Free Parking Sundays!

In your face! 😉

Day 220: Self-portrait “The World” 

  1. If you’ve never listened to this song, just make yourself happy and do it. DO IT NOW! Oh, I totally saw a newspaper headline that said “Governor says let gays wed now” and immediately I imagined him holding a press conference at the Capitol building shouting “DO IT NOW!” and giggled hysterically in the middle of the sidewalk, which drew the attention of a crow watching me as I wandered the streets of a largely deserted Sacramento with my camera this morning on free parking Sunday. Woo! I wasn’t satisfied with the variety of architectural images I got the other day, so I headed back out. This time I was able to find my way to the Capitol (oddly enough, Capitol street seems to lead directly there) and I also got some shots of the Crocker museum, the gold bridge and a couple other neat spots.
  2. HALLELUJAH I am finally done with this painting.

“Cool, but why are you wearing some crazy gypsy quilt cloak?” I have this idea to do a series of oil portraits featuring the themes of the major arcana of the tarot deck. I’ve read tarot cards for several years now. I’m not about to set up a tent at the Renaissance Faire and hawk fortunes, but it’s fun and I absolutely love my set of Art Nouveau cards. They are gorgeous.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the Tarot deck has lots of cards (seventy something) and the first 22 are called the “major arcana”. They symbolize important events in life. Coincidentally, everyone has a tarot card connected with their birthday as well. (You can look yours up here online)  All the sites I can find, including that one, calculate these with numerology, but I think that’s kind of limiting. So I used this really detailed and interesting book to determine what mine was, which is ‘The World’ (January 21st). The World is the card of fulfillment, completion, and living contentedly with many blessings. In addition to the technical challenge of getting the face to look like my face, I decided to pay homage to the concept of my role as an artist interpreting the world by crafting a kind of shamanic cloak with different paper elements and “fabric” patterns that are relevant to me and my heritage.

Note to self: Make the rest of your models pose nude. Or in simple fabrics. Just a suggestion.

According to Wikipedia, “Marianne, a national emblem of France, is, by extension, an allegory of Liberty and Reason.” The name “Mary” has long been associated with navy blue. Genetically I have heritage ranging across the globe from the Ukraine to Germany to Mexico. As far as personality traits, I love words and the realm of the handmade. So I laid down a base of paper bits including world maps, a physics page about “terrestrial magnetism”, and several words in French, English and Spanish referencing art and some of my characteristics (like the term full-faced), and I painted patterns mimicking different rustic fabrics like fleur-de-lis, hand-woven wool and floral tapestry. You can still see hints of the paper elements, but they’re mostly a mystery to everyone but me. 😉 I also used gold foil as the background. Historically, gold is associated with richness and joy, but it’s also an art historical nod to Byzantine frescoes and the lot. So now I only have to hunt down 21 other people with birthdays corresponding to the other cards of the major arcana, photograph them, and then painstakingly eke out their personality traits as they relate to the theme of the card through mixed media/oil paint magic. Somehow I get the feeling it’s back to cityscapes for awhile until my sanity returns. 🙂

All that glitters...

Day 95: Mingle

So I’m still trying to get the hang of this oil thing. Today’s piece is actually the largest yet at 24″ x 24″ on heavy duty canvas. I have always loved a square format. Half of me wanted to do golden yellows, half of me wanted to do yellow-grays, so we went with both. These pieces are kind of like what I see when I take my glasses off- just blurs of color and shape that I enjoy as compositions.

In other news, I’m artist of the month for April in N Magazine. Check it out! And if you’re in the Sacramento area, I’ll be participating in the Annual N Mag Art Sale this coming Saturday, April 10th, at the North Natomas Library, 4660 Via Ingoglia, 5-8 pm. Come out and say hi!

Day 93: Fireflies

Sometimes I feel like I should title these posts “Pretending to be an Artist, Day 93”, or “Acting Like Thousands of People Read This Blog, Day 93”. Other times I feel like titling them “I am a f-ing Rock Star” or “Why Aren’t You Calling Yet, New York?”. So I’m glad we all agreed on me using actual titles of paintings so there’s no need to subject anyone to my moody whim statements.

Today’s piece, Fireflies, is another oil painting on 12” square heavy duty canvas. I’ve never actually seen a firefly in person, but I can picture the experience from photos and descriptions. I can imagine standing in a meadow at dusk, watching tiny orbs begin to glow and hover like some kind of adorable UFO. I’m still a little terrified when I get out the tubes of oil, but I’m expecting that to give way to excitement at some point.

Day 92: Daffodils

Getting reacquainted with oil paints these past couple of days has been like meeting up with an old boyfriend. I remember what I liked about him, but mostly I remember why we broke up. The lack of communication, how difficult he was to work with, how it wasn’t so much about what I wanted but about him doing his own thing… my ex and my current relationship with oil paints are eerily similar.

Right now oil paints are ‘biting their thumb at me’, so to speak (oil paint has been around since Shakespeare’s time after all), but that doesn’t mean we’ll be enemies forever. In fact, I used to get frustrated like this with charcoal. It was messy and defiant of my commands, but eventually after enough practice, I found ways to use it without dragging my arm through it, and now I love charcoal. So here’s hoping I get there with oil paints.

Today’s piece, Dandelions, is an oil painting on a 12” square heavy duty canvas. The paint is thick and I have no idea how long it’s going to take to dry. But I think it’s kind of beautiful. (And very Easter-y. Looking forward to spending Sunday with the family.:)

Day 91: Wildflowers, The World’s Smallest Oil Painting

Okay everyone, I have a big announcement to make. Are you ready? You might want to sit down. <deep breath>  I’ve decided to quit the art project.

APRIL FOOLS!!! Did I getcha? Although I do have an actual announcement to make, and that is- “Look out world, I’m busting out the oil paints!” That’s right. It’s on.

 I’ve done very little work in oil, and that’s because… well, hell, Marianne, why is that? I guess it’s because oil takes oh, I don’t know, A MILLION years to dry and I’m extremely impatient when it comes to art. It’s common for me to get 3-4 brushstrokes into a painting when the little brat inside my brain groans “UGH are we done yet??”. I’m already thinking of the next piece I want to do. Once I decide on something, I just want it to be done. I don’t necessarily want to have to do it. I want to twitch my nose or nod my head with a rad genie hat and be done with it. In fact, the decision to get out the oils was motivated by impatience too.

I’d been working with this medium sized canvas for a couple of hours on an abstracted cityscape that required a lot of blending. Despite my many tricks of the trade when it comes to painting with acrylics, sometimes it just doesn’t work out as smoothly as I’d like.

So I said “Self, you know oils would make this process a lot easier. Why don’t you just quit being such a wuss and get them out already?”

To which I replied “Okay, okay… but there’s no way I’m finishing this whole thing tonight with oils. I’m doing a mini-canvas.”

“Fine. I’m alright with that.”

“No, I’m serious. I’m talking about a mini-mini canvas here.”

“Mini-mini, huh?”

“Yep. Check it out…”

“Wow. That is pretty tiny.”

“Yeah, but the tiny easel to go with it is super adorable, right?”

“Maybe you can start marketing art to circus fleas.”

“Hardee har har. You know it still took like a flipping half hour to finish that thing.”

“UGH Oils, dude. Oils.” 

“I know.” <sigh> “But they sure are gorgeous.  Now I’m going to have to use them all the time now that I remember how beautiful they are. Darn you, logic!”

“You’re welcome.”