Friday, December 30, 2011

Back in Sync

For the past two weeks I have felt out of sync. Nothing on the painting I was working on seemed to
work out the way I wanted it to. The paint wasn't blending the way I wanted it to; tones didn't seem correct; everything seemed to be a messy and sloppy. I was working on painting number two for an important deadline and really needed to have everything come out as close to perfect as possible. You've already heard me complain about the painting with the two guys and a girl sitting on a box on a pier to know that that was a troublesome piece. It is also the piece I have been working on for about two weeks.

Thinking back, I realized that during that time I was sick with the flu and was also suffering from some intense neck and back pains. No wonder I was out of sync! My body and health were a wreck! Now that I am feeling better my work is starting to flow again...should that really be a big surprise? And yet, somehow, I didn't make the connection until recently. Sadie Valeri, who I recently took a painting class with, said during class about a month ago, that you really need to be at your best in order to paint at your best. In other words, being hung-over, drunk, high, or even sick are just not  states to be in in order to paint well. Also, being tired or hungry can also be added in to the "not good states to be in for painting categories" since they affect your body and mind too. It didn't make much sense to me when she said it, but now I'm a believer. After being sick for two weeks and really struggling with my painting, I've come to the conclusion that Sadie is right.

I was so frustrated with how I was painting and beating myself up for it, not thinking that my health had anything to do with it. I'm really good at getting down on myself when my paintings aren't turning out the way they should when really I should have been doing is asking myself "am I tired? hungry? sick?" and evaluating myself based on that. Like I said in previous posts, sometimes the obvious reasons/ solutions don't come to me quickly. Experience is really teaching me a lot about studio practices, even if it may come slowly to me.

Two days ago, when I decided to just let the painting I was working on "rest" (it was that or take a hammer to it...I was that frustrated with it) while I did something else, everything started to "flow" again.  I started two new pieces and finished the under-paintings rather quickly and with ease. My juices are flowing again and I feel good about what I am painting...and guess what? I'm not sick anymore and my neck and back are feeling better! I may actually get these two paintings done by Monday, which is my goal. I still have to go back and finish the painting of the two guys and the girl on the box, but I'm thinking after a break from it, and now that I am feeling better, it shouldn't be such a struggle.

So what's the lesson here? If you aren't feeling well physically (or mentally), sometimes it's just easier to rest and get better than to force yourself to do work. It may not always be possible (I do have deadlines), but in a perfect world, we would only paint when we are at our best physically.

I startes this one on Wednesday and only had one of the women
 painted in. I finished the under-painting yesterday.

As the previous painting was drying, I started this piece. I am still
working on the umbrella and decided that I would get that as "finished" as
 possible instead of just doing a quick underpainting since the
polka dots are a bitch to paint.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stop Motion Video of "Motor Bike"

After much nagging and begging, my husband has finally finished putting together the "poor man's" stop motion video I made of my painting, "Motor Bike", which is available at Whistler Village Art Gallery. You can really see my process and the progression on the first half of the video as I paint in the underpainting. The next two layers of paint are a lot more subtler on the video. It's the fine tuning that is always harder to see this way but is more obvious in person.

In other news, I have been struggling trying to get painting number two done (that will hopefully be going to a new gallery soon). I don't know what it is about this painting that has been a pain, but almost every step of it has driven me crazy. Maybe it's me and I am just out of sync. I don't know. The latest problem is the shadow. I painted it in yesterday using the same tube of raw umber and white oil paint as the rest of the painting, but it seems to be "warmer" than the rest of the piece, causing it to be "forward" in the work and throwing off the perspective. I'm not sure why it does this sometimes, but it has happened in other pieces, and it's driving me crazy. I think today I will just paint over it and hopefully the paint will decide to be "cool" today. It really does feel like it is a random choice by my tubes of paint sometimes. I have tried all different methods of painting with these tubes and it will randomly "decide" to be warm in the oddest times, regardless of HOW I use the paint. Maybe it's because I haven't had much training on oil painting, but I just can't figure out why. Please let me know if you have any thoughts.

The shadow is looking like an oil spill at the moment...

While the paint was drying on my troublesome painting, I started a new piece. It is VERY rough, as are all of my paintings that are still in the underpainting stage, but here it is anyways:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas is Over. Now What...

Now that Christmas is over I no longer have an excuse to sit at home, underneath a blanket, watching movies for hours with my husband. Now I must get my lazy-ass off the couch and finish some paintings so that I can ship them to some awaiting galleries. Here's what I have so far on the latest:

There is still SO much to do on this one! This is
when a clone would really come in handy...

On a different note, this is WAY late, but here's my final egg painting from my painting class. I am pretty happy with it. It was looking like a potato for awhile so I'm just glad it looks like an egg now. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Necessity is the mother of invention...or at least the hunt for a suitable apparatus for my unique needs.

The background story: 
Recently my husband bought me an iPad so that I could have my reference images on the tablet. He thought this would make my life easier and my paintings stronger, and he was right. Before getting the iPad I would print out my reference images on my somewhat-decent printer. The images weren't always big enough, or clear enough. Often times the images would be darker or lighter than the original, but it was workable. I didn't realize how much detail I was missing until I got my new tablet. By having the images on my iPad I am now able to enlarge the area that I am working on. The images are clearer and since I can see more detail, my paintings can now be more detailed.

There was only one problem... with a paint brush in one hand and a palette in the other, the only place for me to place the iPad was my lap or table. I would have look down on my lap or my table and the strain on my neck was becoming very painful. I needed a solution and I needed one fast.

The solution:
Enter my genius husband, Ben. He went on the search for an "arm" that could attach to my easel that would make my iPad flush with the area I was working on on my panel. He found a lot of "arms" but most of them would permanently affix the "arm" to one spot on the easel and my iPad would also have to be screwed into the contraption. This would not work. I needed something I could move around my easel, depending on where I was working. I also didn't want to have my iPad permanently attached to my easel and left in my studio, which is an open area with 60 other artists. After some more searching, Ben found a wheelchair "arm" for tablets that could easily be clamped on to the top or bottom of my easel. It also has three articulating joints that allow for trouble-free positioning of the screen. Once positioned, the "arm" is then locked into place securely. It seemed like the ideal choice.

Today was the first day that I was able to use it and it works PERFECTLY! Adjustments were effortless. I was able to move the "arm" around to two different positions easily and quickly. More importantly, my neck didn't hurt at the end of the day since I was able to situate the iPad at eye level. I think this "arm" will save my body from a lot of unnecessary strain and pain which will allow me to paint well into old age.

My latest painting...

The arm started off attached to the top of the easel
so that I could work on the top portion of the painting.

I moved the arm to the bottom of my easel when I started working on the legs.

My genius husband...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Break

Winter break is here and I'm feeling pretty healthy so it's time to start painting again! I love these vacation times because it means I can devote all of my time in the studio. I'm not tired from teaching during the day so I can get much more concentrated painting done. It's nice and I hope to go back to just painting full-time again soon cause this is something that I definitely can get used to.

I finished the painting portion of my recent piece and have started a new one. These two paintings (in addition to a few more I plan to get done this month) will be traveling to a new gallery that is considering representing me. It's a great gallery so the pressure is on to bust out some of my best work. I won't say which gallery just yet, I don't want to jinx anything, but trust me, it's a fantastic opportunity!

This is just waiting to be waxed! The panel is 30"x40".

I didn't get much done on this today but hope to have the underpainting
done by Friday at the latest.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And the Frenzy Comes to a Halt

Sometimes the best laid plans fail...not for a lack of planning or a lack of skills. Sometimes unforseen things happen that just put a kink in your plans and make everything come to a screeching halt. What sort of kinks am I referring to? The tiniest kinds, that while microscopic, can ruin anyone's best laid plans. I am talking about the flu virus.

This is where I left off before I got too sick to paint.
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the symptoms of the flu and how miserable a person can feel when they have it. It can also keep you from important plans. I once had an audition as a singer for a band and had to cancel because I had the flu. My voice was wrecked in the "I sound like a fog horn" sort of way. By the time I was better, the band had found another singer. Now I am sick again and my carefully laid painting schedule that I had in place is now shot to hell. I haven't been able to paint for two days because I feel so miserable. Who knows how many days more I will need off. This, of course, is bad timing. With new paintings needing to ship by the end of the month (and one to a hopefully new, important gallery) I don't have time to be sick! But alas, those pesky flu viruses don't care about my deadlines and schedules. They don't care about my potential new gallery. They just want to spread and wreck havoc in my life, and quite frankly, I find that rude and inconsiderate. Unfortunately for me, I just have to ride this out until I feel better and can continue on my frenzied painting schedule. Good thing I am on winter break starting on Friday...!

I was only able to work on the girl on the left...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Let the Painting Frenzy Begin!

Tis the season to paint until I drop. With many deadlines on the horizon, there's no time for relaxing as I had hoped. It has been a busy year and every time I get through a deadline and think I can relax for a bit, another deadline comes up. I don't think I have had more than two weeks off at a time this year, and with the economy the way that it is, I'd say I was pretty lucky. Lucky, but tired, that is. So while everyone else will be busy shopping and getting ready for this holiday season, I will be painting like a mad woman, again, hoping to get 6 paintings done by the end of this month.

Here's the first painting that I started yesterday. It is a 30"x40" and has five women.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No Regrets

Today, as I was supposed to be creating my algebra 1 final (finals are next week), I decided to take a break and read up on some Facebook posts. One of the links that someone posted was titled "The Top 5 Regrets People Have on Their Deathbed". Ms. Bonnie Ware, a woman who worked with the dying for many years, compiled this list based on what people say aloud as they are dying. It sounded like an interesting list and I wondered whether or not I would have these same regrets.
My egg that I am working on in my painting class. I have always wanted to
attend art school. Now that I am older, I realize that taking classes at
different ateliers is more of what I need and want right now in my career.
Instead of constantly say "I wish I had the time to take classes...I
wish I taken my art career more seriously, I'm just doing it. No excuses.
Do what makes you happy.

Here it is:
1. "I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
Yeah, I don't think this will be an issue. Growing up my mother wanted me to be a nurse (because I was so patient...which is funny to those of you who know me now.) and my father wanted me to be an astrophysicist (I don't even know what that is!). I, being the stubborn child that I was, left home at age 17 to do what I wanted and just be me, whoever that me turned out to be. It's taken some years but I am doing what I love and am passionate about. I am a professional artist. My paintings are in many galleries and my career seems to be doing really well. I did also get my masters in math education and a teaching credential, but truthfully, I WANTED to do that and I actually enjoy teaching math (although I would rather paint any day rather than teach if given the choice). I can honsetly say that I have lived my life the way I wanted to live it.

2. "I wish I didn't work so hard."
Okay, maybe this will be a regret. I do still need to find a balance between work and play in my life (see previous post about finding balance), but being a hard worker is what has gotten me this far in life. Sure I have made some sacrifices for work, but it has no where near taken over my life. Balance is the key and I am working on finding it.

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
ANYONE that knows me knows that I'm pretty good at expressing my feelings. Some (ahem, my husband and family) may even say that I express them too much. Being an artist and former musician has helped with this. Whatever I couldn't express with with words I was always able to express with art or songs.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
This one is something I will probably regret. I'm just not good at staying in touch. I'm not a fan of talking on the phone, which can make keeping in touch a problem. Now with Facebook, texting, and email I am better at keeping in touch, but it's never been something I have been good at. I'm just not a very social person so it usually doesn't occur to me to reach out to someone unless there's a reason. I'm a horrible friend, I know. I'll work on this one.

5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Hmmm, well, who couldn't be happier? If our choices decide what makes us happy, I'm sure there is always something more we can do to be happier. I think I am a decently happy person. Could I be happier? Sure. Everyone could be. Definitely something I will always be working on.

So, after reading this list, what will your regrets be?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trying to Find Balance

"Sailboat", 30"x30", oil and encaustic wax on panel.
Available at Whistler Village Art Gallery

Balance: A state in which various parts form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest.

Balance. It's something that many of us hope to achieve, but, if you are anything at all like me, you find it difficult to do. I am, by nature, somewhat of a workaholic. I do my best at whatever it is that I do, and I am always looking to achieve more. I am abitious and driven, and because of this, I often find that my life lacks balance.

In the past, I was always trying to find the time to paint. I had to find a balance between teaching during the day and painting after work. Painting was important to me (and still is) so I needed to find a way to work that into my schedule on a regular basis. Nowadays I don't struggle so much to make painting a part of my daily life. In fact, now I find that I don't do much other than paint, well, and teach during the day too, that is. I find that I spend every spare moment that I can in the studio, to the point of it being a "problem" some would say.

"Motorbike", 30"x30", oil and encaustic wax on panel.
Available at Whistler Village Art Gallery
 If I am invited to spend the day out with a friend, the first thing that pops in my mind is "but this will take me away from the studio". If I need to make a doctor's appointment I think "but how will I fit this in and get into the studio?" I haven't been shopping or have done anything social in a long time because, that's right, it will take me away from the studio. Forget about getting sick. There's no time for that. IF by some chance I don't get into the studio for a day, I feel extremely guilty and start thinking that I am behind schedule. Everything that may come up during my day is time away from painting. I never thought I would say this, but painting is taking over my life!

Some of you may know that my husband was recently diagnosed with cancer, and while he is okay now, it was pretty scary for about a month. There were a lot of doctor appointments to attend, surgery, and other things that needed to be taken care of. Needless to say, there wasn't much time to paint. I was resolved to not getting as much time in the studio as I usually did. That's not to say that I didn't panic about the time away from the studio. I did...big time. It was during this time that I started to realize that my life was still off balance.

I guess all this time I thought that since I was painting every day, which I have had to struggle to do in the past, that I had managed to find balance in my life. After this past month, I realized I was just fooling myself. I am not leading a balanced life. I had just found a way to not make my day job keep me from art. My painting was out of proportion to what was part of the rest of my life AND it was "unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest". I don't go to the gym anymore. I don't socialize much. I don't do a number of things I used to do all in the name of art. As much as I like creating my art, I need it to not take over my life.

It's a struggle, balance. I'm still not sure how to find it, but now that I am aware that there are other things in life that are important and should have some priority (you would think at this age I would know that already!), I can only hope that I am a little closer to being a well-rounded, balanced person.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Confession: I am a Blender.

Day three of my painting class was yesterday and it was there that I learned that I am a blender. "Hello, my name is Jhina Alvarado and I am a blender". There. I've said it. Normally, being a blender is not a problem. I have been doing it for years, blending colors together into a seamless transition. My paintings didn't seem to suffer because of it. In fact, I got pretty good at blending and my paintings got better. I didn't think it was a problem until I started THIS painting class.

For the method that we are using in this class, blending is not "allowed". We are learning to do little tiles of color that transition one shade to the next shade of the color. There is no blending involved. The eye does the blending for you. This helps you learn about tones and shading and makes you really think about what shades go where and how they relate to each other. It's a way of teaching yourself to see transitions and the "true" shape of the object you are painting.

At first I was doing my tiles but, me being me, couldn't stand to see the seams, so I blended them together. Then I couldn't stop blending. I blended the tiles so that the transition was more seamless. Then I just kept blending and blending...and, well, blending. Next thing I knew, I had obliterarted all of my tiles and the painting looked like something I would normally do (although a less accurate version). Now this may seem like an okay thing to do, I have been painting for awhile and doing well with it, BUT then I thought why was I taking this class?  If I was just going to paint like I normally do, what was my purpose for being here? What was I learning if I wasn't following instructions on this technique and trying something new?

So despite my NEED to blend, I had to go back and do the exercise over, the way it was supposed to be done. It didn't feel natural, but what I did notice was that my egg looked more like an egg rather than an oval with weird dents in it. I was learning to "see" what I was doing. Am I a reformed blender after one session? Definitely not, as you can see from my painting. It still has blended areas and my tiles are not as visible. I am a work in progress, as is my painting. I may never master this technique and it may not change my habit of blending in my own work, but if by going through this process I can learn to "see" clearer and be a better painter, then this process is worth it. Sometimes you have to give up what you know, what may even be innate, in order to learn a method that will ultimately improve your overall skills.

In other news... I am almost done with the painting of the girl with the bike. The bike needs a little more detail but I am hoping to have it done in two more session. The plan is to then work on a 30"x 40" painting on Wednesday until Sunday (since I have those days off), wax and ship these two paintings on Monday to Whistler, then work on a few 6"x6" paintings that are due by December 2nd. Of course, this could always change, as schedules tend to do. But if I keep up with it, I THINK then I will be caught up enough to take a little break before the next batch of deadlines come up. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clones...Where Can I Get One?

Today was one of those days where I could have really used a clone of myself. Think about it, I could  have a person who thinks and talks like me, and in more importantly, paints like me. How perfect would that be? Especially now that I am in the thick of multiple deadlines, having a clone who can help me PAINT would be awesome! Or, maybe even a clone that could teach math like me so I could leave that version of me in the classroom while I painted! That sounds even better. I wonder which would be harder to get: a clone that paints like me or one that teaches math the way I do? Hmmm. I guess it's really a moot point since neither will be happening in time for me to get these next batch of paintings done.

Well, back to the painting version of me... I am working on the 4th piece for my new gallery in Whistler. I just heard from the director. She loved the first three images I emailed her and wants MORE. Yikes! These all need to ship at the end of the month. Ideally, I'd finish the one I am working by Saturday and a 30"x40" next week. These, in addition to the six 6"x 6" pieces my art rep wants by December 2nd, are what I have on my plate for the next two and a half weeks. I am debating on giving up sleep, but truthfully, it wouldn't help. I am horrible about painting once it gets dark. I have never been able to paint at night. I don't know what about the darkness makes my brain shut down, but it happens. Maybe the clone version of me won't have a problem with that and we can take shifts. I paint during the day and sleep at night. Clone-me can sleep during the day and paint at night. Sound like a perfect plan to me. Now where can I get one of them clones...?

The latest painting. I have no idea what parts I am painting on that bike since I really know
nothing about them. I am just painting shapes and shadows while keeping my fingers
crossed. I hope it looks like a working bike when I am done! I am also taking a picture of the
painting every ten minutes so I can make another stop motion video. I am trying to be
 better about getting enough images, hence the timer to remind me to take the picture every
ten minutes. Apparently I didn't have enough to do already...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Open and Closed Grisaille Painting

Today was day two of my painting class and we worked on open and closed grisaille painting. The first layer is open grisaille where we are only to use burnt umber and a bit of turpentine to paint our image. No white is allowed, which made this pretty difficult for me. Paint kept lifting off if I went over the area more than once, which I couldn't help but do. I am used to using one color BUT I also use white in order to lighten my color. Because of this, the paint lifting off isn't as big as a problem since I am not using turpentine to lighten and shade my color.

With this first layer, the whitest part is the white of the panel, kind of like doing a watercolor, but not. Sadie said this was going to be the "adolescent" stage of our painting: the work would not look smooth (kind of like flawed skin), and she was right. My egg looks pretty bad and splotchy. Having never taken an oil painting class, I am glad to learn a technical side to painting, but I am not used to having my under-paintings look this bad. I know that under-paintings are just that, under-paintings, and that first layer can look like crap because there's no paint on the panel to create a smooth surface. Everything has to be built upon. I know this, which is why I am not freaking out just yet about how bad this painting looks so far.  I have faith in the process...

In addition to painting our egg, we are also working on spheres as homework. Since I was done with my open grisaille work, I could move on to the next layer which is closed grisaille. Here I am allowed to use white, burnt umber, and ultramarine blue to make a black and shades of gray. Getting the grays to be a true neutral was hard. Mine tended towards a more "cool" shade with too much blue. I still have more work to do on this and will go over it with another layer of grays when I am done. Each layer I will be refining my sphere, making the transitions more flawless and smooth as I go.

In other news, I finished the painting portion of my latest piece. Now I need to wait for paint to dry before waxing it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two New Paintings and a Work in Progress

"Every Dream is a Wish", 2011
 24"x24", oil and encaustic wax on panel

"Gone Fishing", 2011
16"x16", oil and encaustic wax on panel

My current work in progress...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Egg and the Girl

This Sunday I started my first oil painting class (out of 6 total classes) with Sadie Valeri . Now some of you may be wondering why I am taking an oil painting class when I already paint in oils. Well, I do paint in oils, but if you haven't noticed, I only use two colors, which means I am good with tones but not color. I want to learn how to use colors and oil paint the "Old Masters" way. I want to learn how to make my colors look like jewels you can almost touch. I want my paintings to, well, glow. This class focuses on the Flemish style of painting, which uses a 7 layer process. I'm not quite sure what those 7 layers entail just yet, but I am sure I will find out. Sunday's class focused on drawing a single egg, which we will paint in the next five weeks. One egg, six total weeks. Yup, this will be a test of patience for me! But if it's anything like the figure drawing class I took with Sadie, I am sure time will fly and I will not have a completed piece by the end of the six weeks. As homework we have to transfer out drawing and then put a thin layer of a damar/ turpentine mix to seal it. I think I can handle that, no problem.

In other news, I am still trying to complete 4 new paintings before Thanksgiving so that I can ship these to my new gallery in Whistler, BC. I started painting number 3 yesterday. Fortunately for me, I am a quick painter and I am pretty sure this piece will be done by the end of the week. Check it out:

This woman is sitting on a sail boat. The final piece is 30"x30".

This is a close-up on the same painting. I am still in the underpainting stage of this...

Still life of an egg: I am working on the one on the right.

Can you believe this took me an hour to draw?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review in Art Ltd. Magazine!

Here's the third review of my show, Cinema Verite at JoAnne Artman Gallery, in Art Ltd. Magazine! I am so excited to have my work reviewed in an art magazine I subscribe to and read. The magazine should be in news stands and online soon, but here's a preview of the article. Thank you Roberta Carraso for the review! 

It was just a paper grocery bag filled with old photographs from the ’40s; but for Jhina Alvarado, a San Francisco painter, it became the exciting source of her new series. The bag contained “piles and piles of images of people, most likely no longer living, and no longer remembered. More importantly the bag was stuffed with personal and forgotten memories.” The images were of people who could have been family, but in clothing, hairstyles, and a presence that told of another era, “when people didn’t look plastic,” but were flesh and blood and real. While considering how easily we acquire or lose memories, the ’60s documentary filmmaking style came to mind, a style that searches for truth through intimate close-ups and fleeting memories. This series forms the basis of Alvarado’s new show at Joanne Artman Gallery, “Cinéma Vérité.”

Alvarado sought to resurrect thoughts of the past, transforming forgotten people into contemporary images, for today’s generation, who know little of the pre-WWII era. A natural hand-held camera technique became adapted as painting on panel with only two oil paint colors, white and raw umber, giving the impression of an old and faded B&W photo, in the stark realism of a forgotten era. Like a vérité filmmaker, Alvarado endows each painting with a sense of mystery and anonymity—a woman lost in thought, four playful boys in bathing suits, kids dangling on monkey bars, several women on the beach. To remove their personal identity, she places a dark bar over their eyes. She also eliminates any background, allowing the viewer to focus only on the scene and its immediacy. Then she coats each painting with eight to ten layers of encaustic wax, giving the image a creamy surface, yellow and faded, blurred and fuzzy, distancing the viewer with a “Private, Keep Out” warning. But the textured wax surface also adds an ethereal quality that further releases each original image from the world of photography to sug- gest an anonymous, universal memory that is no longer tied to a par- ticular person, but is shared collectively, a relic that exists beyond time. Alvarado has since expanded her Cinéma Vérité series, using photos from the ’20s to the ’50s. With these enigmatic panels, she has become a cinematographer with paint, bringing the past forward, with a cinematic spirit she keeps alive in her contemporary paintings.

—ROBERTA CARASSO Copyright ©2011 Lifescapes Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Times Keeps Flying By

Looking back at my blog, I have realized that I haven't been very good about writing thoughtful posts since I started teaching again. It has been hard trying to juggle a full-time job, leaving that, and then going to the studio to work another full-time job. Because of this, I haven't had much time to be social or to do much writing. I guess I could let my day job take over and paint less (as many people end up having to do), but it's really important that I make art come first, even if it means I have to sacrifice some sleep or free time. Art is what I want to do for a living. It is what I am passionate about and it makes me sane. I not only want to, but need to paint every day and I will hopefully be doing that as my ONLY job again soon. I can't let my day job cause me to slack off and paint less. Plus, with the large amount of galleries now showing my work, I have deadlines and obligations that I am not going to back out on. I am committed to making this work. So in the meantime, my blog posts will somewhat lacking in substance and my free time will have to be non-existent, but this is my life at the moment. It is what I have chosen to do.

Still working on this one. I need to fix her nose and mouth so that she doesn't
look so goofy. I am hoping this will be done by Friday. I'd like to be able to
send Whistler Village Gallery some images of what I am sending them by
the end of the week.

This one is pretty much done. I need to touch up the bar across her eyes and make the
lines crisp, but other than that, it is ready to get waxed!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Gallery and Works in Progress

I am very happy to announce that soon you will be able to find my paintings in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada! Whistler Village Gallery is now representing me and will start showing my work this December. I have 4 new paintings in the works for them and can't wait to see how their clients react to my paintings. They have two gallery locations, one in the Four Seasons Resort and the other in the Hilton Whistler Resort and will soon be opening a third. If you remember, Whistler is the beautiful resort town that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics so you know it's a great place to go skiing. If you happen to be in the area, be sure to stop by and see my paintings!

Here are some of the pieces I have started that will eventually be shipped to this gallery:

There is still a lot of work to do on this painting but I am hoping to have
it finished tomorrow. It is 30"x30".

This is what the painting looked like yesterday.

This painting is much smaller, 16"x16". I just finished the underpainting today
and hope I will have enough time to finish it this week.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Coast Magazine Article on "Cinema Verite" at JoAnne Artman Gallery

For those of you living in Southern California, be sure to pick up the November edition of Coast Magazine. There is an article by Roberta Carasso, about my paintings at JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach on page 138! If you don't live in the area, you can go to and click on the icon for the latest digital edition of the magazine.

In other news...These are my latest paintings that will be shown at Richard J. Demato Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York. Richard and his knowledgeable will be exclusively showing my work from my new "What Remains to be Seen" series. More information about this new series will be coming soon...

"It's All Fun and Games", 30"x40", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

"Under an Umbrella of Doubt", 36"x24", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning to Draw, Old School Style Part 6

Last Sunday was the last day of my drawing class and I have finally been able to take a picture of the final drawing. I think overall it turned out okay, although there are parts (like the head and legs) that could use a lot more work. There just wasn't enough time to finish this to my liking. You'd think spending 6 Sundays, 4 hours each day, would be enough time, but there wasn't. Go figure. I am signed up for Sadie's oil painting class that starts in two weeks and I will also be attending the model sessions on Thursday nights so that I can practice my drawing skills on a different model. I am finding that I really am enjoying these classes and the structure of the methods we use. It has improved my painting, and more importantly, how I see my figures and then translate that information. I can't wait to take more!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review of "Cinema Verite" in OC Weekly

Sometimes people just don't like what you paint (see previous post regarding dealing with criticism), and other times someone will totally get what your intentions are and write a great review of your show! My show "Cinema Verite" with Brooke Shaden at JoAnne Artman Gallery just got a great review from Stacie Davies in the OC Weekly! You can read the review here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dealing With Criticism

I you are a human being, you've had to deal with criticism. Whether it's at work, school, or even at home, there is usually someone out there that will offer their advice, whether solicited or unsolicited, and it may not always be positive. Sometimes it is constructive, the type of thing that you probably needed to hear in order to improve whatever endeavors you are taking on. Sometimes it may be less than nice or even nasty. It happens. Everyone has to deal with it at some point in life, usually multiple times a day.

My current work in progress. Underpainting is completed.
If you are artistic and put your work out there, you probably deal with even more criticism than most. Nowadays, with social media and the easiness in which a person can get a website or blog, there is a plethora of ways to show what you are doing to the world. People can see your work from anywhere in the world. This is great, and yes even amazing, but what it also means is that you are now open to a lot more people critiquing what you do and, unfortunately/ fortunately,  the means to let you know what they think about your work. So how does one deal with criticism when it's not so constructive, and sometime, downright mean?

As some of you who have been reading my blog know, I was recently a featured artist on Artist a Day, an internet site that shows the work of an artist a day and allows the viewers to rate the work and comment on it. If you look at the link to my work on the site, you'll notice that there were some people who just did not like my work (and this is not the first time people have voiced a negative opinion about my paintings). One woman disliked it so much she felt the need to email me personally and tell me that the bars over the figure's eyes made her angry, not nostalgic at all. Now, like any human being, my first reaction was to start defending myself in my head and to anyone who was close enough to listen (in most cases, that's my husband). But once I calmed down a bit (and it didn't take long in this case), I started to think about what this really means and decided to take the criticism a different way.

1. People were "moved" enough by my work, positively or negatively, that they felt the need to write a comment (or email me). Now I don't know about you, but most things I don't like, I also don't care enough about to write a comment or think twice about it. These people took the time to comment. That's a good thing. My work "bugged" them enough to comment! They say (and I have no idea who "they" are) that if your art can evoke an emotion, then it has done it's job. It doesn't really matter what the emotion is, although we tend to want positive emotions. Think of the woman who emailed me to tell me she was angered by my work. She was ANGRY. That is an emotion. I affected her. She may not be buying any of my painting soon, but I made a mark, even if it's a small one, in her life.

2. I try to see if there is anything useful in a person's criticism. If there's something useful in what they said, then great, maybe I can learn from this. If not, I am not going to take what that person said personally. It's not like they are criticizing me as a person. They just don't like my paintings. People are entitled to their opinion and I am entitled to ignore them.

3. There is no need for me to justify my work or clarify misconceptions by commenting or emailing back. My artist statement states my intentions and reasoning behind what I do. I stand by it. If someone doesn't understand it or, more likely, doesn't agree with it, that's okay too. But what I learned, more importantly, is that writing someone back and trying to argue "my case" with them just opens the door to more frustrations, such as a "back and forth" arguement that leads nowhere. I don't need the added frustration and I don't need to change their minds so I don't try to.

Through all of this, I have come to the realization that not everyone will like my work. That's okay, in fact, that is a good thing. People come in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of tastes. If everyone liked everything, or the same things, how boring would we be? People who like my work are nice to have but I am not offended if someone doesn't like it. Plenty of people like my artwork, and more importantly, I like what I am doing. That's all I really need.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Artist of the Day

Check out who is artist of the day!

If you haven't visited before, it's a great way to see a new artist a day from all over the world. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stop Motion Video Attempt

I have decided that with my next painting I would snap pictures on my iPhone and make a "poor man's" stop-motion video. This would mean that I would have to remember to take a picture every few minutes as I work on this painting, which isn't as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you get in "the zone" and the next thing you know, a large portion of the painting is done and the pictures weren't snapped. I did pretty well today and managed to take 18 photos. I'm sure I could have gotten more since I did paint for 4.5 hours today, but I decided to take a picture after each "major" piece was done on her body. I guess I could have also set a time to take a picture every ten minutes, and maybe I will do that for the next one. I'm hoping the video will work out okay because I think it would be pretty cool to see the progress of a painting this way (I've been scrolling really fast through the photos on my phone and it looks pretty cool so far). Fortunately, Ben, my husband is a audio/video editor genius so I'll get some professional help when I am ready to set it up.

This is the last image I took of my painting that I started today. It is 30"x40".