New painting in progress- Wide World

Wide World (in progress) 11x14, oil

Detail from Wide World, oil
I'm only a little way into this painting, but I do like the beginning of it. I thought I'd share its rough state with you and promise to show you the finish when I get there. The reference is from photos I took in France this summer in the small town of St. Florent Le Vieil on the Loire river. This girl was in a window overlooking the narrow street I walked back to our bed and breakfast from the Abbey where the International Pastel Festival was being held. I knew when I looked at the photo later that I'd want to paint her, and now that all my Christmas portrait commissions got to their recipients on time, I'm glad to have begun this one for me!

Nueva Street Gallery has been bustling with happy Holiday visitors to La Villita, and today the city is gearing up for 250,000 visitors for the New Year's party, Celebrate San Antonio, which happens right outside the gallery in Hemisfair Park tonight. Should be very exciting with all the music and fireworks!

I wish you much joy and creativity and love in the year ahead.
Thank you for being a part of my world!

Thankful for artists, art lovers and the artist's life in San Antonio

Those of you who've received my newsletter over the years are likely wondering what happened?! After coming to expect regular posts of freshly finished paintings and works in progress and news of workshops and art-related travel... suddenly seven weeks with no posting. Well! I'll try to describe my recent transition/transformation and follow with a promise to stay much better in touch.

Rice, 11x14 oil
On September 1st I became the owner of Nueva Street Gallery in La Villita, San Antonio's Historic Arts Village by the Riverwalk. I went from owning a tiny gallery with my own work and the work of three other artists, to a gallery with now 20 artists' work in addition to my own. The thrill of the new space (s-p-a-c-e!) comes with the responsibility to represent some really terrific artists the very best I can. I'm in a voracious learning mode and frankly working my fanny off: picture me in the midst of running the gallery (ringing up sales, packing and shipping, hanging artwork, talking with visitors, cleaning, running errands, receiving new art from the artists, writing checks and paying bills) with a long schedule of portrait commissions whose due dates are fast approaching.... are you seeing a whirlwind with a paintbrush? That's me!
And I'm thankful for all of it.

Kim, 20x16 oil.
I love the gallery and the artists and their amazing work and I LOVE meeting the visitors who wander in during their vacations or on a break from the conference they're attending. You already know I love painting, so all this adds up to a special kind of heaven. A heaven where I'm not getting a lot of sleep just now, but heaven just the same.

My last post announced our opening celebration party October 2nd. We had somewhere between 200 and 300 guests... and I had been worried no one would come! It was a fun night with wonderful music, tasty refreshments, good friends, artists and art.
My online painting broadcasts have been less regular lately, adding a long live model session on a Saturday from the gallery:
Nazir (in progress) 28x22, oil
and subtracting a couple of Wednesday nights. I've completed several commissions and even worked on a couple of paintings "for me." (I'll show you soon...)

Through this whole process, from the "just dreaming out loud" stage this spring, to the reality today, I've had the help of my very close friend, Ugur Kilic.

(Pronunciaton lesson: Oor Kuhlutch. My font won't allow it, but the "g" should have a line over it, making it silent, and the "c" should have a small hook under it, making it a "ch" sound. Her name means Good Luck, or Good Fortune in Turkish. So true.) Ugur helped through packing, moving, inventory making, accounting, errand running, furniture and fixture buying, rearranging everything, creating the artists' bios that hang with each artist's work, greeting and talking with the visitors, helping them complete their purchases, packing and shipping and driving packages to FedEx.... in other words, she's been invaluable and amazing and has worked her fanny off, too. I'm deeply thankful. Ugur is a terrific graphic designer and photographer who shows her fine art photography and mixed media work at Nueva Street Gallery.

For all of the doom and gloom you hear these days about the economy and how tough things are for artists now, we're doing great. Artists are making beautiful things and we're helping to put them into the hands and lives of people who recognize the value and beauty and life-enhancing properties of original art.

I promise to post sooner next time and hope you'll stay in touch, too!
Thankful for your interest and good wishes,

Party Tonight at Nueva Street Gallery!

I hope you'll come to the party today... 4-8 p.m. at 507 E. Nueva Street, San Antonio!

This is how the gallery looks today before the party....

Why don't you come on down and help fill the gallery with happy faces tonight? I'm grinning ear to ear right now. So many people have helped this month... and added their energy to this beautiful space. Thank you, my dear friends! Now, let's PARTY!
Cell phone: 210-602-8562
Gallery: 210-229-9810
Nueva Street Gallery
507 E. Nueva Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

The Gallery is Open....... It's Time to Party!

Click on announcement above to enlarge... please come to the party!

(Want to see more? Click here to see a Slideshow of the Gallery-23 photos with captions.)

Some cool moments:
-Working on a commissioned portrait in the beautiful north light that fills the room from a bank of five very tall, side-by-side windows. It's a dream fulfilled. I've worked in some very bad light over the years...
Believe me, the difference is amazing.

-Walking through the gallery and giving a live, narrated video tour of the gallery for the great folks who tuned in for my Wednesday online painting session about 8 days ago. (The tour part is just the first 10 minutes or so of the video... the rest is of a figure painting I'm working on.)

-Getting to know some of the artists whose works the gallery represents. I haven't met them all yet, but since I love their work, I expect that they're pretty cool, too.

Thank you to everyone who's sent good wishes and congratulations...
It means more than I can say.

Please, if you're anywhere near San Antonio on Saturday, October 2nd, come help us celebrate the gallery's opening from 4-8 p.m. The music will be wonderful, the refreshments will be yummy and the art will be beautiful. And if you're here, the company will be fabulous!!!

Figure Painting Workshop Aug. 21-22

Coppini Academy, San Antonio, Texas
Two day workshop- Painting the clothed figure in an interior setting. Open to all skill levels.
It's liberating to paint people when a likeness is not the objective. Painting someone doing something, someone in context with the surroundings... the narrative becomes the intent. In this workshop, artists will become storytellers.

In the real world, artists work from life or from photos or a combination of both. On the first day of the workshop, artists will paint from photographic references (provided by me) - a simple scene of a single figure indoors. Artists will work from the model on the second day- an arrangement involving a woman reading.

I'll address issues involving proportion, composition, increasing accuracy of drawing, representign values more correctly, ways to direc the viewers' eye, as well as addresseing individual artists' questions and concerns. Artists may work in oil or pastel or in any drawing medium. (Artists working in other media may attend if they are in command of their medium and are seeking assistance with the subject matter and above issues.)

Join us for a weekend of painting and storytelling!

Moving To A New Gallery!

Nueva Street Gallery
507 Nueva Street, San Antonio TX 78205 /
Building 22 in La Villita

Imagine this: Moving from 166 square feet (that's probably smaller than your bedroom, my friends) to 1235 square feet. From two windows on one side, to many tall windows on all four sides, plus a huge skylight in the center. From an eight-foot ceiling to a twelve-foot ceiling. From no plumbing (I've had to lock up to walk to the public restroom) and a "kitchen" that consists of swiveling my chair sideways to a little fridge and microwave, to having your own bathroom and your own kitchen. From no storage to a whole room for storage. From one entrance to three. Are you in a bit of a swoon now? Well, that's just how I feel!

On September 1, 2010, I'm moving from my sweet, tiny, first gallery to a dream gallery- a house built in 1891 which has been Nueva Street Gallery in La Villita, established and owned for 21 years by Richard Conn. Richard is a wonderful artist, now retiring, who has represented some very special artists. I'll now be representing those artists, as well as myself and the three who have been with me at Susan Carlin Art Studio And Gallery. Mr. Conn will be generously assisting in a smooth transition by working with me once a week- for which I'm very grateful.

I've had my first little gallery for over two and a half years now, and I've loved it. This new move will allow me to teach more often and more comfortably, as well as to expand in several other good ways.

Please come visit sometime after September 1... We'll have a party in about a month to celebrate... I'll post a date soon!

-Smiling Susan

Last days of France and return home...

I'm home from Ireland and France and still absorbing it all- knowing I'm changed from the experience and curious how the change will show itself in my life. I wanted to show you a few images from the last four days in France...

This is the Abbey at St. Florent le Vieil, a town along the Loire river west of Paris, where the International Pastel Festival was hosted so beautifully. Every artist and organizer we met was lovely and made our little group of Texas artists feel very special.

Coming into town, we stopped to take pictures- the one above was among them- and when we returned to the rental car we found Diana Moya, our leader and driver, unable to find reverse on the stick- shift Renault. Each time she released the clutch the car moved a few more inches toward a plunge into the river Loire. I want to you to picture four very well-dressed dainty women pushing a full-sized sedan up a hill with the car in reverse with me (in jeans and tennis shoes) behind the wheel. Never underestimate the power and determination of women artists! I expect to find a video of this event on YouTube someday, posted by some startled passerby.

L-R: Yours truly, Debra Richardson, Sue Wiley, Mary Beth Martin, the Mayor of St. Florent le Vieil, Patrick Martin, Francoise, Libby Peters, Chris, Diana Moya

An article about us in the newspaper in France...

Here are my two paintings at St. Florent (two others are at the other Festival site in Feytiat, France)...

Evening Flight, and Morning Flight.

Posing with the Mayor of St. Florent le Vieil

The street between the Abbey and our hotel on the water. The whole town was just charming.

Back the next day to really look at all the paintings....
Then we (the Texas artists) went to lunch at this terrific crepe restaurant. This was my salmon crepe with white asparagus and a to-die-for sauce and that's, yes, a mojito to the left of my plate and a glass of wine to the right... uh huh... and an assortment of cheeses, some made locally, and crusty bread. We laughed, we talked art, we stuffed ourselves. Mango ice cream was involved.

After this meal, my dear friend and portrait artist, Libby Peters and I took a walk back to the hotel. We sat down in the grass along the path by the Loire river and talked for hours. Funny- we live an hour from each other and had to go to France to get time to talk. My internal art compass got reoriented by talking things over with Libby. I owe her BIG.
One last look at the Abbey...

Ginette works with the Abbey and generously offered to drive me the 40 km to the train station at Angers on Sunday. She spoke no English and I spoke no French but together we sang along to the Beatles' Penny Lane when it played on the radio and hugged each other and grinned when we arrived. People are wonderful everywhere.
Joanna and I had one last night in Paris before our VERY early taxi ride to the airport on Monday. We sat at this sidewalk cafe by the Seine for a long, long time over our dinner
and coffee and talked about what the time away from home had allowed us to see more clearly about our lives: Our lives are good and it's always worth becoming more conscious about what is now habit and what could be fine-tuned to something better and more authentic.
Back home....
This painting was a portrait (commissioned by the man's son) I did just before leaving, so was now dry and ready for varnishing on my return. He picked it up yesterday, was delighted, and has three other portraits in mind, one of which will be of himself from a sitting. I'm really looking forward to that- it promises to be very special.
Thank you for going along with me on my summer adventure! An adventure that requires a passport is always wonderful, but the one I have sitting in front of my easel with a paintbrush loaded with one juicy color after another can be just as transporting and life-affirming and exciting.
Heck, just a conversation with a good friend can change your life.
Here's to our next adventure!

Paris images

Ok, I finally see what all the fuss has been about. Paris is unbelievable. I got in on Monday and saw the length of Rue du Temple on foot as I carried and pulled my luggage. (I had walked right by my hotel/apartment and kept on looking...) I was happy the whole time. When I reached the Seine, I knew I'd gone too far and headed back. My friend Joanna had flown in from Phoenix that day and had waited for me for hours, bleary and jetlagged, but she seemed happy, too. Especially when I finally showed up!

We went to the Musee D'Orsay on Tuesday. The photo above was taken there. I got to stand in front of Vincent's self portrait inside and just exchange a few personal and artistic ideas with him for a minute or two. We agreed on a few of them. My time in this museum was almost a religious experience for me. Some people take pilgrimages to Lourdes or Mecca. D'Orsay and the Louvre do the trick for me.

We went to the Louvre on Wednesday, Bastille Day. It was cool and rainy and perfect. I saw Winged Victory and Mona.

Mona and I never got eye-to-eye, as they have her locked up behind glass and velvet ropes and so far away... plus way too many other people were angling to lock eyes with her for me to get much of a chance. But did blow her kisses and I think she winked in my direction.

Then we headed for the Eiffel Tower. Can I use any more superlatives to describe my amazement?

We sat on the grassy lawn to await the fireworks. Then I got antsy and walked 4 or 5 miles to Pont Neuf to take pictures for someone who'd asked me to do that. I was closer to our apartment by then, so walked the many blocks there to recharge my camera battery and look up the Metro stop nearest the Eiffel Tower. I've never been so squashed up against humanity as I was that night. The oxygen level on the train was very low, but the excitement of everyone heading for the fireworks was high.

This is what I saw when I finally rejoined Joanna (yelling her name to locate her, as the crowd had gotten incredibly dense). The program started at about 11 p.m. because it took that long for the sky to get dark! They played music from every culture and the fireworks were choreographed to go along with the songs... Wonderful!

Yesterday we went to the Montmartre district and saw where Renoir and Dali and Toulouse-Lautrec and many other such painters hung out. On the way up to Place de Tertre, we marveled at Sacre Couer, above. It's high above the city and I'll bet it's beautiful to look out over the city at night from there.

One of the many, many artists on the square at Place de Tertre in Montmartre.

Today I leave in just a minute for the train station where I'll meet up with some artist friends from Austin take the high speed TGV train to St. Florent le Vieil for the pastel festival. More news to follow...

I've been soaking in art over here and am kind of curious what sort of thing I'll want to paint when I get home.
Thank you so much to those of you who've left comments and sent me emails while I'm traveling. It means a LOT.
Ok... got to head to the Metro station.... talk with you later!

Ireland Images

I know, I thought I could post something each day of my time here. I'm leaving Ireland for Paris tomorrow and only posted twice. I love this place SO much. I hope there's some way for me to return often- Believe me, I'll be working on that!

This demo was on the second day. I didn't develop it very far, but it's of my nephew Jake, so I like it even in it's raw unfinished state.

This is on the last day of the workshop. The model was on break... why are these artists still painting? Hmm... I loved all these painters.

I did this little demo on the second day, too, because one of the artists was painting from its reference and it was giving her trouble. I found out why when I gave it a go- very tricky for some reason. She's given me a copy of her reference so I can someday return to this and try to finish it. Now it's a matter of pride!
These are my funny, smart, happy hosts Jan and Janetta. I've had such a good time in their company.

After the workshop, Jan and Janetta and I crossed the country to the west coast, past Galway to the the Connemara region. Oh my.

(That's me on the rise to the right.)
Horses and cows and sheep and rugged shoreline and sandy beaches and beautiful towns and sailboats and wide blue sky and people speaking with the richest accent that goes right to the center of my heart and mind, and cider and seafood chowder and prawns and salmon and potatoes done every way possible and incredible brown bread. In the 8 days I've been here I must've eaten loaves and loaves of brown bread. I've never had anything like it and yet it's on every table- imagine! The conversations I've been privileged to listen to (and be part of) will bounce around in my brain for a long time.

These last two days I've spent with Janetta and her partner John. John is a literary agent, and of course Janetta is an artist, so the house and conversation is filled with books and art. We've walked along one of the two Dun Laoghaire piers today and Janetta and I visited another one of the artists from the workshop in her beautiful home on the sea.

The pictures I'm posting have no real way of showing you what I've seen, but may offer a hint of some kind.
Tomorrow I fly to Paris! Although I'm having trouble letting go of Ireland, I'm looking forward to exploring the little bit of France I'll get to experience in the coming week. With any luck I'll be posting again soon.

First day of workshop

I'm in heaven. Thirteen enthusiastic Irish artists (plus yours truly) in a gorgeous room overlooking a gorgeous landscape, painting away all day, breaking only to have lunch in another gorgeous room. I wonder if I could work it out to live like this all the time?

Our view from the balcony of the Dun Laoghaire Golf Club.

My demo painting from our first day.

My hosts, Jan Hyland and her husband Colm, and Janetta Mellet.

I'm racing to get this out to you before I run out the door for our second day of painting...
Will report back soon....