Saturday, August 22, 2015

Finishing up

As the deadline for delivering my work approaches, a question that I am often asked becomes more urgent.  How do you know when is a painting finished? It's a tough question for sure. I often feel that I can keep working on a painting forever, pushing it, changing it...but will it be better in the end? Sometimes, but not always. 

I have had the experience of just "neatening up" a painting I considered finished, only to add elements that I realize were crucial to the work. Other times there are areas that I mean to get back to that suddenly look fine in their brushed-in stage.  I guess the best way I can tell is that if a painting I think is finished bugs me every time I look at it, it's back to the easel. If it seems to settle in, then I can move on to wrestle with the other monsters in the studio.

The painting above is inspired by two of my experiences in the Tongass National Forest as described in my journal...
"It's 11:30 by the time we launch and head across the flat waters of Holkham Bay, aiming for the buoys marking a break in Tracy Arm Bar, which stretches across the entrance to Tracy and Endicott Arms and was formed by terminal morraines of Sawyer and Dawes Glaciers. The sound of whales had been in the air all morning, and as we cross the bar we are surprised by a huge black surge from the water, the back of a humpback whale which is gone before I can fully realize what it is. Solan suggests we knock on our kayaks to alert the whale to our presence, and I bang on mine till he laughs and says "I think it heard you." Then I'm sorry, because the whale doesn’t appear again, most likely off to quieter depths."
• • • 

"As we eat lunch and stretch our legs, walking over the smooth curves of the huge shoreline rocks, we suddenly hear a roar and look up to see that a house sized iceberg had just rolled, exposing striations of jewel-like colors of browns, purples and intense blues. Still wet, it glistens in the sun—an amazing sight. Since the wind is still picking up, we soon pack up and resume paddling. The break had been welcome but I am still tired and sorry that we have to paddle further out into the fiord to skirt the iceberg, but I'm glad that we can get a closer look. Only Chrissy manages to take a picture as we pass, since without constantly paddling, the wind and current drives the kayaks backwards. We paddle through the headwind and choppy waves called haystacks, then turn the kayaks into Ford’s Terror."

I think it's finished. I think. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Calendar angst and pre-show jitters

The calendar is nagging me. Insisting it's been over 7 months since I last blogged. Threatening me that it's exactly 1 month till I have to deliver a show's worth of paintings to the Bert Gallery. And a few days later, another show's worth to DeBlois Gallery. And that I'm late, late, late designing invitations, getting out PR and related paperwork. And that it's been over a year since I dipped my kayak paddle into the turquoise waters of Alaskan Fiords.

Well I'm blogging now, so shut up calendar.  And the show will come together. After all, I have a month!

And, although I probably have lost any folks who have been kind enough to follow this blog, those who stumble upon it can see more about my exhibits here
and suffer silly tweets here

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Monday I'll be delivering paintings to be exhibited in Green Airport, Warwick, RI, part of my Shoemaker Series

Here's the official description of the show...

OFFBEAT ICONIC features three artists who portray quintessential Rhode Island subjects in unexpected ways. Subject matters include our state’s landmarks, manufacturing history and maritime heritage. Views presented, however, are of the overlooked, bygone or rarely accessible aspects of these subjects. The viewer is invited to stray off the beaten path through the unique vision of these three artists.
So if you are taking a flight, and not running frantically for your plane, take a little detour to the lobby area at the base of the stairs to the Post Road pedestrian overpass. The show runs from January 13 through April 30,  2015.

If you'd like to preview the catalog of The Shoemaker Series: St. Hugh's Bones, and/or purchase a copy, you can see it HERE

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day Job — the Apocalypse

Where I make (made) money
Where I am happy

At the end of this month, my day job will come to an end. After over 30 years in the newspaper business, surviving wave after wave of layoffs, I've finally ended up in the crosshairs and my job will be outsourced in February, to "ad centers" in the U.S. and India.

So, no more day job! I can spend all my time in the studio!

**SNAP OUT OF IT!!**  Turns out I'm not close enough to retirement to not make money anymore, and not far enough away (age discrimination being alive and well) to find a job easily in my field, which is all things web.

And then there's healthcare. Thank goodness my state (yea RI!) has set up a health exchange with many options (yea Obamacare!) so I should be able to get coverage, but no health care program is cheap these days.

So, I must make more money than painting sales can provide.


I'm too old to stand for a job that bores me to death.

So here's my plan.

1. Treat my painting more like a business.
The trade off to having no time was the luxury of not worrying too much about selling. Sure, selling was great, but if it didn't pay the rent, that was what the day job was for. Now I will have to make more of an effort to market my work.

2. Become an expert in Social Media Marketing and Analytics. 
Businesses are constantly being told they have to get "out there" but do not have the knowledge or desire to Tweet, Facebook, Link In, Instagram, etc, etc, etc. So I will offer to do it for them, beginning with myself. This will have the dual purpose of helping me promote my work, and giving me a marketable skill to offer small businesses. So if you see me suddenly getting extremely social, it's all in a day's work.

Follow me on Twitter! @KathyHodgeArt
Friend me on Facebook!
View Kathy Hodge's profile on LinkedIn
Pin me on

3. Design web site for artists
Because they have so much money to spend on web design!

4. Teach small classes. 

5. Apply for grants.

6. Last but not least —Collect unemployment!

Well, according to the social media tips I've been reading, this is longer than the optimal blog length for reader engagement, so I'll en—

Hello? Anyone there?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Alaska painting

oil/canvas, 30"x40", 2014
My latest Alaska painting, actually begun after my first trip in 2011, but finished with new inspiration from my 2014 residency and my investigations into the structure of ice. (click to enlarge) A more wordy post will come eventually!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tossed out of the rat race...

Slowly but surely I'm finishing work I started in Alaska. This one was done just out of sight of our tent on Harbor Island. While I was working on it one of the Rangers came over to tell me that the rushing sound that I subconsciously attributed to waves was actually a whale spouting. So we ran over the bumpy mossy terrain to the shore, and waited, and waited, and waited and then — I saw my first whale! Or the spout anyway, but I did get a glimpse of tail so I guess that counts!

2015 is looking to be an interesting year, I have two shows of my Alaska work in the fall, and in January I'm going to be exhibiting my Shoemaker paintings at the state airport. So that's "good interesting".

I'm also going to be UNEMPLOYED, come February, for the first time in my life, including college. A victim of the ailing newspaper business. That's just "interesting-interesting". We will see what happens with that. I am looking for work, but there's a good possibility I won't find it, right away at least. Perhaps I can live off my painting? I know, always joking....but if I can meet my studio expenses I can still keep painting.

A break would be kind of wonderful, but no paycheck will be a shocker. Fate (and various HR departments) will decide! Until then, to the studio!
Related Posts with Thumbnails