One more holiday to go!

Merry Christmas and now on to New Year's! Being a restaurant owner, the holidays can take on a Scrooge feel by about Dec. 15th!

My husband and I both have large, intense families and Christmas is the same (on both sides). So, yesterday, 12/26, we made sure to stay home and see no one except our own two kids--who were home for the holiday. I got to get back to my easel to work on a still life that was started quite awhile back and my husband and oldest daughter picked out a menu and made dinner for all of us. We haven't had a dinner with just the four of us in .... I don't know when. Then we had several rounds of a board game (which I lost handily 5 times in a row...a record) and a late night movie that I had saved on our DVR.

Today, both girls head out. One to Chicago where she goes to school and the other to O'Hare to go back to Georgia. After the new year, I will try to be back in my studio at least 3 times a week! Promise!

Painting done...maybe

Got back at the easel yesterday afternoon. I pretty much finished the landscape I started last week. Well, I signed it anyway. Since it was such a gloomy day here, I lost my good light earlier than usual. I might still go back in and do a bit of highlighting here and there. But, for the most part, it's finished. I am still thinking of a title for it.

Today is every gloomier outside. About 10 days ago we had a great 13" of snow dumped on us, then frigid weather (but sunny). All that snow makes it very bright in a studio. Now, it's almost 50 degrees, the snow is melting and the contrast between the cold snow and warm air is making it extremely foggy. I'm a snow person and this muddy mess is just not cool.

You know what's cool? The Bears. They won last night and I stayed awake for the whole game.

I'm BA-A-A-ACK and in my studio

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've last blogged. With Thanksgiving and now the other holidays fast approaching (while running a restaurant), time has flown.

I am now in my own my own house. I had it painted a rather lime-y green. At first I hated it, but it has grown on me and today was my first day working in it. The color does keep you awake! See a couple of pictures of it below.

So today I got started on 2 new canvases. They've been sketched out for a couple of months just waiting for that first coat of paint. They are both 12" x 24" and are in oil.

One is an Illinois farmland landscape. The soybean fields turned an extraordinary gold this year. Below is the landscape at 3 different stages from today's work.

The other is a still life with a different perspective. I like taking an otherwise boring still life, and looking at it at a different angle. Three pictures of the still life in different stages follow.

Studio almost done

The floor installers will be finishing up today in my studio and bathroom. Then it's time to start lugging stuff up the stairs and getting my space put together. Hopefully I can start painting within the week!

Busy weekend just went by. Last Friday was the opening for the show "Particular Places", a juried painting exhibition, at The Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon. There was a very nice turnout for the opening reception and I took home 3rd place honors for Twilight Dining. Sunday, get this, I was chairman of the hostess committee for the Phidian Musicale. The Phidian Art Club (in Dixon also) is a women's art group...since 1890...that supports the arts in all forms, literary, music, and visual. So, myself and four other ladies took care of the refreshements. Normally around 150 - 200 people attend this event. Well..we almost tossed our cookies (pardon the pun) when almost 350 people came. Yep...ran out of punch. It was a very nice afternoon.

Have to get ready to pack a painting off to PA! Sold it this week. Two weeks ago I sold another one. It's been a good few weeks! That means I gotta get on the stick and start painting again. Landscapes are flying out the window.

Moving Studios

I have officially moved out of my studio at The Next Picture Show in Dixon as of the end of October. Our cottage, which was damaged by fire in April, is now almost complete again. My oldest daughter, Erin, said to use her room as a studio since she is officially "on her own" in Savannah, GA. Thank you kid. It's not a huge room, but it has lots of light, is attached to a bathroom, and, once the flooring is put down...sometime next week...I can paint whenever I want to and not lose my creativity urge after driving into Dixon.

Bob Logsdon, a digital photographer, is taking over my space at the gallery. Great guy.

More on my move as soon as I get stuff organized!

Kids' class all done

Last Thursday, 10/19, Deb and I finished up with the "Authentic Artistic Experience" painting class up with her 5th and 6th grade classes. Just below are a few pictures from the last day. These were taken in the first couple of periods during the day. By the last 3 periods (after lunch), we were pooped and running around like crazy trying to wash brushes and replenish paint palettes before the next class came in. Therefore, I couldn't get may camera out to take pics. The newspaper came in on Thursday and believe it or not, we had a great 4/color front page article about the kids. Thank you Dixon Telegraph!

First period class quietly contemplating the last few strokes to their canvases.

This young lady wore her beret during class. It's al in the attitude.

This young man had a different take on his landscape! Kind of like a storm is coming...very moody. I like it.

Authentic Artistic Experience underway

First set of canvases, first period, first day! Awaaaay weeee goooo!

For the 2nd year in a row, I am participating, as Guest Artist, in the Authentic Artistic Experience with 5th and 6th grade students of Reagan Middle School, in Dixon, Illinois. Their teacher and my friend, Debbie Thompson, received a grant again from two organizations to pay for all the supplies and my time to do this. Yeah!

This is 1st period's work lined up after their class to dry. This is the first day.

This was a piece of student work after just one class session. It's coming along!

We started this past Monday. There are six classes with class sizes between 20-25 each. That's a lot of kids and canvases. Debbie and her daughter, Erin, underpainted all the canvases the week before I came in. Each class has a different colored canvas. This keeps them from getting mixed up and provides a different feel to the painting. We are using 5 different landscapes. Two of the classes are using the same photo. The landscapes are pics taken by Debbie and I of Illinois farmland in early and mid fall.

After each session's canvases dry, they're all stacked up on the light table. There's a lot of them!

Today, Wednesday, we're giving ourselves and the kids a break. We will fini
sh up tomorrow. Just below are 2 of my 6 paintings that I am demonstrating.

This painting is from the 2nd (or 3rd) period class after 2 sessions (about 1 hour).

This is my painting after two days (about one hour total) for the 7th period class.
One more day to work on it and I hope to finish it.

one of the canvases

Here is just a sketched out 12 x 24 canvas. It's a "view from the top" coffee cup still life. I have to decide whether I'm doing this in acrylic or oil. Once my studio is finished being put together in our cottage...I can go to it. Baby steps. The other two still lifes will come. One is another coffee cup still life, but from just above eye level and the other is an autumn landscape.

3 canvases started

Yesterday afternoon I ran into my studio in Dixon to prep 3 canvases. Two still lifes and one fall landscape. So, hopefully, I will be able to start these soon. I think these will all be oils. I need to purchase some large canvases. They may not sell quickly, but they do make an impact in juried shows.

Today is kind of busy. I have a client meeting for possible web site design (wish us luck) and then I have to go north to Loves Park, IL. I am the October speaker for the Rockford Arts Guild.

Almost forgot! Found a great Artist Blog

Just as I was about to log off, I forgot to mention in my previous post, a BLOG I now check almost daily. It's a blog by writer/gallery owner, Paul Dorrell. He is a great writer and also owns an art gallery in Kansas. He has wonderful insight into persevering as an artist. On Friday, he releases his "Friday Tips for Artists" via email (sign up for it!). One article, regarding artists being asked to "DONATE" their work for charity auctions is excellent.

Learning new stuff

Well, I've been working as a project developer (for a web development/internet marketing company) for about 6 weeks now. I'm learning a lot about cold calls and talking to potential clients. In fact, I received my 1st commission check on a client I brought in. Several more are in the fire.

I like working with the owner, Jack. I'm just pooped. With restaurant and inn in the a.m., my other board responsibilities, and now this, I have NO time for painting. So frustrating. It seems like my stuff is always last. ooooooooh....does that ever sound whiney....must stop that.

Our house is almost finished being repaired (from fire in April) and we're turning an upstairs bedroom into my studio. That way, when the inspiration hits, I can just run upstairs to paint and not drive into town.

We're already booking Christmas parties. All Saturdays are filled up. That's cool. But, with the holidays and right now, fall weddings & homecomings, things are really picking up around here...if that's possible!

Next Tues., 10/3, I'm a speaker for the Rockford Arts Guild. I'll be presenting my work and answering questions (I guess!). Then, in a couple of weeks, I will again be the Guest Artist at Reagan Middle School. My friend, Debbie, is the 5th/6th grade art teacher and we received a grant to teach landscape painting to all of her classes. It will be a very full 3 days. It's exhausting, but the kids teach me as much as I teach them.

If I don't get a chance to post some new paintings in progess, then I'll post pics from this kids' class! I did get some great shots of IL soybean fields. They turn a beautiful gold in the fall and this year was amazing. I look forward to doing some of those.

Good Show...despite the weather

Well, what a difference a year makes. We had a few rainfalls from setup to takedown, but they were the no-wind, gentle kind of rain. Several artists were no-shows (some actually asked if we were still going to do the show if it rained!). What does "rain or shine" mean people? The crowd was modest, but that shows who the true art lovers are. The temp didn't get higher than 65 degrees (a 30 degree difference from 2005), but it was less wear and tear on the body.

I'm so glad I do oils and acrylics. Water pretty much bounces off of them. I really felt bad for the watercolorists and pastelists. Humidity can wreak havoc on their work.

I sold my largest painting to date. See below. It was a 36" x 48" acrylic called "Serenity Border." It normally hangs over the mantel in our restaurant lounge and I ALMOST didn't bring it. Husband Jeff said to do it, just in case.... props to Jeff. About 45 minutes later I was awarded BEST OF SHOW!! Forgot all about the rain....

This week, I'm setting up simple, everyday objects for still lifes. Will do small and large ones for fun and see how they turn out.

Serenity Border

My friend Debbie, came by earlier in the show and put this tiny little "good luck elephant" on my sales table. Soon afterwards came the big sale and award.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

just for giggles

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Girl's night out and we got into a lot of antique hats. Just one beer too many! Every woman needs a fun night with the girls (and 3 dogs and a mohawk-shaved cat). Believe it or not, we had several deep thoughtful conversations that evening.....righhhhht.

Big Storm Coming

Well, the outdoor art show I'm in (and on the committee for) is tomorrow. Just walked outside at around 7 pm and the temp must have dropped at least 20 degrees. I have no problem with that, but the weather radar shows some darn ugly purple stuff heading in from Iowa. Last year we had a drought and the temp was well over 90 at the show. I don't mind cool weather, but rain and wind could put a damper on the crowds.

Maybe I'll smuggle a bottle of wine into my tent. "When life gives you lemons...." I know several artists in tents nearby who will welcome my hospitality! What's nice is that this show is only TWO blocks from my home at the John Deere Historic Site. Yep...old John invented the plow and finished off the prairies right here in Grand Detour.

As to being ready...guess so. Once the last guests leave our restaurant tonight, we'll strip the walls of my paintings. I gave the waitstaff permission to offer customers a 10% discount on any original if they buy it tonight with cash or check. That way, I won't have to lug these heavy things to the show.

Well, my shower is running and it's time to bid goodbye. Wish me luck tomorrow!

Art Show this weekend

Wow. It's been forever since I blogged. I think about it every day. You know, like "I've gotta do that soon," kind of thing. Just like laundry and cleaning toilets! Well, not that bad. I've taken on another aspect in my life. In the afternoons, I have been working/training at a company that creates dynamic web sites, a.v. production, and email marketing. My card says "project development." Sounds good. I'm still feeling very green and cold calls are very hard for me, but that is something to overcome. Anything worthwhile is. The company is called Affinity AV, New Media Design. Check it out. I met the owner when he made a presentation to do the web site for our tourism bureau. Check out their completed site. Nice, huh?

Oh....I sold a painting yesterday. I was just settling in on a rainy Monday and finishing up a couple of paintings for this Sunday's art show (Grand Detour Art Festival -- BOOTH 43), when I hear my dog, Annie, barking. The inn is closed on Monday, so the door
was locked. A woman and her husband were in for dinner this past Friday and mentioned they liked a couple of my paintings that were hanging in the dining rooms. They asked the price...told them...and that's normally I last I hear from people! Well, she came back and purchased "Rolling llinois Farmland III." (see pic below) I will ship it next week as they are visiting from California. Wish sales could all be that easy and pleasant.

Interesting week

Burning the candle at both ends these last few weeks. Monday, Debbie and I went canoeing (my first time this summer) up the Pine Creek. Lots of cows keeping an eye on us. Several bald eagles made an appearance also. The day I don't bring my camera, made me keep kicking myself the whole trip. Every bend in the water was a Monet waiting to be painted...poop. It took us four hours and we were mud from head to toe. Good day. Tuesday and Thursday were my days to teach a kids' acrylic painting class at The Next Picture Show art center. We used a Cezanne still life to paint from. On Sunday, I painted one for the class to work from. Those were done in the morning. Fun, but very tiring. The 10 students were of varying ages. But, all in all, a very satisfying experience. Here's a pic of the remaining kids waiting for their parents to pick them up, and one of the students and her almost-finished piece! As you can see, these children are very shy.... is a little 5 x 7 acrylic I did this past Sunday. Fun. It's the front sidewalk of our restaurant.

When you least expect it...

Whew...finally the heat wave broke. My computer is in an un-airconditioned room and it has been way too hot to work on it! So, no blog updates.

I haven't been painting either because the heat just seems to stifle my creativity...sitting inside just cramps my style, you know?

I have taken on a new project...I've been hired by Affinity AV (new media design) in project development. It's part time and I will be working in partnership with the owner, Jack Hughes, to help bring in new business, from web design to graphic design, to av stuff. With this, I get experience in this really interesting business and I get some new technical design experience. Something I need!

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Our restaurant was super busy for a Wednesday. Too hot to even cook outside! So, I came in at the last of the evening to help clear glasses and stuff to get the staff out sooner. When, lo and behold, one of the last customers in for the evening, saw my painting, "Detig 3" in one of the dining rooms and bought it. Last thing I expected. Wooo hoooo! They have a home in Florida and want a piece of the midwest hanging down south! I tried uploading a picture and Blogger just won't work. So, maybe in another post.

The next two weeks are sooo busy. Our tourism board is having it's annual dinner tonight in Dixon, we have sold out rooms all weekend, with a wedding reception on Saturday. Next week, I'm teaching acrylic painting to youngsters at the gallery (2 days) and that weekend is my GASP, 30th high school reunion in Mendota, IL--sweet corn capital of the world! Stop the merry go round, I want to get off!

Two paintings in Process

Here are two small 12" x 12" acrylic paintings on creative edge canvases. These are 90% done. I hope to finish these this week. Well, the heat is upon me now and this un-airconditioned room is starting to close in on me.

I am a cold weather gal and when I retire.....I am heading NORTH!

missing in action

It's been very busy with the inn and restaurant (mostly restaurant) because it's July. The weather is very hot and humid and people don't want to cook, indoors or out. Also, lots of other board commitments have limited my painting time. I have been working on 2 small 12 x 12 lily paintings and will post those soon. I'm doing them in acrylic because I have an outdoor show in September and oils may not be dry enough to varnish by then. I'd rather paint large, but people buy small at art festivals. So....I go with the flow.

Also, I got another job with a web design/graphic design company locally. More on that later. The duties will not be primarily area I'm not used too, but what the's time to stretch a bit.

I will try to post my newer paintings today or early tomorrow.