Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bad Paintings of the World.....

Unite! There is hope for life after bad art. Presenting painting number 2 in the canvas reclamation project; The End of Old Mission in October. The painting that is now securely entombed forever (hopefully) under this new offering was an abomination, an affront to my own artistic ego, i.e., it was a painting that for various reasons DIDN'T WORK OUT. Paintings that don't work out can be problematic. After all, just what do you do with them? I mean I really don't want them hanging around my studio bumming me out, providing me with tangible proof of that day's particular artistic ineptitude, nor do I want to lavish them on friends & family who will gasp at the magnitude of such an extravagant offering and then promptly stash them in a closet or worse yet become garage sale fodder. So just what becomes of those "process" pieces? I have it on good authority that one nationally known (who here will remain unknown) painter was cavalierly just throwing his "process pieces" in the trash, only to one day find the garbage man rifling through the best of the worst paintings! Hello EBAY. Said painter has found one more reason to love his table saw. Other painters archive and store the stuff, I choose to reuse, much to the horror of my husband. SO that conversation went kind of like this...Me -"blah, blah, blah canvas reclamation project." Husband - "You are DOING WHAT to finished paintings???" In his ever optimistic way he suggested that a mythical someone, somewhere, just might want to buy one of those process pieces. To which I suggested to him that he sign HIS name on them. And I see he has yet to take me up on that! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 15 Minute Oil

This painting is part of what I am now referring to as the "Canvas Reclamation Project". Canvases, that for one reason or another, don't really like the painting they've been presented with. Underneath this study was a painting of the lake Michigan shore line. While the actual scene doesn't include any lake view or tree line to the right, I liked the way these parts of the underpainting came through and decided to let these sections stand as they were.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The People You Meet at Lunch

Just another day in the life. We headed out today for lunch to Ada Bike and the Schnitz Deli. On the drive out we started noticing a huge police presence down the entire route. Annoyed by all the road closures we took the back road into Ada and pulled into the bike shop. Where we were met by....more-better-serious police, bomb sniffing dogs, metal detectors and my personal favorite, a handbag search. After the Secret Service liberated a wine opener from my bag we were allowed into the Great Hall of Bikedom. As it turns out, we weren't the only ones in Ada for lunch, as evidenced by the Presidential Motorcade's arrival some 10 minutes later. And sure enough there is the Leader of the Free World heading up to the Schnitz Deli for lunch. So I see where my lunch is heading and it no longer involves dining at the Schnitz. I'd like to take this time to thank Ada Bike for the Bag of Starbursts I had for lunch. But I digress. Anyway, after his lunch GW made his way down to the bike shop where he shook hands & chatted us all up. Note on meeting the President: my biggest regret was that I wasn't wearing my "Hot Chicks for Obama Pin". It was on my other coat. Damn it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 15 Minute Gouache

Time to post something from the art category. This is a 15 minute gouache study from yesterday. I actually did two paintings - the gouache and a small oil, of this image. Will post the oil once its dry enough to move. My focus right now is - the bravado of the start & knowing when to stop.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Podium Girls-A New Twist!

I always wanted to be a Podium Girl! I did, I did, I did. I got my chance a little belatedly Friday night at the "Welcome Home & Medal Viewing" party for our friend Mackenzie Woodring. Mackenzie was the eyes for fellow cyclist Kara Whitsall at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. How cool is that??? Even better, look what they brought home:
Gold - Women's Individual Time Trial B&VI 1-3
Silver - Women's Individual Road Race B&VI 1-3
Bronze - Women's Ind. Pursuit (B&VI 1-3)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making Special

Its hard to believe its been a week now since the Parke-Kooyman Painting Retreat (a.k.a. Painting Camp) has ended. Painting Camp was held in the form of a 3 day/4 night plein aire workshop in at Camp Tosebo in Onekema, MI hosted by Painters Melanie Parke and Richard Kooyman. See link for their website.

This was definitely the gold standard of workshops. First of all, Camp Tosebo was a perfect place to hold an art intensive. The main lodge, outbuildings and and the grounds are absolutely charming and meticulously maintained. There were 11 of us in attendance and I would have to say that the team of Parke-Kooyman, Cre Woodard, and Carol Spaulding didn't miss a thing when it came down to even the smallest details. We were all greeted by fresh flowers, not only in the public rooms of the lodge, but in our separate accommodations as well. Meals were an art unto themselves with Chef Cre and Woman-of-Many-Hats Carol (Assistant to the Chef, Wine Pourer, Bottle Washer & most importantly Art Camper) manning the kitchen. The food was fresh, local, and non-stop. Got to LOVE a woman who serves cake for breakfast - a cardamon cake to be precise. This was some seriously good slow food. Fresh Corn Chowder, Rustic Goat Cheese & Squash Pizza, A Creamy Cauliflower Fettuccine, Key Lime Pie, Brownies, Gallettes, Sesame Cookies and blueberry pancakes! And wine, lots of wine! Who cares if we ever even painted!

Paint we did though. Three solid days from 9:00 to 5:00 with a short lunch break. We filled what seemed like miles of surface! We worked quickly through several small studies. We worked even more quickly trying to capture the essence of the essential on larger surfaces. Under the guidance of Melanie and Richard it was if we were all learning a new language. Part of my language is learning to speak with a bigger brush in broader volumes. On day two, my dear Melanie, who I now refer to as the "queen of all painting evil" walked up to where I was painting and handed me this monstrous brush ( think blush brush for an elephant). Of course, I am working on a little canvas and was like, "just where do you expect me to use this?" She just smiled and walked away. However, I am now having a big brush love affair!

Both Melanie and Richard are extremely talented painters. In addition, they both have the gift of being natural teachers. Being able to support and enhance the positive aspects of their student's work seems to come very easily to them as a team. In addition to freely sharing their wealth of personal knowledge, they shared a library of catalogs, books, dvds and spirited discussions during our daily evening fireside "wrap ups".

One of the highlights of camp was the Wine & Cheese Field Trip to Parke-Kooyman Studios. Richard and Melanie graciously opened their studios and home to us for hors'd ouvres and wine. Yes, this is how a field trip should be. I have some serious studio envy. Both studios are light and airy, plenty of space. Melanie's is in a beautifully updated old store front and Richard's space is literally a stone's throw away in a restored barn. Both spaces held many framed and "in progress pieces". It was interesting to see the progression from the unfinished to the framed. I think its pretty safe to say we all came away from the outing visually enriched.

This workshop brought together a patchwork of strangers and by the time we were all packed up and bound for home it was obvious that we were all connected by the same sutra. I made many dear friends here and the inspirations that this group generated will be resonating in my work for months to come. To steal a line from Ellen Dissanayake, "Making Special" is an art form in itself and what Parke-Kooyman did exceptionally well at this retreat.