Saturday, July 31, 2010

Art Show

After moving back to Del Rio a few weeks ago, I set two goals for myself to accomplish over the next four years we'll be here.

One is to learn to fly an airplane. That is doable, being married to an instructor pilot and all. That one will take time.

The second one was to have my own art show.

When we lived here ten years ago, I taught a handful of children's art classes at The Firehouse, home of the Del Rio Council for the Arts. It's a really neat place, offering art classes, music, dance, pottery, cooking, photography, and other classes all for a reasonable fee or even free!

At the front of The Firehouse there are two show rooms. The largest is for traveling or group exhibits while the smaller one off to the side is reserved for local artists.

I took the kids down to see the current exhibit and while we were there I talked to the director and told her about my art, my history at The Firehouse, and my desire to have my own show. When I finished my spiel, she reached over, grabbed a clipboard and asked, "When do you want to have one? I have November, March, or May available."


Yes, it was that easy to get your own show. Wow.

I signed up for May knowing that I would need the time to put a show together.

The show will last the entire month, I can display any type of art be it paintings, paper art, sculpture, anything that is handmade by me. I can sell my items and the Firehouse will take a 30% commission. I don't know if that is a competitive commission rate of not.

On the first Friday night of every month, Del Rio has what is called an art walk. An average of 150 people walk from Casa de la Cultura, another art museum and workshop that focuses mostly on Mexican culture, to the Lee-Bunch Studio Gallery, and ends at the Firehouse where the new exhibits are formerly opened to the public. There is wine and cheese, hobnobbing and schmoozing, and *scary* meeting the artists.

I have to meet the people, introduced as an artist!

Am I an artist? I've been painting for 12 years and have sold a few dozen pieces or so. Does that make me an artist? I don't do it full-time. I can't even really say I do it part-time. I do it as often as I can, which is to say, not enough.

And if I am an artist, what the heck am I going to show? I paint this that and the other with no matching pieces or sets or themes. I can't even decide on a medium, wavering between acrylics, gouache, watercolor, and pen!

I know I'll have to paint all new pieces specifically for the show and that's great. I love a plan, an activity, and a goal. But what do I paint? Do the pieces have to have the same theme, the same medium? Should I stick with desert stuff or mix and match?

Truly I know that I can do whatever the heck I want to do with my show. I can paint purple circles and call it a day. But I want to do it right. I want to do it well.

I don't want to have a homemaker shows off her hobby kind of show. I want to have an artists' art show.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fur is Fun

"Tennis Ball Heaven"
16" x 20" acrylic on canvas paper

A few months ago while in NC visiting my family, my niece asked me to paint her a scene she has stuck in her head of a bunch of dogs playing at a dog park.

She reminisced about taking my mom's poodle to the dog park, and upon entering seeing a gorgeous site; dogs running here and there, playing, jumping, and wrestling on green green grass with tall tall trees behind them.

I told her of course I would paint it for her. Whatever she wants from me she gets. Period.

The painting I had envisioned for her looked nothing like this in my head. It's funny how that happens when you paint with no reference. I originally planned on having traditionally shaped trees way in the background with the chain link fence coming to a point in the center (as her memory saw it). The dogs would be more prominent than they turned out.

When I finally got my dogs in a row and began this painting, for some reason, these round abstract "ball" trees came out of my paintbrush. My initial reaction was to paint over them but I slept on it for one, two, three nights and over that time I fell in love with the odd trees.

Then I painted the fence. Chain-link fences are complex pieces of architecture, I can tell you that. Luckily in our new temporary house we have that type of fence in the backyard, so one afternoon I was out there with sketch pad and pencil taking notes on how a chain-link fence is put together. Each strand is attached vertically and with each turn wraps around the strand next to it. Quite beautiful, really.

When I painted it, my original plan to make it all perfect went straight out the window. It came out crooked and crazy but somehow matched the trees; abstract and spunky.

When it was done and ready for the dogs, I figured my niece is spunky enough and can handle it.

She requested a German Shepard Dog, a pug, a pit bull, and a Doberman. Done. (The pug is on the extreme right of the painting. Just an E. T. head poking in.) I used a reference book from the library for the images of the dogs and filled in the rest with other breeds I like. (I ran out of room for my breed of choice; the Great Dane.)

So, that's it. Dogs running through a dog park having fun chasing balls and each other.

It wasn't until it was done and I was sitting looking at it checking it over for corrections did I realize that the trees actually look like giant tennis balls.

Oh, baby, would dogs be in puppy heaven if trees were tennis balls!

Play on my four-legged friends!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Here's my submission to the Paint and Draw Together artist group. My life has finally settled by increments enough for me to be able to sit down and paint for six point two minutes.

This is not a photograph I would ever have chosen to paint on my own. I typically shy away, like running and screaming away, from water and reflections as I have no experience or skill at doing them well, or evenly poorly. But that's what's so great about these online challenges. Even though I technically don't have to paint any of these challenges that I find, er, challenging, something about my kind of obsessive personality won't let me rest until I face my challenge head on.

So I painted the dang duck.

Duckling. Whatever.

I think it came out OK. Not bad for someone who has painted water exactly three times in her ten year painting career. Now I'm referring to myself in the third person. I must need a nap.

Whatchya'll think of my duck? Please give me any and all suggestions, tips, techniques, and pointers to painting water and reflections.

Thanks. Swim on.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Big 'Ol Jet Airliner

This is a painting I'm considering for the Calypso Moon Artist Movement FREEDOM assignment. We were issued the challenge to paint what we think of as "freedom". What makes us feel free, what we think of as freedom, maybe what keeps us from being free.

Before having children, my husband and I traveled all of the time. We had a little pop-up RV that we pulled with us all over the country on one adventure after another. Obviously after having one, two, three children, traveling is harder and a gazillion times more stressful.

I long for the days of stress-free travel, no babies to keep quiet, no bottoms to wipe, just scenery to see, souvenirs to buy, and new foods to eat.

My husband, among many other things, is an airline pilot on military leave for the next few years. Being a pilot would be an awesome thing, if nothing else than the travel! I've had the opportunity to go on a few international trips with him, sans children, and have had so much fun and adventure it drives me crazy.

Another perk of working for the airlines is free airfare. Yes, go ahead, hate me. I don't blame you. We fly stand-by so we often don't get where we're going when we want to go, but with enough flexibility we can usually make our trip work.

On the way to the airport, to drop him off or pick up a visiting relative, we have to drive directly under one of the runways. Every times I see a plane taking off for some unknown locale, I get a wave of longing to travel. A wave of envy that those people are off on an adventure and I'm not.

My adventure is driving three children through bumper to bumper traffic doing 75 mph in an old and falling apart Suburban.

(Don't get me wrong. I love my kids, my "job", and my life. I just wish.......)

So my idea of "Freedom" is an airplane. An airplane taking off, bringing it's passengers to some exotic location, like Hawaii, Fiji, or Cleveland. I'm not picky. I want to see it all, go everywhere, experience all life has to offer.

And an airplane can take me there.

(I'm not sure whether I should submit this, though. It's a quick watercolor and the other artists over at Calypso Moon are sooooo good that I feel like an unworthy newbie sullying an otherwise gorgeous collection of art.

But then again, I have zero time for painting since we're moving in six days and I'm up to my eyeballs in boxes and tape. Oh, and trying to keep things clean so our house can show well. And keep the kids from hurting each other. I drew this and painted it in about 3 non-consecutive hours. I think it's the best I can do with the time I don't have. But I still want to participate even if it's not my best work.)

What to do........what to do........

Monday, July 5, 2010

Au Natural

My children are very interested in why I drew a naked lady. "Because the human body is a work of art! Look at the lines, the curves, the symmetry!" I explained excitedly.

"But her boobies are showing."

Yes, her boobies are showing.

I drew this lounging woman one afternoon while I was lounging lazily. My agent in LA said they were looking for "modern" pieces, and to me that meant nudes.

Everybody is nude, or mostly nude now-a-day. Just go to the mall and look at all of the teenage girls walking around.

So I sketched this woman, thinking I would do an abstract charcoal form on a big piece of white paper. Put her in a silver frame and hang her on the bathroom wall and she would be all, like, modern and stuff.

Then I sketched a male form, also hiding his face and "parts". I gave him lots of muscles. Yum. It took me about six minutes to draw the man, about sixty to draw the woman. I guess I've had more practice looking at the male form, thanks to my yummy husband.

I decided to play around with some painting techniques with the naked chick so I just did a watercolor splatter thing on this first version. The male I will do in gray, black, and blues.

Unintentional gender stereotyping, I assure you.

I'm not sure I like the splattered red. Too violent or something. And her calves are too narrow.

What do you think??

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cherries Jubilee

8" x 10" watercolor and pen on paper

This is my first entry for the Rookie Painter online art assignment. The reference photo was of four bing cherries looking all mouthwateringly juicy.

Maybe you can see the four cherries in my painting. Unless you're color-blind and then you may be in trouble.

For these online artist assignments, I've been trying to paint subjects that are out of my comfort zone. Since cherries aren't too far from my typical subject matter, I decided to paint these lovelies in a more abstract manner.

I like it. Maybe. When you've been painting in one style for ten years, and have never been taught to paint in any other style, it's hard to let go and do something different.

I feel a little "out there" with this painting.

But you never know. Sometimes when you step away from the norm you can find yourself in a whole better place.

Eating cherries, perhaps?