Monday, June 30, 2014


Something I have been accused of having. 

More than once.

Not that I care.

I think I am persistent. 

A much nicer word I think. 

But if I wasn't stubborn I might not be persistent either.

I see myself as a successful artist.  Persistent vision and working in the direction of the vision (persistently) I have of myself is so important.  You too!  You go where you look!

an O'Keeffe painting she did in college

a Pollock - a foreshadowing of his drip style

I love being a sculptor and am committed to creating the very highest quality work I possibly can.  I know that over time my work will get even better but I don't believe that today I will create the very best work I will create tomorrow.  

I don't even begin to know everything there is to know.  But - I am persistent and I keep working. 

The fact that I have begun my journey into the world of Professional Artist in a very good way and already have so many collectors of my work is something I am endlessly grateful for.  But it didn't happen by magic.

Rothko Untitled from 1940
an early Van Gogh - Potato Eaters
A sculpture sold just today!  It sold to someone who walked into Turpin Fine Art Gallery in Jackson Wyoming.  I may never know who you are, but thank you!

I don't know about all professional artists.  Do we all work hard and pretty much all the time?  I don't know.  I just know that I don't just sit around and sculpt all day. 

I talk to suppliers and research and answer the phone and correspond and network and now I blog.  I learn new skills all the time. 

Sure I'm doing all this from a home studio.  Does that mean luxury?

an early Kandinsky-Odessa.Port
As I am writing this, I have laundry in the washer and some in the dryer.  Oh yes.  I get to take brakes.  On my next brake I'm going to vacuum the house.  I am not complaining. 

Hell no.  And you know why?  Because I am an entrepreneur.  I get to create art and that is my business. 

I won't be successful if I don't work hard.  I figure it will take years and years of hard work to be at the level of success I envision. 

But, if I'm meant to be here for years and years anyway, why not spend it working for the vision I have for myself using the gifts I've been given if I can figure out how?
Lichtenstein-Ten Dollar Bill 1956

My spouse is supportive and that is huge!  Not every artist has someone in their life who has their back.  But if I don't do my part, his support will just be an indulgence.  

How many (successful) entrepreneurs ignore their investors?  That we are married does not make what he is doing less than that.  He believes in me and genuinely wants me to be this...sacrifices more than money for me to be this. 

Thanks for reading. 
I could go on but you no doubt have as many balls in the air as I do.
'Till tomorrow!



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Artist Inspiration Sunday

Bernie Fuchs - fabulous light in his paintings!

Hello.  Happy Sunday! 

To help you get started every week!  Some inspiration to get you going creating right away on Monday.  I need it and SO DO YOU!  (Well, maybe)  

Every Sunday I will be sharing a page from a little book I have called Artist to Artist Inspiration and Advice from Artists Past and Present compiled by Clint Brown.

Quotes on Being an Artist

To be an artist is to believe in life.
-Henry Moore

The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of boing; a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence.
-Robert Henri

If a man devotes himself to art, much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.
-Albrecht Durer

It's a quality of the young to simplify matters.  Later a sense of nuance becomes increasingly exaggerated.  As one gets older one sees many more paths that could be taken.  Artists sense within their won work that kind of swelling of possibilities, which may seem a freedom or a confusion.
-Jasper Johns

The artists is the man who makes life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful.  His trade is to deal with illimitable experience.  It is therefore only of importance for the artist to discover whether he be an artists, and it is for society to discover what return it can make of its artist.
-George Bellows

An odd contradiction, if the layman were correct in his unconscious assumption that the artist begins with reality and ends with art:  the converse is true- to the degree that this dichotomy has any truth - the artist begins with art and through it arrives at reality.
-Robert Motherwell

Every good artist paints what he is.
-Jackson Pollock

I don't demand that all work be a masterpiece.  I think what I am doing is the right thing for me - that is what I am and this is living.  It reflects me and I reflect it.
-Louise Nevelson

"I started working in oils because I was inspired by the rich glow of sunlight passing through an amber mug of ale in London. I wanted to be able to capture that feeling in a painting..."
-Bernie Fuchs (quoted in the catalogue of his recent 50 year retrospective at the Telluride Gallery)

I'm off to continue do my best to create a beautiful day.
...and I hope you create - in your own beautiful way -
 your own beautiful day.  :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our different approaches to Art and Art Making

So I have been thinking about types of artistic talent.  What differentiates the talent of Van Gogh, for instance from the type of artistic talent Norman Rockwell possessed, for instance?  It is terrific that there is different types of artistic talent because there are all different tastes when it comes to the what people like to look at.

"Child with Orange", oil on canvas, 51.0 x 50.0 cm, June, 1890.
Private collection (before March 2008 in the collection of L. Jäggli-Hahnloser, Switzerland).  
March 2008 offered for 20 million Euro at the Tefaf in Maastricht
This child is Raoul, the son of his neighbour in Auvers, carpenter Vincent Lever 

If an artist has a "job" to do, a purpose in the world, what would it be?  One thing I believe it is, and this is only one thing of course, is to give us a way of seeing deeper or more profoundly at what is around us.  When a painting is painted or a sculpture created or music composed magic is added to the sounds and sights of the everyday world; color and vibrancy or darkness and tragedy is brought to what we see; a singular moment in time is frozen in an artwork that has some certain quality about it enhanced.
Max J. Friedlander, wrote in his book "On Art and Connoisseurship" that (and I am borrowing this paraphrasing of Friedlander's book from Dr. Jose Rodiero's webpage)
The distinction between an artist that has “grit,” “shit,” or ugliness and one that has mere “beauty” is similar to the artistic differentiation between what constitutes an artist of genius and what constitutes an artist of talent; an aesthetic duality first argued and developed by German art historian Max J. Friedländer in the 1930s, through which he explicitly identified certain artists as “fighters” while others he deemed “victors,” regarding their disparate approach to art and art-making.   For Friedlander, “fighters” are artist with overwhelming genius but little talent (i.e., Bosch, El Greco, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Goya, Van Gogh, Bocklin or Ryder), while “victors” have much more talent than genius (i.e., Memling, Carracci, Reni, Mengs, Bouguereau, Gérôme, Wyeth or Norman Rockwell).  Everything in art comes easily to the “victors,” while “fighters” fight to create, struggling with everything and everyone, including themselves, existence, nature, the universe or the duende.  Occasionally, a few great artists have equal portions of genius and talent, such as Michelangelo or Raphael.  Yet, even among those two giants; it is clear that the Florentine is the fighter, while the Umbrian is the victor.
-Dr. J. Rodiero
Interesting things to think over about the art we create, isn't it?
Hope you are having an enjoyable Saturday.
Talk with you tomorrow :)
His First Scouting Calendar 1925

Friday, June 27, 2014

Design a great Weekend!

Art and life they intertwine.  Design your weekend to be the very best!  And why the neck not?

Design: to prepare the preliminary step or the plans for - the form and structure of - to plan and fashion artistically or skillfully for a definite purpose - the organization or structure of an object or a work of art - a combination of details - a reasoned purpose - an intent - deliberate intention.

I think that may be from Wikipedia.

The point is.  Deliberate intention choice and selection exist in design...deliberate thought and human interaction.

Great art is not accidental.  Neither is a great weekend :)

Maybe this weekend you will search for some great art.  Go to a show, to a museum. 
I would love to hear what was the most amazing work you saw.

The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Check out this guide to the world's best museums and have some fun!

'til tomorrow!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Just so you all know.  I am gearing up a campaign for getting comments on my blog and will be sending out a newsletter to everyone on my mailing list to comment on my blog entries so far and send out word about this blog to everyone they know.

I hope all my friends on facebook will do this too (hint-hint).

Whoever comments the most in the next 3 months will receive an original oil painting - painted in my own unique style...that I would even have a painting style at this point is questionable...but I digress. 

Of all the paintings I paint in the next 3 months (and my goal is to paint one a week) who ever has made the most comments on my blog during this period of time will get to choose one of those paintings. 

Here's an example.  I painted it today.  It is of a few of our chickens, Sally, Matilda, and Mickie.  The chickens stand on our back porch several times a day and petition for bread.  I convinced them to put down their little "Give Us Bread NOW" signs so I could photograph them and bribed them with bread to pose off and on during the day.

These paintings won't be masterpieces since, hey - I'm a professional sculptor...and I paint for fun.  And these won't be large (no bigger than an ipad) but they will be original and you, most frequent blog commenter, will get to choose!  How fun is that?

I will post photos of what I paint as I go forward with future posts. 
And, yes, whatever you pick will be framed.

I am doing this to thank whoever comments the most often because comments are so important to the successful readership of a blog. 

This also keeps my sculpting brain working well...cause, you see.  When painting I am taking the 3d world (aided with photos sometimes) and recreating it in 2d (a creation that hopefully looks 3d in 2d) and when I sculpt, I sculpt primarily from photos...which is the reverse - so I take a 2d representation of a 3d object that I am recreating a 3d object from that.  This maybe makes no sense unless you are an artist (and it maybe makes no sense if you are an artist)...but somehow it keeps me more creative...maybe it balances my brain :).

MMmmmm.  Balanced brain....

Of course I'm doing this too to generate more and more interest in my sculpture and in me as an artist over time.  There is that

Artists can sit in their studio and create...but that doesn't do anything to share their work with the rest of the world.  I want to share what I do with all of you.  I want this blog to be one way of doing that.

Sorry about the evening writing of this today...I'll have more in the morning and a newsletter out tomorrow for my newsletter readership.  If anyone reading this would like a newsletter, please go to my website and sign up or drop me a note in FB or in email and I'll put you on my mailing list. 

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LOVE the painting HATE the frame

My husband and I just purchased an artwork this last weekend that we liked - and we love that we know the artist.  However - we (as in I) aren't wild about the frame around it.  Mark's response to me saying that we would need to get a different frame was "But that would make it different from what the artist wanted it to be."

Hmmm.  I don't know how much I agree with that.  If someone took one of my sculptures and put it on a different base I would have zero problem with that. 

When it comes to basing my work - it is thought out, sure.  But my intent is to try to make it as undistracting (new word) from the sculpture as possible. 

But once someone owns one of my sculptures if they have another thought that, to them, might improve the piece in the context of it's new setting, it certainly doesn't affect the value of the sculpture itself to change that aspect of the base (in the case of my sculpture anyway) is not part of the composition of the piece.

But what if a frame on a painting is distracting and not complimentary to the piece?  (IMHO of course).  Check out this frame around this painting of a monkey?  (No, this is not what we bought last weekend and this is not a piece of art we own).

there are no words.....

Artists?  If someone buys one of your framed paintings and wants a different frame or re-frames it themselves, how to you feel about that?

I have been reading a digital copy of Birge Harrison's book "Landscape Painting" (a wonderful little book by the way) and in it he has a section "On Framing Pictures" and I thought I would share an excerpt from that chapter today.

"...And I re-discovered that fact, which the old masters had discovered so many centuries ago, that there was no material in the whole range of nature so admirably fitted for the surface of a frame as gold or metal leaf.  Next to the mirror, it presents the most elusive of all surfaces.  Semi-reflecting, semi-solid, it is just the thing that fills all the a study of the best forms and the best tones of metal leaf to be soon became apparent that the law of complementaries reigned supreme.  A picture whose dominant note was pink demanded a greenish gold frame, a blue picture called for a tone of pure yellow or orange gold, while a picture whose dominant tone was golden yellow could only be well clothed in silver.  Fortunately, the dominant note of most landscapes is found in the blue or blue-gray sky, and thus the pure gold frame is its ideal casing."

He goes on to say that generally complex and complicated pictures benefit from a more simply styled frame while a simple picture "...built up with a few broad and powerful masses, will frequently appear best in a rich and ornamental frame."

But rich and ornamental he cautions, should not be too over the top...

 (I'm paraphrasing of course since the book was published in 1910 and "over the top" probably was not a figure of speech back then).  He maybe had something like the frame above in mind...which is for a mirror..  Seems like the most ornate frames I have ever seen were for mirrors, come to think of it.

Oh gosh.  Here's a deep thought.  Is the reflection of reality so uninteresting that framing it as fancy as possible is necessary?

I would love to hear from other artists how you frame your work.  Do you make your own frames or do you have a supplier?  If you make your own, how did you learn? and do you have any instruction out on the web that we can check out?  And if you have a supplier, who is it?

Hello art collectors!  What are your frame preferences?

That's all I have for today. 
Thanks for reading.

I'm off to continue do my best to create a beautiful day.
...and I hope you create - in your own beautiful way -
 your own beautiful day.  :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ooops! After I finish cursing - Accidental Design Elements in our Art

Every day that I sculpt I have accidents that happen.  Occasionally a sculpture will leap off my worktable and break into several pieces and - since I'm working with clay that is made out of paper and dries in the air - things happen to the sculpture all during the creating process.   For instance, once the sculpture is started and I add clay to a certain area, that new wet clay is placed onto the existing dry clay and while it is drying, moving portions of the sculpture around.

When I first started working with this material, I tried to correct these "accidental" rearrangements of my sculpture but now I will consider these accidents to see if they actually help the design or make it unique in some way.  I have decided that the accidents are sometimes a form of unique guidance and serendipity and welcome many of those accidents as part of my creative process.

Many artists today and throughout history knew accidents were often a good component in helping them create their works.  Of course some accidents will just feel like a catastrophe! 
me with the finished sculpture,
Okaga, the South Wind.  Later that same
day while working on smoothing out
the last few areas, this sculpture fell
off the back of this table and all its
legs broke; some in two places!

What do you think?  Do you believe that art doesn't "just happen" because of perfect planning and perfect control that it also happens by seemingly random accidents sprinkled in?

Check out the quotes below (thanks to from artists regarding accidents in their work.  Which is your favorite?

It's time for me to get to work.  I hope your (and my) art accidents are all good ones today.


All painting is an accident. But it's also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve. (Francis Bacon)

It's the nasty and the accident that form the foundation for elegance that comes later. (Nick Bantock)

In art, there is one thing which does not receive sufficient attention. The element which is left to the human will is not nearly so large as people think. (Charles Baudelaire)

U2 is sort of song writing by accident really. We don't really know what we're doing and when we do, it doesn't seem to help. (Bono)

Oops! I wonder how that blob of paint turned up in the sky? – that must be how many a bird 'happened' in a landscape and how extra leaves were added to overhanging branches. (Jeane Duffey)

Accident is veiled necessity. (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach)

Accident is design / And design is accident / In a cloud of unknowing. (T. S. Eliot)

There are many accidents that are nothing but accidents - and forget it. But there are some that were brought about only because you are the person you are... you have the wherewithal, intelligence, and energy to recognize it and do something with it. (Helen Frankenthaler)

We try not to have ideas, preferring accidents. To create, you must empty yourself of every thought. (Gilbert George)

It may have been accidental but you knew enough to let this alone. The intelligent painter is always making use of accidents. (Charles Hawthorne)

The most persistent principles in the universe are accident and error. (Frank Herbert)

I have meant what I have done. Or – I have often meant what I have done. Or – I have sometimes meant what I have done. Or – I have tried to mean what I was doing. (Jasper Johns)

A creative train of thought is set off by: the unexpected, the unknown, the accidental, the disorderly, the absurd, the impossible. (Asger Jorn)

We never learned how to solve problems, create effects, get concrete results. So we hope for, and rely on fortuitous accidents. What we do by accident we call 'creative.' (Brian Knowles)

You need accidents, otherwise it is fake. (Sotirios Kotoulas)

Experiment by applying a few strokes suggesting the subject and see what happens... develop the piece from interesting accidents. (Jean-Francis Le Saint)

It was accidental before but now it's become my method. (Hui Lin Liu)

At first laying down, as a fact fundamental, / That nothing with God can be accidental. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I throw down the gauntlet to chance. For example, I prepare the ground for a picture by cleaning my brush over the canvas. Spilling a little turpentine can also be helpful. (Joan Miro)

Surprises are the joy of living. Surprises directly touch the soul. Good surprises energize and bad surprises teach. (Alev Oguz)

Accidents, try to change them - it's impossible. The accidental reveals man. (Pablo Picasso)

When a person is prepared to receive something, a series of accidents takes place. (Irving Sandler)

Every brushstroke has a certain tension, a certain nervousness. Every brushstroke is, in a sense, some kind of accident. (Raphael Soyer)

As soon as you accept the accidental effects, they are no longer accidents. They are necessity – the part of yourself that you could not expect or design beforehand. Thus the realm of your creativity grows wider. (Kazuaki Tanahashi)

The unforseen event, the 'accident,' the unexpected all play a very large part in my creative play. I prefer to let the materials suggest the direction of a work. (Burnell Yow!)

Monday, June 23, 2014

You DON'T want to do a DAILY blog!
It’s Monday, June 23 and I have dedicated myself to writing a blog entry every day.

I do not consider my life to be what anyone would describe as exciting so this could be the most incredibly boring blog ever if I just talked about my life.  What I think is important is to connect with other artists. 
Maybe other artists are also feeling that their life is also not incredibly interesting but they are nevertheless also developing their art career and are also learning more about how professional artists structure their days from day to day.

I don’t want this blog to be just a one way dialogue and want to hear from other artists (and any creative business person/entrepreneur) too so we all can learn from one another. 

What works in your life?  You are always learning how to manage life and create the best art you can...just like me.  It isn't easy.
So that is what I will talk about - each day what I do to create art and make what I do better and the other adventures into art that I embark on and the other things that just happen that enhance or interfere with that.

I have been refreshing my art education since the beginning of the year.  I spend a portion of the beginning and/or end of the day learning something about art and artists through history.  This must come up (art history) just with the every day sketching I have been doing...I have been involved in the study of values and perspective, for instance – and how can the study of value and perspective not lead me to learning more about da Vinci?   

I have been trying to shore up the holes in my art education in other ways - for example, I have been learning more about oil painting.  You can't paint well if you can't draw well...I think. 

I want to paint some scenes from around our property to frame and hang in the living room which is currently being remodeled a bit to make it more of a gallery space for my sculpture.  So I have been on Stapleton Kearns blog and he is fantastically educational not just about painting but about art history.

These things and more (to be shared in future posts) have been important inroads to keeping me motivated to sculpt more and to always think of myself and my work as truly a professional endeavor. 

I hope to hear from anyone out there, all of you artist/entrepreneurs.  What do you do every day?  Do you try to continually educate yourself about art and what is it you do to keep your work it’s best and to keep your muse alive?
last Saturday's sketchbook entry - still life - a study of values and perspective.