Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Naturalists Legacy and There goes that Show

My next show will be centered around my naturalist husband and his efforts over the years to educate people about this beautiful mountain region of Southwest Virginia many people call the Blue Ridge Mountains. Actually, only a small part of these Appalachian mountains are the Blue Ridge but I think the name has taken over due to the beautiful blue color that is so prevalent in the distant ranges. My husband has been working since the 70's to educate people about this wonderful region. He has led countless hikes, Christmas Bird Counts, Hawk Watches, and programs on the birds and butterflies he has been studying most of his life. The show will have a symbolic portrait of him and our son, Alan, when he was a baby. The painting is a new painting done from an old photograph. He has worked with all ages and will continue to work with all ages to preserve his home region.

When I told my self-effacing husband that this show would be about him and would include his portrait and many of the places he does his research, he said, "Well, there goes that show!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sold Another Original and Whatever Happened to Turn it On?

I am so pleased to sell another original. This time it is one of my intimate face series. I am very proud of the design elements and sensuous surfaces of these little portraits of family members. My son has been my model for many paintings. I haven't done one of him since he grew up but I am considering a new one. These painting were based on old photographs. I enjoy interpreting photographs and expressing my feelings through the textures and colors. Although I am extremely eclectic, photo realism is not my favorite type of art. An artist cannot show expressive brushwork or interpretive colors in photo realism. Just not my thing.

Whatever happened to turn it on? Everything has become so complicated now. My son has everything attached to his TV but the kitchen sink. I have no idea how all of this stuff works so I am no help if something goes wrong. My husband and I have enough trouble baby-sitting the computer so we don't get attacked by a virus through that modern day trojan horse. We had to get a converter box for our TV so now we have three remotes. One for the TV, one for the DVD box, and one for the transformer box. If I leave the room my husband tells me to give him everything so he can drive the thing. I greatly appreciate computers as I am able to sell artwork around the world but sometimes I miss the days when no one could find me, the phone just had a ring, and the TV was turned on by a dial.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Uploading, Uploading, Uploading and Not Expecting a Problem

I have been working hard at uploading paintings from various sources. Some are prints and some are slides and some are on negatives. Remember those things? I was very proud of myself when after about ten minutes I finally remembered how to scan slides. Not a difficult procedure but I think I am technology deficient or challenged. I have to find all the wrong ways to do something before I get it right. It takes time to find all the wrong ways so I am prone to use colorful language when working on my portfolio. Thankfully, no one is home right now. It is great to see a painting looking right in my portfolio. Just wish I could move faster.

I like to add humor to my blog if possible and my main source is the character I married. I try to think of things myself but I am not anywhere near as good as he is. Writers are like that. They tend to watch birds and are dangerously funny. One of these days I am going to require oxygen or someone will have to call 911. I hope that when we are old he will make me laugh to death. I say ridiculous things all the time in an effort to goad him into saying something funny. Works all the time. Today he said goading him for humor is like mining for uranium and not expecting a problem. I know it is quirky humor. But I love it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thank You for the Terrific Compliment and I think we need a New Name...

Friday was my last day at Radford University. My grades are in and I am delighted that I am now a full-time professional artist. I have had a lot of great students over the years and I will miss interacting with students that want to learn. The ones that can't seem to get to class, let alone learn, I will not miss at all. Saturday I received a CD of Christmas songs from a former graduate student that I had in one Drawing class when he was earning his MFA. I don't think he ever missed class and turned in excellent work. He is now selling his work in San Diego CA and is also a web designer. When I told him I was retiring he said he learned more from me in one semester than he learned in all his time at Radford University. What a great compliment to end teaching on! If all students were like him, everyone would want to teach.

I read the paper everyday and I get more and more discouraged over our leaders and their inability to solve our problems. I think it is a fair statement that many are controlled by the rich and are doing their bidding rather than what is right for this country. My husband said that maybe we should change the name from Democracy to Stinkocracy. Don't miss-understand. I would rather live in the US that any other country but this partisan politics has got to go.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sold Another Original to a Great Patron in New Jersey and Studies s

I am pleased and a little sad to have sold one of my four most popular paintings in my portfolio. "Breakers at Pawleys Island" is a special painting that I have sold many prints of and hope to sell many more in the future. My family and I have been vacationing in North Carolina for the past ten years. Pawleys Island is such a beautiful place and I am proud of the paintings I have done of it. Right now I have "Breakers at Pawleys Island" in the Limited Time section. Who says I can't fix my image problems? The last time I put it in the Limited Time section I couldn't list it for 24"x36". I thought my photograph was okay but it must not have been. I took some more shots and this time the offer is for 24"x36" at a greatly reduced price. Check it out!

Yesterday on Facebook someone posted this scientific gem. Studies show that people that have more birthdays live longer. I love that kind of humor and just have to repeat it. I have told a number of people but that have already heard that joke. Oh well! Hope some people haven't heard it. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

So Pleased my Nudes are Well Received and I think We Need to ask Congress this Question

Just sold two more prints of my nudes. I am so pleased people appreciate my nude drawings. I spent umpteen hours in school learning the human form and I think my nudes look alive and the settings emphasize their beauty and the mood of the work. As I have said before and told many art students, anyone can draw a stiff, lifeless person. The mark of the artist is to get it right. Sometimes students get the drawing backwards. They carefully draw eyelashes on a face that looks like it is paralyzed or fingernails on a broken, limp hand. The figure must look alive and that takes a lot of practice and study.

The approval rate of Congress right now is extremely low. It is no wonder. I think most people see partisan politics and no real effort to solve our problems. I think we need to apply a little Grouch Marx humor to this situation. Have you stopped taking bribes from wealthy corporations? Answer yes or no.

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Now for Something Completely Different and It is Difficult to go to the Grocery Store and...

I decided I needed to add something new to my artwork at the same time that I am getting ready for my next show. I have always been interested in Typography so I am starting a portfolio of Kendall Letters. I am applying my unique interpretation of color and line to letters that would look great as small or large prints. Since these are 5"x7" and 6"x9" I can scan them directly into the computer and patrons can get quite large prints. I also have these on Zazzle so they can be put on just about anything. Be sure to check them out! I will be adding more soon.

Since High School I am have been concerned about the quality of food in grocery stores. I have come to the conclusion it is difficult to go to the grocery store and come back with food. You can come back with a lot of food additives, high fructose corn syrup, excessive amounts of sugar and salt, way too many calories for the amount of nutrition, and items with more oil than anything else. My father was a great doctor and he believed people should down a lot of vitamins because of the over processing of food. I do the same and I try to stay as basic as possible. I don't think anyone is monkeying with the potato or with a banana or other basic fruit and vegetables but a lot of the meats are scary and most of what is on the shelf has ingredients I have never heard of. Oh well. Dad lived to be 90.5 and he always gave everyone great health advice. I sure do miss him.

Art Prints

Art Prints

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Check out my limited promotion this week and I must have a sign on the back of my car...

I am pleased to offer large canvas prints(24"x36") of popular paintings at a greatly reduced price this week. I am very happy with how well my work shows up in the search results on Fine Art America. One of the specials is for "A Break in the Clouds". This painting is number one out of 5436 in Nature Oil Paintings. It is number one out of 1094 in Mountain Oil Paintings and number two out of 8344 in Original Oil Paintings. I work hard to promote my work and it is great to see the results in the searches and in sales. My work is my life and I want it to reach as many places as possible.

I have come to the conclusion that there is a sign on the back of my car. It must say, FOLLOW THIS CAR AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN. No matter what the speed limit, no matter if I am going the speed limit or going over the speed limit, I always have cars so close the bumpers could kiss if they had lips. Am I the only one that thinks cars should be a car length apart for every ten miles they are traveling? It creeps me out to have cars so close. There isn't anything in my car of interest and I am not going 20 miles over to get them off my back. Oh well. Please back off!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I was the Only One and Send Him An Attachment

My students are required to turn in an assignment each week on various principles of art and design. The last two weeks of class they are to put everything they have learned into one assignment and I do not give them any advice. Since I don't give them advice, they have the option of working in class or somewhere else. They have to show me their progress each day and then they can stay or leave. So I have something to do I am showing a fantastic art history docudrama on the Medici family, Godfathers of the Renaissance. The DVD is optional but I hope some art students will be interested in this great PBS work. I was the only one watching today. I hope I will have some viewers tomorrow. I will miss some things about teaching but I will not miss the sad fact that there are art students that are not interested in art history. As one art historian said, "All right, go out and invent the wheel!" She hit the nail right on the head.

I received an email from a student who claimed he was too sick to come to class the day after the break. For some reason, students think they can leave early for breaks and come back late. Like they are really going to have nine days break for Thanksgiving when they get into the real world. Anyway, this student took a picture of the project that was due on Monday and thought he should get full credit for it even though he did not come to class. My husband said send him a picture of an "F" as a jpeg . Tell him to let you know if he can't open it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sold Another Print and What to do with the Curmudgeon that hates Doctors

I am so pleased to sell another print of "A Break in the Clouds". This is a view of Rock Castle Gorge on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. My husband has spent much of his time studying birds and butterflies there. I often tease him that he should have a mailbox there. It is very difficult to get a signal in that region. I hope his CD on Butterflies of the Blue Ridge will be out soon. The photographer needs to get his act together so this project can be finished.

I decided to put the bit about my curmudgeon husband and his reluctance to go to doctor on the Fine Art America discussion section. I did it mainly for humor as I know he will get to a doctor soon. There were a lot of fun responses about surgical removal of wallets, and pain being a notice to idiots to do something about the problem. My favorite was from the moderator. Her solution was to convince him he needed to go, then hire two huge, burly blokes to kidnap him and plant him at the doctors office :))

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No Painting Tomorrow and how to get a Curmudgeon to the Doctor

I really do live to paint and although I like Holidays I am always on edge because I can't paint. People think artists are nuts. I used to think that was ridiculous but now I'm not so sure. I want to paint every day of my life and when I can't I am not happy no matter what the celebration. I am working on a double portrait that will be the center piece for my next show that I am going to try to get a lot of promotion for. This show will be a culmination of many years of work and I hope I can get a lot of traffic for it, not to mention sales for all the time and effort in my studio. Sometimes a friend drags me away for a while and I am always thinking about my current work when I am out trying to have some fun. My work is my fun and I will be so glad to get back to it on Friday.

My husband has a lot of physical problems that have to do with pain. I think he would benefit from a doctor's help who would probably direct him to a physical therapist. He walks for miles every day and spends a considerable amount of time doing various stretching exercises so he thinks it is pointless to go to a physician. He says if he goes to a doctor the doctor will say, "Give me your insurance card. I am going to squeeze the bank!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Excited about my upcoming show and Not as Many as there are in Washington...

I am confident that I will get the main painting for my next show ready in time. The show goes up January 15th and now that I am retiring from teaching I am sure I can get the painting and the promo going in plenty of time. That is a great feeling! I have been wearing too many hats for a long time and now I can concentrate on my career as an artist and straightening out our house or the dump as we prefer to call it. People have often commented that I am a very organized person. When you live with two slobs, make and exhibit artwork, and teach on the college level, you are either organized or dead. I love my guys but they couldn't organize a pair of shoe laces.

Yesterday we came across another skunk on the road. I love Southwest Virginia but we do seem to have an awful lot of skunks. I mentioned to my husband that we have a lot of skunks in Radford and he said not as many as there are in Washington. If you really want to check out a stench, walk in on Congress. Skunks galore!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sold Another Print, Limited Time Promotion on Favorites and I think I will buy a rack...

A great patron in Temple Texas bought a print of "Blue Ridge Jewels" last night. That was a nice email to wake up to. It is great to see my work reach more and more places. I already have work in Texas but this is the first print for Temple. This week I have three favorites in the Limited Time Section at the top right. "A Break in the Clouds", "Marsh View at Pawleys Island", and "Natural Rhythm" can be bought at a greatly reduced price. Check it out!

I do a series of stretching exercises before I get out of bed. Then I do a yoga stretching exercise. Before I walk, dance or swim I do stretching exercises which I repeat after I am done. At night I work with weights and do one more round of stretching exercises and I STILL HAVE PIRIFORMIS! I think I will get a Medieval torture rack and just lay there until these muscles unwind. Don't send me a link. I'll look for one on ebay.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fighting with Computers and Did anyone ask the Deer...

Yesterday I sent out my monthly newsletter. Usually it goes well and I have no problems with the program but this time my preliminary draft was sent out instead of the final one. When I tried to send out the correct one I received the notice that it had been sent out to everyone already. I changed the title but I was still told it had already been sent out to everyone on the list. Then I tried to send out a new one and got the same message. I gave up. I include my email on the list and received the preliminary draft which wasn't too bad. Computers baffle me. I was going to try again this morning but the final draft had been sent out after all. People had opened both. I decided to send another one explaining the situation but when I got ready to hit the start button the message again said it had already gone to everyone on the list. Enough is enough. I will be more careful next time and hopefully I won't run into this problem.

The other night there was a news story about a deer that crashed through a glass window of a store, raced around the store for a few minutes and then left. According to the News Team the deer was unharmed. Did anyone ask the deer? That could not have felt good! It crashed through glass and was unharmed? I don't think so.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Limited Time Promotion Coming Soon and How I Saved Countless Lives

I am offering two of my most popular paintings at a 40% discount this week only. "A Break in the Clouds" and "Stepping Stones on the New River" are paintings that express the joy I have experienced living in Southwest Virginia in what is commonly known as the Blue Ridge Mountains. Actually, only a small part of this area is the Blue RIdge but I use the term for other mountain ridges since it is the accepted name in the New RIver Valley. Both of these paintings have the atmosphere I have come to love my whole adult life. I am originally from McLean, VA but I can't imagine living anywhere else now. I think I was a mis-placed mountain girl. Look for my promotions. They should be up soon!

In a about a month I will retire from teaching at Radford University, VA. I have enjoyed working with highly motivated students and I think I was able to help them better understand what are the exciting and beautiful aspects of visual art. I won't miss the students that don't seem to be motivated and do not put much effort into learning. Years ago I gave make-up tests to students who had various reasons for missing tests. I would have around twenty students per class I had to schedule make-up tests for. Then I decided to rate the tests so I wouldn't have so many make-up tests to give. If a student missed the test then the second one would count double. If they missed both tests then the final would count for their test grade. I saved countless lives. After I started the new test policy grandparents stopped dying, girlfriends stopped going to Emergency rooms, and room-mate's dogs stopped getting run over. Students came to all of the tests and everybody was happy, especially me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time to get Away and What a Pinball Shot!

The stages of a painting can be exasperating so I am always glad when I have arm wrestled it down and can decide on a few more brush marks that finish it off. It is always a fight but I love it. I think the reason my husband and I don't fight and argue is that we fight and argue with our artwork and that is enough for us. I don't need any other drama. As the late Roanoke Times Art critic, Ann Weinstein said, in so many words when she retired - Artist's skinny souls fly through their art. I can't remember exactly how she put it but I like the skinny souls part. Friday will be the last day I work on this painting and then I will get it on the net as soon as it dries.

Yesterday morning I knocked my coffee cup on to the floor where is smashed and covered the floor, my delicate white curtains, my son's shoes by the door, the fabric cushion on the seat, and the dog's blanket in her bed under the table. What a pinball shot! I got everything in that section of the kitchen. I think that is the last home-made forty dollar coffee cup I am going to purchase.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Know Why Sargent said That and I am Not Going Any Place Where...

John Singer Sargent made a good living off of painting portraits of people that could afford them. Commissions are very difficult. What artists consider to be a good painting is not always what the sitter wants. People always disagree on what is a good likeness, even if the portrait is a photograph-oftentimes especially if it is a photograph. When Sargent hit fifty he closed shop. He said he would paint your barn or your fence but not your face. I think you have to be a painter to know how frustrating portraits can be. I have been fortunate and no one has ever complained but I have not done that many. I will still do them when asked but it is a difficult task.

My naturalist husband is always at his studies. When he is not doing field work he is compiling data on the computer. He has devoted his life to educating as many people as possible on what we have and how to take care of it. He is still working on a CD on Butterflies of the Blue Ridge which I hope will be out soon. Problems with the photographer have delayed progress. I have often wondered why he doesn't want to travel to Africa or South America for a completely different experience. He has studied species in Mexico and North Carolina but no where else outside of Virginia. I asked him why he won't travel to more exotic places and he said he isn't going anywhere where the wildlife is waiting for him with a fork and spoon as soon as he gets off the bus. I see his point.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Great Way to Finish and Kiss them and Run!

I have taught a total of nineteen years on the college level and will retire from teaching at the end of this semester. I have enjoyed working with Art students but I can't say I have enjoyed teaching Linear Perspective. It is my opinion that anyone in any visual art field should be well grounded in this subject but it is extremely hard for some students to grasp. I like to display good work by the students in the hall for everyone to see and this is the first semester that I will be displaying some of their oblique perspective assignments. What a great way to end my teaching career and begin work as a full time professional artist!

My husband and I were watching the Mike and Molly sitcom the other night. In this episode Molly, her mother, and her sister were having heated arguments and Mike was being drawn into the fireworks. His situation was getting worse and worse and my husband said Mike needed to get out of there. Sometimes all you can do is kiss them and run!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sold Another Original and All Choked Up

I am so pleased that I sold another original to a great patron in Missouri. Now I have artwork in eighteen states, Washington D.C., Canada, Germany, and Australia. My artwork marches on! As I have said before, I want to cover the planet!. It is such a wonderful experience to be appreciated. I work so hard at my profession and will never quit trying to get homes for all of my paintings. They are extensions of me and I hope they exist after I am gone. The painting is "Chrysanthemum Shift" and it has an exceptionally sensitive surface and exuberant color contrast.

Last week the Virginia Tech Library where my husband works in Government Documents had a celebration regarding the changes that are occurring right now. My husband's staff had a huge cake with the letter "C" on it and some pirate cookies. My husband said he had to leave the room all choked up. He wasn't choked up about the changes. He is fructose intolerant and can't eat cakes or cookies or a lot of things most people can eat. He was just kidding around. He has made the adjustment to his diet and lost thirty pounds. He just likes to make jokes about his dietary problems. The last time I mentioned one of his dietary laments on Facebook, I got a long stream of advice from well wishers. Not necessary!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What a great Experience and Thats what I Tell the Face in the Mirror

I work so hard at my painting and when the different stages of a work finally come together it is like a great celebration. Painting can be an exasperating struggle. I live to paint but sometimes it is not a great life. This week a painting I started over four times is coming together and I can hardly wait until it is completely done, dry, and on the net for everyone to see. Now, if I can just get through the last week of Linear Perspective life will be great again. Why is Linear Perspective so hard for some students? This is my last semester of teaching and I look forward to NEVER having to teach Linear Perspective again! I have enjoyed working with art students but it is time to pursue my career full time.

A few days ago my husband was joking about not being able to find his brain. He thinks it is gone and I told him he had a great brain which was probably full of wrinkles since, as we all know, it is not the size of the brain that indicates intelligence but the amount of wrinkles. Wrinkles are a good thing. He said that is what he tells the face he sees in the mirror every day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back to Closing the Door and Do you think it was because of Parents Weekend?

When my son was a toddler I would close the door of my studio so I could get some work done. He hung out with his Dad for an hour and then would come and knock on the door. An hour is better than nothing. My paintings have become so complicated that I have to cover them when I am not working on them so I am not bothered by what needs to be done. I need a lot of time to paint as I always work wet-in-wet. I have gone back to closing the door and I tell the family to stay away so I can work. They can handle that. There is never enough time for an artist.

My husband is a self-taught naturalist and he gets up at the crack of dawn to check out the wildlife, especially the birds. He rarely sees people at 5:00 in the morning but he had a story to tell Saturday. He was checking things out by the New River at Bisset Park when he saw something swimming in the middle of the river quite a distance from the shore. It was a young man swimming. The morning was cold enough that my husband had a jacket on so he was very surprised to see someone stand up and look over at him. We talked about a number of reasons for this incident and then I remembered this week-end was Parent's Week-end at Radford University. I jokingly told my husband that he was hiding from his parents because his grades were bad.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halfway There and Lights on a Turkey

I have taught a total of nineteen years at Radford University. I taught full-time for eight years and part-time for eleven years and I decided this semester would be my last. I have enjoyed working with the students but I want to work full-time at selling my own work. I make part of living off of my sales and it is my dream to make all of my living off of my sales. The semester is half over and I am getting more and more excited with each passing day. I am taking one thing home a day from my office so I won't have so much extra work during exam time. Soon I will be able to devote more time to promoting myself and moving artwork. I am in seventeen states,Washington D.C., Canada, Germany, and Australia. Time to cover the world!

My husband and I were talking about the great change in holiday celebrations. When we were kids no one put up lights for Hall ' o Ween, people did not put Christmas lights all over their roof and fence, and no one exchanged gifts for Easter as many people do now. Weeks ago we saw Christmas lights on at a home nearby. There are all kinds of huge Hall o' Ween ghoulish balloons in yards. My husband said the next thing will be lights on a Turkey for Thanksgiving. That is one I want to see!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Working on the Next Show and There is no place like this Dump!

Time to get to work on the promo for my next show that will be up January 15th at Zeppolli's in Blacksburg, VA. I used to put on more than one show a year but now I find I am doing much better selling on the internet so one a year is enough. I have sold a lot of paintings locally but I do live in a hard sell area. Radford is not Chicago by any means. Got to get the details together to attract some attention. I still don't have a title for the show because I am not sure I will finish a painting that I wanted to center the show around. Just have to wait a little longer to get the title together.

We live in a modest active solar home that is all we need but it is a little cramped so we do plan to move eventually. It is great having everything one one level and I have a nice studio that my brother-in-law added to the house before he got married and had five kids. We haven't seen him since. Just joking! Whenever we are away on a trip when we get home my husband says over and over again, "There's no place like this dump!", "There's no place like this dump!" Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visions of Students Jumping Up and Down and Does anything get that Dog Down?

I hardly ever miss class. Spring Semester I didn't miss one. Students are expected to turn in an 18"x24" assignment every week. It is my opinion that when Professors are easy on students they are not doing them any favors. College is the last step before the real world and the real world is not made up of loving parents and kind High School teachers. Saturday I picked up a nasty bug complete with congestion and fever. I only cancel class when I can not be there. This bug has been so bad that both classes this week were cancelled. As soon as I hit the send button on the email I imagined students jumping up and down with joy that the mean ol' teacher cancelled class and they had two more class days to finish the assignment. I told them the assignments had better be good...

Sixteen years ago we went to the shelter and got a very friendly, sweet, mixed labrador mutt. She was medium-sized and we didn't know if she was a puppy or full grown. She didn't get bigger. She still acts like a puppy in her old age. She jumps all over us, pulls on the lease, and wants to be with us all the time. Obedience School was a complete disaster. Yesterday she was practically lame. She was holding one paw up as she walked and it was swollen. She tested positive for Lyme disease and I immediately thought she would probably die. The neighbor's dog died of Lyme disease. After one dose of medicine she took last night she is jumping around on all fours and the swelling is completely gone. She is even going over to the fence where the neighbor's shrimpy dogs bark like at mad at her while she just stares at them. What an amazing old dog! We are all glad she is still around.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

If People only Knew and Abduction to Mars

Sometimes I hear people talk about an Art Appreciation or Art History course as if it was not worth any time or effort. I remember one young man saying all the teacher did was show pictures. Visual language is an incredible, thought provoking language that I wish everyone could understand. In school we are taught verbal and mathematical skills but not visual skills, in my opinion. I wish the average person could understand the tremendous effort that artists go through to communicate what they think is important about life. My work is intensely emotional but I think many people just see a pretty picture. Every color and mark is labored over to achieve the most intense visual communication possible. I never get exactly what I want but I get close. The perfect one is always right around the corner.

Just for fun my husband and a friend play the lottery once a week. They each put in a dollar and I always tease him about the fact that we still aren't millionaires. He says he has about as much chance of winning the lottery as he does of aliens hauling his butt off to Mars. I definitely would prefer winning the lottery. We are not the Bobbsey Twins but we do get along.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still Arm Wrestling and Are We the Neighborhood Diner?

My current painting has been quite a trip and I don't mean to the beach. The arm wrestling has gone on for such a long time my mind is reeling with all the different directions I have taken. I think I see daylight now but I thought that before so I can't wait until Friday when I can attack it again. Thursdays I teach most of the day and then take some young adults bowling so I just have to be on edge until I can get back to it. What a roller coaster ride!

I have mentioned before that our old dog is so nice that I caught her staring at a cat eating her dog food one day. She didn't budge or bark- just stared at the cat. I oftentimes see cats sneak into our yard. Birds take her food and dip it in her water bowl to soften it. One small dog squeaked his body through the fence and now my husband says squirrels give him a dirty look if the bowl is empty. Are we the diner here? I fully expect the goats at the end of the street to show up one day for a snack. Such is life!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sold Two More Prints and My Fat Missed Me

I can't complain about this week-end even though I worked almost every minute of it on art, housework, or taking care of a sick kid. I used to brag about my great feet that never hurt. Those days are over. Sold a print on Friday and one today so that sweetens up a mostly sour week-end. It is great to be appreciated.

I have had to watch my weight my whole life. I was never very overweight but there were times I did have some extra. Fortunately my mother could have founded Weight Watchers. She cooked meals that are just like what you see in Weight Watcher menus. None of us are overweight and I have managed to keep the extra pounds off since I left home many years ago. I have a number of friends that are still fighting the battle of the bulge and keep trying this diet or that. They want to insist I am just one of those people that doesn't have to worry but it isn't true. I tell them Weight Watchers is the group to join. One of my friends lost quite a bit of extra weight and then slowly put it on over a period of a couple of years. She told her husband, "My fat missed me".

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Arm Wrestling and Head Stuck in the Fence

Years ago when I was struggling with a painting that was not turning out the way I wanted it to a teacher made the remark that painting was like arm wrestling. You get it in the direction you want it to go and then it messes up and then you get the effect you want again and so on. It is always fun in the beginning and then it becomes more and more difficult and then you just want to get it done. If an artist works hard she or he can get close but never exactly what is desired. It is such a great experience when one is arm wrestled down and you feel like you won. I think my current painting that was started over a number of times is about to cry uncle! It never stood a chance against such a stubborn artist. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.

The tiny, noisy dog next door was squealing the other day. I am so used to hearing it bark like mad at my poor old dog that I didn't pay any attention at first. After a while I realized it was making some sort of distress cry and found it with it's head stuck through one opening in the chain link fence. It was jumping and spinning around in a circle trying to free itself. It looked a little guilty when I went over to help it. Usually it barks and bears its teeth at me but not this time. The owners were not at home so I called animal control. I could not get it loose but I stayed with it and tried to calm it down until help arrived. The animal control officer was able to free it and I think the dog and I are friends now- at least for a while. It still barks like mad at my dog.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sold Another Painting and You have the Wrong Number

I am so pleased to sell another original oil painting to a great patron in Morganton NC. It is such a wonderful experience to mail artwork out of my studio. Painting is my life and people that purchase one of my paintings are getting a part of me. Visual art is such an intense means of communication. I try to promote the good things in life with my work and "Flower Field" is one of my favorite paintings for reasons that I can't explain. Sometimes the colors and textures come together in an especially sensuous way that makes all of my efforts worthwhile.

My husband has a cell phone that he doesn't use. He just has it for emergencies but has to add minutes every three months to keep the service. He has 500 minutes and will probably just keep adding to that number. He can't understand why cell phones have become so popular. If a lot of people started to try to contact him by cell phone, this is the message he would like to put on it.

You have reached the wrong number. Even if you think you have the right number you are wrong. Bye.

He would never really do this. He is one of the most diplomatic people I have ever met but at heart he is a curmudgeon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I have not done that for a long time and Artistic Environmentalists

I live to paint but once in a while it is a terribly taxing experience. Today was one of those days. I try to move fast so I don't get too critical of one painting but this time I was determined to work through the frustration to get the effect I want. It wasn't happening today so I became very vocal about it after making sure no one was around. Sometimes it is very helpful to throw a tantrum. Right afterward things started to work right and I am confident it will be a success. Control and accident. I doubt the average person has any idea of what that means. They would if they took up painting.

My husband likes to tease me when I make certain comments about nature that pertain to being an artist. Certain trees have a type of visual accent that makes them stand out from the rest to my eye. Since my husband and I are both environmentalists he says artistic environmentalists hug pretty trees.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Would Not Happen if I had Time and The Only Alien I am going to see

I'm sure all artists that don't make their living off of their artwork can understand this problem. I make part of my living at it and I will never give up on getting paid for what I consider to be my job but I need that rich patron to support my efforts so I don't have to stop in the middle of my work. I wish I could spend as much time as I want on my paintings. There are so many other things I have to do that I am frustrated with all the starting and stopping. Still whining for extra hours to the day...

My husband and I were talking about movies with aliens in them. I have seen so few and really don't like alien movies. Some of them are so gruesome and some of them are so frightening that I avoid them. I have enough nightmares. My husband is not that interested in them either. He said the only alien he is going to see is the one staring back at him from the mirror

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sold Another Print of Marsh View at Pawleys Island and Hot Water

I am so pleased to sell another print of Marsh View at Pawleys Island to a great patron in Ridgeland MS. I am especially pleased with this painting. It is 41"x 60" and takes up a large section of the wall in my living room. I'm so glad there a number of people with prints of this work. I hope someone will want to buy the original but I think they would have to be local. I have never shipped a painting that large. I know there are shipping services for such an item but I haven't crossed that bridge yet.

I am still whining about piriformis and have decided that I am probably having this problem because I have stopped two activities that I used to do weekly - skating and swimming in a heated pool. I only like to skate at rinks but I have become too worried that I might have a serious accident . I hated to give it up but I don't want to break a hip at my age. The heated pool at the hospital is no longer having free swim sessions so that is the end of that.

I told my husband that I think people our age need to spend time in hot water. He said he is always in hot water. Not true! He is one of the good guys.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sold Burning Shore and I Think I am going to call it Nastyformis

I am so pleased to sell one my favorite paintings to a great patron in Florida. "Burning Shore" has a wonderful visual intensity. I am especially pleased with the color contrast and emotional brushwork. I thought "Burning Shore" was a perfect name considering the strong sunset colors that permeate the whole work. I am now in sixteen states, Washington D.C., Canada, Germany, and Australia. I hope I cover the planet!

I am still griping about the piriformis that is causing so much pain in my right hip. Ten years ago I had such a bad case of piriformis in my left hip that I was practically screaming in pain. Since then I have been doing the exercises a great nurse friend told me to do to prevent it from flaring up again. That time it went away after a few days. This time I have been suffering since the end of July. The pain is not anywhere near as bad as the first time but I wish it would let up! I think a better name for it would be NASTYFORMIS.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sale of Beautiful Nude and NBC?

Yesterday a great patron in North Carolina bought a framed print of one of my beautiful nudes. "Reaching Out" is an intense charcoal study of a model that looks like she is trying to reach beyond the picture plane. The light effect and flowing marks are especially strong in this one. I am so pleased that I am selling prints of these nudes and getting wonderful comments from other artists. As I have said before, the ability to draw the nude so that it looks alive and not just a combination of detail is part of the discipline of a good artist. I hope to sell many more of these drawings that are so important to me.

I am still suffering from piriformis and am wondering how long this will last. I am using a heating pad which helps but I still can't work on my portfolio update. I am too sore to drag my heavy easel out doors to photograph artwork. I am really getting tired of this pain in the butt. I told my husband I need a new butt and where can I get one. He said, "I don't know, maybe NBC - New Butt Club". Not sure how that works as humor but it made me laugh.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So Excited about my Current Painting and a Bucket of Fudge

A lot of artists do portraits of famous personalities that they have never met. I assume they have never met them so they rely on photographs and either stick rather closely to the photograph, modify it somewhat, or completely change it to accommodate their individual expression. It has never occurred to me to paint a portrait of someone I don't know. Recently I decided there was one personality I greatly admire that I haven't seen a lot of paintings of and I thought I would give it a try. I am enjoying the experience and am using a number of photographs to get the likeness but the painting is all mine-my expression, color, and brushwork. I hope it turns out as well as I want. Painting is always a crap shoot between skill and what happens in the process. So far, so good!

Whenever I see a report in the newspaper that politics are working out the way I want them to I become very excited. I see hope for what is important to me and I like to discuss these things with my husband. The other day I mentioned an improvement and he said the results are based on a poll and you can never tell about them. He said one party probably calls up twelve members of their party and tells them to answer yes on five questions and they will get a bucket of fudge in the mail. So much for polls and good news. I think I will just believe the poll results. That makes me happy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just Sold Another Print and Peanut Butter on his Hands

I just sold another print of one of my most popular paintings. Natural Rhythm is a feast of color and texture and the canvas print will go to a patron in Perth Australia. I have originals and prints in private collections in sixteen states, Canada, Germany, and now Australia. I hope I can cover the planet! I literally work my butt off as I am still suffering with Piriformis this week. Those of you that have it know it is a muscle spasm in the rear end that presses on the sciatic nerve causing a lot of pain. I'm glad I paint standing up. Sitting and lying down are hard on this problem. Hope it is better soon.

My husband is getting so sick of rice bread that he is thinking of spreading peanut butter on his hand and then licking it off. The diet for people that are fructose intolerant is very restrictive. I posted this on Facebook and got a zillion replies on how to improve his diet. Most of the suggestions included things he can't eat. Who would have thought that there are people that can't eat apples, string beans, bread, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, etc. We have found a lot of substitutes but the rice bread is getting him down. We are looking into other types he can eat.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to Oil Paint before I Flip and Little Known Nonsense

I am so glad to be back to oil paint. I know I say this too often but I truly do live to paint. Pushing colors and textures around on a canvas or board is such a wonderful experience and it keeps me together. In a world where adults and children kill others when they are unhappy, where spouses beat up on spouses and children, where animals are mis-treated, I need my paint to be happy. Yes there are many wonderful people and things in the world but there is too much of what is wrong that weighs us down. I emphasize what is good in life in my work. It is a great form of communication and I am thrilled when people understand it.

I have been having some trouble with periformis for some time now and hoping it will get better soon. Those of you that have experienced this problem know that it is literally a pain in the butt. One muscle spasms and then affects the sciatic nerve and ouch!!! I was complaining to my husband about my aches and he said it is because I married a dip stick. According to him, marriage with a dip stick causes physical pain and mental stress. Little known nonsense that is not true in my case. I did not marry a dip stick. Put Clyde Kessler in Google and you will see what I mean.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Where would we be without Art and Once you are Over the Hill...

What would people do without Art? I know many people live for sports and cars but how many people have nothing to do with Art? More and more people are getting tattoos and I only know a few people that don't watch TV. I love all the arts and can't imagine a world without them. If I had a bunch of lives I would pursue them all. I live to paint but I also spend some time playing the piano, line dancing, and watching great DVDs. One of my patrons that works in the library orders the sort of things I like and calls me up when they arrive. My artwork is in sixteen states, Canada, and Germany. I may never become as successful as I would like to be but the time to work is all I really care about.

Since we bought a home many years ago my husband has kept the computer room covered up with all his activities. I greatly admire his environmental efforts and his poetry that he has had published many times but I can't clean a room that has the bed piled up with boxes and notebooks and the floor mostly covered up with the same. Of course, if I try to organize everything he won't be able to find anything. I finally came up with a solution. I am slowly cleaning the room and organizing his things with him so he will know where I am putting things. I am not quite done but it is so much better that he thanked me. It is true what Charles Schultz put in one of his cartoons.

Once you are over the hill you pick up speed!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I knew I would add Charcoal and There is no Place like...

Still working on an old drawing that I thought needed some accents. The drawing is a pencil nude and has great space - just didn't carry very well. I was determined to stick with graphite and make it work but I got out the charcoal. Now the drawing has strength and is a strong visual experience. Like many young artists I started with pencil and then moved on to charcoal, conte, and pastels for drawing. There is nothing wrong with graphite but it was only for me when I was young. I will add the drawing here when the weather cools down so I can get a good outdoor shot.

My husband, son, and I live in a small, active solar house that we bought as a starter house on a nice street with three houses and wooded areas. It seemed like an ideal place for an artist and a naturalist. It was a great place for two years then every lot was sold and the sloppiest people on the face of the earth moved next door - no exaggeration. At one time they had seven cars that did not work on their lawn with old TVs, furniture, and assorted trash. We have been fighting with them since they moved here. I even made a video and took it to the city and nothing happened.

Finally, after many years, social service made them clean up and now we may be able to sell our house if we find what we want but we have had a lot of fun here and had a lot of great neighbors and friends for my son. It really is true that there is no place like home. Whenever we travel we always say when we get home, "There's no place like this dump, there's no place like this dump!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankfully Back in the Studio and We Know we are Home when we hear that Sound

I love to visit my family but I am always uneasy when I am away from my studio. I get quite nervous and distracted. Painting keeps me together so I never stop unless I have to. My mother celebrated her 89 birthday and I saw my siblings, and some nieces, nephews, and other in-laws. I am thankful that I don't call them out-laws. We all get along pretty well but I was so glad to see the Radford sign yesterday. I am working in graphite for the first time since the 80's. It is true that artists do go back to old works and modify them. The trick is not to destroy the work in the process. I have gotten good at that over the years.

As soon as we got in the door, the little dogs next door started yapping away. They still bark like mad and bare their teeth at our dog as she just looks at them by the fence. She isn't going to stop patrolling the back yard but she also doesn't bother with barking back. These dogs are as small as Chihuahuas but they don't look at all like them. They are very unattractive to me- sorry dog lovers. My husband just calls them Chiuglies.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Various Comments on my Work and Run Over by Chocolate

Over the years I have received a lot of interesting comments on my work. Artists and patrons have often compared me to Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. One artist saw the influence of 20th century colorist Pierre Bonnard on my work. Many artists have seen the influence of Claude Monet. These are artists I greatly admire but I think my work is unique to me and I have developed a style that has a tremendous amount of visual strength through my own layering process.

My favorite comment that I hear a lot from admirers is that my paintings make them want to touch them. I am especially pleased with my complex surfaces that can only be understood through visual language that the average person does not study. I think the comment that they want to touch the surface indicates the visual communication has been successful.

I have received a lot of praise from patrons over the years but my favorite comment came from a woman that bought my painting at the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pennsylvania. She sent me an email and said she made her husband buy that painting for her and when they divorced it was the only thing they fought over. I'm sorry her marriage didn't work out but what a compliment!

I love chocolate. I don't know any people that don't like chocolate. My favorite kinds are the chewy kinds - especially chocolate with caramel centers. I am quite the sugar addict. What do you call someone that has been run over by too much chocolate? Tootsienami!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I have to Cover Them and I Hope the Multi taskers are not...

My studio is a room that my brother-in-law attached to our house many years ago. Then he got married and had five kids and we haven't seen him since! Just joking. Anyway, I can see my easel from my bedroom and I used to study my paintings from a distance during the day. Now they have become so complicated and intense that I have to cover them when I am not working on them. Every change in light makes such a difference and I can't work on them all day long. Now I understand why the famous 20th century artist Pierre Bonnard would turn them to the wall so he wouldn't become too involved in them. I tell my students that when you are analyzing every square inch and making decisions on whether or not that section looks right and whether or not it looks right with the rest of the work then you are into heavy duty art. It doesn't matter whether it is looks like something or not, there are zillions of visual decisions to be made. What a fascinating experience!

I am becoming more and more concerned with other drivers. I think it much more likely to be in an accident these days than when I was young. I am now much aware of what is going on around me. I just hope that all the multi taskers that eat, talk on a cell phone, watch a movie, read, and check their hair in the mirror are not multi stupid.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking for the Light and So is an Old Piece of Cheese

I have become acutely aware of how different lights effect my paintings. There are so many colors that the light is extremely important. I have learned over the years how to set up so that I know the light will be most helpful when painting. The number one reason I don't paint outdoors is the tremendous change in appearance of the painting when brought in doors. My paintings aren't meant to hang out doors so I have to paint in my studio. I have day light florescent lighting but the light is still completely different at different times of day. I have learned I can't paint in the afternoon because the painting is tremendously flattered. I can't paint at night because the warm colors practically disappear. I paint in the morning. The light in the studio is the best for the final result that will look right where I want them to be- on someone's wall.

I have always teased my husband about his looks. I think he is very handsome and is what many people would call a "pretty boy". He joked about that at work and now they all call him PB. He doesn't think much of his looks and says he looks especially bad now with age. I tell him he has just matured over the years and still looks great. He says an old piece of cheese matures but it still stinks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sometimes I Play and am I being Silly to Ask?

I work very hard at my paintings and usually have a clear objective for each one but sometimes I just want to play with the colors and see what comes up. My most recent upload is an example of one of those works. I started with a flower motif and then let the colors and textures happen until I thought it was a good visual experience. There is nothing like oil paint to me. Sometimes I enjoy working in pastels but my medium is oils. I hope I die with a brush in my hand. Painting is my life.

Am I being silly to ask if Congress could greatly reduce the debt if everything were cut a small amount? That way no one could scream about being cut out. I'm sure even the military has some pork that could be reduced. I certainly am not advocating any harm to defense but I'll bet there are some things that could be cut out without putting our country at risk. Seems to me this would be the thing to do in a Democracy, but I am not a politician, just a worried individual.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Final Brush Marks and Frances is just Too Nice

It is always so hard to know when to quit on a painting. I have learned over the years to let them alone for a while before deciding if they are really done but it is so difficult to stop. Often times I feel like I should push one a little more before I quit but that usually just creates more problems to solve and perfection is always out of reach. Since my work is representational people that don't understand abstract art are always trying to get me to explain it to them. I tell them that I can't explain what all artists do. I believe the only way people that only understand art as a picture of something can understand how all art is abstract is for them to take it up themselves. Whether the artwork has specific shapes from nature or not there are a multitude of decisions to be made based on how it looks as a work of art created by one personality.

Just put the last marks on one I am pleased with. It's not exactly what I want but it is close.

Our dog Frances is just too nice. The other day we saw her about two feet from her dish. She was calmly watching a cat eat her dog food. She didn't bark or go after the stray cat. I guess the natural animosity between dogs and cats is not always true. She is still periodically staring at the neighbor's dogs as they bard like mad at her. She never barks back or bares her teeth at them. Sweet old dog.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It is Paint and Can We be Friends?

When I was young I didn't understand the phrase artistic license. I thought that it was an excuse for the inability to reasonably reproduce things. Like many young artists I was working on my drawing and painting skills and had no idea what artists that understood the phrase meant by it. When a teacher would try to explain to me that all art is an abstraction from life I would smile politely and think the teacher was either nuts or making up some nonsense.

Now I talk exactly the same way to students and I don't think I have flipped. When critics of Manet's portrait of Emile Zola said the pants didn't look like pants he said in so many words they are not pants. It's paint! Regardless of whether the painting looks like something or not it is an arrangement by the artist that is in some way an abstraction from life. My work is a visual arrangement of my feelings for the natural world and I am thrilled when people understand the "license" in my paintings.

My old dog was running back and forth at our fence while the very small dogs next door chased back and forth barking like mad. Now our dog, Frances, likes to just go to the fence and walk around a little. The dogs still bark like mad and bare their teeth. Frances just looks at them and never barks. If she could talk I'll bet she would say, "Can't we just be friends?"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Glad to Sell another Print and Adult ADD versus CRA

I was so please to sell a print of one of my nude drawings. They are very special to me. I put a lot of energy and linear accents into my nudes. I have sold a number of prints on FAA but this is the first print of a nude other than a couple of greeting cards. The human form is beautiful and I think it is sad that some people are offended by the nude in Art. As I tell my students, anyone can make a poor, stiff, lifeless drawing of the human form. The mark of a true, accomplished artist is one that can make it look alive!

I write things down. I make lists. I put dates on the calendar and I still miss things. I'll never forget the day the dentist called up and asked if it was possible to change my son's appointment which was on the next day. I told them I couldn't change it and then I forgot to take him! I don't think I will ever live that one down. I jokingly told my husband I have adult ADD(attention deficit disorder). He said he has CRA(Can't Remember Anything) but he isn't sure because he forgot.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Painting, More Painting, and When was the Last Time You saw a Green Heron?

I have been enjoying returning to some paintings that I haven't sold yet and working on them here and there. I rarely do this. Once I finish with a painting I move on to the next one and let the other one live. It is so easy to get too worked up over one. It is hard to return to a painting due to the fact that I am always changing my methods even though they always have my touch. I have to remember what it was that motivated me to do the painting in the first place and the particular approach I took then. My palette has lightened up over the years which is typical of many painters but recently I have returned to darker colors in current work. I go around in circles but they are all extensions of me. I love what I do!

My husband, Clyde Kessler, is a well-known naturalist in the New River Valley and has been asked to become part of a business venture to promote tourism and wildlife studies. He leads tours for a new group called Radbird and was an excellent guide this past week-end at Bike Virginia in Radford. What a wonderful float down the New River from River View Park to Bisset Park! This tour was called the Green Heron Tour as there are always a lot of Green Herons on this part of the river. We were all pleased to see many Green Herons, and a Great Blue Heron that showed up right on cue as did around 50 other species of birds. It is great have such a knowledgeable husband who dedicates so much of his time to educating the public about the wonders all around us. There are so many wonderful things to do that don't require batteries.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paintings can become Old Friends and I miss my Big Stomach

Most of my paintings that I think are successful are out the door before I hardly have a chance to look at them. Some other paintings I think are successful go unnoticed and then some that I am not too pleased about are big hits with others. Either way I don't sell them all and I am quite prolific so I have paintings around me. Some of them have problems that bother me and some become old friends. Most of my paintings improve with age. I forget what it was that was bothering me and just see what is successful. I enjoy looking at the old friends and hope they will be bought eventually.

I have fought the battle of the bulge my whole life. I can remember being teased about being a little chubby when I was five years old. I won the battle in High School and have kept my weight down ever since. I love to eat but I can't stand to carry around extra weight. My husband was thin as a rail when we were married and gradually put on extra weight and became rather portly. Last year we finally found out why he has so much indigestion and pain in his abdomen. He is fructose intolerant and has had to cut out certain fruits, vegetable and wheat products. As a result he has lost thirty pounds and is slim again.

One night when we were lying in bed watching TV he said he missed his gut. Took him years to get it that way eating the foods he can no longer eat. I guess some people would rather have the extra weight than give up certain foods!