Monday, October 22, 2012

#85 Fox Theater: 3

WORKED all day Saturday (top) and all day Sunday (bottom). I actually finished Monday morning. And by "all day" I mean get to the studio at 11am, break for lunch, go home to let the dogs out, break for a long dinner, back to the studio until 8.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

#85 Fox Theater: 2

I GET TO the studio Friday morning. Redraw AGAIN onto the watercolor board (Crescent Illustration Board) but I can't start painting. To avoid work I go to Facebook, post on my daughter's wall:

Me: Where are you when I need you? I have to finish a large watercolor by Monday- I've thrown 2 tries away and I CAN'T START on the 3rd. (I'm on FB again to procrastinate.)

Kelty: I wish I was there to motivate you instead of at work! Lol believe me. If it helps, I have never seen one of your "tries" that wasn't also exceptional. smileJust go for it you talented lady!

Me: I always remember when I couldn't paint the lion's eyes and you handed me a brush, gave me that "I know best" look of yours, and told me to "just do it". I've used that a hundred times. 

SO QUIT whining and use it now. Back to work. OK. I don't like how the board accepts my watercolor paints, but when I use Nova Color acrylics watered down, it bleeds like a dream. I start with the sky and by the end of the day the tree's first lay-in is finished.

HOME to the dogs and a movie...

Friday, October 19, 2012

#85 Fox Theater

18x24 image for watercolor
I STARTED this on Wednesday- drove to Visalia, about 30 miles away, and took about 250 photos, trying to get the Fox theater and Little Italy restaurant in one image. I thought I was doing an acrylic with the black lines, then found out my client decided on a watercolor.  OK- where's that last sheet of 140 lb. watercolor paper. Here it is. My paints are in pretty good shape, I might need some green. I'll manage.

I ADDED agapanthus flowers in bloom to the photo, along with daylilies and geraniums.

USING A LIGHT TABLE, I traced the picture onto my watercolor paper. I'm always a little nervous when starting a watercolor – I paint in acrylic more often. And I'm a messy artist, so I have to be really careful of dirt on T-squares, drips etc. I don't think of those things when I paint in acrylic.

I'm pretty happy- going home to the dogs and a movie...

DAY 2, Thursday: I paint the sky and tree. NOT HAPPY. I made the tree too dark, so now the top half is way too heavy. Relax – I can fix it... going home to the dogs and a movie...

BUT HOW am I going to fix it...

Feed the dogs, play with the cats, dang – I have to finish this painting by Monday...

It'll wait till morning...

Dang it– no it won't. So I drive back to the studio to assess the situation. Fixable? No, not really. OK, let's start over. I'm out of paper! Wait- I have that large paper I never use- 300 lb, it'll work. So I cut it down, redraw picture, start to paint the sky, and realize why I never use that paper... I HATE it! I Facebook to local artists in town for help on paper, home to the dogs again...

I WAKE UP in the middle of the night remembering I have an extra of that wonderful watercolor board I had ordered for a large painting, and that it accepts my Nova Color acrylic paint like the dreamiest watercolor paint...

I SHOULD go back to sleep- it's only 2:00 am – too early to go back to the studio...

Friday, September 28, 2012

10 Favorite Art Critiques from Family and Friends

I'VE BEEN an artist for 40 years. It's the only job I've ever had and now it's the only job I'm qualified to do. I work hard – I go to the studio 7 days a week. Over the years I've eliminated any activity not as fun as painting (everything).

THE HARDEST challenge over the years was finding my style. You know – that way of painting that excites every part of your being – that leaves behind all other less authentic ways of expressing yourself. I don't have a name for my style. My hero and artist advocate, Robert Genn, suggested "a unique form of realism" and "designs of nature". And I've used "colorist". I don't know.

AND LET me tell you- it's a great feeling to know you are on the right path. However, halfway through patting myself on the back, I realized that many of the people close to me – family and friends – weren't exactly on board. Some feel I've made a wrong turn and, apparently, some feel that all I need is a honest word to get me back on course. I thought I would share my favorites with you.

1. Is this a Paint-by-Number? (Ouch).

2. I can't wait 'till you stop painting like this.

3. I like your OLD art.

4. I can see why you paint like this – it's faster and you can make more money.

5. You're definitely getting better. Hang in there.

6. But your watercolors were so good.

7. Would you mind changing some colors so it matches the other art on my wall?

8. It looks like a coloring book.

9. I guess you need to get it out of your system. It'll pass.

10. My favorite. A woman held a piece of art in her hands. I asked if she wanted to buy it.  She handed it to me and said, "No- I don't like your art anymore."

Monday, September 24, 2012

#74 Pirate and June

9x12 acrylic, 3/4 painted edge, $100.

June Finds Friends

JUNE 2012. That's her name. Tiny little thing.

I'M NOT really a cat person, but I live in the country and I need mouse catchers. And I love black and white- in fact that's the only color cat I've had in 40 years. And people know that. So I get a call, and I bring home this new addition to the family. Drag out the cat litter box, situate the household. Discovered hundreds of fleas, so I had to give her a bath. I held her in one hand and lowered her into warm water. The water turned red instantly. It took me an hour to pick them all out.

SHE cried for days. So I introduced her to Navarre, my great Dane. 180 pounds... but loves cats. The feeling was reciprocated. As long as Navarre was in sight, she seemed happy. I couldn't leave them together without supervision, though, she weighed about a pound. So I crated her at night – facing Navarre, and we all got some sleep.

DID I mention that my 2 other male cats wanted nothing to do with her? 2y (rhymes with gooey) is 13 years old, and I would love for him to share some of his stalking techniques with June. He's a master. Pirate is only 2, but with a broken hip. Neither of these guys want anything to do with a kitten.

2Y played "Not the Mom" for a week. Wouldn't even look at her. And Pirate was nowhere in sight. Did June cave? No way.

EVENTUALLY, 2y looked at June, then even let her touch him. Now he plays just like a kitten again. Oh, and Pirate came around too.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bearly Asleep

LAST NIGHT, at 2:00am, I jumped awake to the sound of Navarre's barking. He's a 180-pound Great Dane with some health issues, so he's been sleeping in the porch instead of in the house. The problem is, because of the easy access to the yard, he now has the urge to chase animals of the night. Not far – and only for as long as it takes to wake me.

IT WAS a bear last night. Navarre and I have an agreement. If he hears a bear in the trash can, he barks. Then I reach for my truck keys in bed and honk the horn, which scares off the bear. It works most nights. But last night Navarre chased him and I had to get dressed to get him back to the house.

AND  I can't go back to sleep. No problem. I just start working. I finished 3 paintings actually, and at 6:00 went back to bed.

Cochon, my daughter's dog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ten-minute Rule

I LIVE by a 10-minute rule. I started doing it about 35 years ago, when I was still a new mom and a new artist. There were so many things to remember, and so many things to do. I couldn't slow down – I didn't want to slow down. But I wanted to quit kicking myself every time I did a stupid thing or said something I regretted.

LIKE the time I bought a new black velvet gown and thought I looked great in it – until my 6-year old daughter informed me that I had it on backwards.

OR THE 1st time I made pesto from my garden and accidentally picked sage instead of basil, not realizing my mistake until serving dinner to eight women.

OH, THE LIST goes on and on. Believe me. And these are the funny ones. There were many times I could have been kinder, more frugal, a better parent. One time my daughter Renny kept asking me to bake her a cake and I kept waving her away – I'm painting! Turns out it was her birthday.

I DON'T believe in guilt. But there was often a  nagging feeling I shouldn't let myself off the hook quite so easily. One day, reading a book, I learned about the 10-minute Rule. It's a 2-part rule.

1. If there's nothing you can do: You are allowed 10 minutes to wallow in any negative emotion (anger, embarrassment, jealousy, you know them) . After 10 minutes is up- forget and move on. Period.

2. If there is something you can do (like apologizing, or re-doing the background on a painting): You must make a firm appointment in your head to do so, and then you can wallow for 10 minutes. Period.

IT TAKES practice. And it gets easier. There are times now when I don't even need the 10 minutes. But then I really mess up again, and I want to kick myself. But I don't. Instead, I remember my kids looking at an imaginary watch on their wrist, rolling their eyes and saying, "Oh Mom, You are way over your 10 minutes."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ethan and Family 2: Black Lines

THE HARDEST part of any painting is getting the images that capture personality, energy, and story. Once I have the images I can work with the composition, playing with the juxtapositions of hard/soft, straight/curved, dark/light, and playful/serious. I'm loving this one. It's a little top-left heavy right now, but I will solve that when I put in the background colors.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ethan and Family 1: Drawing

ORANGE is painted for my ground color. Then I trace drawing onto canvas.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Oh, I was so happy to finish this painting. The paint just flew off the brush – I could see the finished image before I started. What fun. It is painted with acrylic on canvas, 24x48, priced at $900.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'M HAPPY. I finally finished the portrait of Terri that I started at the Hidden Garden Tour here in Three Rivers in April. I would like to do a portrait of each garden owner each year. That's the goal anyway. This year I did 2, Terri and Nataliya. But this is August already, so I need to step it up a bit. I'm pretty happy with this portrait – it really captures Terri's love of her garden. She's amazing. With work and a family – I don't know how she does it. Thank you Terri, for sharing your beautiful garden on this year's tour. What a treat!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sunflower Mural

MY FRIENDS, the Reeds, finally painted the outside of their house this week. On Wednesday, I got a phone message asking if I could possibly paint a sunflower on the wall- by Friday, when our dinner group was meeting. I had just finished a 3-week mural job, and had some down time, so I agreed. I finished on Friday, and had enough time to take a leisurely bath before dinner.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nadi's 15 Artist Survival Suggestions

1. Paint every day, whether you “feel like it” or not.

2. Get 9 hours sleep every night.

3. Get computer-savvy. You need your work to be seen, and today’s art buyers are looking online.
     Understand that, no matter how proficient you become on your computer, there will always be frustration. If you think of yourself as a student for life, you will enjoy the journey.

4. Learn 1 new skill on your computer each day.
    It could take 5 minutes like learning how to change your password, or 4 hours, to put “Buy Now” buttons on all your art.

5. Use a  2-year day-planner designed for artists. It will become your #1 tool as it simplifies and organizes your life.

6. Have 3 paintings on your easels, 20 in your day-planner, and 100 in your head.

7. Look for beauty in unexpected places.

8. Listen to a variety of music as you paint.
     I listen to movie soundtracks to ease into the morning, celtic to calm me, opera to get the juices flowing, and screamo to push me through a long night. Pandora Radio is magic.

9. If you are feeling discouraged, clean the windows in your studio. Your outlook will change immediately.

10. Break the rules.
       Hence “suggestions” in the title. If they were rules, I would be trying to break them.

11.  Seek out accomplished artists whom you respect, and learn from them. Never before has there been such a plethora of artists willing to share their expertise and passion.
       Robert Genn, Artists Helping Artists

12.  Find a “kindred spirit”,  an artist of like mind.  Talk frequently, share your experiences and support each other.

13. Create an “I LOVE” scrapbook. It will be your best friend.
        (see mine here)

14. Always act on sudden creative urges. Artistic growth always trumps commissions.
      But be responsible to clients. I try to schedule in “lost time” in my day-planner.

15. Tell the universe what you want and ask for opportunities. Then keep your eyes and heart open so you will recognize them when they appear.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Portrait of Wyn Lamb

I REALLY MUST paint this woman. Her name is Wyn Lamb and she lives here in Three Rivers. She is a lovely woman and has a passion for so many things. She loves books, music (especially the piano), horses and the critters of Three Rivers. Born in London, she came to America at the age of 7. Prior to moving to Three Rivers, she was an orange rancher in Elderwood for over 60 years.

HER PORTRAIT will be predominately white. The only colors will be her skin and floral pattern on her scarf. I wanted to add the long shadow to indicate how many people she has touched in her life, over long distance and time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Three Rivers Hidden garden Tour

IT'S APRIL- and that means Hidden Garden Tour. I'm really excited this year- I will have 20 paintings finished of the 4 gardens on the tour. In addition, I will be painting a portrait of one of the garden owners on Saturday, in her garden. Each garden has an artist (or 2) painting "en plein air", a real treat for those of you that like watching an artist at work. There is also music, art for sale, food and beverages at each location. The event is this Saturday, April 21st, from 11:00-4:00.

TICKETS are still available- get them HERE for an absolutely wonderful event.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Holding Hands

It's raining today. I guess Teal Chair  and Orange Chair thought it would be cozier if they sat closer and held hands.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quails and Blackberries

18x24 acrylic on canvas, 3/4 painted edge. $300.
THIS PAINTING has been in the works for some time now. I took pictures on the South Fork last summer of the blackberries growing along the fence at the Well's Ranch, where I lived for 8 years. I always envisioned quails, but still had very few photos to work from. Since I created the "rock sheet", my quail file has grown considerably.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

#23 O Winter Sun

8x16 acrylic on canvas, 3/4 painted edge, $120.
WHEN I PAINT, I love listening to both opera and screamo (a style of emo notable for its screamed vocals). The phrase "fever pitch" comes to mind. One advantage of opera is that, since the words are usually in a language I don't speak, I can change them to anything I like, and sing aloud my own story.

TODAY I watched Cavalleria Rusticana, a tragedy about love and betrayal in Sicily. Since I was painting the January light behind the trees on the BLM land, here in Three Rivers, I envisioned the trees and rocks singing to the sun. "O Winter Sun...  DON'T FORSAKE ME...You are too beautiful..." You get the picture.

HAD SOME trouble at the end, when she screams, "They killed Torridu!" It's a work in progress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rock Star!

THAT"S ME under my "rock sheet". I tried it out for the 1st time last week. I didn't want anyone to see me, at least not until I knew it worked. (I don't mind looking ridiculous if it works, but if it didn't work, I'd just be a fool under a sheet.) A nearby friend has a covey of quails that come around every day to eat the bird seed she throws out, so I thought I would try there. She said they were very friendly and I could get pics easily – I tried without the sheet first.

NO WAY. They wanted no part of me. So I hunkered under the sheet with my lens poking out from a hole and –wow! They ignored me (almost) completely while I took several hundred pictures. Now I wish I had gotten even closer. This is going to be fun!