Friday, December 26, 2008

Roses in the Snow

We're still buried in snow up here on Maple Hill though the temperatures are rising and the rains have taken over. The chains came off the car today and I just might venture out alone tomorrow after 12 days of snow and cold. I don't mind being homebound because I'm never bored. There's always something to paint, glue, cook, stitch, draw, write, read, or photograph... and there's the long winter's nap, too, that restores my creative juices.

I just got a note from my friend Leslie Miller who has a wonderful blog that you all will just love. I met Leslie in a hot tub in Taos many years ago when we were staying at the same B&B the night before starting a weeklong workshop. We hit it off right away and have been friends since. She's such a fine collage artist and makes beautiful non-objective paintings. Do have a look at her work.

You'd think that with all my free time I'd have a sparkling clean house, a tidy studio, an organized basement storage, and lots of new artwork. I don't know where the time went but not into those activities. I did get some Christmas gifts made and our family had a wonderful time together celebrating Christ's birth. Now it's boxing day and the boxes and paper are on their way to the dump and I'm working on plans for the coming week when I intend to get some art made.
Roses do indeed bloom in Oregon in December, even in the snow.
Red blossoms bend low
Weighted by winter diamonds
Snow and ice and cold

Monday, December 22, 2008


Here's a page from my daily Moleskine journal. I draw and write with a Gel Xtreme pen by Y&C to make and add watercolor from my little recycled Altoid's tin which is now a handy paintbox.

Making little paintboxes has become a bit of an obsession. I collect flat, lightweight containers such as makeup compacts, vintage metal cigarette boxes, vintage aluminum soap boxes, children's watercolor sets, mint, candy, and cough drop boxes can be converted into little paintboxes. I spray the inside of the boxes with white enamel so I can use this as a mixing area. I order empty half pans and full pans from Daniel Smith and adhere them to the bottom of the box with doublestick carpet tape, fill them with a warm and a cool of 3 basic colors, add a tiny Koi waterbrush, and I'm set to paint wherever I go.

The face is a handcarved rubber stamp that I made from a tracing of a photograph. It was very difficult to carve the details but it's close enoough so that I don't feel the need to re-do the carving.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Open Studio report

Last month's Open Studio was a success, so much fun that I'll definitely do it again. Around 100 people came sometime during the 2 days and several who couldn't make it during the weekend stopped by later in the week, and some returned later to make purchases. My sales were much better than I thought they'd be, considering the economy, but the most important result of the show was that quite a few people were inspired to go home and dig out their packed away art supplies and get back into working. We had such good conversations about art and process, and for a few hours I got to be a teacher again.

I couldn't have done it without help from friends and family. My dear husband pitched in with setup and was a wonderful host. Joanne, Saundra, and Marilyn took charge of the kitchen and sales Friday night, leaving me free to talk to my guests. Then on Saturday I relied on Linda and Marnie with some assistance from my granddaughter Amy and her friend Kelly.

It was such fun to show art that I've created to friends who didn't know that side of me, and many of them turned out to be my customers. I think it's because buying art from the artist is sort of like buying a little piece of the artist. I know that's true for me. I have always made it a point to meet the artists who made the paintings in my collection, and I've succeeded with one exception. I enjoy having authors autograph their books, too. This personal connection adds perceived value.

One thing I'll do differently from now on is to catalog each painting as it's finished. Although I own the Working Artist software I had not used it to catalog my work so much of the month before the show was spent cataloging 146 pieces of finished work. Whew.

Sketchbook Journaling

For years I've kept an art journal of one kind or another and I've often made the books by gutting a discarded book and rebinding it with my preferred papers. But right now I prefer coil bindings over sewn bindings because I can fold the pages back on themselves for more comfortable working.
My journals aren't sketchbooks although they contain many sketches. They aren't diaries although they contain many personal observations. They could more accurately be called repositories because this is where I keep notes, lists, art ideas, workshop notes, sketches, web addresses, gallery show announcements, images from magazines, and pictures of my grand kids, among other things. They're quite colorful and once I get a few pages done in a book it compels me to keep going. Sometimes when I'm painting I'll swipe some color across a blank page so the page isn't so difficult to mess up with something else... it's my way of getting around the fear of the blank page.
I'm not alone in this love affair with the blank book. I'm currently devouring Danny Gregory's newest book about journaling, An Illustrated Life. Danny features the sketchbooks of 50 artists, illustrators and designers, giving them each 4 to 6 pages to showcase some of the pages from their own journals and giving each of them a voice to tell the reader when, where, why and how they journal. If you keep a sketchbook or journal I recommend that you buy this book and read every word. The book has "meat", heft, real content and if you aren't inspired to spend more time drawing I'll be very surprised. Danny's original book, Everyday Matters, emphasizes that anyone can draw. I believe that. It just takes practice, every day practice, because you see, drawing everyday does matter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to subscribe

I know from experience that figuring out how to subscribe to a blog can be confusing. I still don't have all the answers but maybe what I DO know will help someone out there. If you're reading this blog in your browser look up at the top right hand corner of the browser window for a square red icon with some radiating white lines on it. If you click on that red icon you'll be directed to a subscribe page. Simply click on "subscribe to this feed" and you're set. Then whenever you open your browser (Internet Explorer) look at the top left hand corner of the browser window, on the same line as the red box but on the other side, and you'll see a big yellow star. Click on that star and you'll get a drop-down list of the blogs you've subscribed to through feedburner. The newest posts are in bold. Just click on the title. The trouble with this is that you don't get to see my blog with all its bells and whistles, so you need to then click on the title, One A Day, to open my pretty blog which I spend so much time on to make it just right.

Or click on the Subscribe to button at the top of my blog and choose your feeder. The other way to subscribe is to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on "Subscribe to posts: Atom".

If this didn't help a bit you're on your own. That's all I know right now. One of these days I'll figure out how to let you subscribe via email.

Oh yes, and then there's comments. Bloggers LOVE comments. at the very bottom of each post you'll find "0 comments". Please don't leave it at 0. I'm looking for lots of comments, friends. Click on that comment word and then leave a comment. You'll need a Google ID unless you want to leave an anonymous comment. Go ahead and get your Google ID. It's a good thing.


Winter on Maple Hill Lane

It’s a cold morning on Maple Hill Lane. It started snowing at 7:45 yesterday morning and probably 5 inches were dumped before it was over. Our daughter and her family came for a birthday lunch but couldn’t past a driveway at the bottom of my street. SIL worked to put chains on while the others walked up the hill to Grandma's house. The new Les Schwab chains were the wrong size! So he-who-drives-in-anything decided that they’d better go right back home while the getting was good. I put half the uncooked meat in one container and ¾ of the potatoes in another and sent them home to cook their own food. They made it.

But it’s not over up here with the wind whipping and blowing around the house and sounding like some screaming banshee on the loose. We’ve battened down the hatches and plugged any gaps in windows and doors and are staying relatively toasty. Periodically one of us has to take a heat gun outside to melt the ice where water drips through a pipe from the furnace because when it freezes the furnace turns itself off. Pipe insulation doesn’t do the job so now I’ve covered it with a plastic box to keep the wind off. I didn’t cover the Phormium planted between 2 big rocks in front so it’s probably history along with a few other barefooted plants.

A big fir tree just fell in a yard up the street and they're out with chainsaws. Ours is at the farm so we can't offer any help and are glad of the excuse. However, the sun is shining, I have company because DH wasn’t needed at work this morning, and there's a project on my desk to keep me happily busy. Life is good.

Here's a recent watercolor painting:

Summer in Venice


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