Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
"Button", my son's long-outgrown and good-natured pony, was good enough to tolerate the taking of this holiday-inspired photo of her. Truth be told she was not thrilled with the hat: possibly any self-respecting pony would choose not to wear a Santa cap, given the option. It proved to be a challenge getting more of her in the shot, as I found it necessary to hold the cap on her head with my left hand, while taking the photo with my right...........as each time I let go with my left, she dumped the Santa cap. Bah humbug!
As Christmas Day fast approaches and I reflect over the past year, I am struck by how much my (usually well-ordered) life has become interspersed with change, emotional and spiritual growth, and milestones. There have been first-time goals reached in relation to my art, such as the Hudson Gallery Exhibition and attaining signature status in the CPSA. I have had the opportunity to develop tremendous bonds with people I cherish, and have also experienced agonizing losses. Ever-present on my mind, whether at the edge or in full-awareness, is the fact that my son is a senior in high school and applying to colleges. In many ways, life may never be the same. The new year may bring many changes.
I began this blog in June of 2009 -- a mere six months ago -- feeling uncertain and self-conscious. It had been many years since I had written much of anything for any reason. However much to my surprise I have found that I actually enjoy blogging -- in fact, I enjoy it a great deal. So what I originally planned as a year-long 'experiment' (which went something like, "I'm sure it is going to be a horrible experience, but I'll try it for a year............") will now go on indefinitely...........or until I have nothing further to say!
I thank those of you who stop in and take a few minutes to read my blog, those who take the time to leave a comment, those who share their wonderful sense of humor or a bit of their own experience. As is probably the case with many types of endeavors, I am finding that making serious pursuit of one's artwork (for the first time) in midde-age is not for the faint-hearted. Consequently, whether we be dear long-time friends or more recent acquaintances, I so appreciate your support and validation. It is a pleasure for me to become acquainted with others in the blogging community, and I look forward to continuing to follow your careers and journeys. Blogging has also warranted me the opportunity to correspond with persons in other countries - Canada, Australia, France, and Scotland, to name several - and what a joy it is to expand the perameters of my own world in this way.
May your life be an inspiration to yourself and others. Merry Christmas to you and yours. As always, thankyou so much for reading.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
My schedule over the past several weeks has not allowed me to make as much progress on my current work as I would have liked. Though the techniques I'm employing in this piece are proving to be very time-consuming, I am pleased with the sense of depth achieved in the finished areas.
In this drawing I am tending to work in numerous light layers of pencil, often blending colors in between the layers with a stiff oil painting brush. The base layer was laid in using indigo blue, cool grey 90%, and walnut brown: the detail layers are then built on top of that using these same colors in addition to black, black grape, burnt ochre, bronze, and several values of french grey.
I am reminded of (and amused by) something artist and instructor Linda Lucas Hardy said to me at the 2007 CPSA convention in Bethesda, Maryland. Observing my tendency to work in many ultra-light layers of color, she said (in her loving way, as everything Linda says sounds loving......and very Texas), "Lynda; you are laying down alot of wax, but not much pigment." It sure did not take her long to get my number! I've thought about her comment many times since then, and have come to realize that at times my tendency to layer so lightly is a reflection of my own lack of confidence. Ahhh..........yet one more issue to work on.
Over the next few weeks I will be alternating between this piece, as well as one or two graphite drawings of birds that I am starting. It has been some time since I have worked in graphite, and I am looking forward to the diversion and the challenge.
Thanks for stopping in.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Completed nearly forty years ago when I was in the 5th grade, and affectionately dubbed "Sunrise Over Fruit Bowl" by Massachusetts artist Debbi Friedman, the above was my first (and last) oil painting.
I have been interested in the arts from a very young age: drawing more so than painting, whether in graphite, colored pencil, or pen-and-ink. Drawing always seemed to come very naturally to me, and I have done precious little painting over time. Since returning to my artwork several years ago however, I have increasingly had the desire to try my hand at oil painting. I mean, really............how hard can it be?, I thought.
Gradually over the past few months, I have collected those items that I knew would be needed to make an attempt at oil painting: a canvas, brushes, linseed oil, odorless turpentine, stand oil, palette, and brush cleaner. Then little more than a week ago I took the final step and purchased five tubes of oil paint -- black, white, cadmium red, cobalt blue, and cadmium yellow. I remembered hearing that any color can be mixed from the three primary colors, so no need to go overboard, right? Debbi was quick to let me know that I may want to invest in more colors, but really, once again............how difficult could this paint mixing be? And besides: I was simply experimenting........trying it out. (THIS assessment from a woman with 400 different pencil colors.)
So, three mornings ago I decided that that was the day. Given the fact that there is a work-in-progress in my drawing room currently, I chose to spread my newly acquired oil painting supplies strategically around on the kitchen table -- and I sat down to get to work.
The self-commentary and inane questions began almost immediately. Is it possible to layer this dark-to-light, in much the same way I do colored pencils? (Uh.......no.)........ What is meant by the term "glaze" as it pertains to oil painting?........ I don't think I bought enough oil painting brushes; I wonder how water color brushes will work............... Is it best to work wet-on-wet?.......or wet-on-dry? For what reason did I buy stand oil? I can't remember...............I can't believe that some artists produce such stunning portraits with this..................... If I thin the paint with turpentine as opposed to linseed oil, will it dry faster? (At some point during all this I burst out into a loud hyena-like laugh, causing the retrievers to look up in an alarmed fashion.) How do you stir this stuff???........ Its thirty-eight degrees outside; is it really necessary that I well-ventilate this room?........... I think Debbi was right; I need more colors............ What exactly is meant by the term viscosity? (The property of a fluid that resists the force that tends to cause that fluid to flow.)
You get where I'm going here: this was no easy feat for me. After nearly an hour of........um........."painting", I put away my supplies and returned to my drafting table to lick the wounds on my bruised artistic ego. (The fact that I recently encouraged another artist to keep at it, despite his unfamiliarity with sanded pastel paper, comes to mind.) And I will keep at it, perhaps engaging in my second painting session sometime this week -- using the things I learned not to do from last week's adventure (and right after I obtain more paint colors). Needless to say, my admiration for those who paint has increased dramatically.
The result of my endeavor was an unrecognizable blue jay feather. Debbi said that feathers are difficult, which made me feel a little better (even if she was saying it for that purpose). Another close friend, Elizabeth Patterson of California, summed the experience up with, "I think that maybe you need to take a class".
Clearly. (loud hyena-like laugh)
Friday, October 30, 2009
So as is my nature I have engaged in a tremendous amount of introspection as of late. I cannot adequately put into words how much it meant to me to be able to spend time in her home, with her immediate family and close friends, during the last couple weeks of Doris's life. I've given a great deal of thought to what I've learned (and relearned) from my cousins Doris and Tommy, as well as strong bonds created with other family members during this process. Though some of these principles may seem simple and obvious, here is much of what Doris and this experience has left to me.
3) Dare to be an emotionally strong person. When life calls on you with its toughest challenges -- even if you think you simply cannot handle it -- do it anyway. You can handle it.
4) Be as honest as you can with others, without causing harm. Speak gently. Do not speak ill of others.
5) Identify those things that you are passionate about, and pursue them with vigor. Work hard to develop them, even if it means doing things that you are afraid to do. Take risk, after risk, after risk. Fear subsides when it is faced head-on. What pulls at your soul?......Do not pretend it does not exist.
6) Life is too short and too precious to allow ourselves to be worn down by negative persons and experiences. Do not allow your soul to be sacrificed in this way. Take care of yourself; even if this requires you to have the courage to make tough decisions.
7) Do not be angry; and if you are, don't hang onto it unduly.
8) Forgive others whenever possible. Remember that someday you may need someone to forgive you.
Monday, October 19, 2009
For me, my current work-in-progress is a compelling story. It is an image chosen from literally hundreds taken of wild horses in both South Dakota and Wyoming. There was simply something about these two particular wild horses that grabbed me, and continued to grab me -- as I have returned to their photo images many times over the past couple of years, only to put them away again and begin work on something else.
According to some sources there are approximately 38,000 wild horses in the United States that live on the range. Another 30,000 are cared for in corrals and pastures funded by the government following their capture by the Bureau of Land Management. The stated reasons for these wild horse round-ups includes the fact that there is not enough viable range land to sustain herds (a fact disputed by many), and competition by large livestock ranchers for the resources of food and water. Wild horse proponents assert that the BLM has regularly removed horses from the range at the urging of cattle ranchers, and without adequate land studies. And the round-ups themselves are another source of tremendous controversy. Frequently conducted using helicopters to drive the horses, many are injured or killed during the process, and foals too young to sustain themselves are separated from their mothers. Though some of those in captivity are adopted out through the BLM program, many go to meat-buyers and slaughterhouses. Over time the BLM has acquired so many wild horses and burros in captivity, they may engage in mass euthanasia to deal with the numbers and subsequent cost. Admittedly, I do not know enough about this issue to have developed an opinion about what specifically should be done -- but arguments against the BLM's practices are extremely compelling, and seek to place the welfare of wild horse herds as a top priority. I have been fortunate enough to have walked among wild horses and photographed them in their natural habitat -- and the experience was like no other.
With that as a backdrop, I return to my work-in-progress. It is one of my larger pencil pieces to date, being approximately 22" x 30". It portrays two wild horses that had been captured by the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming, freeze-branded, tagged, and placed in holding pens. The dark horse (partially completed above) stares right at the viewer; the pale horse, whose rendering is not yet begun, has his head hung and face buried tiredly and sadly into the neck of the dark horse. Their recent struggle is evidenced by the blood and grass stains on the coat of the lighter horse. It is an evocative image that truly tells a story, and I wonder at this moment -- whatever happened to those two horses?
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The show features approximately thirty colored pencil works by Michigan artists Bonnie Auten, Dianna Wallace Soisson, and myself. It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to exhibit with two such gifted artists. From Bonnie's engaging and vibrant still lifes, to Dianna's lovely florals and water themes, to my western images -- this display provides a great deal of diversity, and has something for everyone.
The Hudson Gallery itself is located in the historic section of downtown Sylvania. It specializes in custom and archival framing, and is recognized as one of the area's top venues for original artwork. Owned by Scott and Barbara Hudson, the gallery is also a representative for Labino Glass and features contemporary art by various artists..............And an additional note regarding Scott and Barbara must be made here: one would be hard-pressed to find two lovelier and more genuine people. They are an absolute pleasure to work and talk with.
We hope to see you at the reception!
(In the above photo, clockwise: Whiskey Mountain Cowboy, by L. Schumacher; Rendezvous 1946, by B. Auten; and It's not the destination, it's the journey, by D. Wallace Soisson)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
On our small horse farm we are fortunate to have one of those 100+ year-old, three-story wooden barns, and are even more fortunate that it is in exceptional condition. Over the years I have found various 'treasures' in that barn, such as the writing on a wall indicating that it was built in 1884. But more often than I'd care to admit I am guilty of running through my life on auto-pilot. Consequently I sometimes do not really see what is around me. Such was the case with the subject of "Rope and Pulley", the current piece which I am very near to completing.
The old iron and wood pulley hangs on an oak beam near one of the barn doors that I rarely use. Despite this I have walked by it countless times, never really noticing what a fascinating object it is............until one morning in early July it captured my attention. According to my neighbor Wilbur, an eighty-five year old gentleman who owned and operated our farm for several decades, the pulley and its accompanying iron hook were used to lift hay into the hay mow. One end of the rope was attached to horses outside the barn, who would lift the hay via pulley when driven to walk forward.
I look forward to finishing this piece -- hopefully a couple of more days will do it -- and then plan on taking a brief 'break' from drawing during which I'm going to embark on a search for a new laptop computer. Incidentally, when talking with an out-of-state friend today I described our barn as structurally resembling one of the old "Mail Pouch barns" , and was surprised to find that not everyone knows what a "Mail Pouch barn" is!.................(I won't mention any names, but..........the link will further the education of those not familiar with this agricultural icon!)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
In addition to the exhibition and convention itself, a highlight for me was the fact that several family members from the Atlanta area, as well as up to several hours away, attended the exhibition and opening reception. I am so fortunate to have such supportive family and friends: it means so much to me.
Photos from top to bottom are: 1) awards night banquet; 2) Neil and Jean Fletcher, my uncle and aunt from Tallahassee, Florida, and I with my piece, "This Above All"; 3) Deborah L. Friedman of Massachusetts, with "Garden, Late Summer"; 4) Dee Overly of Michigan with "Crossing the Elements"; 5) Bonnie Auten of Michigan, winner of an Award for Excellence for "Sweet Temptations"; 6) Elizabeth Patterson of California, winner of the Robert Guthrie Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement for "Sunset at Sweetzer, 11 pm".
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Facebook, as well as other social networking sites, can be valuable tools for art marketing. This is a how-to seminar, during which Dee will provide specific ways for artists to utilize Facebook to capitalize on their online presence. More details and registration information can be obtained at http://deeoverly.com/facebook-for-artists.pdf .
For the time being I will be remaining somewhat Facebook-illiterate ................ what with the Atlanta CPSA Convention Week looming on the horizon, followed by a three-person show that I'm in (rather frantic) preparations for. I have attended Dee's seminars previously however and highly recommend them: both for the comprehensive nature of the material presented, as well as its practical application.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Over the months, I've come to realize that any reasons I may have generated were merely discomfort over tackling yet another unfamiliar bit of territory. So here I am, starting a blog. I plan to include posts regarding exhibitions, works-in-progress, art-related information and news, and an occasional anecdote.
So welcome, and stop back soon.