Saturday, January 30, 2010

Great minds... I can only hope

Waxwing Poetic
Vera Curnow
Vera Curnow

With this being the 20th anniversary of the CPSA, I was thinking back to the beginning of the group and Vera Curnow came to mind. My first contact with Vera was 20 years ago when she wrote an article to the Artist's Magazine wondering if there were any other colored pencil artists out there. I was down here in Florida doing my thing... coloring away. I was thrilled to see that there were other people as in love with the medium as I was so I wrote to her, along with the others who were saying "hi - we're out here". She founded the organization and I've been a member ever since.

Vera has been an inspiration to me on so many levels - her work, her drive and energy, her creativity, her teaching ability and her willingness to take chances. She's the one who taught me to paint with colored pencils using mineral spirits - this was revolutionary for me! It changed how I worked and opened up a whole new way for me to play. Working with a brush again brought me to working with watercolor and colored pencil which led to doing colored pencil on canvas which led to doing..... acrylic on canvas - acrylic without colored pencil, hmmm...

A few years ago Kelli and I had the opportunity to go to Vera's gallery in Indiana and teach a workshop. It was great fun to see what Vera was up to. Not only was she doing colored pencil, she was also doing acrylic. She has the same love of texture that I do and I was thrilled to see that we were going down the same road. I had an argument once with a woman online. She was telling me that you can't change your style or subject matter in your work - that would mean you were unfocused and immature. What a bunch of BS. Of course you can. If you feel the need, then by all means go for it. I still work in colored pencil, I just expanded my horizons to include other things. Vera works in a variety of media, is she unfocused and immature? I don't think so!!! Just take a look at her work above. If you want to see more of what she does visit her at If you want to see what she created when she started the CPSA go to

Thanks Vera for being an inspiration to so many,

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wish I Could Remember

Hi All,

I want my cats life. All he really does is eat and sleep, two of my favorite things. Doesn't he look sweet in this pose? Don't let that fool you. His full name is King Tut and he really thinks he is a king.

I would love to have his ability to fall asleep on hot cement or lumpy mulch any time and for hours at a time.

And if I can't have his life or his talent for sleeping, I just wish I could remember how I set the camera to get the ethereal effect in these photos. I love the way they turned out, but do you think I could do it again. Uh-uh. My best things are accidents. Now, how to paint this............any suggestions?
Peace and love and cuddly kitties to you,

You just never know

You just never know what you're going to paint on. Before it was life size horses for the Horse Fever project. Then it was a giant aluminum butterfly for Kaleidoscope. Now it's a hubcap? Artists work on all sorts of canvases, this is just another one. This is for a new art project "Landfillart is an international effort encompassing one-thousand-forty-one (1,041) artists to claim a piece of rusted metal garbage and create fine art." See what they're all about and see some of the completed hubcaps - cool! I got my hubcap in the mail yesterday so next step is to prep and prime. I'll keep you posted on the progress.

And here we have a painting on paper! Back to a little more traditional art form. This is another oil pastel landscape that I just listed on Etsy. It's a scene from northern California, the Trinity River near my Uncle's house. I love it up there, what beautiful country! I've lost count on how many times I've painted this same scene and the piece looks a little different each time. Sometimes there's a place that just speaks to you. This is one of those places for me. Each time I paint it I go back there and visit for a little while.
Have a wonderful Friday

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It was a pleasure - kind of

Well, this morning was my last radiation treatment. What a great feeling to now have that in the past. In a previous post I showed you these beautiful bird of paradise from the lobby of North Florida Radiation Oncology so I thought I'd put up a couple more. I'm bringing up the cancer center again because I want to share with you just how wonderful these people are. I can't remember ever being in a medical facility that made me feel so cared for. I want to say a very special thank you to Laurel who took good care of me and kept me company while waiting for treatment. Laughing is always a good thing. Dr. Hayes and Jen Stover, her PA were absolutely outstanding! I just can't say enough good things about them. It's so difficult to go through this kind of diagnosis, surgery and treatment so it means the world to a patient when the doctors and staff can make you feel so calm and comfortable. To go from terrified on the first day to hanging out at the Bella Cafe in the lobby (great coffee by the way, roasted on site) says a lot about a facility. If you or a loved one has to go to NFRO you'll be in good hands.
Tomorrow I'll talk about art stuff,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Painting Update

Happy Tuesday everyone. I thought I'd give you an update. This is where I am right now on the acrylic painting. Did you think those geometric shapes were just going to be white? I might leave some of them white but the reason I'm doing the white layer first and then painting color on top is to brighten the color a bit. I'm using Interactive acrylic here which I love for the liftability (is that a word?) but they don't have the covering power that I'd like sometimes. The white helps to block out the base color and let the bright colors shine. More to come later, hope you all have a fabulous day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What a weekend!

Wow, it's early. What am I doing here? My "amazing hubby" - that's his name from now on - had to go on a trip this morning so I got up to see him off. I couldn't go back to sleep so here I am. My brain is trippin' from all the projects I'm working on at once. That's not a bad thing, not at all. It's exciting to me. My problem is I want to work on them all at once, so yesterday, I did my darndest to do just that. Up top you see the start of a new acrylic piece in the earth series (coming to a gallery near you - if you live in Ocala or possibly Jacksonville).

This is a little 5x7 oil pastel with colored pencil. I'm starting a series of these mini landscapes for Etsy so look for those soon.

Some of you remember this one - Prairie Light - from the book. It was project 6. It's now listed on Etsy.
Yesterday was one of those days - I was having such a good time in the studio, the energy stayed up all day and I got a lot done, not only painting but computer work and even a little organizing. Amazing Hubby will be gone all day so guess where I'm headed? What a weekend!
hope you're having fun,

Friday, January 22, 2010

The skin just got a little bit thicker

Well, I realized tonight that I've made it. I made it as a professional artist. No, it has nothing to do with income, my career in general, whether or not all my income comes from sales of my work, who buys my work or how many galleries represent me. It has to do with the thickness of my skin. Tonight my hubby told me that one of my texture pieces reminds him of a macaroni project - you know, the kind kids do in school. He hates it - literally! Oh well. The fact that I can say "oh well" is big. I don't know about other couples out there but for me it's a little different being married to another artist. It's fabulous to share this common interest. I love being able to go to art shows with him. We love finding art supply stores, museums and anything art related where ever we go. He's my biggest champion - always pushing me, cheering me on and supporting whatever I want to do. In a word, he's amazing! But..... once in a while, when you're married to an artist you have to be ready to hear it - the criticism. A few years ago I would've had a hard time with that. Tonight, it didn't bother me at all! It was really ok. I've also gotten a lot of positive feedback recently so that helps to balance things out.

So, today's advice....when you hear something positive about your work - relish in it. Pull it out and revisit it so it can help you through the rejections that are bound to come. After a while the skin thickens up and you can take it. Get comfortable with what you do and who you are. Then when you hear criticism you can take what's useful and leave the rest behind.

No, I'm not tossing the "macaroni" project. Can you guess which one it is? I posted it on here not too long ago. When I get it done I'll post it again. You can tell me if it needs something else - some beans maybe?

have a good weekend,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Untitled - so far

Remember the Mosaic pieces I showed you a few posts ago? The 2 above are mini versions. These are acrylic on 8x8 canvases. Like the others they are reminiscent of satellite images of earth. Many of my paintings are based on earth images but these last few are including the geometric shapes representing the human element. That's how I see them anyway.
Sometimes I think it's a good idea to just let the paintings be - no explanations, references or titles to lead you into thinking one way or another about the work. If I hadn't said anything about the earth in these pieces, what would you think they are? Would you think they represented something or would you think they were just a non-objective design? Since I did say what they were can you get that out of your head now and put your own idea into it? I used to think calling something "untitled" was a cop out but now I'm not so sure. What's wrong with letting people make up their own minds about it?
Just thinking out loud..... it's a stormy night and the house is quiet - a good night for contemplating.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Textures R Us

You may be wondering what these photos are and why I am wasting time and valuable Internet space with them. Well, by way of introduction, let me say that I discovered something about myself last weekend. While at the Artist Within event on Saturday evening (refer to previous posts for more info), I found myself looking down at the floor in the lovely bathroom/locker room of the golf clubhouse. (We did not have Italian tile floors and carved wood lockers when I was in high school.) Knowing that I look down a lot at tile, the textures, the colors, the veins, the value nuances, I realized that if I were not an artist, I could sell tile. It would probably be more lucrative, too.
Anyway, I am finally admitting that, as an artist, I not only cannot get away from texture, but I am drawn to texture of all types in many different places. I have decided that I am just going to hand it over to my higher power and give in to the need for texture in most everything I do.
So about these photos. One of our students brought back some slate roof tiles from Canada all the way to Florida in her car. Did we not teach this woman well, what is important in life and car space???? Anyway, thanks to Lea, I have a lovely piece of slate to play with. I have no idea what I will do with it but I am looking forward to finding out, and I will definitely enjoy the process. I wanted you to see what it looks like before I start. I will update you as it proceeds, and suggestions are always welcome.
Oh yes, I know what you are thinking, roof tile!! What's next, painting on saws? Can Elvis on black velvet be far behind? Don't worry, not going to happen. Although velvet has a wonderful texture and I love the colors of rust on metal, hmmmmm.........
Peace and love,

Me x's 2

This is pretty much how I'm feeling today - kind of fuzzy around the edges - here, but not quite. The crud that's been going around seems to have caught up with me so I'm home resting, soon to be curled up with Johnny Depp and a cup of tea.

That photo is my double shadow on the floor of the Cancer Center in Gainesville. The way the light was coming in the huge windows created these interesting images. I took this the day I was shooting all the pictures of bird of paradise. I looked down and there I was - twice. I think I like the smaller version of me best.

Everyone stay well,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Just a reminder

I know I've been showing you a lot of acrylic painting lately. That's because mixed media and acrylic has been my focus for the last few years. Occasionally I do go back to my first love and that's colored pencil. These cups above are just a tiny portion of the pencil collection. The reason I bring this up is to remind you and me that the CPSA exhibition deadline is looming - March 31st. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of our organization, hard to believe I've been part of it for that long. For more info please visit

Now get to work...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Then and now

When I was a little girl my soft spoken but feisty Puerto Rican grandmother taught me the fine arts of needlework. She was a seamstress in a factory of the garment district of New York and she knew all of them. She taught me to crochet, knit, embroider, sew and even though it didn't stick with me - she knew tatting, lace making, and anything else you could do with a needle, thread, yarn and pieces of fabric. She even made cashmere coats with silk linings and fur collars for my Barbie dolls from scraps in the factory! How in the world she managed to make a set-in sleeve that small for my dolls is beyond me. As I was growing up I continued to sew - making my own clothes - but what really tugged at me was crocheting. I kept at it, I crocheted all sorts of things including outfits for my Barbies.

Fast forward to today..... I'm a painter. But, crochet, even after all these years, still calls to me. I miss it and I miss her. So the other day I'm sitting in my studio trying to think of a way to incorporate crochet into my work as a painter. I love texture. I've been using fiber in some of my collage and mixed media work for a while now so I thought why not add some free form crochet to my very organic feeling work. I started with some nubby yarn in a free form style, added some twine and then I'm looking at an acrylic on wood panel that just wasn't working the way it was so I played with it. Now what I have is what you see above. It's not done yet but I'm happy to be playing with the texture and incorporating pieces of my childhood through the crochet. It may not be what grandma had in mind but that's ok. I'm bringing a piece of my life with her into the life I live now.

Keep playing and never forget where you came from,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Am I done yet?

Mosaic 2
Acrylic on canvas
close up
So, am I done with this one yet? I think so. I did some more detail work on the geometric shapes. I also did a little sanding - removing the color from the paint ridges to expose the red color. Then I did some dry brushing with a very pale green - almost white - to enhance the texture overall. You can see that better in the close up. I'm definitely feeling better about this one. Now I have 6 small pieces started - 8x8's - using the same technique but they start with a blue background instead of the red. I'll post some of those soon.
This weekend is the Artist Within auction and dinner. Remember that gold landscape that I worked on with Julie? It'll be for sale tomorrow night at the auction. It's always a little nerve wracking to sit and watch something you worked on get bid on at auction. I'll take my camera and get a shot of it with Julie. We'll keep you posted.
Have a good weekend,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Be nice, it's not done yet

Today was studio day. Have you ever had a painting day where you just didn't know what to think about what you were doing? That was today. This is a piece in progress and I'm kind of happy and kind of not. Maybe it's just an ugly stage, I don't know. Maybe I'll love it tomorrow. I guess that would be better than the "what was I thinking" moment. The one where you go to bed thinking this new piece is "faaaabulous ~ look what I'm doing, it's awesome" only to wake up the next morning, take one look and realize it's crap. Has that ever happened to you? Taking some time to have that fresh perspective is a good thing, it helps you evaluate and edit your work. But.... how do we really know if it's crap or not? How do we really see what we're doing? Do we see the work the same way other people see it? Of course not. We're too close to it. How I see it will be determined by my feelings at the moment. So.... what does this mean? Tonight it's just something in progress that I'm feeling very wishy washy about. Tomorrow if I'm feeling good, energetic and confident I might have a strong feeling about how to finish the piece or I could wake up and attack it with a jar of gesso. Only time will tell.

sweet dreams,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Artist Within

Silver Silence
Hi All,
Here is the Artist Within Project that I did with my partner John Piccin. If you have been following our blog, you saw the one that Carlynne did with her partner Julie, the gold sky landscape. Both paintings will be auctioned this Saturday to benefit the Marion Cultural Alliance and other charities. Wish us luck for lots of money to benefit these groups and we hope to see you there!
Peace and love,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Staying warm in the studio

Well, I'm over the excitement of Florida snow. Now it just needs to warm up a little, I don't mean get hot again, just a little warmer. We're such wimps down here.
Ok, back to the studio...... I finished this one as you can see. I've used a slightly different palette than I've used recently. I was really into the blue/green and still am but on this one I was introducing the human element into the earth compositions so I wanted to add some unusual colors. This is all acrylic, even the texture. I used a palette knife to sculpt the paint into the river shape and lay down a base color of blue. After adding more layers of color I sanded the raised areas to bring back the blue color and then dry brushed the lights over the rest of the painting to enhance the texture over all and give the feeling of cloud cover.
Now I'm working on another one with the same techniques but with a base of red instead of blue. I'll post a pic of that one soon. There's also a piece in progress that involves crochet - don't know where that one's going yet, right now it just looks like a mess! Maybe I should post that one and get your input.
That's it for now, stay warm wherever you are,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just had to share....

I was so excited I had to take pictures! I've lived in Florida for over 37 years. I've seen snow flurries before but never did it stick. I was hoping to get up early enough to see it fall but that didn't happen, that's ok.... I still got to see it.

I love living down here but sometimes I do miss the change of seasons I remember in New Jersey when I was growing up. I have very fond memories of snow, sleigh riding, snowball fights and giant icicles hanging from the roof. I especially loved seeing the fresh blanket in the morning with little bird tracks imprinted across the yard. What I don't miss - the slushy, freezing, dirty, city snow, having to drive in it or shovel it. So now I'm enjoying this little dusting of cold and very happy to be here in the south.
stay warm and enjoy,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Were they trying to make us think it was paradise?

So, here we were in Gainesville at North Florida Radiation Oncology for my appointment and there were bird of paradise everywhere. It was a beautiful facility and there were huge potted plants all over - 9 of them.
My hubby had his phone and of course I had my new little camera with me so we were the weirdos in the lobby shooting pictures like crazy!

Isn't it wonderful when you have something scary you have to do and when it's done, it's not so scary after all? And then suddenly.... you find yourself surrounded by beauty. Take time to enjoy.
Love and peace,