Saturday, July 30, 2016

Out of sequence post about Zion, Denali posts coming soon!


Whew, made it.

I just got my confirmation for my application to Zion National Park for an AIR next year. (I know, being greedy).

But it wasn't looking good.

First I miscalculated the deadline, thinking I had till the end of the month. But no! I had to assemble the application (a throwback, they want a CD, paper application and printed photos by mail) and get it postmarked by the 26th.

So, I got up early on the 26th, checked the post office closing times on the web (11:30pm in the city, yay!)  worked on the application and ordered photo printing from the drugstore before my all day "mom care" shift, took her shopping, lunch, etc, picked up my photos, finished the statement, resume, application, photo labeling, CD burning and left for the post office at 9pm.

It looked quiet, too quiet, but the doors were open. Two post office employees inside told me the window had closed at 9. There was no way I could get a 26th postmark.

So I went home defeated, but re-read the application and it said postmarked by the 26th, received by the 29th. So I figured I could send it express and maybe they would excuse the postmark. But first I needed to make a correction in my statement. So of course my printer crapped out and would no longer print black.

I hope they like blue!

Off to the post office again. "I need this to get there by the 29th". "Sure, where to?". "Utah." "Hmmm...."

The soonest I could get it there was 3pm on the 29th. So off it went.

But it wasn't looking good.

That's why it was such a relief to the the confirmation email.  I'll find out in October, wish me luck!

Now, back in the studio to paint Alaska.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Finally, Denali! and hello 2016

Well, it's 2016, and this year I pledge to post at least weekly on my blog (ha, ha, good one!)
But seriously, I need to at least catch up on my so called life, and announce that I have finally conquered "The Great One". Yes—Denali has finally capitulated to my ten year blitz of applications to their artist-in-residence program and decided it was easier to just accept me and get it over with.

So sometime this summer I'll be heading Back to Alaska II, this time to the interior and land of big mountains, grizzlies, and wolves. I will have a cabin with no electricity, but long, long days. No running water, but braided rivers. No wifi, but, but . . . I think I can handle it, a detox will be cleansing.

It's especially exciting to be going in the National Park Service Centennial Year and the year the true name of the mountain is acknowledged. More about that when I hear more. So far, I just have this letter to assure me I'm not imagining it.

• • • 

February 1 is the first anniversary of being sprung from my day-job in the newspaper business into the wide open landscape of unemployment. One of my greatest fantasies was having one year, just one year, without the day job. So how did I spend the year of my dreams? Well, mostly trying to figure out how to make some money. To that end, I brushed up on my web design skills and started a web design business (need a website?), took an advance wordpress class, drank the social media kool-aid and set up a few workshops (more about that as I'm trolling for students). I also applied for 2 real jobs, one I wanted, one I didn't. Interesting to go on my first interviews in over 20 years. I didn't get offered either, but nice to know I'm no longer the nervous wreck I used to be when in the hot seat.

My main 2015 accomplishment was two exhibits of work from my residencies in the Tongass and Chugach National Forests. How I could have hung those shows if I was still doing the 9-5 I don't know, it was a panicky scramble at the end as it was, but I think it came out pretty well!

I exhibited in group shows at Gallery X, the Newport Art Museum, Save the Bay and am excited to be represented by a new gallery, the Charlestown Gallery in South County. I hope to deliver more work (with the perk of side trips to the beach) this summer.

So, I kind of fulfilled one New Year's resolution, which was to re-start my blog on January 1. My second resolution was to stop procrastinating. Like I said, kind of.

Hope you all have a great, happy, healthy, adventurous and peaceful 2016, and the same goes for the other 7.3 billion people in the world who don't follow this blog.

War is over. If you want it.

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?

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