Wednesday, September 28, 2016



Today I finally stashed all the materials I brought home from my August workshop in Michigan, and tried to fine tune this oil painting of a traffic signal.  I took a photo of the stop and go light a couple Saturdays ago, attracted, perhaps, by the bright September sky and the geometric shapes and intense colors.  Looking at the painting, which looks best if viewed through squinty eyes, I'm not sure it was a great subject to paint, but at least I got going with working in the studio, after several weeks of real hesitation.  What is that?  What makes a person be full of ideas and enthusiasm and suddenly seize up and stop working?  I've been blaming it on my unhappiness with the workshop, and an end of summer desire to be outside.  Maybe that's all it is. Maybe this painting is some sort of message from the universe to think carefully, proceed with caution, but not stop.  I don't know.

I did have a nice day last weekend in Madison at the state day for the Wisconsin Regional Artists Program. I had a small painting accepted to the show, and also received a cash award. Can't complain about any of that. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Back Again

The end of summer, a sad time, and exciting as well.  The summer flowers in my yard all have started looking ratty. I had to pull out the impatiens, not because of frost, but because we had so much rain and humidity that they either rotted or some bug or fungus got them.  But the mums I popped in to replace them look fine.

At the end of August I drove to Michigan for a much anticipated artist workshop.  It turned out to be something of a disappointment to me.  I still admire the artist's work, but her style of teaching was not one I liked.  To my mind she was ultra critical and negative, and at one point I wrote in my notes "I do not feel safe."  That would be emotionally safe, since she was prone to suddenly calling on class members out of the blue, and then showing them up to either be not paying sufficient attention or able to discern what it was she was after.  I did enjoy her demonstrations, and getting to see her work up close.  I made a new friend. I learned to use a GPS.  There were good things, but since I came home I have spent essentially zero time in the studio - which must change.

Just a few days after I got back from the week long workshop, we flew to Montana, rented a car, and spent five days at Yellowstone National Park.  This was the first time we got to use our senior passes, bought for $10 at an office in Madison a year or so ago.  Neither of us had been there since we were children, so we were happy and anxious to revisit the iconic park.  The weather was interesting, sometimes very warm, sometimes freezing, mostly according to elevation.  I wore shorts and sleeveless tops, and jeans, wool socks and multiple shirts, all in one trip.  The scenery was stunning, and we enjoyed out stay at the Old Faithful Inn Show Lodge.  The only thing I missed seeing, that I remembered from childhood was bears.  No bears.  But we saw lots of bison, elk and deer, so I was happy.





Sunday, July 24, 2016

Seen and Not Heard

Seen and Not Heard
8x8 inches, oil on canvas board

It's midsummer, and it is hot and humid here in southern Wisconsin.  I go outside in the morning before it really gets steamy, visit downtown haunts, or photograph out at the cemetery for my Find a Grave work, but in the afternoon I've been staying inside where it's cooler.  I've been doing some reading, and writing and editing my next cemetery walk, and some working on my art.

I started this little painting almost a month ago, after talking to a gallery friend up north who says one of her clients want small paintings of children.  That alone wouldn't motivate me to paint a particular subject, but I had a small black and white found photo that I wanted to try. This is the result.  

This little painting has a layer of texture that I added using a stencil before I ever began the actual painting.  I had an idea it might suggest wallpaper in the background. It doesn't, though the texture i subtle enough it doesn't detract, either.  I put down the first layers quickly, and then waited and waited for he paint to dry enough so that I could lay down transparent glazes on her skin tones.  Also I was at the point where I liked the image well enough so that I was frightened to mess up what I already had.  

No guts, no glory - or something.  Anyway, I finally did all the warm and cool glazes and am satisfied that she is finally finished.  

We'll see when I can find a good time to drive her up north.