Thursday, December 16, 2010

Marcia's Art stuff: Mom's influence

Marcia's Art stuff: Mom's influence

Mom's influence

I was thinking this morning of how unconventional a woman my mother was.  She was born in 1910.  She went to nursing school and became a career woman in a time when most women married instead of furthering their education.  She built a house in Wauwatosa.  She bought a car and took her driving test in downtown Milwaukee.  Her words "I didn't need a man to support me" still ring in my ears.  She met my father and wasn't particularly first.  Then they married and had 5 children and they both worked full time while we all grew up.  Unheard of in the 50's and 60's.

Television shows from the '50s had a very negative impact on me.  Donna Reed and Father Knows Best gave the impression that normal was having your mother stay home, do all the housework, cook fabulous meals, and never, ever work to help support the family.  I wished for a life like that when I was younger and had small children....and thank goodness, didn't get it.  As a result, I am able to support myself, and although I'm happily married now, if something, God forbid, should happen to my wonderful husband, I wouldn't have to worry about the basic necessities.  Those TV shows, in my opinion, tempered my independence.  What kind of artist/person would I have been if I had followed my mother's example?  Would I have been more unconventional than she was?  Would my "I want to do it MY WAY" personality have come out in my paintings sooner and with more impact?  I'll never know for sure. And how will this self revelation change the way I paint now?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

Okay, this is from one of those sappy emails that gets sent around every few months, but I wanted to put the sentiments somewhere I'd be able to access them now and again.  Today I'm experiencing an overwhelming feeling of well-being and happiness with my life.

Here's the sappy stuff:
I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:
a rainy day,the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.'
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.
But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It seems I’ve been a little distracted lately, and not spending as much time on painting, and not nearly enough time at the studio/gallery. Of course, it may be because I joined Sketch Club and although I haven’t been attending every Tuesday, it seems like a lot of evenings away from home. It could be that I’ve been preoccupied a little, as Ahnna has a bone infection in her toe, and she receives direct line antibiotics for a 2 week period. This past Monday, I had a sebaceous cyst removed from my head, and that has been a source of worry. Marcia 2 was in the hospital last weekend with sepsis, and is at home now, but off of work for the rest of the week. There have also been a lot of opening receptions lately, and they tend to be really fun, so lots of Friday nights at galleries.

The Thursday night painting class at Raven has been wonderful, and I’ve learned so much, not only from Lorin, but also from Troy. Troy can look at one of my paintings, and he will know that I pushed the limit on some aspect of it—lighting, color, contrast, etc, so during a critique, he will call me on it and not hold back, which I respect him for.

Tonight it’s off to the studio to paint, and I really need to start the commission of The German Bar very soon. The mini show is looming large, and so I’ve been steadily working on several of those. There are a lot of ideas, mostly for collage and mixed media, doing laps in my brain and stirring up the dust in the air space.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pewaukee and Locks of Love

Wow, seems like it’s been a really long time since I wrote anything on my blog. I had written about the Mid-summer’s brush event in August, but just posted it this week. Since then, I participated in the Pewaukee plein air event, and Debbie, Chuck, Troy and I had a wonderful time. I sold one of my paintings right off of my easel. Always a good thing. On the first evening of the event, we all met at Seesters Mexican Cantina and had margaritas…..too many margaritas. Debbie was sloshed, I was rather wasted, and Chuck and Troy were okay, but quite buzzed.
Latest news is the WPA Déjà vu exhibition (photography and pastels combined), opened on September 16th at the One Way Café, and we received really good feedback from the attendees. From what I understand, Sandy, owner of the One Way Café, wants to make it a yearly event.

Saturday, I took 3rd place at the art competition at the Locks of Love event at Beyond Studio in downtown Waukesha. It was a really nice event…Chuck and I took Ahnna to it and we had fun dancing, making chalk paintings on the street, and listening to the wonderful music (blues mostly), but a shame it wasn’t very well attended.

Mid-summer's Brush 2010

In mid August, Debbie Callahan (one of us 3 Martini Girls), and I painted in the Oconomowoc Mid-Summer’s Brush Plein Air event. On Friday, Aug. 6th, Debbie picked me up at home, we drove to Mayfair Mall, and headed straight to Claire’s to buy tiaras. We had decided to wear the tiaras while we painted because we thought it would be great fun, and we were correct! Afterward we drove out to Oconomowoc, picked up our artist packets, got our canvases stamped, and went to lunch before driving around the town to look for a proper place to paint. We set up our easels on Main Street across from the candy shop with the red striped awning. I painted the Sweet Dreams Candy shop, and Debbie painted the light post, and a window box of flowers.

On Monday, Aug. 9th, Debbie picked me up, we headed straight to Golosi Café and ordered large lattes with a double shot of espresso, then walked over to Sweetie Pies and got some bakery to tide us over until lunchtime. We set up our easels at Chaffee Road Park, which mainly consisted of a softball diamond, a childrens playground and most importantly, bathrooms. We painted different views of a stately weeping willow tree.

After that, we returned to Golosi, each got another latte with a double shot of espresso, and then had lunch at Sweetie Pies. We were having so much fun, painting, drinking iced coffee and eating that we decided to go over to the gazebo at Fowler Lake and paint some more. Wendie Thompson was there, painting in the gazebo, so we decided to join her. It was really hot outside, so the shade was a welcome respite from the sun. We each finished a painting, then our energy level dropped like a bomb, and we could barely get our stuff packed up and loaded into the car. We hardly spoke during the ride home, we were so exhausted from being out in the heat all day. We probably looked like zombies. Even after I got home, I was cranky, out of sorts, and probably over heated, overexherted, and overcaffeinated!

Tuesday, we had our routine down. Iced latte at Golosi’s, then something to nosh from Sweetie Pies, then set up the easels and paint. We did not repeat Monday’s double expresso shots. Fred came with us, and we all had a really good time!

Wednesday was more of the same, and Thursday we turned in our paintings. Unfortunately, by Friday evening, the weather turned on us and it started to rain during the silent auction, so turnout for the auction was low, and as a result, sales were dismal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wall space

At this point in my life I have a wonderful, supportive husband who I love, and we enjoy a lot of the same activities such as biking and kayaking, traveling, dining out, particularly at ethnic restaurants, gardening, socializing with friends, and the occasional glass of wine while cooking dinner together. We have 3 adorable grandchildren who are growing like weeds. And last, but not least, my art business is slowly but surely progressing in the direction I want. Why, then, do I feel restless and uneasy, like I need a major change? Lately I’ve been thinking that when I retire from the city, I would like nothing more than to move into a loft instead of another house. A space with high ceilings and massive wall space, with a balcony large enough to hold a table, chairs, some bird feeders, and some potted flowers and vegetables in the summer. I would like to paint larger canvases. I have no time for the garden anymore, I’m more concerned with attending art events, participating in the plein air competitions around town, spending more time painting in the studio/gallery, visiting the grandkids more often, and travelling with friends on the weekends.  Of course, this new living space would have to have storage for the bikes, kayaks, golf stuff, and painting supplies.  Does such a place even exist, or would I have to trade an old house for an old building?

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Hibiscus

Last Wednesday evening I headed over to open the gallery and finish a painting of a hibiscus. I started the painting last week, and thought I would paint an underpainting with the complementary colors. We’re talking acrylics here. So last night the second layer looked a little muddy, the third looked better, and the final layer and finishing touches really brought the whole thing to life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hot Rocks

Here  is my latest oil painting.  This was also painted during Lorin Willey's class at Raven Gallery. I had a blast working on this one because the rocks are so freaking phallic.  I didn't realize it when I was first searching through photos for painting inspiration. Needless to say the photo really inspired me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sugar River Kayaking

Chuck and I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday to load the kayaks on the car and meet our friends, Ron and Cheri, and John and Ruth at the launch site in Attica Wisconsin at 10:00 a.m.  We were busy the night before at the artist reception and silent auction for the Wauwatosa Plein Air Affair, and then eating Mexican food at Hector's with the other 2 Martini Girls.  Had a wonderfully twisted idea for a still life, but more about that later.

The Sugar River is quite wide in most places, but unfortunately, about 3 weeks ago, there was a really bad storm that came through and downed almost 2 dozen trees--nearly blocking the river in as many places.  So what we figured would be a 2 hour trip at best, turned out to be a 5 1/2 hour trip to reach our destination.  It wouldn't have been too bad, but it seemed that each time we approached a blockage, the current would push us up directly parallel to the tree trunk in the water.  Our kayaks, although only about 14 feet long, would get wedged between tree branches in the water and the shore.  Then we would have to push and pull against the tree trunk to try and get the bow and stern perpendicular to the trunk to slide through the 4 foot opening between the shore and the tree.  Hard work and my shoulders took the brunt of it.  It was difficult to stop and take photos for fear my kayak would hit another tree, but will try to upload tonight.  I'm getting behind in that respect.

Once we were on shore, we loaded up the kayaks and headed over to the Oakhill B&B to shower off, and then to New Glarus for dinner at the Glarner Stube. 

On Sunday, we decided to take it easy, and Chuck let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he would not be kayaking that day.  Cheri and Ron, and friends Mary and John left right after breakfast to kayak the stretch of the river between Albany and Broadhead.  There are lots of tubing excursions on that stretch, so the outfitters are probably very good at removing any downed tree debris.

We decided to head back to New Glarus and visit the Primrose Winery, where we tasted and purchased a few bottles.  On the way we stopped in Monticello.  I took photos of a really cool old gas station, some of their historic buildings, and a very nice park with a lagoon.  After lunch at the Glarner Stube, we headed back home via the scenic route.  What a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Marcia's Art stuff: Stop and breathe

Marcia's Art stuff: Stop and breathe

Stop and breathe

Why do I stretch myself so thin when it comes to scheduling my time and activities? Because I don’t want to miss anything; not one day of living this wonderful life. I want to socialize, learn, play, teach my grandchildren, help, travel, make love, enjoy every minute. There’s no time to be angry, dissatisfied, or discontent. However, there is time to stop and breathe, to take stock of what takes priority and how to better organize the never-ending list of “to-dos”. When I wear myself out, scheduling too many things in too short a time, it is then that I must look around and really see.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Marcia's Art stuff: Afternoon Breeze

Marcia's Art stuff: Afternoon Breeze

Afternoon Breeze

As I walked back from the Criminal Justice Facility to the Police Administration Building this afternoon, I took the route across MacArthur Square. I had to stop briefly and absorb the warmth of the sun on my shoulders. There was a balmy breeze blowing across the plaza, and I turned to look west at the County Courthouse from the top of the stairs that lead down to the fountain. The plaza was vacant except for the 2 statues that keep constant vigil. The blowers from the parking garage below hummed, and the sun was so bright that I had to close my eyes for moment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sex Pot Hair

Saturday I had to meet the Martini Girls, Marcia Hochstetter and Debbie Callahan to do some plein air painting, and I was running a little late.  When they called the house to find out where I was, and I said I still had to style my hair....they quickly informed me that I was going to wear a hat anyway, and not to blow dry my hair--so I didn't. 

When I got to the gallery, Debbie said my hair was "very sexy looking", and in an email she sent today has dubbed me "Sex Pot Hair".  I kind of think that it looks more like "my hair on drugs", but "drugged hair" just sounds limp and lifeless. Chuck likes it--a lot apparently.  He said it looks kind of wild. Wild indeed. Guess I had better take some pics and upload them soon.  So why am I so obsessed with my hair right now?  Maybe because my friend Troy suggested I change hairstylists, so of course, then I'm wondering "what's wrong with the way it looks?".  Hmmmmm.  We'll see.  I must say it's easier to throw in some Morrocan oil and let it air dry then to blow dry it all the time.  It's actually kind of liberating--no fear of humidity (humidity is now my friend), no fear of rain, or swimming, or even while kayaking.  If only I can live with the reflection in the mirror.

Too busy

Have I not been writing because I have nothing to say?  Absolutely not!  I've been too busy with art related stuff.  Exhibitions and receptions, and yes, having fun with friends at exhibitions and receptions.  And painting up a small storm.  We were in Colorado for a week, and while there I started writing a blog which promptly disappeared when my laptop ran out of battery.  Here is what I had written: So the first day in Colorado we drove into downtown Boulder to walk around, and had lunch at "Felafel King".  The next day we drove up Canyon Road to Nederland.  We stopped into the tourist office and the very nice gentleman gave us some directions to a picturesque spot to paint the landscape, which turned out to be Brainard Lake.  It was magnificent!  I spent about 3 hours painting the lake, glacier and mountains that were in front of me at an altitude of 10,300 feet. 
On Wednesday, we stayed at the house (Judy and Michael Goodson, Chuck's cousins), and painted and sketched a little.  Thursday we got up early and drove down to Colorado Springs and went to the Garden of the Gods.  I set up my easel there and painted for about 3 hours, again.  Only this time I came away with an awesome painting, and quite a sunburn.  Friday we stayed at the house again and painted flowers in window boxes and pots.  Saturday we drove into Denver with Michael and Judy and went to the Denver Museum of Art.  I have to admit, their collection was not as good as the Milwaukee Art Museum, except for the Southwest exhibit.  They had some very nice Albert Bierstadt paintings of the Rockies, and several Remington sculptures.
I've been extremely busy since getting back.  First getting an LMA exhibition organized, and then with the South Shore Frolics Art Fair.  First outside art fair I've done since the 1980's.  And now I'm going to be painting at the Wauwatosa Plein Air Affair this week.  I'll be lucky to get one painting finished!
As always, looking forward to oil painting class with Lorin Willey this Thursday at Raven Gallery.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Had a very interesting and stimulating discussion and critique last night as part of Lorin Willey's oil painting class.  Delved a little deeper than usual into the "me" of my art and surprised myself a little. 

 I find that I'm much more passionate about painting when I'm not in class.  Why is that?  Because I can avoid scrutiny?  Probably.  So I just need to get over it and do what I want to do, paint what I want to paint no matter who else is present, and have fun with it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about passion and love....and sex. Life is too short not to have all the sex you can... passionate, exploring, discovering, sex.  Preferably with your partner, if he is able.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Briefly Lost in Wisconsin

Briefly Lost in Wisconsin

Debbie, Marcia 1 and I made plans to head up to Door County to Debbie’s condo to do a little plein air painting. We have all been brushing up our plein air skills in anticipation of the Wauwatosa Plein Air Affair.

We left on a Thursday evening and both Marcia 1 and I took Friday off of work. Marcia 1 drove Debbie’s 4 runner, and we were pretty packed in with all of our easels, overnight bags, and other art accoutrements. We stopped at an Arby’s for a quick dinner and proceeded on our way. There was such a beautiful sunset that evening, that we almost couldn’t believe our eyes while heading up towards Green Bay….until we passed a turn-off for Marinette. Marcia 1 thought we should have taken the turn-off, so we turned around and headed that way. Debbie’s mapquest directions said to take exit 285, so we did, but everything looked so unfamiliar, that we stopped at a gas station. When I asked the girl behind the counter how to get to Hwy 57 to Sturgeon Bay, she looked at me incredulously and said “You have to turn around and go back to Green Bay, go over the bridge, and take the second exit on your right”, which, I might add, is also exit 285. So Marcia1, Debbie and I headed to the ladies room for a pitstop and as soon as we got in there, all burst into laughter. All I could think of was “geez, what a group of distractable ditzes”!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Estrogen Palace

The Estrogen Palace

When I left work yesterday afternoon, I was dead dog tired, and was re-thinking the decision to head over to the studio, however since I was a proponent of the decision to paint en plein air on Tuesdays, or if the weather bites, to at least head to the studio to paint a still life with Debbie and Marcia1, it was better to “bite the bullet” and drive over there. As usual, it wasn’t long after I arrived, that I felt much more energized (the cup of delicious black coffee helped).

As we talked and painted, the subject came up of how much we enjoyed being there, all together. And we were explaining to Cali who had come over to join us, that there were no rules regarding verbage—we could swear and use whatever profanity we deemed appropriate or inappropriate, because this is our “Girl Cave”. Debbie then stated “It’s our Estrogen Palace”. So now instead of being tired and going to the studio, which implies working, I’ll be happily driving to the Estrogen Palace!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Grandkids--amazing characters

Last night I was babysitting the grandkids while Sandi went to teach her Zumba class. We were cleaning up the dishes after dinner, and Ahnna decided she wanted to help scrub the frying pan. Then Julian wanted to help her, so the 2 of them are standing on a chair in front of the sink, sponges and bottle brushes in hand, scrubbing away at the frying pan among other things. Their brother, Everett pulls over a chair and joins them in the task. I’m sweeping the floor in the eating area, adjacent to the kitchen, when, all of a sudden, Ahnna breaks into song, “It’s a hard knock life, for us, it’s a hard knock life”. It was one of those “oh my goodness, this is too cute for words” moments.

Of course, by the time they were finished, poor Julian was soap suds from head to toe, but mostly head and face….and eyes, but was having soooo much fun in the water, it didn’t matter. Everett was very helpful, and wiped up the kitchen floor with a dishtowel afterward, while Julian took over the broom, and Ahnna sat down to put on her lip gloss.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Martini Girls, Matisse, and Inglorious Bastards, etc.

Picked up my 4 paintings from St. Mark’s on Saturday and had a wonderful breakfast afterward at the Original Pancake House on Downer Avenue with Debbie, Marcia, Donna, Chuck and Debra. Then headed over to the Martini Girl’s gallery and finished the pastel of the Ballet Folklorico dancer. Would like to have the painting express more movement, so I still have to experiment with it—if it turns out, I will enter it into the Richeson 75 Portrait and Figure competition.

When I got home, Chuck and I finished cleaning up the back garden (thank goodness), but still haven’t planted the “Mops” golden cypress. Maybe next weekend.

Sunday Chuck and I had coffee with our neighbor, Rob on his patio. The weather was beautiful for awhile, then turned a little cold and it looked like it was going to rain, so we went inside and I spent some time on the computer, uploading images from my camera. Later on in the afternoon I made some chicken vegetable soup, then Kevin came over and brought “Inglorious Bastards” for us to watch. Good movie!
Monday, Chuck, Fred, Debbie, and I took the train down to the Art Institute in Chicago to see the Matisse exhibit. We walked from Union Station to the Art Institute (about 10 easy blocks), and stopped in a café/bakery on the way and had some delicious coffee and a snack, then headed to our destination. While viewing the Matisse exhibit there, I got some good ideas about experimenting with acrylics—in particular, using some of the interference colors.  We had lunch on the patio at their very nice restaurant, but next time we’ll head downstairs to the cafeteria.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Recent Paintings and stuff.

These are a few of the acrylic still life paintings I've completed recently.  This was pretty fun to do, had to edit and add elements,  and always trying to paint in a looser style.  I just love this terra cotta fish with his open mouth...looks great in the summer with the plants all spilling out, like he's regurgitating.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Burning the Candle

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, so to speak, recently, and feel like I’m going to hit a brick wall unless I slow down a little. Not that I’m staying up late or partying, just after-work commitments, so that I feel like I’m working 12 hour days. Happy to say that this weekend is commitment free and I can spend some time cleaning up the back garden, and framing up the “Desert Rose” pastel painting. Maybe I’ll take it to class on Thursday and see what Lorin thinks—I know he can offer some suggestions. I’ve also been thinking of taking pastels to Thursday night classes instead of my oils. We’ll see if I can come up with a comfortable set-up until I get a Heilman pastel box.

Everything's going to be blurry

I finished 4 mini paintings on my lunch hour yesterday. I’m experimenting with extreme close-ups of flowers, to the point that a viewer may or may not identify the subject as floral. Also painting without my reading glasses so the subject is a little more blurred, that way I can pick and choose which area to zone in on to create the focal point. Photos this weekend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Good News

I found out last week that one of my paintings was accepted into the Richeson 75 Still Life and Floral competition. It's absolutely thrilling--I'm ecstatic about it, and kind of surprised that I haven't plastered it all over facebook, and emailed every single person in my address book.

I've been so, so busy getting ready for the Artwalk, that I've let other things go a little. Oh well, today it's dinner at Cosmos Cafe with the Martini Girls, then Carol will give us a demo of her tecnique in pastels.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Be someone

"How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something - but to be someone" - Coco Chanel

Saw this quote today and really like it. I'm an artist, but that is "something". I am the artist "Hero" and that is someone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Joanna's house and other things.

This weekend Chuck and I went to visit Joanna and Ken in Montello. I've known Joanna since 2nd grade at St. Thomas Aquinas grade school. She's a great hostess and always cooks wonderful meals for us. Good thing she's currently doing the Atkins diet with no carbs, as I'm currently on the first 3 weeks of maintenance after a round of Dr. Simeon's HCG Protocol, and can't eat any starches or sugar. So she cooked us a divine pork roast with mashed cauliflower (pseudo mashed potatoes), and grilled zucchini. Yum.

Saturday we went thrift store shopping, and I found quite a few things. 3 pair of shoes, 4 blouses, 1 jacket, 3 tees, 2 pair of slacks. We also stopped at TJ Maxx, and I really liked some of the things they had, but we ran out of steam and time. And I found out that it's easy to do no starches at McDonald's if you just order a quarter pounder with cheese--no bun.

Sunday we built 3 Oriole feeders out of scrap wood. 2 for Joanna and 1 for me. Now I just have to hang them from the pergola with orange halves stuck on the nails for that purpose.

Fun weekend, and I'm enthused about doing a project, and can't seem to figure out what exactly I want to work on. Maybe a mosaic project.

Tonight, Marcia 1, Debbie, and I are going to the Bay View Arts Guild spring mixer to meet and network with other artists. I think Fred is going too. Should be lots of fun. I should probably remind them to take some business cards.

Easter Weekend

Jose (my ex) was up here for Easter weekend. Sandy called me on Thursday night and said she and Jose were taking the 2 boys to the zoo on Friday, and asked me if I could go too. Ahnna had school. So I said sure 'cause it was a holiday and no work, so we met and went to the zoo. I always love to get together when Jose is here--we always have fun and laugh a lot. He talked about George Houde, and remembers the joke about "wooden eye" (hairlip). I thought that Sandy would take the family to Robert's birthday party, but she said she got the evite just a few days before the weekend, and had already made plans. I'm pretty sure I told her about it too, but maybe she just wanted to spend the weekend with her dad. I would have preferred to stay in town and hang out with Sandy and Jose, but that's a little hard to sell to Chuck. In fact, we even joked about it with him. "Hey Chuck, I'm going to stay in town and hang out with my ex and the grandkids while you go out to Beaver Dam to see your family." It was pretty funny.

So we did drive out to Beaver Dam and stayed with Chuck's cousin, Sandy and her husband Art. I really like Sandy's house, and her decorating style. Very antiquey, and fun. She has a screen porch and on Sunday morning, I taught a beginning oil painting class to Sandy and Judy (her sister, visiting from Colorado). They were in their pajamas, and now I call them the Pajama Painters. It was really fun painting with them and giving them pointers and info, but by the time we got to Michelle's house for dinner, I had no energy left, and couldn't wait to come home. Thank goodness we had a furlough day at work on Monday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Latest Art Stuff

So Chuck and I went to Beaver Dam for Easter, to enjoy the holiday with his cousins, and we did just that. His cousin Judy was in town and was waxing poetic about refreshing her interest in oil painting, so I brought out my easel and oils and taught a beginning oil painting workshop to Judy, and her sister, Sandy...the Pajama Painters (they paint in their pajamas).

Here is the finished portrait of Ahnna Grace...finally finished it in my last class with Lorin Willey. Thank goodness, I thought this was going to be sentenced to life in the basement. The next classes with Lorin start on April 22nd.

The Art of Absynthe

Just thought I'd share the photos I took of Rachael making our absynthe drinks a few weeks ago. This was at the bar named "2" right next door to the Art Bar. It was very interesting! Fancy glasses and a glass urn with spouts. Then sugar cubes perched on top of the glasses over a flat utensil with holes in it which looked very ornate. Then the sugar cubes are ignited, and the spouts opened to dissolve the sugar into the glasses. Finally--stir and enjoy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Crashing the Art Bar Birthday party

Chuck and I stopped by the Art Bar this evening to pick up my paintings from the WPA exhibition which ended this last Thursday. Lo and behold they were having a 6th anniversary party of the opening of the Art Bar. Free food, and free choice of wapatuli (fruit juicy but will knock you on your butt), house wine, or beer (Spotted Cow no less)!! Needless to say, I wanted to call all my friends and tell them the good news, but since we were already party crashers, decided to just stay and have a good time with some of the bar regulars such as Darcy, Dan, and Derek. Darcy is a hoot, warm and friendly and funny. She, along with Kara (who bartends), made us feel completely at home. Chuck and I don't usually hang out at bars, but we had such a good time, I want to repeat the experience.

Anyway, after 3 wapatulis, I was having a really, really good time, and Chuck and I were laughing quite a bit.
Then we went next door to "2" and drank the artists' drink of choice..... none other than......the infamous absynthe!!! My face is numb, and now I must go to bed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunset painting

This is the painting I started at the studio last Monday. It doesn't look quite finished to me, so I will add a sailboat or something.
My next sunset will be one with a purple sky. These are just so much fun to paint.

Lorin's Class

This is the sunset I painted in the first class I took with Lorin last week. I just love it's warmth, so I went to the gallery last Monday and painted another one similar to this.


This is a really fun oil painting I did about a month ago. I just loved the colors--you just can't get a happier color than yellow, particularly when it's been so gray and cold around here. I'm really ready for spring!


How fun is this? I finished this oil painting a few weeks ago. I just love lilacs. Hopefully this year, I will get out and paint some en plein air while they're blooming.

Ahnna's Portrait

So here's the latest version of Ahnna's portrait. She has eyes now and a mouth, and even 1 hand! Lorin was very good at guiding me in the painting of her face, and I'm thrilled with the way it's coming along.
Yesterday, I finished an acrylic portrait of my son-in-law Nate with my grandson Julian. It turned out okay, but the photos didn't work, for some reason. I will have to take more and then upload maybe tomorrow.
Had a really good art week. I finished the portrait of Nate and Julian, painted a mini sunset, and finished Ahnna's face. Life is good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oil painting class

My first class with Lorin Willey was a blast! He’s so energetic and enthusiastic about sharing his painting knowledge! I took a small canvas and a pretty simple sunset to do because I didn’t know what to expect, but was bowled over by his energy and teaching style. What’s best is that he is teaching everyone to develop and paint in their own method, not his method. Sooooo cool. So now when I paint, I don’t have to ask myself “what would Fred or Jim do, I just have to make the decision based on my own knowledge, or lack thereof. Or I could ask myself what advice I think Lorin would give at this moment.

So now I’m really looking forward to the next class. Would like to start a larger project, but have to go through my photos first to see what “grabs” me. Should probably tint a canvas or 2 while I’m at the studio tonight too.

The Martini Girls Salon had an opening this last Sunday at the gallery in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on the east side, but we really didn’t do any business. I think it’s because we really didn’t do any PR or marketing for the event. I can’t even remember if I put it on Facebook. Well….next time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Martini Girls Spring Show

The Martini Girls Art Salon is having their spring exhibition titled “Spring Something On Me” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church gallery starting on Sunday, March 7. Thank goodness, I only have 1 oil painting that still needs to be framed. It’s a still life of lilacs. Mmmmmmm…..lilacs! It should be a really nice show with a lot of variety.

I had my grandniece and grandnephew over on the weekend, along with my 3 grandchildren, so quite a houseful. I was having a wonderful time doing some collage with the girls, and they really liked their finished pieces. At the end of the weekend, I felt like I could barely move, I was so exhausted! Maybe I should have gone for a walk or something. So instead of doing all the computer stuff that I had intended to do after the kids left, Chuck and I sat down and watched the Olympic hockey game, and of course, now I feel that I really should have worked on the things that can only be done on the computer at home, instead of pushing it off until this evening.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The task of uploading photos

It appears that I'm getting behind when it comes to uploading photos of my work. I went to the studio on Friday evening, and started an acrylic painting from a photo of my son-in-law, Nate with his son, Julian. It was really exciting to do the portrait without being in a class. But as I worked I told Debbie (artist friend, linked in ink) that I was channeling Fred Bell, as we have been taking classes from him. So far, so good. Photos soon, I promise.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creativity in a magazine

So I order a magazine subscription for something called Cloth, Paper, Scissors probably because it had cute photos, or something shiny that caught my eye. I received my first issue the other day and paged through it quickly, and thought "hmmm, not very motivating". However, what did I spend my lunch hour doing yesterday? Yes, I took my 6x6 art journal and began to cleverly (debateable) collage the next 2 pages. Along with some of my own artwork, which is printed on regular paper, a few it photos from the magazine itself, some miscellaneous fabric and a button I found in my desk, it looks pretty good. Darn, I forgot to bring my camera to take a photo. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Hostage Experience

Taxes....yuck! And why so many kinds? Property, income, sales, more property if you own a business. Why does Wauwatosa want to tax my easel? Because it's property in the studio at the Martini Girls Gallery. Shit.

On a lighter note, I just received a card from my good friend Mary Lynn. She sent me an article published in the MATC Times in January 1980. I can't believe she kept it all these years! I'll upload it for you, because sometimes, it's just too weird to believe it happened to me. That interesting life I mentioned in an earlier post, well the article is just a small part. There's also an article I wrote and sent to the Times around the same time about the same subject. I will have to locate my copy and scan it in. Interesting stuff!
As far as painting--I've started a new floral still life, but it needs work.  And last week in Fred's class, we did impressionistic portraits. I am far, very far, from a portrait artist, but I like the challenge, and I really like his method. So I will have to practice....a lot.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pastel and Oil paintings

This is the pastel I worked on this week. It's from a photo of my sister's front courtyard in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, just outside of Albuquerque. The rocks used for the wall are huge uneven slabs of stone in the most beautiful reds and browns. It's not finished....yet.

Here is the portrait of my grandaughter which really needs my attention. It will be nice to finish this as the photo I'm working from is from 2 years ago. You can see what I mean by "all eye sockets and grimace".

Fred's class was really fun tonight. We painted a still life which was very, very girly--a pink satin high heel shoe, a jewelry box with some beads draped out of it, and a wine bottle for height. We joked around a lot, because the still life was so feminine looking, and pink. My husband, Chuck, who is also taking Fred's class, tends to talk to himself while painting....constantly. So now every member of the class has started talking to themselves while painting. At one point Debbie said to him, "you just gave us a blow by blow account of how you did that", and I burst into laughter....."don't you mean play by play?" I replied while trying not to fall off of my chair. Well, I guess you had to be there.
Next week I think we're going to try a portrait done in Fred's impressionistic style. That ought to be a lot of fun too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boredom at Demo

So happy to have finished my latest oil painting and also my latest pastel. Will upload some photos soon, but first have to complain about the demo I sat through yesterday. Wonderful painter who actually said nothing until he was asked a question. Even then, he didn't seem to be enthusiastic about the process. No sharing of his methods or what or how he was inspired-----nothing. It was probably the most boring 2 hours, yes, 2 hours I've spent in a long, long, time. I know you're asking..."so why did you stay?" Well, to be polite, as I was a guest at this particular club's meeting. I'm so glad I didn't fall asleep on the way home.
My next project will be to finish an oil portrait I started of my granddaughter. Right now, it looks like something out of a horror movie...all eye sockets and grimace. Photos soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wisconsin Pastel Artists website

I had a million ideas yesterday about what to say, and today, I'm just tired. Yesterday evening I worked again on the WPA website--did some tweaking, but didn't get images moved over to any of the member galleries yet. Debbie discovered how to add a thumbnail image next to her name on the galleries page. Cool!

Tonight I'll be attending the meeting of the AC Club in West Allis. There's supposed to be a demo--acrylics I heard. I like using acrylics when I work on minis, and at Fred's class.

There were lots of emails going back and forth this morning about how the WPA should choose images for the new brochure, so a meeting is set up for next week Tuesday, Feb. 9th at Barnes and Noble coffee shop.

I'm mulling over the thought of having a Life History blog. My life from the age of 19 has been pretty interesting and unusual, beginning with the meeting of my first husband, Jose. Anyway, do I have the time to write 2 blogs? Maybe. Sometimes I'm just at a loss as to what to say about painting. It's a need, not a superficial pastime. I have to create, paint, decorate my home, garden in the spring. I hope never to lose interest and never to stop learning new things. My sister, Mary and I used to joke about being in a nursing home in wheelchairs when we're about 90 and having someone thread a needle, hand us the glue, or put a paintbrush in our hand, so we can continue creating.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just finished doing some work to get the WPA website on Artspan up and running with Kathy. What a pain in the butt the templates are to work with. And now my very cool friend Kathy showed me how to set up a blog. Hopefully I'll be writing about my artistic endeavors and processes.