Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today Is my Birthday

Today IS my birthday and I was a bit Naughty Friday, I delayed posting until today. Because I could not keep this under wraps a minute longer You'll find today's post there, in my new home. I love Paintingaday, my starter blog, and we are still in transition, so it will still be here for awhile. But it needed to become more user friendly for you all and we need some room to grow so...

So the guys at Men With Pens made me a new home. Come see. We'll have a bigger launch later. But for now , you get the first peek.

Cause it's my birthday, it's my birthday...

(editor's note: working on the link right site is
(HAH: It wasn't me on the link snafu. It was Google! )

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

That Awkward Teenage Phase

Gangley arms.

Feet too big.

And voices not quite there.

There is a time in paintings that is awkward, the parts are almost there, but not quite yet. The balance is just about to be, but is slightly out of whack. The colors are present, but not totally integrated. Perhaps the cools out number the warms just a bit and need to be reconciled. Maybe the little bits are not yet soothed by some nice medium ones. But the bones are true, and the vision intact and there's still some room for it all.

It's that awkward teenage phase. It's just about done, almost what it is going to be. Almost. The painting has a logic of it's own so the white spaces, the final glazes, the detail here and there, all have a mission to make that logic work. And to capture the story. Make sure the voice is strong and true.

Here, once the marks are down they are down. So at this stage as much painting goes on in my head as on the paper. What I don't paint is as important as what I do paint. But something else can happen here, sometimes we hit upon a surprise. I found one last night.

Today, I think I'll pursue it. ( Hm, butterflies in my tummy when I saw it. That's usually a very good sign.)

But isn't that just like that teenage phase, that willingness to try new things?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jason Wu and The Spotlight

Simple. Elegant. And Flowing. Not bad for dresses, words or brushstrokes. Even better for the artist. Can you imagine what Jason Wu's life became once that ivory gown was revealed? I saw the interviews and yesterday I read this article in the paper. He seems much like his gowns. And his workroom is spotless. He was drawn into it all as a child, with dolls to drape his dreams on. Every choice he made led him to that evening and the reveal of that gown. And what is he doing now? Why he is at work. Doing what he was meant to do. Simply, elegantly and flowing.

I bet he has his week all planned out. I am not sewing chiffon, or beading a dress, or fielding calls from the press, but it is Organizing Monday. I know what is at the top of the list, and then next, and next after that. But first, I am taping these pictures up so I can see them all week. Simple, elegant, and flowing. The yellow gown says just that.

Do you put up touchstones and reminders to keep yourself in the zone?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Places In Between

Pink Blossoms.
Blue skies.
Dark recesses.
And bits of chaos.

There is a lot to be said for staying in the present. Eckhardt Tolle builds his whole philosophy on it. So do the buddhists. But to move is to live. So one point becomes another with something in between. Those places in between are often messy. We breathe, we take a step. We begin. We endure. Those transitions, those are a blend of what was and what is to come. But how do we get from here to there?

I want this painting to be about that. So in between the beauty of blooms, is rubble, chaos. A wetland inundated. Evidence of wind. A bit of confusion. And then intertwined, the process of growth. Resurgence. And blue skies.

So there is a little bit of all three here: then, and now, and what hopefully will be. Each vital. The trick is to integrate them into some kind of logic and meaning. Add some poetic mystery.

Yes. Smiling here. No pressure there.

Now how do we get from here to Naughty? It's Friday after all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Post Inauguration: To Work We Go

What must it be like this morning, that first day in the Oval Office? The parades have marched , the dances have been danced. That first moment behind the desk, is the firsts of many firsts today. What would you do first?

It still feels like the air is humming. That must be the sea change. It feels electric, a nation truly inspired. What would you do first?

How early did this day start, or is everyone still abed? Would you want to get up and get at it? Or savour this first day?

Are you doing anything different on this first of many days?

I'll be painting. But I am thinking, What would a painter do?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Never Ending Brilliance

"Never ending brilliance". Wouldn't that be a great thing to call your own? I love that Tiffany ads have always been page 3 upper right in the New York Times. Open the paper, there it is. My heart doesn't always go pitter pat over the jewels, but a lot of times I do admit, I sigh. But there is comfort ( no pun intended- Louis Comfort Tiffany) in consistently finding them pictured there, a little gorgeousness amid all the rest.

Consistently. I think there is a little brilliance to be said for that. Like every Monday lining up the week. Organizing it. Applying a routine. Doing the next important things: Like addressing a competition envelope while the painting is still in progress. Making a gravatar for your signature, or updating a resume to highlight your own facets. Consistently moving it forward. Toward a bracelet of dreams.

Could that get us the jewels we're after? Could "consistently" be our own little bit of brilliance?

So back to the pinks and the studio for me. How about you? Got yourself all polished and ready to go for the week?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Somerset Paper

Those white spaces you can still see are lovely Somerset paper.

It's a printmaking paper, suited to water and inks.

I am using watercolors.

I launched the Chaos series on Somerset in late fall of 2005, because at the time it was the only paper I had. I needed to paint something very personal about my experience of the storm and my altered perspective. Not only was my personal life uprooted, twisted and turned, but the wetlands I had walked, painted and advocated for, my source material, was in upheaval and devastated too. But I had to paint. It's hard for me not to do that. So I used what I had at hand: some Somerset, a brush, some pan colors, and some symbolic blossoms.

I began to explore. Fell back in love with the tooth of this paper ( It had wrapped my silks for the Ritz after all ). Found solace in the flow of the paint. I could no longer feel satisfied inside any previous lines and certainly not straight ones; images automatically appeared at the end of my brush in random places. Paint intuitively spilled onto the page. Sometimes adversity presents elegant solutions. I was hoping that would be the case here.

Hm, I thought, my reality is surreal. Well, that's what it is, so I am going with it. Me, my brush and the Somerset's softness and strength. So the Chaos Series was born.

Have you ever found the perfect thing when you thought you were just making do?

( Now go be naughty. I am right behind you there. It's Friday after all. )

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taking Time to Set the Stage

Since there is no pencil drawing on the Chaos pieces after the studies are done, it is important to get those major directional forms down right away.

And to establish some key color and contrast relationships.

Some tonal variations.

Thought leaders, if you will, for the theme of the painting. The stage is set at the very beginning. Every part of the paper on cue. Chords struck that will carry through every part of the page.

And so it begins. Warm pink on a chilly January day. The artist smiles as she drinks her tea, eager to dip into the paint.

How are you staying warm today?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Robert Redford Is A Hero

Imagine my delight when I came upon this in yesterday's paper: a full supplement about Sundance that underscored the value of art to everyone. Not just artists, not just art careerists, but our society. And it's about the story we tell. It says we are all wanting "a new once upon a time" these days...In fact, they even say this: "Artists can show us the way to WHAT"S next." Hm, gulp. There's no pressure there at all. Smiling here. AND importantly, they asked everyone to support the artists. Now I gotta like Redford for that, not a stretch though, already a fan.

Hm, it's all about the story they say, and here's their Sundance story link, because no matter what medium, we all have a story to tell. And as an artist, I guess I could tell you what is coming next, at least from me: pink...the painting begins. Back to the studio cave and the paint. And this is a once upon a time painting I think.

Oh yeah, it's Organizing Monday in the studio, pinks are lined up, the studies are done, and there's that burning wish to nail it.

Anyone a fan of film like I am? Has anyone been to Sundance? (The festival begins on January 15th. And on the back page the New York Times gives their movie link "where the conversation begins" they say.)

And as far as stories go, are you telling yours?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thumbnails of Grand Isle

Thumbnails are invaluable. These are searching ones. Searching for dynamics to support the pink blossoms. The luxurious pink blossoms are going into a Chaos series piece. I am looking through photos of the the topsy turvy aftermath of the storm on Grand Isle. The Magical Botanical show is there. So I thought it only appropriate to do something very site specific.

If you look at the thumbnail I showed you on Wednesday of the whole piece, you'll see just directional lines in the background of the larger blossoms. These are part of that.

It's a piece about the spirit of an island.

Now, go be Naughty. I have some work to do, and then I am right behind you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Exploratory Drawings

Getting to know you drawings are important. The first time I draw a new model, or start a new piece, I take some time to get to know not only shoulders, or breasts or ankles, but specifically that model's lines, the way her (or his) neck joins the torso, that curve where the hip shows its bone uniquely for the person in front of me. Some character line or atttitude that takes that model from everyman status to Cherylanne, or John. Same way on any subject. How does this form work? Where are the lights and darks? What curve or angle catches my eye? Is there a particular line that must be used, or where is the highest potential for contrast? How can I extend them for my purpose?

So here we have some exploratory drawings from the Pink Sale blooms I mentioned. The drawing on the lower left is a quick thumbnail of the bones of the larger piece. Intuitive and dead on for what I want to say with Magical Botanical. The bones, I have to know those first.

All the while that pink is teasing me. Whetting my appetite.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January Pink Sale

When I was married to Media Man, January was for the Pink Sale at Neiman Marcus and my birthday. All the holidays and New Year's hoopla done, nothing like wonderful luxury linens to get the year started right. I am smiling, you know there is more to me than that. But look at these gorgeous pink blooms. I could fall deeply into them for a while. They are now part of a challenge I have before me. To create a " Magical Botanical" painting for a competition. I am going with my pinks here.

Yes. Massive quantities of cobalt violets, and rose dore. The deadline is February 2. So I am very excited to be diving into diva like pinks, but that is only a part of the painting. And there are other large works to be done. So on this Monday, this Organizing Monday, I have my Year End Review completed, my things neatly organized, and a burning wish for the New Year. I want to nail some big paintings like I have never nailed them before.

And I might just glance at Neiman's Pink Sale for fun.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New

Painting A Day is in transition and I am very excited. I am truly hunkered down until Monday, January 5th of this New Year. I wanted to wish you all Happy New Year. I am very excited to be returning to my first and most true love in the studio. We have designed a new site that will be launched in January, as soon as I can write the copy that goes with the paintings featured on it. And we must do all that tech part of installation. I hope you'll bear with me as I work through the important stuff that goes with what really matters in the work.
Passion is at play here, color, and rhythms of heartbeats I have always sought. There is a challenge afoot for me. the studio cave we are.
Happy New Year!
See you on Monday.
All best,