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!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Road Less Traveled By and My Sore Feet

Many readers of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" think the poem is about being an individual. I had thought that for most of my life until my painting time became such an exhilarating experience. For many years it was discouraging and frustrating. I destroyed many paintings that I thought were awful. Now that I know exactly where I belong in regards to style and purpose I live to paint and every day is exciting.

I could be wrong but I think Frost was talking about becoming an artist which is not a typical path in life, but for me IT HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY IS THE GREATEST ROAD IN THE WORLD!

All my life I have bragged about my great feet. I have heard others talk about their sore feet and was so glad that never happened to me. I could stand up and paint all day long. I never sat down when teaching classes. Well, I guess my feet are finally showing some wear. I can still stand up for long periods of time but sometimes my feet are sore. That's life! I may be a little sore going down that path but I will stay on the road.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Almost to the Finish Line and So What if they are Little Shrimps?

I am almost to the end of a grueling painting. It is nice to achieve close to what I want which is all anyone can ever do. Painting is a never ending learning process and the next one will be perfect. Painters have to learn to live with all most and wait. They look much better later. Time to get back to work on one I was not at all happy with. I'm sure I know what to do now. Hope springs eternal.

Our neighbor has acquired a number of very small dogs. I'm not sure what breed they are but they sure can bark. We have an old medium sized labrador mutt and she seems to be getting into checking out the dogs at the fence. We have a shed that blocks off part of the fence. She goes to one part of the fence and they bark like mad. Then she runs to the other side and they bark like mad. My husband said she probably likes the company. So what if they are little shrimps? They are her own kind and she sure looks happy running back and forth.

Be sure to check out my Limited Time Promotion on two popular paintings at

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Hate this Part of the Conversation and I did not like her Hair

Paintings talk back. I always start out with a plan but somehow the painting always takes over and starts telling me what to do. Then I get to the point where it seems successful except for a few things that are bugging me. This is always the worst part of the conversation. Many paintings are in danger of being destroyed at this stage so many painters put them away for a while and then decide if it is truly done.

Usually the parts that seem so wrong don't seem like much at all after some time has elapsed. I always try to let paintings live. I destroyed a lot of good paintings when I didn't understand this part of the process. Got to tear myself away and work on something else.

I was looking at my students evaluations and wondering, like a lot of other college teachers, how did we get to the point where students tell us if we are effective teachers? I don't understand what their qualifications are for evaluating me? I get great evaluations but I know of very tough, demanding teachers that get poor ones. I don't think my course is easy but perhaps it is. I hope my high evaluations are for what I teach and not how difficult the course is.

I tease students about this all the time. I tell them that when they have an advanced degree, have taught on the college level, have a family, and work in the community then they can tell me how good a teacher I am. I also tease them about the written comments. Students give great criticism. I didn't like her hair. They always laugh on that one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It is not Just a Paint Job and Mom always said I was Crazy

I was working away at a difficult, intense painting today and, as always, thoughts from various teachers were going through my mind. I remember one teacher said that when he got the idea for the painting, the rest was just a paint job. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. My paintings go through many stages and I use so many colors and textures that the complexity of visual information is overwhelming. I don't think the average person can understand what I am talking about, but I think it is safe to say that for most artists it is not what you paint but how you paint it. My work is a unique interpretation of what is in front of me. Hopefully people can see the intense feeling that I put into every painting through the colors and brushwork.

My mother, whom I dearly love, often told me I was crazy. She is my greatest supporter and a wonderful person. She encouraged me to be an artist when many parents discourage children to pursue art. She is a fantastic pianist so she understands what it is to be an artist. My energy, my ways of doing things, and my unusual views on life are the reason she called me crazy. She is right but I wouldn't be any other way! Thanks Mom!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Painting is Working and Why People Say Swear Like a Sailor

I live to paint but it is a serious discipline. Over the years I have discovered so many personal directions that my abilities are stretched every time I paint. As most painters will tell you, what worked for one painting doesn't necessarily work for another painting. I have only discovered one absolute direction for all paintings and that is to not let much time go between each session. It is like playing a musical instrument. I have to be at it everyday. If I miss a day then I seem to lose my place in a painting. Years ago I discussed this with Dorothy Gillespie when she graciously taught a course at Radford University. She certainly agreed. My current painting is working out but I have to get in there and keep going.

Last night I was thinking about the saying "Swear like a Sailor". In my experience, that has been true but I wonder why we have that saying. My husband said if you had to spend all that time on a boat with no place else to go what do you think you would say? I mean no dis-respect to sailors. My father was a medical officer in the Navy during WWII and I miss him and his sometimes colorful language very much.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coming Along and Breathing for Dummies

My current painting is intimidating to say the least. It will be the featured painting for my next show in November. I live to paint but sometimes it is an agonizing process. It is so easy to be too controlling and then the painting can't talk back. I have to let the magic happen so the result is something that can't be reproduced. My paintings have become so visually complex that I can't stand to see them when I'm not working on them. There better not be any barking dogs today.

My writer husband and I were talking about all the self-help books that you see everywhere now. He decided he is going to write "Breathing for Dummies". I think that would catch on like wildfire. LOL

My promotion on "Marsh View on Pawleys Island" is still on. Be sure to check it out in the Limited Time Only section on

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Better Day in the Studio and Why My Marraige Works

Yesterday I arm wrestled a painting down. Still not happy about it but it is much better. Now is the time to let it live for a while and then see if I want to go back into it. I'm back on the balance beam but still shaky. Painting will drive me crazy if I let it. I refuse to let that happen. Too much else to do.

New promotion on one of my favorite paintings, "Marsh View, Pawleys Island"! I have 20"x24" canvas prints for sale until June 18th. The price is $136.00 which is about 30% off. Just check out the Limited Time Only section on

My husband and I figured out why we hardly ever argue. I never listen to what he says and he never listens to what I say. Just a joke! Love you, sweetie!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Not my Favorite Day in the Studio and The Crystal Ball

Today is the last day for my Limited Time Only offer on "Breakers, Pawleys Island", "A Break in the Clouds", and "A Pair". Check it out!

Yesterday I had one of my difficult studio days. Good art is a balancing act and I fell off the beam. I am looking forward to fighting with the painting today. If it was easy and I could get exactly what I wanted out of a painting it would be boring. I love art because it is partly a magic act full of surprises.

When I was growing up I remember a saying my mother repeated often. She is extremely conscientious and is always bothered by hindsight. She grieves over making the wrong choice. The saying is no one has a crystal ball. Last month she decided to try out a month by month retirement home. It was a lot of trouble to move over there and get set up. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would not like it and move back home. Friday she moved back home. For once I had a crystal ball.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Last Day of Special Promotion and No Screetching Dog on Monday

Don't miss out on buying one of my three most popular prints at a greatly reduced price today! My work will light up any space. Over the years I have received numerous compliments from patrons regarding their purchase. One patron has my still life in her kitchen and she says it brings her so much joy as she begins her day.

I am so excited about my current painting. I am working on a simple rose study that won't be simple when I am done with it. It will reach out to the viewer with so much exciting color and texture that people will want to touch it. That is my favorite compliment. I want to touch your paintings. My paintings have exquisite surfaces with intense, emotional brushwork. The painting here is Bull Mountain.

Tomorrow my sweet, old dog will be at the groomers all day so I can work on photographing my work. I put her in the shade and she squeals and cries until I am done. I guess she just can't stand to be tethered anymore. She will feel a lot better when she gets that coat shaved. I don't think she will be around much longer. She is a very old dog that still acts like a puppy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Two Days of Special Promotion and Claytor Lake

Just two more days of my special promotion on three of my most popular paintings! "A Break in the Clouds", "Breakers, Pawleys Island", and " A Pair" are in the Limited time section on Fine Art America. Don't miss this opportunity to get a canvas print at a greatly reduced price! Mountain lovers, beach lovers, and pear lovers need to check this out!

Yesterday this workaholic spent a few hours at Claytor Lake. I don't know why I love the water so much but I am as excited about getting in as I was when I was little. It is no wonder that many of my paintings have water. Shores, rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds. The look and feel of water is incredible!. I am so happy swimming and talking with my friend Patty. I'm so glad my mother insisted we all learn to swim. My husband never learned. He is missing so much!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sale of Blue Ridge Morning and My Screetching Dog

Sold another print yesterday! A great patron from Providence, Rhode Island, bought a framed print of Blue Ridge Morning. It is great to be appreciated! I live in such a beautiful region of Virginia. My father used to tell me that when he flew he was always impressed with how beautiful Virginia looked from the air. I try to stay out of airplanes but both of my parents loved to fly. I never tire of trying to capture beauty. I agree with Georgia O'Keefe that it isn't possible to really reproduce anything but it is such an exciting experience to try. Of course, I am also adding my own expression into the work which adds intense emotion to the painting.

I have, for some time now, been working on updating my images for reproduction. Since I have to take the work outside I have to have the right light and weather conditions. It is tedious work and my dog has figured out a way to make it an extremely aggravating experience. I have to put her in the pen and it is too hot so she cries the whole time I am working. I tried tethering on the shaded car port and she cried anyway. Yesterday I tethered her to a tree in the shade that was near me and she squealed. I have had it for a while! I am waiting for cooler weather to continue. Such is life!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Special Promotion on Three Favorites and Good-bye Goats and Chickens

Right now I have three of my most popular prints at a greatly reduced price here on FAA. Just go to the Limited Time Only section above. "Breakers at Pawleys Island" and " A Break in the Clouds" are on page one. "A Pair" is on page two. Just four days left! My artwork will light up any home or office. One patron emailed me to tell me that when she and her husband divorced, my painting was the only thing they fought over!

As I said in the last post, the neighbor down the street in this suburban neighborhood has goats and chickens. I'm still painting to the sounds of screaming babies, noisy children, boisterous neighbors, screeching cars, goats, and chickens. The neighbor is moving so I won't have nyaah, nyaah or cluck, cluck, cluck anymore. I must say, baby goats are so cute and the chicken crossed our street to peck around in our yard. What a hoot! Or, should I say, what a cluck!

Also, check out my recent upload of "Bluestone Lake"!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pawleys Island Sales and the Goat at the End of the Street

So pleased to sell two more prints of "Breakers, Pawleys Island", and "Marsh View, Pawley's Island". Interestingly enough, my last sale was prints of these two paintings. My painting experience is becoming more and more intense as I find it so difficult to attend to my other responsibilities each day. I always feel like I am screaming for more time. Sometimes a friend gets me out of the studio for a while. I would probably flip if she didn't do that.

The older I get the more obsessed I become with sales. It is great to sell prints but I want to sell the originals as well. I hope the internet will continue to improve my sales.

My neighbor down the street in this Radford City suburb has goats and chickens. I don't know him but I hear he is working on a doctorate and makes violins! I have done a lot of paintings to the sounds of dogs, crying babies, and loud children but now I paint to Nyahh, Nyahh, Nyahh.

What an interesting artist's life I have!