Monthly Archives: July 2018

Gallery exhibit – behind the scenes

Yesterday I delivered fifty paintings to Oakland City University for a solo exhibit.  It’s been several years since I’ve had the time to build enough work for a solo show so this has been a bit of a challenge.

Car number one, packed with dolly. A dolly is invaluable if you have to schlep work any great distance. Always choose wheels. I have a much bigger dolly but this small one is compact and travels well.

Car number 2. Make sure everything is tight. I used to have a full-size van and could have gotten everything into one vehicle, so it’s a bit more challenging now.

Car number 2. Again, make sure everything is packed tight so there isn’t any slipping. This can damage your artwork.

Before I was director of the arts center, I was the visual arts director responsible for lining up and implementing the exhibits.  There is a lot more to it than it would appear.  Contracts, designing and ordering gallery announcement cards, press releases, unpacking, hanging, receptions, repacking, etc.  However, this only built on two decades of schlepping my work around the country to art fairs and festivals.  Those were the gypsy days, for sure.

But yesterday I was on familiar territory with meeting my old friend Roger Willis at OCU.  This was the culmination of spending the past few weeks deciding what to take, ordering frames and framing artwork, packing and delivering, then unpacking.  Fortunately, Roger didn’t require that I stay to help hang the exhibit as some galleries do. So it will be a surprise to see which paintings he places next to each other.

Gallery shot number 1. Unpacked paintings waiting for hanging.

Gallery shot 2. More paintings waiting.

Gallery shot 3. Even more paintings waiting. These smaller pieces (16 x 20) can be double hung to save space.

If you’re interested in viewing the exhibit, it will be held from August 6th through September 24th.  The reception is Sunday, September 9th from 2 to 5 pm.  The address is on the Oakland City University campus at the J. Michael Dunn gallery, Cornwell-Reed Fine Arts Building, 138 N Lucretia Street, Oakland City, IN 47660.  They’re open M-F from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.   And weekends by appointment.

I’ll post more photos of the exhibit later.

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What happened to color?

Many shades of gray. I’m not sure if it’s fifty, but probably at least that.

I like watching those house renovation programs but have you noticed that everything seems to be turning out the same these days?  It’s granite countertops, hardwood floors, open floor plan (noisy), glass tile backsplash, subway tile bathrooms, barnwood doors.  And….it’s all gray, gray, gray.  Well, white and black play a big part, too.

But whatever happened to color?  I mean other than a staged bowl of green apples or a throw on the sofa?  Can you imagine living in northern climes with white on white walls?  I’d be snowblind.

I don’t wish to bring back avocado or harvest gold appliances, but what happened to color?  Humans see a wider range of colors than almost any other animals so why aren’t we using more color?

As an artist, I get excited when I walk into an art store and see the beautiful array of colors.  Even just writing about it gets me pumped up.  I love color, as my paintings attest.

More neutral interiors. How about a little personal touch? Anyone?

So I wonder why the decorators or  home stagers don’t use more colors in their final reveals?  Don’t you think that favorite red painting of the dancer that you move from house to house makes your home feel instantly like your own nest?  Are people afraid of color?  I mean, we’ve had the beiges and off-whites of the 60s, 70s and 80s.  Now we live in a black and white and gray world?  Nah, not for me.  I want some color to excite my senses.  Besides, you can always move a painting or repaint a wall.  Probably a lot easier than that barndoor you had to have.

And what’s up with those giant clocks?  Well, that’s a subject for a different post.

What’s your favorite color?

What are you reading?

Books, my not-so-secret addiction

What are you reading these days?  This is a question I am frequently asked as most people who know me, also know that I am a true bibliophile (lover of books.)  I covet books.  I love the smell, the feel, the heft.  Just opening a new book gives me chills of anticipation.

So, most friends are also surprised when I reply with several titles.  How can you read more than one book at a time?  they ask.  Well, you can watch more than one television series at a time, can’t you?  You watch an episode and then come back the next week to watch the next one.  Then I can see the light dawn as they get what I’m saying.

I like a variety of books and subjects to read and switch off during the week.  Quiet morning time is often reserved for more contemplative, deeper non-fiction.  Later in the day, I escape with some fiction (many genres).  And bedtime reading is, let’s just say, a wee bit boring, or at least nothing that’s going to keep me awake all night.

So this is my current reading stack.

Bronnie Ware’s The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.  Since I already have more years behind me than I have before me, I mostly want to see how my life compares with others who have reached the end of theirs.  There are some interesting concepts but I do find that the author wanders around a bit.

John Muir’s A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf.  This is more of a journal than a bonafide book.  It is scanned and has all the errors that some scanned books have.  But I always find Muir a fascinating and awesome writer and person.  It’s nearly incomprehensible some of the treks and adventures he made with very little in the way of supplies or equipment.  Bedtime reading, for sure.

Dr. Michael Mosely The Fast Diet.  The author discusses some of the science behind intermittent fasting and the research for better health and longevity.  I think I like’d Dr. Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code better but this book is very readable.

James H. Rubin How to Read Impressionism: Ways of Looking.  I’ve read so many books about impressionism, the period, the specific artists of the era, that I doubted there would be anything new here.  However, the author approaches the subject by grouping the artists and paintings by location and subject matter more than chronologically.  It’s an interesting read but I have noticed that his conclusions do not always agree with other authors.  It’s loaded with color pictures and is a good reference.

Then this past weekend I indulged a guilty pleasure of zipping through two sci-fi dystopian books by Dima Zales, The Thought Readers and The Thought Persuaders Not deep but good entertainment.

So, this is what is on my reading table these days.  What is on yours?

So many books; so little time. – Frank Zappa

Mid-July garden update

A pretty little sunflower playing peek-a-boo. I love the patterns of the seeds.

Outdoor activities have been limited lately due to the extreme heat and humidity. Plus ozone alerts.  Who would think that in a county which is heavily forested and has such low population that we don’t even have a traffic light, we would have trouble with air quality?  It’s the Ohio River Valley influence again.

Any work that must be done outdoors is usually in the early morning.  However, some relief is in sight with cooler weather predicted for the next few weeks.

Garden in July. Still looking pretty good. The corn in the far right of the photo has been harvested. We’ll take the used stalks to the neighbor for his cattle. Squash vines dying. Plenty of basil and cilantro which should be harvested soon. Now is when the real work begins.

The garden is still looking pretty good but doesn’t seem to be producing as much as most years.  We are usually overwhelmed with zucchini and summer squash this time of year but not this year.  Also, green beans that we generally pick by the bucket seem sparse.  The first crop of corn has been harvested and put up.  Thanks to Mikey the guard dog for keeping the raccoons out of the corn patch. And it looks as if the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will be plentiful.  Just not yet.

Garden in July. Flowers for cutting. Peppers coming on. Squash vines dying.

One of my great pleasures is planting flowers for cutting in the garden.  I love to bring in big bouquets for the house.  The varieties change from year to year but I always have a row or two of sunflowers, especially the mammoth and the multi-stemmed varieties.  Zinnias, cosmos, nasturtiums, are usually sown, but I add other varieties, such as baby’s breath.

The many containers with flowers seem to be holding up well, probably due to better watering and care.  This is one reason to plant in pots.  The flower beds could use a good weeding and some more mulch but that will have to wait until the cooler weather next week.

Living in the country makes one cognizant of the cycles of nature, whether it’s the heat of summer or the cold of winter. I think it’s easy to lose sight of man’s connection to his environment if you don’t experience some contact with nature every day.  Just my humble opinion.

I hope that you get some time outdoors this summer.

In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.  John Muir

Memories of Paris

Memories of Paris, 24 x 36, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

I completed this large painting this past week.  Well, I may not be finished as I keep tweaking it. You would think that a painting of the sky through some tree branches would be easy but I’ve worked on it for some weeks.

Memories of Paris, detail 1, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

I’m not quite sure why I was attracted to this subject.  Maybe the cool spring colors.  It seems to exude a feeling of peace.

Memories of Paris, detail 2, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

It was my intention to just give an impression of the sky view, not to paint every detail.  In fact, I think that is boring. I like the viewer to bring something to the scene.  If you look closely at the detail images, you’ll see many variegated colors, both in the foliage, the flowers, and on the tree limbs.  But also, look at the blank sections of the painting.  You’ll spot a vapor trail and some wispy clouds.

Memories of Paris, detail 3, acrylic on canvas, Kit Miracle

And, do you see the surprise that I hid here?  It is a pair of birds.  Maybe they’re getting ready to build a nest in one of the trees. Not overly obvious, just a sweet sign of spring.

Calla Lilies and Other Garden Musings

Happy Independence day, everyone!  Celebrating here in the United States. Family, friends, plenty of good things to eat.  And maybe a beautiful tour through the garden.

Calla Lily, Picasso variety, watercolor, pen and ink, 14.5 x 10.5, Kit Miracle

The calla lily is in bloom.  This is the standard Picasso variety. It seems to require no care at all except to weed around it once in awhile. Unfortunately, Japanese beetles, slugs and snails love to munch on these lovely blossoms.

I love these tall, elegant blooms. They’re somewhat waxy in texture and will last a few days.

Calla lilies seemed to be a common motif in the art deco period, maybe for their simple lines and shapes.  I also like their speckled leaves.

Calla Lily plant in the garden

Fair as a lily, and not only the pride of life, but the desire of his eyes.

Charlotte Bronte

Trusty Guard Dog, Mikey

On another front, the first planting of sweet corn is nearly ready; only a couple of days left.  This time last year, the raccoons came one night and decimated the crop.  Thus, our trusty guard dog is being posted out by the garden. Based on his enthusiastic barking last night, I think his presence was effective.  A couple of more days before we can harvest.  Mikey says he’s tired and needs some sleep.