Thursday, February 25, 2010

nostalgic moments

This past weekend was a health scare for someone very important to me and I began reflecting on some special shared moments together. In the fall of 2008 I was very lucky to be able to travel to Italy for painting and for a vacation with my husband. There were some magnificent landscapes in our favorite area of Tuscany that are so memorable but also city scenes that were so different from our day to day lives in the states. This rich variety of colors, textures, foreign sights and sounds, transported us into a dream world that seemed surreal. The cafe scene that I chose to share here was an incredible splash of color as we rounded a turn in the maze of streets in Venice. My camera did not do it justice but it is a vivid memory for me that I wanted to capture on canvas. Not just because of the autumn colors of the arbor foliage or the light and shadow that usually draws me into a scene, but more so the quiet early morning conversations among the locals who gathered there. Before the bustling crowds hit the piazza a simple cappuccino was sipped slowly and quietly; shared with a friend or loved one. I felt like we had come upon a private moment yet this was a public place which revolved around their daily routine so different from the one we left behind. I realized these were the moments cherished by my husband; the peaceful simplicity that we hope to find in our mornings when we reach retirement "someday". I recognized how precious this trip was for him as a vision for simply 'being' rather than always working, moving, doing. I have been able to find that in my second career as an artist and painter. He finds it in these quiet moments during our time away that he can dream about experiencing again when he leaves his first career behind. I look forward to that time for him too. This painting became a commission piece for friends of ours who frequently mention how much they love it and how it fits into their home and lifestyle. I not only agree but know as fellow travelers they have discovered this same value of quiet moments that enrich our lives and become dreams and nostalgic moments.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

painting interruptus

Although there are a number of interruptions in my day when I'd rather be painting, there is always the necessity for promoting our art! Today was one of those days for me. Today was the day for me to hang some works at a neighborhood Starbucks. Well, maybe not the closest one for me but in a fun and funky neighborhood no less. If anyone would like to meander to the Hawthorne district this month and visit the Starbucks at 37th and Hawthorne you can now have a brew with a view! Nice baristas too! I like to think we as artists are beautifying our surroundings by sharing original artworks, not just looking for sales. I enjoy getting out to exhibits but am even happier when I stumble across someone's artwork or crafts in a surprising location. Coffee shops are usually more relaxed and one has some "alone time" to sit and ponder things. In fact the first year I moved to Oregon my neighborhood Starbucks was featuring artworks of local artists which really made an impression on me. Not that I needed an excuse, but I found myself visiting quite a few that year. In fact some of those "local" artists are now featured in SW Artist Magazine or signature members of Oil Painters of America. I guess it is great to know we can all get a boost from our morning java one way or another. I wish I had the time to visit all the exhibits that artist friends have on weekends. OK, break time is over. Time to get back to the easel and hope the muse had plenty of coffee of her own.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Milestone Day

Today is a milestone birthday for a friend of mine. I won't give away which birthday but this painting brings back an unforgettable day many years ago as if it were just yesterday. At the time I had just been accepted into the gallery. My FIRST gallery. Most people have heard about the heat and humidity of mid summer in the Midwest. This particular day was a scorcher. I was one of the artists invited to paint en plein air at her home. This was just one of the many beautiful window boxes that she tended. This lady has a green thumb and I wanted to do her proud! Of course in those days we had been out celebrating the night before. (Don't ask me why, it was a while ago.) I was feeling a bit "sluggish" while working in the direct sunlight but I really wanted to nail this one. Ever feel that pressure? It seemed I had no problem remembering to squint that day. With all the finesse I could muster I announced I would take a break in the shade. Things were just not coming together if you know what I mean. When I got back to my easel I found a cool drink, a little note of encouragement and a little packet of life savors which saved mine! That note was the thing that put the day into perspective. What a turn around for me to realize what art, painting, and friendship were all about. Having fun doing what you love to do no matter what the end result. Needless to say I still keep that painting around to remind me of that milestone for me and of of course today's birthday girl...Happy Birthday Blonde!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lost art work

Since this is February and "heart month" I perused my inventory of "red"paintings. I didn't realize how many I actually had. This one jumped out at me more because of the story behind it. It was memorable for many reasons but mainly because it disappeared. It vanished along with another similar piece I had painted the same day. They were going to be given to my two children since I managed to paint each of them during a painting trip. I painted each while talking to my children on my cell phone. Imagine that. I was explaining to them what I was doing and that I was thinking of them and hoping this would be a great memory for them one day. I recall placing both paintings in a wet painting carrier to dry. It was a homemade carrier made out of foam board. They and the carrier have never been seen since. I had visions of the carrier flying out of my van into the vast wilderness around Sun River, OR. (I also felt guilty that if that had happened it would be bad for the environment.) Maybe if I had signed them it could be considered a great promo stunt! Is there a lost and found site on the web? Has anyone else had an experience like this?