In the Studio

Things are gearing back up, I’m happy to say. Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, the artist co-op I’m part of is re-opening next week. I’m back to teaching my painting class (following safe distancing guidelines). I’m finding less time to be in the studio… which is the downside to returning to “normal”. I’ve been so inspired lately with lots of time for reflection and to take a creative deep breath. Since January I’ve started 9 new painting; some with lots of collage and others that are mostly paint. It’s exciting to get to the studio and explore the progress, then choose what I will work on that day.

This mangrove piece is from a photo I took while on a boat ride down the Indian River. I manipulated the colors on my computer till I had an exciting palette then used that image as a reference. I’m hoping to finish this one up within the next couple of visits.

Thanks for taking a look!

Time for Inspiration

Well… it’s day 11 or maybe 9, #social distancing #covid19 #saferathome.

I’ve been really inspired since the beginning of the year. 2020! Time to get some amazing artwork done. Then… a pandemic? It’s a challenging time for sure. Artists need an audience. Most sales are in person and with outdoor festivals cancelled and my gallery temporarily closed to the public, it’s easy to get discouraged. Then inspiration prods and I get down to my studio and get busy! I Love the quote attributed to Picasso; “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I’m trying to make that my motto everyday.

I LOVE what I’m blessed to do… hope you will enjoy! Be safe, wash your hands, no fear!

Preparing for Inspired Results

I LOVE to escape into creativity!  it’s why I named my studio “artescape ” Lol. Escape…  Lately… Not a, chance!  I’m sitting at my studio this morning, oh so briefly, wondering when in the world I’m going to spend 3, 4 hours… the whole day, making art! Everything (nothing fun) lately has prevented that from occurring. Sometime or another, life is overwhelming, everything sort of stinks…  Reflecting back to the 80’s of my young adulthood… it’s like Roseanne Roseannadanna says: “like I always say, it’s always something, if it’s not one thing it’s another “.

I’ve decided to embrace preparing for those glorious opportunities to be free,  to be creative! So I’ve been painting papers, again. It’s amazing how much painted paper one needs to create a large mixed media piece, like a cow or a goat or a sea turtle. A lot! So when I don’t have time to fully escape, I enjoy playing around with my art stuff. Paint, rollers, stencils and paper, along with a fairly clean table (sometimes the floor) and I’m happy.  It’s wonderful to turn on some music and just start painting with nothing particular in mind.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m messy… so every so often, when I’m spending too much time looking for the one thing I need but can’t find,  I stop what I’m doing and organize to some degree. This is another way of preparing for future creative opportunities. I find that “thing” that I saved or a scrap of something I painted a while back, and ooooh, it leads to spotting another bit of something that is so perfectly paired with the first thing and so it goes. I start little piles of gathered items and eventually, they will be used together to create a piece of art, like the 2 square pieces in the photo below. (Works in progress) Just imagining the possibilities… I feel better already. Preparing can be creative and often times more enjoyable than finishing a piece of art. Soon, very soon, you’ll find me at my studio :)

 

Pinky and Sophie

They didn’t stick around long… Pinky and Sophie both sold at the Melbourne Art Festival last weekend. It was fun to work with the animal theme… especially farm animals. I also loved the bright and cheerful color palette and plan to do a few more pieces to add to the “collection”.

Chickens are a favorite… such personalities, and oh my, thinking donkey :) such sweet faces. Thanks to all for your encouragement and nice comments! Parting with art is not always easy, but seeing other people excited and smiling about my art makes all the effort worthwhile.

 

Color of Spring

Over the past year or so, I’ve done quite a few artworks depicting the night… I do LOVE the moon, moonlight and animals that come out at night. The newest pieces I have started have a much brighter daytime palette. It’s nice to get back to some lovely blues, greens, pinks and yellows. I make art that makes me happy… that’s really important to me. These are playful and fun, and explore the amazing imagination of our Creator! I’m thankful to have the opportunity creatively share my vision of the world we live in. There is magic to be seen… everywhere.

While I’m trying to wait patiently to welcome an actual goat to my family… I decided to paint/collage one — not that I’m planning to get a cow too, but she needed a friend. Next…a flock of chickens. I’m working on some sketches :)

 

 

If all goes well… Sophie and Pinky will make their debut at the Melbourne Art Festival (Booth A 185) April 27th and 28th.  (18″ x 24″ mixed media on cradled board. )

Artist In Residence

I’ve been in my studio this week doing a little sorting and exploring and remembering. I used to be so good with names and memory recall… Not so good anymore. I’m leaning on the theory that highly intelligent, creative thinkers brains prioritize memories to best utilize brain function… something like that :) lol, I can’t quite remember.

I’m going to be the Artist in Residence at Viera High School, here in Brevard County next week and have been thinking about my current creative processes. With 24 years as a practicing artist there are a lot of experiences, workshops, materials and creative exploration that have brought me to where I am now. This will be an important message to share with young artists. Experience and exploration is just as important as profiency in specific techniques. I love teaching… sharing information and my personal experiences. My number one goal is to express the excitement of living a life that values the beauty and wonder of everyday.

Good Stuff to Share

  • The “Golden Mean” and why it is so “golden” thanks Greg Grant for the best introduction into art!
  • thin darks, thick light, thin darks, thick lights… thanks to Greg Grant for repeating that over and over. I say it at least twice in my painting class every week.
  • limited palette… mix your own colors
  • create obstacles to explore and conquer!
  • we are not re-creating a photograph, we are creating an illusion of the image with paint, paper, charcoal etc.
  • layer, layer and layer some more… then start your composition
  • paint 100 paintings of something… then you will start to understand that thing… paraphrased but one of my favorites from teacher Frits van Eeden.
  • Don’t be afraid to show people… artists, art snobs, your mod podge! Or your foam plates. Mod Podge is archival. Use new stuff and old stuff and never before stuff…but less talk, more play please. If you are talking about paint colors or if an isolation coat is necessary… you are not in your “right brain”.
  • Don’t get attached before the 5th layer! As soon as you LOVE something you’re working on, fear of “messing up” can kick in. Try to discourage that for as long as possible!

Wish me luck… my husband says to “be on guard, don’t show any weaknesses or they will devour me”. I say, “these are budding artists, we are all sensitive, emotional, expressive people… we speak the same language”.

Updates to follow!

Remembering

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Selfie

It’s been a busy summer! I like a good thing when I find it… and 16 years ago I heard about a wonderful place to go to in July (when it soooo hot in Florida), up in the mountains of North Carolina and make art.

For the last 16 years, minus the summer I broke my leg, and last summer leaving early, I have spent a week at Wildacres, NC with the continuing education program of Ringling School of Art, located in Sarasota, Fl. I love it there… the location, the tranquility, the comradery, open studios and some years there have been very “memorable” events.

I was so happy to get back there this summer! I spent the week in a mixed-media with beeswax class, taught by Elena De La Ville with 12 other artists, working with paper and wax. I have always loved work with a wax element… it’s such a wonderful tactile medium that is difficult to control but has so many options as to how it is utilized. We had several assignments involving composition and one was to photograph our surrounding looking for examples of good composition, then re-create the image with our materials.

I took lots of photos on my morning walk, but the last one was an elongated shadow of myself standing on the pathway. I liked the design and the emotion of the picture…and used it to create a piece. One of my classmates pushed me to work on a series of “selfies” and I ended up creating 5 pieces.

It’s good to step out of your artistic comfort zone… although my work is definitely “out there” at times. It’s also good… even though I don’t love it, to listen to other artists about my work. I love challenges in all aspects of my life. I never want to be too comfortable in my art, but to push forward and hope to discover and relate more about who I am and what message I want to share.

To Beet or not to…Beet

Yes… I know, so corny, but I couldn’t resist that title. So BEETS. Healthy, from the earth (under the earth) colorful, nutrient rich, RED or purple or golden or really pretty red and white, trendy too. I never want to be “afraid” of a food item… especially one that is so good for you. My mom and dad always had a jar of pickled beets in the refrigerator, always. I love pickled veggies but the beets in the jar were never appealing to me. The best way I could describe the aroma from that jar would be “dirt disks”, eeeewwww.

Lately I have been approached by various beets… my son likes “daily roots” juice (lots of beets there) and occasionally I add a little bit to my morning smoothie to hide the greenish brown kale color.  I went to lunch with my friend Suzanne and two of the four salads on the menu included beets. Then I was asked to make borscht (beet soup) for a presentation at my church… borscht! So maybe it’s a good time to re-evaluate my position on beets.

Along with being so good for you, beets are quite lovely, and if you peel them and cut them up without gloves, your hands will turn magenta… one of my favorite colors. The salad I had at The Crepe restaurant in downtown Melbourne was delicious and due in part to the diced beets… never second guess French cooking.  As far as Borscht… it’s a very tasty soup with chicken or beef stock (I used beef) onions, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, leeks and grated beets and dill with a hint of apple cider vinegar to balance the earthiness. I just finished my first ever bowl of Borscht and would definitely make it again.

Tonight I’m cooking dinner for friends and I’ll be making a different soup; carrot, lemongrass and ginger bisque along with grilled salmon and a mixed salad with fresh beets and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. If you, like me have avoided beets in your diet, you might want to re-consider. (Unless you love the color magenta… wear gloves.)

Bon Appetit!

Titanic failure… or success

Whew… 7 courses, 10 guests, so many hours… I must say it went off better than I anticipated. Most importantly, I think everyone had a wonderful and memorable evening. After a very tough 2014, I realized it is “later than you think” and I’m trying to realize each day’s blessings and create memories with family and friends. A fine example… my friend (lizard friend) Eddie IV, one day you are king of the flower pot… catching moths and bugs every night by the breakfast nook window and growing back your tail…that some awful dog named Beau removed, and the next day your friends (me) are lamenting your demise due to the attack by the aforementioned BAD DOG… Beau. Eddie loved life!  Anyway… creating events and enjoying each day is so very important!

Back to the dinner

The Menu

First Course
Oysters a la Russe • canapes a’l’amiral

Second Course
Consomme Olga

Third Course
poached salmon with mousseline sauce

Fourth Course
filet mignon lili • potatoes anna • pea puree

Fifth Course
punch romaine

Sixth Course
asparagus salad with Dijon vinaigrette

Seventh Course
ice cream • chocolate dipped éclairs

My favorite course was the cold poached salmon with mousseline sauce. I usually eat my salmon hot off the grill or out of the oven. Poaching it in a court bouillon (lightly flavored white wine and vegetable stock) kept the delicate flavor and texture of the salmon. I used a Scottish Salmon from Norway as opposed to Alaskan Salmon. It was beautiful…as you will see. The mousseline sauce is a hollandaise with whipping cream added before serving. Another favorite course was the asparagus salad, also served cold with a vinagrette. I kept this course in the meal because my husband Jay loves asparagus. It was served after the beef filet. Blanching the asparagus and then chilling it kept all the great flavor.

I owe much of the success of this event to my son Jay. He worked alongside me all day on Saturday as my sous chef. I always tease him when he is in the kitchen, about how long it takes him to do tasks. He is a perfectionist and thinks recipes should be followed exactly… I don’t. He peeled vegetables, piped the pastry cream into the eclairs, researched the proper table setting and folded napkins, all in a short span of time!  He also helped me plate each course throughout the evening… and because he is so intrigued by facts and history, he now knows much more about the Titanic and the food on the Titanic than I do.

My husband Jay did a little research about the champagne served on the Titanic and we toasted the evening with  Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Champagne. Each of our couples brought a wine pairing for their assigned course and really outdid themselves. We sampled some wonderful wines that enhanced the meal.

It was definitely a night to remember! If you are considering serving the Titanic dinner… remember to enjoy all the preparations and focus the memories you are creating. Bon Appetit!

p.s. take lots of pictures… my biggest regret is forgetting to take pictures of each course. Next time :) To answer my own question, I would definitely say the evening was a success.

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