Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Video Review of the Good Things in 2020

2020 was a life shaking year for everyone on earth. It will never be forgotten. And personally, in both my art and my life, it brought many changes. The biggest change was the move my husband and I made back to Kansas after living in Colorado for just over two years. Our landscape went from mountains to gentle rivers. It was with some reluctance that we left that majestic landscape, but we are home and in this season it feels right. In this video there is a chronological view of 2020. Highlights and day to day life throughout the year are sprinkled with the changes in seasons and landscapes, and of course my paintings are here.

Here's to a better year in 2021 for all of us.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Portrait Paintings and Staying Inspired With The Artist"s Way

Portrait of a Woman Wearing Green
oil on linen 8x10 inch
available here

 Inspired by some old photographs, these paintings were created.  Except for the last one, my goal was to keep it more contemporary with only a hint of the past.  Did I succeed?  I don't know.  I honestly cannot judge my own art.  

Portrait of a Woman in Autumn
oil on linen 8x10 inch

Portrait by Dabbs
oil on linen panel 5x7 inch

In portrait by Dabbs, the title was inspired by the stamp on the back of the photograph.  It led me down an interesting rabbit hole and leaving the painting with a very dated feel seemed appropriate after my investigation.  The stamp was the photographer's logo: Dabbs, 174 Liberty Street, Pittsburgh, PA. According to Historic Camera's website, Dabbs was a studio run by an Englishman by the name of Benjamin Lomax Horsley Dabbs from 1876-1897 until it was destroyed by fire. Dabbs did a famous portrait of Andrew Carnegie which is displayed at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art. Dabbs was also said to be a close friend of Abraham Lincoln.
Dabbs mostly photographed businessmen, doctors and lawyers.  I find this kind of information so fascinating.

I am on week two of this book.  It has really kept me inspired and made me think about some new concepts regarding creativity.  Her ideas can be applied to just about any kind of job, not just the arts.  It is full of ideas to get your creative mind flowing. Two things she recommends throughout the course of the book is to do what she calls "morning pages" and to go on an "artist date" every week.  The artist date is where you go somewhere or do something by yourself in order to get inspired.  It is all about taking in.  It could be a museum, or just for a drive out in the country, or in the city if you live in the country. Anything really.  I have to say the artist date cheers me up while in the middle of this pandemic.  It has given me something to look forward to.  My first artist date was a drive in the Kansas countryside.  I came home feeling relaxed and very inspired.  I cannot explain why.  The trick I think, is to make sure you do something you really enjoy.  I love shooting photos, so I took my camera and made stops where ever I felt led.

I just thought I would share this with you in case you are looking for something to do with the winter months ahead.  

Until next time.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Darkness Cannot Hinder Fragrance and Some Thoughts

Darkness Cannot Hinder Fragrance
oil on wood panel 9x12 inch
When times are troubled, whether it be all around you or with you on a personal level, it is always a good idea to seek the positive.  Cliché?  Yes, but it's true.  However, it seems important to go a little bit further.  It is good to seek the positive, but this isn't enough.  We will do ourselves good to learn to be present with it for a while.  Stay with that happy memory, savor your morning cup of coffee, smell the flowers and really study them as you do this.  Focus.  Be still.  Focus some more. Be present with that good thing you are doing.   Make this a habit in your daily life and see how your perspective and your coping changes.  Watch how peace comes.  The darkness may still exist, but it is now sharing residence with light. And as we all know, light  penetrates darkness.


If this thought resonates with you, here are a couple of recommended studies for you.

The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
A New Earth:  Awakening Your Life's Purpose by Eckart Tolle
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer

Oprah's Super Soul:  A New Earth interview series

Blessings everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Balthus and His Mitsou


The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
during a visit in 2014

In 2014 I went with my sister to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and there was a wonderful Balthus exhibit taking place.  You can read a little about the exhibit HERE .  Part of the exhibit contained 40 drawings that Balthus did as a child of his found and lost cat named Mitsou, and depicted the story of her life with him.  The drawings were displayed in chronological order and in one of them there is a sad little boy, carrying a lantern, searching for his lost beloved cat.  A friend of his mother was so moved by the drawings that he published them into a book which was on display at this exhibit.  No photography was allowed, but if you search online you will find a photo of the book and some of the drawings.  

I left the exhibit promising my sister that my next cat would be named Mitsou, in honor of Balthus as a boy, the loss he endured, and in memory of this wonderful exhibit in New York.  As luck would have it, a short time later, a friend offered me a sweet grey and white kitten and the name Mitsou fit her perfectly.

My Mitsou posed for this painting I did below, but I painted her black and white, preferring a strong black and white contrast.  And now as I type this, I am wondering if the black and white choice was more of a subconscious decision.  A sort of nod to Balthus' black and white drawings of his Mitsou.

A Studious Cat
oil on cradled wood 9x12 inch