Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Coffee Painting, Colorado Winters and Shrike

Still Life With Stone Setting
oil on paper 7 x 5 inch
available here

You could say coffee and still life are the themes this month.  I joked about naming the painting below  "Ugly Mug", but I went with a different name to keep it on the positive.  Poor little mug.


Mug With Circle Handle
oil on linen panel 4 x 6 inch
available here


 Of course there has to be figures too when I paint.  I am not sure I will ever stop painting them.

Brew
oil on paper 9 x 12 inch
available here

Here is a recent shot of my art studio.  It is a loft area at our house.  It has lots of southern light.  My poor guitar just sits there.  I quit lessons some time ago when I started working two jobs and would much rather paint in my spare time.  Learning an instrument is a bit comittment, but maybe I will pick it up again some day.


It has been a snowy winter here in Colorado.  I am getting my exercise for sure with all the shoveling.  Our bird feeders are quite busy.  At the Wild Birds store I work at people complain about the squirrels eating all their bird food.  We even sell foods with hot pepper in them to deter the squirrels.  They don't like the taste, but the birds can't taste it.  I don't really mind the squirrels, they have to eat too.




We also have these magnificent Magpies here in Colorado.  They are a large intelligent bird said to know how to mimic sounds.  I have never heard them do that though.  People also complain about these birds because they bully smaller birds at the feeders.  Our Magpies are nice, they don't misbehave.



Another Colorado bird I have really enjoyed seeing is the Northern Flicker.  It is a woodpecker and it has the most beautiful markings and color.  They are fun to watch at the feeders, hanging upside down and such.  How in the world they can eat that way is beyond me.


The trees behind our house often look like this - full of birds.  It is such a joy for me to watch them and photograph them.



Speaking of birds, I am obsessed with this song by Hozier.  He learned about a bird called a Shrike, which is actually a kind of vicious bird.  After hearing about the Shrike, he felt inspired to write a song about heartbreak.  It is such a beautiful and almost haunting song though and I will leave you with this video of him performing it.  Enjoy.


Until next time.  Take care.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Artists at Rain Cafe

Artists at Rain Cafe
mixed media on birch panel
16 x 12 inch
available here

I used to attend a painting group with a wonderful group of artists when I lived in Kansas.  I think I was a part of the group for about three years and I missed it when I stopped going in order to work part time at Pottery Barn.  The conversation among that group was always interesting and inspiring. 

I hope your new year is off to a great start!  Thanks for visiting my blog.

Lisa

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2019 Slideshow Video

Lisa Graham Art 
2019

Hi everyone!  I took some time and created a slide show with music reviewing all my paintings in 2019.  I used to make these videos every year, but somehow got out of the habit.  I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for following my art!

Happy 2020!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bird Watching and the Story of Mitsou

Bird Watching
mixed media on cradled board
available here

My cat Mitsou likes to bird watch.  There is a place near a window on the back of the couch where she will bird watch nearly all day and sometimes she can be found stubbornly waiting by the window at night even though the birds have long gone to bed.  She is a mischief, a funny girl, a crazy cat, a ninja, and then she can be absolutely still and sweet.


Mitsou
She was abandoned by her mother as a kitten along with her siblings on my friend's property in the country and when my friend texted me a photo of her asking if I wanted a kitten I was hooked.  Absolutely adorable kitten cuteness.  I had lost my mother only months before, so I had a moment of weakness.  I say weakness because we already had our Golden Retriever Hurley and our other cat Peet.  But I brought her home anyways and there has never been a shy bone in her little cat body.  She made herself right at home and thinks she runs the place.

I love telling the story of how I got her name.  The year before I was in New York City with my sister at the Metropolitan Museum of Art seeing a Balthus exhibit.  Part of that exhibit was Balthus' 40 original drawings of his childhood cat Mitsou.  He drew them when he was only 11 years old probably to process his grief after she ran away.  In the drawings it showed her cuddled up to him when he was sick in bed, his frantic parents as she dashed across the dining table, and himself with a lantern in hand out in the street looking for her.  Their family friend was so moved by his drawings he published them into a book.  I was  moved too and promised that the next cat I took in would be named Mitsou.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bird Shop, a New Job, Backyard Birds and a Christmas Sale

Bird Shop
oil on wood panel 16 x 12 inch
Can you believe it is already December 4?  I sure can't.  I have been busy busy.  I have two part time jobs and one of them is at a nature store here in Colorado.  I have always loved feeding our backyard birds and we often sit and watch them from the kitchen table.  We even have a bird book and binoculars nearby just in case we have any unidentified visitors at one of the feeders.  Anyways, I ended up taking a part time job at the store where I buy our birdseed.  I have to tell you that people who spend the time and money to feed the sweet flying creatures make some of the nicest customers and interesting folks to talk to.  It is a physical workout on some days when a truckload with 2,000 lbs of seed shows up and we have to carry them into the store and put them away.  Each bag weighs 20 lbs.  I am pretty tired on delivery days, but the job is NO stress.  I love this job.  

So as you can probably guess by now this painting is inspired by my new job.  I will tell you about the other job later on.  I have some paintings brewing in my head that are inspired by that job.

photo by Lisa Graham
These two doves are often seen sitting together in our backyard and they are often on the SAME branch.  Isn't that precious?

photo by Lisa Graham
This is the first year seeing Northern Flickers!  My heart skipped a beat when I saw one on the railing of our deck just outside the kitchen.  They are so beautiful.  This one is a female.

photo by Lisa Graham
I believe this one is called a Lesser Gold Finch.  It's all puffed up trying to stay warm.  

Brick House
oil on panel 6 x 8 inch 2017

Other news is I am having a Merry Christmas sale on select paintings including this one.  They are 50% off through December to say thank you and celebrate a wonderful year.  The link to the sale section is

Thank you always for following my art.  
Until next time!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gigi in Her Studio and Meeting Gigi

Gigi in Her Studio
oil on birch panel 12 x 16 inch
Gigi Mills is an artist whose work touches my soul.  I first saw her art in an artist magazine years ago, a very small image in the back of the magazine advertising an upcoming solo exhibition.  I don't remember what the image was, but I do remember immediately searching for more images online.  Locating her facebook, I was thrilled when she accepted my friend request so that I could further follow her work.

detail
Fast forward a few years to last year, I saw that Gigi had a solo show in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I missed the opening, but I was elated when I realized that Santa Fe was only 5 hours away from our new residence in Colorado.   Santa Fe was a place I was wanting to visit and seeing Gigi's work in person was the motivation I needed to make that road trip happen sooner than later.  

detail
I messaged Gigi via Facebook to ask her if the show would indeed still be up during the weekend I planned to arrive and to my surprise, she graciously invited me to stop by her studio if I ended up coming to Santa Fe.  I was so excited and touched and of course took her up on the offer to meet her and see her studio.

detail
Her exhibit was called Bird, in honor of her beautiful dog that she lost in 2017.  Her grief was so present in every painting and sculpture and it moved me to tears.  It was truly a special thing for me to not only see Gigi's work in person, but to see this work that was so personal to the artist.  After my stop at GF Contemporary Art Gallery I could not wait to meet Gigi.


Gigi Mills
Bird exhibition at GF Contemporary 2018
Santa Fe, NM
I made my way to her studio and what a delight it was to talk with her and see her studio.  She was gracious and kind and open.  She was interesting and interested about my own journey as an artist and encouraged me greatly.  I came away from our visit feeling SO inspired.  I did a little sketch of her with the intention of painting her one day and here it is one year later.  


I wish I could write more elegantly about my experience that day, but all I can say is that after meeting Gigi, it was easy to see why I saw so much soul and depth in her work.  She is a beautiful soul herself and I will treasure the day I met her forever.

Thank you dear Gigi for letting me paint my memory of you in your studio and for sharing your heart with us via your work.  This world is a better place because of you and your art.  

Monday, October 14, 2019

Absorption in Variation

Absorption in Variation
oil on birch panel 12 x 16
 I have been doing small works on paper lately, but every now and then I feel the need to paint larger.  I can add so much more detail on a surface that is 9 x 12 inch or larger and over time I have learned that those little details are what I love most about painting.  Those little surprises added for the viewer are like hiding easter eggs at an easter egg hunt.  There was a time when I loved painting faces the most, but lately I have been more interested in adding less detail there and more in the surroundings, unless I am working on a portrait.

detail

detail

detail
This scene is almost autobiographical.  My husband and I do position ourselves in these spots on the couch and our dog Hurley is usually asking for my attention (and getting it).  Vic never reads a newspaper (does anyone?), he is more of an internet reader, and am usually reading a book rather than staring off into space.  Though I DO do that from time to time! 

This room composition is based on a sketch of my living room.  Most of the furnishings and decor are added.  I do not own a fish lamp, but after painting this I would not mind having one!