Archive for January, 2009

The Swearing in of, and not at, The Muse

January 21, 2009

Maybe it took the not so subtle shift of 180 million people leaning towards the  hopeful, optimistic, proud and unified. But the days’ and weeks events have put me back in step.

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A seminal shift it was. As the oath was taken, the oaf was taken- away by helicopter.

Don’t look back, you’re not going there, as my favorite needlepoint pillow used to say.  Yesterday, there was a sense of a  fresh start, the feeling that we’re in very capable hands.  No matter how many times the blackboard got erased in 3rd grade, it never looked right until, at the end of the week, it was washed. New. Clean. Ready for the clear absorption of the next lessons.

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Her capable hands are a work in progress. This might even become a study for the next one.

New Years this year, fell on January 20th.  Hello Muse.

I’ll be away from the studio and home for a week to spend time with my mother. I’m leaving a plate of cookies for the muse so she doesn’t run off. I think this time, she’s here for all of us.

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You Say Tomato…. I See a Painting

January 12, 2009

Yellow tomatoes are turning up in the farmers’ markets here. Before getting wisked away and guillotined into a sandwich, this one made it into the studio.

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Tomato Parasol 8 x 10 oil/panel

It sidled in next to an old, brown apothecary bottle that was rescued from the back of a cabinet where  reverse size places relegated it to status of invisible. It’s good to clean forbidden and frightening areas of the kitchen every few years.

I was trying for a ” study ” here, rather than a finished piece and taking the advice of admired artists Theresa Rankin, Mike Rooney and non-artist, my husband, who has also been encouraging me to ” just paint ” and not anguish over each canvas as though it was making its’ debut at the Jeu du Paume ( he didn’t say that, I did ).

Getting the reflections on the brown glass was a challenge. Doing it in one sitting, or standing, was my goal. And the tomato- well, it was a little ” dice-y”.

Almost as soon as I cleared the area, one of the studio assistants occupied the void.

life-still-blogLife, still.   5.5 lbs, on drape

Everyone has a recommended way of cleaning and storing brushes after painting. This seems to work very effectively:

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I read about this method on Carol Marines‘ fabulous blog ( the queen of still life ) and tried it. After cleaning in solvent of your preference, I use OMS, and then follow with a washing in water and ” B&J Brush Cleaner, a white paste in a small jar, I gently squeeze the excess moisture out and sort of  mummify each brush in a small square of paper towel. It tames those little errant hairs that zing up like brush cowlicks and ruin the sharpness of a good brush. Excellent.

And because I expect some of you miss those wonky categories of ” What IS that? “, maybe you’d like to contribute your best guess as to what this is before I identify it.

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Hints:

I have them every day.

Because they keep coming back.

Oh 9.

January 5, 2009

We have high hopes for you, if you’re listening. And if you’re not, we may shout at you to get your attention. I think we’re all feeling hopeful, weary, leery, and more plucky. And aware.

So this is how oh 8 finished out for us here.

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No fireworks, no parties, just a quiet moment in another day and a farewell to an era not any too soon.

We planned  house projects that ideally are best done when the Christmas Winds blow through here and keep the temperature and winds in the perfect zone for heavy lifting. We set aside these past few weeks to get grunt work done.

Unfinished back yard + 2 dogs that love to dig + endless dust blowing like a scirocco around the house + too many years looking at it = one woman on a tear. Pavers! The answer to the problem.

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Except that our backyard is two full sets of steps DOWN from the driveway where they waited in the back of our truck. Pavers! They measure 16″X16″ and weigh about 25 lbs each and we had 60 of them. Bang out the number of trips up and down the steps ( 26 of them )  on your abacus. And add to that the buckets of gravel we shoveled at the quarry and carried down. Pick-ax the ground to break up the rocky surface, sift, smooth, lay in a paver, a spacer block, another paver and on it went. We had a good rhythm.

A gym? Nah.

A chiropracter maybe, or an orthopedic specialist.

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Site inspector comes with level and football. Never can tell when it’s work or play and you should always be prepared.

There were activities that included and involved one of my favorite items of nutritional content: Pies-

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Pumpkin.

Meals at friends, meals at the house, dishes, cooking, casseroles transported, cakes under plastic domes in air conditioned back seats, the island in full holiday spirit with minimal tinsel and abundant spirits. Simple, really.

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Learned a feature of my camera that enables very low light photos to be taken without flash. I found these two curled up together for the first time in the dog bed during the night.

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Enough fluff. I know, you’re all saying it. ” Where’s the damn paintings already”?

Mike Rooney wrote about the malaise of painting to produce works to sell instead of painting to learn the process and feeling good about the bad ones. I read it and re-read it. That’s where I’m at. He refers to it as pontificating as if he needs to be apologizing for being right and practical.

Oh 9, you’re gonna be the year I get over this hurdle.