Monday, December 29, 2008

Preparing for a new year

Posts have been scarce, I admit, over this holiday season. After multiple openings for my exhibit Christmas was another flurry of of arranging rooms and setting out party food. Thank goodness nothing ever happens in January (except the inauguration—I'll be sleeping on a bus to wake up in DC on the 20th!).

With 8 inches of snow we seemed all set for a white Christmas but rain and wind caused the snow to retreat to patches. A record-tying day (62 degrees!) the following Sunday melted the rest and allowed me to open my studio garage door and begin to tackle the chaos left after my show. You can't tell by the photo but I managed to clear out half of it, and started putting up some insulating plastic sheeting over my screens. My machine seems right at home in the mess though!

I'm also starting to apply what I learned in my CSS web design class to a long overdue overhaul of my website. I've redone the homepage and hope to work my way through the site making it bigger, cleaner and more up to date. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The wonderful 70's

I'm scanning in a bunch of slides for another Blurb book, this time as a Christmas present, and I came across this one of one of my first one-person shows. This one was the Gaspee Days Art Festival in 1975. The kids on the right are my brother Matt and sister Tess, seated is my sister Nancy. They still come to my shows.

Making books on Blurb is getting addictive. I'm now thinking of making a book of my national park artist-in-residence journals. It would be a good project to work on while I work on my painting to send to Mesa Verde.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Published, here's the link

The catalog for my show St. Hugh's Bones is now available to order online. I'll be sending the link out to those who signed up soon. Those who bought a painting, and the owner of the beautiful shoe machines, without which this series would not be possible, will soon receive a book in the mail. Anyone else who in interested in ordering the full color 40-page book online or just previewing the first 15 pages can find out more at this link

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The first snow

I woke up this morning to a white world. The first snow of the season was a good solid one, covering the yard, trees, and all the thin twiggy remnants of my summer's neglected gardens. Only yesterday I raked up the last 8 bags of the oak leaves, just in time apparently.

The snow felt good and fresh, and inspired me to tackle some cleaning and organizing of closets, part of my winter's goal of containing my indoor sprawl.

I've always loved painting snow scenes. Their starkness has the same attraction I have felt in the sand dunes of Cape Cod and the Badlands of South Dakota. The monochrome, the outlined shapes, the way the surface of the land becomes visible makes me want to explore the transformed landscape. The painting below is one of a series I did in 1994 called the Elements of Winter. I hope to do some more snowscapes this winter.

My show is over and back in the studio, despite my having lost the brakes on my 20 year old painting-transport-vehicle last week. The old red truck is fixed now, and did a great job of hauling 2 loads of work. I, on the other hand, am a bit achy after loading the 25 heavily-framed paintings from the gallery to the truck, and the truck to the studio. My other goal this winter is getting back in shape after too many weekends spend standing in front of an easel. You have to be strong to be an artist.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The dust settles

My show comes down today, which makes me a bit sad, but I'm also relieved that the intense work is over. At the same time I'm also a bit nervous, I'm not used to operating without a goal or deadline. After the holidays I'm going to have to figure out the next step, but until then I'll coast.

As far as I know, I'll be taking back all the paintings to the studio, and then I will face the problem of storing them. I haven't really been back in the studio since I finished, so it still looks like it was vandalized. But soon I'll sweep it out and set it straight, that will probably put me in the mood to start something entirely new.

I've very grateful for all those who stopped in the gallery to see my show, both at the openings and during the week, and for all the very interesting comments on my work. I should get the final proof of the exhibition catalog early next week, and then I'll put it in the online bookstore and post the link.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Post Opening and Vloged!

My opening was a lot of fun, I was amazed at all the friends and family who showed up. I was also flattered to be vloged by a very interesting artist/brother of one of my co-workers. Check out his other vlogs while you're there...

The opening was followed by dinner at the Cactus Grill, and we pretty much took over one room of the restaurant. They were very accommodating, even though I made reservations for 20 and about 30 or more showed up! Despite the good time, I'm glad to kick back a bit now, putter around and rediscover other bits of inspiration that I've tucked away in closets, boxes and drawers. Not to mention the inspiration I could get by just getting out into the woods.

My show is up until Saturday, so if you missed the opening and still want to take a look, the gallery is open from 10 to 6. The catalog will also be available to order online soon, so send me your email if you'd like the link.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cold and Thankful

My studio looks like it was hit by Fall, but it felt more like Winter last weekend as I went on a painting marathon to finish the last, large (46x58) painting for my show. Temps were unusually low, just edging 30 and gale force winds were blowing, and I didn't have time to do my usual insulating of the garage door. So even after cranking the propane stove for hours, I could barely get the inside temp up to 50. It was comfortable enough though, as long as I wore long johns, 2 pairs of sweatpants, a tank top, t-shirt, a sweatshirt and fleece jacket, 2 pairs of socks and a hat. Whew, that's a lot of clothes.

But the big painting is done, and I deliver it tomorrow, when the gallery will hang the last of my paintings in time for my reception on Saturday. The 40 page catalog will be done as soon as I photograph the big painting and upload the final version. It will be available to order online, and I'll post a link soon. If you'd like me to email you the link, send me your email.

I'm looking forward to tying up the final loose ends of this 3 and a half year project... some serious recharging is in order.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Openings and beyond

The first opening (I suspect that's redundant. Should I call my next opening a Re-Opening?) of my show St. Hugh's Bones was last Saturday, and it went very well. Despite a torrential rain and street flooding the gallery was filled with friends and family. It was actually appropriate to have the storm drains backing up, as the subject of the photographs also being exhibited in the gallery, the Combined Sewer Overflow tunnel, is now open and a big celebration party was also being held that night at another location. All the water that would usually cause the system to back up into the bay during a heavy rain was now diverted into the tunnel until the treatment plant could catch up.

Hopefully the weather will be better for my (re)opening on the 29th, when I will have delivered the remaining paintings from the St. Hugh's Bones series. Until then I am still working on the final big painting. This morning I stopped in my studio before heading to work and couldn't resist taking off my gloves and painting out an errant cloud, trying to keep paint off my coat. Hopefully I'll wrap it up this weekend.

The gallery is also opening this Thursday for Gallery Night Providence.

As I mull over what direction I am going to head in after the machine series I'm getting inspiration from two fabulous painters, Sue McNally and Gregory Amenoff. I had seen the work of Amenoff for many years and always have felt the pull of it. I recently have been exploring his website. Very cool stuff.

I discovered McNally's work last year when I went to a one-night exhibit at Castle Hill in Newport. Her work is large and the room was packed, but I squirmed my way through the crowd many times to see the work. I missed her show this year because I was so frantic about getting mine delivered on time, but I'll have to be satisfied with visiting her excellent website.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I married him...

Here's a video I took last night of my husband's band at the Blackstone. That's John playing lead guitar. They didn't go on until midnight, but it was worth the wait.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barack the Art and the Ninth Plan

I went to Peter Goldberg's opening last night to see his photos of the huge sewer tunnel which was drilled under Providence, and to get a peak at my paintings. Everything looked really good, Peter's photos were very elegant and have a timeless quality to them.

My paintings were hung and lit very nicely, and I only had to switch two labels. Considering how odd some of my title are, that's pretty good. It was mostly a photo crowd, of course, so the crowd was decidedly on that side of the gallery, but it's great to get "exposure" to that group as well. My opening is Saturday, it'll be a fun party...

Tonight I'm off to the Blackstone to see my husband's band Plan 9 . If you like great guitar work in a wall of pyschedelic sound, head on over to Pawtucket. They go on about 10.

I'm still feeling real good about election night, every once in awhile I stop and realize...hey, Obama won! and it cheers me up. And to add to his talents, I find he is a pretty decent cartoonist as well! Who knew? This is from the Pioneer Local in Chicago.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I get this show on the road!

I packed up my paintings this morning and loaded them in the old truck in the dawn's early light. I was glad that they all fit in one trip. When they're all the same size there isn't as much worry about where the corners fall, so I could stack them pretty high.

When I got to work I found out, to my joy, that tomorrow is a holiday (Veteran's Day)! I've been too busy even to anticipate it, but I sure can use the time. I'm trying to finish my show catalog which unfortunately may not be ready for my first opening, but hopefully shortly after, and in time for the second "one-person-show" opening on the 29th. I'm using a site called Blurb to make it and am hoping to order a bunch, and then put it in their bookstore so that it can be ordered online.

It does feel good, if a bit strange, to look out my office window and see my truck in the parking lot loaded with paintings, and know that most of my work of the last 4 years is ready to deliver.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election elation

Whew! What a great day for our country. I knew I'd be happy, but I didn't know how happy till I was in the Liberty Elm Diner with a great group waiting for the election results. We stayed to see Obama get a healthy lead and then headed over to the official RI Democratic Party party in the ballroom on the 17th floor of the Biltmore Hotel where I took great pleasure in seeing McCain's concession speech. I have to admit it was a very good speech, he showed more class in that one speech than I had seen in the last months of campaigning. Had Palin been allowed to speak, I suspect her tone would have been quite different.

After that it just a matter of trying to crowd into the tiny elevators to get back to the car and drive to my sister's house in time to watch Obama's speech and pop open that long awaited bottle of champagne. A great night. A great speech.

And what made it even better the next day was to see the reaction from around the world. The sight of other countries waving the American flag and cheering made me feel very proud. It was a sight I didn't think I'd see again.

I know that this doesn't mean the world really loves us and all our problems are over, but at least now I feel there is some HOPE!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's in the mail

The invites to my show are labeled and ready to be sent out, after I buy a bunch of stamps and sit in the RISD library to sort and stamp. I'm also sending out my press releases, awfully late, but better late than never. If you're not on my list, send me your address at EMAIL and I'll send you an invite.

When those are in the mail I'll have a few less things to think of... just finishing my frames, getting my email invite ready, finishing my big painting, finishing my catalog, all in about a week. But that won't prevent me from going downtown Tuesday night for the election result festivities. The show will get done somehow, lets just HOPE the right thing is done for this country.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Openings and tunnels

Peter Goldberg, in conjunction with The Narragansett Bay Commission, is showing photographs of the Combined Sewer Overflow Project (CSO) and is exhibiting with me the first week or so of my show. His opening is on November 12, from 4 to 7 pm. Since my work will be up as well, it's another chance to snag a glass of white wine in a plastic cup while viewing it.

This photo is from my journey down to the center of the earth, but I'm curious to see Peter's photos. I'm fascinated by the CSO project (see my slideshows of The Utility Shaft and The Main Shaft). Alas, the tunnel is now sealed so there is no hope of getting down there again. I am going to try to go to the opening unless I am frantically finishing up details of my show. Peter's work will come down on November 25, at which time I will put up more of my paintings to make it the one person show that I thought it would be from the start.

The gallery is also open on Gallery Night on November 20, so it works out that there will be 4 receptions during my show, November 12, 20, 15 and 29, all from 4 to 7. The opening on the 29th will include the new paintings I've added. Confusing? I'm sure, but after all this work, I'm not going to say no to festivities and wine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Election/Exhibit Day approaches

It seems like forever that I've been juggling with the dual obsessions of this show and the elections. After the show is on the walls and Obama is elected (Hope!) I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe sleep, exercise, walk, socialize, attend art events, shop, clean, read, see a movie...all the things I've put aside for months.

But my frames are mostly assembled, and I'm starting to attach the paintings. I'm amazed at all the hardware I have to buy to accomplish this task. But I guess it's not that surprising considering I have 20 paintings to frame. They have to be delivered in less than two weeks, so I think I'm on track, but without a moment to spare.

Now if I can just get some press releases in the mail...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Warren Walkabout

I went back to the shoemaker's shop for the fourth time about a week ago to visit my machines during the annual Warren Walkabout. It's a bit disconcerting to see them, they're familiar and strange at the same time. Some seem smaller, almost like miniature models, in others I see new details that I want to rush back and incorporate into my paintings. This was probably my last visit, chances are good that I'll be moving on to a different subject after my show, although I'm still not sure what. The natural world always seems to be what I plan to return to, but a chance encounter, like that with shoe machines, can divert me.

While in Warren I talked with the shoemaker himself, Tim Noonan, and to my surprise he had not heard of St. Hugh, although he was very familiar with the other patron saint of shoemakers, St. Crispin. He showed me a hammer with "Crispin" stamped in the metal head, and a tool he uses actually made out of a bone, though I doubt it was St. Hugh's bone.

Looking good while lying

Okay. I wouldn't care how much Sarah Palin spends for clothes. I wouldn't even care if the Republican National Committee paid for her whole family's makeover (although their donors might). What I can't stand is their damned hypocrisy. Their "just like you" "small town values" b.s.

You know who's more like me?

Notice who gets the credit card bills for this family. And you can't script these little kids. This video was recorded in July, when celebrity Palin was just a twinkle in John McCain's eye.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The perfect cup

It's great to have the first cup of coffee in the studio. Unfortunately I had to go to work about an hour later, after putting a coat of paint on my frames. A good way to start the day though!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


No, I'm not talking about Wall St., I'm talking about my studio. I like to think I keep it pretty organized, but it always gets like this in the weeks before a show.

In fact, here it is right before my Russia show, the last time that I went all out making frames.

I'll be glad to deliver the paintings to the gallery in about 4 weeks (gulp) and sweep it out.

But once the show is up and the cold weather settles in I'm not sure how often I'll be able to work in this studio. I managed to hang on to my day job, which these days is a good thing, but the bummer part is that they are probably going to change my schedule so I might not get back home to my studio till 6 or 7. Since it takes about 2 hours to warm up the space in the dead of winter, it will mean starting at 8 or 9 at night. I'll do it somehow though...I'm not going to stop doing my work just cause I have to make a little money.

Like a lot of people, I've been obsessed with politics lately. I must check the polls a dozen times a day. I'm liking what I see though, I hope we can keep it going. I'm also glad to see so many art blogs I visit have gotten political and show their support for Obama, so I know I'm not the only artist being distracted by this critical election. The more we are subjected to the dirty campaigning of McCain and Palin, the more I'm convinced that they deserve to lose even more than Obama deserves to win. If like me, you've been appalled by the anger filled McCain/Palin rallies, Edward Winkleman turns the anger back where it belongs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

September report

September started out strong for painting days, but I've had to change into framing mode for the last few weeks, and have had to think about all the promotion stuff as well. Sometimes I dream of delegating some of the practical matters of having a show, but as the date gets closer, I find it seems easier just to do it myself. The invitations were sent off to Modern Postcard this morning though, so that's done. Now to get my mailing list in shape. I'm going to design a web invite as well, and will post the link when I've finished it. If anyone who isn't on my list would like an invite when they come in, send me your address (email or actual) and I'll add you to my list.

Last week I found that, instead of my exhibit being a one person show for the 3 weeks it will be up, I will be sharing the gallery with a photographer, Peter Goldberg, for the first week (then I'll add more paintings to make it a one person for the next two weeks).

I hear that he will be exhibiting photos of the CSO, the huge sewer tunnel that is being drilled under Providence that will divert the rainwater that sometimes overwhelmed our sewage treatment plant and caused sewage to flow into the bay. I actually went down into the tunnel shortly after they started drilling and wanted to do a series of paintings about it. I never did get back underground though -- so many paintings, so little time! I did take a lot of photos and put together a couple of slideshows (The Utility Shaft and The Main Shaft) of my subterranean journey. I'm not surprised to see another artist inspired by the project, and am curious to see the photos myself.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm published (kind of)

I was very excited the other day to get a package on my porch containing two books from the Cambridge University Press. About 6 months ago I got an email about using one of my paintings, "Pool of Water", that the author had seen on the web, for a book cover for their new introduction to the poet Sylvia Plath. Hoping it wasn't a scam, I looked into it, and everything checked out legit. Luckily I had a good slide, as I had sold the painting a while ago, so I traded the slide for a modest check and the result was this little book! I never did learn how they stumbled on to my painting among all the others out there on the web, but I guess you never know what posting your work will bring.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Just couldn't resist

Ok, it's not art, or nature, but after last night I needed it to uncringe myself...

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grant me

Once again, I made my yearly trek over to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts on deadline day (Oct. 1) to drop off my application for the RISCA artist grant. RISCA is cool in that they anticipate the last minute rush and set up a table just inside the door of the Capitol Building where the Council has its offices so that one can just park in the drop-off lane and rush in with the application. Us busy artists appreciate that! I also appreciated seeing my friend Liz Keithline, a fine artist herself, behind the table. She is perfect for the arts council, seeming to know everyone and everything going on in the arts community in R.I. (and beyond) and having a curiousity and excitement about all of it. (and she has nothing to do with actually choosing the grantees -- so I have no ulterior motives here!)

As I was chatting with Liz my eye was caught by the large and intricate paintings The Atrium Gallery behind her. The exhibit was of paintings by Augustin Patino. I didn't have a lot of time to look, but the more I did, the more I saw in the paintings. The work was full of detail without being fussy, the best being the piles of wrecked cars spreading in fungus-like patches over the apocalyptical landscapes. It's a show a show definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not sure I really want to be a starving artist after all....

As much as my day job interferes with my studio work, it's a bit unnerving when the safety net it provides begins to sprout holes, which is what happened last week. A round of layoffs at the newspaper where I work has affected me, which may or may not result in my joining the growing ranks of those without a weekly paycheck. In theory, (and fantasy) it would give me more time to paint, but like most painters I can't make a living from my brush, and don't want to lose the health insurance my job provides. So I'd have to dust off my resume and hit the streets, which would be even more of a distraction than the 9-5 grind, so I'm hoping to keep the job in one form or another, unfortunately.

But once I leave the ergonomic office chair, close my studio door and sit for a bit in my old painting chair it becomes of little importance. My battles are in here.

I toured the RISD Museum's new wing on Sunday with some out of town guests. It sure is a change from the old wing—for one thing, it has a escalator! That kind of blew my mind. The Chihuly show was ok, but I thought it was rather thin, despite the dramatically lit and reflected installations. I'll have to go back and take another look when it's not so crowded. I'd like to take another look at the David Macaulay show too. I have to really respect the work that went on behind the pages of his books. Contrast his thoughtful sketches with the "art fair" type paintings that Chihuly whips out for his assistants as studies for his glass designs.

44 days till the hanging.

Monday, September 22, 2008

51 days...

I've been sadly neglecting this blog, due to frantically framing and preparing for weekend guests. I'm also trying to finish 3 more paintings for my show. The dates are finalized and are November 13 to December 5 with an opening reception November 15, 4-7pm. 51 days...but who's counting? My biggest, and most challenging painting in progress is not yet clicking...but is doing better thanks to some advice my painter friend Steve gave me this week. Unfortunately it also means all the puzzle pieces that aren't quite fitting need to go back in the box for a good shuffle...

I also have to accept the possibility that it won't make it into the show, it's more important to get it right than to finish it by some arbitrary date.

Meanwhile, here's a totally unrelated, but cool photo of rain in the grass....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Free online portfolio sites

I usually get a few solicitations every month to post my work on portfolio web sites or virtual galleries. Any artist with an email no doubt gets the same. The quality of these portfolio sites varies greatly though, so it's always good the check them out before uploading your work. Most allow you to upgrade for a price, but I've been happy with the following site's free service. Here are some samples of how they present an artist's work.

These two have been around a while and are well organized...
Art Wanted
Absolute Arts

Saatchi has gotten a lot of publicity, and has a bazillion artists, but someone need to take a class in web design!
Saatchi Gallery

This is the latest one I found, it takes a while for your work to show up, but after 2 weeks if it's not there, an email will do the trick. The quality of work on this site seems very good.
Irving Sandler Artists File

Does posting your work on these sites help? I really can't say. But they do allow you to place your web address and other info on them, and they do come up in search engines. So it couldn't hurt if you want to get your work out there. If anyone knows of others, let me know and I'll look into it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Fable

How the shoomakers stole away Saint Hugh's bones and made them working tools thereof, and the vertue that they found in the same; whereby it came that when any man saw a shoomaker travelling with a pack at his back, they would presently say: "There goes Saint Hugh's bones."

Upon a time it chanced that a company of journeymen shoomakers passed along by the place where Saint Hugh's dead body was hanging, and finding the flesh pickt cleane off from the bones, they entred thus into communication amoung themselves:

"Never was Saint Hugh so bare", quoth one, "to carry never a whit of skin upon his bones."

"Nor thou never so bare", said another, "to beare never a penny in thy purse. But now seeing you talk of Saint Hugh, it brings me to remembrance of his legacy that he gave us at his death."

"What was that?" said the rest.

"Marry", quoth he, "I will tell you. When the gentle prince saw that the cruelty of the time would not suffer him to be liberal to his friends, but that his life was taken away by one and his flesh given to others, he most kindly bequeathed his bones unto us."

"Tush", quoth another, "that was but to show his mind towards the shoomakers, because he had received of them so many favors; for alas, what can the dead man's bones pleasure the living?"

"No", quoth another, "I can tell you there may be as great vertue found in his bones as the brains of a weasill or the tongue of a frog."

"Much like", answered the rest, "but I pray thee shew us what vertue is in those things you speak of."

Quoth he, "I will tell you: the braines of a weasill hath this power, experientia docet, that if the powder be mingled with the runnet wherewith women make their cheese, no mouse dares touch it. In like manner the tongue of a water-frog hath such great force in it that if it be laid upon the breast of any one sleeping, it well cause them to tell whatsoever you shall demand: for by that meanes Dick Piper knew he was a cuckold. Againe, I know that those that are travellers are not ignorant that whosoever puts but six leaves of mugwort in his shooes, shall nere be weary, though he travell thirtie or fourtie miles on foot in a forenooon."

"That, indeed, may be true", quoth one, "for by the verie same hearb my last dame kept her ale from sowring. And it is said that where housleek is planted the place shall never be hurt with thunder. Pimpernel is good against witchcraft, and because my sister Joan carried alwayes some about her, Mother Bumby could not abide her. Therefore, what vertue a dead man's bones may have we know not till we have tryed it."

"Why, then", said the third man, "let us soon at night steal Saint Hughe's bones away and, albeit the tyrant will be displeased, yet it is no theft; for you say they were given us, and therefore we may the bolder take them. And because we will turn them to profit and avoid suspition, we will make divers of our tools with them; and then if any vertue do follow them, the better we shall find it."

To this motion every one gave his consent; so that the same night Saint Hughe's bones were taken down, and the same being brought before a sort of shoomakers, there they gave their opinion that it was necessary to fufill the will of the dead, and to take those bones in as good a part as if they were worth ten thousand pounds. Whereupon one stept out and thus did say:

My friends, I pray you, listen to me,
And mark what S. Hughe's bones shall be:
First a drawer and a dresser,
Two wedges, a more and a lesser.
A pretty block, three inches high,
In fashion squared like a die,
Which shall be called by proper name,
A heel-block, the very same.
A hand-leather and thumb-leather likewise,
To pull out shooe-thread we must devise;
The needle and the thimble
shall not be left alone,
The pincers, the pricking-aule,
and the rubbing stone;
The aule-steele and tackes,
the sow-haires beside,
The stirrop, holding fast,
while we sowe the cowhide;
The whetstone, the stopping-stick,
and the paring-knife --
All this doth belong
to a journeyman's life:
Our apron is the shrine
to wrap these bones in:
Thus shroud we Saint Hugh's bones
in a gentle lamb's skin.

"Now all you good yeomen of the Gentle Craft, tell me now", quoth he, "how like you this?"

"As well", replyed they, "as Saint George doth of his horse, for as long as we can see him fight with the dragon we will never part from this posie."

"And it shall be concluded that what journeyman soever he be, hereafter, that cannot handle his sword and buckler, his long sword or a quater-staffe, sound the trumpet or play upon the flute, and bear his part in a three-man's song, and readily reckon up his tools in rime --except he have born colours in the field, being a lieutenant, a sergeant, or corporall -- shall foreit and pay a pottle of wine, or be counted for a colt." To which they answered all, viva voce: "Content, content"; and then, after many merry songs, they departed. And never after did they travell without these tools on their back; which ever since were called Saint Hughe's bones.

The Gentle Craft
By Thomas Deloney, Alexis Frederick Lange
Published by Mayer & Müller, 1903

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clams and clamps

Yesterday I took an unpaid day off work to paint, so I can afford to make today a catch-up day, with a break to take my mom down to Flo's for some fried clams as a last summer treat before resigning myself to the idea that summer is ending. It actually feels more like fall now, it seems in the last few days the light has shifted, and I've put on socks and a jacket a few times already.

My other goal today was to finish my statement, finalized what I'm calling my exhibit, and work on my postcard and gallery book. But I'm procrastinating of course, by working on frames and writing this blog. My frames I think will go well, I've simplified my design, so now it's just production line of sawing, clamping, gluing, nailing, assembling, sanding, spraypainting, and finish work for at least 16 oil painting frames and numerous frames with glass. It looks like an awful lot when I write it out, but I can do it, because....I have to!

But enough procrastinating, I've got to tackle that statement.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

August report

August was a good month for painting, but my garden is growing wild, and I still haven't been for a bike ride this summer! But it's now only 2 months to my show, so that will take priority. I'm to the point now where I have to write a statement. Is there anything more painful for an artist? Fortunately I discovered this site, The Market-O-Matic (1.0)
[fine arts version]
. I knew there must be an easier way! Here's what the Market-O Matic came up with for me...
Work of Anti-Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Kathy Hodge's work investigates the nuances of vibrations through the use of fast motion and close-ups which emphasize the Mechanical nature of digital media. Hodge explores abstract and anxious scenery as motifs to describe the idea of hyper-real space. Using warlike loops, lasers, and slow-motion images as patterns, Hodge creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of time...

The vortex creates, the chaos permeates. In the synaptic space, art objects are resurrections of the creations of the vortex -- a vortex that uses the chaos as a machine to deconstruct ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the devolution of the electronic environment, the vortex is approaching a point where it will be free from the chaos to realize immersions into the machinations of the delphic space. Work of Anti-Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction contains 10 minimal flash engines (also refered to as "clipper chips") that enable the user to make complex audio/visual compositions.
I'm going to go with it...

And despite my neglect, I did manage to get some beautiful little tomatoes from my pitiful little garden...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Does outrage make for better painting?

If not, I should probably turn off the radio...

This is the first painting I did for the series I am going to exhibit in November. Hopefully I am working on the last now, although I'm tempted to try a few more if time permits...which of course it won't!

Tonight I'm taking a break, instead of staying up late painting and torturing myself listening to McCain's acceptance speech, I'm going to grab a drink with a friend at the local watefront watering hole, right next to these guys, Reliant and Resolute (painted in 1988).

I need a drink after the Huckabee act...
"Barack Obama's excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don't even vote or pay taxes here. It's not what he took there that concerns me. It's what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he'd like to see imported here."
OOh, scary Europe, best to stay home where it's safe...

(sorry to get political, it takes a lot to get me to sound off! Here's some comic relief to make up for it -- McCain's Voice Mail to Palin Leaked to Press (Listen))

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Playing at politics and pollocks

I've been paying too much attention to this important presidential contest this week to do much but paint and listen to the radio, but here's a picture from the studio...
And if you've had enough of politics, try some pollocks!
Hint, click to change color...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The mysterious D.W. Britt

Going to the Tamsky gallery a few weeks ago started me thinking about a painting I bought in an antique store in Bristol many years ago. I don't really collect art, which I know is hypocritical of me, but I guess it's because my walls have always been full of paintings, even if they are my own. Something about this portrait really got to me though. I love the look of intensity on the woman's face, the saturated red color, and the way the space is broken up. I imagine she is working in an art school in the forties, but I really don't know. I also get a kick out of her accessories. The handful of brushes, the lit cigarette and pack outlined in her blouse pocket, the red lipstick and turban, and her engagement ring. The signature says D.W. Britt, and the canvas is signed in pencil on the back and on the stretchers, another clue that it was done in school (in defense against arts school stretcher thieves, I fell victim myself a few times). I haven't been able to find out anything about the artist, and whether it's a self portrait or done by a rebellious classmate who chose to ignore the still life assignment and paint something really interesting. The shop didn't know either, but they were very sorry to see the painting go!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Flashback to Mesa Verde

Here's a video of me during my artist residency at Mesa Verde National Park. It's a bit goofy, but gives an idea of the feeling of wandering through the ruins alone. That is, alone except for my filmmaker husband John, who took the footage.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The wonderful 80's

I was going through some old images on my computer and came across this one of me in my studio in Providence circa 1987. I'm amazed at how small the little attic room looks now, lit with only a small window and the lightbulb on a stand you can see on the left. I did some of my biggest paintings in that studio, you can see the finished painting behind the one on the easel here. As sparse as my lifestyle was in those days, I'd love to go back in time sometimes....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Getting the lead out

In previous posts I've been writing about how I'm trying to make sure that I'm not disposing of any painting debris that would be harmful to the environment and the bay. I think I've been pretty successful in switching over to non-toxic paints and solvents, but I still have some paints to use up that contain lead and zinc oxide, so I've saved my rags and paint jars until I had a chance to take them to the "Eco-Depot", which travels to different locations in Rhode Island and collects just about anything that you are not supposed to throw in the trash. Saturday they were going to be in my city, so Friday I went to their website for details and found that I was supposed to have made an appointment a few days in advance. I put in my request anyway (a very simple process) a few hours later got an email which told me to come at 11:15 the next day. Of course, being Saturday morning I was trying to do too many chores at once, so was running about a half and hour late by the time I loaded up the truck with my trash cans, and threw in a few old batteries for good measure.

I was concerned that I would miss my appointment, but when I got there I found myself in a short line of cars waiting to check in. They didn't ask my name or check to see if I had an appointment, their only question was "what do you have?" "Oil paint, jars and rags" "Pull up over there". Two friendly men unloaded my truck, returned my empty cans and I was on my way in about a minute. I could have really just shown up without an appointment, but I think they schedule people just to keep the traffic moving. I was glad to see so many other people dropping off stuff, and a large crew of people sorting trash and directing it towards safe disposal. Here's a link to find out when they're coming to your town. They take old computer stuff too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Frames of mind

This week I started thinking seriously about framing for my show in November. I really would like to buy frames, but haven't seen any that would suit my paintings at a reasonable cost, so I may be back to making them myself again. I've come up with a simplified version of a very work-intensive frame I had originally planned for the oils, so I'm going to make a sample and if it works, I'll go that route.

I sorted my studies as well, most are on paper so I'll need to frame behind glass--boy do I hate that kind of framing. I'm lucky though, I had stocked up on some simple oak frames in all sizes that the RISD museum was "deaccessioning". They were selling them very cheaply, but they can still be called "museum quality frames"! I think I'll splurge and have the mats cut for me though. I've never mastered that skill, despite the acres of matboard that have gone under my knife.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lunch break

Today at lunch I went for a walk. Just a walk, no destination. It seems a simple concept, but I haven't done that in ages. I always feel I have to "accomplish something" on my precious hour break from my day job. But Providence was looking enchanting on this clear August day that felt more like September. I walked down Weybosset Street and felt as if I hadn't walked that street in years. It's amazing how you can miss changes that happen only a block from your usual path. There were a few new lunch places (One with free wi-fi) and a new hotel going up where St. Francis Chapel used to be. I crossed the river and walked along the east bank, it was low tide so I could see the bottom of the river, soft with silt and pollution, like the paint that settles at the bottom of my solvent jars. In shallow relief was a bicycle, probably stolen years ago and tossed in the river, now thickly coated in algae, mud and rust. It looked beautiful and mysterious through the 2 feet of river water and I wished I had my camera so I could post a picture. I may check for the next low tide and go back to take one. I continued down to Wickenden Street to poke around in the antique stores. Some of them have really interesting paintings on their walls, and Adam Tamsky Fine Art at 395 is a gallery that has some really cool paintings from the 30's through the 70's, a great collection of old frames too. I've really got to get out more....

I'm going to occasionally post an ad from some of the vintage art magazines I've collected. I love reading commentary on artists, who are now either famous or forgotten, from 50 or so years ago. I find the ads almost more fascinating, often humorous in retrospect and sometimes beautiful. This one, from ARTnews Annual of 1957 I'll file under beautiful.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I'm posting what I think is my latest finished painting from the Shoemaker series that I'm going to exhibit in November. I say "I think" because sometimes I decide a painting is finished and then it refuses to settle down and keep nagging from its corner of the studio. Yesterday I went back into a painting that I had considered finished months ago. It's always bugged me though, so it's actually a relief to paint out some sections and rethink them. It already looks better.

It's not every studio session that I dare to make decisions like that. Sometimes I have a whole day in the studio but my brain is not connecting to my work. Or the opposite happens. I'm really focused and connected, but other obligations pull me away from the studio, so I can just open the studio door and stand in front of my painting for a few minutes, car keys in hand...

I don't know what's more frustrating, but I think the former, since I feel like I should be able to just "snap out of it". It would be better on those days just to go for a bike ride or walk but studio days are so rare. . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Museums and cemeteries

From the road in Big Bend National Park.

I've been going through my photos from western Texas this week so I think I will post a couple of my favorites for the next few blogs.

The bizarre beast called the Javelina near the Window Trail in Big Bend.

A interesting part of traveling is always visiting art museums in other cities. We had an afternoon in El Paso before we flew back with not quite enough time to cross the bridge into Mexico, but had planned it so we stayed in a hotel right across the street from the El Paso Art Museum.
It was a little disappointing that we seemed to be the only visitors, despite free admission, but the entire downtown area was also deserted. July is considered "off season" in El Paso because of the heat. The collections were very interesting though, and it's a large and modern museum. I especially liked the Spanish Viceroyal Collection. This is the museum's description...
The Spanish Viceroyal Collection reflects the period of the Spanish Empire in the New World. The collections of 17th through 19th centuries include paintings on panel, canvas, copper and tin. Many of these works were used as devotional images and were created by artists such as: Nicolás Enríquez, Antonío de Torres, Francisco Martínez, and Juan Sánchez Salmerón. Many works from this collection are permanently displayed in the Roderick Gallery.
Mostly iconic religious themes, the work had a dark richness of color and brushwork that was complimented by over-the-top carved and mirrored frames that suited the work perfectly. I also liked a portrait by Tom Lea, especially the bottom half where the figure is played against the landscape.

The Art Binational 2008 Binacional de Arte, a joint exhibition with the Museo de Arte Ciudad Juarez was still on exhibit. All of the artists were from western Texas and Mexico, so it was interesting to see contemporary work from a different part of the country.

Another place I like to visit when traveling is cemeteries. There was a great one in the ghost town of Terlingua. It occurs to me that I might be looking for some of the same things in cemeteries I look for in the local art museums, they both contain an attempt to express and symbolize uncomprehensible and sometimes scary life experiences.

It feels more like fall today than the first week of August and it's tempting to tackle my neglected and overgrown gardens in this coolness. But my neighbors apparently have the same idea and the lawnmower duet is at full volume either side of my house. And now it's just become an trio, as the neighbor across the street has just fired up his mower. I think after this post I'll escape to the relative quiet of my studio...especially since a weed whacker was just added to this chorus...western Texas sure was quiet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

July report

My studio calendar in July logged less x's than last month I think, meaning I was in the studio less. Most of that was due to spending 8 days in Texas and the preparation that goes with it. But I was in the studio till late last night, and now that I'm back, it's full steam ahead for my November show. Framing will be a big issue, I'd like to get some steel or iron frames made without spending too much. With about 14 medium to large paintings to frame, the cost could add up fast!

I'll post a report and some photos from my Texas trip soon. We had a great time--Western Texas and Big Bend National Park are absolutely beautiful.
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