"We Three"

"We Three"

Monday, December 31, 2012

A bird for the new year...

I hadn't painted in so long, I doubted my ability to do it.  Old paintings looked so very complicated, like, how the hell did I do THAT?  So I chose my favorite subject, tiny bird, and sort of diddled for a few moments.  This is an arctic bird, really tiny.  Imagine, little things like this living in that hellishly cold place.  HP has such interesting ideas.  So, goodbye 2012, year of the anti-depressant, year of therapy, 23rd year of sobriety.  I have cut back, leaving behind one sponsee that wasn't working out for me, and ending a service commitment.  Now committed to healing, which is a longer process now that I am so very, very old.  I find it hard to get excited about very much at this age, though my recent automobile drama kind of tweaked me for a while.  I bent a wheel hitting a curb, in Oakland, land of the most convoluted freeways in the known universe, in the dark, in the rain, and thought, after a perusal, that all was fine.  So I drove home, while the shocks were ever so merrily eating my front tire.  The dogs were with me, it poured in Biblical proportions, and we arrived home, all safe and with a minimum of fuss, considering.  It wasn't until I looked at it the next day that I noticed that, instead of a 90 degree angle with the ground, the wheel was canted at about 85 degrees.  That looked expensive.  After a lot of logistics, and about $1,200 it is fixed.  I think that HP does not think I can handle money, since it just seems to melt away.  Sigh.  Could have been much worse.  Grateful, and planning on paying much better attention.  In the New Year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Love on the hoof...

Here is my daughter and son-in-law's new poopie, Roux.  It is such fun watching them loving this dog.  They just got their first house, you know.  Nesting so sweetly.  Ah, I remember those days.  Except there were already four kids, one of mine and three of his, and the quiet nesting never happened.  Well, now it is.  I am happily nested here with the Pickle and the Punkin, and no one to ask "what's for dinner" or "where are you going" and "when will you get back".  Just the little yellow house, with its resident mice scurrying around in the night time, and furry barking machines, currently on their daily patrol of the fence in the backyard.   I think a cup of candy cane tea is in order.  Yes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wainting for that call from the MOMA...

Hell, if Joan Mitchell can hang there, why not I?  Going in circles, figuratively and literally, it would seem.  A long, long time ago, a friend recommended art therapy.  All painting classes were filled, so I wound up in Low Fat Fiction, a writing class centered around economy of words, very fun, but also very cerebral, left brained as it were.  This is all right brain, this messing around with paint.  And it is best when there is no seminal idea associated with it.  It is best when it just emerges from the action of palette knife and paint with the paper.  You might notice that there is often more than one pigment on the knife at any given moment.  This comes from the impatience of the painter, not wanting to stop to wipe off the knife before picking up that next pigment that just seems to belong right THERE.  Wild and crazy woman, here, pushing my comfort zone, wanting to experience flying free of all the conventional art out there.  I think this one is about rising out of the murk.  At least its orientation at the moment suggests that.  I think I actually painted it upside down.  Ah, that is the beauty of abstraction, isn't it?  Wouldn't it be heaven if I could view my life from the same perspective, better upside down than right side up? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Long time, no blog...

What can I say?  Turmoil, very little of anything happening at this moment.  Still in PJs, it is 12:30 PM, bed not made, laundry languishing in dryer, dogs wondering if they will be eating today.  Oh, and camera not uploading photos.  Where is that damned disc, anyway?  Looks like an opportunity to dust the bookshelf over the computer desk.  Piano is looking pretty fuzzy, too.  Depression sucks, in case you didn't know that.  Therapy is OK, though not fond of beating the couch with a tennis racket.  Cannot seem to discipline myself in any aspect of life at the moment.  Now on the hook for a dessert this holiday.  Really.  Me, bake?  Well, it may happen.  I could get out recipe for lemon bars.  Those are easy and always come out just fine.  Sounds like a plan to me.  A plan is always a good thing.  Painting here displayed had no plan, just came up all by itself, and it is a depiction of the hole I feel in the middle of my being.  Funny, I am not lonely.  Just kind of lost.  Ian, my shrink, thinks I have misplaced my power.  Did I ever have any? 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

New normal, sigh...

Struggling to return to center, which seems a long way away at the moment.  Antidepressant has ceased its side-effect mode, now is up to snuff and the cowwoman is feeling okay.  Different, but okay.  Meanwhile, life has been sort of like this painting, chaotic.  Punkin got a foxtail in his tear duct, had to be sedated to get it removed.  It was 1 1/2 inches long.  Don't know how he does it, but if there is trouble, Punk will find it.  Cowwoman had a tooth pulled yesterday.  Ouch.  And I ordered another humane mousetrap to replace the one I wore out after catching 13 mice in it, and strangely, caught 7 mice in the little cubes that have sat there for months.  Dogs caught one in the wastepaper basket under the computer desk, too.  That brings total to 23 so far.  We have been a regular mouse motel here in the little yellow house.  Now looking for strong body to move the stove so I can clean under it.  Just hoping that is all of those little suckers.  Cute, dirty little suckers.  So, taking this painting to therapy tomorrow, part of a chronology of expression for the past year.  Kind of interesting, really. Looking for health in the midst of this turmoil.  It's in there.  Somewhere.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reimagined Punkin, reimagined life, sigh...

Well, it was time.  Punk got shorn because I noticed little mats balling up here and there that no amount of brushing were going to eliminate.  And cowwoman got antidepressants for the same reason.  Have not even been painting, much less cleaning up the yard of shame or decluttering the house.  Inert, that's me.  Oh, and THERAPY, too.  No use just covering up the mess.  And what a delight that is.  First question:  what exactly is being covered up?  Well, let's just cut to the chase, guy.  The road to happiness is full of detours and pitfalls.  Punkin was here to be my guardrail.  When he was little, life was all about the PUPPY.  It rained a lot.  The routine was take the puppy out, dry the puppy off, feed the puppy, repeat.  In between it was WHERE'S THE PUPPY!  Now he goes in and out and eats whenever all by his little self.  And he is still worth watching, especially if I want to know where my other shoe could be, which is usually on the back psuedo-lawn.  So, a new journey for the cowwoman.  This has been a recurring theme in my life, probably because I have great coping skills as well as a high threshold for pain of any kind.  I can suffer along just magnificently.  NOT. ANY. MORE.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dumb, but I keep putting along, anyway...

Homage to the neighbor's very strange guinea hens.  He has a whole flock of them, really strange looking birds that have an equally strange call, and can make quite a racket when they want to.  I was getting my mail the other day and they followed me home.  Chicken Master came out, yelled "get out of the street!", and they all hustled back onto the lawn.  Honestly, it's a circus around our neighborhood these days.  Or maybe Old MacDonald Farm time, as there are chickens (and a frenetic little rooster) all around me.  Couple of goats, too.  And then there are the turkeys who stroll by regularly.  Sweet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The daily double...

Some things are just easy, like this.  I spent about an hour from start to finish, now think this is all she wrote, done.  I think it is about being in the zone.  Don't know how I got there, just really happy when it happens.  And I got pretty much what I envisioned, though a couple of little accidents did something really special as I went along.  Portraits of animals are just so engaging for me.  I fall in love with every one of them, even the ones that don't succeed.  Every one teaches me something valuable.  Here I learned to look more deeply into my subject, but not complicate the work.  Simple, but not flat.  Sweet but not cute.  Exaggerated in some places, understated in others, and that was pretty much about being on automatic pilot.  HP guided my hand, for sure.  Love it.  Now.  That could change after further perusal.  I am nothing if not fickle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One pissed off Pickle and one pesky Punkin...

Pickle is peeved.  Even though we dodged this bullet for a long, long time, we got FLEAS.  Nuts.  And Pickle ate the fur off her rump, so off we went to the vet for a buttload of medications, for both the poopies.  Pickle is not the trooper her big brother was.  Boo would have worn that blasted collar for the rest of his life if I asked him to.  But Pickle moped.  I picked her up and put her outside.  Half hour later, she was still sitting where I set her down.  Sigh.  And Punkin is so worried, he makes all kind of really obnoxious noises, sort of like the kind the smoke detector makes when its battery is dying, little supersonic bleeps that sear the eardrums.  And he did this the whole first night of this ordeal, too.  Really, he is just worried about his big sister. He sits by her and whines a lot, too.  Keeping him in the bedroom with me just meant he could only bother ME.  So, I let him sleep out in the general population last night so I could get some rest.  Owies do heal, and the collar will go back into the closet for the next time.  Just hoping it will be the Punk when it happens.  Life would be a lot quieter.  Meanwhile, major milestone, Pickle got herself, collar and all, out the dog door, and back in again.   Small miracle, that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My mess du jour...

I started out to do something esoteric and spare.  It just got away from me!  Is anyone surprised to know I absolutely LOVED fingerpainting as a kindergartener?  Now, I pick up a palette knife, and it's off to the races.  I don't worry any more whether it is art or not.  It is if I say it is.  And this is actually on canvas.  I picked up a pad of canvas sheets, triple gessoed, at Blick to see if I liked it.  And I do!  I do!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Returning to Pepperwood...

It has been kind of a time of inertia here.  Low physically, not going many places unless I am expected to show up there.  Okay, Target, Costco and Trader Joe's do not expect me, but, gee, that is shopping.  Ditto the art supply store.  Need so many things you know.  But, I digress.  I signed up for a "sketching on the trail" at Pepperwood, my old stomping ground, this Sunday.  Excited to get out the watercolor pencils again.  Excited to be out in nature again.  Excited to have even taken the step to sign up.  I worry, you see.  Am I good enough?  Will I get something ARTFUL from this endeavor?  Will someone curl his/her lip at me in artistic comtempt?  Getting over myself even as we speak.  It is what it is.  There will always be SOMEONE who will think it is art, even if that someone is not me.  And how can I improve unless I keep trying stuff?  Okay.  Off to try some stuff.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

When I don't know what to do, I just do SOMETHING...

I spent my happiest hours of my youth on my grandparent's chicken ranch.  There were five hen houses, one dedicated to the brooders that Gramps set up every spring for the new chicks.  I didn't get to handle them nearly as much as I wanted, but I got to look at them a lot.  So, shades of my childhood rose up and painted this little thingy, which is, of course, not done, but, gee, when are they ever?  For the moment, I had a lot of fun and am now about to go back to do some abstracts, and, after perusing it some more, decide what still needs work on these little guys.  This process, it is really tricky, you know.  And how lucky am I to spend hours and hours doing it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The paint has a mind of its own...

I reworked this piece, actually, something I hardly ever do.  Body was too long, legs too short, some muddiness in the feathers, now all tidied up.  And cannot decide if this is all okay or not.  Definitely, this is not what I had in mind when I started.  It just got all tight and kind of designy. Probably it is the acrylic paint.  It waits for no one, not even the artist.  I think I will stop thinking about this and just let it sit there, where it is what it is.  Meanwhile, feeling really grateful for my two healthy fur persons while a dear friend is nursing her puppy back from parvo.  Sometimes I feel that I should not be grateful because I am not suffering.  Nuts to that.  And I get to start another painting today. 

Friday, September 07, 2012

Done. Really.

I got an idea from the paintings I saw at the Center for the Arts last night, when my cow made its premiere on a foreign wall, to let my paintings be more primitive, less finished looking.  So, I dippy-dabbed away and then quit.  Some parts of this are as they were when I first put brush to canvas.  Some have been refined, but only minimally.  Don't know if that is okay, just know I like the looks of the finished product, kind of edgy and less sentimental.  And these horses are not beautiful, though they have these windblown manes.  I think they are elegant though, with those long, long noses.  Some non-local color here and there, it all just seems to work in a less futzy, more artful way.  I think.  Oh, hell, I just like it.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The process, it's a bitch...

There is a moment in the creation of a painting when it is fresh, virginal, and to go beyond that moment is to turn it into just another old painted whore.  This one is not at its virginal prime yet.  I managed to stop for now, so I can look at what needs more explanation or refining, without marring the looseness and elan I want to leave on the canvas.  Yes, working on canvas again.  It's a new world here in the little yellow house, one where there is a real artist in residence.  Convinced that this is really my calling, and, with persistence, I will improve and become a minor but evident force in our local art world.  Uh huh.  Now off the the opening reception of the Salon Show, where the purple cow is gracing the wall.  Oh, just get over myself!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A busy day for the artist...

The horse went north, the cow went west, both to be hung on public walls where erstwhile connoisseurs of our little community can mull over them, and maybe take them home to love them on THEIR wall.  I stood in line with the other artists, just like I belonged there, both times.  Said hello to a few I already know, got excited about the reception Friday night, and the big Art for Life event on Saturday.  Gee, guess I am one of the guys, after all.  And this weekend, a friend and I sojourned up the coast to Sea Ranch, where the affluent retire to this lovely community on the coast, to do their open studio event, and I saw a bunch of abstracts not unlike the ones I have been slapping away at lately.  Maybe I am on to something?  Like, frame them in shadowboxes and put a hefty price on them?  I actually like mine a lot better than most that I saw, and got some dandy ideas, too.  What a way to live this is.  What grace.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Hit me with your best shot...

Not only did I step WAY outside my comfort zone and join a local Center for the Arts (in my hometown, actually), where the artists are all de riguer and ever so edgy, but I am entering a show they are having next week.  It is a Salon event, and they will be covering the walls floor to ceiling with paintings in a great mosaic of art.  Members hang first, so we get the prime eye-level locations, and I will be there bright and early to hand my Cow Love piece which I created especially for this event.  You see, I worried that my pastels would fade and get lost in the melee, so I wanted something you couldn't miss in the crowd.  And now, I am worried that you can't miss it, and it is not up to snuff, and what was I thinking anyway?  Ah, tender little artist ego.  Frankly, no one went tsk tsk when I filled out my form and handed over my check to join this prestigious group of artists in a tiny podunk town in Northern California.  I am a real artist, as far as THEY are concerned.  Now to begin to believe it myself.  Ready to sign it and send it forth hoping someone will fall in love with it.  Of course, it is not exactly what I had in mind when I started it.  Paintings often have their own ideas, you know.  Love it when that happens.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I don't know what I'm doing...

...I'm just doing something.  Channeling Jackson Pollack.  This piece looked kind of angry in the beginning, and then I softened it a little.  It is a reflection of my inner landscape, where I am still an artist in the bud, hoping to bloom soon.  Please.

Automatic painting...

Still in the what-the-hell-who-gives-a-hoot mode here in the little yellow house, where the yards languish and the dogs lay at my feet quizzically wondering if I will remember to feed them that day.  This morning, I made the decision to not go anywhere, hence I am currently clothed in my favorite paint-splatted jeans and one of my thrift store shirts, thinking about my next move.  I could go out and rake.  Raking is not all that horrid; it is picking up the piles that is a bitch.  I have finally devised a system; I take an old wastepaper basket that lost its pop-up lid, lay it on its side and scoop it full of leaves to dump in the yard waste bin.  The whole operation takes about an hour, and gets me all sweaty even on cool days, so it is a good thing to be in my grubs, because I can be impulsive and wind up ruining some garment I actually liked.  You can see from my current oeuvre that I am mellowing a little, colors getting a little softer, some direction to the piece, at least.  This is so much fun, not having any investment in the outcome, just worshiping the process.  Of course, for every one I put up for the world to see, there are three or four languishing in obscurity.  That's okay.  I learn something from every piece that comes up off the paper.  Most of all, I am learning how to spend the energy generated by my grief in a way that does not hurt anyone, even me.  Art therapy rocks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What it feels like to be me, today...

It is one year from the day I walked with the Boo into the emergency vet, only to have to put him down four hours later.  I am sad and angry and kind of all over the place at the moment, as you can see.  Need more black pigment.  Crazy world.  Someone, at the art supply store for God's sake, nailed it.  Boo was my "soul dog".  Punk and the Pickle are sweet and marvelous company, but they will never fill the vacancy left in my heart when Boo died.  So I will keep slapping paint around, wailing a little every so often, and just being all prickly, for a while.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I can do THAT!

Everyday, I get AnArtistADay on my iGoogle homepage, and they do the most kookie stuff, messy, often rather dismal stuff.  And as the anniversary of Boo's death approaches, I put away my pastels, which were getting picky and not any fun, and got out the acrylics and Bristol paper, and started slapping.  If I get really audacious, I will frame these little messes, put a hefty pricetag on them, and run 'em up the flagpole, see if they fly.  Why the hell not?  So, voila!  The anniversary series begins!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The greeting card imperative...

I have been singularly unhappy with my pastel ability lately  In fact, I put them away for a while.  But not before doodling up this little ditty, the first one created specifically for a card.  Dear friend is having her first baby, so I perused my body of work for a suitable image to print on her card (I seldom buy greeting cards any more, preferring my own images).  Well, there were some that I could have used, but none that spun my beany.  So here is the effort, not too coy or sugary, she is not that kind of person, but still full of that motherlove that I think all mothers share.  Fathers, they are a different story, for sure.  Anyhoo, now have the acrylics on the drawing board, slapping away at paper like I did a year ago, when Boo died so suddenly.  Feeling like I need to get even more heavy-handed than usual.  It's about catharsis.  Changing.  Again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Aw, gee, cut it out!

I seem to be the victim of a vengeful HP.  First, I was scrupulous in putting out my trash bins (I just paid that freakiin' garbage company their exorbitant fee, which other old folks, who live the CITY, get for 1/3 the cost), and they skipped my yard waste can.  Really indignant here.  I need it empty!  I am planning on major yard work this week!  Then, my new phone, the one I just love and adore, locked itself up and refuses to unlock.  This means a trip to Best Buy to bother those sweet guys in the cellphone area, again.  Nuts.  And, after enduring many months of very irritating reminders that popped up EVERYWHERE, I finally renewed my RegCure license (they had a sale of RegCure Pro, real deal), and it refuses to load on my computer.  Now have to call them and trudge through a plethora of steps so I can correct all those errors on my disk that the now defunct program said I had.  Give me a break.  And my new camera, a Samsung, like my phone, came with the manual on a disk, and needs Adobe Reader to decode, and that is not working, either.  I think the technology fairy has taken a dump here in the little yellow house.  So I said hell with it, and painted for a while.  Not sure I like him, but he was fun to diddle with for an afternoon.  He will wind up in the pile soon, the one I keep for paintings that I need to review before I finish them.  My mentor calls that the "second easel".  I just call it the pile.  Tomorrow will be another day.  Maybe I will get my phone back.  Maybe the bin will be emptied.  I don't know.  It's always a surprise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A hardware success story...

Okay, this is embarrassing.  The chain broke off my closet light about a year ago.  I fumed a little, then began screwing and unscrewing the light bulb to see into the darkness and preclude any faux-pas like arriving with two different shoes on, which has happened to me and no one bought the story that it was the latest from New York.  And the other day, when I was trying to unscrew the light bulb, this thing popped out of the socket.  I looked at it and thought, Holy filament, Batman!  I could probably get a new one of these at OSH!  So today I put the whole thing into my purse.  This saves me from trying to describe what I need.  I just hold it up and say "I need a new one of these".  Once, I managed to fix my toilet that way.  Well, the first aisle I was directed to was not the one I needed.  And, after perusing the infinity of items that come under the label of "lighting", I asked someone else.  What I needed was around the corner.  I am always proud of myself when I solve one of these little life dilemmas.  I was going to pay a handyman to come in and do this for me, along with some other little repairs, but gee, I fixed this one for under $4.  Oh, wait, I have yet to screw it in and try it out.  That is another chapter in the never-ending uphill battle with this cruel, cruel world.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Love on leaf-blower day...

Absolute cacophony happening here.  Punkin is laying at my feet, and we are both blown away by the noisiness of Thursday afternoon in the neighborhood.  I already did my compliment of whining and sniveling earlier, so I just have to suck it up, I guess.  Last night, a friend shared with me that she was pooch-sitting the daddy of a new litter, and that soon, when she was grown-up enough, one of the pups would be her very own.  And she was amazed by how much sweetness this little guy brought into her otherwise solitary life.  And I thought surprise, surprise, surprise.  Non-pet owners have no idea what they are missing.  These small (or medium, or large, or gigantic) sweet creatures provide warmth and laughter and just plain company for we solitaires who have given up on a life partner (or, like me, have tried on a variety and decided phooey, I'd rather just be myself for the rest of this existence).  Sadly, our companions will probably leave us too soon, but for the time they are here, they are totally present.  I went out for a little while this morning, about two hours altogether, and the joy at the front door on my return was a celebration, for sure.  And, burdened as I was with my huge Costco bag, and my ultra-large purse (gave up on the hella-cute teensy one, I need much more STUFF than that one can handle), I was still touched by the love that poured out even before I put the key in the lock.  Oh, and here is the 13th white horse.  Thinking of moving on to dark horses now, having explored all the vicissitudes of white ones.  Plus, white pastels pretty chewed up here.  Another trip to Blick is in the near future.  Yay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Portrait of my youth...

It is interesting to me that so many people do not believe in God.  I look at all the wondrous creatures that share our little podunk planet, and think we are so blessed.  This is one creature that made us what we are today.  Without the horse, we would have been stuck in the hunter-gatherer stage a whole hell of a lot longer, for sure.  And they are such gentle things, so strong and powerful, yet fragile, too.  This one reminds me of Bridget (named after Bardot, herself), a palomino my steady's Mom got for herself when I had usurped her big gelding on the weekend romps around our lovely countyside.  Bridget came from the glue factory, literally.  Rescue horse.  And she was just fine, that little filly, even if she did pronate rather alarmingly, and occasionally, just run in the opposite direction.  My mount, Big Fella (lack of imagination has never been my problem, but I didn't name him), a strawberry roan about 70 feet high, loved going up hills and often took them in amazingly big leaps.  However, downhill scared him, so we were always in the rear of the parade.  Ah, the teenaged days of being saddle sore.  I remember them well.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I don't know about you, but sudden changes in the climate kind of throw me.  Today, it was all drizzly.  I slept in.  And got up to big muddy prints all over the kitchen floor.  I mopped.  And now, need to do it again, despite deployment of strategic towels on the canine path of least resistance.  So, I pondered this rather frustrating epic I am determined to execute, endeavoring to make them look less than a parade to the glue factory.  Believe me, it is mucho better than it once was.  Funny, but taking a photo and looking at it on my monitor here gives me hope, again.  Must never say die, you know.  And now, back to the mop brigade.  Makes me want to attach little booties to Punk's admittedly overly-large paws.  Or I could just put his fuzz-ball little self on my Swiffer duster?  At least I removed the dog stairway, so no laundering of bedding will be required.  Ah, the life of a dog lover.  Messy love.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Win some, lose some...

Some ideas work, some don't.  Hint: if the horse looks like a circus performer, he is never going to look natural in nature.  This one was in the surf, but that just didn't give enough value contrast to make him dramatic.  And now, with his new and improved environs, he is perhaps TOO dramatic.  I have fiddled and faddled away at this for DAYS now, and I NEVER do that.  So, I now pronounce him done-diddy-done-done.  The paper has another side, you know.  Or, maybe, some time in the future, I will look at him and find him redeemable, just the way he is right now.  You never know.  Stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Life is cruel enough without hardward stores...

The IRS took pity on me and refunded some of my own $$$.  Very big of them, since I have these piles and piles of pastel paintings, just yearning for frames.  Now, I have mastered the art of centering and securing the painting on its backboard and matting it without getting fingerprints on the mat (most of the time, if anyone knows how to get pastel pigment off white mats, let me know).  I have learned to very carefully Windex the glass and blow out any tiny morsels of detritus before slamming the whole thing into the frame, only to find I had forgotten to sign my work  Aaaarrrrgggghh!  But, except for the metal frames that come with handy doohickies that have holes for the wire, I have not come up with a way to secure the hanging wire to the wooden frames without resorting to my faithful staple gun, which I braved the hardware store to purchase so I could stretch the one canvas teacher made us do (and that, too, required more than one trip), and my friend and mentor, the PROFESSIONAL artist says that is tacky.  Eye screws are de riguer.  No way I could get these microscopic little screws into the miniscule lip of the very hard wooden frame.  Soooooo frustrating.  Then my admittedly fertile mind had one of its AHA moments.  What I need is a tiny drill!  So I packed up one of my already framed paintings with its little packet of accoutrements (eye screws and picture wire) and bounced off to OSH yesterday afternoon.  One of the things I know how to do well is look helpless and confused.  Half an hour, three hardware experts, and $50 later, I had this handy-dandy drill, with an auxlliary collet to hold the 1/16" bit.  It was just like the staple gun; there is more than one size of staples and there is more than one size of collar to hold the infinite number of bits and doodads you can attach to a drill.  Thank you, dear OSH folks.  I attached a couple of wires last night to pieces that were already framed and the drill was slick as a whistle.  Framing will never be my favorite pastime, but it is no longer the enigma it once was.  Now, off for more eye screws, wire, and oh, yeah, frames.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Easy peasy...

Animal portraits are so simple compared to portraying the whole magilla.  All that measuring and conformation!  Okay, I don't do that.  I eyeball everything.  I think there is joy in the spontaneous drawing and painting that I do.  Well, it is a joy to execute.  Whether it is a joy to look at, ah, that's the question.  With this ditty, I took a page out of Wolf Kahn's book.  It really doesn't matter what pigment he uses, it all works, as long as the value stays true.  So I just noodled away, and this sweet filly just jumped up off the paper, dark grey paper in this case.  Dark supports always produce more dramatic and dynamic images for me.  No worry about pushing pigment into the tooth, no annoying holidays peaking through, little white spots that make an image look unfinished.  Okay, you can see the paper here, too.  However, it looks like I did that deliberately instead of just letting it be and not messing around with it any more.  I love this image.  There is an inviting expression on her face, like you just want to go get a bunch of carrots for her.  I don't know how that happens.  It just comes.  How sweet is that!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Free to be me...

Well, white horses are boring.  And tight is boring.  Not that I can't do tight.  I can.  Just like my process to hang out there.  Not a lot of thought here.  I put all my pastels into little 5 drawer chests, two of them, so everything is organized and I can find a pigment without a lot or perusal.  Makes the whole deal a lot easier.  And a whole lot more spontaneous, actually.  Open a drawer, grab some blue, and oh, some yellow would be nice, and let's put some pink in the waves.  Just love color.  And this medium is so very luminous.  Oh, and this is on my favorite support, Fabriano Tiziano black paper.  I will probably noodle around with it some more before moving it over to the framing table.  It is larger than my usual piece, so will need a custom mat.  Luckily, the IRS returned some $$$ to me the other day.  I am going to think of that BEFORE I do the next work on the black paper.  Details, details.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Well, you have to begin somewhere...

Not a big fan of the 4th of July.  Love fireworks.  Hate sitting in the parking lot or garage for 3 hours trying to get home later.  Hate that the noise scares the stuffing out of my dogs.  Hate that so many folks get royally pissed on Bud and drive around where I might be at any given time.  So, staying home, with the Punkin and the Pickle, and just because I could, I started a new white horse painting.  This is on my favorite paper, Fabriano's Tiziano, black.  Can't get it in my little town, had to sojourn down the 101 corridor and across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to Blick, the mecca of art supply stores.  Okay, I could order it online, but it is a lovely drive, and I get to have lunch with my son who works in Richmond, and I get to explore new levels of gratitude on the way back over the bridge, when San Quentin fills my windshield.  I think it is a good thing to remember that I am free, here in the USA, in the little yellow house.  And you can see from what has happened so far that I am feeling free with COLOR.  This is, of course, just an underpainting, but I can already see it will be very dynamic when I start putting the good stuff on top.  What a way to spend a retirement!  How lucky am I! 

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sunday, and more horses...

Major endeavor of the day was a trip to Petco for a purple replacement bra for Pickle, who keeps getting her pink one all dingy, despite my best efforts to launder it.  Punk went along, rode in the cart, gave his approval to some new toys, and two engraved hearts to put on their harnesses, so everyone knows they are loved and wanted back should they wander away.  Really, we should all have a tag like that, "If lost, return me to ____".  Sure would make me feel cherished.  And, onward with the white horse opus.  These were particularly vexing.  My first effort had the legs too long, and a definitely saggy looking butt sticking out there.  Much work on the values, which were problematical, and the hues, also a little perplexing.  It has now all come together in the way these things have of happening, mostly without much effort of thought on my part.  As usual, this is a surprise.  Now ready for a trip to Village Art for frames.  When I have enough, perhaps I will get brave and show them to an artist who owns a gallery, and has actually ASKED to see my work.  Fear, it stinks.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thiis is the one that is going byebye. Or not.

And I really like this painting.  there were many happy moments and pleasant surprises that happened when I did it earlier this year.  Or late last year.  Hell, I can't remember.  I just know it has made me mucho happier than a lot of stuff I have done.  Well, letting go is an art in itself.  Really.

White horses and I...

After a long ponder, and some advice from a friend, I decided to give my first white horse oeuvre to the Art for Life Auction this year.  Now I love my paintings.  I suppose I know that the whole object is to sell them so some lovely person out there in the big bad world will have something delightful to gaze at every day.  But I will really miss my first white horse, if it sells, that is.  It is possible that I will be able to attend the event, sip mineral water and gnosh on chichi munchies, check out all the OTHER art, and the other artists, hobnob with the rich folks who love art and attend with the hopes of getting some, cheap, and still come home with my beloved painting.  This is not it, by the way, this is one that I added to the opus to replace the one I am donating.  And it is unlikely I will bring anything home, mine or otherwise.  I have, after all, sold my piece now for four years running, and I am somewhat proud of that, as that does not happen to all the artists who donate.  Somewhere out there, there are four folks who have an original painting by MOI on their wall.  That is kind of sweet, yes.  Whatever, it is not til September, and I have time to knock out a few more white horses. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Friday in the little yellow house.  I started to post this, then realized it was looking a little flat and a lot messy, so I straightened that out.  Now have an opus of koi.  Working on my white horse opus, next.  Really, I need to get more instructions, work on my STYLE, which is, as always, elusive as hell.  I was reading about IMPORTANT art, RELEVANT art, in other words, New York art.  Apparently, it should reflect our culture, make social statements, be edgy and cutting.  In other words, UGLY.  Drab, colorless, depressing and downright bizarre.  I don't even want to look at that art, much less create it.  I have been depressed for many of my years here on the Big Blue Ball.  I don't need reminders of that darkness hanging on my walls.  Okay, fish are remarkably prosaic.  Ditto birds, horses, cows.  Tigers, lynx and lions are a little more jazzy.  Still, I am refreshed by these paintings.  My soul feels lightened up, just knowing there are these wondrous creatures in the world.  I look at my egret every day, all curled into itself, that look of infinite knowing in its eye, refreshing.  Yes, that's me.  Little old prosaic me, just wanting some wonder and beauty, some that I made myself.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

All my troubles, Lord, soon forgotten...

Well, I got sick.  And though it seemed impossible not so long ago, I am getting well, again, too.  Not as springy as I used to be, and, because my appetite dropped out of existence, I was hella weak for a bit.  All this is hella scary when you live alone, like I do.  Both dogs survived, even the tomato plant still has life in it.  And the world kept right on turning.  Now, onward.  I framed the tiger, and, for a quick and rather sketchy piece (on very dramatic black paper), he is really fine now.  I'm calling him "Burning Bright", and he may be the choice to go to Art for Life.  Or not.  Really, I surprise myself , all the time.  I finish these paintings, put them away for a while, and it is as if I have never seen them before, and someone else did them.  Well, Someone Else did, held my hand and pushed it around.  Life is just one big surprise, you know.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Messing around with the fishies, still

Just started, and coming up nicely if I do say so myself.  I don't know if this is a good idea or not.  It is picky picky, and the actual image is not very large, and maybe it is better to do close-ups of the koi and the lily and the lily pads.  Hell, I don't know.  I started it, so I will keep picking away until it is something I think is worth looking at.  Or not.  The paper has two sides, you know. Meanwhile, back at the little yellow house, health seems to have rebounded now that Vitamin D is replenished.  It has cooled down this evening, pleasant breeze coming in open door.  The Punk is throwing toys all around the office floor and Pickle is hunkered down in her last bastion of solitude, the bed, which Punk still cannot get up onto under his own steam.  He is wearing his soft harness, and has not shrugged it off completely, so it is fitting a tiny bit better, though his leg gets out of its hole a lot.  It provides me with a convenient handle to grab him by, and he needs grabbing regularly.  Huge box from Crate and Barrel on the table, new dinnerware, birthday gift from my daughter and her husband.  Blessings, everywhere.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One of those (existentially challenging) days...

My new Kindle Fire arrived.  Yippee.  Trouble with new electronic thingymagigs is that they never work the first time out of the box.  Or the fourteenth time, either.  First, gee, I had to hightail it to Best Buy for some Wifi.  Didn't have any of that around.  Decided I didn't need to be THAT connected, so just got a router for the little yellow house.  And spent a happy couple of hours trying to get it up and running.  Didn't even know when it was, actually, but saved $70 by not having the Geek Squad do it for me.  Then came the Kindle.  Not good at that little keyboard app.  Fingers are too big, and mind are not the largest, so it must be fun for everyone else, too, right?  Oh, I hope so.  If I thought I was the only one that struggled with this stuff, I'd slit my throat.  Now connected, Wifi speaking, and registered, Amazon.com speaking, and wondering where are all those books in the Cloud?  Why doesn.'t my Kindle just display them, download them, or whatever it is supposed to do?  Well, working on that.  I did get a book on loan, and began reading it.  Don't know what to do when I am through with it.  Return it?  Will it self-destruct?  Aaaaaarrrrrgggggh!  Oh, and the fish, well, it's Art for Life time, and thinking of donating this piece.  Or not.  Have a month to mull.  And read.  I love the Kindle, really I do.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm not insecure, I'm just an artist...

It is Art at the Source time here in wine country, the west county artist's open studios, so I sojourned over to my hometown, to the street that I grew up on, to visit an artist who lives right across the street from the house my parent's built in 1953, where I lived for the next 10 years, till I got married.  That in itself was pretty surreal.  This artist works in pastels, and I was hoping for some pointers about things like paper, strokes, stuff like that.  Here's what I learned - he works solely on sanded paper, which is not my favorite as I like to blend things a lot until the final layer, and it eats up my little spongy thingies.  He uses his fingers.  Okay, not doing that.  He had drawers full of pigments, and yet in the painting he was working on, nothing was very bright.  I like a lot of bright colors, can you tell?  And he uses tiny marks.  Don't think that will happen for me any time soon.  I am, as my teacher told me, heavy-handed.  I like to work fast and with a bold stroke.  Okay, I had a moment of wondering if I am all right here.  Should I change what I do, would that be more "artful"?  Maybe someday.  Not today, though.  Hell, Van Gogh was considered nuts, Monet was considered "sketchy", everyone's a critic.  I don't have to be one, too.  I like my cow.  He makes me smile.  Smiling is never a bad thing.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Quality problems...

I sold these two paintings.  Well, surprise.  I AM a professional artist now.  I am SUPPOSED to sell my work.  Still, it is like giving up children for adoption.  This first thing I notice is wonder that I did them at all.  That is, of course, because I didn't.  I just channeled that God-given ability, kept pecking away, till all that was there was what Spirit wanted to be there.  It is a magical thing, being an artist.  I live in perpetual wonder.  And I will miss these guys.  They were seminal paintings for me.  I used to just do cows, because no one really knows what a cow looks like.  But everyone thinks they have a horse's aspect down, and if there is even a tiny deviation from that image, I am sunk.  Big leap of faith to do these at all.  Time to do a whole bunch more.  They seem to be the ticket for more $$$ to buy more frames to make more paintings to fill them.  Busy, busy life I have.  Wondrous, too.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

My loosey goosey life...

Dates that I no longer celebrate:  September 14, March 5, August 2 - all old wedding anniversaries; March 18 and Fathers' Day, now that Dad has gone to the big golf course in the sky;  November 9 and September 21 - ex-husband's birthdays (first one is dead, you see); May 30, my parent's wedding anniversary (actually, I stopped doing that one long ago, when a very expensive gift I gave got my mother's arrogant ho-hum).    There are one or two dates I will always celebrate:  June 8, my natal birthday; December 26, my sobriety birthday; and June 2, the day I quit smoking.  For the last time, that is.  I missed my usual ritual this year as I had a visit from big kiddo and his new gal, so I went off today to SHOP.  You see, I save so much $$$ not smoking, over $4,500 a year, I calculated, estimating $5 a pack and 2 1/2 packs a day, it is cheap to buy myself presents on this auspicious date.  And not included in that amount is the co-pays for all the doctoring I had to do, like I had pneumonia 5 times, and numerous bouts of respiratory distress.  So spending $300 is nothing, right?  And actually, I got $100 from my mother for my birthday, so actually, I only spent $200.  Yes, very important date to honor.  Meanwhile, here is my latest endeavor, still embryonic but coming up so nicely with its bold value contrasts.  Loose geese.  Just like those ducks I keep trying to get in a row, the ones that constantly run amuck. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

And the Punk goes on...

It's nighty night time, and what a miracle, he's asleep!  Of course, that does not mean he will not wake up about 15 minutes before I want to turn out the light, and want to play.  Look, he still has his pig belly!  What a guy, my Punk.  That is his new training bra, just like the Pickle's, except hers is pink.  That turned out to be not my best idea, as it is now looking rather dingy.  Maybe I will get her a matching bra.  Punk's is still a little big for him, but I expect him to put on a couple of lbs in the next couple of weeks.  Nevertheless, he is a little guy, a true toy.  Which doesn't mean he isn't all dog.  He now barks with the Pickle at the neighbors as they wrestle their garbage cans down the driveway by the side of our yard.  And, like the Boo before him, he is in love with the front porch, now that the weather is clement and we can have the front door open more often.  Okay, not a lot of excitement around the little yellow house.  What did you want?  Drama?  Try TNT.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Worse, worser, worstest...

This is the third attempt I have made recently at a decent painting, and the best, which tells you where I am at the moment.  It needs a lot of work, especially after I lifted it up to tap off the excess and got black all over the water on top of the big bird.  Almost threw it in the round file after that.  So it feels like time for some alcohol.  No, not the sipping kind, the rubbing kind, that will smooth out the water so I can lay another layer of pastels on it.  Yes, that's an idea.  Or maybe it is just too far gone.  Whatever.  Have I ever told you my ex-husband used to put movie reviews on his answering machine?  Tempted to call him see if he has seen Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a yummy little movie now playing at the smart people's movie theatre.  Also The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, another little film that is currently making over 10 times it's production cost.  Yes, Virginia, there are folks out there that can survive without CG or 3D, violence or sex.  We are old, but not dead yet.  More, please!  Oh, and back to the geese, time will tell.  It could be worse.  I think.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Progress not perfection...

Well, there is always a new day.  Until there aren't any more, of course.  Looks like I will remain vertical for a while, and today, it is better than it was yesterday, which was better than Tuesday, which was hell.  Have decided to let it be what it is, not try to muscle through my current low energy/high headache phase.  If tests show nothing physical, committed to doing some counseling, which is never a bad idea.  And working at doing more art during this time.  It is the only thing that gives me surcease from the constant barrage of self-interest that runs like DOS in the background all the freaking time.  Well, the Punk helps, too.  He has been the easiest pup since the Boo, is pretty much trained to go outside (with a little help from Mom), and can be trusted more, which makes my life ever so much easier.  So, not jumping up and down, but pretty contented today.  Off to start another masterpiece.  Loving the animals.  This may be what I was looking for when I was casting about for an idea that worked for me, and a style I liked.  The pastels seem to be my medium.  And I even went online and found mats in the size I had been paying a small fortune to have cut for me at our local craft store.  Ordering them even as we speak.  See, not entirely stagnant here.  Sort of treading water, not going anywhere fast, and that's okay.  Yes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The cookie has crumbled...

Yesterday was one of those days I could have lived forever without experiencing.  Got up early, never a happy thing, and headed for the lab for blood tests to determine why I cannot get my butt off the floor and what is causing hellish headaches.  Nice hour spent there.  Fortunately, I took a book.  Unfortunately, one of my talky friends was also waiting for tests.  The needle-sticker guy was dandy though.  Five humongous vials, he took.  Home again to pick up the Punk, take him for his rabies shot, and out to the animal shelter to get his license so they don't send me a bill for major bucks like they did with Pickle.  What can I say, live and learn.  It was closed.    I stopped for gas, and this annoying guy was tailgating me, pulled up beside me to tell me my gas tank was open.  Red-faced about that.  Home again to peruse Animal Shelter website to figure out how to get Punk official, at senior rate, sans penalty, and languish for a couple of hours before heading out to Costco for prescription, TJs for milk. Found that my glasses had fallen out of my tiny purse, so back to the car to look for them, where I stepped on them and they were totally trashed.  Luckily, I had just sold a painting, so I had $200 to get new ones.  The day ended when Punk threw up in bed shortly after I turned off the light.  Did I mention I put him down every night on a towel?  Best thing that happened all day was that he was on it when he hurled.  Puppy-motherhood.  Not much different than infants, except that yesterday was the first time Punk got left home in the general population instead of his cell in the kitchen.  And he did just fine. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fretting, as usual...

Yesterday, I went online to see how puppies grow.  How big will my Punkin be?  He has already topped 6 lbs, which is 1/3 the size of Pickle, though this picture makes him look bigger.  I was prepared to find that he would triple his size.  And was I surprised.  Small dogs reach their full size at 5 months.  And, suddenly, it looks like he will remain really small, for this household, anyway.  He may top out at about 8 lbs.  As with anything, one never knows.  I also looked at pics of other Shipoos.  They are enormously diverse.  Some have curly poodle hair.  Some have really short noses.  Punk didn't really look like any of them, though his coloring was there in abundance.  He is, of course, much cuter than most.  And has the sweetest personality to boot.  So, what will be, will be.  Despite all my web searching and fretting.

Friday, May 18, 2012

And this is the (maybe) finished product.

Heard a wonderful Ted.com talk today on how so many of us were discouraged from pursuing our creativity by peers and teachers who put our work down.  What is that about, anyway?  Does it help folks who are small feel bigger, do you suppose?  In my young days, it was considered bad to praise a child.  This would lead to prideful behavior, swelled heads, bragging.  How sad is that.  It is still hard for me to take a compliment, especially where my art is concerned.  It came from somewhere deep inside, I listened and plugged away at it.  And suddenly, there it is!  I feel peculiarly graced by the ability to take some chalky stuff and paint a picture.  Strange way for a grown-up to spend her time, n'est-ce pas?  Oh, wait.  I don't qualify for that moniker.  I am really only five years old when I do this kind of thing, in love with fingerpainting. 

The struggle...

Don't know if there is anything wrong, but life seems so tedious these days.  Little headache that never seems to go away.  Bane of my existence.  Though I am happy there is not some great big awful disease gnawing away at me, there little irritating symptoms keep pecking away in the background.  So I decided to ignore them, took myself over to Target where, FINALLY, I found a jar opener I can live with, and some other intimate items for other pesky age-related problems.  And came home to work on this new pastel.  I think it is coming up rather well.  And that is what happens, the image just emerges, rises up from the paper , defines itself, says "lighter value here, please" and "okay, this part is done, work somewhere else".  As usual, I am not happy till the whole image is there, filling up the space.  Oh, my.  I am liking this one.  Lots of color.  Lots of values.  Lots of sweetness, without the coy thing happening.  Off to take a pill for my headache, and keep plugging away at the art.  Letting my daemon out to play.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blss this mess.

The Mother's Day peonies, all immortalized in messy pastels.  No patience today.  I spent most of it chasing Punk around, keeping him from devouring all of Pickle's food on top of his own generous helping, shooing Pickle off the top porch step so Punk could exit the house, taking him out for his numerous potty breaks, in short, being the Punk mommy ad infinitum.  So only a few seconds to slap away at the pastel.  And while I am whining, let me say I really resent the new Blogger template.  I used to be able to select the size and placement of my uploaded photos.  Now it just plunks it down in the center, plop.  Nothing artistic about that.  Well, not a lot artistic about the painting either.  Little headache today.  Static on my art receiver.  Just happy to have done something at all.  Many a day has passed when all I did was play numerous games of solitaire here on the Big Bad Mama computer.  Heck, I even made the bed.  Totally successful day, in my opinion.