Pamela Clarkson and I started painting the yellow on the door and window today. She knew how to smooth the window caulking with a credit card. I may not be charging my purchases at Macy's anymore, but it worked great. (Thank you, Pam!) I took this photo with my phone as I was leaving today.
It's going to take two or more coats tomorrow, too. I'm hoping we can also get the upholstery braid up around the top of the walls and paint the porch columns. Early Saturday morning, my friend Karen Wagoner and her angel of a husband, Don, are coming with their big ol' Texas pickup truck and are going to help me move the counter and fridge and microwave to the studio. There's a huge private party in La Villita Saturday evening and Mary Shepard and Pam and I have taken the challenge to be open in time for that. We don't have studio business cards yet, or numbered receipts, or permanent signs, but we'll be open, by golly!
If anyone feels like painting tomorrow, we'll be there at noon. Come on down!

Let there be FLOOR!

We have a FLOOR! A beautiful, beautiful floor. New threshold, baseboards.... Glory Halleluja, a floor. That's Mary Shepard posing with the floor up there at the top of this post. We went to our Artist's Way group tonight and passed around photos of the floor. What a beautiful word: floor.
The young men who installed the floor were big and sweet and polite. I got Ma'am-ed some. They did a great job, and they cleaned up after themselves! Bless 'em.
Now I need to finish off the top of the wall with something to cover the raw edges of the fabric. Crown molding, you say? What? Draw attention upward to the less-than-ideal acoustical tile drop ceiling? Nay, I say. I'm thinking upholstery braid in the same color as the wall. Mary dreamed this up. I like this dream. I'm going out hunting for 60 yards of dark brown upholstery braid tomorrow. Also wood putty for the the baseboard corners and nail holes. I'm thinking now to not paint the baseboards, but to varnish them. Verithane? Verily!
THEN.... we can move things in. Patients are going to discover that the counter in the chiropractic office has been appropriated for matters of art. How to get the big thing out of the clinic and downtown is a mystery at this point. It was built in the room it's in now. But it shall be done.
I'm happy tonight.

The wall covering in the new studio is UP!

This is right outside my gallery! San Antonio is a beautiful place.
Mary Shepard and I got the burlap on the walls today. Omigod, am I tired. I'm sure she is, too. Karen came to help this afternoon, too, after having taught three classes at UTSA. So she got good and worn out, as well.
FedEx delivered the burlap yesterday from Dick Blick, along with some great new frames. The ad for the burlap promised odor-free. Not so much, actually. I'm going to have to seal the stuff under some sort of clear coat. But golly, oh golly, does it look better than that ghastly peach-painted pegboard! The flooring gets installed tomorrow. Laminate on the diagonal. I need to figure out a trim board for the top of the walls, too, to cover the raw burlap tops.
The contractor is delivering the baseboards tomorrow, too, and I'm going to paint those so they'll be ready to install perhaps Thursday. I got my credit card machine and post office box keys today.
Signage is going to be a drawn-out process involving the Historical Review Board, since La Villita is historic property and all signs have to go through an exacting approval process. Maybe I'll make temporary signs for the interim.
Once the baseboards are in, I can bring down the counter and fridge and microwave and computer and easels and paintings. And then I can open! I'm not sure anyone is interested in the little pieces that are part of opening this gallery, but this serves partly as a way to record the process for myself, too. "How the dream came true!"

Closing in on a finish

I had to widen her shoulders and soften the background. A palette knife helped. I simplified some shapes in her hair, too, and changed some highlights in her face. As always, I'll look at it again in the morning. My photos are coming out pinkish, when the skin tone has more ochres in it. Thank you, Jo, for the great critical feedback (sweetly provided in email vs in public comment.) I appreciate it!

Moving along on the little girl...

Spent some time on this painting this evening. Must've been about 6 hours since I went through three movies while painting. My sister had rented them at Blockbuster and then left them with us to watch almost a week ago. They're due tomorrow so it was now or never. Mistress of Spices, The Fountain, and Year of the Dog. Odd combo of movies, but they kept me entertained as I painted. The canvas got covered and I've refined quite a lot of the image. There's still some work to do on edges and shadows, but I'm liking much of this so far.
G'night, all.

Artists Need Community, Too!

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them. - Viriginia Woolf
Yes, ma’am. Passing youth. Ouch and Amen. I was just replying to an email from another member of Austin Pastel Society and put this quote in my reply, then decided I needed to post it, here, too. I found it on Angela Fehr's blog "Celebrating Simplicity" this morning. Thursday was the Austin Pastel Society meeting and I always feel like I'm among "my people" when I'm there. I worked at my art in such isolation for so long. It was joining APS (almost five years ago) that changed all that and gave me the courage to enter competitions and join other art groups, too. For every sad, angry person you have to skirt around in any group, I've found dozens and dozens of happy, supportive, creative, enthusiastic people. I used to avoid groups so I could avoid those occasional stinkers in the midst. I'm much more resilient now and wouldn't miss the party for love or money.
More and more I'm getting to have the experience of helping someone connect with their own artistic efforts and their own artist selves, and that's a huge pleasure for me.
I found out about the smARTist Telesummit a bit late to participate, but got so much from their one-hour "teaser" preview recording on this page: If you right-click on "LEARN MORE" and then click on "Save Target as," then you can pause and rewind and take notes or listen to it later when you have time. There are some very good ideas worth chewing on in there. I'm working on the little girl portrait tonight. May post a progress image later!

Beginning of new oil portrait

Isn't this girl darling? Her parents were the winners of my donation of an oil portrait to the local PBS station's on-air auction last spring. I wondered if they were ever going to call me, so much time had passed. But I heard from them just before Christmas and tonight was the first chance I had to start in on it. The main reference photo was taken with a flash indoors in front of a Christmas tree, so is pretty washed out in terms of shadow and depth of color. I have some other photos of her that I'm using for color reference and a photo of her in the sweater they preferred her to wear instead of the Christmas-y one in the main reference. So this is a compilation of information from several references. It will be a vignette, also, - the body will not be painted solidly all the way to the bottom, so the focus will remain on her pretty face. There's much refining to do, of course, but I like the start. I'll post progress images as I go along.

On a completely unrelated note, I finally started in on a project on which I've been stuck for a long, long time. It took a challenge by -and an agreement with- another participant in the Artist's Way group I joined to get me moving finally. Suffice to say I'm grateful to be experiencing movement from that very stuck place. The project involves painting four 18"x18" oil paintings of different images of Abraham Lincoln in a style not my own- rather like a Warhol: strong flat color at the major value changes of the image.
This morning I was introduced to the concept of "Escape Velocity." It seems appropriate here.
Escape velocity refers to the speed a rocket must reach before it can leave planet Earth; for its mass to move outside the gravitational pull of Earth. Apply that to what it takes to move outside our comfort zones.... getting focused on our art enough to pull away from the attraction of TV or food or whatever else we do that replaces the time we could be creating. I've used genealogy, cleaning, movies... all sorts of things, to keep from getting started on a painting I say I want to do. Once started, though, momentum really helps me. Overcoming the inertia is the tricky part.
If you feel like sharing your tricks to handle that tricky part, please do!

Amazing Award

Yesterday afternoon I participated in the Coppini Academy's Artist of the Year competition, and was awarded Artist of the Year. I'm afraid I lost most of my ability to form sentences longer than, "Wow!" after this picture was taken. I mean, I did hope to win.... This painting had sold, so I had to borrow it back from the new owner to compete. (One enters Artist of the Year by having won Artist of the Month with a particular painting which must be the one judged at Artist of the Year.... did you follow that?) But when I saw all the paintings yesterday, I knew any one of several could have won. Lesta Frank's gorgeous watercolor still life, Ron Watkins' oil portrait, a fantastic watercolor figure by a new acquaintance, Marilyn Moore... and the others- all beautiful. I've been a member of the Coppini less than four years and really love its intent and accessibility. Winning AOY is such an honor. And the big fat check that goes with it is equally nice! Wow!
I'm leaving now to meet the phone and internet installer at the new gallery. They could arrive any time from 8 a.m -12 noon. You know it's going to be noon, but we need to be there the whole time. Still suffering over flooring decisions. The estimate I got for installing the laminate was outrageous. May have to do it myself or choose carpet after all.....

Painting (big brush and bucket kind!) with friends...

Want to hear something amazing? Jo Castillo and her husband, Gene, drove all the way to San Antonio from Bastrop to help me paint today. Can you believe that? Gene finished the ceiling and we painted the window and door trim white as well as the inside side of the door. We took the grill down from the window and painted it white, too. Much friendlier look now. Karen came down to join us after teaching her three classes at UTSA. She changed out the door knob with a much better version.
Thank you, Jo! Thank you, Gene! I'm completely humbled by your incredible brand of friendship.

Doesn't Jo have the best smile?

Got the Key! The Studio/Gallery is mine!

Well, I picked up the key yesterday. Today I bought paint, arranged for an installer for the flooring, and picked up the insurance binder from State Farm. I've made lists. My lists have lists. I designed the sales receipts this morning and now have to find where to have them made numbered and printed and padded in triplicate. Yesterday I set up internet and a phone number! Write this down: 210-266-3992. They install phone and internet next Monday. Now I have to arrange credit card processing. Does anyone have an opinion on a company? Then I need a counter and a portrait model platform. I suppose I'll build them, since they have to be a certain size. Signs! What am I going to do about signs? Once designed, they have to be approved by the City's historical board, so I'd better get busy. I'd like some nice director's chairs so they can be folded up when not being used. I need to order 100 yards of burlap to conceal the hideously painted but practical pegboard on all the walls. And some sort of adhesive. Maybe not the spray kind... the space is small and my lungs have to last another 50 years. Will have to find good lighting for models. A small fridge and microwave. I'm going to use my iHome and iPod for music. Will bring potted plants for the outside. My brain is spinning! Jo? Did you mean it when you offered to come help paint? I'm only halfway kidding. Tomorrow I'm going down with cleaning supplies and will get everything cleaned and prepped. Whoosh... I know it will all come together eventually. It's just such a mystery right now as to how. I'll post progress notes along the way, for sure. I'm open to thoughts and ideas.... send them my way!

Cool idea, great photos

Ok, you'd think I have nothing but time on my hands, since I'm posting another playtime entry. I do work, but I promise you I make time to play every day. Today I took a dancing lesson! Foxtrot, my darlings! Swing! My hips are ouchy now, but by golly I trotted and swung. Then I sat down in front of my computer and came across this cool idea of a blog. Every day these two women photographers each take a photo to illustrate a single word. On Saturdays they post a self portrait (Self Portrait Saturdays= SPS). Sundays are for showing off your best photo of the week. (Show Off Sunday = SOS). There are many links on their page to others who are following suit, so you can fill your eye with many, many terrific images there. I may try to play along now and then. We'll see. My best photo this week (not counting the one of the painting I finished, of course!) is of the front door of a fellow's house I went to last Sunday. The inside entry floor had 'tiles' of mesquite tree slices mortared in.

Another fun, lazier way to fill your eye with images is Blogger Play. You just watch a slide show of photos people have just posted to their blogs. I was watching around 2:30 am this morning when most of America is asleep and Asia is awake. The Asian images included a high volume of closeups of food, kind of like "this is what I ate tonight", and photographs of clothing, kind of like "this is what I'm wearing tomorrow." And many of groups of people posing together in front of thngs- places they were visiting. If you tune in during America's daytime, you see a lot of closeups of babies, children and pets and crafts. Both sides of the world post group shots of people partying, drinks in hand. It's fun to just let the images wash over you. You can click on any image and visit the blog it came from. There's a whole wonderful world out there.

a fun meme

I found this meme on Joanna Castillo's page who got it from The Mighty Kymm...

You design the cover of your band's album using these links:

1. first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. You then take the pic and add your band name and the album title to it, then post your pic.

The random quote page ended with a Shakespeare quote, "How my achievements mock me!" so My album title is "My achievements mock me!"
My picture was perfect..(see how I resisted saying, "purrrfect"?) don't you think?
Ok, now your turn. Let me know how yours turn out, ok?


Ok, I'm liking most of this. At some point you just have to declare something done. I do know that the moment I submit this painting I'm going to see something I'll NEED to change and won't be able to. I've learned to get a pastel into its frame immediately or the temptation is just too great.

Couldn't stop.. may be close to done?

Will look at it again in the morning.

Afternoon Flight- progressed further

I'm going to stop here for the night and suffer in my dreams over what to do about her shoes.

Afternoon Flight- progress

Moving along... so much more to go. I'm already loving the orange of her shirt with the lavender of the wall. There are more lavenders in the shadows under the chairs. I hope it all comes together. Back to work!

Afternoon Flight

This is all I managed last night. I'm hoping to really steam ahead today either side of a dreaded dermatologist's appt. I got to start my day talking with my artist friend Diane Manousos on the phone. I always feel happier after a conversation with her. Then Eunice Hundley called. She's an excellent pastel portrait artist who is interested in being involved with the new studio/gallery. Am I lucky or what?! So much of this new adventure is a mystery for me... credit card processing... how to handle sales tax for the sales of others' art... But all will be revealed, I'm certain. I just have to focus on the next thing, then the next.

Deadline looming...

I'm going to try to get this 18x24 pastel painting on (white!) Colourfix done in time to photograph it and send the image to Austin for the 2008 Austin Pastel Society Exhibition. The reference photo is one I took at Skyharbor, the Phoenix airport on my way home last September. You might remember that I did another painting from photographs there the year before. I thought this woman looked so self-contained, absorbed in her book. I pretended to be showing my sister images on my camera, but was really taking photos of this woman reading. I did some cutting and pasting in Photoshop to reorganize the elements and have eliminated some things and changed a few others, but the main subject matter was there. It's unconventional and bit 'dangerous' to add the figure on the left looking out of the painting, but I thought he added something to be there. Still not sure what to do about the shoes. I picture them scattered, not tidily placed, but will have to go get some shoes to model. I'll post progress images as I go.

Oh! I got the call today that I get the keys to the new gallery space on Monday! I'm so excited!
So much to do but I'm planning that it all will be a fun adventure.

I went to my first meeting last night with a group of women artists who've formed a group based on the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. I felt like I'd found sisters I'd been separated from at birth! I promised to complete one of four paintings for next Tuesday that have haunted me for over a year. Another member promised to bring three of her 25 thesis pages that have been similarly haunting her. So I'd better get the painting above done, and fast!