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Friday, July 29, 2011


i have wanted to download the instagram app on my iphone for a while, but it seemed like it kept going on the back burner.  i was in the shop today, and decided to finally download and play around with it.  wow.  how cool is this?  

this photo was taken of our window, which is decked out in western glory for littleton's 83rd annual western welcome week.  (it's a community celebration that includes a parade on main street, an arts festival, and other wholesome pleasantries).  anyway, i liked the juxtaposition of the western guy (who is actually johnny west on his wagon) with the reflection of the modern city in the background.  i think i may need to make a few of these!!

anyway, if you have an iphone, it's worth playing around with!!

by the way, festival day is august 20th.  we will be setting up our tent out front and will be selling a bunch of vintage stuff...and i think there just may be some great bargains to be found!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the real photo

this is the photo i based the print on in the previous post.  turns out, according to my cousin terry, that i was right.  it is bertha's wedding.  and this was the family portrait.  she got the scoop from the sisters in riverhead, long island today.  so strange how it all came together...WOW.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

bertha's wedding in sepia

a new print i worked on all day.  it's actually in color, but my camera somehow turned it fluorescent, so i decided to post it in sepia.  good news is that i know now that i got my values correct once i took out the color!  the real print is in tones of pinks, purples, and blues.  and it has a hint of blue-green in the bouquets.  

this is based on a photo from a wedding.  i'm not sure who is getting married, but i called it "bertha's wedding" because i do know it is one of my grandmother's sisters, and she did have a sister named bertha.  this photo is of my great grandparents and their nine children.  8 girls, and one boy.

my grandma is on the far left, in the middle row.  her maiden name was eva sobosinski (i hope i spelled that correctly).  when i came upon this photo i noticed that there were x's on my great grandparents in pencil.  it dawned on me that i have a portrait of them that is highlighted with chalk pastel that is taken from this photo.  i think that's why there are x's on them, to identify them to the photographer making the portrait.  the last time i saw my grandma she showed me the portrait of her parents, and said she remembered the photographer coming to their farmhouse to take the picture.  then she recalled him coming back weeks later with the portrait.  

when my grandma died, i couldn't go back east for he funeral.  i asked my mom if she might pick up something that belonged to my grandma for me.  and she brought me the portrait.  it has hung in our house ever since.  it has the original frame, which is gold and octagonal.  and the glass is bubble-shaped, which i love.

i like to think that grandma directed my mom to bring me that picture since it was literally one of the last things we had a conversation about together.  it seems ironic that i found the wedding photo years later, and decided to use it for a print even before i recognized the connection between the photo and the portrait.  one more ironic note, i recently got back in touch with two of my cousins.  they told me yesterday that they leaving today to visit the remaining 3  sisters in the photo.  

i just found out there are 4 remaining sisters: 
jo, upper left
ex, upper right
betty, lower left
mary, lower right

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

okay, so i cheated.

ah, winter!
this is my "plein air" painting for today.  ok, i didn't exactly go outside, as you can tell from the subject matter.  it was over 90 degrees, and i just couldn't bear it.  so instead i found a great snow shot, and worked in the comfort of my air conditioned home. i don't often work from photos, and usually when i do i take some major artistic license.  in this case, there were about a million branches, which i edited out to only a few.  i figure that at least i practiced!

3 days of printmaking on the schedule for wednesday-friday.  i am going to try a painting a day, too.

this one is acrylic, and is 11x14" on canvas panel.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

plein air monday

view from shadows

i sucked it up and stood in the sun for a few hours, dragging painting gear with me.  luckily this beautiful place has a handy parking lot and rest room nearby.  these are 8x10" studies, each took about 20 or 30 minutes to complete.  it felt good to be outside, and it felt good to paint.  i have really not painted with any seriousness in about 2 (gulp) years.  so here you go.  i feel pretty good about them.  the third one is not brain lost all conscious ability after the first two!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a preview and a good story

dress box preview
this is a very nice story.  it makes me smile every time i think about it!

at our last show, a customer named lucy came in and bought some of my art.  she was drawn to it, she said, because of the objects i had used.  so we spoke briefly (it was crowded), and she said she would be going out of town for a while, and would be back to pick up her artwork.  a few weeks later, no lucy!  so i emailed her to remind her i still had the items.  she emailed back, and told me when she came to get her stuff, she would like to let me look at some random "things" she had in her possession.  

 of course, i said "i would LOVE to see your stuff."  so lucy came in on a tuesday, and picked up her work, and bought yet another piece.  (she is an amazing customer).  she then carried in stuff by the armload for me to peruse.  my jaw dropped.  it was as if some fairy landed on her shoulder who knew my every desire and whispered in her ear what to bring me.  everything was wonderful--heavy patina, and in various stages of falling apart.  just how i like things.  turns out lucy owned an antique store in austin several years back. (did i ever mention that we lived in austin, too?  how coincidental!)  anyway, the treasures were amazing.  here is a short list:

doll/santo hands
old books with leather covers
fashion illustrations from france
a sketchbook from the 1930's from a graphic designer
old dress patterns
old pattern books
cracker jack charms
old dog food bags (never used, with great graphics)
old photos and ephemera

i could go on, but you get the gist.  wonderful things.

now here is the best part.  she just gave it all to me.  she said she wanted to pass it on so that someone who understands this sort of thing will use it.  of course, i offered to pay her.  and she said "no".  so my trade will be that i will make her a box when the dust settles in october.  and that's that!

are you smiling, too?  sometimes the world is a very nice place to be.  people do the most amazing things.  thank you, lucy!! here's a sneak peak at a new box in progress.  the background is an original monoprint that has been overprinted with a lino block.  the mirror is the part lucy gave me.  it's an old compact with a broken mirror.  the pieces will sit in the bottom of the box.  (obviously you can't see the actual box.  john is working on finishing it for me.)  i bought the dress off ebay.  it's an old barbie dress.  i love orange, and so i had to have it.  i'll take another shot when it gets closer to being finished!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

landscape painting

yesterday i went and listened to mark nelson, a denver painter.  he talked about the landscape, particularly the plein air landscape.  i will be spending the next 2 mondays outdoors practicing this technique.  plein air is not new to me.  i spent 2 summers in DC with high school students, lugging all of our equipment in the 100 degree, 100% humidity.  it was certainly a good experience, mostly because i got used to someone looking over my shoulder all day as i painted.

mark is an incredibly talented guy, but his work is not readily visible on the internet.  luckily, my friend kelly berger, an aspiring painter herself, sent me a few photos.  so here is one to share.  i like his simple composition, with the actual "land" minimized into a very small strip.  very dramatic, wouldn't you say?

wish me luck.  as  i said in the last post, i am a bit overwhelmed with the whole idea.

front range sunset by mark nelson

Sunday, July 10, 2011

a week of printmaking

yours, truly

cool cat

i spent almost a week in taos, and much of that time making prints.  i would have made even more prints, but ran out of white ink.  i wasn't too worried about running out, as there is a fabulous art supply store in taos, and i was sure that finding what i needed was no problem.  sadly, the art store has closed in taos.  i guess the faltering economy has one more victim.  

tomorrow i will begin painting again.  i have decided to take some classes with a local (very talented) painter named mark nelson.  my friend kelly has been studying with him, and i think she is doing some great stuff.  we will paint for 3 mondays in a row, and then go to moab, utah as our culminating activity. in moab, we will paint for 3 days outdoors.  i need this.  i love to paint, and it was my first love artistically.  it taught me so much about drawing, value, color, texture, and having people looking over my shoulder.  i haven't really painted seriously for 2 years.  other stuff has peaked my interest, and painting has played the "ignored toy in the corner" role.  i do need to pick it back up and play again.  i just hope that i can still do it.  i hope it's like riding  a bike or ice skating--a skill you put into muscle memory, and just know how to do once you try again.

if you are so inclined, a little prayer of confidence would be appreciated.  i selfishly don't want to suck in front of a whole new group of people.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Signe and Genna Grushovenko

buff beachgoers

today i went to the cherry creek arts festival with friends tom, linda, teresa, and taylor.  we saw some wonderful art.  i bought a few pieces, one of which is pictured above, by signe and genna grushovenko.  i think it's amazing.  genna paints the backgrounds, and the signe paints on top, letting some of the background show through.  

true story.  a few weeks ago i was at the studio, and was playing around with the notion of using old photos along with the push/pull of an abstracted background.  you have seen some of this work on my blog in recent history.  anyway, i come home from the studio after working on these prints, and start looking at my various bookmarked blogs.  i stumble upon these incredible artists the very next morning, and voila!!!  i find someone experimenting with the same idea!  of course, our work is very different.  i am working in ink with the monoprint technique, and genna and signe are working in oil on masonite, but the push/pull idea is the same.


anyway, i saw them at the festival today, and was literally shaking because the work is so beautiful.  i am so very lucky to now own a piece of my own.  my neighbor jane came by this evening and asked me why their painting spoke to me.  i didn't even understand that they couldn't speak to everyone who saw them.  but i told jane that the drawing skills are amazing, that the immediacy and confidence in the brushstroke is remarkable, and the understanding of value is incredibly sophisticated.  

how serendipitous that this would all come together today.  life is always full of happy coincidence, isn't it?  yay!!!