Sunday, December 6, 2015

Winter's here

Moonlight Caravan oil on canvas 4 x 6 in.
Thank you, everyone who came to Open Studios last month! It was great having six artists onsite, the most ever at the Allied Box Factory, and seeing all our friends. Special thanks to our Gallery Girls for helping it run smoothly. The weekend was a big success. I've continued to paint since then, even though the days are short and it's getting colder. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

This Very Weekend

Box Factory artists in the SOMArts Open Studios Exhibition:  Kytha Gernatt, Mark Seely, Christine Meuris, Sean Vallely and me (and someone else who's not at our studio. But their work looks good with ours anyway)

We were just in Scotland for three weeks. Revisited the sandy white beaches of the Outer Hebrides, and even the campsite and lone caravan that were the inspiration for many paintings. We saw the Northern Lights over a quiet loch, and the Fairy Pools with a steady queue of tourists. In my beloved Glasgow, we visited Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Glasgow School of Art (still under repair following last year's tragic fire), and took a day trip by train to Edinburgh, where we were lucky enough to see the BP Portrait Award at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It's a popular and fascinating show, and so inspirational for anyone who loves painting people. I feel I must follow my heart back to that area of work. Maybe someday I could even apply for that prize.

Here's a link so you can check out all of the artists who will be participating in Open Studios this weekend:
Box Factory 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


This is a work in progress, a tent in the moonlight. With almost every painting, I'll be at this early stage and wonder if I should just leave it while it's bold and loose. Finishing it, the way I paint, will take forever and I get tired just thinking about all that work - and afraid of messing up the painting and losing the freshness it has now. But would people go for it? Maybe they'd just think I ran out of time, or that I was trying to turn out more pieces more quickly. Maybe they'd tell me they're so glad I'm not overworking my paintings anymore.

Here are some more secrets:
Gamblin's radiant yellow saves so much time mixing paint (that's it on the tent).
Winsor & Newton magenta is also there and is a great sketcher, carrier, and way to make colors sweeter.
I make a nice warm black bean color with ultramarine blue, cobalt violet and burnt sienna to use in place of black sometimes. Wish I could get that premixed.

I don't paint for about the first hour in the studio, and instead sit and drink coffee and look at my phone. Then, at the end of the day when it's time to go home, I'm running late and wishing I had more time.

People are my favorite subject to paint, but I don't enjoy doing commissioned portraits very much - it's too much pressure. And there's not much of a market for "people I don't know looking back at me." This doesn't make sense to me though, because interiors in magazines always have plenty of portraits and figurative work. It doesn't matter who the person is - they just look cool.

I just photographed all my smallest paintings with my phone, and I think the images look fine.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Open Studios 2015

. . . Only two months away! There will be five artists at the Box Factory this year. More information soon. . .

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Leo and the Lanterns oil on canvas 16 x 26 in.

Oops I skipped a month. No shows coming up besides Open Studios in November, and I've already been thinking about that. Sean and I just submitted our guide for the ad, and probably no one will be able to tell, but the inspiration was Andy Warhol's Factory and the Velvet Underground. I was obsessed with that scene when I was in high school.
Still painting every day, still walking to and from the studio. Still wearing a full face of makeup every day (I love makeup, maybe because I'm a painter).
The late, notorious London dandy Sebastian Horsley wrote, "Art doesn't pay, but the hours are good." I feel like I work so slowly, and sometimes I make a big necessary change that is the painting equivalent of backtracking miles and losing days. It takes boldness and then sacrifice and then back to the patience. I guess it's because I'm in love with painting that I have that steadfast patience with it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Can I have some remedy

At Range oil on canvas 18 x 18 in.
"All of us are a little bit unbalanced. . . We're drawn in art very often to the sort of things that are missing in our lives. . . We try and find, in art, the things which we've lost contact with in our own lives, so there's an element of rebalancing,Alain de Botton said in an interview about his book Art As Therapy. On the website, you can be prescribed an artwork for different emotional and life problems. It's an interesting experiment, and I agree that art can be a refuge and a remedy. We all know that music can do it, right?
I just wrote for an application that "the subjects that have always most attracted me are those with some romance to them:  old-fashioned architecture, sparkling and glowing lights, sweet colors and a harmonious simplicity."  So, with my paintings, I'm trying to conjure constancy in a changing world and bonhomie in lonely times. I'm aiming for the subtle feelings of wonder, adventure, comfort and enthusiasm as an antidote to anxiety and overwhelm. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Joie de Vivre

Chorus of Dancers 30 x 25 in. oil on canvas
I just got back from the Startup Art Fair at Hotel Del Sol. Like ArtPad at the Phoenix Hotel in past years, two floors of Midcentury Modern motel rooms encircle a swimming pool for a glamorous and relaxed setting. Each room is a temporary gallery, giving a feeling of getting to peek behind private doors - with the chance to step outside and get some fresh air in between each exhibition. However, while ArtPad was populated by commercial galleries, Startup is for artists who do not have representation, including those whose galleries have had to close in the recent property bloodbath that San Francisco is going through. I really thought the art was just as strong as at any gallery-backed art fair. I saw many people I knew through so many different parts of life, and had lovely conversations with some new people. My favorite pieces were Naomi Frank's sincere oils of gorgeous and glamorous things, Bijan Yashar's photographs of light reflections on classical paintings, and Joy Broom's transformations of paper mementos into beautiful objects with a life of their own.
ArtSpan put out a call for ten artists to show in their room and I applied, ready to hang On the Dance Floor over a door for the party atmosphere and at the last minute chickening out and submitting something else. I wasn't selected but enjoyed the ArtSpan room which was heavy on sculpture - a good idea as Hotel Del Sol asks that no new holes be put in the walls.
Speaking of On the Dance Floor, pictured here is another painting I restretched and recolored until I was much happier with it. Happy May Day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We hope you have a painting-worthy week

Tiny Blue 2015 oil on canvas 4 x 6 in
Oh no, late again! We were away for 3 1/2 weeks, we were in Europe: North of England, then around and into London, then train to Brussels and Amsterdam. I don't know if I took any painting-worthy photographs but it was a wonderful trip. I found out about a campsite in Goathland, near Whitby, made of a circle of gypsy caravans and airstreams. It has an open air bath, circus tent and costumes. You can rent the whole place for 18 people. I want to do that next time! But not in March, it will be TOO COLD. Until I get to have a weeklong photo shoot with caravans at night and my beautiful friends, I gather these images wherever I can. Sometimes I even take a photograph of a toy camper, a food truck, or the TV. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

May you see beauty

Park Tree oil on canvas 10 x 8 in.
The trees are going slowly; I have been painting lots of tiny caravans with thoughts of spreading them out on the counter of a pretty boutique.
I paint, ideally, seven days a week, from noon to 6pm (the same hours as Rick Rubin works, apparently) and walk to and from the studio every day. That walk is so boring and I hate climbing the hill but the routine and the exercise keep me sane.
Sorry I didn't post on the 15th - not much new to report just yet.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

For You

Horrible photo taken with the selfie mode of my phone (because its regular camera is broken) of a new or almost finished painting. This one was based on a daytime photograph of the Truckee River, I think! These nighttime fires with water are my most difficult paintings because so much is up to my imagination - the fire is completely made up, and yet I'm trying to make a believable space and quality of light. Plus:  the reflections on the pond. But people do love that sexy teal water. I'll be doing a small series of them and put them up on my little fires in the woods page.
Anyway, sorry I'm late again and I'll try to check in again on the 15th. Why not write a comment? (Be nice, I've had a hard day).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

As Promised

On The Dance Floor (in progress) 2005 & 2015 oil on canvas 38 x 24 in.
Apologies for my first entry of 2015 being two weeks late, on the 15th of the month! To make it up to you I will try to write twice a month from now on:  on the 1st and the Ides.
As promised, here is one of the paintings I have spent time reworking. Like the recent movie Boyhood, some paintings could be 12-year projects! It's still not completely finished, but you can play Spot the Difference.
I always liked the two central faces. The long-haired man is loosely painted, which best portrays a body in motion, so I left him mostly as-is. The red-haired woman, with her eye contact with the viewer, is the strongest feature of the image so I only dialed up the contrast and color (I can't say enough about the impact of red lipstick)! I wanted these two figures to look like they were caught in a spotlight panning across the dance floor, so the peripheral people would become more of a vignette.
This previously mostly blue, green and yellow painting looked watery to me. I went back in adding warmer colors - red, purple and rich, velvety black - with the intention of catching the drama of a night scene. I made the hair colors more realistic, added a dancing hand or two, and am playing with skin tones and clothing colors until the painting feels real, special and harmonious. It would be nice to add the colored lights and flashes of a club, but it can't be gratuitous:  the photo was taken from the balcony of a night club looking down at the dance floor with a flash camera, and there was no fancy lighting. We are almost there.