Drive slowly! Kegstands in process…

The wood grain in these blocks has a sheen from the side in the daylight.

Day 273: House Boat

When I hear “house boat”, I immediately think of all the secondhand accounts of near alcohol poisoning, drunken diving, vodka splash fights, jello-shots-turned-impromptu-jello-wrestling and uncomfortable pass-out locations (i.e. in a dog pile under life vests and some other partiers) I’ve heard over the years. However, I have never been on a house boat personally because I’m a good girl- or a stick in the mud, you know, however you look at it 😉 – and somehow I get the feeling that a house boat on the Delta is a little different than a house boat in Lake Havasu.

Detail shot

Today’s piece is an image of a house boat in the river with rolling wind turbine-covered hills behind it. Reeds add some interest in the foreground and the gray water reflects the cloudy gray sky- my favorite kind. I love the cold weather. It’s always a great excuse to cook up some hot cocoa and snuggle up to some art supplies. I’m off to the city today, so tomorrow’s blog post will probably be a photo as I will be out of my element, Donny. 😉

"House Boat", 3.5"x3.5"x1.5" acrylic painting on woodblock

Are we there yet?

Day 272: Bucolic

Every day I double check yesterday’s post to make sure I’m counting correctly. On one hand, I think “wow, Day 27o-something? That’s a lot!” and on the other hand, I groan and sigh and pout and say “uggg. There are like a hundred more days. A HUNDRED!”. Don’t get me wrong, I really love artmaking. But you know… it’s a lot of artmaking. A LOT. Thank goodness I have this gallery show of mini paintings this month. Hopefully I will be able to send some of these pieces home with happy new owners, so that I can again go into my guest room without performing an intricate tiptoe-ballet-maneuver around all the stacks of canvas to get to the vacuum cleaner. It’s kind of like “hoarders” in there, except no food wrappers. Or flat dead cats.

On that note, today’s piece is “Bucolic”. I like the title because it implies a peaceful countryside, but this image features a mean purple storm cloud- with the bright sun muscling its way through, of course. 🙂 Also I measured these and they are 3.5″x3.5″x1.5″, not 4x4x2 as I’d been posting. My bad.

"Bucolic", acrylic painting on wood block, 3.5"x3.5"x1.5".

Land of milk and honey

Day 271: Cows and Bee Boxes

You may recall this image from a photo trip I took awhile ago (this is where I would normally link to the earlier reference except I am too lazy to do so today. So..yeah.), and today I decided it was a good candidate to make the leap from photo to mini painting. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately, and escaping into this little image definitely makes me feel better for a bit. It takes me back to that cool Spring day in the Delta, watching busy bees making honey in the sweet grass next to the cud-chewing cattle after the rain (which is a fonder mood memory than my current cranky-butt-why-isn’t-it-cool-weather-yet one).

This is a little blurry, but you can see the details a little better.

You ever have one of those days where it’s all you can do to perform basic tasks – you know, grocery shopping, dishes, cooking, paying bills, responding to emails, showering, artmaking, blogging and the like? Hmm. I guess it actually seems like a fairly long list when I lay it all out like that. Too bad I can’t afford a personal secretary/ chef/ maid… yet. I’ve still got that rich and famous artist thing on my agenda. But for now, it’s back to finishing up the slow-cooked Carnitas with bacon and sour cream dinner that will make the rest of the day worth it. Have a great evening, folks!

"Cows and bee boxes", acrylic landscape painting on 4"x4"x2" woodblock

Breath of fresh air

"Green", acrylic painting on woodblock

Day 270: Green

Today’s piece is another mini painting on woodblock. This one features rolling hillsides bedecked with the white wind turbines those of us who have grown up near Tracy are so accustomed to seeing, across a full river. It seems like we should have worked out how to harvest enough green energy by now to run everything forever, doesn’t it?

Detail shot

Most likely, it has been figured out, but all the scientists who did so probably encountered an untimely demise. Presuming reality is anything like Hollywood, which clearly it is. Wow- that is such a great idea for the next reality show…

“This week, on America’s Next Top Scientist, contestants will be placed in teams of two to present their best low-cost ideas for clean energy and cancer cures. The “winner” of this week’s challenge will be escorted directly to a “fabulous trip” provided exclusively by Pfizer!” Followed by discrediting in the science world through some article, and showing up in a blurry photo in a “Reality Stars- Where are they now?” magazine to prove that they’re still around. Speaking of blurry pics, here’s one from the side:

I know this one's blurry but you can see the wood grain a little better.

But the cows need Bluetooth!

Day 269: Tower Meadow

I drove past a guy dressed as a banana waving a Jamba Juice sign today. It occurred to me that this guy probably works for the store and is most likely getting paid minimum wage as opposed to the $10-$16/hr most enthusiastic sign wavers garner (presuming they can move and shake like thissss..ssss!). It made me think of all the ridiculous demeaning crap I have had to do at various points throughout my “career” (i.e. 20+ random ass jobs before silicon valley sales opps), and I thought of how you really can’t complain because every job description includes that scotch-free disclaimer… “and other duties/tasks as assigned”.

Detail pic

It made me think of how interesting it would be to read a job description for the professional artist…

Wanted: Artist. Human society is seeking new artists to support its cultural relevance department! If you are skilled at presenting a unique point of view in forms of aesthetic value, interpreting characteristics of humanity in a meaningful/interesting way that connects with our viewers, and enjoy the freedom of working from home and the competitive thrill of a completely autonomous role, this opportunity is for you! Our best candidates thrive on rejection, are solid self-starters and are generally miserable if attempting to pursue anything outside of art. **Note: This position is COMMISSION-ONLY. You will be responsible for ALL EXPENSES- no exceptions.

Responsibilities:

  • Create technically masterful, engaging/evocative original works of art on a daily basis
  • Professionally photograph all artwork and post on website/blog
  • Advertise/market these works through any and all available methods (this will include creating your own website and portfolio, seeking representation in galleries, online sales and in-person sales, including but not limited to paying fees for juried shows and art events)
  • Create and adhere to operational budget as defined by the commission you make from your art sales
  • Keep inventory of all works, supplies, marketing materials and sales
  • Travel regularly to meet with potential clients

Qualifications:

  • Some recognizable skill with at least one visual art medium
  • Ability to find useful inspiration from a source other than fear of debt
  • Crazy awesome marketing genius the likes of which is generally restricted to millionaires like Tony Robbins

Personally, I would have said “NOPE!” as soon as I read the commission only part and went back to the search results. 😉

The miniatures continue today with “Tower Meadow”. I love how readily these types of scenes convert themselves into little compositions. The obtrusive cell tower provides balance and works well with the wood grain.

"Tower Meadow", acrylic painting on 4"x4"x2" woodblock

In a van down by the river

"Wild lilac", acrylic painting on woodblock

Day 268: Wild Lilac

While I have no way of knowing if the fragrant wildflower imparting its lovely scent unto the cold delta breeze the day I took this photo was indeed wild lilac, that’s what I’ve decided to call it. And as any piece of art is a window into a little world of make-believe built of painted gestures, there’s no reason it can’t be lilac. So there. (I know none of you were necessarily challenging the lilac situation, but now it’s been addressed and we can all relax.)

Today’s piece shows the rolling hillside across from some part of the river. The bushy bits in the foreground were mostly milkweed, mixed on the banks with foxtails and grasses. The Sacramento area really can be quite lovely. If you’re enjoying these landscapes, switch the TV on to KVIE this weekend. Their annual art auction is going on, and there are lots of great pieces up for sale from some of my local art buddies, including more fabulous landscapes. 🙂

Hell in a handbasket

I think you can see the wood grain better from the side.

Day 267: Grove House

Everyone has those disaster days- the days when it just feels like everything that can go wrong is going wrong, that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, that the forecast is poop with a slight chance of extra poop. Today wasn’t so much one of those days for me personally, but when a loved one is going through a difficult time, it’s hard not to be affected. I try to stay positive, and it’s really difficult for me when I’m confronted with someone who has a decidedly negative outlook.

It’s times like those that making art in my studio is my brief respite, my little spot of sun through the clouds. Today’s piece, “Grove House” features a tiny building tucked away in a grove of trees barely visible along the horizon. I used another Delta Loop photo I took for this one.

"Grove House", acrylic painting on 4"x4"x2" wood block.

*NOTE* I am so touched by the dibs-es that have already been called on these woodblocks, but I have been promising a display of woodblocks at my October City Art showing for months, and I’m calling a temporary stay on dibsing as I’m specifically making these to fill my rented wall space. Sorry guys and gals! Come to the show in person for a crack at them if you can. I’ll let everyone know which pieces are still available after the show. Thanks again!

Size doesn’t matter

"Tiny Red Barn", 4"x4"x2" acrylic landscape on wood block

Day 266: Tiny Red Barn

I forgot how much fun these are to paint on. Some people would find it frustrating how some parts of the wood soak the paint in hungrily whilst others resist it, but I think that makes it even more interesting and exciting. And it seems fitting while working on little landscapes, because we can’t expect to make nature bend to our will. Even if we do stretch power lines across it and erect tiny red barns in the middle of it, those “purple mountains majesty” are still ever more impressive than any persistent cell signal, in my humble opinion. I don’t usually paint happy little clouds and the like, but something about doing it on the slices of fence post makes it agreeable to me.

Hmm. Perhaps I should remove “doing it” in that previous sentence and replace it with “painting them”. Or I can just leave it in there. Even though doing it on a fence post sounds particular uncomfortable. Or exciting, if you’re really kinky. C’mon, what else do they have to do out in these rural towns? (Besides meth, that is.) Time to step away from the keyboard…;) See you tomorrow!

The wood grain doubles as a reference to the sun's rays and the radiation of cellular towers in this mini.

Is it Autumn yet?

"Provencal", acrylic painting on 4" x 4" x 2" wood block.

Day 265: Provençal

I’ve been meaning to get around to doing some more wood block landscapes for October’s show. Wouldn’t you know it? Now that we’re down to the wire, I’ve managed to find some time to do them. Someone once said, “Artists don’t get down to work till the pain of not making art exceeds the pain of making art.”*

And while this particular statement isn’t 100% applicable to me at this point in my life since I’ve been making myself make something every single darn day for nearly 9 full months now, I’d clearly have to agree that deadlines in and of themselves can sometimes be the greatest artmaking motivator.

So, in between prepping some canvases with gesso for other projects and taping together several sheets of newsprint for my gallery wall mock-up, I printed out some photos I took from a rainy day back in March (or sometime thereabouts- remember the wet sheep?) and spent some time on this little guy in the studio today. I titled it “Provençal” because the hint of a return of cool weather and views of the countryside remind me of my time in Southern France. But this image itself is actually from out in the Delta Loop, here in the Sacramento area of California.

Is that the sun peeking behind those clouds? Kind of. It's the wood grain from this slice of fence post. 🙂

*I tried to find out who said this but I couldn’t track it down. Thanks for nothing, internet. 😉

Back to the mental drawing board

No, I was not staring at a Krylon can when this idea occurred to me, thankyouverymuch.

Day 264: Globby (Study)

During the drive yesterday, my mind wandered off to the blank canvas I keep in my brain (as it often does) and began doodling to see if anything interesting happened. This globular thing kind of manifested itself on my mental etch-a-sketch, so today I decided to do a study on newsprint to see if the connections between the saved draft in my head and my hand were functioning properly. Turns out I need to run a diagnostic. 😉 The general idea is there, but newsprint is much more of a wuss than I recall. I couldn’t really get into layering, but I did experiment with the shape and general layout, and now I can stare at this thing on the now-stained-red/yellow/orange-studio-wall for a few days and figure out why it popped into my head in the first place and where to go with this idea next.

I’m also prepping for the City Art October show. I’ll be putting up all mini paintings. The opening is Friday, October 1st, so if you’re going to be in the area, mark your calendars! Affordable art with a side of free food and wine. Woot!

Detail shot. Watercolor + pastel + charcoal = too much for newsprint.