Monday, March 28, 2011

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
Joan Miro

I'm still on the spring flowers set. I realized today that I've just finished 12 in the last month.(!) I have really concentrated on darks and lights as I've been painting, a few times thinking that I just need to do the whole background in dark dark red/blue/brown and then work lighter. But I suppose that's part of what the underpainting is about. I've been on a zinnia kick, in part because I plan to plant so many this summer, and I usually don't have as much success as I'd like, so I'm thinking about them a lot. But I'm determined. Zinnias are amazing flowers--their pretty faces come in sooooo many colors and the complexity of their construction--especially the middle part, is crazy beautiful.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spiritual Journey: Part 1

"The more trouble I have the stronger I seem to grow."
--Paul Gauguin

Last year, as a member of the "management" of my church, I was asked to give my "Spiritual Journey" during coffee hour, between the two church services. Isn't speaking in public one of the most stressful things you can do? (Along with divorce, losing a child, chronic illness, losing a parent, losing a job--check, check, check, check, and check. More on this to come.) I was encouraged to use my artwork with my story, which I knew would make things a little easier as the focus would be off me somewhat, but how could I tell my highly personal life story in front of 30 or 40 people???? Luckily I had six months or so to prepare. I let the idea settle for awhile, and ferment, and I knew something would come together as the date approached.

It was definitely a stressful event, BUT I have to admit that preparing for it was really interesting and cathartic. I had viewed the several grief events in my life separately, but had never put the whole story together with my artwork. I was reminded of this when one of my best friends sat that day in the audience in the front row bawling. I later asked her why she was crying when she knew all my "stuff," and she replied that she hadn't known my whole story, or at least my story from the last 15 years or so. What I was so surprised--shocked actually--was that it's all there in the artwork. I am amazed that I am actually using what I create to tell my life story (and not just making pretty pictures!).

In the end it was a positive exercise and I was thankful that I had taken a look at the big picture of my life. This, coupled with my father's death two months later, has sent me on an introspective and sentimental journey that will no doubt continue to influence what I create.

So here's the rest of the story: (part one)
Fifteen or so years ago I was living in Florida, married and miserable, but still in denial about how miserable. I had recently decided to go back to school to fulfill the education requirements to become an art teacher. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that along with the meteorology and math classes (to teach art???) that were required I needed more art classes (my first bachelors degree was in art and communication). One of the classes I took was an entire semester of drawing self portraits. I was enjoying contour and doing a lot of these drawings and after the critique, my professor asked to see me, he wanted to talk about this portrait of me, nude, arms and legs crossed, sitting in front of a bunch of different chairs, empty. "Is something wrong? Is everything with you okay?" he asked. "Yeah yeah everything is fine," I had replied thinking that it was.
Two months later I had left Florida, and my husband, for good.
Here is the portrait.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I've noticed that during the last two Januaries, the more the snow blows outside, the more flower bulbs I order. All I can do as far as the garden goes this time of year is make plans. A little frustrating when I'm really wanting to dig in the dirt. However, this year I found an alternative to avoid merely biding my time, and started painting flower portraits -- again. Oh how I forgot how their little complex faces make me happy! I finished 4 during the last week, in the middle of 3 more, and just started 7 more! Usually I split my morning hours (3 of them) between painting, doing paper stuff, making cards, etc but for the last two or three weeks I can't do anything else but paint. I've let all discipline go. One day recently I got to paint for 9 hours! More to come, but for now, Happy Spring!