Monday, July 31, 2006

Take That Road - Part II

On Friday, Daughter Susan and I made our way across the state for the summer alumni council meeting. (We represent our respective graduating class from LaGrange College.) After an hour and a half on a glaringly hot, boring and speeding Interstate, we decided we needed a better use for our time. We decided it was time to say, "Take that road!" Unlike the times Karen and I said this in France, Susan and I had no map. We checked one at a rest area and headed cross-country through Victorian and Antebellum villages, horse country and pecan groves. We saw some things we didn't enjoy -- towns which were dying, junk yards and abandoned farmhouses, but mostly it was a visual feast of gentle rivers, overgrown woods and planned forests and old, but growng, towns. I found almost as many times to say "Ooh" as on our excursions in France. It took us about an hour longer than planned, but so did our trip to North Carolina this month and that hour was spent sitting in standstill traffic!

We arrived just in time for a tailgate party to celebrate the arrival of the very first FOOTBALL season in the 175 years of our alma mater - gasp! This is also the first year in which men outnumber women -- men were admitted for the first time in the 1950's. The campus is growing, the facilities are improving and we wear our colors proudly. (A little aside: In France, we were very close to a little community named LaGrange which had about 6 houses. My LaGrange College sweatshirt brought some curious looks.)

We returned home without driving on an Interstate at all. It was a good trip.

Refreshing News

This month, there has been the buzz of excitement and anticipation in the email conversations of my friends. Nita's newest book just arrived on her doorstep and she began to autograph copies to send to the 100 or so artists who contributed to it. This one is a revision of the tattered volume I have in my art library. She says it has lots of new stuff and many new color photos. It could not be much better than the old one and I wonder if I really need another how-to book. But . . . It does have Cheryl's painting on the cover and Alan's orchid quilt inside and the words have almost been read off the other one and . . . and . . . . I can always use a refresher course in creativity.

Read more about Nita Leland, her article in the Artist's Magazine and this great book, The New Creative Artist: A Guide for Developing Your Creative Spirit.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sharing Celebrations

For the last few years, I have been filling a chart with artists' birthdates for use as I research and write the 400 word BioGem. Yesterday, while revamping my list of about 450 names and birthdays, I discovered this new calendar published by the Metropolitan Museum.

The description:
12-month format, with a 12-month planner for 2008. 12 in. x 24 in. when open. Celebrate more than 800 artists' birthdays, from C├ęzanne (January 19) to Matisse (December 31), with this calendar. Nearly every day notes the birthdays of renowned painters, sculptors, photographers, and artists working in other mediums, while each month highlights popular works from the Museum's collection, including paintings by Gauguin, Hopper, and Seurat. More about the calendar and costs here:

I will be delighted to get this new calendar and compare notes --eight hundred artists! I wonder if I have some names they don't?! Maybe I'll buy two and give one to a friend. (After I pencil myself in on November!) Besides, I think it will be a good addition to the studio and maybe will keep me on track for the weekly posting.

Meanwhile, the previous BioGem and a suggestion for "Sharing Celebrations" for Jenny Holzer has been posted for this week. Maybe it is new to you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Bottle of Wine, a Bug Candle and . . .

Oh, yeah. A sketchbook.

One of my favorite summer sketching spots is a concert in the park. The light is still good early in the evening. The atmosphere is casual. No one cares that you are sketching. The players stay in about the same place for 3-5 minutes.
And . . . I love the energy of the music, the people and the images on my paper.

Once the rhythm of the lines is working, it is possible for me to continue by candlelight -- Hey, YOU can pour wine after dark without spilling a bunch, can't you?

I especially like the feeling in these three sketches of one of my favorite Jazz groups.

Maybe a little sketchbook should be part of my concert-going gear!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


When I began to work on the Artists Row project in 1991, I had a little black dog who accompanied me into the old derelict buildings which are now high-rent storefronts and galleries. Sassy was only a year old but she contracted some kind of bacterial infection in those old spaces and died soon after we held the grand opening of the project. Artists, patrons and students missed her. She was very special and we thought there would not be another like her.

In fall of 1993, Rags was rescued from the pound to replace Sassy as my watchdog in the studio. A little Peekapoo, he looked like a little pile of Rags and was so dark the children called him "Black Shadow." He quickly found a place for himself with a style of his own. He barked quickly at undesirables, greeted children with enthusiasm and applauded with happy barks whenever people clapped. He loved balls, water and jet skies, and his family. He loved being in the studio even after being there when a burglar broke in -- his barks had kept me from coming back inside while the burgler went out the back door. He has been a constant companion. He went to Alumni meetings and slept in the dorm. He visited friends and galleries and was often asked to come back again. He was a joy to all of us.

This year, he had gotten blind, almost totally deaf and very ill. We thought he would come to a natural end and hoped for that solution for this brave and lovable old dog. When the pain started, we knew it was time.

And so, we say goodbye to Rags.

Friday, July 21, 2006

If you've wondered

...why I've not posted lately?

...where I've been?

...what I've been doing?

This picture should be all you need to get the answers!


Yes, I've shifted some paintings, done some sketches, and put a little paint on some things, but this has been the most important part of my month.

There will be some major changes in my household in the months to come, it will be interesting to see how they affect life in the studio.