Passions of an Odd Chick

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's finished...

It needs a few more minor touches but it's finished for the most part. I thought I would be elated but mostly I'm just very tired. I don't even know if it's good anymore. All I know is that it is the very best I could do with what I know right now. I gave it everything I had, and all the talent I could muster. I had to accept at some point that I couldn't make it the perfect gift. I wouldn't make it the perfect painting. It is just a painting by a very new artist, an amateur with a warrior's heart. It is what it is. You can't imagine what your comments and encouragement did for me! I would have given up many times along the way without your help. Honestly.
This piece taught me that I had romanticized a lot of the artist's process - that he happily painted his huge canvas, knowing exactly where he/she was going and whipped the final product out with joy and glee and a delight to all. It is a wrenching process, a struggle, a long, long climb and finally you reach the top of the hill and you have to sit down and rest for a moment, catch your breath, before you can really enjoy the view.

All I can hope for is that it brings beauty and joy to the space, and honors and blesses those I love.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Ugly Stage

The painting is at a really ugly stage. It's too stripey, darks and lights aren't defined, no real direction...still. It's like it's turned 17 and gone really rotten like a bad teenager. I want to cry. I want to kick it out. I don't know why I even shared it with you because I'm ashamed. I wish someone else would come in and raise this child.
But I've learned that paintings go through ugly stages, just like people, and that you can't give up. That you have to keep with it until you and the painting emerge. And just like a bad teenager, once it begins to bloom, you can't over-parent them, over-work them- that you are part of the process, but you are not all of it. I need a miracle. I'm expecting one any day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HELP Please!

OKay. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart- I reeeally need your help.

As some of you who follow me know, I have been commissioned to do an art piece for our new foyer at my church. I know in my heart of hearts that I am not ready for this. I've said it many times to those who asked it of me but they are just sure that I am the one to do the painting. So I said "yes" expecting that God will help me. Trusting Him a lot more than I trust myself. But God will find me working and with your help....

Many of you have seen versions of this piece because I have been practicing for the canvas. This one is on watercolor paper and is about 16 X 20. On Friday I start the 30X40 canvas which, by the way, will also be the largest piece I have ever done. It will take me several days. It will not look exactly like this but this piece holds the essence of what I will try to achieve in the larger piece.

This is where you could be sooo valuable to me. I want you look at this piece and give me your totally honest opinion. I need to see what various reactions will be as this is the way different people from my congregation will view the painting. I know everyone won't like it. YOU DON't HAVE TO to be my friend. What I honestly need is some real critique, real opinions. I have no teacher close, no art student friend - I'm by myself -and I need to bounce this off several someones. Would you please consider commenting and giving me your impressions and opinions, if you are an artist- real suggestions and critiques? You've done it for me before, but I've never needed it as bad as I do now. I would be immeasureably grateful.

By the way, the foyer has been decorated in wood tones, copper, stone elements and has a lot of east light. The decorator person (also a church member) asked that I use some metallics if I could fit them in.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Treasure The Everyday

In honor of the new season, i wanted to do a fall painting. Plus, i had a small box from Golden of sample gels and paste and a new bottle of Gac 200.
(These are all polymers that mix with acrylic paint for different textures and different results.)
All these, and some new acrylics and a museum profile canvas box (10X10)made for a very sweet day yesterday. For the life of me, i wasn't smart enough to photograph it to show you all the fun textures and molded stamps hidden throughout the painting.

So many of you have followed this journey with me of learning to draw and paint. You've seen me

make lots of studies of popular artist and try to re-create, in a more humble version, something of what I saw in theirs. But now, I'm trying to create without looking at anything - painting intuitively, they say... and it's a lot scarier but so rewarding, when after much effort you begin to see something that would actually attract you if someone else painted it. All the studies and all the practice have helped me to begin to make my own stuff. I'll always be a student, but I feel like i'm looking over my safe nest, getting strong enough to take flight. Your encouragement has meant everything....without it, i'm certain i wouldn't have had the courage to keep pushing myself out of the nest.

But if this isn't something that makes you smile, maybe you will enjoy what is playing on my front porch as we speak.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Come Ride With Me

I thought I would take you along with me for what I thought was a really fun day. (I apologize for the quality of the videos, i'm still learning)

Although we have 3 hired farmhands, during fall planting season everyone is needed in the field. Sweet Farmer put me in the new tractor and taught me how to work the GPS system and I rolled in hay seed that had been spread by foam over this large open circle watered by a pivot sprinkler. All I had to do was turn the tractor around at each end and then set it on its appropriate row and it would DRIVE ITSELF!! I had my hands in my lap the rest of the time- check it out- no hands on the steering wheel. And as odd-chick-farm-girls do, I was listening to an educational podcast from TCU on imperial Roman history and video podcasts of a drawing tutorial. Where else can you go to class 8 hours a day and sit on your butt with your hands in your lap and still make money??? Not a bad day, huh? Although the field is bland, what you don't see is all the interesting things I found in the clods as I travel along at about 7 mph watching all the birds, especially hawks, that come and scavenge off the top of the new ground.

The next day I had to cut a beautiful hay field in my Caterpillar winnower. When you stepped into this field you would be overwhelmed by the smell of the blossoms, a lilac/lavender smell and it was a sea of green around me with thousands and thousands of yellow butterflies flitting over the top like twinkling lights. There were also lots and lots of Monarchs making love. Then swallows come out of nowhere like little black bats and would catch themselves a snack among the fabulous smorgasbord.

This is not really a good sign in the field as it means these yellow butterflies are attracted to the blossoms and then lay eggs that hatch out to worm/beetles that eat the hay. It will eventually have to be sprayed for this problem or it will diminish the crop significantly.

But for today, it made for an air-ride seat over the green stage of a unique ballet. I hope you enjoyed the free admission.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Setting My World Right Again

We couldn't go anywhere for the holiday weekend because we had hay down in the field. The wind had blown my first raking of the hay all over the field and I re-raked it again yesterday morning. Sweet Farmer baled until 1:00 a.m. and the rest of the night was a bust as neither of us could sleep. He was either snoring, sneezing or flopping around like a fish - and I flopped right along with him. Long, Long night. It reminded me of when I cared for a sick baby eons ago.

I don't bounce back so quickly from those sleepless nights anymore.

Along with the work I absolutely had to do and no more, I did manage to paint a whimsical little painting with my new Golden fluid acrylics and I must say the pleasure of that has certainly lifted my spirits.

I realize a good night's sleep will cure most of my ills.

I realize that I can nourish myself with no more than a few new ounces of paint.

I realize that my spirits can be lifted in a matter of hours and a little play-time.

I realize I'm very fortunate because it takes so little to set my world right again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chasing Down Your Passion Like It's the Last Bus Of the Night

This new journal is full of animals! These goats have been running around in the pen of my mind trying to find a place to settle. I like them under the tree so I painted their collective portraits with acrylic and watercolors and water-soluble crayons, ink, and then took it to Flickr and added some more fun. It doesn't really matter whether you paint it, or digitally add interest, it's all your own creation and it amounts to play-time in the mind and soul. I'm also learning that if I have a certain look in mind, to stay with it - adding, taking away, until I see what I need to see. I don't think you have to be really good or talented, I think you have to be very tenacious to be an artist. For some of us, things have never just come easy by way of inherent talent or good genetics. Some of us have to be greyhounds with our nose to the ground, chasing the scent of our passion through every obstacle, totally focused, until we tree the desire of our hearts!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

All things Hairy And Warm......

Have you ever stepped into a pen of dairy cows?? Well, this is what it feels like after about 3 minutes later because first they shy away. But then, with nervous curiosity they all slowly come forward, step-by-patient -step, moving together, lowering their sweet heads and their drooling chins, stretching their necks and noses to the safest point toward you to just get a whiff of the new "cow". And if you stand really still, you will have the unique privilege of feeling huffing, wild breath, moist and musty, the embrace of all things hairy and warm, and you will be part of an earthy, ancient dance of comradeship - that will be broken with nothing more than a sniffle or sneeze or the click of your camera.
I was there. And wanted to remember.