Monday, December 19, 2011

My high point of 2011 was at sea level

Kayaking the smooth waters of Harriman Fiord

My Forest Ranger friends were kind enough to bring me some of the photos they had taken of me during my residency in Prince William Sound, so I've added them to my slideshow (here and at right). 

Painting through a head net is the lesser of two evils at View Point
Not sure I've looked this happy in a long time!

Since my families gather at my house for Christmas, it's a fun kind of chaos, but I have to admit I'll be happy when the holiday season is over, decorations are cleared and I can test out my latest studio insulating efforts with some good hours at the easel.

Until then, wishing my readers Happy Holidays, and lots of paint in 2012!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Visitors from the great white north

Tim and Barbara Lydon in Harriman Fiord
What a treat it was to get a visit this week from the two Forest Rangers, Barbara and Tim Lydon, who had let me tag along with them in Prince William Sound last August on my Alaska artist residency.  As luck would have it, Tim and Barbara have family in my area and so could swing by my home and studio during their holiday visit—though I must say it was a little disorientating to see them sitting in my living room instead of on the rocky shores of the fiords. 

Me at View Point, on the shore of Harriman Fiord

It was great to see them and couldn't have come at a better time. Just talking with them brought back my Alaska impressions, which have been sadly buried under cares and worries of day to day life. But the experience is still there, pure and protected, like the blue glow deep in the glacial ice, just waiting for me to get some real studio time in to interpret it on canvas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Insulating myself

You can only insulate yourself so much against the slings and arrows of this life, but I've spent the last few weeks insulating my studio against the cold weather, which, though it's been strangely warm for November, will arrive one of these days.  This year, in addition to mounting insulation panels on the garage door I'm going to try dividing my studio in half using this sheet of heavy plastic. My theory is that it will hold the warm air on the painting-side of my studio. 

If so, I just might be able to paint all winter. 

In theory, anyway. 

Family has taken a lot of my energy lately, both good and sad. So as little time as I thought I had to paint before....well, it's less now. But hopefully things will settle into a new routine and I'll get back to my selfish self-centered life soon - can't wait!

I have managed to get some painting in though, both on my animal series and Alaska paintings. I was also asked to take on a high-school intern who wants to learn oil painting. At first I thought great! She can help me get some things done in the studio. Then I realized that any oil-painting-type-tasks I needed to do were those I wanted to do myself.  I have more blank canvases than I can fill right now, so stretching canvas is out, as is grinding paints and painting in backgrounds and angels, traditional duties of studio assistants. What I could really use is someone to help me with promoting my work, but that's not what she wants to learn. (Anyone who knows of any agent-types, I'm all ears).

She came by last week though, and I think it's going to be fun. She's talented, hardworking and smart and makes me think about how I began as a painter myself, since she's about the same age as I was when I first worked in oils (17). I'm going to teach her how to set up her palette and begin a painting, and give her some pigment samples to research. It's nice to see that there are young artists who want to learn some of the timeless techniques like oils, without approaching it "ironically".  I just might end up liking this teaching thing...

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