Sunday, October 30, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.