Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Morning Studio

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Painting helps. The color soothes . The line pulls me along. There is quiet progress on "Shipwrecked" too. A "call to entry" from Seattle has me looking through my tide pool images from there. The piece for Audubon Zoo needs finishing. So a little of this, some of that. Remembering in between. This is a tough one. I only know to take little steps, one after the other. Allow a few tears and go on. There are Chandeleur clouds on the sleeve of this Raspberry Squared. That makes me smile. Thank you all so much for your emails of condolence. Time and living are the only remedies I have found. As we all know this part pretty much stinks. Your words were very kind and thoughtful. Thank you. They are appreciated.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Memorium Shea Penland

News of a dear friend's death. I need a couple of days. In the meantime I will give you the peacefulness of one of his favorite places and mine. From aboard the Pelican on the leeward side of Chandeleur Island at sunset.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Raspberry square. It's on the studio schedule today. So is the watercolor, "Shipwrecked ". The flavor of the square is screaming eat me, eat me. and the puddles are saying paint me, paint me.

I know there are worse dilemmas to have in life. Do I haul out the oils to paint little raspberry here so I can eat it, or enjoy the morning hush spreading watercolor over wonderful arches paper with a sable brush before the household wakes up? The morning doves are out too. Hmm...need more tea. Which will it be?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Small Gains

Light to dark. Adjacencies must dry.

A watercolor is worked all over at once, with patience and not painting as much as painting.

Blue puddles pool next to a limb while water from golden patches gently evaporates.

These are small gains and discipline. A path with one step and then another while balancing the goal with the journey.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Naughty Friday Voyeurism

An embrace. Essential structures are penciled in, the rhythms have been set. So begins the movement and the pace, working light to dark. I call this piece "Shipwrecked". Maybe it is love among the ruins....vibrancy endures, but it must be nurtured back. Underneath the tumbled trees, underneath the fronds, from the depths life stretches up to seek the sun again. Puddles. I am playing in puddles again today. And boy does it feel good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Strawberries Glazed

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Sweet glaze and thick plump red berries, my desire for more. Here we have it. All this being present, focusing, this calling up the muse... you get a luscious bit of tart and I get to haul out the watercolors. Behind the scenes I am thoroughly primed to play amongst the puddles. To go again into the depths, to reach inside, pull out some dreams, some life lived, some artist's acumen. Let it romp and splash a bit, give it legs to stand on and air to breathe. Oh yes, we'll see about the juice, the creamy thickness spread around like concepts coming to fruition. Pencil will glide. Brush will have his day. It feels and tastes as rich as this tart. It excites my soul. So here's to thick plump berries, scented fresh and ripe, and my quest for more. Conjure up your muse my friends and get into the zone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Apple Band

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Cosy as a cocoon. Apple soothing slice. It looks like eider down to me. We all need a soft place to land. Time out amid chaos. In my painting life, concepts are swirling, new images are vying for their birth. The artist me is restless, uneasy, in transition. Eager to release all those impulses held back. They don't make sense, they are not "perfected", it may not be time. When this conversation comes up, I know they are ready to break out, to fight and struggle to fruition. When I hear, "Can I do it? Can I create the impact that echos the import of yet another change?" This is when it is time for me to go toward what I don't know. To hold these impulses writhing, yet in balance too. Let them out to find their spot. Go bigger, dare more, expand, experiment, test myself again. So you can see how appealing this little comfort is. Apples, cushioned in a lovely crust with fresh creamy custard, were painted happily. It counteracts the sea of swarming chaos. Ahh, but I am intimately familiar with chaos, know how to ride a storm. So this is also just a snack, whetting appetite. Fortified. Steady. Once more into the breach, this time one of my choosing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


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Un Frasier on a rainy Tuesday morning. My lovely sailing partner once told me after I asked him if I could spend the weekend on the Chanticleer sketching by myself, "You are as welcome as rain." He had been raised in Midland, Texas. Rain was indeed not commonplace. This man had grace. Grace is something that I as a southerner love. Indeed I live for it. Chef has grace. I have no doubt that he has the classic temperament of a French pastry chef, but look at what he does with strawberries, almonds and cream. Each time I paint one, I am transported through his magical vision and mine to the south of France, or like today to a meticulously maintained Pearson sailboat that rocks in the rain. Art can do that. The art of a phrase, a pastry, a painting, hold magic. So get a spoon and dip in while the rain falls gently outside my window.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Topsy Turvy Tart

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It's Monday. Topsy Turvey here. This is usually organizing Monday. Not today. Luckily I did that yesterday. Everything seems wonky in a way. I blame it on the dream I had last night. I'll spare you the details because we have all had them. You know, the ones that leave you thinking what is up with that? The ones that leave a dream hangover? Funny, I can paint even when I cannot walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, but today my brain is feeling fuzzy and the images of the dream are in there with the images I am painting. Are we taking a walk on the surreal side? I never know where or when my muse is going to grab me and say come on over here, deal with this. It'll be fun. She has an absurdly wicked sense of humor. I can hear the chuckling too. Or it could be because we saw Horton Hears a Who yesterday. ( I highly recommend.) We can just paint today. Me, Horton, the Whos, and the Mystery Man in my dreams. As long as they don't try to be the boss of me...we'll be okay. Maybe I can train them to clean my brushes...hmm... staff...thanks muse.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pot de Creme Chocolate Avec Cerise

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The canvas arrived. Pastry Sleuth brought me some treats. Finally, today we have a little bit of luscious creme to go with all that reading, sketching, and "inspired creation. " As you can see I enjoyed playing a little slip and slide in the shadows here. Even though it is Naughty Friday, I probably shouldn't tell you what I'm thinking of doing with that dollop of whipped cream, the cherry, and the chocolate. It's like a little island of fun after a hard week's work she says smiling. Thoughts drift...ahem. Well I am going to haul out and probably massacre a favorite guy quote from that fount of wisdom, Yoda. " There is no try. Do. " Go grab some yummy delights for yourself this weekend and enjoy. The naughtier, the better, I say. That, my friends, is a girl quote. Now where is Noie? We need to head to The Columns.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guess Which One I Would Rather Be Reading

This is the stack on my nightstand this week. Art is always a balance between the sacred and profane, the purity of inspired creation and that uglier part, the marketplace. Ideally, and according to the "French system" dating from the nineteenth century, the two should never mix. That is what the "Front Room" in the "White Cubes" are designed to say to all who enter these galleries. But the "Back Room", well think bee hive, networks, social favor trading... info systems and carefully guarded lists. The very clever masters of the back room, those are the ones you want on your team. It's kind of like the cover shot on this month's Vanity Fair...all art, high style and beauty...not one hint of what it took to get there. Pure muscle, finesse, stamina and the masters of "Back Room rituals". Have you guessed which book in the stack I would rather be reading and which one I am?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Zen To Done Cinnamon Bun

Simplicity. Matisse's blue. Expressive line. These are the bones of this piece.

The progression begins. Dark and light.Warm and cool. How many, how much? Just enough.

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Make it whole. Make it unified. Make it taste of cinnamon. Then you are done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sketching Tuesday

We have fog outside. The day is subdued, as in quiet, not the Subdudes...although they could kick it up a notch. So we are sketching and dealing with sketches...drawing a pastry or two.

And packing paintings to ship to Palo Alto, Richmond, Westchester and Morganton, all stateside today. They all get a note.

We are picking sketches to take to the next level and looking at studies to decide which to do as full on paintings...interiors or exteriors?

This is the view from the bed in my room at Shelley and Chris's in Santa Fe. Hmmm... oil...or watercolor? First a collage and maybe a monoprint?

And so it goes for today...stacks of ideas and studies, a little thinking to do, but certainly action to take and drawing too. Oh,and a "foundational myth" to outline. That's a sketch of a sort too. Content to create. A muse to amuse. Did we get cake yet?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Organizing Monday

Sometimes you just need a get it done attitude.

Mapping out a year's worth, or a complete exhibition's worth of work, or launching a new blog may seem daunting.

Getting all those work orders from concept to creation, hmm, may appear to be a bit of a reach.

Each one is a story, a step on your path, a move you have taken toward an unknown.

And there are clients and current calls on your time. So how do you do it? Go in deep studio mode, get into the zone, bring the big guns out, while balancing all on demand tasks? All while way far away from home? Piece of cake? Not sure about that, but we're going to find out...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chocolate Brownie Squared

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Concentrated flavor. Chocolate intensified. Kind of like espresso. Lots of coffee whallop in a little tiny cup, a twist of citrus hugging the rim. Hmm. Hemingway said that in writing, he tried to write one true thing. And then another. He was writing "intensified", distillation at its best. He called it the iceberg method. Leave the majority unseen, unspoken, but there nonetheless. He was not a southerner. We have to work hard to edit. But he had the good sense to head to Paris and do the cafe scene. Now there were some concentrated ideas. Flavors that would affect our world for years on end. Swirling a little citrus in a cup, art and literature of a different type were born between the wars. Richard Ford has done it too. I read his short story in the New Yorker yesterday. It is about things spoken and those left unsaid. The backdrop is New Orleans. Talk about iceberg writing. I wonder how many people will actually get it.
It made me look again at these treats. What does this brownie say? What is this series, really? It is glorious fun to paint. Rich pigment, lusciously applied. Intensely felt, flavored... contained. Little moveable feasts while I drift. Richness on a very small scale. Reminders, place holders, access points. The artist distilled. There's a bigger story. One very hard to tell. For now, I taste a concentrated brownie squared, I swirl a citrus in a cup...and Patti knows the other day, I talked out loud in myself.... Hemingway in paint? Could be.
Hemingway could have made this brownie. It is everything it needs to be, evocative of more. Of course he wouldn't have put it in a fancy skirt. That would be me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Blackberry Snow

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Pink tulips and blackberry snow. What? That makes no sense. Couplings again. Things juxtaposed. Plump fresh blackberries under a cascade of snow.Blackberries are a summer thing. I can feel the sun. and snow? That's what it looks like to me, a little snow covered village. Two seasons in one? It's chilly and rainy here in North Texas, but the hyacinths are in bloom. Maybe more snow tonight. My friend Patti can tell you I have been in a post flu funk. Restless. Frustrated . Ready to scream. Too in love with my warm heating pad. Then yesterday, Merisi posted these photos of Vienna. Cafe tables and umbrellas being set out, a woman in a red coat in front of a big blue door, and there, there in the window, a luscious full bouquet... of pink tulips....her words an invitation for all to come and enjoy. The tulips stopped me in my tracks. A not so forgotten joy emerged. Somehow everything seemed so much better.The light is shifting. The thaw is on. And paintings, like blossoms, want to burst into being. The wetlands are awakening. Calling me to come once again. Walk them. Paint them. I have been indoors, away, too long. So while I look at this tart full of plump blackberries, my thoughts are of Lance and his Jet Ranger, of Shea and the Pelican, of barrier islands and maybe the outer banks...hmm..need to get my boots on. Make a few calls. While I paint from memories vivid and is also time to risk it again. Pink tulips. Thanks Merisi for bringing me spring.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Citron Twist

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Tartness that makes your taste buds take note with just enough sweet. Combinations. Intriguing pairings. I had a pistachio basil truffle in Asheville at the Chocolate Fetish a summer ago. Chocolate with savory. Still lingers in my palette memory. Like a dream, only real. I woke up this morning thinking of dreams. The ones we have for ourselves as well as the ones that come to us in the night. As an artist, we call many things into being. Create them everyday. I am thinking of intriguing pairings because there is a painting in my dreams. It is a hybrid. An integrating piece and it both excites and terrifies me. The painting exists within me. It has been there for some time. But not since writing so much each day and thinking in different combinations has it spoken so insistently to me. It is raw. It is quite a stretch. It is lived and wished. It is a little incomplete because it is a turbulent piece. As in dreams the edges shift, the flavors change as I try to focus on it. There is a balance to be struck between the acid and the sweet. So I am pondering this tart and what it can teach me. Do I have it in me? Can I make it work? I know of only one way to find out. This little citron tart is saying yes, there is a recipe, but they are merely suggestions, as my friend Noie would say. And there are many guides. But you, you must make it your own. So tart has thrown the gauntlet down. Don't you hate it when they do that?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chocolate Nun for Fun

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Snow. We have snow in North Texas. Was it the raspberry snow I painted last week? Did we collectively cause a snow day? And if we did, where were you all when I was in second grade desperately wanting to sled all day? Some snows are magical. We all ran to the windows late last night to look at the tree branches and leaves on the bushes outside gently gathering a loft of white. I woke up in Santa Fe to a May snow not long ago. Wow. It just whispered in and blanketed everything. So we slept well around here. And I am having some chocolate chaud maybe with Sister Chocolatta here. Shhh. Let her enjoy one more bit of the come couldn't resist either. They are really delicious. Now where is my sled?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tiramisu For Two

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It's all Cathy's fault. Since she told me she had purchased "tiramisu for two" for her and her hubby, I have treasured that thought. You see, we all want remarkable relationship moments. Ohh groan..say all the guys... You know you do too so hush. I was thinking about this a lot this past week while I was flat on my back with the flu. Some of my favorite and most treasured romantic moments have happened over incredibly good food. And yes, I did happen to watch Under The Tuscan Sun this week too. Sigh. Can you say Bramasole and not smile? I once had a beautiful friend tell me he" wanted to make wonderful memories with me". And he did. I was thinking, wondering in a foggy stupor actually, how great remarkable relationships flourish. We want fabulous communication and memorable moments don't we? What do we do to put them there? And what do we do to move a friendly relationship to a romantic one? I think Cathy knows her stuff. So maybe we all should follow her lead and stop chez patisserie for a "tiramisu for two." One dessert, two forks...a good plan I think. And nice memories. Don't even get me started on zabaglione....I corrupted her, Cathy says, but in a good way.( Her husband whom I am sure is handsome, brilliant and talented, agrees.) I say go out and make someone's day a really remarkable day...yep, tiramisu for two please. That's what I 'm talking about.