Saturday, March 31

I think we're ready...well the house is anyway

I haven't been in the studio much this week. Since it was spring break this week, some of my students were out of town. My mom has been out of school this week also, so she helped me get the house all ready for baby. Everything has been rearranged, baby stuff put away, etc. We went shopping yesterday to get the last of the essentials. So, I guess that means that we can bring our little boy home now. If only I felt more ready!

Next week it will be back to painting and lessons as usual. Hopefully I will be really productive and get lots of paintings started!

Wednesday, March 28

throwdown!

Andrew and I have a new favorite tv show. It is Throwdown with Bobby Flay. For those of you who don't know, Bobby Flay is a grill master/chef on the Food Network. We talk about Bobby all the time--especially when Andrew trys a new grill recipe. This show is so fun because Bobby hunts down people who make a specialty dish and are considered to be the "best", and then he challenges them to a "throwdown" (contest). Last night was a very good episode because it was all about macaroni and cheese. Yum!! I am so excited because I found both the recipes on the Food Network site. I would love to try them at home!

Andrew has dreams of creating a signature cheeseburger, and then Bobby could challenge him. I am encouraging this dream because Andrew wants to experiment and cook burgers on the grill all the time--and they are GOOD!! (It is working out good for me so far!)

Monday, March 26

nesting


I feel like the nesting instinct has taken over! I want to clean out everything. It is a strange feeling for me, because I am not the neateast person in the world. I have lots of ambition to be more organized and keep a neater house, but I struggle with it. I know something different is going on because on Saturday I cleaned the cleaning supplies. Andrew didn't quite know what to do.

On the subject of nesting, I made a little painting with a nest in it the other day. It was a fun little painting to do. It is getting very hard to concentrate on my artwork lately...my thoughts keep drifting to my baby and what else I need to clean at home!

Wednesday, March 21

lilly


Here is one of the botanical paintings I promised. Mostly watercolor with a little bit of acrylic. I also did some sewing around the circle.

I have another painting similar to this one that has morning glories in it. I don't have a picture of it yet because it is in a dangerously ugly stage right now. My paintings tend to go through little phases: they start out great and I feel really good about them. Then they enter an "ugly" phase. When they reach this point many things can happen:
a. they stay ugly and are stuffed in a drawer, pile of papers, etc. never to be seen again. (until I clean and find them and then they are recycled or painted over.)
b. I hide them in my sketchbook
c. I chop them up and make bookmarks out of them
d. I mess with them until they get even more ugly
e. I mess with them until they get better

Some of my college professors always used to say to push a piece of artwork to the edge and then bring it back. I never really understood what that meant. Now I think I do. You have to push yourself and your art until it gets really ugly, then try to rescue it. If you don't push it to the ugly stage you might never get to the point where you get better or try new things.

I am not sure how I am doing with this concept. I do have quite a few bookmarks if anyone wants one...

Tuesday, March 20

the allure of peeling paint


Besides being drawn towards simple subjects in photos (like the patio chair), I have found that I am consistently drawn towards textures--especially peeling paint. I am trying to figure out why I like it so much...

I took this picture a while ago at home. It is the floor of our back porch--which has since been repainted. I have found that I am always drawn towards things that have peeling paint on them. Isn't that funny? Andrew and I are at odds about the peeling paint subject quite often. We will go to estate sales and both see a piece of furniture that we like. I usually love the furniture as is, peeling paint and all, and Andrew would love to see it brought back to it's original state: fully refinished and stained. So far if you look at all the furniture in our house he is winning. Maybe someday I can have a peeling paint piece of furniture all my own...

it will probably have to live here at the studio!

On another note, I have been working on a couple small botanical type watercolors for the past couple days. Hopefully I will have some pictures of those tomorrow.

Monday, March 19

photo for painting?



It's funny how certain images grab our attention. Sometimes very simple subjects make the most interesting compositions. I took this photo of a patio chair when I was helping Andrew take some pictures of a house that was coming up for auction. This cute little patio set was sitting on the porch, and for some reason I really liked it, so I took a picture of it. I am thinking about maybe using it for a painting. I've been doing more abstract stuff lately, but I feel like this one might be fun to paint without too many alterations.

There is a photo blog that I really enjoy looking at everyday that has very simple pictures of everyday things. I think the photos are really beautiful. If you get a chance check it out.

Wednesday, March 14

little things

I have mentioned before that it doesn't take very much to make me happy. It is all in the little things as far as I'm concerned. For example: last night Andrew cooked steaks outside on the grill. (I love warm days because Andrew is all about grilling!) He knows how I like my steak--extra done. Well, he brought in the steaks and mine was a little more red than I liked, so he went back out to the grill (after we had started eating) and got it extra done. (Or in Andrew's words: "he killed twice") It was a very small gesture, but it really made me feel very happy. It is these little things that Andrew does that really mean something to me.

I find that if I focus on little things that bring me joy then I tend to be more grateful and happy in general. Sometimes I think it is fun to make lists of these things. They can be things that Andrew does, simple things that I like, etc.

"Little things" that make me happy:

*full tanks of gas
*finding a dollar in your pocket
*people saying "thank you"
*boxes from the ups or fed-ex guy
*new magazines in the mail box
*iced tea
*towels fresh from the dryer

I could go on and on. What "little things" make you happy?

Tuesday, March 13

must be spring


What a beautiful day! I've had my studio door open--listening to birds sing outside while I paint. I feel so much more inspired and creative when it is nice outside! When I went on a little walk downtown to get some lunch, I noticed that the General Store had a couple flats of flowers out. That made it really feel like spring.

I have heard rumors that this beautiful warm (77 degrees!) weather won't be around long. By this weekend I think it will be down in the 30's again. Better enjoy it while it lasts!

Monday, March 12

baby quilt


Here is a (close-up) picture of the quilt I finished for my baby. I was very proud of myself with this one because my mom only helped me a little bit...plus I quilted the whole thing by hand. There was something very calming about making this blanket. I loved sitting and working on it a little bit at a time. I think doing projects like this force you to just sit still and concentrate on one little thing at a time. This is very good for me because I find that usually I am usually thinking about 10 things at once...

Saturday, March 10

art show


On Thursday Andrew and I went to an art opening at the Arts Depot in Union City. (This is the same place where my show will be in October.) Every year they have a juried show for local artists living in the area. Andrew was very into the opening--he even wore a turtleneck sweater so he looked extra "artsy". (He also wanted to walk around with his glasses down on his nose to add to the look but I thought that was pushing it.)

I was excited because I won a professional merit award for one of my pieces called "Three Flowers". (See above). Even though I was happy about this I was even more excited when my student Jeff won 1st place for his watercolor. I was so proud!


Thursday, March 8

lean a little more to the left...


Currently my little studio is undergoing some renovations. We are re-doing the bathroom to make room for me to put a little pak-n-play thing in there for baby. (That way I will be able to bring him to the studio with me!) I am very excited about all of this--except for it has turned into a much bigger project than we had anticipated. (I think most renovations tend to go that way.)

Above is a very old picture of the house where my studio is located. (It is kind of hard to see--you have to look past the gentlemen and their car.) The date on the back of the picture is 1910, but I think that the house was built long before that. So, this place is very charming and also very crooked. Once we started working in the bathroom we uncovered all kinds of bad things. (Water soaked walls, sinking foundation, rotted baseboards...etc.) Pretty much this house is like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It just keeps settling and cracking and leaning.

Even with all of these "charms" I really love it here, and am excited about the idea of restoring an old house. I worry about it holding up--but the Tower of Pisa is still standing, right?

Wednesday, March 7

new paper

I get so excited when I get stuff delivered to the house. There is just something about ordering things online or in a catalog and then a couple days later having it show up at your door that is really fun. (I am a simple person, and it really doesn't take much to make me happy.)

Anyway, so I was home today when the FedEx truck pulled up. I was so excited because I knew that my art supply order had come in from Dick Blick. I ordered some new watercolor paper from there that is actually made in Indiana at a place called Twinrocker. For any other artists out there, I am very excited about this paper. (Once again, I am easily excited and very happy about small things like paper.) It is nice and thick and has a beautiful feathered edge. I just ordered some small pieces to see what they were like, but in the future I may have to order some big paper made by this company too.

The only problem with this new paper is that it is too pretty and I am nervous about painting on it and messing it up. Maybe I could just frame it as is (beautiful white) and say I am making a statement about something. I'm not sure I could pull that off. Better just be brave and put some paint on it.

Tuesday, March 6

sketchbook


I have recently started working in a sketchbook regularly. I remember being in high school and in college and having sketchbook assignments and I HATED them. I always waited until the last minute to do them, and so they were never that good. Plus, I didn't realize then that the whole point to keeping a sketchbook was to develop ideas and help you grow as an artist. Go figure: my teachers and professors had a really good idea!

A lot of times I cut stuff out of magazines and glue in my sketchbook. These two pages in particular are colors that I felt drawn to. (I was in a color rut, and this was a good way to find other schemes that might work.) I then tried to match the colors by painting along side them.

Other times I write things and do little sketches (mostly ideas for paintings). These types of pages are very much like a journal. I never would have thought back when I was in college that I would take to this sketchbook thing like I have. Funny how that works!

Monday, March 5

dog portraits



I wanted to share a couple photos of my dogs: Harley and Black Dog. This is one of my many projects that I have running right now. I want to do a collection of high contrast "portraits" for my house--some of the dogs, some of things around home, maybe some of Andrew and I. (Of course some of baby when he arrives!)

Like I said, I have so many projects going (paintings for my show, this portrait series, sewing stuff for baby...) and the sad thing is I keep thinking of other things I want to do! I think this may just be part of my nature--I have trouble focusing on the task at hand and I keep on thinking of other things to try. I keep telling myself that I cannot start a new idea until I get some of these other things done. Very hard to do!

Thursday, March 1

rain



Looking out the bedroom window this morning to this type of scene makes you want to stay in your pajamas all day and eat soup. It does me anyway!

No staying in today, though. I am disapointed with my own lack of creativity yesterday, so I needed to come in and get back to painting. (Plus I have people coming in for art lessons, so I think they would be mad if I wasn't here!) I had the entire day yesterday wide open. Nothing that needed my attention except for those two large paintings I had previously started. Well, I spun my wheels a lot, and didn't get much accomplished. (Unless you count wandering aimlessly between my computer and paiting table eating Girl Scout cookies.)

Here's to another day...hopefully more productive than yesterday!