Only two more weeks to see my exhibit at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center in Jasper, Indiana. It has been such an awesome and inspiring experience to show my contemporary impressionist paintings in this brand new facility.
The number of visitors and the flattering comments made in the guest books are humbling. As my son told me, Mom, although these paintings are large, this gallery makes them look small. That is just how beautiful and large the gallery spaces are.
The show closes on Friday, June 25th. If you haven’t had a chance to drop by, please plan to do it soon. I’ve met many friends and guests at the gallery for a private tour, not only of my show, but the entire facility. Just let me know if you’re going to be in town and I’ll be happy to meet you there.
There’s always something to do here on the farm and spring seems to be the busiest. This past week my husband and I spent time trimming back the brush and overhanging branches on the lane. This doesn’t sound like much except that it’s a third of a mile long, with trees and bushes on one or both sides. The delivery vans have to run the gauntlet, often leaving with debris decorating their vehicles.
Usually I just walk along with my battery-powered hedge trimmers. When the battery runs down, so do I. And I can only reach just so far up. Getting to the overhead branches is more challenging. In this case, one person drives the truck and one person stands in back with clippers or a chainsaw. We got over nine truck loads so far and we’re still not done. The temps were in the 90s a couple of days ago, but they were in the 50s today.
Since I was the driver this time, I spent a lot of time in the truck.
Brutus is our farm truck. (My husband names every vehicle we have.) We ordered Brutus new back in 1985, a handsome but no frills Ford F250 4WD. Let’s see, that makes him 36 this year. Every farm has an old truck. Come meet ours.
He’s very reliable but has never been coddled. Never spent a night under cover. And is used but not intentionally abused. He’s hauled rock and a whole lot of firewood over the years. He’s been able to get out during the worst of snowstorms. Both of the boys learned to drive in him, which in the country is way below the legal age (only on the farm).
Unfortunately, Brutus is showing his age. The speedometer doesn’t go past 99,999 so he’s now clocking at over 117,000 miles. The radio still works (AM only) but the heater doesn’t. He has two gas tanks but I don’t think the gage works on either one. We don’t worry about anyone stealing him as he’s pretty touchy to get going, besides, he’s not a beauty either. And his top speed is about 45.
We have been so busy with spring activities here on the ninety acres. The temperatures have exploded from the frost predictions earlier this month to near 90s this week. No rain so we’re doing lots of watering. Everything I planted last weekend – the entire garden pretty much – is up and looking healthy. I’ll post photos later when there’s more to see.
The air is a flood of beautiful scents, roses and peonies, honeysuckle, too. The locusts are about done. The strong perfume seems to be the only redeeming value of the multiflora roses and the wild honeysuckle, both which are fighting it out in the scent category.
The farmer who rents some of our fields has been working until way after dark these days. You can see by this monster disk how much time it takes to prepare the ground. Not counting that “other” natural odor that was spread on the fields. Well, that’s called soil improvement.
And the cicadas have emerged in ever-increasing numbers. They don’t bite or sting, just climb out of the ground and then hang onto anything they can while they emerge from their shells. They can’t climb on vinyl or metal but they do like wood or just about anything else they can attach to. My husband uses the leaf blower to blow them off the porch. I use the broom. And now they’re starting to sing to attracts mates. Not as loud as it will be but it’s already beginning to sound like that weird alien noise in a sci-fi movie. The birds and frogs and toads seem sated but I watched two little lizards stalking the same bug today. I think they both missed.
Of necessity due to the heat, studio time has been limited to afternoons. I did manage to finish the painting which I started as a demo a couple of weeks ago. The Reader is a lovely piece, not in any series of paintings but just because I like the subject. I’m already scouting around for the next topic.
All is not art. Spring on the ninety acres has arrived and so has the work.
The past several weeks have been devoted to getting my big show up and running. Framing and delivering, shipping, some marketing, some public events. Exciting but exhausting.
Now, to tackle my three page list of things to do this spring. Yes, I still make extensive lists for almost everything. It just relieves my brain from having to remember everything.
We’ve had beautiful, rain-free weather this past week. A little on the chilly side but make hay, etc. etc. Weeding the flowerbeds. Seems as if we are beset by bedstraw this year. Or as I like one of its other common names sticky willie. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I hate this stuff.
Bringing out all my pots, mixing large batches of soil – potting soil, manure, peat. Planting about thirty of them for sun, shade, large, small. Oh, my back but I just divide the job up to smaller pieces.
Then a big push on to get the main garden planted. It’s a serious garden of about 25 x 40 feet. The sweet corn was planted a few weeks ago and is making a good showing. The peas finally came up in the spring garden (a whole different garden area), and we have been eating fresh lettuce for several weeks. The asparagus patch is nearly done for the year.
Yesterday meant planting tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, herbs, more corn, and lots of flowers for cutting. It’s not very interesting at this point but in a few weeks, it should really start growing.
So, let’s talk about cicadas. It’s the widely touted seventeen year emergence. And they’re HERE! At least emerging. They do not have mouths or stingers so they’re harmless to handle. They feel kinda creepy as they crawl on you with their little claws.
I remember the last time they were here, the air was a cacophony of a high pitched sound, like something you might hear on an old sci-fi movie. I guess we’ll deal with it or stay inside. And remember, the birds and especially our chickens love these things and go after them like candy.
My Intimate Spaces exhibit opened this week. It was so inspiring to see two and a half years of work on display, instead of being propped against my studio walls or in boxes. Due to the virus restrictions, there was no opening reception but other events did pop up.
On Friday, I held a brief discussion about my work with a group of high school students. They asked some very perceptive questions. They were also later allowed to choose a gallery among the three to spend some time sketching.
On Saturday, I held a free public demonstration. I began a painting in my contemporary impressionist style. I got about half way through and will post photos of the completed painting at a later date. Several people I know stopped by to chat and see the show. I was happy to have a friend whom I haven’t seen since before COVID come over and visit, spend some time at the new cultural center with me, and share dinner with later. Miss my old friends terribly.
This was also the week for running around, buying plants for the garden and flower beds. They are still waiting for me and sending guilt vibes until they’re in the dirt.
Shipped a couple of paintings which I sold online. This always entails packing and paperwork, then actually posting them.
And I sorted and delivered some new work to one of the local shops. I feel so guilty for neglecting my friend but there’s only so much time. Somewhere in all this chaos I updated my website and did some posts. Whew!
So, today, Mother’s day, I’m going to take a break and do nothing. Well, that probably won’t happen as I always have something going on, but at least I have several bigger projects completed.
Our cat Leo is now a year old now. We got him as a tiny kitten from our son. He was born a barn cat in the cellar window well. Now he is a big, slightly pampered feline. Would rather spend the night outdoors and sleep in his chair during the day. I worry but what mom doesn’t. He has plenty of places to hide, some very sharp claws, is a great climber, and a big scary dog who chases away other critters.
After a week of final framing, I packed my exhibit of thirty paintings into two vehicles and delivered them to the new Cultural Center in Jasper on Friday. It’s always a little more difficult than one would think it should be. How to layer the paintings without them scratching each other, damaging the frames, or poking through. Also, so they won’t shift while driving.
The Visual Arts Coordinator, Emily Colucci Peak, helped unload and move the work into the gallery. We unwrapped everything and sat the paintings around. Then moved them into position for hanging later this week.
Wow, so exciting to be in this new space. I still can’t believe that the whole building is the final culmination of ten years of work by many many people.
So, for those of you who are interested, the show opens on Thursday, May 6th. Although there will be no reception due to COVID restrictions, the galleries are open to the public seven days a week. Free admission and plenty of free parking in the rear of the building.
I will also be doing a demonstration painting on Saturday, May 8th from 10 to 2.
If you’re in the area and would like a private tour, let me know and I will meet you there. But the staff is very helpful and each painting will have an explanation next to it.
The good news is that we were able to escape to warmer climates for a brief respite. After two years of being stuck at home, we had a delightful and restful vacation.
However, upon returning, I had to start scrambling to prepare for my upcoming solo exhibit in May/June. Fortunately, all the paintings are completed. The frames were on hand. So I jumped into the presentation process.
All of the Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series are on two inch deep gallery-wrapped canvases. This means no framing, only wiring. Actually, the process went rather quickly, especially after I bought special wire snips to cut through the plastic-covered wire. My professional wire scissors wouldn’t work.
Then I began the process of working on the Intimate Spaces: Beach series paintings. About half of these canvases are also the deep, gallery-wrapped type. Those went quickly. BUT….when I began to frame the rest of the paintings. I realized that I didn’t have the correct hardware. Plenty of Z clips, but no L clips. They’re on order.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
Fortunately, they’re due to arrive on Tuesday. It won’t take long to finish once they actually arrive. Remember, I’ve been framing my work for nearly forty years now!
Anyway, the show is coming together. The marketing materials have been ordered. The paintings will be delivered on Friday, April 30th. The show will be hung. It opens at the new Cultural Center on Thursday, May 6th. Unfortunately, with the COVID restrictions, there won’t be a public reception. But I will be doing a demonstration painting on Saturday, May 8th from 10 to 2. If you would like a personal tour of the exhibit, let me know and I’ll try to meet you there.
If you’re in the area, please stop by. It’s even worth it to make a special trip. Some great restaurants in Jasper, especially the Schnitzlebank, a German restaurant that attracts guests from miles around (closed Sundays). Plus, there are many other fine restaurants in the area and lots of neat shops downtown.
Address: Jasper Cultural Center. 100 Third Avenue. Turn right (North on Mill Street) and then right again (East) on Fourth street. Plenty of free parking in the rear of the building.
This is the last painting in my Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread series. I began planning this series in December 2019. I thought I had enough material. The theme was to observe people eating, either together or alone. Some were family members, others were people in the public – restaurants, picnics, etc.
I had a lot of ideas but unfortunately with the onset of the pandemic, my ability to observe was limited. I scoured through hundreds (thousands) of photos taken over about two decades. I laid out about a dozen paintings but towards the end I was running out of subject matter.
This painting is from a photo that I’d saved from several years ago. It was taken by a friend of mine at a special dinner, Thanksgiving I think. I’ve always loved this image but could never figure out quite how to capture the scene. So with his permission, I decided to add it to my series.
It made me think of several paintings of the impressionists who portrayed pets in their work. Even the formal setting seems reminiscent of that era. I thought, well, pets are often our dinner companions so it fits with the theme of the series.
The painting was so much fun to do that it almost painted itself. Some pieces are like that. I don’t usually paint animals but even the fur of the doggie was fun to paint. If you can zoom in on it, you will see that it contains many colors and perfectly captures this little girl.
So, it is with a big sigh that I’ve finished this series last month. Now just to do some framing and I’m all ready to go for my big show next month at the new Jasper Cultural Center. If you’re in the neighborhood, come check it out. More details to follow.
Let me preface this post by saying it is not to disparage the Easter holiday, religion, or bunnies. It is more a tale of bad painting.
I purchased this cute little Easter Bunny at an antique store. It’s not an antique but certainly a mid-century collectible. I’m always scouring thrift shops and antique stores for subjects for still lifes. I have a whole cupboard in my studio. You’ll often see the same items in more than one still life.
This little toy rabbit is vinyl, has lost its squeaker and most of its paint, and is a bit sticky. I guess it would be after 50 or 60 years. Well-loved, anyway.
I was taking a break this past winter from working on my big series paintings to paint some seasonal items. These are sold in my Etsy shops and a couple of local gift shops. They’re a good diversion from the “hard” work. So I thought this cute little bunny would be the perfect subject.
Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way I planned.
It seemed the more I worked on the painting, the worse he looked. Which just goes to show you that effort does not always equal success. I should know.
So I hid him away in my studio. But later showed him to my son who was visiting. He laughed and loved it. Said it has a demonic look to the eyes. (Whaaaaa???) And that the granddaughter would love it. She has his quirky sense of humor. Guess it runs in the family.
So a sincere Happy Easter to all my friends and fans out there. And for those of you who share an off-kilter sense of humor, I present this little Demonic Easter Bunny to you.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!