Saturday, March 31, 2012

still strove

sunshine today put me on a scouting mission for painting subjects in my yard

brighter and with more refined shapes, I'm calling it good

Sometimes just living a good life takes courage. Don't you think? Jennifer Hudson "The Impossible Dream."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

developing an idea

24 x 24, oil on birch panel
looking at watercolor sketch as I paint with oils
15 x 15, watercolor sketch on Arches 140# cold press
it all started with an ink sketch, 1.5" x 1.5"
You might remember seeing some of my tiny thumbnail sketches as I tried to work out my feelings about my father's dementia. It seemed to me that Dad had lost his memories and that he might look for them like you would if you lost something else that was precious to you.

Is it behind the couch?
Under the bed?
Maybe I threw it away.

The little thumbnail sketch, done in waterproof ink, became the basis for a watercolor sketch. I liked it well enough to develop it into an oil painting. Some of the bones of this painting are right, but it needs something and I that what it needs will be clear to me tomorrow when I look at it with fresh eyes.

Lucky for me, as my father has lost his memories (short and long term) and has become more confused, he has become even more polite and agreeable. Several of his caregivers took me aside to tell me, "Your father is such a nice man!" And, he is!

Eva Cassidy gets it right, too. "You've Changed."

Monday, March 26, 2012

I still like this one

After a long trip I have the opportunity to look at my previous paintings in a fresh and new way. My friends give me grief for being overly harsh in my judgments, but I think that distance plus time equals an open mind. Travel has allowed me to become detached from the feeling I sometimes have that I MUST to love my work and allows me the freedom to see them as if they weren't mine at all. I think you understand what I mean.

All of that to say: I still like this one.

It fits in with my recent sketchbook sensibility of the long road and could fold nicely into a new series of pieces I am contemplating about roads and where they lead.

Slowly but surely I have made my way through the transition of traveling to being home. I've done loads of laundry, filled my empty refrigerator and pantry with good food, and put away my art supplies. Today, I even painted!

Do you like Keith Jarrett? I do. And I still like this piece, too. Hope you do.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Colorado mountain high

After miles and miles of prairie, it was a thrill to enter Colorado and see the beautiful Rocky Mountains! We spent a joyful, sunny day with friends in and around Longmont and up to Estes Park, which I totally loved.

As a BONUS to this particular stop, I got to meet the one and only blogger Sam Hannaway of "SamArtDog"! When bloggers meet, it's as if you already know one another, but then the virtual relationship has a chance to become a face-to-face relationship. Sam is just as witty and smart in person as she is in writing. Our interesting dinner conversation made the time speed by and we ended up closing the restaurant down. As Sam said, it's a good sign of friendship. I am lobbying for a visit from Sam to the Pacific Northwest!! Check out her blog HERE.

This time in the Denver area was truly a "Rocky Mountain High." 

Finally, here's another (about my) Dad sketch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

thumnail thoughts

My father has dementia.

I know that. And I know that it is a progressive condition.

All of that knowledge did me no good when I saw him earlier this trip. And saw him struggling (and failing) with my name. And forgetting where we were or what he liked to eat. I still felt like the air had been knocked out of me.

Since that visit, I have been filling my sketchbook with thumbnails about Dad and my feelings about his dementia.

Monday, March 12, 2012

giving art away

three now in Florida with my brother and father
Not all artists do, but I like to give art as gifts to family and special friends.

Since we planned to see all of my family (mother, father, brother, sisters, and all of the kids) on this trip, I brought artwork gifts for them. Nine of my paintings now have new homes, from California to Florida, New Jersey to Chicago.

with my sister and her husband in New Jersey

now in Chicago with my other sister

now in Chicago

Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of all of the paintings in their new locations. But I am thrilled to be the giver of these special gifts.

I remember reading about Alexander Calder fashioning wire hanger portraits of his host and hostess at dinner parties. I can't find that reference (help me out if you can) today but I remember looking at a lot of Calder wire sculpture portraits and figures at the National Gallery of Art earlier this month. What a gift! What a man! See more of his wire portraits here.

Alexander Calder at the National Gallery of Art

Alexander Calder at the National Gallery of Art

Sunday, March 11, 2012

known by heart

Winter travel allows me to see forests with their bones showing. Several feet of dried leaves carpet the ground around them, revealing the secrets of their luxuriant growth in Spring and hinting of their their glory in the fall.

But in Winter, I see their nearness and their spaces. I see their strength and admire their solidity. No matter if the trees are in Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Kansas, or back home in Washington. I know them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matisse at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mademoiselle Yvonne Landsberg, 1914, Henri Matisse
Young woman, or budding flower? It's hard to tell. And it doesn't matter, does it?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Van Gogh exhibit at Philadelphia Museum of Art

East Entrance, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Seeing art museums along the way has been one of the best parts of this trip. When I was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so was the amazing Van Gogh Up Close Exhibit! Many of the paintings were from PMA's own collection, but there were just as many from several other international museum collections.

I felt my eyes well with tears as I looked again and again at van Gogh's work. None of the dark "Potato Eaters," this exhibit was filled with light and light and angst and wonder, hope and despair. You can buy the book if you don't think you'll make it to Philly before the show ends May 6. Click here for information.

Portrait of Camille Roulin, 1889, Van Gogh, Philadelphia Museum of Art
I have discovered a wonderful website devoted to Van Gogh. Click here to see "The Vincent van Gogh Gallery."