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Thursday, September 20, 2012

study, part 1

working on the study this morning.  no color yet.  not sure if this will work so large.
have to wait and see once it's a bit farther along.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


big. ass. canvas.
that's what is sitting in my studio right now.  i generally don't work large.  36x36 inches is kind of overwhelming for me, but i'm gonna give it a try.

we recently did a master bath upgrade.  we lived with terra-cotta, dark green, and cast plastic countertops for 7 years.  we have finally updated the look.  we went for a light spa blue, white, gray, and black color scheme.  unfortunately the oranges, reds, and greens in the master bedroom clashed quite a bit.  the two color schemes right next to each other got me off kilter.  so i have been working to change the bedroom into something more complimentary.  i'm going with blues and greens, which will allow us to keep our painted green bed frame and the slightly lighter green walls.  

i know the golden rule of art is not to "match it to your couch" (or in this case to your bathroom), but i just could not live with the huge orange, red, magenta, and green painting over our bed.  hence, the canvas.  yup, i am definitely too cheap to buy a painting that large.  so i will make do (hopefully) with my own creation.

i have an obsession with houses.  a few years ago we did a vacation in southern colorado.  while i was there, i snapped some pictures of old houses in various states of decay.  i am thinking i will try out this sketch, loosely drawn from one of the photos. 

i have also decided to do a smaller painting first.  it's 10x10 inches.  i have gessoed the canvas black.  i'm going to try and old technique i use sometimes.  the black with actually come through as the outline in the final painting.

wish me luck!

Monday, September 10, 2012

big 5-0.

yep, yesterday was my 50th birthday.  i honestly don't know how this happened.

my friend leslie and i were talking about how when our parents turned fifty they were really, really old.  and we are just NOT that old.  funny how a teenage mind sees fifty as ancient.  now that we are here we truly feel exactly the same inside, it's just the outside that's a bit different.  

i received some very awesome gifts yesterday.  here are two of my favorites, for obvious reasons (if you know me at all).

vintage wood!  and it's sitting on top of a book on french history, filled with scribbles in graphite from 1908!  love, love, love old wood and old handwriting--especially in pencil.  thanks dad and anita!!

pastel.  new mexico.  plein air frame.  dinah worman.  perfect.
thank you, john.

that's all for today.  what else can i say?  besides, i need to go walk off this menopausal waist line!

Friday, September 7, 2012

more old wood, and wonder

foundry molds

german "tramp art" niche

folky masonic shelf

clock case 

assorted brushes 

some more of my wooden things.  there is just something about how wood ages.  it gets more and more beautiful.  the nicks, the gouges, the burnishing from use.  i can't help it, i have to bring it home.

these pieces can be mostly found in my studio.  it's kinda like "hoarders"in there, but more organized.  i keep telling my husband that if we ever sell the house, i need to put the whole lot in storage and make my studio into a bedroom when the house is shown.  that way people can actually see the room.  because right now, it's kinda hard to even imagine a bedroom in that space.  

speaking of selling the house, john and i went up to stapleton last weekend.  stapleton is a planned community in denver that used to be the airport.  they have done a pretty nice job of developing the area into a nice place to live.  there are lots of parks and green space, a little town center, and many different styles of housing.  what i like the most is that the garages are on alleys instead of on the main streets.  it gives the place a nice look.  we looked at several model homes, and honestly loved them.  it made us want to either move into a brand new home with all of the awesome finishes, or get our house back into shape.

the third option is the one i dream of.  buying some old factory, or church, or other commercial building, and re-doing the whole thing to make it a home.  hopefully there will be lots of old wooden things left.  those things will have the patina i love, worn from use and time.  the new finishes would be carefully chosen to enhance the old ones.  and there would be space for my studio, this time larger and funkier.  

new house?  same house?  house of my dreams?  oh, it's so nice to wonder.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

clyfford still museum

exterior showing striated texture

my favorite

on sunday, my husband and i went to the clyfford still museum ( in downtown denver.  in his later life, still chose not to exhibit his work, so it turns out that 94 percent of what he created is housed in this museum.  they have to rotate the work, as there is not display space for all of it at once.

still painted giant canvases, with abstract forms and highly expressive brush stroke.  the museum literature says that still was the first of his contemporaries (including jackson pollock, mark rothko, helen frankenthaler, willem de kooning, and philip guston to name a few) who changed from representational work to abstraction.  for still, this happened between 1938 and 1942.  

the exhibits are set up in a sort of time line, with earlier work first.  i can't say that i really enjoyed his early paintings.  early pieces were landscapes and figures, and felt very WPA in style to me.  i appreciated the pieces, but they did make me feel a bit sad.  still was painting the things in his environment, which included farmers and laborers during the depression.  

what i can say, is that i was blown away as i moved toward the larger abstract paintings in the exhibit space.  i loved the jagged shapes, seemingly moving vertically in the space.  i also really liked the fact that many of the paintings showed bare canvas in spots.  always one for surface, it gave the paintings one more layer of interest. the matte finish of the paint also spoke to me.  

i didn't know much about still before his museum was slated to come to denver.  while the museum was under construction, the denver art museum did a sort of "teaser" in their space, showing a few paintings and some information about still.  i never remember studying still along with the other abstract expressionists in college.  but i am glad i have learned about his work, and feel incredibly lucky that i can now see the collection so conveniently.

one more note is that the building itself is worth seeing by itself.  the interior and exterior are concrete.  i think i read it was poured and textured in place.  wooden slats were used as the framework, and spaces were left to let the concrete ooze out, creating three dimensional striations inside and outside of the building.  a very interesting surface to discover.  i also thought the ceilings were amazing--also of concrete, but this time almost "cellular" looking.  there is a honeycomb of oval holes above you, letting in the denver sunshine at a distinct angle.  

the ceiling!

i will definitely be back!!