recently that in some personal morality/ethics studies, it was found that women had their own personal ethics firmly held regardless of situation, and that men's depended most upon whether or not they knew they were being observed.

I'm just sayin'.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Untitled 22 (oil)

Oil (no wax), 36" x 36". Finished about a month ago. One of SamArtDog (my neighbor)'s favorites.
(Sorry for the upper-left glare.)



Still trying to figure out why the manufacturer called them dog beds...

As you can see, the cats always exercise their feline rights to have first choice of seating arrangements. If they choose to sit on a dog bed, the dogs don't dare ask them to move. And with a sigh, the dogs go and lie on the floor.

(Below) I love this one. Jazz was occupying one dog bed already, and Mojito was pacing between the one Rumi is clearly smack in the middle of, and Jazz's. Finally he plonked himself down on Jazz's bed, hoping there'd be enough room.

And a rare moment where Miss Lemon allowed some company on "her" dog bed (she was there first).

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life drawing...and a studio incident

Life drawing class the other night went well. It will be continuing for a few more weeks, which is great, though I'm not sure I'll be here for all of them (may be going to India again at some point soon, for the business).

The timing of the next drawings was, respectively: 20 minutes, 45 minutes, 20 minutes. The last one is my favorite.


So there was a little studio incident the other night... When I woke up I heard some frantic meowing. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, and then it stopped, so I shrugged and went about my morning. Then it started up again. Was it coming from outside? I looked behind the house, looked in front of the house. Then, quiet for a while. Then, more meowing. Finally, I happened to walk past the (glass) studio door (which connects the house and studio) and saw a stripey little Lynx face peering at me anxiously and meowing insistently. Apparently, Lynx got trapped in the studio sometime during the night. I'm guessing I hadn't latched the door well and he went in and then when he tried to come back out, he probably stood on his hind legs and pressed against the door and it latched shut. (They're always standing like that looking in when I'm in the studio.) Lynx was very grateful to be rescued (he's a cat who's very nervous about new situations) and got quiet for a while, but then started meowing again, which was odd, because he rarely uses his voice.

So an hour or two goes by and I realize I haven't seen The Midget (sorry, but that's one of Rumi's nicknames...I'm embarrassed...okay, some of his other nicknames, as long as I'm embarrassing myself, are: MonkeyPie, Pink Cadillac, GhostPuppy, The Prince, WhiteChild, Mr.Pink, Tiny-ness, and Midgetino) all morning. So I go look in all his favorite sleeping places around the house: papasan chairs, kitchen cupboards, on top of my computer bag...nada. Strange. And he couldn't be in the studio, because I'd already been in there, and he would've heard me and wanted out, like Lynx.

It actually took a few minutes for the fact to register: Oh. Rumi's deaf. He wouldn't have heard me. Back I go into the studio, searching everywhere for a non-frantic kitty (no meows, no sad face at the window)...and finally find him, curled up happily sound asleep inside a box of framed pastels covered with brown paper in a corner.

Needless to say, there were some painting casualties in the studio. And I didn't notice this until later in the evening:

Nearly impossible to get these shots, as Rumi loves both people and the camera, so it was very hard to get behind him; he kept turning around instantly while I ran around the table like a maniac.

Well, I've always thought he looks like a blank canvas with a lot of potential...

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Untitled 21 (oil)

Well, I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the first finished painting from the workshop. Ta-da!

Hope you can see some of the texture and detail, part of what is so interesting about this technique. I think what fascinates me about the technique is that one can achieve results that seem simultaneously primitive and sophisticated.

Oil and cold wax on museum panel, 16" x 16".


Saw this look of doggy consternation at the door and wondered what was wrong...

...And then looked back to where I had just set down the dogs' breakfast bowls:

Such a dramatic kind of boy. (And he's next to Mojito's bowl, not Jazz's. He knows.)

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rebecca Crowell workshop day 3

Some of my works in progress.

The Rebecca Crowell workshop ended today. I will be happy to sleep in, but will really miss the fun and camaraderie we had. It was a great experience. Rebecca is a wonderful instructor, low-key (in a good way) and extremely approachable, kind, and generous with her time, expertise and materials. I can't help but think that any other artist would try to keep these techniques to themselves, as a sort of trade secret to give them an edge in the art marketplace blah blah blah... But Rebecca is so not like that. I highly recommend a workshop with her if you are interested in abstract painting and curious about trying out the cold wax medium and new techniques.

A couple of commenters have asked me about the cold wax technique. Rebecca is the master, and I refer you to this page where she has written a wonderful description for the product manufacturer. It's not a medium only for abstract art, though it's obviously great for this purpose. (And Maggie, you have to use it on panel, not canvas, for reasons of structural stability.) Rebecca's website link is in the previous paragraph, and you can also visit her blog. If you pay her a cyber (or personal) visit, please say hi from me!

This is not a medium for those who like to be neat and stay clean. In fact, I don't think there is any other medium that approaches this one in full-out messiness. This was Rebecca's workstation that she demo-ed at:

Below: Here she is, though I have no idea why I happened to catch her when she had such an odd expression on her face. Behind her (i.e., to her right) are some of her smaller paintings on the wall.

(Forgive the quality of these workshop photos; they were all taken with my iPhone 3.)

Below, Phyllis (with whom I shared a large work table for the three days)--she was hilarious and we had a great time laughing together. Behind is Max, working intently.

Below, Ken (who designs outdoor furniture) and Anna. Ken was fairly quiet, and Anna quick to join in the giggles coming from my and Phyllis' table.

Below is Joe. He has a business doing that "faux" texture-type work on home interior walls. Apparently, he is known as "faux Joe." On our first day at lunch, I asked him what he did for a living, if it wasn't selling paintings, and he told me he was a "faux painter." I thought he was making a straightfaced joke--like, I'm not a real painter, just faking it.
You can also go see the lovely work of fellow participant Nancy Green at her link.

The workshop was held in the KC Willis gallery in Longmont (Colorado). I live in Boulder, which is only half an hour away by car, but a million miles away in terms of lifestyle/philosophy. It felt so small-town-America to be here. For example, here on Main Street, just a door or two away from the gallery, we find a Christian Center...

...and directly across the street from it, we have this friendly and inspirational establishment:

Fortunately, things never went quite so badly during the painting sessions that anyone had to resort to popping over there to purchase anything.


Who, me? Oh, just sittin' here with little tucked paws.

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