Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Checking In

I'm alive! I think I've been hiding with the idea that the next time I wrote something, I would have wonderful news. That strategy isn't working. I have news, but I'm still like a cat with its claws in the ceiling with circling sharks beneath it. Because I'm all Zen like that.

So, it's been over a month... It's finally Spring! It stopped snowing! I'm happy to report that the leaves are almost out on everything here (not quite, but we're getting there), and with everything turning green I am hoping that people will start looking in the housing market here again and make us an offer on our house. It's a huge stress for me that I think might even be making me a bit ill.

With Spring has come the weird and kind of freaky thunderstorms. This is from just the other day, taken off my back deck:

I tried that panorama setting on my phone. Looks kind of crooked, but you get a real shot of the sky!

Let's see. We had Spring Break in there, and my husband visited! It was nice to see him. We're only seeing each other about once every couple of months or so. We learned to make raviolis from scratch together (it was on my bucket list.)

He was happy to be home for a tiny bit!

Nice, right?! Need to make the dough thinner though. Next time...
And then he was off again. I DO have a time line now, though. We move the weekend of the 4th of July. It's going to be scary, because while our things are going to be moved by someone else, we have to rent a passenger van and load it with all four of us, two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and all my painting stuff that the movers won't touch because they're afraid the paints will blow up or something. That's going to be one very LOOOOONG car ride (we figure about 15 hours. We're trying to decide whether to do it in one go, or two parts.)

We then won't be going to our new house. Instead, we'll be in a temporary housing situation that is... wait for it... a two bedroom apartment. It sounds like the premise for a sitcom. Our new house won't be done for a month, or two... hopefully not three.


With that in mind, I'm actually having a moving sale of new and old art right now and through this Friday on Facebook. My Surreal work for sale is here, and my Fairy Tale work is here. If you are interested in anything you see, just comment on the one you'd like or let me know and I'll make note of it. I'd just rather sell them than pack them.

Speaking of new work, here is what has been happening in my studio:
This piece was for a story in Thrice Fiction Magazine. It has the whole Jack & Jill thing going on.

Another piece for Thrice Fiction, the story hit on some domestic violence issues.

I don't like redoing paintings, but you might remember a sketch similar to this one? Yeah, that piece bombed. I was determined to get it to work out with the double irises, so I re-sketched and switched mediums from pastels to watercolor. I LIKE this one!

Me... working on a dragon...

Experimenting with some oils. I ended up really liking this. I'm going to need to learn how to mount loose canvas to a board.

I know I'm going to move heavily back into oils after I'm finally settled in my new house. I'm a bit sad I can't play with them anymore, since we'll be moving and they might not be dry by then!

I'm working on a new piece that will be up for auction in a few weeks. The theme was Art Nouveau, which... I really don't like. The only thing that I like from the genre is actually Klimt, and I can't figure out why he's classified with it? All the rest look like soap labels to me and remind me of Green Gables... and I LOVE the Green Gables series, but I don't want to paint or hang soap labels in my house. If that makes any sense, anyway.

So, I went Klimt-ish with my piece. It's going to be my midsummer night's dream kind of piece. Night above, blanket below, and I ordered gold leafing so I can make it super sparkly. I just need it to show up. I feel like I should be pressing my nose to the glass of the store I ordered it from! Even though I'm not ready for it, I want it here!

Figure, grey undertones

Figure, adding in flesh tones. I feel like I'm sort of waking her up. This was my progress just last night.

And I still have the Alice in Wonderland series commissioned piece of the White Queen that I'm still working on. It's slow going, but I think we're getting ready for the "click". When that happens, the rest just flows quickly. I need that click!

And that's where things are at! I hope by Christmas I can look back and think about how grateful I am that the hard parts are over. I hope they will be by then, and if I can just hang on a bit longer, I'll be OK. That's what I keep telling myself!

Monday, March 30, 2015


Normally, I think I'm so-so in the production department of my studio. It might be sort of slow (I wish I could knock out big complicated pieces every week! Sometimes I get on a roll and knock out all sorts of work, while other times it's a bit more tough going), but generally it's a fairly steady stream of work. However, lately I just feel like my head isn't glued on straight! I'm going through so much doubt and struggle, and it's very frustrating.

I have a feeling that this year is all about change, refocusing, and clarity. In other words, a very uncomfortable year all the way around. Let's face it; life is a bit of a mess for me at the moment.

I'm still living here with my kids and trying to get the house sold in Vermont while my husband lives somewhere else far away (in lots of hotel rooms.) It's been a long 6+ months of living like a single parent. We signed contracts to get the house going (built, and it's not gone smoothly) in North Carolina, but that just makes everything a little scarier somehow.

I'm trying to lose about 40 lbs in the middle of this... I'm not certain I'm doing well, but I'm not failing either (boy, if I could just figure out a way to give up eating, I'd be all set! Why couldn't I be one of those non-eating during stress types?)

I can't seem to make everyone (or anyone) happy in the family department...

All of that translates to me sitting down at my canvas and instead of exercising my demons and finding peace and balance at my easel like I used to, I think the top of my head sort of explodes. Once, art was an escape. Now that it's a business with demands and deadlines to be met, it's... lost a lot of the peace. That is on me, my own fault. I need to find my way back to art. I'm trying.

My commissioned work is slow going. I'm fighting it for some reason, suffering from a lack of focus I guess. My current piece is the White Queen, still. I painted in Humpty Dumpty, and I'm working my way slowly through the painting, but I'm... fighting it.

Actually, I don't think I'm fighting the painting itself. I'm trying to figure out how to get my life in order. I feel like everything is out of my control, and that's scary. Even my art, right now. It's my life, and yet everything seems to be at everyone else's whim (and some things, like waiting for someone to buy our house, is just so far out of my control that there's literally nothing I can do. Nothing makes a control freak more insane than knowing the major things tormenting them are completely beyond them. Plus, controlling the little things doesn't help any because the big ones are still around to give you nightmares.) So that makes me feel scattered. But I'm still trying to get it together, have a plan, and move forward.

I made some decisions. I applied to join a different art collective on Facebook in the hopes that it would help support my surreal artwork. You see, I have a venue right now for my fairy tale work, but not my surreal. Not really. I already know that I need both styles in my life to feel balanced, but that both smooshed together on one place is confusing to clients. So, I split my pages on Facebook so all my Fairy Tale work is in one place, and my Surreal is in another.

That was a good first step. The next was finding a place to get my work out there. Well, the collective I applied to turned me down. Rejection always bites the big one, but honestly? I'm okay with what happened. Instead, I have partnered with someone else to create a new collective with the same goal in mind. It's a lot more work, but it's going to happen.

The process is making me realize how much work has been stuck in my mind and not making it to paper or canvas. In my head, I have a vast portfolio and so much more to do. In reality? It's been on the back burner. I would have said no to me too as the other collective did, looking in from the outside. How could they possibly know where I'm going to go with things? It's a hard thing, realizing that the only person really paying attention to you is... you. No one is going to take your word for it.

Anyway. I realize I need to quickly develop my surreal portfolio. Sure, I have my old one, but that's out of date and out of step for where I am now and where I am going. I haven't been able to complete much of anything right now, though, yet I feel intense pressure to knock out a ton of work.

I recently finished a piece, and I feel like it straddles between both the Fairy Tale and Surreal work (which makes sense, since I was trying to figure the whole venue thing out for myself at the time):

"Cat's Cradle" 9x12 watercolor (little acrylic in her hair) on 140lbs hot-pressed 100% cotton professional watercolor paper.

I like it. It reminds me of the Graeae.

And then I worked on two others, and they totally crashed and burned. The sketches were good, even if the execution was a total melt-down:


I'll figure it out. I think that's going to be the whole point of this year for me, in the studio and out. I need to change, develop, move, refocus, and gain clarity about myself on multiple levels. That's a tall order. I'm just trying to hang on and keep going!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thawing Out

My goodness, I certainly slacked off on my blog! I didn't realize that the last time I had posted was New Year's. Today, I spent time getting my website back together, because I was told I needed to get my "public face back in place." I had been avoiding my website for quite some time, as it never seemed like the right time to work on it. I could always find something I'd rather do... like advance mathematics or scrubbing the bathroom.

Still, my site,, is finally done!

Life, well, life is about the same as it was around New Year's. We are still waiting on an offer for our house. While we didn't get slammed with snow like the folks in Boston did, we got plenty along with just awful temperatures. There were mornings it was -33F with -60F windchill. One such morning, I had to go out and use the snowblower on the driveway at 4AM. Within minutes, even through thick gloves, my fingers started burning and aching! That kind of cold is a whole other kettle of fish when it comes to winter. So, with the weather being so hostile, it's not really a shock that people haven't been looking at houses for sale. No one was. Heck, going to the grocery store was tough!

We finally had a showing last weekend, but they wanted a one-level house. *sigh* Oh well, Spring is around the corner and people WILL be out and about again! We've also signed a contract to build a house, which means I know where I'll be living in August! Yay! (plus it didn't require that we sell this one yet, so we have time.)

My husband had been gone since New Year's also, but he flew back to surprise me for my 40th birthday at the end of February. I took this picture on my birthday, because I took one last year too:

me, 40!

But you know, while I like the picture... I'm a lot goofier (and more wrinkled) in person. I think these "selfies" really don't represent how we really are (translation: I can be kind of pretty if I'm not breathing and the camera is juuuuust right - but that's not real life.) My daughter takes pictures of herself all the time, and I just don't get it (but she's goofier in real life too, so that makes me feel a little better!)

Well, at least I've been getting some work done in the studio.
"Barry" 3x3 inches

I gave this one to my son.

"Hush" based off the Grimm tale, the Six Swans (12x18 inches)

My valentine's day, digital painting

I'm also working on the White Queen from Through the Looking Glass, a commission piece for a client. I admit, I've been struggling with a touch of avoidance here too, but it's finally going.

All sketched out (16x20):

Where I was at as of last night:

I'm really looking forward to my new studio in our next house, rather than working wherever I can here because my studio is filled to the brim with supplies and NO room for me. I think it'll help my productivity to have it all sorted like that, rather than my easel next to my bed, or a painting on the kitchen table and always in the way. Life gets in the way, true, but the way things are now I seem to be getting in Life's way as well!

I hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year-end Wrap-up

Per my tradition that I started a few years ago, I have constructed my Painting Quilt for 2014. This is simply creating a big square space and plugging in all the paintings from the year into one spot. It's a nice way to see what I have completed in a year's time, not to mention to be able to see some growth.

It might look like a lot to some, but I fear it's actually far below what I had hoped for this year. Oh, and I realize it's got this one in it that I forgot to mention that I finally finished by request right before Christmas:

Eye Spy, 9x12 chalk pastel on pastel paper. Original sold, prints available.

This and the little dwarf with the spoons represents my experimentation with chalk pastels. Chalk was something I did a lot with in high school, but not professionally. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this medium, or if I'm going to abandon it. I imagine I'll work a bit more with it here and there, likely for the auction groups I work with on Facebook now and again.

Looking at my quilt, I can honestly say that I didn't complete anywhere near what I had set out to do. I looked up my post for last year and my big plan was to work on more large and in-depth paintings. I had such plans! ARGH! Instead, while I did finish the Queen of Hearts, as far as any large and in-depth paintings... I didn't do anything else. I'm pretty disappointed in myself on that level.

However, what I do see in my quilt, beyond experimenting with pastels, is a foray into digital art (bottom left corner) that I had been tiptoeing around for a long time. I had been thinking a lot about buying a real tablet (like a Cintiq) and trying my hand at digital art. To test out how I would do with that, I bought myself a Waccom pen for my ipad and the Art Studio app, which works a lot like photoshop. Those digital paintings resulted in a few that I really ended up loving like this one:

"Star Gazing" prints available

But I also realized that dropping major money on a high end tablet for digital art just isn't for me. I know that digital art always looks crisper on merchandise, and I'll probably create a few a year just for fun (and probably all having a bunny, rabbit, or bumblebee in them), but that I don't need to invest money in a big-time piece of equipment. The main reason is that I'm simply an artist who likes to get her hands dirty.

I like being able to see what I can create digitally, but I'm not drawn to it like I am a rack of paint on the wall and a stack of canvases. There's something about having the actual material beneath my fingers that I just need. So, I'll create my silly and fun digital work here and there (especially if I'm traveling or stuck somewhere), but my main focus will still be traditional work. I think realizing that about the digital artwork was a big accomplishment for 2014. It ticked one of those major questions off my artist bucket-list.

What I also see is a resurgence in my surreal side. I initially started professionally selling as a surreal and abstract artist, and then I kind of abandoned it for the fairy tale work. I realized a while ago that I need both, and I have begun to embrace that whole-heartedly. One of my very favorite paintings from 2014 is this one:

"Sail Away" 8x10 acrylic on canvas (original and prints available)

I had long been dreaming about a figure series where the character brings night with her. Honestly, I think I have been dreaming about this series since I was in high school. Finally, it just bubbled to the surface for a prompt, and I've completed two this year (the other being the black and white "Forward" painting.) Those two are the tiniest tip of the iceberg for me, and there will be many (MANY) more coming.

Looking forward to 2015 I see (and hope and plan):

  • The Nyx series (night bringer) in both acrylic and oils
  • Finishing out Alice if I can, I've been commissioned do many more paintings including the White Queen and Queen Alice which I am already started on and will be sharing that shortly. These are exclusively acrylic
  • Red Riding Hood (and possibly others), and a return to oils
  • A few more minis here and there because they're fun, in acrylic, watercolor, and possibly oils - but trying to not get sucked into them and have them take away from the larger pieces
  • An Alice in Wonderland Calendar, and possibly a surreal one for 2016
  • Creating a yearly Christmas painting that I offer as Christmas cards, as I did this year
I think if by the time I am putting together next year's quilt, I have less work but more in-depth pieces, I will be satisfied with that. So, here's to a very illuminating 2014, and I hope a more satisfying 2015!