Sunday, December 21, 2008

Creating Your Christmas Card

There is some little rascal in me that manages to come up with some outrageous last minute project. Instead of just painting and printing my Christmas card this year I tried to create a video of painting it.. I failed! My inexpensive camera and poor lighting made the task impossible! Determined not to give up I decided to create and record it in Adobe Photoshop ™. I have made slide shows before, but I never recorded my actions in Photoshop. I spent three days consumed in a maze of pixels and layers, brushes and palettes, edit and undo. The next challenge was exporting it to Windows Movie Maker ™ to make the video. I found a wonderful old Bing Crosby sound track and did my best to match the video length with the old tinny audio. I hope that you enjoy it, knowing it was created for all of you with love and wishes for a blessed Christmas and a happier and wiser New Year!.......BTW, after watching my video (yes, I left out a word in the credits), you may want to view the old Bing Crosby movie clip, if it’s still there, on YouTube :-)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oprah’s Free Album Offer

Recently Oprah offered a free photo album at Snapfish. The deadline was two days later. I spent most of the two days trying to navigate Snapfish’s confusing site. When it was obvious that I was not going to finish in time I quit the project. The next day I went to delete my unfinished album from the site and I noticed the deadline had had been extended. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that was having trouble! I spent the next few days scanning, resizing and uploading images right up to the new deadline. When I put in my order the Oprah credit wasn’t there! I tried to contact customer service only to be told they couldn’t reply right away and the offer had ended, but they would send me 20 prints free! To say I was upset was an understatement! I posted my complaint on Oprah’s blog along with several others who had the same experience. Not to let all my week’s work go to waste I Googled the web and discovered Google has a free album and photo offer at their digital photo site Picaboo. It also has a deadline, but my images are ready to go and the Picaboo site is very easy to use. Forget Snapfish, I’m a Googler!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Too Much, Too Soon?

I have not posted lately because I have been, as many others, consumed with the election, the economy and for me, painting for juried shows. The recent show required the entries to be 8” x 10”. Usually I love to work in a small format. I enjoy the control I have over the space, the composition errors are easier to see, but for some reason I struggled with this challenge. Having won first place last month at this gallery for one of my abstracts, my natural inclination was to follow up on it. However, the point of the 8 x 10 show was to make the creations more affordable for Holiday purchases but my abstract paintings are rarely bought for that reason. Instead, I entered the stone still life I blogged about earlier, a quick watercolor impression of a flower I painted last year on Yupo material (a plastic painting surface) and an impulsive experiment on a handmade paper designed for bookmakers. With sales in mind, the painting was an impressionistic landscape, (which I failed to photograph). Unbelievably I won first place for it! I was unable to attend to awards ceremony and oddly enough, honored as I was to receive the award, I felt a sense of embarrassment. Two winners in a row seemed unfair to the other club members who entered. Honestly, I would have been disappointed if my work had not received some sort of recognition, so my embarrassment came as big surprise! I have decided not to enter the next two shows. With the holidays and winter coming it really is not that hard to do.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Snail's Pace

My painting has really slowed down to a snail’s pace. I am discovering why I became so excited about contemporary, mix media and abstract painting and stuck with it for so many years. The fast pace, the unpredictable and inventiveness of the process is much more exciting than working in the slow, but seductive, oils. Looking for subject matter, arranging the set up and the lighting are so time consuming that I often lose interest by the time I start to paint. Then I find myself taking breaks from the studio because of the fumes of the thinners and mediums and often, distracted by something else, I do not get back to the easel. Excuses, excuses, excuses!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back To Square One, Rocks

One of the advantages of retiring from the art show circuit is the freedom from painting in a style expected of me, which has been mostly acrylic abstracts and mix media art. Recently, after watching all the painters on YouTube, my interest in oil painting returned, especially still life painting. Since it had been so long since I worked with oils, I decided to start with something simple, like rocks. I was surprised how much I had forgotten about painting with oils and that rocks are not as simple to paint as they look! I made it doubly hard by painting on the absorbent raw side of the canvas. I chose this side because the color and surface texture intrigued me. My next challenge was to make my rocks, (that were beginning to look like a potato on a hunk of cheese), look like the rocks in front of me. After painting and picking for most of the day I decided to stop, add a touch of the unexpected, the tag, and sign it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Old Movie, New Inspiration

Unhappy with all the political hogwash, TV reruns and garbage, I decided to watch an old 2000 movie, “Finding Forrester”, on my computer at . What a great decision it was! If you have not seen it, I highly recommend that you do. The movie, written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant, was a visual treat. Sean Connery and Rob Brown’s acting was exceptional and the story inspiring. It made me, as a senior citizen and artist, think about the remaining years of my creative life. There is a preview on YouTube. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Art Critic

I recently attended a National Art Show. I was looking forward to seeing this show as the judge was a museum curator who oversees the museum’s contemporary art program. You can imagine how disappointed I was to see only a few pieces that were interesting and exciting. The majority of the work was very conservative and traditional in technique. I questioned why the judge played it so safe. Did this show really represent her taste and professional judgment? Was she trying to please the more conservative members of the association that was sponsoring the show and advised about the kind of work she should pick? Is it possible, though questionable, out of over 600 entries she really did not have much choice? There were, to her credit, one or two controversial pieces, but overall it was a ho hum show and I left uninspired, confused and disappointed. It made me aware that we should never allow any judges’ opinion of our work affect us. You never know where it’s coming from. The circumstances dictate more than we know.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Recently I subscribed to Susanne Clark's blog, No Naked Walls. Susanne is a wonderful painter and printmaker residing in the Atlanta area. I met her last year at a local art association meeting and was impressed not only with the pictures of her art that she showed us, but also with her as a person. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be the July subscriber winner of one of her Kimono collagraph prints!
I lived in Japan for over two years as a dependant of an Air Force officer many years ago. My father was stationed in Tokyo and the experience of living there totally influenced my life and art. Susanne’s print brought back many wonderful memories. It will hang harmoniously in my home and remind me of the wonderful life I have lived and that I am a winner!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In The Limelight

The Atlanta Artist’s Center show at Binder’s Limelight Gallery will be running until August 28, 2008. I feel fortunate to have two of my paintings in the show, the painting above, Chinese Laundry, and a small mix media collage. Stop by if you have a chance.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A New Day

It’s been an interesting experience painting with the Chroma Atelier ® Interactive Artist’s Acrylic™ paints. I’ve recently learned they were made in Australia and have been around for a few years. I didn’t know they existed until I went to the demonstration and I have been eager to paint with them since then. Finally I had the time to test them by painting an abstract and record my experience. The painting was fun, but making the video was something else. First it was too long, plus my arm and hands were in the way of the camera. A true amateur! Only a fool would continue, but I’m stubborn when it comes to having a previous investment in something. The only solution was to cut the video by capturing clips, (there must be an easier way than the way I did it). I ended up with a slide show! It would have been smarter to start another painting and photograph each individual step. I’m still having problems creating a video file that can be seen clearly.The printed information on the slides is hard to read in such a small format. If you double click on the video you can go directly YouTube and this video, then click in the lower right corner to view it full screen. Unfortunately it's still a little blurry. Hopefully, in time, I'll learn how to improve on my video skills!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Motivation or Inspiration

I wrote in the previous post about my search for the motivation to move my body into the studio and paint. It took the Atlanta Artist’s Center show at Binder’s Limelight Gallery submissions deadline to push me to do so. I vowed to stay there until I had three painting framed and ready to deliver to the show committee. I’m happy to say two of my pieces were selected. Deadlines and success are certainly motivators, but inspiration may be a more desirable one. It comes without bribery. It’s the rush of something new and springs from the creative center of one’s soul and imagination. Case in point: recently I went to a product demonstration of a new acrylic paint, Chroma Interactive Artist’s Acrylic. These acrylic paints are said to have the best qualities of both acrylics and oil paint. Meaning they have a long open time so they can be blended and corrected like oils, but they can also , with medium added, dry very quickly for over painting! This is an acrylic painter’s dream. Excitedly I brought home the reminder of my samples and stored them in small air tight palette with a sponge. After almost two weeks the paints have remained moist and creamy. This is inspiring! With the AAC show behind me, I’m eager to go to my studio and start creating with these new paints. I will update my results in a future post.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I allowed a recent disappointment to drain my motivation. Common sense tells me that I am foolish to let uncontrollable things control my moods, but try as I may, they do. Other artists have told me they have the same experience. I Goggled "motivation" and there were a lot of opinions on why and how to overcome the lack of it; (which takes motivation!) One thing for sure it is a rare thing to stay motivated all of the time. My guess is those who are constantly on "go" really suffer from OCD or they have some biological or artificial chemical advantage! "Oh no', I can hear someone say, "I just love what I do so much I can do it 24/7”. Isn’t that called an addiction? If so where do I sign up? I just hate having to push myself into my studio, reluctantly go through the motions of painting only to waste a lot of good paint and surfaces. I might as well give myself permission to close the door and chill out! Now that’s a motivating idea!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mind Maps

I’m sure most of you are familiar with mind maps as a way to plan and visualize one’s goals and projects. If not there is an informative video on You Tube ‘Maximise the Power of Your Brain - Tony Buzan Mind Mapping”. In the past I have created them on paper or whiteboards, etc. Recently I discovered there are numerous computer software programs for them . A free program is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS X. The name is FreeMind. It is a nifty little program and the one I started with. I got so hooked on doing mind maps on the computer that I upgraded to ‘Inspiration’ .This program appeals to my creativity and it has more tools. Unfortunately it’s not free, but the cost is not out of sight. Now if I will act on all the things I have posted on the map I will be happy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

40 Years of Creativity

It’s been many years since I lived in Newnan, Georgia and belonged to the Newnan Coweta Art Association. Thursday, June 19th, they will be celebrating their 40th anniversary and paying tribute to their past presidents. I served as president in 1980. It was my first time serving in any official position. Needless to say it was a challenge, but with the help of everyone, especially our dear late friend Harriet Alexander, I manage to pull through it. I have fond memories of those years and I enjoyed being a member of this wonderful organization. They were like family. Today I am reminded how much I miss those times together. Happy 40th dear Newnan Coweta Art Association!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time Slips Away

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I last made an entry. I’ve spent most of my time in my studio and doing physical therapy for my left knee replacement. Fortunately I’ve had some success with my art and my knee is slowly coming along. I continue to be fascinated with Yupo, the plastic sign material now available for artists. I wrote about it in an earlier post “Feeding The Soul”. The slippery surface is still a challenge. The first image, “Shifting Gears”, was accepted in the Georgia Watercolor Society show. Years ago I was a “signature member” with this group, but lost my status when I didn’t renew my membership. Now I’m back to square one. The second one, “Casting Up Stream” won an Honorable Mention in the recent Atlanta Artists Center show. All of these “pats-on-the back” are keeping me inspired and painting. Now if I would only keep my blog and web site up to date!
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