Monday, November 2, 2015

This Very Weekend

Box Factory artists in the SOMArts Open Studios Exhibition:  Kytha Gernatt, Mark Seely, Christine Meuris, Sean Vallely and me (and someone else who's not at our studio. But their work looks good with ours anyway)

We were just in Scotland for three weeks. Revisited the sandy white beaches of the Outer Hebrides, and even the campsite and lone caravan that were the inspiration for many paintings. We saw the Northern Lights over a quiet loch, and the Fairy Pools with a steady queue of tourists. In my beloved Glasgow, we visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Glasgow School of Art (still under repair following last year's tragic fire), and took a day trip by train to Edinburgh, where we were lucky enough to see the BP Portrait Award at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It's a popular and fascinating show, and so inspirational for anyone who loves painting people. I feel I must follow my heart back to that area of work. Maybe someday I could even apply for that prize.

Here's a link so you can check out all of the artists who will be participating in Open Studios this weekend:
Box Factory 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


This is a work in progress, a tent in the moonlight. With almost every painting, I'll be at this early stage and wonder if I should just leave it while it's bold and loose. Finishing it, the way I paint, will take forever and I get tired just thinking about all that work - and afraid of messing up the painting and losing the freshness it has now. But would people go for it? Maybe they'd just think I ran out of time, or that I was trying to turn out more pieces more quickly. Maybe they'd tell me they're so glad I'm not overworking my paintings anymore.

Here are some more secrets:
Gamblin's radiant yellow saves so much time mixing paint (that's it on the tent).
Winsor & Newton magenta is also there and is a great sketcher, carrier, and way to make colors sweeter.
I make a nice warm black bean color with ultramarine blue, cobalt violet and burnt sienna to use in place of black sometimes. Wish I could get that premixed.

I don't paint for about the first hour in the studio, and instead sit and drink coffee and look at my phone. Then, at the end of the day when it's time to go home, I'm running late and wishing I had more time.

People are my favorite subject to paint, but I don't enjoy doing commissioned portraits very much - it's too much pressure. And there's not much of a market for "people I don't know looking back at me." This doesn't make sense to me though, because interiors in magazines always have plenty of portraits and figurative work. It doesn't matter who the person is - they just look cool.

I just photographed all my smallest paintings with my phone, and I think the images look fine.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Open Studios 2015

. . . Only two months away! There will be five artists at the Box Factory this year. More information soon. . .

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Leo and the Lanterns oil on canvas 16 x 26 in.

Oops I skipped a month. No shows coming up besides Open Studios in November, and I've already been thinking about that. Sean and I just submitted our guide for the ad, and probably no one will be able to tell, but the inspiration was Andy Warhol's Factory and the Velvet Underground. I was obsessed with that scene when I was in high school.
Still painting every day, still walking to and from the studio. Still wearing a full face of makeup every day (I love makeup, maybe because I'm a painter).
The late, notorious London dandy Sebastian Horsley wrote, "Art doesn't pay, but the hours are good." I feel like I work so slowly, and sometimes I make a big necessary change that is the painting equivalent of backtracking miles and losing days. It takes boldness and then sacrifice and then back to the patience. I guess it's because I'm in love with painting that I have that steadfast patience with it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Can I have some remedy

At Range oil on canvas 18 x 18 in.
"All of us are a little bit unbalanced. . . We're drawn in art very often to the sort of things that are missing in our lives. . . We try and find, in art, the things which we've lost contact with in our own lives, so there's an element of rebalancing,Alain de Botton said in an interview about his book Art As Therapy. On the website, you can be prescribed an artwork for different emotional and life problems. It's an interesting experiment, and I agree that art can be a refuge and a remedy. We all know that music can do it, right?
I just wrote for an application that "the subjects that have always most attracted me are those with some romance to them:  old-fashioned architecture, sparkling and glowing lights, sweet colors and a harmonious simplicity."  So, with my paintings, I'm trying to conjure constancy in a changing world and bonhomie in lonely times. I'm aiming for the subtle feelings of wonder, adventure, comfort and enthusiasm as an antidote to anxiety and overwhelm. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Joie de Vivre

Chorus of Dancers 30 x 25 in. oil on canvas
I just got back from the Startup Art Fair at Hotel Del Sol. Like ArtPad at the Phoenix Hotel in past years, two floors of Midcentury Modern motel rooms encircle a swimming pool for a glamorous and relaxed setting. Each room is a temporary gallery, giving a feeling of getting to peek behind private doors - with the chance to step outside and get some fresh air in between each exhibition. However, while ArtPad was populated by commercial galleries, Startup is for artists who do not have representation, including those whose galleries have had to close in the recent property bloodbath that San Francisco is going through. I really thought the art was just as strong as at any gallery-backed art fair. I saw many people I knew through so many different parts of life, and had lovely conversations with some new people. My favorite pieces were Naomi Frank's sincere oils of gorgeous and glamorous things, Bijan Yashar's photographs of light reflections on classical paintings, and Joy Broom's transformations of paper mementos into beautiful objects with a life of their own.
ArtSpan put out a call for ten artists to show in their room and I applied, ready to hang On the Dance Floor over a door for the party atmosphere and at the last minute chickening out and submitting something else. I wasn't selected but enjoyed the ArtSpan room which was heavy on sculpture - a good idea as Hotel Del Sol asks that no new holes be put in the walls.
Speaking of On the Dance Floor, pictured here is another painting I restretched and recolored until I was much happier with it. Happy May Day!