Archive for February, 2009

What Budda's Reading Now

This past winter Budda and I have started a new daily tradition of reading for an hour or so on the couch in the front room. It’s warm and cushy and we snuggle down in a sunny spot. This gave me an idea. I occasionally do the book review thing with art/business related books. Budda could do one for the lighter reading sort of thing.

Today we just finished off Hannah’s Dream written by Diane Hammond. It’s a novel about a zoo elephant named Hannah, and the people who love her. I won’t spoil the story but I was surprised at how well written it was. You got a real feel for the characters and the hurts and difficulties each faced privately. The book is scattered with damaged characters who do great and wonderful things.

“They’d learned that not everything broken could be fixed, and that not everything ruined could be thrown away. Sometimes the damaged things were all you had to work with.” – Hannah’s Dream

Also there’s a great villain who strides around in a pith helmet while sporting a riding crop. This book is very positively written and is a feel good kind of read. (Mine and Budda’s favorite kind.)

Budda gives it 3 1/2 paws enthusiastically up. (Of course it’s a four paw system) It might have ranked 4 but there were far to few words devoted to cats. He really liked that the animals were portrayed as the emotional and intelligent animals that they are, without going over into the anthropromorphizing side of things.

As Budda often says “Critters don’t want to be human. We are perfect enough as we are.”

Now I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not anthropromorphizing here. He really does say that.

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Upgraded is another word in a growing list that I’m getting tired of hearing. It is used to promote everything from airplane tickets to tampons. I guess it replaced “new and improved” as the big marketing tool.

So the problems with the computer last week were just a precursor to the eventual death of our much loved (used) home computer. Mike has ordered new parts (including mother board) and should have it back up and running as soon as parts come in. Now, I do have a gallery computer but generally when at the gallery Mike is using it. So once again, I apologize for being absent from the blog. The good news is with it’s new parts it will be much faster. A newer better version of itself. Upgraded.

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Giraffe Painting Framed

Oil Pastel on Handmade paper
10 1/2 x 13″

I never really finalized on the blog what my plans were for Lofty. I did try again with the acacia and this time it went in fine. It looked fine. After some deliberation I once again scraped it out. The plant life suddenly made it a painting about a giraffe grazing. Not that, that is a bad thing. But I preferred it to be a painting about a giraffe looking down at you with attitude.

This time, I deliberately did not take a picture including the acacia because this is how the painting will enter the world, and I don’t need any second images (like alternative universes, if you will) out there.

Now all I’ve got to do is get her packed up and shipped off to her new home. Yup, I’m still working the mailing lists.

Note: I don’t know why my framing is photographing so dark. The painting is on a medium rusty suede (about the color of the spots) and the frame is a dark mahogany. Weird that is just doesn’t photograph true. Anyway it hasn’t so far in the many times I photographed these handmade paper pieces. Maybe it has to do with the shadowbox depth. Hmm.

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1946 Chevy Light Duty Finished

1946 Chevy Light Duty
Water Color Pencil on #140 Hot Press WC Paper
8″ x 10″

So here it is, finally completed. It came out more illustrator-ish than I expected, but I really like the look. It’s not all that visable here but there is loads of cross hatching and pencil lines.

It’s a rarity for me to do something that doesn’t revolve around an animal. But about every 12-18 months I get a hankering to do something just a little bit different. Last time I did several small poppy paintings (pre-blog I think.) Before that I did a long panoramic view of a large bluff from Big Bend National Park. So it’s not completely unheard of for me to branch out.

Still, when I mentioned to a long time artist friend what I was working on, she said “What? A pick-up! Is it filled with critters or something?”

Hey, now there’s an idea.

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Well . . . that’s not quite right. And it certainly wasn’t cat-astrophic. It is more like Cat-pain in the butt.

It was my fault really (I wonder . . . if by taking the blame am I enabling?) I left my painting water out. It has been so long since I did a water color pencil piece that I had forgotten Budda’s love affair with drinking and playing in my rinse water. (During this painting he hadn’t touched it until today.)

My first clue that something was up was when I hear Mreow! from the other room, followed by him rapidly fleeing the scene of the crime. Since I didn’t see what happened all I can do is use my highly tuned investigative knowledge and piece together the trail of evidence.

I’m guessing: He started with the drinking of the rinse water “ummm, tastes so good” When he drank his fill, he must have splashed around in it abit. Upon getting bored he noticed the paint brushes sitting behind the water dish. (Best cat toy in the world those furry sticks.) Since the only way to get to them was to go through my water, well so be it. Water spilled all over my pencils (a rainbow of color begins to puddle), brushes fall to the floor in a clatter, and he dashes away as I say in a combination slightly worried/slightly annoyed way Budda!

Fortunately the painting is fine. I just got to spend the next 20 minutes drying each of my 30 or so pencils (one at a time) and mopping up my table and the floor.

And Budda . . . well he sat grooming himself on the couch in a warm patch of sunlight.

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Latest Truck WIP

This is probably the last work in progress shot you’ll be getting. The next one will be the finished painting.

Hopefully I’ll get it finished up today. That depends on just how much detailing I want to add. With something like this I could go on forever adding bits of rust.

So to give you an idea of where it’s going, the centermost area is pretty much done. The hood has several layers but many more will be added. And the fender has only the base coat in.

All in all it was kinda fun, though I never would have guessed an 8×10 painting could take me so long to complete. I imagine I have about 10 hours in it at this point. Way too many for it’s size.

Obviously I haven’t cropped it yet. I thought I would wait until it was finished just in case in the end it looks better as my original concept. And now that it’s getting filled it, I think it just might.

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The Lovely Heart Award

I really should have posted this yesterday seeing it was Valentine’s day an all. But it still fell in the same weekend so maybe that counts.

The text to accompany the award reads as follows:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Undaunted has nominated me for this award. Thank you! I am really touched.

I read Undaunted’s blog faithfully. Part of this award is to nominate eight others and Undaunted is my first choice. I admire her for trying so many various artforms with enthusiasm. Plus she seems very much herself on her blog. (meaning by reading it I get a feel for who she is as a person.) Her genuiness shines through.

It seems clear to me that I am failing in one key area in regards to blogging and that is reading and developing relationships with other bloggers. Actually I think networking plays a huge role in most online activities be it Etsy, Squidoo or blogging.

In my defense I have been spending more time peeking in at a couple of other blogs, (namely Melanie’s and Robert’s) but really need to expand my reading circle more.

Both of their blogs are excellent. Melanie’s ability to not only capture a likeness but also the spirit of an animal is unparalleled. And Robert creates new work daily and shares loads of information (on a couple of additional sites) as well. He is an good resource for those looking to work in oil pastel and wanting to learn more.

So thank you Undaunted. My delay in posting was due to the fact that I ashamably don’t have that many others to nominate. But I very much appreciate the sentiment.

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'46 Chevy Painting WIP

I have decided to chrome the grill even though our actual pick-up doesn’t have that (though you could have purchased it as an option originally.)

The chrome should add some color variation. Whereas, if I did it all as the paint finish, it would be allot of the same coloring.

At the moment the grill looks a little odd with all the bright colors. But I am hoping it will make more sense when I get the colored truck part in. I plan on making my truck yellow/red. I had thought initially about old red paint (which actually turns pink if our old Farmall is any indication.) But I wanted it warmer, so opted for yellow.

Hick-a-billy Heritage
So we bought our 1946 Chevy Light Duty Truck many years ago in South Dakota as a wedding anniversary present to ourselves. (Don’t ask me which anniversary, I don’t remember. Maybe the 2nd.) It looks pretty much the same now as then, except we added a wooden bed. Because it had no box, it was just the exposed frame.

When we bought it, it was our intention to restore it. Mike is fairly mechanically inclined, My father was a farm mechanic and also painted cars occasionally. I had actually painted my first car myself, so we thought with all this combined knowledge it shouldn’t be too big of a challenge. We just never got around to doing it.

Mike fixed it up enough to make it street legal (well . . . close to street legal anyway-no seat belts.) I suppose I can’t really say with any real confidence that it runs right now. But we drove it to it’s current location where it has sat for a year or two (um . . . possibly five.)

After we got it, we drove around for fun quite often. Both Mike and I find it amusing to occasionally embrace our hick-a-billy heritage from time to time. (actually he’s more farmer. I’m the hick-a-billy) We’d dress in flannel and jeans, load up our yellow lab Brutus, and go to town. (We also had 3 greyhounds at the time, but they just didn’t project the image we were going for.)

Local Pastimes
We still look at the old truck and think “someday.” Living in the rural midwest one of the big thrills is entering your old . . . whatever (car, tractor, horse and buggy and yes, the occasional lawnmower) in the local parades. Just about every little town has a yearly parade and people will travel quite a distance to participate.

Maybe someday we’ll be driving her in the Greater Rolfe Days parade, advertising the gallery. . . maybe . . . someday.

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'46 Chevy WIP

My original intention for this piece was to be small and done in oil pastel. My reasoning for this was I always say “paint your passion.” And though I love vintage cars (vintage anything really) I am not passionate about them. So I figured the small size and oil pastel would mean a quickly done piece. (As opposed to one that drug on and on and I got bored with it.)

Well . . . Turns out my love of oil pastels in large part is about the vibrant color. (Meaning I can’t stop myself sometimes.) Which is not the look I wanted here. Plus OP’s require much more time when doing detail work so they wouldn’t really be saving me too much time.

The photo to the right is my Oil Pastel on museum board. This is about 20 minutes work, mostly because of the headlamp. It is roughly a 9×12.

So I started again with water soluble pencil (topmost image) on Windsor Newton 140# hot press WC paper. WC Pencils tend to have a natural matte finish. Plus I can get all those inrticate little details that I want. The size is exactly 8×10. However I am thinking about coming in on the left about one inch. I keep thinking I want it more boxy looking. What do you guys think?

Note: I am recanting the “not save me too much time thing.” I forgot about the layering. I don’t know how you colored pencil artists do it.

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More Electronic Woes

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. Our computer at the house was having issues. Fortunately for me, my husband is guru of all things electronic. So he can tear stuff apart and know whats wrong. Unfortunately for me, he took it to the gallery and started swapping out parts with the gallery PC in order to determine the exact problem. Which he figured out almost immediately, but then thought while he was in them he should clean them up a bit.( You know like vacuum out the dust and pet hair.) That means I I had a couple of days with no way to work online, so blogging and email fell way behind.

Anywho, work on my pickup piece is slowly progressing. And I will post a few WIPs tomorrow as well as tell my little pickup’s story..

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