One of my favorite parts about traveling is seeing new vistas. Visiting the mountains, the parks, the ocean, historical sites. It’s all good. I always take my art equipment and capture the areas on canvas. Parking my easel on the edge of the Grand Canyon and painting for a couple of hours is my bliss.
But one of the best parts about traveling is returning home and seeing your own world through new eyes. Noticing that which you may pass every day but in a new way. You can look at your own home town as a tourist.
Spring here in Southern Indiana was so beautiful this year. Often we’ll receive a late frost or freeze which pretty much ruins everything, but this year was spectacular. The wild flowers in the forests and fields put on a show to remember. I captured the spring greens of the fields and byways for several weeks, and even had my husband drive while I was shouting, stop here! to take photographs.
The results have been paintings of spring fields and crossroads, little villages, gentle vistas of all types. Not my usual big, bold colors but a much more gentle palette. Often painted in the style of Pissarro or Monet but not actually deliberately. I just want to bring to the viewer’s attention and appreciation the overlooked landscapes of our everyday world.
Take a look around your own world, your home town, the back allies. I’m sure you can find some wonderful vistas, too, which you may have overlooked a hundred times. They’re out there, I promise.
View more about these paintings online at this link.
If you happen to get to the post office or a farm supply store this time of year, you will hear the peeping sound of baby chicks. They are SO cute! And it takes all kinds of willpower to NOT buy a bunch of each.
There are many varieties, but I particularly like the speckled ones and the ones with feathered feet. They look so fancy. We’ve had many kinds over the years. I also loved the bantams, the females, not the males which tend to be aggressive for their size. One year, one of my favorite dun-colored females disappeared. I was certain that she was the victim of a raccoon or hawk. But after about three weeks, she reappeared with about eighteen little bantam peeps following her. They were so tiny and cute. I don’t know where she hid but apparently it was a good hiding place.
This antique sponge bowl holds five fresh brown eggs. Do they taste different? That’s hard to tell but they sure are deep yellow when cracked open. Probably from all the extras that the hens get in their diet than those that are confined to chicken factory farms.
We’ve also had blue and green eggs, too. It is rumored that they are lower in cholesterol but I don’t know if that is true. They’re just so beautiful to look at.
The sponge bowl, by the way, gets its name from the decoration. The glaze was applied with a sea sponge. I have only seen these in blue. These stoneware bowls are very heavy for their size. I bought this at auction many many years ago and still use it for fruit and whatnot.
My painting activities often insert themselves into my dreams. That’s probably an occupational hazard from creating so much. Reading about art, making art, visiting art. It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I find that I have worked out a painting problem in my sleep.
But a while back I woke up with a most vivid image in my mind. Very bright colors, semi-abstract, nothing like my usual subject matter or palette. Fortunately, I was able to keep the image in mind (it was that strong) and later captured it in my studio. This does not happen often.
This led to several other paintings in a similar vein. Bright colors, semi-abstract, nature themes of birds and flowers and trees. A few recognizable subjects of water and ponds, bridges and houses. Vivid skies and vegetation.
I’m calling this my Dreamland series. There are about seven paintings so far. I’ve been distracted with some other work lately so I hope that I can get back to this idea or state of mind. The bright colors just make me happy.
I don’t have these listed for sale yet as two of them are on exhibition right now. But check back later in my Etsy shop KitMiracleArt to see if they’ve been added.
Sometimes we just need to follow our intuition and have fun creating. Or so I think.
Posted onMay 9, 2021|Comments Off on Gallery opening….and more
Wow, what a week!
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.
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.
One of the most frequent questions that artists get is, How long did it take to paint this painting? I’m not quite sure why people ask this question. Are they trying to gage how much per hour that I’m charging based on the price of the painting? Maybe. Is it worth more if it takes more time? I don’t know.
My flippant answer is, Thirty years and a week. No artist reaches a professional level without a lot of work. This is actually true for most professions. Some people may have a little extra edge in a skill, maybe eye/hand coordination, color discernment, perfect pitch, but most people get where they are by plain hard work. I think this is true for athletes, musicians, artists, chefs, frankly nearly everyone.
I painted this painting After the Dinner Party in my Breaking Bread series pretty much in one day. But that number is deceiving. There was a whole lot of work required before I even began painting.
First there was the canvas prep. I purchased the gallery-wrapped 24 x 30 canvas. Then sanded it, applied two coats of gesso allowing for drying and sanding in between. I like a textured canvas so you will notice that in some of the photos. All of the canvasses in this series are primed with a greyish/greenish color.
Then there was the time to sort through the hundreds (thousands) of photos that I had to select the one that I wanted to use. Then to decide what I wanted to keep in and what to take out or move or change. I did two small NOTAN (black and white) sketches, two large charcoal sketches, and a preliminary watercolor painting. I noodled around with the idea of placing a bouquet of flowers in the background. Which lead me to paint two possible floral candidates. In the end, I did not use them as I thought they didn’t add anything to the painting set up. Finally, I sketched the full painting on the primed canvas.
THEN….I could begin the actual painting part.
I started in the morning with the colored outlines and painted in the larger areas first. I pretty much worked all day until late evening. Once I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll.
It takes time to achieve a certain level of skill in nearly anything. Larry Bird shot 200 hoops before school every day and was known throughout the NBA for the hours he dedicated to conditioning. Even after decades of success, Norman Rockwell agonized over the details of his paintings. How many hours a day do you think Yo-Yo Ma practices his cello? (He estimates over 10,000 hours every five years which is five hours every day.)
Next time you admire someone’s artistic skill (or other skill), keep in mind that the final product is just the tip of the iceberg of work behind the scene. You can do it, too. If you wish to work at it.
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!