Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kiwi Peach Juice Three

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Zippity Do Da. A little paint pushing this am. A good blueberry banana smoothie...not too bad. It is supposed get up to 72 this afternoon. Woo woo, break out the flip flops. Well not quite. Still feels like sweater weather here. This little tart is the third of the three "juice tarts". The colors were so summery, they barely seemed real. So mentally I jumped from the snows of yesterday to pondering warmer climes. Hmm. Do we sense a wee bit of cabin fever? Yes, but my flu fever is gone. I even caught brush just gliding over the juicy parts as if on holiday...hmmm maybe we need to head to the islands...or at least take a walk around the block. I know, big doings here. I think I need some glamour tarts soon. Some restorative goodies. Might be just the thing to get the zip back in my do da. In fact, I think we all need that about now. Note to self: find glamour, no, not Paris Hilton...silly...real fancy french stuff from guys named Henri, Pierre, comme ca, mes amis. I am on it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Raspberry Snow

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Snow. I wanted to paint snow this morning with raspberries tucked and cosy on a cushion of cake. I am thinking Benedryl is my new muse. I slept in until 10 o'clock!!!! Never happens. And the sun is out. I expect any moment to break into a rousing version of Zippity Do Dah....well almost. My friend Patti called me from North Carolina to tell me they had a slight "dusting" and it is still snowing in the mountains. We have known each other since the third grade, so it doesn't surprise me anymore that we are often on the same wavelength. Remember snow days as a kid? We used to hose down the street in front of our drive so the bus couldn't make it up the hill. Such freedom, a snow day. So I am tucking all that good stuff into this little tart and wishing you all the happiness of a snow day now and then. Meet you at Starbucks...don't forget your sled.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Paint It Red

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More. I wanted more. Needed red, needed berries, needed lots of luscious paint. It could be the gazillion Benedryl I took just to get some sleep last night. Or it could be all that talk of underwear yesterday on copyblogger. I am not sure, but today I woke up (meaning I did get some non-coughing sleep) wanting lots of red, red , red. Hmm, feeling better are we? Or is it just good medicine? Well, the sun is out. The paint felt good. And I haven't coughed in, oh, ten minutes.....things are looking up. I have said this before, but it truly amazes me how even when I feel awful, sometimes being in the painting zone makes everything else just fall away, recede to irrelevance. And the paint works its magic. You've felt it haven't you? Whether it's a workout, or a well loved task. Time passes around you, but unknown to you. That engagement, that intense concentration, ahh we're talking zone-a -licious. Someone said that 90% of success is mental. I believe it. Today, my mental part said we are having us some red. And we did.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Morning Studio

Monday mornings. A golden sense of opportunity? Or a uh-oh here we go again?

Mondays have usually been an organizing, office-y day for me. You know, what's up for the week? Materials inventory...conceptual work on series...I just found that it was best used for a positioning day. Preparation for entering the" zone".

Oh yes, the zone is real. And for me, the work is a performance that has rehearsal, preparation, not a lot of costuming but some, lights, camera, cue music, ohm..the whole deal. What? Hey, if this was easy, every one would do it. But nooo just we lucky few blessed/cursed ones are so graced.
So Monday mornings? Maybe they are" uh-oh here we go again golden opportunities". How do you get into your zone? I think I still need some coffee.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blueberry Tart Study

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We have blueberries. This is a warm up for the third of the three pieces going to Palo Alto. You saw the drawing on Wednesday's studio post. I love the looseness of this little painting. On the larger piece there may be a little more room to put more exact "faces" on each berry, but there is something that is luscious in this easy flow of paint. I may not want to tame it. The pieces are about abundance. They will anchor a baking corner in a newly redone fifties home. So they need to be full of promise, juicy, and ripe with possibilities for all the good things to come from the client and her family. As much as there is a lot of me in the paintings, they are essentially about this family. So when I am painting for them, I think of warmth, generosity and shared joy. No, I don't think that needs taming at all.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Liz Lovely Ginger Snapdragons

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Woody Allen said that 70% of success in life is just showing up. Last Thursday, for showing up on Tim Ferriss's Valentine blog post, I got news that Liz Lovely would be sending me a couple of their cookies. Well that's really nice, I thought. I'll paint and post them as thanks. I had never heard of them and they did not know me.

The cookies arrived quickly. Two giant Ginger Snapdragons coupled, or as she calls them, "soul mated", in twos. Everything about them is exceptional. Just like the people that make them. Really, go check out this Liz Lovely band of bakers up in Vermont. I love gingerbread, ginger snaps, ginger just about anything... and it is great for us. What I love also are people who really put themselves into what they do in a way that makes us glad they do.

The hardest part? Not eating them while I photographed, drew and painted them...these pack a huge ginger whallop of goodness. Just what this nasty cold needs. Who knew that some nice folks in Vermont would be just the thing for that cold that last week we didn't even know I would have.
So show up. Life is a lot more spicy that way. Thanks Tim and thank you Andy, and all of you in Vermont. Free cookies. Now there's a nice thing. Free delicious cookies, even better. You are going on my "get goodies for gifts" resource list.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Studio Wednesday Morning

Zen to done needs a boost. My top 3 MIT's from yesterday are competing with an ugly, ugly virus. That's my immuno-boost smoothie, the Ginger Snapgragons and a couple of strawberries. What I really want is my binkie and total immersion in my bed.

But let's check in: Blueberries, check. Drawing complete on the lovely Moleskine page.

Ginger Snapdragons palette selected, check. The drawing is also done. I'll show you that with a later post. Ginger probably tastes raw umber-y, but I am going to fire up a mixed palette.

"Pink bird on an island", check. Rhythm of composition, painting notes, and thumbnail ( rather large) complete.

Next step? It all goes to the canvas, she says slurping her smoothie...that quilt is looking awfully tempting....Leo, any tips for this? Maybe Flylady...we can do anything for fifteen minutes. Hmm, so today's plan is a hybrid, "the fifteen minutes at a time MIT program"...I like that. Slurp. Slurp. Where's my binkie?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Studio Tuesday Morning

It's an eclectic day in the studio today, so I am borrowing Zen Habits MIT system. Because I am not about to show you the miles of work and source material I am working on simultaneously I will pull the three most important tasks of the day. Number one in that slot, a blueberry tart. It goes with the chocolate cake of last week and the strawberry shortcake which is already done. These paintings have a March first party to go to so we will be swimming in luscious blueberries today.

Number two slot, a karmic kiss, from me to Tim Ferriss to Liz Lovely and back. That post will come up later this week. What color does ginger taste like?...Hmmm... Will be working on that.

And finally, making the top three, that is a small stack of work orders that need to get to sketch format..."pink bird on an island", a" Max Ernst inspired" piece, "deer tracks nearby", and a medley of works in progress. "Pink bird on an island" will be at auction April 8th to raise funds for the Audubon Zoo. All need to get to that next step.
So that's my day... Zen to Done today folks. Zen to Done.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Cecelia!

Cecelia this little Ritz Carlton cupcake is all for you. Your friend Michele says that "any day with cake is a good day", and I agree. So she left it up to me what to paint for your birthday. The minute I saw this snazzy little number, I thought, yep, that's it! Cecelia, your future's so bright you'll have to wear shades!!! From the deep delicious chocolate to the heavenly whipped cream you have special thoughts coming your way all day long. And of course this painting will soon follow. The cupcake? Oh, uh, me it was sooooo good. I know. It's a tough job...Hope you two friends have a great day!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Naughty Friday Art Quest

Daniel Lanois said, "When you are at a moment of thrill , document it. " He was talking about making music. But it is essential in art. This small tart is undeniably succulent, juicy. I want to paint it big. How big? Not sure... And who would want a giant tart on their wall? In the pop movement and photo realism movement ...maybe lots of people. Are they out there still? Dunno. But the adventure of doing it excites me. It will become a visual metaphor.That process is what makes me tingle, literally, if I am doing my job right. Talk about recycling an is also called setting up resonance.

I know you all have moments of thrill. Large and small. And the best part of us wants touchstones for those moments. I have the great good fortune to sometimes be part of producing some of those touchstones. And for that I am grateful.

For today, I wanted to say that the quest for those moments and resonance they create is huge. Embracing them is all the more important, even in uncertain times in our lives. I wanted to say thank you to someone I have never met but who provides such resonance for me and for all her friends and readers. She had the great good heart to even write about me so that more of you know I exist. But more importantly I wanted to say that asking the questions is sometimes way more important than knowing the answers.
So go read the red writing on the upper right of my blog. Which one of you wants to be the boss of me for under a hundred bucks? Am I crazy? Probably. But it will be fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chocolate Cake Study

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Finally, they say heaving a sigh of relief, a painting. From Houston We Have Cake, here is a study, meaning a little warmup for the larger painting. Painting chocolate is a tricky thing. Ask Paris Breakfasts. You can't imagine the pigments, the blends, the choices that go into getting it to "feel" like it tastes. Chocolate is brown you say? Well, yes and no. Just like a horse can be roan or sorrel, bay or chestnut, chocolate has color that brings it to life. You might want to check out Tim Ferriss's Scharffen Bergen tasting to see what they put in their best chocolate bars. Our eyes, just like our taste buds, want a range of sensations to heighten the experience. It's like fine wine or good scotch. So the search across the painting palette is particular and idiosyncratic as well. Not only do your eyes need to see it, they need to "taste" it too. And it tasted pretty dog gone good, if I do say so myself. Well I had to check, purely for authenticity...really.

Gosh...and Happy Valentine's Day Too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making Props ll

Monday was making props day here. I know, I know, the glamour never ends.

Soap box moment here: Children NEED art as a mainstay in their curriculum, not as an add-on afterthought. I believe so firmly in this that I have designed art enrichment cross discipline programs and projects for years at one of our country's top girls prep schools. What? I took studio art process into classrooms and juiced up their arsenal of responses to any given topic. Give me a topic, an age group, and some tools and materials....and bam! Prepare to be amazed.

This project is for two year olds. !!! They are not challenged. I am. Well, I hadn't realized their propensity for eating the art materials, paint, snack...whatever...and as future art directors in the making, they have their own ideas about where the paint should actually go. On their arms was popular. I understand Pixar has the same issues.

But we are making personal identity icons. A favorite core activity of mine.

And the eventual Keith Haring inspired collages will be auctioned at the upcoming Gala Fundraiser for their school.

But first we must have templates for them to hopefully roll paint over: Pretzels, Goldfish and Cheerios. Huge in the daily life of a two year old. I expect a melee and creative disputes...yeah...but we also get juice boxes and beep beeps to play with on the playground...what kind of perks are you getting?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Houston We Have Cake

Lifting the lid off of the cake keeper this morning was almost too much chocolate ( Gasp! Is there any such thing?) for me so early in the morning. But here we have the props from yesterday's efforts.

Not to worry, I can carry on. I must decide whether to put the chocolate cake on the TinTin plate or on the plate with the lovely blue figured border. I was leaning toward Tin Tin but now that I am looking...that blue figure is kind of appealing...what to do?

And to cap it off...bons bons to draw and paint...hmmm... I have my work cut out for me and the scent is fairly heady...what a way to go...and I haven't even started on the paints yet...color , color, color and yum, yum, yum.
Now what are you doing today? I am throwing my own artistic self into these challenging chocolates.The modern day Medicis are waiting. That would be you all by the way.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Making Props

Normally I would go to Main Street and buy the thickest darkest slice o' cake they have.

But this is for a client whose redo of her fifties home is good old American Style. We are doing a few larger pieces to hang in her baker's area. Are we jealous? Yep. Even though I make a killer Hershey Bar Chocolate Cake, it isn't right for this. So my favorite classic comes up to bat. Duncan Hines. Never fails. Consistent AND yummy moist. No not a commercial, just a reminder. Good tools, good know the drill... more satisfaction...okay now Mick Jagger is singing in my head, but unlike him , we will have satisfaction.

And did you see the note? "w/strawberries"...yeah, tough job. But somebody has to do it. Here's where the tough part comes in. I just committed to a high protein, slow carb regimen. No white carbs. Hmmm...chocolate and strawberries aren't white. I see sepia and red...hey maybe this is easier than I think. Augh, Where's the angst? I am an artist, we were told we had to suffer. Just a Monday morning in the studio here. Betcha there will be chocolate cake in tomorrow's post. Wanna a bet?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Peach Juice Two

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I think we have juice. Or L'abricotage as Paris Breakfasts would say. I needed the sunniness today. I have been ill unexpectedly. Fell in love this week...with my heating pad. Why it still amazes me when I am laid low I have no idea. It is like when we trip over a bump in a sidewalk and look back totally surprised that it happened. But I am beginning to feel better and what's more, I am very eager to paint. I think it shows here. Totally stunned that it looks nothing like I have been feeling...perhaps it is true that art can be about desire and aspiration as much as reality. Well, let's hope so anyway. Just don't try to take my heating pad or tea from me and we're good. I am thinking what I really need is a juicy raspberry square...hmmm...too bad they don't deliver.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kiwi Juice One

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Juice or no juice? If the bounce of light counts as juice, we 're in. If we ask if I am totally satisfied, we are only in the ball park. Here's the truth about artists. WE ARE RARELY SATISFIED. If I nail something, I will tell you. I have. The feeling is so resonant, it is undeniable. Am I saying to you this is a bad painting? No. As a matter of fact it is a fairly decent one. I achieved the most important goal, it lives. It more than lives, it has a spark about it. It works. What I am saying is that I literally ached to describe in infinite detail the shapes and tones of the drizzles. And here is the point. Sometimes enough is enough. More isn't always more effective. Knowing when to stop yourself is important. Now refine that stopping yourself skill and borrow a phrase, you nail it more often than not. Just like words. Each stroke, each line, each shape needs to be essential to your point. All else is... perhaps... juice for the next painting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Can She Deliver The Juice?

The canvas arrived. The brush is at the ready...

Really tempting to go grey with my pencil to lick up these lines and catch the light sans color.

But the forms are rich, and the color is pleading. So opulently oozing with glaze are these, so dancing around in a circle. Can she do it? Can she find the right way to make them speak, to tell you a bit of a story? To speak languidly with paint and brush? To set up color call and response? Can she deliver the juice?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras Moleskine Love

Bon bons for Hemingway, Picasso and anyone else who discovers the perfection of Moleskine sketchbooks.

Who says you can't have your chocolate and eat it too?

I am as rich as the Queen of England on a day when I have a finely sharpened Faber Castell pencil or two, a nice Moleskine sketchbook, some bon bons and some time. Pure luxury my friends...hmm...perhaps I shall paint them too. Do you have a favorite luxury? Something that is just so fine and complete that in that time and place, life is soooo good...your heart just beats better.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One Plus One for Fun

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Here's the current cake for sale. I liked the fancy drape of cream whipped on top. And the yellow cheer. It speaks of possibilities, perhaps of spring to come.

And here's a little cake color mixing.

Some of which became a Chocolate Trianon, because some days we just need chocolate. It is going to Ashley's house. I have a few chocolate bon bons in store...tune in tomorrow...there will be more and by the way, a huge hooray for Eli Manning and his defense team...told you it was all about heart. ;-) One personal best after another...hmm, now what's to do in the studio today?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Naughty Friday Lazy Liquid Lines

Lithography. I am thinking color lithography would be a way to go on these tarts.

This is how a lot of my work begins. Plans.

Here's the under structure for the left side of the Keller library piece. I love to draw. SO I am thinking how to get more drawing from the cakes.

I am seeing these color lines as litho lines, ink on really fine paper... or as monotypes. Well, I spent some intense time with John T. Scott so it is only to be expected...this playing with what if's, riffs on line and color... You have to play to keep it fresh. And lines, lines are language. Keeping them fluid and articulate....well that' s just pleasure.