Sunday, December 26, 2010

Change of Plans

The little girl changed a bit; got another idea and did it. Half way in between the two images, I liked the hybrid image, and wished I could have preserved it, but this was in my head, and had to do it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Straw in the Wind

Worked on this small painting today. It is a 12"x 9" acrylic painting on canvas. I love straw hats that are falling apart. I hate it when mine bite the dust. The girl is going to be holding a chicken. I thought about using a Golden Retriever puppy, but opted for the chicken instead. It makes the image less common. Her raccoon eyes definitely need work!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Painting: Playing with Lines

This is 16" x 12" Acrylic on canvas. Not sure what I think of it and not sure if it is finished. Actually, I am sure I have to work on it a bit more, now that I see it reduced....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Less is More; The Power of Small Art

This is a 12" x 9" canvas called Paper Hat. It is a study for a larger painting of this child in a room full of masks called "The Trying Room".

I had an epiphany about small works after spending 3 months painting a large canvas. It dawned on me that tiny pieces can have as much power as large ones. Small works demand the viewer to come closer for a look. Their diminutive size invites quiet contemplation. The large paintings that I have always painted scream at you from across the room: "LOOK AT ME; LOOK AT ME!" They are a bold presence, and not easily ignored.

On another topic, I sold a large painting yesterday from the Jack series; it's called "That's a Mighty Fine Looking Dog!" It was the first painting of the Jack Series, and can be seen on my website:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hats Off to Small Paintings

I am currently working on a small scale, painting canvases that are 12"x 9". This work is a sub-theme to my Pretense series, and depicts people wearing hats. This piece is called "Straw Hat."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Illusions: When In is Out and Up is Down

Optical illusions are fascinating. It is delightful when they occur in everyday life, rather than encountering them in print. Recently, one of my masks was left upside down on my dressing table. When I looked at it, it appeared to be right-side up. Even with closer inspection, the illusion was so real that it was impossible to see it any other way. Pictured above is an unaltered image of the mask. Below are two photo shopped examples which I couldn't resist playing with.

Another startling optical illusion can be created if you have eight-foot ceilings. Get a large hand mirror that is at least 4" x 4". Mirrored tiles work perfectly. Hold one parallel to the ground and at least six inches from your chin. The idea is for the reflected image in the mirror to fill your viewing field. Then walk around. If the mirror is big enough, your ceilings are eight feet tall, you will perceive that you are walking on the ceiling. Light fixtures and ceiling fans have to be negotiated. When you enter another room, you have to lift your feet to walk over the door jam!

The best part of this illusion is when you go outside. Once you step over the door jam,and walk to the edge of the porch or roof overhang, you are gazing into a bottomless sky or deep space. NOTHING is beneath your feet. Do you take that last step into the void ? Do you take a leap of faith?

Which brings me to Yves Klein in the first photograph of this post. It is called Saut Le Vide, (Leap into the Void) Paris, 1960 by Harry Shunk. It was on view recently at the Menil Museum here in Houston, and is one of my favorite images. Klein was known for this photograph, which shows him leaping off a wall, arms outstretched towards the street below. The large tarpaulin Klein jumped onto was removed from the final image, making this a photomontage, which in the end, was only an illusion.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo Finish

My painting is finally finished (except for two minor revisions). It fought me every step of the way, and took far longer than I had hoped to complete, but I persevered.

I obsessively work on a canvas until it is completed. If I had my way, I would work 24/7, or until I dropped from exhaustion. It is a good thing that I am not able to do that!

This shows an early stage of the painting, and underscores some of the changes that were made.
The quality of the images is substandard (sorry) because I haven't replaced my camera which died an untimely death. I had to resort to the i phone camera.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eliminating Superfluous Content

I add and subtract images when I work on a painting. Initially, I extensively plan out my work. I make sketches, then progress to more complete work-ups on tracing paper. This aids in repositioning figures or objects, and easy access to the mirror image of an object. After the mock-up is finalized, I do a final gridded drawing to transfer to a large, gridded canvas.

Even after so much preliminary work and planning has been done, sometimes a 24" x 18" idea may not translate well to a 48"x 36" canvas. It may be simply a matter of scale, or it may be that some figures or objects distract from my central idea. When that happens, I have to eliminate superfluous content. That has happened with this painting: "House of Cards". This post shows two of the figures I have had to delete.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

House of Cards and Alice Neel

I have been working nonstop on the painting called House of Cards. The pace slow because the painting is complicated: 6 figures, 2 patterned dresses, and a stack of cards that sometimes makes me regret that I have always wanted to include them in a painting or two. I have a blank bohemouth 6' x 6' stretched canvas in my entry hall that was meant for this subject, and it may stay there awhile. I am not even sure I can get the canvas into my studio.

I saw a documentary film about Alice Neel several years ago. One of the things that struck me about her house is that there were stacks of paintings everywhere: in every room, hallway, and stairwell. Alice Neel said that "you should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is .....unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far.

If the idea of a house of cards intrigues you at all, check out the movie by the same name (1992).
Kathleen Turner stars as Ruth, the mother of two children. When her husband dies in an accident while the family is in Mexico, the six year old daughter Sally retreats into autism. A specialist in childhood autism attempts to bring Sally back from her mental isolation through traditional psychotherapy. In contrast, Ruth risks her own sanity as she attempts to enter her daughter's world. As she copes with Sally's bizarre behavior, she builds a wonderful, gravity-defying house of cards.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Artist's Eye

Artists look at the world differently than the average person. Their vision is so disparate that artists are often outsiders, looking from the outside in, engaged yet separate.

I like to think of the first artists painting cave paintings, which are some of the earliest forms of art we know today (they have been carbon-dated to 30,000 BCE). While the vast majority of prehistoric men and women fought for survival in a hostile environment, the early image-makers burrowed deep into caverns, crawling through narrow passages to make their mark. These cave painters were quite skilled at their task, using shading, relief and perspective to accurately portray the animals in their environment.

I think of myself as a cave painter of sorts, spending countless hours creating, removed from the rest of the world.

The image above is a detail of a religious painting of Dolorosa, I believe. I will check and post the source later.


While going through some art catalogs the other day, I came across an advertisement for fine linen canvas that guarantees that I will leave behind a LASTING legacy of art.....IF I buy their product!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Painting Preview

I have started a 4' x 4' acrylic painting with an idea that I have wanted to work on for quite some time. It took about 3-4 weeks to develop the idea, as it involves 6 figures, and a central concept that needed to be conveyed through their images. The child pictured above has an important roll in creating the mood and the mystery of the painting. I had wanted to paint this on a 6' x 6' canvas, but my ordered canvas arrived about two weeks too late (mea culpa). I had the smaller canvas, so I used what I had. Will keep you posted with updates!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Driveby Shooting

Texas had a late spring this year, after a long winter with multiple freezes that many characterized as harsh, bitter, and grueling. Landscapes and yardscapes showed damage from this uncharacteristic weather, with tropicals and tender vegetation biting the dust. Also our insect population was thinned considerably, and our state bird, the mosquito, disappeared for a few nice months. I took to the roads to the hill country to record the annual spring show of Texas wildflowers. My husband was driving, and being a race car driver, he wasn"t inclined to stop for me to get the perfect picture. So I engaged in what I call "Driveby Shooting." I was using my iPhone, and was quite lucky the first day, being able to time the shots with just the right amount of anticipation to catch the scenes with the time delay it takes to capture the digital images. A side effect of such photography on the run is the "leaning fence illusion". Pictured above is an old school house somewhere around Frelsburg, maybe. I forget its exact location!

Love the yellow wildflowers. They are the most spectacular on dark and overcast days.

Bluebonnets are the pride and joy of Texas. Their beauty is more easily seen with the eye, than with the camera lens, as their tone and color is so close to green grass. They just don't show up.

Above is a multicolored field of flowers. This is another situation where the beauty of the field is better captured with the eye, than with a "driveby shooting." Below are Indian Paintbrush.

So ends my day of photography on the run. I don't recommend it to anyone, except to those who have a husband who thinks he is on a racetrack. Maybe next year we'll be more leisurely!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What is Art?

"Butterfly Kiss"; Manipulated Photo; 8" x 10"

Artist's provide a different way to view things.
Their work is many times slightly askew, offered for cogitation and reflection. Sometimes a piece is pure eye candy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Death of a Pet

I am still mourning the loss of Jack. We are always unprepared in the face of death, but this dog went so quickly, that it was particularly hard to take. This is a portion of a drawing I made of him over a month ago.

This is a 16" x 20" acrylic painting of Jack. It is not yet completed. I am going to have a monarch butterfly in it. If you look closely, there is a ghost of a small butterfly in the background. I over painted the original dog head and butterfly because the images were the wrong scale. I like images to be bold and bigger than life. When they crowd the edges of the frame, I am happy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Newest Work Incorporates Recurring Portraits

I found an old image in an antique store that captivated me. It appears above in an unfinished
7"x 5" acrylic canvas that I call "Lilly." I wanted to use the image again, which led to the study below.

This 12"x9" piece is called "Lilly of the Leaves. " It incorporates autumnal leaf patterns that are sometimes left behind on sidewalks after days of light rain. I am going to paint a larger version of this picture, and play around color, and with the abstract shapes of the leaves.

Image Threads

Many of the people who populate my canvases keep reappearing in different guises. This small painting (7"x 5") above is called "Constance." I named it after a wonderful woman who commissioned a portrait of Winston Churchill for a birthday present. Giclees are available. The face made a huge impression on me, and will populate several future paintings.

The face of Constance reappeared in the 5'x3' painting below. Named "Make.Believe", the acrylic painting resembles a large photograph with its white borders. Constance makes another appearance in the recent 12"x9" study above. Called "Masking", the piece explores "trying on" different identities.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hunting Art Prize Finalist

Two weeks ago I learned that I am a finalist in the Hunting Art Prize Competition. "Courage", the painting I entered, is a 4'x 5' acrylic. The Hunting Art Prize, which is sponsored by the international oil services company Hunting PLC, is a prestigious annual art competition open to established and emerging artists.

It's $50,000 award is the most generous annual prize in the U.S. and has helped to build the reputations and the support the careers of distinguished artists. The winner will be announced at a Gala in Houston on May 1st.

distinguished artists

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19th Our Jack of Hearts is Gone

My daughter Morgan lost her faithful dog Jack at about 2:30 on the morning of January 18th, 2010. He had canine Hemangiosarcoma, which is a rare, highly invasive cancer which remains hidden and without symptoms until it is too late for treatment. Morgan rescued Jack in Austin in 2000. He had been her constant companion for almost ten years

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17

Jack was rescued from a kill shelter in Texas.
My daughter adopted him and discovered he had been abused: he was missing teeth, had battle scars,
heart worms, and a list of neuroses a mile long.
He now lives a life of luxury.
Jack is the iconic American Dog. He's part Dalmatian, English Pointer, Greyhound and Great Dane accidentally molded in to a perfect form. He is an object of beauty and grace, easy on the eyes, and hard on the tender-hearted. My series of paintings called "Jack of Hearts" is dedicated to all essential pets like Jack: you can't breed for them, and money can't buy them. Luck brings them to your door.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jung Center; Jack of Hearts Nov. 30 - Dec . 23

The Jung Center Houston is in the Heart of the Museum District. Despite terrible weather for much of the month, the opening was well attended, and sales were good.

January 13

Welcome to my blog. Please check back often as I will add new posts as I finish new work.

I had a successful show at the Jung Center, Houston, during the month of December. The exhibition, "Jack of Hearts"was a tribute to Jack, a rescue dog that my daughter adopted from a kill shelter in Texas.