"We Three"

"We Three"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where do paintings come from?

Okay, it's just a beginning. If I were really brave, I would name it "Impression, Cow", sign it, frame it, and offer it up. Actually, one of my current favorites, Dana Hooper, would say, YEAH! DO IT! I think. Whatever, I just love the cow, don't you? It gives us milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, to say nothing of steak, hamburger, and leather shoes and things. Cows are blessed creatures, for sure. I hope to paint big bunches of them in the future. Meanwhile, this is Cow #1. Probably she is out of proportion. Probably she is terribly imperfect. Lord knows, I am good at imperfect. It's part of my charm! And probably, she is not really done yet. Probably.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bah, holidays!

Funny how perspectives change. Holidays used to be the blessed off-work time. Now, when every day is off-work time, holidays are a pain. They disrupt my ROUTINE. I need my ROUTINE. Little boxes of time and little circles of travels. Stores should always be open. Mail should come, at least six days a week. My soap opera should be on five days a week (and what is this everybody-loves-everybody stuff that happens at Christmas, where is the vitriol I so dearly love?). Okay, some things endure. The leaf-blowing brigade showed up, on CHRISTMAS DAY. Is it too much to hope those folks who hired them had out-of-town guests who were awakened by the din? Oooh, mean-spirited me. Good thing that I am working on Step Six, getting ready to give my cherished character defects over to HP. Yeah, that'll happen. Hey, progress, not perfection. Perfectly human, that's moi.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

BFF, redux....

This is what happens when an image looks kind of fuzzy to me after perusing it for a while. I put the paintings on the kitchen table, which I walk by fifty times a day, and sort of stroke my chin every so often, wondering if they could get better if I went back into them, added some value here, took some away there, warmed it up, or cooled it down. The little ones are so much more vivid, and truly, new life is always ever so much brighter. These little white-faced fellows just seemed to punch a hole in the world with their color. I am happier now, even if they are not perfectly like the photograph. I like mine better. No offence, HP. You do a good job, too. And I am so grateful to be able to do this at all. The moments I spend painting are the most wondrous time for me. Everything is good then, the idea just flows from my head and heart onto the canvas. And when it is successful, when it is realized (made real and concrete), there is no greater joy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's just another day, just another day...

Ghosts of Christmas past are floating around my dear little house. I am working on getting de-cluttered and spiffed up a little, for company coming over tomorrow. Cooking out of an actual cookbook, please, no applause! The actual celebration with the FOO (family of origin, to the unitiated) was last Sunday, where I received a lot of good stuff, including aforesaid cookbook, and Italian tome that actually has the recipe for pannacotta, my very favorite Italian food, right up there with gelato. So I hit Safeway for extra heavy cream, and fat free half and half. I figured mixing the two together would be okay. Yeah, I'm changing the recipe. Somehow, that always happens. Everyone will be happy, in the end. Next, I plan on setting up the nifty docking station for my (recharged and ready) iPod, and doing a quick dusting and other ablutions to get all festive for the Big Day, which is, after all, just another day. Right.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Final product...

Here is completed painting. I think. I am never sure when things are done. Usually I just get tired of dabbing and quit. And it is almost time for my soap opera, anyway. It got brightened up, and colors intensified (I had underpainted in yellow ochre, and proceeded to work wet-in-wet, which made mud in some instances), and I put in the high and low lights for some good value contrast. Oh, hell, I just changed it a little. Enough, I hope to make it really succulent. I showed a picture of it to my Dad yesterday, and he said "Gee, you haven't gotten very far along, have you." And I replied, well, if you want reality, here is the reference photo. I think paintings are so much more fun, though, don't you? It's like a new reality emerges from the canvas, one ever so much better than the real one. And isn't that what we are all looking for, a sweeter reality? And the hours I spend doing this stuff, well, it's out of time and mind, the true state of being according to Eckhart Tolle, my current spiritual guru. Those times are joyful beyond imagination.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Painting, in the kitchen...

It is really cold, so I made myself a cup of chai after I put away my Trader Joe stash, and I looked at those organic peppers in their little celophane package and thought, gee, I think I will immortalize them before I cut them up for crudites today for my folk's pre-Christmas Christmas. So here is the beginnings of the painting, done on the kitchen counter because the studio is Arctic-cold at the moment, and I got my PG&E bill, and am conserving heat by keeping that door closed. I am not unhappy with this little slaphappy work. It is quite joyous, actually. I need to work a little more on it, but not too much. I feel that my work is more, well, ME, when I leave it a little rough. Okay, a lot rough. It reflects my inner process when it is messy, like finger paints, elemental, you know? I was running a lot on instinct, and not sure whether I liked it when I quit, to make some dinner (I was already in the kitchen, how convenient is that!), and then didn't feel up to bringing all the paraphenalia out again after. Maybe this afternoon, after the get-together of the whole family. Yes, I will need to have something to slap away at, then.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter has arrived...

Temperatures are in the 40s, all day long, and nights are below freezing, like 30 degrees. I know those hearty folks who live in places like Maine or Wisconsin are tittering up the sleeves of their Land's End polar fleece longjohns, since they live in below zero weather most of the time (and why would they want to, one wonders). Well, their blood is as thick as maple syrup, where ours runs fast and thin as cabernet sauvignon. I'll match my shivering with theirs, any day. And the cold is brittle, easily broken into shards that penetrate any tiny crack in the covers at night, and I wake up with a cold elbow or ankle. I am sleeping in my cotton knit pjs that fit tightly and do not ride up, with a sweatshirt and socks, under a sheet, two blankets and four quilts (electric blankets are bad for you, you know), and still prone to a cold rear end, which is the only part of me that seems to stick up like a mountain and attract the frigid air. I eye the dogs enviously, covered as they are in all this luxurious fur. And, while I am certainly as PC as anyone, I could use a nice coat of that stuff now. Happy to have sweats to wear all day, and no where I have to be, and a heat dish that travels to wherever I am.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And now for something completely, um , the same....

So, this is the second painting of the same scene, similar in many regards, toned down in values (as is the original now). I didn't know if I could do this, replicate a painting. My friend the professional artist does it all the time, bigger, smaller, even a miniature sometimes. Mine is close, but still an original, and I am happy about that, because each painting should have its own personality, and be its own thing, don't you think? I had a lot of fun doing this exercise, and as I have said before, and will undoubtedly say many times again, fun is good. Fun is what makes my heart sing. I want to keep having fun till Gabriel blows that horn. Yes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Exemplary me...

Gee, guess what! Social Security gave me a raise! I can only surmise that the SS Human Resources fairy has been watching me and has seen what a wonderful job I am doing at being retired, and deemed me worthy. It is noteworthy, too, 5.7%. Actually, they give me a raise every year, but this is the most significant, and very much appreciated, as Medicare will be deducting beginning in July. That's right, the cowwoman is turning 65. In honor of this occasion, I am in the process of slowly letting my hair go natural, gray, that is. Time to enter my silver fox stage. And I am ready. Of course, I will not eschew skin care products that promise miracles, overnight. After breaking out from 13 to 55, I have clear skin for the first time in my (admittedly long) life, and I want to keep it as long as possible. That extra SS $$$ will help in that endeavor, for sure. So, God bless America!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Oh, dear...

I have caller ID. Better than that, I have a phone that announces who is calling, out loud. I don't even have to get up and look at that weinie little screen, which is good because half the time I cannot find my glasses, anyway. Well, this one 866 number has been calling and calling, so I answered it, to tell them I am on the DO NOT CALL list, and it was my Discover Card person, telling me that they are sending me a package with my credit report to review and make sure no one has (gulp) stolen my identity, and with just a few questions, they will open my account. Now, I asked if they were charging me for answering these questions, and they said ohnonono, all I have to do is review the package then call them back if there are no problems. THEN, they charge me. I am no good at following through with that stuff, so I said no thanks, don't call me anymore. Click. Now I am all worried. Suppose someone has indeed stolen my SS# and is out there happily ringing up charges? Never mind that my card is securely in my wallet, or that I nver give out my number (hey, I wear big girl shoes, after all). Fear, that is what these people sell. And, though I didn't give them any $$$, I seem to have bought some, anyway. Back to my Eckhart Tolle CD, where fear is only an illusion. I think.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The cowwoman paints some cows...

Here's what I did this afternoon. Very loosy goosey little rendering, on a canvas a friend retrieved out of the trash, a kind of very blue and green waterfall. Gee, this was a lot of fun, really just slapping paint around. I like Van Gogh, and Monet, it is all about the brushstokes, the light, and the moment. And, I really like fun. Fun works for me. Trying some different stuff is good, too. This is different. We'll see if it flies. I think I will put it in the auction next year, see if anyone bids on it. I always think that if I can do it, anyone can. Funnily enough, that is not true. A lot of people can't do this. Grateful.

Friday thoughts...

I was not sure I could do it, but it is now done. I did another painting of the same scene, and it is very like the first. I guess I am more artist than I thought I was. And what fun it was, yesterday, splashing away at the canvas. I am truly in that spirit place when I paint. So, I took my laptop into the bedroom, set up my lap desk, and wrote a chapter of my novel. Just like that. Not very good, in my opinion, but a steady flow of words worked their way onto the page, without much effort. Wow. Later, an e-mail from my son informed me that he was born in the same hospital as our new president. How about that! And I should have known that, if I were a political animal. So I went online today to read a biography of Barry, and sure enough, he was born in Hawaii, and the only game in town there for newborns is Kapiolani Maternity Hospital, where I gave birth to my firstborn. We gave him a Hawaiian middle name, Lopaka (Robert), so he could always remember his heritage (he has an English middle name, too, so he has the distinction, and choice, of not two, but three possible names). Ah, I remember Christmases in Hawaii, sitting on the porch at the Moana with Diamond Head off in the distance, eating turkey and cranberry sauce in 80 degree balmy weather. Which was better than Thanksgiving at the Kahala Hilton, with winds whipping palm trees through plate glass windows in downtown Waikiki. This first thing I remember about moving there to live, after visiting a couple of times, was the tsunami evacutation info in the telephone book. What had I signed on for here, anyway? We had some dillies of storms while I lived there, but no tsunamis. What can I say, I am blessed in so many ways. Wow, there's a potpourri of stuff for today. Back to reality, where my most daunting task is to tame my bedhead so I can be seen in public. Some life, huh?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I am so going shopping!

I sold the new painting, and got a commission to do at least one more. I had to adjust the values a little, make it darker, and I did that, even though I liked the luminous quality a lot. Well, it is definitely in the eye of the beholder, especially when that beholder is holding a checkbook. I got paid for the first one, and am beginning the second. I am tempted to do one just for me, in the colors I like. We'll see. Certainly, the oil was easier than the watercolor, faster, and much more rewarding in that regard. What a blessing to get paid for doing something so very joyous. I get to practice that presence that Eckhart Tolle is telling me about, too, being behind the mind, and just doing instead of thinking it to death. Time just flies by, and suddenly, it is time to eat again. That is always a happy time for me! Off I go to slap paint around, and be the very best little artist I can be today. Joy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

Okay, trying again. Fourth attempt at rendering this view for my client. In oils, this time. Part of it is in my imagination, part in the pictures she took, and some of it is in her mind, which I don't know, so I am only guessing. I hope this works better than the last attempts. Sure is fun to do, this painting stuff. Imagine doing it for $$$. That's frosting on the cake, for sure. Challenge here is color, and you know how subjective that is. I consider myself a colorist, and I like to try new and exciting things as I paint. Unfortunately, not everyone likes that particular tack. Oh, well. I will keep trying, that's for sure. I love getting all messy with the paint. How sweet it is to spend an afternoon mucking around like this. Makes me remember kindergarten and fingerpaints. I thought it couldn't get any better. I was wrong.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Would you hang this on your wall?

I just finished this watercolor of a sunset at Sea Ranch. It is a commission (yes, Virginia, someone likes my work and wants a painting, by ME!). But is it good enough? How much should I charge for it? Should I frame it first? We didn't go over these little details up front. I was so excited that someone wanted a painting of mine, I forgot to do those little things. Well, it will all work itself out in the end. Because this is all pretty easy, more of a just-tuck-your-tongue-in-your-cheek and go splash, splash, splash process, I think it is without merit. Oh, well. It is what it is. As usual.


I'm surprised no one has come up with this anacronym, FOO, or Family of Origin. Seems appropriate for most of us, foo, as in fooey. Okay, it's phooey, but same thing. Someone once said at a meeting that we can never be fully recovered until we have dealt with our FOO issues. Nuts. We can never be fully recovered, period. And the FOO will always be with me, till my dying breath. Some of it was good. Christmas, for instance, when mother morfed into this Betty Crocker/Martha Stewart clone and baked and decorated and wrapped presents that were piled higher than the tree. They were Depression kids, my folks, and believed that they were doing better by their kids by giving them stuff. Never mind the other 364 days of the year, when tempers seethed and frequently flared up, resulting in bruises and wounds that would bleed and fester well into my fifties. One of the consequences I have been noticing is my competitive instinct. You had to compete, for attention, for appreciation, for the biggest serving of dessert. We played a lot of board games. Talk about murderous. My mother put Risk away forever. My brothers and I nearly killed each other trying to take over the world. Until they moved into a smaller house, my folks had a game table that we all gathered around, with our stash of pennies, nickels and dimes that we all kept hidden somewhere in their house (mine was in one of those L'Eggs eggs) and played poker or Tripoli at Christmas. Lots of shouting. And I noticed that the competitive gene has been transmitted to my kids, too. Well, they too originate from the FOO. Sigh.