Jellyfish Salad

"Jellyfish Salad", 24" x 30" acrylic & oil on canvas

*Warning- today’s commentary is a bit on the salty side. Just FYI. Not one to read aloud to the kiddies.*

Hello lovelies! The sun is shining, I’ve got a clear breathing path through at least one nostril, Radiohead just came out with a new album and I officially finished this painting last night, so I’m in a jovial mood. This, despite the fact that I almost suffered a cardiac arrest the other day when I picked up 2 tiny tubes of oil paint.

“$42?!?! Jesus, are they made from diamond dust crushed inside a unicorn vagina?!”

Somehow I stopped myself from blurting out my first reaction. I sense the term “unicorn vagina” isn’t really acceptable in polite company. Then again, charging someone $42 for a little yellow and blue isn’t something I’d consider polite.

It took me a week to hunt down the magenta I needed for that tiny ass open sign.

At any rate, I made it home with the much needed pigments and they did prove useful. The lemon yellow and pthalo blue knocked this piece out. For my artist readers, here’s a quick rundown of water-soluble/water-mixable oil paints- they are awesome. Are you using them yet? Why not? Oh, you don’t want to spend a million dollars on new paint? I’ve done some legwork for you, so check it out-

Holbein Duo- CRAZY EXPENSIVE, but extremely saturated, high-quality pigments, great consistency, excellent blending.

Winsor-Newton Artisan- CHEAPEST, and pretty decent depending on the color. Excellent water-mixable mediums, oils, varnishes, solvents- but you don’t need all new ones anyway, the oil ones work just fine.

Grumbacher Max- MID-RANGE in price and quality, in my humble opinion. Small tubes only far as I can tell.

I often magically edit cars out of my paintings, but the reflections on this one charmed me into keeping it in.

I have a few more nightscapes lined up. I’m enjoying working with images like this that include a couple of figures. For me, the high-contrast of the dark scenes emphasizes the sense of “looking in” and explores the boundary between intimacy and voyeurism.

To make paintings like these, I first have to roam around with my big DSLR, snapping images of people on the street without permission like some kind of roving Google Streetview flunkie. It makes me ponder how the increasing saturation of surveillance continues to erode our privacy… but of course, that’s not going to stop me from getting the pics I need to make my work. 😉 It’s like the lyrics from Radiohead’s “Life In A Glass House”… “well of course I’d like to sit and chat, only there’s someone listening in…”

I hope I didn't F up the characters.

As this piece features a hostess staring off into the night in front of a restaurant, I wanted to go with a food-related title like my last piece, “Pistachio”. Lots of good suggestions came my way… wasabi, wintermelon, ginger… but I looked up this place’s actual menu online and one of the first items jumped off the digital page and into my heart- “Jellyfish Salad”. To me it sounds like something off a Fear Factor challenge, but it’s also delightfully odd- just like me. 😉

Barn blocks

3 finished woodblocks, a recent commission project

Today I finished three small woodblocks I was asked to do as a commission. The client provided her own photos from their rugged, tree-filled property. Each year, her family has a large reunion on the 4th of July weekend, so these images feature some of their beloved local landmarks, such as this rocket pinata suspended from the treetops…

The glare from the sunspot was a little tricky, but I think it came out well in the end.

…an old flag hanging on a wire fence near a garden…

Threadbare but proud

… and her dad’s barn/workshop, complete with “horses” out front.

I was nervous about getting the "sun dappled" look right.

I am literally a handful of brushstrokes away from completing my newest nightscape, but I’m waiting on a tube of water-soluble quinacridone magenta oil paint. I know they say you only need red, yellow, blue, black and white, but that’s a dirty, dirty lie. Sometimes you need some hot neon pinky purple that you cannot fabricate from the primaries. So stay tuned for that one, coming soon! In the interim, my husband has given me his cold so I’m off to sulk/heal over a cup of tea and some elderberry syrup. So far my hippie remedy is not cutting the mustard, but I’m holding out hope for a speedy recovery, as tomorrow is my mom’s birthday and we’ll be celebrating, sickly or not!

Cowpuncher

Howdy, guys & gals, and a happy Friday to you all! Today I’m sharing two new mixed-media minis I finished this morning. I’ve already blocked in my new nightscape [ETA 2- 3 weeks] and I’m working on a trio of commissioned woodblocks, but I find I really need the mixed media bits in between the realist work as a palate/palette cleanser. Ha! What a delightful.. homonym? No, Wikipedia says that’s a ‘homophone’. I’m so glad we resolved that, because that kind of grammatical conundrum just keeps me up all night. As does the following:

omg srsly ru4rl?

What’s this, you ask? Why, it’s a book cover I spied recently in the paranormal teen romance section at Barnes & Noble. It might have been on the MORE paranormal teen romance shelf. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that this book doesn’t even have an effing text title on it. It’s a cut-out of what appears to be a zombie versus a unicorn (which deserves a sigh in and of itself. Why?! I don’t even want to know). Apparently the youth of our nation still showing up at paper bookstores cannot be bothered to read three whole words. Or at least the clever marketing departments at the publishers in New York necessitating the ridiculous ‘paranormal teen romance’ section title don’t think so. Puke. Puke on this almost as much as pajama jeans.

Anyway, art-

"Domestication", mixed media on 5" x 7" canvas

I started thumbing through my vintage patterns the other day and happened upon these two illustrations where the 25 cent stickers were placed kind of conspicuously. That got me hunting down topics from my vintage book pile. I ended up selecting the word “domestication” in the above piece with the faceless miniskirt/apron model, which I discovered later included the unintentionally hilarious-to-me synonym “cowpuncher” that I’ve decided to start using as often as possible. From the Mormon “art of homemaking” gem, I selected “how to clean a house”. The word “discard” from a pattern also appears. Green thread ties a strike-anywhere match to the piece above layers of acrylic paint and a splash of watercolor.

"Hardness", mixed media on 5" x 7" canvas

“Hardness” features a ‘large’ men’s model looking uncomfortable in his short robe. It’s as if he knew there would someday be a 25 cent sticker over his wang, like a tiny tiny fig leaf. I threw in an “illustrated by dick” snippet and wrapped a slightly bent nail into the composition with blue thread.

These two pieces are a general commentary on outdated gender identifications. Using vintage materials instantly references the past, the patterns refer to social patterns (haha! that’s a true homonym!), the illustrations make me think of the obscenity of marketing and the price tags speak to our skewed cultural definitions of worth. Also, they kind of just make me giggle. 🙂 These two pieces are “colorful” in more ways than one, featuring bright retro-inspired hues. They enjoy short trips through the postal service and like to travel in groups. (Check my etsy shop for these soon if you’re interested. 😉

Three's Company