Oh No, I’m Addicted

Last night was the first in a year when I didn’t post. I actually took a day off, and you know what? It was sooo hard. To begin with I started to feel guilty, like I wasn’t doing something that I was supposed to do. (It’s the whole Catholic thing, its ingrained in my brain) I was working on something creative, all day in fact, but it wasn’t something I can share as of yet. It’s a gift for someone, a very involved gift, and its a surprise. Late in the afternoon I began to feel the pull of the blog. Feeling the need to produce a piece of art to put up, and then I realized I didn’t have to. I’m dead serious, I was feeling like a bad person because I hadn’t produced anything. It may be time for an intervention. I’m still in the middle of my very involved gift, so for tonight more of my retrospective of a year’s worth of art. Paintings in oil and acrylic, and one pastel. Tomorrow the last of the retrospective and new art!

IMG_9703   This is an oil done entirely with palette knife. It was a first for me. It’s based on the view from my studio window.


square painting cropped  Acrylic, based on a vintage Japanese mirror from the Forties.





Pear Pastel (3)  Pear pastel. My dear friend loves pears.





gate  Oil. This is the door to a garden in Santa Barbara. I call it “My Secret Garden”





DSC05785  The Kitchen Worker. Oil, inspired by a photo in Gourmet magazine.





6 7 (16)  Oil on board. Inspired by a vintage illustration.





608 (2)

Waterlily’s, because every artist needs at least one right?




6 15  For Dan. His Dad’s watch, penknife and martini glass, oil.






Temecula. Oil



7 11  Acrylic on canvas. I was imaging an old Polaroid.





7 12  Acrylic garden shovel. Inspired by a photo in Country Living.





7 22  Oil on piece of old wood. For my Mom who loved Lilac.





8 2 (2)  Oil. Painted this in roughly two hours, right out of my head.





8 6 (1)  My first abstract.





8 16 (2)  Oil. Palette knife and thirty minutes.





8 20

Another Waterlily in oil.




IMG_1062  Oil. Painted on a day when I wasn’t feeling great and my wonderful husband painted a version of his own alongside me to help me get past my artistic block.





10 11  Acrylic. An attempt to capture the colors of Maxfield Parrish.





winter scene

Old work, oil on canvas with a great story to go with it. (If you are interested, “A Little Tale”, posted 12/11/13)



12 24  Brian, my son in oil. An “orphaned” painting from many years ago that I finally rescued.





12 23


Acrylic. Palette knife once again.


12 28


Oil. La Jolla, California, from a photo I took. My favorite piece from the entire year.



cropped barn  Oil. From a photo I took in California Central Coast farm territory.



3 7 14  Oil. A really old one, but a favorite.




3 25 14 An abstract in Acrylic.




Where is my finished project from last night you ask?  If you read last night’s post you know that I was to marry together a few old pieces of wood into something amazing. I had promised the photos for tonight. If you must know, the groom got cold feet. That old crib headboard was a tough nut to crack. I stripped and stripped last night, and then today I sanded, and sanded, and sanded, and… it’s not finished yet. That charming little headboard hung on to its vintage paint for dear life, and with all the curves and nooks and crannies, it was quite frankly a pain in my… you know where. I was finally finished sanding to satisfaction when the sun went down. My fingers are worn out. We have a couple of small sanders, and I have a detail sander, but again, those vintage spindle legs don’t allow for such modern conveniences. I am happy to say that it is ready for paint, and to be joined in matrimony to its partner, but the event has been moved to tomorrow. The are also two additions. (Before the wedding! Scandalous!) The piece has a back, and a seat, but had no legs in the front. (You will understand the entire project when it makes its appearance tomorrow.) What to do…of course, the pack rat archives. In the recesses of the garage are the bits and pieces of my life, a.k.a. “I’ll do something with those some day”. I was quite proud to tell Dan that I was using two of the legs from an end table that we threw out about fifteen years ago. I loved the legs on the table and couldn’t bear to part with them, and now they have a new home. It just proves my point. There’s always a reason I save things. It may take a while, but I’ll use it. All that work on the crib left me no time to finish the other project I started last night. It requires a little daylight to finish, so that too will have to wait until tomorrow.

For tonight I decided to push myself a little. I am still struggling with a bad case of the “its supposed to look like” blues. I have done only one abstract since starting the project and decided it was time for another. For years I didn’t “get” abstract art. I would look at it and honestly think, “What the hell?” I am learning that it means to go beyond the obvious. To put emotion and thought on canvas. Both are abstract concepts when you think about it. I piled colors that I love in thick layers of acrylic paint randomly placed on a canvas, and then I grabbed the palette knife and scraped it off. In the remnants I found inspiration. I saw movement. I grabbed the palette knife and dipped into the paint that I had scraped off and swiftly spread it across the canvas. I thought to myself, “How would I illustrate movement?” I grabbed more color and then some metallic gold. I began to enjoy the process and forget about any rules, Movement is abstract. I pushed the paint across the canvas away from me, I felt like the paint was gaining speed, expressing energy. In the end, Velocity.10 20


The Core


Several months ago I had made the decision to not be mad any more. As simple as that. Life is too short, and far too often we allow ourselves to be upset about things that just don’t matter. I for one could care less about the condition of my toothpaste tube, I also don’t care which way the toilet paper hangs (as long as it’s there), and I don’t keep score on who does what around the house. I am choosing to focus on being happy, making sure the people I love know that I love them, and feeling like I make a difference in the world. There is of course my relentless recycling, but beyond that in little ways, with individual people, particularly children, I want to feel like something I did touched their life. Much like my Myra and Emma story, I’d like to be the “lady” that a child remembers from their childhood, I don’t even care if they recall my name. These days however I am trying to be to be the rock for a number of people in my life. It is definitely easier with some than with others. Stress, tension, worry, and exhaustion can cause people to lose sight of what is important, they speak without thinking, fly off the handle at nothing, and what ends up happening is the fracture of otherwise loving relationships. I’ve mentioned that Dan is out of work. I can honestly say that these past few months have only proven how much we care for each other. Some weeks are like a see saw, he’s up, I’m down, and vice versa, we support each other through the bad days, and are currently planning for a future business together. During our troubled times I have also been trying to be as much help as possible to two friends who find themselves in very different, but also very difficult situations. Then there is my family, my Dad was injured and then had a bad reaction to some medication. My sisters are worn thin, and again I am trying to be as much help as possible from thousands of miles away. Tonight when I tried to work I found myself unable to concentrate on anything. I started and stopped several pieces. I thought I had given up. I sat at the table and worked with my watercolors, swirling paint on the paper thinking that I was just playing with color. Something began to happen, my swirls of paint began to speak to me. I began to add intended shapes to the page, and in the midst of all of the chaos a solid core. It’s what I feel like these days. I am trying to be what the people in my life need, someone that they can count on in the middle of all of their problems that they know will listen, offer advice, or just offer some support and understanding. Through it all I am trying to maintain my new philosophy of living happier. Sometimes it’s difficult, but what always makes it easier is having Dan by my side.