Friday, June 22, 2012

Recovery... and Visiting an Old Friend

 Waterford Beach

For the past 11 days, I have been knocked absolutely flat by Lyme disease. It's been a nightmare, probably because I didn't catch it early enough. Thought I just had an odd red patch, probably from the seatbelt rubbing against my skin.

But several days of 103-degree-plus temperatures, bone-deep chills and pain throughout my body (frighteningly, sharpest in my hands and wrists) sent me to the doctor, who took one look and said "Lyme," and related tick-borne stuff.

So for the past week and a half, I've been doing nothing but sleeping, watching TV - and looking at this painting, which is on the wall of the living room.

I really hadn't realized what a cool painting it is! And that, I've noticed, is one of the hallmarks of my best paintings: They get better with time.

Familiarity should breed boredom, really, shouldn't it? I mean, you stare at the same painting day after day, and finally, don't you know all the strokes, all the colors, all the movement?

My best paintings seem to change over time, somehow. Deepen. Sharpen. Grow more interesting. And this, I've realized, is one of them. I don't know why it hasn't sold, and I've thought that maybe I should keep it, but I'm offering it up again, just to see.

It is an earlier painting, and while it is thick with paint and surface like my newer work, it is on a thinner canvas, and is framed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Excellent Second Day in Annapolis

 The second day of the Annapolis show was brutally hot - and wonderfully successful.

A delightful couple who had visited my booth on Saturday called on Sunday and bought one of my very big paintings - Reservoir Dawn (or The Rising, as I initially called it), a painting I adore.

This painting has been a comfort and an inspiration to me since I painted it in 2011. I have brought it to shows in hopes that someone would buy it, yes, but also because I just love it, and just love looking at it.

I watched as the couple looked at it, and I saw the woman fall in love with it - and so I can happily sell it, knowing it will be loved.

People came into my booth all day, and we had wonderful conversations about art and life. It's amazing how much people are willing to share, in an intimate space, surrounded by paintings.

During the course of the day, I noticed how great one of the arrangements I'd made looked. The new painting - Maryland Farm, above, the square piece, surrounded by the little ones - wouldn't that look great on someone's wall?

 Here is me, with Alex and Catherine, the children of Sarah Waters, my sister's best friend

 Here's Sarah with her kids!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Fine First Day in Annapolis

 My booth, Annapolis

The first of two days of the Annapolis Arts and Crafts Festival was fun, pretty good in terms of sales, and very, very hot.

There are hundreds of artists and crafters in the show, and from what I could see, a huge range of quality and price. There's someone selling bows and arrows with foam tips, and someone else selling metal yard ornaments - and whoever those people are, they must have been busy as bees on Saturday. It seemed that nearly everyone who walked by had one or the other.

People visited my booth all day, and many were genuinely excited about my paintings. My work ranged in price from the $100 Passages pieces (the 100Cubed series) to $1,500 for my biggest pieces. That is a lot of money, I know, but it's an excellent price for a really big piece of art.

"Dawn Over the Ocean," one of the 10-inch by 10-inch pieces sold while I was on my way here. Another 10x10 ("Rain Coming, Mansfield Depot") sold Saturday, as did "Red Barn," a painting I love so much I considered keeping for my eventual retrospective. Its new owner loves it, though, and that makes me happy!

So I am loading up with liquids before I head out today - and looking forward to introducing more people to my art! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Maryland Farm

 Maryland Farm
Oil on canvas, 20x20
Please contact me at for price and delivery options

When I applied for the show here in Annapolis, I thought we'd be living here already! Instead, I drove down from Connecticut yesterday, and found myself marveling - again - at how beautiful it is on the Eastern Shore. 

It's full summer here. Wheat - that's what's in the field above, the farmer told me - is growing and thick, and in some places, harvested already! The sky has that high summer blue, with puffy summer clouds, and life feels carefree. 

I set up my tent today, before I went out and painted. The man beside me, who makes stained glass, told me that he used to be an architect. He doesn't make anywhere near as much money now, but his art fills his life with joy, and that more than makes up for it. 

Think of me on Saturday and Sunday, and send good selling and buying vibes my way. And of course, if you're in Annapolis, please come to the U.S. Naval Academy Stadium and say hello!

Here's my painting in the scene.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sunrise Over the Ocean

Sunrise Over the Ocean

I spent much of yesterday feeling afraid. Uneasy, as one friend put it. Cowering in the face of the change I have brought about in my life. I even wondered, for more than a minute, if Patch would take me back.

Why was I so spooked? Who knows. The sun has not been out for weeks, I have a big show in a new place this weekend, and maybe more than anything, our house has not sold, and for some reason, that just sent me into distress.

But today is another day, and today, I am fighting my fears by taking action.

I have finally moved all my stuff from my Patch computer to my own computer.

As soon as the ground dries just a little more, I am going to set up my tent in the driveway, and practice putting the outer shell on. (I've only set the tent up twice, and never with the roof and sidewalls).

I am working on mapping out a plan that will include marketing, applying to shows, visiting galleries, updating my website and tending to the business side of my business. To do this, I'm using tools that I fought and then adopted on Patch - organizational tools that are not my thing, but damn it, I learned to use them and am putting that learning to work for ME!

And last but far from least, I am going to start a big, huge, bold, bright painting that will be waiting for me when I get back from Maryland!

In the meantime, isn't this a sweet painting? It's from a photograph that my friend Eric sent me from Florida. I am determined to get a handle on pink - and I believe I am getting there.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rain Coming, Mansfield Depot

 Rain Coming, Mansfield Depot
Plein air painting, oil on canvas

I was bumping around the Connecticut countryside on Saturday, (visiting the homes of buyers to sign paintings that I'd neglected to sign when I finished them!) when I heard a snatch of a conversation on the radio.

It was a talk by writer Elizabeth Gilbert, about the creative process (you can hear the whole thing by clicking here and then going to her TED talk, at the bottom of the page). She was talking about  Tom Waits, who was driving when whatever you want to name the force that sends creative impulses to us began showing up with a song.

Waits looked for pen and paper or something, anything to help him get the ideas down. Finding nothing, he looked up to the sky and said, basically, "Can you not see that I am driving here? Would you please wait for a little while so that I can capture this thing you're sending me?"

My art has come through a combination of chance, and inspiration and blessing - and my willingness to be open to it. I often feel that I am a faucet of sorts - that the painting is flowing through me, and it is my job to develop the skills to turn that flow into something. And when this is happening, the world simply goes away. I paint, and an hour or two later, I open my eyes - my outer eyes - and there is the world I'm living in, and there is my painting.

Those are the best times, and they are the best paintings. The gift came to me, and I had a paintbrush in my hand and a canvas in front of me.

Mansfield Depot

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Two-Barn Day

A Two-Barn Day

Plein Air Painting, 12x36

Yesterday was my first real day of freedom since leaving Patch - and I went out and painted and did not take a computer with me, for the first time in 18 months. I felt a little naked - and wondered, for a while, what was going on in the world. But I only wondered for a while.

Today, I had the chance to speak with Connie Mettler, who runs Art Fair Insiders, which offers artists information and feedback on shows around the country, and also hosts discussion groups, blogs, and all sorts of interactive art stuff. It's a fabulous site for anyone interested in doing shows.

Connie also does work consulting for artists, and as a bonus for donating to Art Fair Insiders, I won an hour of her consulting time.

It was a fascinating and instructive hour, though it was not without its scary moments. Connie said that when she looked at the photo of my booth from Northampton (see below), she thought my work looked pretty terrible, and that I might be out of my mind to be doing what I am doing.

My heart sank when I heard these words. I know, of course, it is one person's opinion, but still, ouch. She followed this quickly by telling me that then she looked at my work on the blog and saw that it had merit - but that my booth looked pretty crappy. That was not her word; I am extrapolating.

From there, I got lots of good ideas about ways to improve not only my booth, but also my chances of getting into shows. Drop the dog paintings from the application process (not from the booth, but from the jury process) - and - interestingly - do not go after the smaller sales, but continue to be bold and make big, bright paintings.

So. Two Barns indeed. There's enough for a whole farm here.

p.s., "Two-Barn Day" is a really good painting. If you're in Annapolis June 9 and 10, you can see it in person, at the Annapolis Arts and Crafts Festival!