Trinidad Market Girl Sold

April 16, 2010

But not indentured.

She’s going to grace someones’ wall on one of our sister islands, St. John also one of the US Virgin Islands. Thanks to the exposure by a new home design company here, Coco Design in Christiansted, this piece was introduced to her client and she’s now left my home and is on her way to another. Thanks Jennifer!

Of all the paintings I’ve posted on this blog over the years, she’s had the most hits of any of the others.  I’m hoping to find the looseness that birthed her as I start another one. You can approach the canvas the same way, with the same intentions every time. Sometimes it’s a real struggle, sometimes the magic genie controls your hand and brush and sees to it that your angst never wakes up. This was just that for me.

From a chapter in the book that someday may chronicle my passage from NYC to the Virgin Islands, you can better understand the title: ” I Used To Have a Concierge, And Now I Have A Machete “.

You can’t take down a papaya from a tree with a butter knife dearies:

It’s the all purpose tool for the modern city dweller who can no longer ring the intercom to request a repair.  If at first it doesn’t work, hack, hack again.

And because I know how fixated you all are on this little face, consider Cloud, as seen by Rousseau.

And Chili Pepper, as seen by the Sunkist company, if their ad men only knew where to find him:

He said forget it, he’s not selling out.

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Back In The Saddle Again – Work In Progress

March 22, 2010

Moving towards painting without drawing first. Didn’t say how I was progressing in that arena, just hoping that someday I might befriend proportion and scale without drawing first. Until then……

Willow charcoal is loose, ethereal, rubs off if you exhale too close to the canvas. Good for keeping loose, so I purposely remove some line work as the paint goes down or else the dastardly pitfall of filling in can ruin the gesture.

So just as Stella was getting her dormant groove back, I had to leave this piece and be away for a week. I’m going to seriously try not to muck it up since painting on top of already dried paint sometimes leads me to that dreadful trap of adding too much, playing the game of chasing values and almost reproducing an entire second painting over the dried one underneath. I said I’d try.

Please hope I succeed.

Now THEY have succeeded in convincing me that after a week away, walking them would have more merit than watching me twist in the wind figuring this stuff out. ” Oh, just take us for a walk and forget about your whining”……….

You cannot ignore 4 eyes and 4 ears of this magnitude of cuteness and continue your mission.

I tried.

Really, I did.

Trying to ignore them.

I know when I’m done for.

Walking, it is.

I am a sap.

Where Did These Come From? When Did This Start?

March 6, 2010

Every site, every page, every paid advertisement on every search engine is suggesting another way to ” Lose that belly fat “,  ” 10 tips to a flatter belly “, ” Free, easy rules for a flatter belly”. Does anyone believe this? Like the birds on Hitchcocks’ telephone lines, these ads seem to pop up in one place or another and now that I’m bringing it to your attention, try to avoid seeing one.

And they’re about as free and easy as the Nigerian chain letters.

I actually think a little belly fat makes for a more inspired model to draw from: meet the goat man-

My favorite spot for a little belly fat, actually exists right here:

” I don’t care if your tummy IS a little round, I love you and want you to come out and play with me”

If those ad people want to strike a chord with a burgeoning market, they’d re-address their focus to the world of bloggers and painters who sit most of the day and re word the come-on to read:

” Follow this easy tip for a tiny butt “

Bet they’re reading this now………..

A Million Little Pieces

February 22, 2010

Painted not with brushes but with excised, tiny pieces of paper collected from magazines. Especially magazines of good quality stock so they’d withstand cuts with an X-acto blade, picking up with tweezers and finish with medium.

I kept folders  assorted by colors:  reds, blues, textures, anything that looked interesting. My favorite  locale for harvesting tear sheets was the waiting rooms of dentists or Park Avenue doctors. Ritzy publications,  heavy stock, great color saturation. Cough, loudly, tear simultaneously and seize that perfect page.

Started with a rough sketch for composition and then went to work laying on pieces of paper.

Unfortunate addendum: not a method you can deploy under the rotor blades of a ceiling fan or your million tiny pieces will be confetti.

Some images from the St. Croix Ag Fair 2010- great local food, thousands of people, acres to wander, animals on display, and enterprise in all forms.

Best view in the house.

St. Croix is snake-less, except for this 7’9″  illegal escapee who was rescued and is now a teaching tool.

Kids and kids.

Clouds’ ancestor?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch………

These two……

Don’t you see a branding of calendars, napkins, mugs?

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

January 18, 2010

She begat me and I became her. As a teen, I resisted, as an adult, I’m honored and hope to fill the toes of her shoes.

Wise, gentle, compassionate, I never heard her yell or be rude. Always makes people feel welcomed and wanted.  And at almost 90,  I still have her in my life. At the prodding of a friend,  I thought I’d try a portrait.

First a rough sketch in willow on linen.

Pre- toned canvas, light sienna wash.

Trying to work out the main features in a general way.

The real mom.

Thought I had a good ride with this one so far and then. Then. It all went south and I think I forgot how to paint. Can you forget? Can you forget how to apply the paint. Seems that’s where much of my angst lies. It’s either too thick, too thin, too muddied, too overdone, or just too wrong.  So this tribute to be is not to be. It’s been duly scraped and scrapped.

But let me paint a portrait of her for you with some of her/my favorite expressions and quotes that I still find myself parroting today.

” I’m too light for heavy work, and too heavy for light work “

” One mother can care for 10 children but 1o children can’t care for one mother “

” When in doubt, DON’T “

” The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know “

” For a marriage to work, the man should love the woman a drop more than the woman loves the man “.

” A woman needs her own pishka * that no one knows about ( * translation from Yiddish- a private stash of your own money – kept even from your husband )

( Hope my husband isn’t reading the last two but if he is…. Hi Honey!  You know I don’t listen to my mother ).

” After 70 there are only two things a man is looking for in a woman- a nurse or a purse, and I’m not going to be either one ” ( This said after my father died )

And after my  commenting doubtfully on a boyfriend much shorter than I, she added ” laying down, they’re all the same height “.

How can you not love the simple truth and beauty of her take on things!?

She is the source of my inspired love of painting, decorating, and general festooning of anything. She has painted walls, lampshades, shoes, canvases, and toilet seats. The latter with thick applications of acrylic paint in the form of flowers thinking we were all asleep.

Some of ” we ” were not. And sat down. And stood up with the seat still stuck to my sitbones.

But seriously, what am I going to do about getting paint onto canvas without suffering the perpetual ” Scrapenheiser Disorder “? Really. Help.

I’ll ask them, see if anyone here can lend an ear.

Surely someone HERE can lend an ear- just look at them!

What Do We Call This Year?

January 5, 2010

So we popped corks, watched a ball drop on TV, watched Dick Clark need a chair, heard the fireworks, listened to the conch shell be blown….(it’s a  Caribbean tradition and a sketch being started ), and made the usual hasty boo boos in writing the first checks of the new year.

But we still don’t know what to call it or how to welcome the decade. For the past nine years it’s  been two thousand one, two thousand two,  two thousand nine and now?

Now what is it? Twenty-oh ten? Twenty ten? Two thousand and ten? Two thousand ten? It’s unchartered is what it is. We’ve no precedent for how to say it so maybe it will sort itself out or maybe it will go the way time telling has gone. Pre- digital watch wearers told you the time as ” twenty to two “. Now ask anyone wearing a digital watch what time it is and you’ll be told ” one forty “.  Or if you’re in the company of a military person, you might have to take out your abacus and calculate that oh sixteen thirty means you missed your plane.

Or as Carol has mused over, we could still be using Roman Numerals.

Or just say what my elder friend says with a look of fed up disgust when told that something needing fixing will ” take time “.  ” Crap “, she says, ” I don’t have time for time “.

Well anyway you say it, the new year has trotted in and schlepped along with it, a new decade.

Let’s agree that no matter how we say it, read it, or write it, we’ll all do our part to improve some small acreage of this planet we live on.

Because from her head to her crazy toes, Cloud is making the world a much prettier and sweeter place. Let’s follow her lead.

From top

To Bottom

Artists for Animals- St. Croix

December 14, 2009

Capable Hands oil on canvas- SOLD

Locally Grown – oil on panel – SOLD

Here’s a formula that can’t lose. Take one island. Four thousand unwanted animals per year. Thirty five artists. A newly formed Foundation dedicated to ending pet overpopulation. Oh, and add French food and an open bar.

I’ve been helping to orchestrate  a fund-raiser for the Sunshine Foundation, a St. Croix non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to end pet overpopulation by offering very affordable spay/neuter services to needy families for their pets.

The idea was to have some of the islands’ leading artists show up to three pieces of their work with a portion of the sales going towards the Foundation. Great exposure for the artists, a kick off to the season here, and a chance for the Sunshine Foundation to get their message out to the community.

I was thrilled to have sold the above two paintings to one couple who couldn’t decide so the tie-breaking, decision-making and I might add, very astute husband said ” Let’s buy them both”! Really, why anguish over the obvious!

Great turnout of supporters and flute glass raisers…..

Interested lookers….

Partners in fine crime- Sam, you’re the best!

Photo courtesy of Ted Davis of D&D Studios, St. Croix. Thank you Ted!

Wonder if what happens here is a common gallery experience- the work gets snapped up within the first 45 minutes and after that, it’s mingling, schmoozing, drinking and eating. It’s as though the frenzy of the first purchase overrides the socializing and then conversely, the frenzy of chatting overrides any interest in further buying. Can anyone else chime in on this?

Why hair raising as a tag, you ask?

Because one week before this gala was when my hard drive crashed. As in muerte, morte, dead, don’t even bother, RIP, who’s giving the eulogy kind of dead. Little by little, the hair is growing back from where it’s been pulled, the programs are getting re-installed and I’m forming an all girl group called ” Bonnie and the Back-Ups ” starring me and my 320 gig external hard drive.

So what’re the dog raising, hell raising tags signifying?

That cute little puppy Cloud, happily gnawing on Cubas’ foot, will happily chew on anything that’s in her view. Before it was Cuba’s foot, it was my v-e-r-y expensive pair of prescription sunglasses with the Progressive lenses. She ate both temple pieces, left the frame, the lenses and left  little gnawed stubs of useless plastic that give my glasses that Thalidomide effect.

This is one artist that is for animals- asking permission!

It’s My Hard Drive and I’ll Cry If I Want To…..

December 7, 2009

You would cry too if it happened to you….

” There are two kinds of people in the world”, the computer repair man said, ” Those who have lost their hard drives and those who haven’t YET”.

Great. So I’m in good company with 300 million other people. I’m not consoled.

And if you’re all saying..” Why, of course she had everything backed up, she’s no fool”, say something else. Backed up some ( my art, important docs, some photos ) but lost most of my photos, all of my music, and essential photo applications are gone. I was four days away from bringing it in for suspicious behavior but had to wait until an event I was organizing was over. It just wouldn’t wait.

” What”, my friend Scott asked, ” The camel couldn’t walk the last mile “???

Another post is coming when new programs arrive.

This is what it looks like when your DOGS crash:

St. Croix This Week- November Cover

November 14, 2009

They loom, stilts no challenge for their years of training. Mocko Jumbies are the feature of this months’ cover.

novcoverstxwk

Interpreters of superstitions and spirits of  long ago , their contemporaries perform at Jump Up, a four time a year favorite  event.  I found a great video

on You Tube that gives you an idea of their height and irresistible street cred.

Here’s a link to the ” About the Artist ” page on the inside of the magazine- a place for shameless self promotion, or another tear sheet for my only heir to ruminate over keeping or using it as a book mark.

St. Croix LAST week was the destination for 5 visiting friends, so I took in some beach time, photo time, dining out time, and no painting time. I HAD no time.

What I did have was an additional perspective of where I live through another’s eyes. Mary of 2FramesperSecond, dedicated to the Canon G7, montage’d the synopsis. ( Pay attention, Cloud lovers…this means you, Jala )

Redbugs

Thought to be milkweed bugs, nevermind that thought. Don calls them love bugs, as  you’ll read in his comment below and I call them push-me pull-yous. As graphically beautiful as African Masks.

Now another PS: this edit in from dear friend Scott who knows everything flora, fauna, and food, what he states is the scientific name:

“The push-me-pull-you insects are “true bugs” – that’s the correct entomological term for them  – “bugs.” They belong to the Hemiptera group of arthropods. They all have piercing-sucking mouthparts. These are found on Malvaceous plants; hibiscus and their kin, especially the beachside Hibiscus tiliacea – the tree with hibiscus-like yellow flowers.” Thanks, Scott. ( love my smart friends )

wetshadow

Water on wood, photographer (me ) on assignment.

Several photographers on assignment, actually. Two friends are photographers for the AP, shooting opposing teams for the World Series. Just made it here by the grace of Game 6, Game over.

A typical scene at the dinner table:

G7 Summit

The G7 Summit

chairs

Love this group- they never sit around for too long.

Time spent with family…..

say cheese

Animals triangulated, moment seized by Lobo. Thanks Judy.

protector

Yes, they’re both real. And that Cloud is a Purina contract waiting to happen.

Be looking for some lovely watercolors from this visit by Carolking, who will now be forced to publish them on her blog sooner than she may have wished.

You Been Axin’ Where I’ve Been?

October 29, 2009

Not painting. That’s where. Here’s the winter line up so far: Major outside land overhaul, some with help, much of it by my own hand.

To the tune of ” Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend”

” A kiss on the cheek may be quite continental, But a pick ax is a girls best friend”.

driveway

Yup, pickin’ and axin’ for back trouble but the good things grow as fast as the unwanted ones so you have to work fast after the land is cleared. All 39 holes dug and filled. Quick before those relentless snake plants take over again. Here, they’re referred to as Mother in Law Tongues. ( that’s only if the son in law is a jerk ).

More beds defiled of unwanted invaders and enhanced with things I actually like looking at:

new bed

Done. Actually the bottle of Advil is empty.

Next on the lineup: Coordinating a considerable size art show as a fund raiser for a newly formed non profit organization called the Sunshine Foundation. They provide much needed low cost spay/neuter services for those families who otherwise could not afford it. Overpopulation and feral packs of animals are a blight here.

” Artists For Animals” is going to be held on December 5th in a beautiful gallery space here. We’ve received eager responses from 32 of the islands most sought after artists to show for a one night event.

Pulling this together has many of the same characteristics as herding cats and collecting spilled mercury from a broken thermometer ( yes, before digitals ). I’m putting three of my newest pieces in the show and luckily they’re already completed.

And then, and then, the arrival next week of FIVE, yes FIVE friends from NY and Boston who expect to sleep in beds devoid of spider webs, mold, unidentifiable rust spots, and wish also to eat, and even imbibe in some beverages generally associated with vacation.

I’m in uber-cleaning, shopping, vacuuming, laundry mode ( damn where’s that bottle of Advil and Advil PM?)

Three of the five are friends first but also fellow bloggers:

Judy of Lobos Rants, Carol of Carolking, and Mary of 2Frames per Second

Away went the paints, easel, dropcloths and the nasty detritus of an oil painters warren to allocate sleeping space on the Murphy Bed in my studio which will become a photographers’ dorm since both Mary and Elise are professional photographers.

Fearful that my painting hand would not only atrophy but strike at midnight for better care and, well, some kind of recognition from it’s owner, this same owner thought it a good idea to try something in watercolor. Much less to take out and put away.  I’ve been a long time fan of Peggi Kroll Roberts and the gorgeously simple way she sees shifts of color and values. I’ve had some of her postcards on my bulletin board for a few years and have been reading about her terrific workshops of late, taken by Faye Christian Phillips and Ed Terpening. Ed’s comes with a video demo by Peggi- very cool.

I’ve tried an imitation as I don’t know how better to flatter her and thank her for her great work. It’s not that I want to paint like her as much as I want to SEE like she does.

So Peggi, pardon the pedestrian-ness but here’s to you!

Peggi’s

peggi

Not Peggi :

homagetopeggi

Well, excuse me, but I’m off to find little paper umbrellas for beverages  for friends who think they’re coming to the Tiki room or something……