Monday, January 28, 2008

New Orleans streetcar in the Garden District...

For those of you who are following this saga, I have heard from the owner of the other streetcar and he is pleased with the result. I was so glad to hear from him, you just sort of stop breathing and wonder, until you can hear the final verdict. We will just have to wait for it to finish drying and I will send it on to him.

I am embarking on my second streetcar commission now. These are two progress photos. The first one is the drawing and the beginning of the block-in of the sky.
The second one is living proof that I am a bad girl. I am (according to every good artist I know) supposed to block in and get some color on the whole canvas before I finish the detail work on anything in the painting. As you can see in this second photo I did not follow that rule on this one. As they say, rules are made to be broken and this one was. I love this painting and the way it is headed. It is one of those that is just falling onto the canvas. The great artists that I admire (in this style of work, not in other styles necessarily) are able to put two or three strokes on a canvas and represent an entire treetop. The idea is to put the paint on once and leave it. As Brian Simon says, "Let the paint be paint". I tend to fuss with it too much sometimes. This one is starting to get some of the bold strokes that I aspire to. And in talking with the owner, we agreed that the focus needs to be the streetcar, the trees next and then the houses sort of a hint of mood in the background. We want to see that we are going through the Garden District and are not down on Canal Street, but we don't want to see the doorknob on every house.

I am glad this one is going to someone that I like a lot and is nearby, because I may want to visit it. People ask me if I have a hard time letting go of my paintings and normally the answer is no because that is what I paint them go to other places. But every now and then, one of them makes me wish I had more walls.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Foyer Gallery...

Yesterday I finished my two tropical bird commissions. They are similar (yet different) to one I did in the fall that was purchased by a friend of mine. He hung it in his office at work and got two commissions for me.
I chose to post the photo of my "foyer gallery" because of Karin Jurick's comment on her blog today. She was talking about how she enjoyed looking at her work that she had gotten ready for her upcoming show. She said looking at it all framed and varnished gave her a feeling of pride and accomplishment. I had said the exact same thing to my family last night about how I loved it when the foyer was full of new work and I could go by there and see all that I had done. It brings a spark of life to our home that would not be there otherwise. Plus, I get to "visit with" each piece a little bit before I send it out into the world.
Do I have a fun job or what?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jackson MS Landmarks

This is a trio of 10 x 20" paintings that feature three landmark buldings in the Jackson downtown area. One evening I was downtown and was lucky enough to catch a beautiful light on these icons. I have done one large painting of a scene in which you can see all three in one shot (really cool vantage point) Somehow I let it get away without photoing it! It sold very quickly after reaching the gallery and I had always intended on doing more of this subject matter, but you know how it goes. Better late than never, huh?

On another note to my artist cleaning out my studio I came across a funny little comic strip that I have adapted from its original form(pertaining to a freelance project) and applied it to the struggling artist. This is not for widespread publication, because I'm sure there are copyright issues with the producers of the "Cathy" comic strip...

Pricing my Painting

Do I charge for how long it really took long it should have taken me...or how long I think someone else will think it should have taken me???

Do I charge for the five hours I sat there staring at the canvas in an unproductive stupor...or charge for the hour it took to actually get most of it on there?

Do I charge for the three versions I wiped off or the one that actually remains?

Do I count the tweaking time?

The staring at it wondering what needs tweaking time?

Do I add in the thinking about it when I should have been sleeping time?

What about the two hours I spent admiring the finished product during which time I made six crucial changes that took one second each to implement?

Do I charge just for the cost of the canvas and paint... or the time it took to comparison shop, order, uncrate, stack, organize, and prime it?

Oh, let's don't forget about the time it took to obtain the photo that I painted it from as I stood on the street corner waiting for the lighting to be right and then when it finally was glowing in the late afternoon sun four cars parked in front of it.

You know...There's a reason artists are starving.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Geraniums on the steps...

I finished this one yesterday, but did not photo it until morning. It's the same thing that happened to me the time I was finished painting it was too gloomy and overcast to take the picture. This one is 24x30. I used some principles from Carol Marine's workshop in trying to establish a center of interest. I loved this shot, but the interest in the photo was divided equally between all the flowers on the steps. So I used several tricks to try to get your eye to move through the painting and return to the pink geraniums. One, they are more detailed than the others; and two, they are the only pink ones. I'm not sure if my tricks were successful or not, I have to live with it a while and keep looking at it when my brain is not expecting it.

Cool stuff to see tomorro!...I painted my three landmarks! I used a pallette knife almost totally and I really like them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday and the weekend...

I did not hear from my client with the okay to start on my next streetcar commission...How funny to have two streetcars at the same time! So I decided to be naughty (I actually have two smaller paintings of parrots that I should probably start on) and just work on something that I wanted to do, not needed to do. So I did three small (10x20 is pretty small for me) sketches for a set that I have been wanting to do. It is of three landmark buildings here in Jackson. I did a larger paiting that had all three in it and it sold almost immediately, so I have been wanting to do something similar yet different ever since then. So I got the drawings on canvas ready to start on and then I did a block-in of a scene from my trip to Santa Fe in September. A block-in, by my definition, is where you put your basic background colors on the canvas in the spots where they go and pretty much get the canvas filled up with something, even if it is not going to stay that way in the final version. In this block-in I have left out only the spots where some of the flowers are going to be. (why I am not quite sure) So those are the blue holes you see. I have added some of the more detailed stuff, also...stuff that would not normally be in a basic block-in. I am still trying to find my way back to the painting style that I want to end up with. When I take a long break such as I have recently done, it takes a while to get back to where you want to be. In my case, I want to paint loose, colorful dramatic paintings where you are moved by the breathtaking play of lights and shadows. Not too much to ask is it?

On another note, this is what we woke up to on Saturday morning...(Not your typical Mississippi morning let me tell you!) I just wanted to share this since it is SO unusual. We have lived in our house for 17 1/2 years and I can count on one hand the times it has snowed enough to get any coverage at all. This was really beautiful, even though it was not but a dusting and did not cover everything. The woods were beautiful and it was still snowing pretty hard. Of course, it was all gone before lunchtime.

And finally another shot that is too cute not to share. These are my three assistants...

When we did the remodel we put a new little bench thing in front of our dining room window, which is right by the computer armoire. The intent was to make it wide enough that they would all three be able to lay there together. It has only been in the last two days that they have decided they can all three fit.
I'm off to paint!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Orleans streetcar painting nearing completion...

It is a struggle when you get back into painting after being away for a while. And to have the pressure of making someone else happy makes it that much more intense. I went through phases with this one of thinking I was going to "chuck it" (get it, CS?) and just start over and thinking there were parts that I liked too much to do that. On this next photo (poorly lit and shiny) you can barely see the changes probably, though I did labor over them. I finally got so outdone that I actually started another painting and put this one aside.

I got up this morning and actually finished this painting first before I returned to my "streetcar named perspire" I am just a ball of laughs today! Anyway, I enjoyed doing this one and started to feel like I was not painting with my feet as I did yesterday. The title of this one is "Bar Code" It is 18x36 and will list in the gallery for $675

I finally got back to the streetcar and felt much more in control. I went back to the advice of a friend and talented artist, Julie McCartney, who says to stand back and look at your painting and work on the thing that needs work the most. Then after working that area stand back and see where you need to go next. It is a valuable lesson to remember epecially if you are like me and tend to want to work one section to perfection before moving on. So I started with the windows on the front and was able to put 2 of my "people" in there as silhouettes. I have a feeling that is not what the owner intended, but it seemed to me that when I tried to find a place to insert all three folks it just was too distracting.

This now looks like a painting of a streetcar with the correct amount of emphasis (or lack of emphasis) on other things. The person getting off of the streetcar is the important one in this saga anyway and the white dress she is wearing is one that she wore when she went out to dinner with friends a while back, so it is "historically correct". I am hoping that feature will make up for the "shadiness" of the other two cohorts. Below is a detail of this portion of the painting.

Seeing as how this is a very loose rendition of this person in keeping with the looseness of the painting I was very pleased with the likeness and recognizability of her. In person it is better than this photo, of course. And to answer the question why is she getting off the streetcar and leaving her friends? Well, she is meeting another friend for dinner and they will all meet up later for a trip to Pat O's.

I will just wait now for the owner to give his ok and then I will sign it. I wait till I am totally through with a painting before I sign it. When I do sign it it is great fun! A real feeling of accomplishement.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Orleans Street Car Painting in Progress...

This painting is a 20 x24 commission of a New Orleans streetcar. By request of the owner I am posting my progress as I go along. This is sort of nerve-racking for me. I normally don't have people viewing my work until it is "presentable". Also, I have worked on it both yesterday and today and I pretty much got wrapped up and forgot to take too many intermediate photos. But I do still have a lot of work to do on it, so this is still a work in progress.

First the drawing...

This is from a photograph I took while visiting New Orleans one of the many times I have been since the hurricane. For those of you who have not been yet, or are hesitant to go I can tell you two things; one, you can go and have a great time in the French Quarter and Garden District, at Mardi Gras, eat great food, etc. and almost not even know there was a Hurricane, and two, you will find some very grateful and gracious people. They are very appreciative of those who take the time and money to come down, and the economy can sure use your help. Ok, back to the art at hand...

This is the initial block-in with some of the detail already done. The photo is not well done...the dark part under the street car is reflecting really badly. There is still a lot of work to do today. I plan to cover up most of the pink background showing through at the bottom...but not all of it. I also need to make the tracks make more sense. I am also doing something I never like to do and that is fooling around with my light source. In the original photo the day is very overcast and the light that is there is coming from the right side of the painting. As you can see, I am trying to make it a more cheerful day, based on another photo I have in which the light source is from the front of the streetcar. Plus, the owner wants people in it...not just people, but specific people....sorry CS...this is another one of my not so favorite things to do. But that is another issue for me to struggle with as the day progresses. As you can see I need to get to work! Bye for now!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Time to catch up...

Hi to all whom I have neglected since my remodeling/holiday/birthday extravaganza began! It is wonderful to feel slightly back in control of my life again. I sent out a very large email detailing the events of the past 3 or 4 months to friends and family that I thought might be in some small way interested. If you did not get one and want one, let me know. Not a problem. (although one got sent back as suspected spam)
I guess I will begin with a photo of my booth at the art show in Fairhope back last October. That is when the whole remodel thing really swung into action...
I did well at the show, though they are a lot of work and totally wear you out!

Now here are some shots of my old kitchen...
They were beginning to remove the old kitchen when we left for the art show and when we returned we had bare walls and they were beginning to place the new cabinets in there...
They did a fantastic job and we love it all. The backsplash was done entirely by me and I will have to say running a wet saw was one of the scariest things I have done in a while. Between the designing, sawing, attaching, grouting and cleaning...this backsplach just about killed me! But it turned out well and surprised some folks, my husband included.

Now for some photos of our beautiful floors and those newly painted rooms that took forever to complete. (Sorry you are having to do the tilt-y head thing to see these. I forgot to fix them before I imported them!)------

This is our "watermelon" colored dining room and bamboo floors...Our purple foyer gallery(it looks blue due to sunlight, but it is really the color of the hallway below) This is our foyer by the front door. It is my ever-changing gallery where I hang my paintings to dry when I finish them or keep them while they are waiting to go to a "real" gallery...Our purple family photo gallery in the hallway by the kids bedrooms (this is the real color of the foyer, too...This is our living room where we spend most of our time. This is the regular set-up on the shelves for most of the year...

This is when I have them decorated for the holidays with my 230 santas...
I plan to resume painting tomorrow and will do my best to keep my blog updated. As I am finding with the blogs of friends of mine, it is a great way to keep updated on what is going on with someone. All I can say is that it is great to be back and thanks to those who checked on me in my online absence.