Friday, February 27, 2009

New Oil Painting

Go our Separate Ways
5" x 8"
Oil on hardboard

I painted this earlier this month. I am still not getting much done, the body just doesn't want to cooperate.

I want to apologize for something. I re-read yesterday's post where I referred to President Messiah Obama by his initials - which just happens to be B.O. - (Hey, I did not name him - and yes, I giggle like a 10 year old about it.) But in re-reading what I wrote it sounded way too disrespectful, and for that I am sorry. I do not trust Obama, I did not vote for him. I actually started out as a supporter, until I read his book Dreams of My Father and that raised some serious questions for me. Then I began trying to find out more about him and his record - and well, time will tell. I hope I am wrong. But I don't see him as a friend to free-enterprise, Capitalism or Democracy in general. But at any rate, he is our President and deserves respect for that office. So I am sorry for sounding disrespectful, and I will try not to use his initials ever again. I hope I did not offend any of you too much, I am sorry if I did.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

I got a surprise in the mail and ...Huh???

This is me taking a photo of myself in the bathroom mirror (in my still unfinished Banos De Los Muertos). See my necklace? It's a little handmade journal with 24 pages - can you believe that? It is perfect for me. My journal-artist-friend in Canada sent me the very cool hand made journal necklace along with a really pretty journal and a sparkly hanging "Simplify" sign - which is extra awesome because I totally forgot that it is this years theme and I have gotten away from working on it. (I have the attention span of a 2 year old and the memory of a hamster) Thank you Nadia!! Nadia has two awesome sites to check out: Lost and Found Studio and also her blog called Be Yourself, Create art, Everyday

Ever wonder just exactly what a trillion looks like? I decided I needed to see what 3 trillion looked like, since that is one of the current numbers that Mr-President-Messiah-B.O. is tossing around and planning to spend on our behalf. (Feeling stimulated?) - so exactly how many zeros is that? Being a compulsive Googler I found the answer here and that answer is - well, it depends.


After the obligatory insult to the United States, saying that we are not as logical as other nations...well here is the exact quote:

"The system used in the U.S. is not as logical as that used in other countries (like Great Britain, France, and Germany). In these other countries, a billion (bi meaning two) has twice as many zeros as a million, and a trillion (tri meaning three) has three times as many zeros as a million, etc. But the scientific community seems to use the American system."

So in the US it is $3,000,000,000,000 (12 zeros) but in France it looks like this $3,000,000,000,000,000,000 (18 zeros)

Huh? And if the US is so illogical why does the scientific community use our system? Does this mean 2 + 2 really does equal 5? or heck, why not - maybe 7, in other countries? Or 5 in the US and 7 in Great Britain. We'll need to seek B.O.s advice on that...

So really it boils down to this - if I am going to be spending $ lets use the US number - but if you are handing out peanut M&M's I want someone from France, Great Britain or Germany to count them out for me.

And just so you will know what to tell your kids and grandkids how much they will owe by the time this is over - a nonillion has 30 zeros - and be sure to tell them to get their candy from those other countries.

But maybe the guy is right - maybe we are illogical, as I heard on the news tonight that all of the numbers tossed around in all of this budget talk and earmarks aren't really based on any research or math or calculations really. It's guesswork. Guesswork! So some guy decides he thinks he needs - oh...about 59 million dollars - yeah , that sounds about right, that ought to do it - to do Pacific salmon research, or some cowboy decides he needs $1.76 million dollars for a honeybee lab in Texas, (those are real earmarks!) and so forth, then some really smart guy in D.C. says "Okay - sounds about right" - and voila! an earmark and our money goes flying out of our wallets.

No wonder my head hurts all the time....

Um - I think this turned into a rant now didn't it...

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Digital Walkthrough

First of all if you missed yesterdays videos as I've heard some of you did - go back to yesterdays post and watch them - and laugh.

A good friend asked me "What's a digital painting?" and I emailed her a very long wordy explanation. Today I am down with another migraine - and working digitally on my laptop when I feel OK enough to. So I got the idea to try to show a little bit of how I work digitally. PLEASE understand I am a NOVICE! I am certain that there are better easier faster ways to do this - and I am still learning. And those of you who do know how to do this - please feel free to send help ;)

I did this painting a couple of years ago when I was first trying to learn to use oil paint. It was painted from a photo I took at a fashion show with tiny little toothpick girls with great big hair and cheesy clothes. So I have this painting sitting around - I like a few things about it but not much, but it seems wasteful to just throw out the canvas, especially if I could rework it. I will try to save and improve what I like and change what I don't or what is not interesting to me. So let's see what I might be able to do if I painted over it. I have Photoshop CS3 and Corel Painter X and I switch back and forth between them. Most of this was done in Painter. Here is the original painting:

The first thing I do of course is get the photo in the program - choose a method to work - in most cases I use some kind of oil brush. I seldom plan on any of my digital work to be art in itself - it is my sketch book - so I am not too particular or exact or careful - I am sketching and thinking and seeing what happens. It is important for me to "wreck" it right off the bat - to break any feelings of preciousness I may be clinging to. So here I just started scribbling some paint on...then I realized I forgot to add my layer, oops. That's OK though.

In the following picture I have added a layer and painted some more. Adding a layer is sort of like laying a clear piece of glass over the painting - I can see what I have underneath and I can add to it or make changes without disturbing the work underneath.

Here I have added another layer and I am just playing with color and shapes and values - just seeing what happens and painting instinctively-

Another layer and more adjustments - some of which I don't care for - I may either throw this layer out or switch it with another layer

Here is layers 2 and 3 switched - not a good example because the changes are quite subtle and I uploaded it wrong so it's small - but you get the idea.

As I work I begin to play with the size of the image - shrinking it has a similar effect as squinting or stepping away from your canvas - and I rotate it a lot. When the image begins to "work" as a landscape or an abstract then I know that I am getting close to having something. This one still needs a bit more work and play time but I am bored with it for now...

I like it horizontally - that is starting to work for me...And there ya have it - that is one way I do a digital painting. My goal when I do this is to "close" - to get the colors, shapes and values pretty much where they work - and the when I paint it I want the freedom to adjust, add texture and lines and change it as I go too. In this case I started with an old painting - but often I will just start with a digital drawing like with the bugs - I just make a sketch and add layers and build up colors and shapes until I get something that interests me. Now I am going to lay my pounding head back down. Tomorrow is another day-

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Digital Painting

Okay this bug was way fun although it took me about as long as a regular painting would have. It went through a bazillion changes. I am OK with it now - there are some nice part. The problem with this bug is two fold - first I see a face in it that I can hardly get past and it is beautifully iridescent and I get kind of fixated on that. Here is a photo of the bug too.

Doesn't it just look like some kind of Indonesian god or a Tiki head? God's little creatures are just so darn cool!

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Laughter is the best medicine

My brother sent me this video-


Which led me to this video-



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Monday, February 23, 2009

Today's Art - Digital Painting

Here is a digital painting - (really more of a drawing) - of the green beetle that my sister-in-law gave me for my birthday. It is on a pink background because that is her favorite color and I am sending her a print of it - that and I actually like the pink too. It looks good printed on photo paper - but I am curious to try it on a nice piece of watercolor paper too. I just don't have any lightweight enough to go through my printer right now. I really need to learn more about the whole printing end of the digital art business. Yikes - yet another learning challenge! I am not ready for it yet - but it looms on the horizon. I can see it out there with a new large format printer surrounded by dollar signs. Yep it will cost me - time, brain, patience and money. That is for another day...

This digital drawing is just the first of many that I hope to be squeezing in between the Joyful Project, finishing Dog Stealer and daily painting and "anything else" of interest that crosses my path . I like working digitally - especially when I am not physically or mentally up to painting, like lately. (And yes - I am going to a doctor for this crud). Right now and until this passes and I feel better - that "anything else" is playing Zelda and Okami games on my Wii. I am so tired of feeling bad, that I am doing a fair amount of time wasting and zoning out with video games - which is a tremendous amount of fun too. And working digitally - it's all good, it's all fun.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Painting forJoy Project

Joy in the Morning
12" x 16"
Acrylic on hardboard

The title is tentative. The titles for all of these "Joy Project" paintings are tentative. Actually I think what I would like to do is get a bunch done and put them together, and then name them - while they are all together, I actually think they will "tell" me their names then. I like this one, but it is actually a bit darker than what I was going for. Actually I am not sure about it - but I will set it aside as part of the project for now and see how things develop. I am short on patience these days - still battling headaches -and allergies, and generally feel cruddy. Ugh. It seems like I just keep slipping further and further behind and having less and less energy. "This too shall pass" and I am so ready for it to.

Oh gosh - I almost forgot to tell you! I got the coolest birthday present over the weekend from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law - BUGS and Butterflies! The bugs are beetle type things from Indonesia and the iridescent colors and patterns are amazing! and the butterfly is magenta and lavender and green and black one one side and browns and green on the other, from Papua New Guinea. They are mounted under glass so I haven't had any luck getting photos yet, but I will keep trying. For sure I will be doing paintings from them. Incredible. I think birds and bugs and tropical fish are often like God's jewelry for the earth - such beautiful and amazing little creatures. Oh look - I found the butterflies on which is where they came from. I think the colors on mine are much richer than shown here - but you get the idea. Awesome.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Real Rant for Today! This Won't Take Long...

I am so sick of GREEN that I don't even want to use green paint, and green is actually one of my favorite colors. Is anyone else just so over the whole green mania? Green this - green that - green the other thing. Ugh! Don't get me wrong. I was a charter subscriber to Mother Earth News, and interested in recycling, composting, fuel efficiency and solar energy all the way back in the late 60's, way before it was so popular and trendy. God gave us this earth to take care of and that is exactly what we should do. But we should want to care for our environment because it is the right thing to do - not because we are "guilted" and manipulated, brow beat and hammered to death about it. Oh my gosh - I can't take it anymore!!

So do you know what Carbon Credits are? Go HERE to read about them or to a listen to a short audio explanation. (info from

Or Listen to this 1 minute audio:

Okay - I am done now - back to art...

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New Daily Painting - ACEO

"Heart Flower" - (Sketch)
2.5" x 3.5"
Oil on gessoed board

Does anyone ever really catch up? Being behind just seems like a constant in my life. I have not painted since last Wednesday or Thursday and it makes me feel - well - icky, restless, antsy. I guess I NEED to paint. I did this little ACEO sized painting as a sketch for the Joyful Project - trying to work through some stuff. I actually did it early last week, before the abstract - It will probably go up on "FeeBay" when I get around to it. Oh look! - the sun is out, I have potatoes I want to plant - I have never grown potatoes, so maybe I can get out there and pot them up today. It has been cold and rainy here for days and days and days, and I feel like I have a "gloomy day hang-over" from it - I need a kick start - No painting for me today - again. It is after 1PM - I am still in my robe - and by the time I get myself moving it will be time to get ready to go to dinner for my birthday.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Painting - I am thrilled

Untitled - as of now, I have a couple in mind though
24" x 12"
Acrylic and charcoal on hardboard

I did this in class yesterday - and I am so happy with it that I don't care if it is not polite or whatever to be so darn happy with your own stuff. It has energy, the colors and the feeling of the painting is joyful and light - and the textures and marks are exactly as they should be. It is exactly what I am going for - right out of my head - no reference. This is a HUGE breakthrough for me and I am downright thrilled!! Go me!! ; ) I will get a grip and be more humble tomorrow - but for today I celebrate. Can I do it again? - I don't know, but I did it once...that is a good sign. Excuse me - I have to go dance around now and giggle - see ya later.

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And the winner is...

Bye-bye little painting....

Today is the big day! I never DREAMED I would get the number of comments that came in! This turned into a much bigger and more time consuming task than I ever imagined too. So while I have your attention...I plan to do this again in the future, just on my own, just for fun. Those of you who actually gave me your email address are on my list of people to notify when I do. I did try to fish out as many as I could from blogs and websites too. Thank you - thank you - thank you! Thank you for all of the wonderful compliments and encouraging words. This has been so interesting to "meet" so many people from so many places, doing so many different things. I have not gotten to all of the blogs on the One World One Heart 2009 list - there were 911 participants at last check, and I think that was the final count. The list stays up for 6 months I think, so I will continue visiting.

I ended up with 211 entries, some of which were phoned in and some emailed in. (Not everyone knows how to leave comments.) Everyone was entered into a "Give Away" address book that I set up. That address book then alphabetized everyone. Do you really want to know all of this??? I ultimately used Random.Org and came up with the winner - who happens to be Patty Szymkowicz. Congrats Patty - and an email is on it's way to you. Now, everybody go check out Patty's blog Magpie's Nest too (

More later...

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Big Portrait Painting

Dog Stealer - unfinished
48" x 60"
Oil on canvas

I have successfully found a way to keep from working on the Joyful-Joyful project - and that is by working on the Dog Stealer portrait. It is nearing completion - I am pretty happy with the likeness of both my husband and my - excuse me - his - dog. But the background isn't right yet. The fingers are still a little funky too. I thought I wanted an effect like a glare coming from a big window - and I may have achieved that but I am not sure now that that is what I really want, nor do I think it is working effectively in the painting - it just isn't right. I am certainly open for suggestions and critiquing - if any of you have two cents - toss it my way, I could use some help. This portrait has become a bit of a monkey on my back and I will be glad to resolve it 's problems and move on.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who has commented and left me messages lately - I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me. Thanks.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

New Daily Painting a Day and Ramblings

Taking Separate Paths
5" x 8"
Oil on hardboard

The colors in this online photo look "dirty" to me - I have take a bazillion shots and I just can't get it to look as clean and clear and pretty as I think it really is - I quit, this photo will have to do ...and now to ramble and rant. I am having the hardest time with my new project "Joyful-Joyful"...and, well maybe a bunch of other things too. Rebuilding my website has become way too time consuming and confusing. Trying to figure out the best way to offer my little paintings for sale on line has become too time consuming and confusing. I thought for sure I was finished with Ebay - or rather Feebay as many people are calling it now, but maybe not - maybe it still is the best way to go, and I have considered Etsy - it's a very nice site and convenient, but not really "fine-art" oriented- more crafty. (Now that I see that thought in print - it seems super stupid - Like EBay is fine art oriented? LOL!) I have stores at two other e-commmerce sites that I am working on building - but I am not really happy with either one of them, in fact I am not happy with much of anything right now - well that's not true, I am a very happy person - but not happy with the computer related stuff. . Geesh - everything is just too darn time consuming and confusing and I feel like I am reinventing the wheel constantly, and the learning curve is enormous. The thing that keeps me going is - well, I LOVE messing around with the web, computers, pretty much technology in general, and of course my block headed stubbornness and determination that I can and will figure it out! But it is sucking my painting time and energy from me and I need to focus there.

Which brings me to my next point - maybe rant. This "Joyful-Joyful" project is not making me so joyful right now. I am committed to it and believe in it and I know eventually in some form or fashion I will pull it off - but right now, WOW. I know people who don't like to be alone and get lonely and just can't be by themselves or in silence for any period of time. I am not one of those. I am almost a recluse, and I live in silence most of the time but I am beginning to maybe understand the restlessness and discomfort these people must experience. When I set a canvas before me to paint from my head, with nothing to reference (like a model, still life or photo) the emotional and mental turmoil borders on torture. I feel restless, and unbelievably uncomfortable and insecure. I squirm and pace and my mind thinks of everything else I could and should be doing. It suggests to me to go look in a book, go online, work on my web site, clean my studio up, organize my closet - you name it, just to forget it and set up a still life - anything but being alone in my own head by myself with the emptiness that I feel and fear, no ideas, no images come to mind - nothing. [ Insert loud and tortured scream here ] And eventually I cave. Thus today's painting...done in desperation and the duress of being alone in my head. Yes - I caved and went for reference material---but at least I have a title for once... LOL.

Hey - wait - hmmmm. Maybe...Could it be? Am I now a struggling and tortured artist?? Cool. I know for sure I am a starving artist - and I am going for a snack right now - and then to the studio to try once confront the desolate emptiness that is in my head.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

New Painting

22" x 10"
Oil on gessoed watercolor paper

Well, here is something different for me. I actually started this painting at a workshop with Bob Burridge - gee, maybe a year ago, maybe more. I hauled it out and am reworking it - I think it may be nearly finished. I may rename it too - but "Joyland" will do for today.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New Abstract Paintings

Okay, so I am calling this Abstract 1 for now. It is OK I guess - I don't love it but I don't really hate it either. It is colorful, I like that about it. It has energy too I guess. This one measures 12" x 24" and it is my first attempt at a totally out of my head non-objective painting in class. As my friend said "it looks like spin art." LOL - I totally agree. I am not sure if I will keep it or scrape it off and see what comes of it. I was vaguely thinking "hearts unfold like flowers" when I painted this and I see the "flower" influence - but not successful in that regard otherwise.

This is Abstract 2 for now, measures 5" x 8" and I did this while waiting for another surface to dry - which it never did in time. This feels more comfortable and more like "me" - probably because it is figurative, and I rather like this one - it's a keeper anyway. However - for supposedly focusing on 'Joyful-Joyful"- this ain't joyful at all! Once again - not successful in that regard. And there you have it - the results from my first class with Reed Cardwell. It was a good class -I was brave and stepped outside of my comfort zone with less than disastrous results -so it is all good. I think I will be switching to acrylics for this class - just easier to deal with for now. And I will prepare canvasses in advance so I am not wasting time in class waiting for something to dry. This is a journey and today was just my first couple of steps, it was more good than not.

I am eager to paint some more and try more new things - as Martha would say "that is a good thing." Smiles for now - tomorrow is another day --
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Monday, February 02, 2009

About that dream...

I got up this morning - reluctantly, as I usually do - shuffled to my Wii and did my yoga with my virtual trainer - who I am beginning to love. She tells me "your doing great" and "you have great posture" even though I have just completely fallen over and off of the balance board. I grabbed my morning bowl of cereal and sat down to my email and right off, first thing, found a link to collage artist and sculptor Margaret Conte. I love the whimsical nature of her work but the thing that hit me like a ballbat is her artist's statement - right there - staring me in the face:

“My sculpture is about making a word, a phrase,a part of a song, or my thoughts into something tangible using discarded pieces of wood as well as designed elements. “
Margaret Conte

Why the big deal you ask? Read on...

Those of you who follow my blog and writings already know that I had an unusual dream on Jan 6th, (which is by the way my husbands birthday). It came complete with "smell-a-vision" sort of (if you are new to the blog just scroll back to Jan 6th if you want to know). Yesterday morning (Sunday) we went to church for the first time in months and months and months. We really have never connected to any churches here since we moved here from Dallas area - where there was a multitude of churches we loved - not so much here in San Diego. The kind of churches we attend seldom, if ever, sing classic hymns. They are much more contemporary, but we walked in and they were singing "Joyful-Joyful We Adore Thee" - one of the maybe 3 classic hymns I know - it was a contemporary version - but it was the Hymn nonetheless. They project the words to the songs up on screens to make it easier to sing along. I immediately went on high alert, got goosebumps, and instead of seeing lyrics I saw painting titles on the screen, almost as if the titles were in bold letters, but I know they weren’t. It was that clear and strong though. I went home, Googled the lyrics and there they were - 45 titles for the paintings in this series. So - this week I will wrap up all the loose ends I can and buckle down on creating the 40-45 paintings in what I am calling the "Joyful-Joyful" project. This is a DAUNTING task - how in the world can I ever put such abstract thoughts and phrases into something visual that evokes an emotion in the viewer? and in me? I mean really - I sit a person, a pear, maybe a photograph. or on a risky day a flower, down in front of me and paint it. Can I do this? How? I have no idea right now ... but I can't really remember feeling so confident and excited and CLEAR about something - at least not for a very long time. Now read back to Margaret Contes quote - get the connection? Encouragement! Confirmation. Bright and early - first thing in the morning. Coincidence? I don't think so...

And now for your viewing pleasure - Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee as interpreted by Hollywood in the movie Sister Act 2

(or go here to see it

By the way - having the title to these paintings before they are even painted is like having the hardest, worse part over with already - in a way - I am the WORST - absolutely the lamest - at titling my paintings! It is the hardest thing ever - that's why I number them so often.

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