Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yesterday I made this warbler:
The scene is based on a photo I took on Monday--that perfect blue-sky day.  I arrived a little bit early at the home of my private student, so I spent a few minutes sitting in my car, daydreaming and snapping photos.  I must have looked an awful lot like I was casing the neighborhood because the workman loading equipment onto the roof of this van was eyeing me very suspiciously.  I'm really happy with this piece--I feel like I've taken this series to a new place.  

I also like the way these two paintings function together.  I worked a little more on the cedar waxwing (on the right), and I really like how he came out.  Disarmingly sinister.

In another bit of excitement,  I have a new studio neighbor whose work is inspiring me:Cat Bennett moved into our hall a few weeks ago, and I am smitten with her work!  The series above (in progress), entitled, You Are Not Alone, has been occupying my thoughts.  Especially this one:I love it so much that it hurts a little bit.  I might actually have to buy it, economic crisis be damned!  Ack!  I love it!  

These weird roses have been kicking around my life for the past five years.  They are painted from life in gouache on paper, coated in beeswax, and cut out of their original context.  I didn't have a purpose for them at the time, but I liked them and didn't want to throw them away.  They are also a reminder of the two years I spent after grad. school, working full time as a nanny and hardly making any art at all.  These roses were one of the projects I started but never resolved during that time.  I like thinking about how far I've come since those days.  It gives me warm fuzzies.  Anyway, today I was messing around with the loose bits in my studio (in a HIGHLY caffeinated state, by the way), and I decided to make a new collage.  Here it is so far:In person the beeswax has a much stronger presence. 

By the way, I LOVE beeswax.  I keep a block of it in my studio, and unwrap it about once a week.  I smell it, pick at it with a fingernail, wrap it back up and put it away.  Because I have never been able to find an authentic use for it in my paintings.  Until now.  I think.  We'll see.

I christened my new crock pot last night/this morning!  It was a bridal shower gift, along with the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good.  I feel a little sheepish because I used it before I finished my thank you letter to the generous giver (thank you, Kathleen!).  But Charley loved this Cranberry Pork Roast (page 133) so much, that he specifically requested it's inclusion in tonight's post.  The man washes ALL of our dishes, how could I refuse him?
It was really, really, really good.  And so easy--It cooked itself while we slept!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm feeling a bit euphoric this week

Yesterday was the most perfect day.  At breakfast the sun came through the windows and made my pumpkin spice coffee taste extra delicious:
And then I was crazy productive all day, running errands and teaching classes, checking things off my to-do list left and right.  It was such a nice, warm, blue-sky day that I even ate my lunch outside.  And while I tried very hard to feel bad about this evidence of global warming, it felt really, really nice.  Better than a massage.  There were tiny bugs flying around, and those little helicopter seeds twirling out of the trees, all glittering in the afternoon light.  It was so lovely that it was almost stylized--like a scene from Pushing Daisies (must watch!).

And you won't believe what I found at Whole Foods:

That's right!  My very own pitcher plants.  

AND....Charley came home from visiting his parents in Montana.  Interesting how my euphoria coincided with his return....

Was I moping?!  

Ew, I apologize!

Anyway, today I made this Cedar Waxwing as part of my Bird Menace Series:
I thought he was finished when I left the studio, but now I think he needs just a bit more work.  He's looking a bit wooden.

While I was busy moping (I'm putting "get a life" on my to do list right away), I forgot to post this finished version of my Bird Menace blue jay:

Sometimes, having to park all the way up on the roof of the parking garage has its advantages.  Like today:
Today was fairly perfect too, now that I think of it.  

Friday, October 24, 2008


I'm feeling stuck--suffering from a bout of artistic constipation.  Or maybe that's not entirely accurate.  Because I've been working steadily (if not very diligently) on this piece:  

And I really like how it's coming along.  But there's a human presence missing in the narrative, and I can't decide what form it should take.  Hmmmm.  Methinks it's time for a photo session.  
I'm also going to go hunt for some bits of nature tomorrow--look for a little bit of magic out in the world.  And maybe hit the library for some folk tales.  But tonight I'm going to kick back with some thank you notes and a DVD!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tweet. TWEET.

I love this bird:
He lives in the right bottom corner of this painting:

I also started to get back into my Bird Menace Series today with this jumbo blue jay:
I'll finish him tomorrow.

I'm also thinking about what to do with these antique boxes.  I started painting on that open blue one about 5 years ago.  Since then they've just been kicking around in moving boxes.  But lately they've been occupying some space in my thoughts, and consequently earned some space in my studio.  I think it would be interesting to make some 3-D objects, but I'm a bit nervous about it.  I am awful when it comes to sculpture, or anything else that requires some sense of 3-dimensional space.  My sense of direction, for example, is truly an abomination.  So I'm going to ease into these boxes by painting on them, on their nice, comfy 2-D surfaces.

I also tidied my studio a bit today, which is a sign that I am ready to get my nose back to the grind stone big time.  I'm really excited about these current projects, and I'm chomping at the bit to get back into the studio tomorrow.  Huzzah!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I've been making more pitcher plants twisting down from the branches in this new painting.  And a little sparrow hanging out on a branch:

Here's how they look in context (so far!).  I like how they're all tropical and jungly--a totally different aesthetic for me.  Tomorrow I'll add some more, so that they're hanging down across the top of the entire painting.   By the way, this is a ghastly photo when uploaded to blogger.  The one at the top is more accurate, with the bright blues and purples.

I just want to take this opportunity to say, for the record, that sometimes blogger drives me nuts.  Here are my gripes: 
1) Sometimes, when I'm typing, blogger decides (at random times) that my prose should be in blue underlined text, like a hyperlink.  No blogger, no.  I will tell you when I want to create a hyperlink.
2) Sometimes, after I post, readers can click on my photos to see them enlarged.  Other times, nothing happens when photos are clicked.  Why, blogger, why?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Refining Things

Yesterday I spent the day refining some of the plant life in my new piece:
I thought that the hanging pitcher plants below were finished, but when I peeked at them again after teaching my afternoon class, I decided that they need more work.  I want to build the gouache up more to give them an extra shiny, velvety texture.
I do like the tangle of tree branches though.  Branches have always kind of intimidated me for some reason.  But I think that painting a bazillion birdcages in linear perspective has primed me for any challenge.