Thursday, November 5, 2015

Studio Sound

What makes you feel creative? Music usually does it. I feel like my work takes on my mood and my music is a deep part of that mood.
My favorite? Well I must admit it's my Big Band station on Pandora. I feel like I'm in a black and white movie or at least far away from the crazy modern world.

A band nerd for most of my adolescence I learned early to love John Glenn. I still remember how much fun it was to be part of a big group playing great music. When you all played well...oh man what a rush. Too bad I wasn't much good at the clarinet. Maybe I could have played in a big orchestra.
That sound of a hundred instruments all playing together still gives me that feeling.
I hear every part. Every instrument.
In college I found the group Pink Martini and boy did that send my imagination soaring. If I had the guts how much fun would it be to a singer with a big group.
Music is magic.
The spark is undeniable.

With good music and great inspiration this is what happened last spring! (We are gonna pretend that big laps in posting didn't happen.) We were pregnant, now I'm a Mom so there, explained in brief. 

Onward and Upward

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inspired Spring

I have been so frustrated lately. I just haven't had that spark of inspiration that made me desperate to put brush to canvas. In the effort to make something happen I've wasted a lot of paint. That's just as bad as feeling like you've got nothing to say.
Then spring happened. And azaleas started blooming.
I just have to have flowers apparently and pictures of flowers will not suffice. 
I have to paint from life. 
I have to have that feeling of excitement and awe to move me. 
These pictures are not particularly great but they captured the moment. The joy of a flower you didn't expect to see as you went about your day.
Here are a few of the things that have caught my eye.

That fresh spring green of a new leaf

The mash of colors in a mound of Azaleas

Vines dripping with blooms

And bringing it inside! Ah! The best!

That last one did it for me! I had found a color combination that I just had to put on a canvas. 
It was to me an explosion of color. I felt the colors coming from inside of me bursting out. 
Like new flowers bursting out all around me. That is why I want to paint. 


Always driven by the way I feel about nature.
Like I'm blown away every time! 
Like I've never seen a flower or never seen the sky!

A blind person that can finally see. 

I don't think I will ever loose that child-like amazement and I wouldn't want to!

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The light still changing from winter to spring. 
A sharp ray that pierces the cold and melts the heart.
It's a glow that no other time of year has. 
So much hope and promise. 
A light that seems to come from the inside out.

Photography by L. Dunn

I love light! That seems silly to say out loud, but that perfect clear light of a beautiful day is a wonderful thing. It's too cold to sit in my sunroom during the winter without bundling up. 
It won't be long that I'll be spending my Saturday mornings in there drinking coffee! 

This time of year when each day you get off from work it seems imperative to get outside for an hour or so. Because you are just so excited that the light stays later. It's also the first time the weather has been nice so you feel like if you don't enjoy it now that it may slip back into winter forever.
Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What's up?

Oh man I know, I know. Where the hell have I been!
I think I lost my momentum there and it's so hard to get it back.

Okay so this new job has meant a very welcome schedule change. I get to spend my weekends at home with the husband instead of having random week days off. It is so nice to have so much more time together. It also means I have to rework my schedule to make painting/writing time.

I would be lying if this wasn't also because we started watching a couple shows on Amazon Prime and I happily plop down on the couch for a couple hours to relax and watch TV. We are not TV people so it's kinda novel for us to have a "show" or two.

First we had to re-watch an old HBO show that we both liked, Deadwood.
And as if that wasn't enough we started Justified on the recommendation of several friends.

I've also been doing some baking. It's funny how making a batch of cupcakes can take up a couple hours. Somehow I think that it only takes 10 minutes plus baking time for a recipe, but that's never the case. This Pinterest find was totally worth the effort!
And no shame in some amazing brownies right out of a box from Ghiradelli. Who doesn't like dessert with their tv bing?

I am almost back to where I was this summer before I started. Nearly paralyzed with what do I do first. But this time I've done it before so I don't have much of an excuse. It just got to feel like a chore. Like something I had to do when I simply didn't feel like it. So when it feels like that it's best to follow your instincts and take a break. There is no point if it isn't fun.

I also have had a bit of an identity crisis with this blog. I don't want this to become my personal complaining or whining about my own work all the time. "Is it good enough, can I do it" blahblah

So I am planning out a new direction. I just don't know what it will be. Or if my future can even include a regular blog. For now it's Sunday and that means we cook! I love a Sunday morning spent in the kitchen making something good to eat for the rest of the week.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


My husband has started bringing home the weekend Wall Street Journal from the grocery on Saturdays. I don't know how they manage to put out a paper everyday. I can barely get through everything in the weekend by the next Saturday.

I think as an artist or anyone who has always been a visual person there is something wonderfully tactile about a newspaper. I feel like I've experienced the article more completely as opposed to just reading it online.

It's even more fun when it's like a new discovery rather than just getting the latest on some crazy world event.

Something you genuinely knew nothing about before reading it.
An experience that enriches and informs you.

Artwork by Etel Adnan
Etel Adnan went through her own discovery of art and language when she moved from Beirut to France and then to California. I won't paraphrase the article. It's worth a read here.

An artist who worked all her life. Doing what she loved and without much notoriety. 
Suddenly the art world is smitten. 
Why does that give me comfort? 
Even if no one ever knew about her work. She kept working because she needed to. 
Not because it made her famous. 
Not because it made her rich. But because to be a whole person she had to write and create. 
She needed to express herself. 
Or maybe just because she liked it. Not because she wanted anyone else to like it. 

I seek that in myself. The quite satisfaction of creation for creations sake. 
Without expectation or assumption. The Zen of making art.

Photo from Wall Street Journal

And I'm kinda obsessed with her little library. Is there anything more cozy than well loved books and antiques set off by contemporary art?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Canvas Time!!

I have been going through a job change lately that has just totally absorbed all my energy.
So I was glad when I had my family come visit. Sometimes you need extra help to get moving right?
I finally got around to one of my resolutions, to build my own canvases. I'll say I mostly assisted while my Dad built three frames. I got two of them wrapped with canvas. One more to go.

I decided not to do a step by step on that process.I'm not big on trying to take pictures while also focusing on using power tools. I want to keep all my my fingers.
I pretty much remembered the process from art school, but I did search around the internet just to get my ideas in order. I loved this guys process, and of course You Tube offers plenty of instruction.
I did however get pics of the canvas stretching.

The supplies shot: 
Coffee w/ Hot Chocolate (this was a cold morning project) 
scissors, hammer, good staple gun, staples

Believe me just spend the money and take your time picking out a good staple gun. I made sure that this one would be easy enough for me to  handle (they can get big and unwieldy) and most important not too hard to squeeze. After about a hundred times you will have a major hand cramp if it is too difficult for your strength. 

Here is a close up of our handi-work. We used 1x2 and quarter round for the lumber and corner brackets for additional support. I cut my canvas a few inches larger than my frame on each side.

Action shot courtesy of my Mom. Working opposite sides from the middle out I stretch and I staple.
The corners you treat like a package fold them in creating a nice angle fold along one side and all the fabric is inside the frame. 

Because not all staples will go in flush with the frame you will need to hammer them in to make sure they lay flat. I actually do this as I go.

I must make myself finish a couple paintings before I start on new ones. My old habits die hard. I have three new paintings, NEW ones, at 75-80% done!! aahhh so frustrating. Oh yes and that project back in the fall to finish old paintings, not complete either.

I have since finished my commissioned piece and I'm really excited about it! It's nice to have that extra pressure on you to pay attention to the details. It doesn't have to just be good enough for me. It has to be perfect to hang in someone else's home. I hope to have some pretty fabulous pictures of that one hanging to share eventually.

It feels good to keep working. I have let myself become overwhelmed with the bigness of everything. I've got my perspective back!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jane Eyre

I decided to start the new year I would visit an old friend. The first great book I read that really captivated me, Jane Eyre. I remember picking it off of a book fair flyer back in 7th grade. It had such a mysterious description, then it came in and the teacher put it down in front of me. It was a whopper of a book for a 12 year old, 500 pages. I still remember a classmate of mine leaned over and said wow are you really gonna read that? Yes, yes I was and I couldn't wait to see what the mystery was all about.
I re-read it every 5-6 years just because I love the characters so much. I adore the stern little girl that grows to be a self possessed and disciplined young woman, who will not let weakness of the flesh become a weakness of her mind.
And my heart breaks for poor Mr. Rochester every time. The dark and brooding young man who bears his lot in life with difficulty, but springs forth with new life at the discovery of a new love.
How can you not love this story!
Pardon me as I include an image from the 2011 movie version. It was really good in case you haven't seen it. Now back to the art....

I've had a hard time getting it together lately and feeling very creative. You may have noticed my absence lately, or not, but I'm starting to get it back. It's time to paint!
I mentioned before that I started a commissioned piece that since the holidays I have nearly finished, but have some final work to do on it. My 'test' piece is complete and I am satisfied with it. This is first on my list.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 knocked me down. I've never been tested like that before. I'm finally beginning to accept that I'll never be the same person I was before I lost my very first pregnancy. I've made the conscious effort for that experience to make me better, stronger, more thankful and more resolved to achieve things for myself. I won't say I succeed at those everyday and definitely not all at the same time, but I try.

I usually refrain from making resolutions. I don't need a new year to set goals. Although last year I did follow through on a resolution to start drinking my coffee black. I'm kinda proud of that little one. This time is different. I am ready to start over. I have things I want to accomplish and this is the time to set those down and hold myself to them.

  • Set up a shop on Society6 - They offer an incredible service and it just seems too good a venue to pass up the opportunity. 
  • Add items to my Etsy Shop - I've got a few new paintings that I want to add and some products that I want to create. I just need to get on it!
  • Build my own canvases - This one is made possible by an amazing Christmas gift from my parents! A compound miter saw! I have literally wanted one for 10 years and I'm so excited to get started. I like this tutorial here, even though I will be using a slightly different method.
  • Show my work at an Art Fair - I'm not planning any nation wide tours or anything, but I want the chance to set up a booth and interact with people in person. The internet is an amazing tool, but nothing beats face time! I'll start with a local show.
  • Become part of the artistic community - This is along the same lines as the one above. I want to feel like I'm connected to the people in my town and if I can give back by working with kids art programs even better!
  • Finish my refinishing projects! I got this started and I'm in a good place, but man finding the time to devote to this kind of project is hard. It literally takes up an entire day for one step. I am committed to getting this finished and getting our master bedroom redone! 

This is just my initial list of big things. I've got another list of smaller tasks to help me get to each of these. I've been surprisingly good at keeping a running task list going, so I'll keep up that good habit this year too!