Friday, July 30, 2010

Barney the Bear Visits

This morning while I was enjoying my morning coffee by the fishpond, I spotted Barney the Bear walking around the parimeter of my garden which is fenced with plastic mesh fencing. Although the fencing will keep deer out, bears are another story. I fear that as soon as Barney figures out he is stronger than the fence, all my garden will become his feast. Barney is a male that I spotted a few weeks back crossing the road just 2/10s of a mile from my driveway. He is probably the same bear that destroyed our bird feeder last year. This year we took down the feeder as soon as flowers started blooming. As usual, my camera was in the house and I was in my slippers and bathrobe. My first impulse was to get Molly my boxer back into the house. She would certainly think that Barney was a big black dog and I shudder at the thought of Molly trying to chase the bear the way she chases off the deer.

Speaking of deer, I just looked out the studio window to the garden and saw Bambi with two spotted babies munching on the pear tree beside the garden.

That's all tonight from the garden of Eden.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Laying around with Lupus

Today is not a normal gallery day for me and I usually use Wednesdays to catch up in the home office. I am not getting as much accomplished as I had intended today, my Lupus has flared up terribly and I am spending too much time with the sofa. My whole body aches today, especially my neck, back and wrists. To my credit, I did manage to clear all the paperwork from my desk and answer every e-mail. I have even worked on a small commission piece. I am pleased at the organization and neatness I now have in my home studio/office.

For the next three months most of my focus will be on the 2nd Annual Little Washington Miniatures Exhibition and I need everything organized. I won't have a minute to breath and very little time to paint once that competition is under way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Falls Finished

I finished the Great Falls painting on Monday. I spent the entire weekend assessing it and looking for flaws or areas to rework. First thing on Monday morning, I reworked the foreground rocks, the value was fine, but I felt they needed more diversity in size and shapes. I also added some warm lights on them, to make sure they were tied to the colors of the mid area rocks. I also used some very dark green along the left side of the painting to tie the trees to the rocky edge of the waters. This helped to anchor the tree line to the land. The painting should be dry enough to frame next week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great Falls - Half Way Mark

Here is the picture I promised of the mid way point of the painting. I am currently replacing some of the green water with a bluer color and then will continue on the rocks. I am very satisfied with the falls and rocks in the middle of the painting where the water falls over them. But I am bothered by the foreground rocks. I am not sure if it is the overall value or the actual arrangement of the rocks. I will look at them for a day or two while working in another area of the painting. I am usually able to spot the needed change after leaving and returning with fresh eyes.
A visitor to the gallery on Monday was very complimentary about this painting and stated that they loved the flow and movement in the painting, particularly the graceful movement in the water.
I must admit that I am influenced by the painting of Niagra Falls by Frederick Edwin Church which is on display at the Corcoran in DC. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. I suppose this is my Niagra on a smaller scale, since Church's painting is tremendous in size and would cover the entire wall of my livingroom.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Great Falls at the half way mark

The Great Falls painting is now at the halfway mark and the clients visited the gallery on Saturday to take a look and give me feedback. They were pleased with the painting and only had one minor change to be made. The waters were a bit too muddy and green for their taste and they asked that I make parts of the waters a little bluer. I wholeheartedly agree. I have no problem making reasonable changes to my art, if it will please the client and not harm the integrity of the painting. I may have gone a bit too green and muddy, since I rely on photos and field sketches and I also tend to gravitate towards warm and earth tone colors. I worked on that yesterday and I will take some pictures today for this blog. As always, I forgot my camera.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quilt Commission

I have debated long and hard over posting this on my blog, but felt it my duty to discuss this for the benefit of the novice artist.

In every artist's career there comes a commission that was just never meant to be and must be abandoned. After receiving a request by a client that sought me out to the point of after seeing my work at a show years ago, and asking other galleries where they could find me, I started a painting for them. I received almost half of the commission price, had an initial painting over 1/2 finished and had at least 45 hours work into the project. At this point the client saw the painting on the blog and came out to visit and tell me it was not what they wanted. I could see they were wanting to ask for the money back, but I felt I could satisfy them and we agreed that I would start the commission over. I did an initial sketch on a new canvas and sent photos to them for approval. After waiting a week to hear back and continue, the client called very upset and wanted out and their money back. After trying to reason for a long time on the phone, I finally decided that nothing I could do would ever please this client so I said I wanted out also, but would discuss the money situation with my attorney. After speaking with my attorney, I informed the client they could have all but the initial deposit back and that money would remain mine for compensation for the time and travel I had already put into the project.

I share this with you because, every artist encounters just such a situation and you must never let it destroy your confidence in your abilities. My artwork receives numerous awards each year. My painting Adonis-My Son just received an award and cash. Never let one unreasonable individual shake your confidence or stall your progress forward. Just remember, the novel Gone With The Wind was rejected 54 times before it was finally published. And if you sell more than one painting in your lifetime, you are doing better than Van Gogh did.


At 5:04 this morning I was awakened by a rumble and slight shaking. I immediately grabbed my husbands arm thinking he had fallen. As I became awake I realized he was still beside me and the rumbling was continuing. My next thought was train, but we don't live near trains. Then I thought thunderstorm and decided it was ok to return to sleep. By this time Brett was up investigating and he also came to the conclusion that it was thunder. But, WTOP informed us later this morning that we had an earthquake that shook furniture in Maryland (the epicenter) and was felt all the way out to West Virginia.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Falls Commission Continues

Boy Oh Boy! There are a lot of rocks at Great Falls. I started really working on them and the falls today. I am pleased so far, but will be relieved when I have painted the last rock. It is mindboggling to try and keep track of what rock I am working on. I really like the falls I painted in today and think that when I get the water in the foreground in, it will be beautiful. Visitors to the gallery all recognized the spot and were quick to tell me it was Great Falls. That means I have done a good job and captured it correctly.

Adonis is a winner

My painting, "Adonis - My Son" has received the Judges' Choice award and $100 in prize money at the 2010 King George Art Show. I received my ribbon and award on July 4th. That day was also the day of my aunt's passing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quilt Commission - New Start

If you have ever seen the movie The Agony and The Ecstasy, you will understand. At one point in the movie, Michealangelo says, "When the wine is bad, throw it out." He is refering to his work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling which he is very dissatisfied with. And so he tears down all the plaster murals he has already done and starts fresh.

My progress with the quilt commission was not to my liking or the clients wishes. We both agreed it was best if I started it again. I was really having a hard time with the background and the client wanted more quilt and less everything else. On my easel I have stenciled the motto "Is this my Best?" I only want my best work to be seen and if I must throw out the bad wine, then so be it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Passing of Barbara Brown

My beloved aunt, Barbara Brown died Sunday morning, July 4th. Her husband, son and daughter were with her at their home.

In every womans life, there is one other female who impacts their life and serves as a role model. My aunt Barbara was the woman I most wanted to be like. She was refined, sophisticated and a devout Christian woman. I will miss her and her delightful chuckle and smile.

Passing of Barbara Brown

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More Great Falls

Here is my progress after another day of work. Although, I did not stay the entire day. Dental appointments for mom and I, so I had to knock off early.

I have added most all of the trees now and started working on the water in the distance.

My next step when I return to the painting will be to block in the rock formations. I usually work from left to right and top to bottom.

I am liking this painting so much already, I think I will do a variation of this scene for myself. Heck, I am so inspired I just may do a whole series from every possible angle and in various sizes. I never seem to have a day without more ideas than time to paint them.