Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Good Read

My copy of this book by Alyson B. Stanfield arrived in March; I read it and ordered more copies for friends. This book is the reason I seemed almost organized at my art exhibits--invitations were mailed on time; my short artist's statement and business cards were on hand; there was even a guest book for visitors; I spoke to groups. Names and addresses are now close to being in a folder which will one day become data in my computer, and thank-you notes were sent. Until I read the book, blogging was just an often-heard word. Now I blog--I follow other blogs (and not just art blogs). Following blogs and the stock market is almost a full-time job.

Thanks to one of the suggestions in "I'd rather be in the studio," I actually left the comfort of home and looked at art last week. The Parsons-Bruce Art Association sets up an annual art exhibit at The Prizery, an historic tobacco warehouse, in South Boston VA--two floors of beautiful work by many talented artists.

I am grateful that I found this book. I considered mentioning it in an earlier blog but I only recently learned how to highlight words and add links. Hooray for old dogs learning new tricks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

End of Summer

The blue-tailed lizards (skinks) are abundant in southern Virginia--they like living under my back deck. I miss them during the winter.

"All clear; I think I'll catch some rays."


The saying is:
If you see lizards you don't have black snakes--and if you see black snakes you don't have moccasins.
I am happy when I see skinks!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Playing with Crayons (Oil Pastels)

The Seer, oil pastel, 18x12, came from many parts of my brain, piles of magazines, and a big box of oil pastels.

For several weeks I have been looking through ten years of Art in America, cutting out photographs of paintings I admire--my choice was cut them up or be buried under them. I came across an intriguing 1970 painting by Picasso, Buste, from his Mosqueteros (Musketeers) and thought of the fun he must have had while painting--this might be my favorite Picasso work. It reminded me that art does not always have to be a serious undertaking; playing is a good way to learn.

The Seer began with a Time photograph of a soldier peering into a huge night vision machine. My work looks nothing like the photograph; I spent about 20 minutes looking at it, then closed the magazine--I remembered the green at the edge of the face. My Seer looks a bit like the X Files actor, and he has the bulging forehead vein I saw on a doctor's temple last month. When the Aztec appeared on his back, the Seer's hairstyle was changed to match. Is he looking into the future? I have no idea--the painting needed a vertical and something red.

The Seer looks nothing like the psychic my friend and I visited once a year--Mr. Whiz of G Street in Washington, D.C. He never peered into anything, sparks never came from his chest, and his predictions never made much sense. We visited other psychics, laughed, and swore we'd never spend another dime on something so stupid--but we did. My friend now thinks she's a psychic and was offended when her local police department declined her help in a murder case. I enjoy my off-plumb friends; they make me feel at home.

All these thoughts surfaced as I played with my beautiful wood box of 120 crayons (Sennelier oil pastels). Next week I hope to be using a new camera, a Canon G11, and I'll post a better photo--the G2 has served me well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Paintings Surprise Even Me

At shows, the most frequently asked question is "Where do you get these ideas?" For On Track, oil pastel, 18x24, there was no plan. When I was running late for my Art Group at the Y, I grabbed this rabbit from his perch--he'd been sitting on a backyard fence for nine years, watching the real bunnies who come out to play (usually on Friday evenings). I used a twig to remove the dirt dauber nest from his bottom, blew off the leaves, and put him in the car.

I set him up on my card table at the Y and liked the results. The tough part was deciding what to do with a rabbit on wheels. I considered a rabbit hole (see dark on right side). I propped the drawing against the bedroom wall for a week--looking at it at least ten times a day. (In my sculpting days pieces of stone or wood sometimes lay on the kitchen counter for weeks--waiting for the Aha! moment.)

The colors and lines came first; then the title; then the idea of racing or being pulled towards death--all those wheels at the bottom of the cliff. I don't think of the painting as dark, just a part of life. My mom (with that Southern humor) said, "People are dying today who've never died before." Who can argue with that?

I sometimes enjoy surprise endings.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hobnobbing Off the Main Roads

Tonight there was a celebration of regional artists--an annual Community Memorial Healthcenter Hospice Event. Six artists were featured: Shelly Hudson-Baker, Trey Eppes, Karolyn Hawthorne, Wayne Herrman, Debbie Vaughan, and Pam Wilkinson. The event was hosted by the 450-acre Rosemont Vineyard & Winery in LaCrosse VA.

I was invited by Friend A who said, "We will all need Hospice one day." She's right.

Since the vineyard is off the main roads, I printed a Google map and was confident until Friend B stopped by--she lives near the vineyard. She said, "That's the long way--take Route l, then Red Lawn, then 903, etc." I printed another map (which included a crooked Nellie Jones Road). These are narrow roads with beautiful scenes of pines, rolls of hay and tobacco fields--sometimes deer. After several U-turns and much laughter we arrived at Rosemont (36 miles = 65 minutes). I took the above photo from the parking lot--then posterized it.

For the return trip I selected "Take me home" on the GPS--it was the long way but required only one U-turn. I visited the website when I returned and looked at Rosemont's directions--the correct route is very simple. My route was memorable.