Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moonshine, Starburst Aura, Chianti

Every year I take a little time to grow hybrid sunflowers. I have a small plot on the north side of our yard that is just right for morning light. I like to call this 'the north 40--feet, that is.' The sunflowers seem to explode as soon as there is warm weather. These hybrids are so easy to grow. They provide dramatic cuttings for a couple of months until the zinnias take over. It's so hard to grow any flowers in the desert, so this is a huge treat for us. Some frustrated gardener, William Alexander, wrote a book about how expensive it is to grow food anywhere and titled his book, The Sixty-four Dollar Tomato. I haven't read it, but would have to agree that keeping plants alive until they bloom or are ready to harvest and eat can be a very expensive proposition. This 9" x 12," oil on panel painting is of three of the hybrids. They are called Moonshine, Starburst Aura and Chianti. (Sold)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strawberry Banana Acoma

What a glorious time of year it is. Spring time is here and the desert is blooming. We've had the oddest, but, most wondrous rain this past week. The hybrid sunflowers are blooming with rich, intense color. Photos coming soon.

This painting is a 9" x 12," oil on canvas of the northern New Mexico region, Acoma, in the Diné (Navajo) Reservation. It reminds me of an ice cream float. I must be channeling my admiration for Wayne Thiebaud and Fritz Scholder again. I must be ready for a delicious smoothie on a warm Sunday.

Reading Art & Fear (Bayles, Orland) has been good this weekend. As I traveled around looking at other artists' blogs, I was encouraged that our thoughts and feelings are the same. We struggle, triumph, we grow despondent and try again. "Some people who make art are driven by inspiration, others by provocation, still others by desperation."--from the book. Aren't we all, in discrete moments, all of the above?

Yet, I am ever stunned slack-jawed as I contemplate nature....

Or watch the new color rising from the richest ochre soil
like some fancy dancer making her big leap,

Or make the first swish of paint on the fresh ground of canvas
that amazes this maker, nearly freezing in mid stroke, joyful, wholly grateful to be.

What if our paintings make poems of landscapes, songs of flowers that mirror all that we can see?
"History doesn't repeat itself - at best it sometimes rhymes”--cousin Mark Twain
Let's rhyme in a good way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Critical Sub-Angstrom Measurements

Sometimes we don't realize what is going on in the right side of our brains because it's just not telling. You all know what I mean. We train our left brains, as much as we can, to change negative and self-criticizing words into more hopeful pronouncements. And, we become more successful as we make routine the practice thereof...Ah. Word for the day--the title of this post. Now, an angstrom is pretty small, but when it comes to being self-critical, our thoughts can be smaller. And meaner. It was bonnieluria who tipped me into thinking that this is why I haven't finished some recently started paintings. Frozen. Too excited. Concerned about future work. This got me to thinking and moving toward the studio and, to finishing the portrait of my son, Ell, who is returning at the end of this month from his second year of college. As I wrote the equations on the canvas (and the photography terms on the right side), I could sense how very creative math and science truly are. Even though I could not understand any equation I copied, it felt right, felt good, felt creative. I wish I weren't so afraid of math. I'm still hoping to be less afraid of failure...or of canvasses that seem to defy me. I've titled this painting, His Mind is Full of Good Things, and it is 22" x 28," oil on canvas, with chalk. We are not our thoughts--for which we can be grateful! Let's be generous to ourselves today...Say, maybe for the rest of the week? Then we can consider extending this freedom to the following weeks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Not Sleepin'---Sonoran"

I've seen bumper stickers lately that have this statement and it made me think how long I've been away from posting. You might think I've been snoozing. Not so. We've had to have some major repairs and upgrades done for the old fort. While I have been in the studio, I've not made any new works. I've been finishing the edges on several paintings while.... Oh. My. Goodness. I received the most beautiful email from the curator of the Tucson Museum of Art. Let me repeat. Oh. My. Goodness. After ten years of dreaming and submitting work to the Arizona Biennial, my painting, Sabino Hill on a Snowy Day, was accepted into the upcoming exhibit along with other Arizona artists. As those of you who have followed this blog for awhile will remember, I've worn the t-shirt of rejection, with great pride, on previous years.
  So, see, I'm not sleeping, I'm jazzed, floating on air, getting the house ready for the heat of summer and daydreaming about the opening reception for the exhibit. And, I'm ecstatic that my work is going to hang on the very same walls that Fritz Scholder's, Jasper Johns', Maynard Dixon's, Chuck Close's, Ernest Blumenschein's works, and so many of my favorites have hung. Oh, yes, I'm dreamin.' That's fer sure. If a video of the show is made, I'll link it here as soon as it is uploaded. The exhibit will be from July 11th through September 26, 2009. Wishing you all a magnificent day in the studio. Words for today: Mirabile dictu: A pedibus usque ad caput...I am euphoric!