Saturday, September 23, 2017

Outreaching and updating.... and adventures ahead!

I realized a lot of drafts were sitting in my program here, waiting for better photos and I forgot to upload them!!!
So this is just an update on my recent adventures.

I have learned PowerPoint and just finished my third presentation as my outreach for the Artist in Residence obligation...well gratification would be better named.....

In July, I spoke at the Scottsdale Artist League.  August was Tempe Artist Guild and just Wednesday, gave a presentation to a great group of quilters called the Mavericks!   I bring my borrowed projector (GREAT thanks to the amazing Arizona Art Alliance and Mike Brady) and did this one in the daytime!  Still was able to show the drop in the bucket of my over 3000 photos from that month living in the Petrified Forest. When I return, November is Peoria Artist League and January will be the Mesa Art League.   Hopefully I will carry a little less of the original art with me for show and tell as it will be moving into galleries or permanent homes... or donation to the PARK!

Summer is always fighting the cabin fever I get in so many days over 100° weather in the Phoenix area, so I am coming out of my despair and starting to plan my annual car trip to Denver in October.

I have offered to be present for my original month of October (because of the annual jaunt, I nearly declined, but Kip was able to double up artists in I was out of sync) during the last week of the month as I drive back.  So I hope to put on my badge and set up - for a couple of days at least - in the PDI to work on a small secondary project of portraying the visitors!
My first concept was supposed to center around the ravens, and where they would lead.... but they basically HID from me most of the month!  This time I want to interview people stopping in and see if they will let me borrow their visages for a project emphasizing the HUMAN aspect of the park!

I am loading materials and getting them ready for the road as I go up to enjoy the trees turning in Centennial and come back to see another season in my beloved PEFO.

Just throw in a visual aid...
...from a previous trip..... I KNOW they will mob me this time!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spider Woman's Hands

I am a portrait painter.  Because of that I am rather meticulous in trying to get model releases from anyone who could be recognized from my work.  Everyone who is demonstrating or helping in the park, from Rangers to Volunteers, all have to sign off on copyright issues.  They become part of the public benefit, just like the scenery (so I was public domain while I was there!!!)
When I was lucky enough to witness this presentation, I asked for a release and was greeted with "let me think about it"
There is a very good reason to think it over.
The Native Americans in the Southwest have been iconic and functioned at money-making props for many artists and tourism promotions and have not benefitted from their "personhood".  You are your face and features.  Stealing the one thing you ARE is a very tricky issue.
So, even as I left, she was still thinking.....
I have tweaked a bit the experience and this is the image I have of the presentation!   No face, just the amazing experience of watching hands on a traditional loom....

 I began with a way too detailed drawing.  The skin on these ancient hands is so full of character, much like the weathered mounds in the badlands of the park..
This is a toned canvas and I drew in pastel pencil and chalk to start the image.
I began trying to paint the amazing arms and silver

This was always the fun stuff! I love exploring flesh and although this model did not have my requisite "eyeballs" I say I paint, the humanity is what I hoped to capture.  I am always in love with work that shows it is not a photo, but the work of a human being, so I always like to stop before it is done, but this needs a better environment...

So I had to move on to the boring stuff... fibers and background:

 The piece on the right was about done, but it looked too empty....
I wanted to reflect the spirit of the weaver.  Spiderwoman, not in a place but just the weaver, and her spindle.... and........ what?

 I added the products of her hands and softened the light from the window.  

I have a high quality photo of the drawing above and will upload it to my Fine Art America store soon.  I will have a full area of my work from the Petrified Forest and continue to update.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Driving Home - Art

It is a long hot summer!
I have been stuck in my house for the last couple of months, looking at my photos and tweaking my presentations for art groups in Phoenix Area.
I did a nice presentation for the Teme Artists League in September and I will be showing for the Mavericks group of quilters and fabric artists this month. There have been some amazing fiber artists who were AIR in the Park!
Recently, the amazing Rebecca Mezoff did some truly stunning work! and Bill Meed and Denny Peterson were recent quilt artists as well.  I am hoping to let them know that the program welcomes ANY artist that needs, can profit from and give something back from the opportunity
So that proceeds. I  am going to present in Mesa in November and Peoria in January.  They are great fun and I get to meet old friends as I have been a member of many of these groups during my life!


I am close to giving up on landscape.
I tried another of my super strong images that evoked so much emotion to ME from my loads of pictures in the park.
I tried a tonalist style on it and was defeated at every turn....
Here is the work as it progressed and pretty well stopped.
Sketched in, I was trying to get the curve of the road and echos of the wonderful wind blown falling sky in the distance...  Lots of impending rain and at that time of the year, very little wet!

Final version....well, lets stay, where I stopped.
It was actually supposed to be about the lines in the road and tail lights, but I settled for the tail lights...

My little casita is just over the rise, across the road from the Painted Desert Inn.   When I was AiR, there was so little weather, but for the constant breezes, I have hundreds of photos of clouds.  

It is a good thing to do in 100° Phoenix weather, to reminisce about the cooler days...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One More Piece! One More Presentation!

It was a tense day.
I had applied for a second AIR. It is rarely done but I have such a great idea.... so it will have to wait.
I can do it in another Park, but this was inspired by the month I spent there.  I am going to talk to Kip later about a different plan, but no PEFO for me in 2018... Stay tuned, I am branching out.

And I have not updated, but I do have another presentation tomorrow at the Tempe Artist Guild in Friendship Villiage, 2645 E. Southern Ave, Tempe AZ.   I will be running the artist critique at 5:30, with the business meeting at 6:30 and ME at 7:30 to 8:30!
So there you are!

While waiting for good or bad news, I did another piece.  Many of these will be entries in the Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson in November.  What a lot of exciting reference I have!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Little Visitors on the Flagstone

It is hot here in Scottsdale.
It is sweaty and the air never cools, but we did have a monsoon rain last night and I left the door open!!
That is all my excitement.

I have been working on  another one of my birch panels.  This is two little ground squirrels, snacking in the shade of a scrub brush, right outside the kitchen, when I returned in June.  It is only 10" square and I am feeling like it may need something.... later.

I am going to do another presentation on August 17 at the Tempe Artist Guild.  I will probably do some editing on the slide show and, of course, we have a few new paintings.
With a week to go, who knows what else will show up!
Will post the details in the next blog.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Pretty sure we are done.... if not, I am betting you won't notice the changes....
On to more and more things stuck in my head, needing to get out.
(PLEASE share or contact me if any of these strike your fancy.  They are all for sale.  I am doing my donation in October, so there will be PLENTY of pieces by then!)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trooper, the Equine Ranger in Progress

So much that has nothing to do with anything has been happening, so a brief update.
I had my first presentation in Scottsdale at their art league and it went so well, another group asked for me.  The scheduling will probably end up in November or so, with the league's schedule and mine.
Tempe, which is very nearby also wants me and this time for AUGUST!  So we will put that on the agenda.  I figured out the issue I had been having with projectors.  You see my reliable little laptop does not have the proper hood up for almost EVERY available machine I can borrow or afford.  The new laptops don't tend to come with the plug either!  SO... I literally got and returned FOUR adapters before I finally found a small, rather old, but running win10 very slow and very old model REFURBISHED notebook that I will try to use ONLY for presentations.  If it wears out quickly, it was only $30 more than most of the adapters I exchanged.
I am breaking it in.

And I have been working on a portrait.
Still not done but here are a few progress shots....

 I knew what I wanted to do with Tooper, one of the horses that come (two days before I left) to stay in the park for the summer, but I was a bit unsure of what I wanted to do with the background.  So I drew him, sketched the background (which changed) and painted it all in black acrylic so I could do the background and still see the horse.

I finally decided on the scene and blocked it all in before I even began to paint the horse.  I called it eating my veggies before I had desert.  I am so bad at landscapes.  I love vignettes, but it is a bit nuts, to be around all that beauty and not use it at all in the paintings.  So this area was from a snapshot on the road.  I am pretty sure it is just around Kachina point, very near home... but I had blur in the thing and just loved all the stripes of color.

So,  90% done, horse near ready for the rest of the tack and I really did not like it.  Could not put my finger on it, but it did not do what I wanted, did not look like a place that was truly there.  I spent a lot of obsessive time trying to fit the time of day (noon and strong vertical light) with a scene that would make sense, and try as I might, I was not able to get that sense of abstraction I wanted behind his realism..

I asked some friends and tried him in other backgrounds (more complex and suited to my obsessive mind)  and there was a general consensus that ALL of my ideas were good.... which did not help, but a friend reminded me of something I LIKE TO SUGGEST to artists stuck like I am.... Put a piece of plastic over it and experiment.

I am sure she is aghast at the horrible plastic I used, but I just needed to decide what color and how far I needed to go.
So why is this in this blog?
I am aware of something that happened to me there.  I have become REALLY unhappy now that I am home.  I do not feel connected to much.  The heat keeps me in the house like a cage and I don't know what to paint, don't know if anyone will buy them, how much more I can fit in here, and I basically and to afraid to start anything for fear of failing.
This was a free pass!
I gave myself permission to let go.
I got in there and started by darkening and moving the sky a bit...
Not too dramatic but then I started darkening the space behind to show the shadows of the clouds and eventually stopped trying at all to match the reference, just started playing with the colors.  I put the purple in the shadows of the rocks close in , and dotted the background with glints of light and basically started playing.  It was more about me painting my OWN Painted Desert.
I know you all don't think there is much going on that is revolutionary about this, but to me, it was very freeing, with my house full of art, to risk it and come back from where it was not so safe!
I need to let it be.  
It is finally to a point where when I leave it and come back, it is pleasing me!!!
Next post will be the finish.  I might have my donation piece....