Pastel portrait demo

This is a small (9x12) pastel portrait on a sanded ground (Colourfix) which I started on Tuesday as a demo in my class, but finished today. The photo is from which has copyright-free images for artists to use. I print some of them for my portrait students. Now that I have the photo and the portrait side-by-side, I see all sorts of discrepancies, but like it anyway, I think.
Mary Shepard came over today and painted with me so we could brainstorm about the new studio. I got clearer about some things in the process. Thank you, Mary! Here's Mary's website: She paints beautiful landscapes and still life in watercolors and oil. Mary paints a mean portrait, too, but doesn't quite admit it.
Tomorrow we're putting up Christmas decorations. I resist every year and then find myself just silly with Christmas spirit once the tree is decorated. I expect to give myself over to carols and the wearing of Santa hats very soon.
Here's to the lifting of your own seasonal spirts, ya'll.

In case you haven't heard enough about the mural...

Karen and Morgan and Mo's friend Linda and I went to Bellacino's for dinner tonight. GREAT pizza and ice cream. They make everything in house. All the breads and ice creams made right there. I got to finally get a picture with the wonderful Fran Matthews who owns the restaurant. Sweet woman.
This afternoon was painting class and a new artist joined us- Lesta Frank. She's already quite accomplished in watercolor and most other subjects, but wants to feel more confident with her portraiture and wants to learn to use pastels. She was a pleasure. Marion and Mary break new ground each time they work in class. I couldn't be more proud of them. I'll try to remember to take photos of their work to share here.
I've spent many hours over the last couple of days working on building a website for the new La Villita studio and gallery. Ok. I've been suffering over a name for this place. Right now, today, this is what I'm thinking:

Susan Carlin
Art Studio and Gallery

Not flashy, but covers the bases.

I get the space January first. In the meantime, I have to figure out a counter, frames, flooring, wall covering, new ceiling and lights. A model platform, receipts, credit card processing, finding other artists (good artists) willing to be there, phone, internet, printer, grid walls for the porch outside..... my head swims. All this with a crashed computer. I'm on a new one without benefit of all my images, documents, contacts. My sister keeps saying, "starting FRESH!" Okey dokey.


Well, ok, I still need to varnish it, and sign it. But I say it's done. I had lots of input from the family who commissioned it, so they must be feeling some authorship of it, as well. I'm looking forward to the opening. Bellacino's is at 6044 FM 3009, Suite 290, Schertz, TX. It's at the corner of 3009 and Four Oaks Lane, just west of I-35. The restaurant is in the elbow of the new shopping center there. It's a "Fast, Casual Italian" restaurant with pizzas and 'grinders' (subs) and a full creamery... fabulous ice creams with all the toppings. The Matthews family has been working hard to create a classy place to have a great lunch or dinner at an attractive price. I hope you'll check it out. They open November 26th- a week from today, the Monday following Thanksgiving.

This image is good for viewing the midground gondola. The next one is better for the foreground one.

All mural, all the time....

Every bit of the original wall is now covered except for the foreground gondola's innards. I'll be painting the gondolier and produce and bread and sausages and the like inside there. Today I put the daughter in the balcony on the left and the two granddaughters in the central gondola, finished the building on the right, complete with two balconies overrun with flowers, and a flower box in the same condition. I went over the sky with more color and did a lot of detail clean up all around. I've appreciated friends dropping in to encourage me along. Thank you! I really am going to try to finish up tomorrow. Then I'll go shopping for polyurethane.... or maybe it's verithane I want? Will ask the folks at Lowes. Thank you for the kind comments, ya'll.
Nighty night.

More mural...of course!

I've got 30 hours of painting time in on this project now. That's not counting interviewing, sketching, photo and computer time, time at the art supply store, or driving time. I'm guessing another 10 to go. Maybe 15? I keep thinking of new details to add. Once it's done, I'll coat it with polyurethane. The family starting the restaurant is working very hard to get everything just right for the grand opening on November 26th. I'm enjoying getting to know them. When the mural is completed, I have one portrait waiting for its finishing touches and another that came in today. Life is good.

Faces and details on the mural

These faces are one inch high. It's been a challenge to get the likenesses of the restaurant's owners in such a small space. Two grandchildren and a daughter to go. What was I thinking?
My daughter took this picture of me while I was painting. I thought it turned out well. Today I made up a balcony and tried to make it look like carved stone. And I started in on the people in the gondolas.
I now have 24 and a half hours in on this. I have some (vain) hope I can be done and happy with it by the end of the weekend.
This evening I got the contract for the portrait studio to look over and sign. Had a great conversation with the woman who brought it to me. I find myself looking forward to the whole experience... in between the moments of abject terror.
Tonight Karen and I went to see Love In The Time Of Cholera. Beautiful and meaningful, if one suspends the need for plausibility. Morgan saw Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Then we went to Taco Cabana for margaritas. Nice. I have a funny, sweet family. Have a good weekend, Ya'll.

Mural Progress

Six hours on the scaffold today. Turned the gondola on the right so that it's directed into the opening, painted arches and walls and brick and geraniums and a lemon tree and lettered the tiny sign with "Bellacino's".
My feet hurt but I'm happy with the progress. More hours tomorrow!

All Sorts of NEWS

Well, well. Life's direction can turn on a dime. These particular changes fall in the category of 'be careful what you wish for, as it will surely come to be'. I submitted a proposal to the City of San Antonio in mid-October for the lease of a space to open a portrait art studio in La Villita (the artsy, historic area in downtown San Antonio adjacent to the Riverwalk). Friday was a day to remember. I was getting ready to go to Justin's for the reception for my show with Donna and Kim when I got a call saying my proposal was accepted. Omigosh! Fifteen minutes later I got a call from a woman who wanted a mural for her new restaurant, deciding that I was the one to do it. So I went to my reception with two new projects swimming in my head.

I won't get possession of the shop until late December, so that relieves me of the dreaded rush to get it up and operational in time to be profitable before Christmas. But it's still happening pretty fast. I started the mural on Sunday, so have been painting on it each day since. I'll post the latest image from that. It's an arched space framed by bricks, on a wall above a four foot wainscotting and ledge. Nine feet across, five feet high, so I'm working on a scaffold. I'll post more photos as I go.

The novel has slowed up considerably. I'm pretty darned sure I won't have 50000 words written by November 30th. But I like my premise and I'm inching along on it. In the midst of all this, my desktop computer threw its little electronic hands in the air and died. So I'm working on my laptop without the benefit of many a needed file and program, waiting for a bright young fellow named Cody to build me a new machine.
The mural will be a Venice canal with three gondolas. The center gondola will be carrying the members of the family opening the restaurant, the gondolier being the co-manager son. The mom is the other manager. I'm admiring this family's ability to work hard. They impress me. So far I have a bit of brick wall and the water and the scene at the end of the canal. There will be a little cafe on the left past the bridge. Bellacino's is the name of the restaurant and the name will be on the little white sign on the pink building. The foreground gondola will have produce as cargo. At least, that's the plan.
Nighty night, all.

I'll be back....

Ok, I'm staggering under the load of all the things I'm doing right now and will try to get back to blogging as soon as I can take a deep breath. Thanks for coming by..Leave me a comment and I'll respond specifically, ok?

Another Eleventh Hour post

Today has been a wild mix of airport runs, errands, the death of a cell phone and purchase of another, making dinner, adjusting my nephew, Amazing Race (didn't see the end because it interfered with...) The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard on PBS, and finally seeing Joni Mitchell on Tivo from this morning's CBS Sunday Morning. In between I talked with my parents in Idaho, and my friend Karen about the novel's start and tried to figure out my new phone. It does email and instant messaging, and I still don't know my way around it, even after studying up. Didn't actually work on the novel today, so tomorrow will be tough catching up. Tomorrow is also the day to enter work in the portrait show at the Coppini, but I'm ill prepared, having just hung the show at Justin's.
No photo to add to today's post right now. I'll have to see what I can do tomorrow.
Nighty night, All.

November 3, Saturday

I spent the day at the River Art Gallery selling art to happy people visiting San Antonio from all over the country. I got to work with two very nice women, Abigail and Alice, and I got to work on my novel just a little. I'm still about 1600 words behind, but I'm going to try to put a dent in that number before going to bed. 50,000 words divvied up between the thirty days of November is 1667 words a day. About two and a half pages in Microsoft Word in 12 pt. type. Completely possible, right? That's what I keep telling myself.
Ok, it's back to work.....

National Novel Writing Month kickoff

But will I participate this year? I did participate for the first time two years ago, and learned so much about myself writing those 50,000 words over the course of November. Last year I had good intentions and started off all right and then let life nudge me off the path. I've been reluctant to state any intentions for this year. But here it is. Two hours are left of November 1st. If you fall behind the 1667 words a day quota, it's tricky to try to catch up. So, ok, I'm going over to the NaNoWriMo site and sign in. I'm going to give it a shot. I could use a little self knowledge right about now. Several aspects of my life are in limbo, so doing something positive and incremental should be helpful. Painting always helps in that way, too. So: painting and writing. Writing and painting. That's the plan.