Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goals 2007

On December 19th I made a list of accomplishments for 2006. It was an effective exercise to reinforce my painting and business achievements and somewhat of a reassurance that I'm focusing in the right direction. I promised to list the new goals and here goes:

For business:
  • I believe I can take this so-called "genre" painting and pull it into the mainstream. Confidence abounds thanks to the response from non-horse people who purchase my paintings and giclees. Continuing in the direction of the current multi-canvas project, the creations will increase accessibility to a wider, larger client base.
  • As the projects grow in physical size, I intend to seek corporate clients and representation. I'm thinking lobbys of sports books, walls of race tracks and other sporting facilities, boardrooms, any public buildings, etc.
  • The cash flow this year was great. However, I'm implementing a new business plan with Michael's help to increase sales. I intend to increase my income by ??? The amount is as large as I can envision.
  • I have over forty images in giclee reproduction. Widespread distribution throughout the country (and beyond) is imperative. The images should be in every race track, gift shop, tack shop, feed store, frame shop - and any other outlet we can get them into.
  • 2006 was the first year that I made a concrete positive shift in my attitude about bookkeeping and marketing. I love the left-brained me that I didn't know existed! My first year of keeping books was a learning experience and is improving. As for marketing, my goal is to read books and materials, network, take courses, attend seminars - whatever it takes to continue to grow my business.
  • This year Michael and I are poised to experiment with POD (print on demand). I'll soon offer an open edition giclee quality reproduction on canvas in any size requested.
The artwork:
  • I read recently that one of the mistakes artists make is not determining what direction they want their career path to go in, i.e. becoming a museum artist or an artist that makes $50,000 yearly. (that's all?) I say why can't an artist do both - create museum worthy artwork that SELLS.
  • I intend to learn e-bay once and for all and offer "painting a day" size originals from this blog and the website.
  • The book. The book will be finished and in print by...drum roll please...summer 2007. There it is in writing. About twenty-five more drawings and we've got ourselves a best-seller!
  • I will consider...consider, mind you...renting a larger studio. I love working at home but realistically I outgrew my studio years ago. Plus, Michael needs more space for his office and printing which will move him into my current studio space.
  • Work harder, study harder, manage my time more efficiently, excel at managing my money - do whatever it takes to get rich and famous!
  • Balance that work ethic with playtime. All our road trips are for business only. I intend to take an extra day on these trips to relax and enjoy.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Not My Christmas Present

No, this is not my Christmas present. Michael got this little Honda Rebel ready for me to learn on after years of riding on the back of Harleys. I love it!!!!!!! It's light, maneuverable - perfect to learn on. Around and around the backyard until I feel comfortable to take to the streets. Who says you can't teach on old b---- new tricks? Like I said, it's a down-time week...

Here's the dude himself playing with my new toy. Oh yes, we're in t-shirts in late December. Sorry, Denver. This is what we pay the excruciating, sweltering summers for...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Great Article

"The Leader", a quarterly magazine published by Farm Credit of North Florida, used my image, "Blue Blinkers" for the cover of their latest edition. H. Don Dean also wrote a great piece about me and my artwork. I think it looks fantastic and I'm so grateful and pleased with the story. Thank you FCNF!

This is sort of a down-time week. I finished a painting today which I'll post later in the week. It's for next month's exhibit at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners Association. I'm stretching and gessoing canvases to resume working on my big multi-canvas project, finishing up the year with my books, and getting myself motivated to finish the children's book in the evenings. Yeah, the book is in hiatus and the ball is in my court to create more illustrations. Once I get back on it I'll commit to the end. The time away often works to advantage as a fresh perspective emerges. My partner, Dale Jarusik-Wade, must be wondering what the status is. Bless her for her patience.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Inner Christmas

My dear friend Marita who is intuitive and sensitive in a remarkably powerful way, sent this lovely movie to me today. I wanted to share it here on this post. I think it's apropos for anyone who finds this season difficult as I do and for anyone who wants to use this time in a positive way to reflect and set intentions. Enjoy. The Inner Christmas Movie.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Risking sounding like a scrooge, I'm so over the commercialism of the season. One cannot watch television between Thanksgiving and Christmas without being bombarded with slick marketing appeals, annoyingly loud end-of-the-year rants and otherwise mind numbing incessant yakking. Enough already, it's so wearisome. And the pressures of "have to's, musts, and shoulds" is just no fun at all. Oh, the energy drain!

In recent years I've made a conscious choice to keep my holiday as peaceful as possible. And I'm succeeding. I love attending my church and absorbing the tranquil significance of the holiday. Reflecting on the Christ attributes of love, peace, joy, compassion, forgiveness and so forth is my personal path for embracing Christmas.

I adore being a secret Santa for a needy child. Every year the minister at my church contacts social services to find a family that could use some help in providing a Christmas for their children. It's always an adventure for Michael and I to shop for a requested gift, this year being an X-Box game. Very, uh...interesting. We were familiar with the player but oblivious to what kind of game to get a thirteen year old boy to please him and appease his Mom.

This morning Michael and I went over to help out at the horse rescue. What remarkable work they do. Angels come in all guises. It was pouring down rain, however, it was warm and balmy. Later after we returned home, the weather worsened and a line of tornadoes cut a swath through Central Florida. We weren't affected, just getting lots of needed rain. Not so lucky for some, the storms caused lots of damage.

Back to work tomorrow. I'm trying to get to Atlanta to visit my cousin this week. After I return it's a new year, new life, new goals, new attitude, new work, all fresh and promising!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What I Did

Alyson Stanfield, art marketing guru extraordinaire, writes a fabulous e-newsletter which is delivered to my in box for FREE every Monday morning. This week she's urging artists to take stock of what they've accomplished over the past year. Here goes:

  • This year was commissioned-filled like never before, meaning clients want me to create customized works of art for them. As a result, cash flow was, well...flowing.
  • I picked up three new galleries in Aiken, South Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; and Hot Springs, Arkansas with owners that I feel extremely confident about.
  • Bookkeeping became a priority. I devised a system to do it MYSELF and I've been faithfully tracking every penny. This is huge for me and I'm proud of this accomplishment!
  • I took an intensive Bruce Baker workshop in January and my eyes were opened! I now actually enjoy marketing and taking control of my own business.
  • Purchased scaffolding to save my neck painting these huge canvases. I also bought rubber flooring for the studio to cushion my climbing and jumping.
  • The website was completely overhauled by Angee Chase of Webwrx. I'm thrilled with the's says "me" and then some.
  • I started intensively keeping a mailing list and began e-mailing announcements, updates, new work info, exhibits, etc. about once a month.
  • Reading list consisted of positive, affirmative prosperity creating books. One standout was "Treat Yourself to Life" by Raymond Charles Barker, published in 1954. Awesome.
  • Saw many movies - I love them. Huge standout: "The Secret". I highly recommend this film to anyone who desires to control and create the conditions in their life.
  • Was featured artist at Gallery East in February.
  • Participated in group show at Brick City Artist's Association, "Best of the Season".
  • Created program cover and poster artwork for H.I.T.S 2006 and Live Oak 2006. Artwork for Live Oak was used on billboards throughout central Florida. Very cool to drive down interstate and see my painting huge and in the air!
  • Designated Mondays as my business day to call, e-mail, market, do book work, research, replenish needed supplies, etc.
  • Eliminated shows and events that aren't cost effective or profitable. In other words, I said "no" (thank you) several times.
  • At Marion Cultural Alliance's fund-raising project "Block Party" artists were asked to create a 12" square canvas which were later auctioned off. Over 225 canvases were beautifully and diversely created. My canvas received the highest bid and was chosen first. These kinds of blessings assure me that I'm doing the right things in the right way.
  • Ben Baugh (journalist par excellence) wrote a great article about my visit to Aiken, SC which was published in the Aiken Standard local newspaper. I'll also be featured in an upcoming newsletter for the North Florida Farm Credit Union. Also received nods from the Star Banner, Ocala Style, Florida Horse and I gave permission to use some of my images in advertising.
  • Speaking of, advertised in the Thoroughbred Times, a national weekly horse racing trade magazine.
  • Experimented with gold leaf and acrylic (the medium for my "Block Party" canvas). Created three pieces, sold two.
  • Started keeping this blog. Writing about my work helps me focus on my process and reveals intentions, aspirations and inspirations. Even if no one ever reads this, writing is a concrete way of organizing my thoughts and ideas.

In a week or two I'll post a list of my intentions and goals for 2007.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Day Off

Michael and I are finally getting caught up with the unprecedented amount of giclee prints ordered this holiday season. We actually took the afternoon off and visited a park that my dear friend Marilyn had told me about. It's called "Shalom" and it was exquisitely sacred and special. Gardens, forest trails, fish ponds and a mystical labyrinth combined with warm temperatures made for a very relaxing and introspective walk. And hidden in southwest Ocala.

A pond full of koi entertained us as we put quarters in a gumball machine that dispensed fish food. We came upon this tree while walking the labyrinth. It's called Wounded Tree and it had a great scar on the thick part of the trunk.

This is the other side of Wounded Tree which appears healthy.The metaphot deals with wounds experienced throughout life and how we persevere and strengthen as a result, and do we want to hide the scars or share the learning experience. If you've never had an opportunity to walk a labyrinth, it's a contemplative, meditative walk in which the physical action of walking aids in concentration. It connects the mind/body. There is one path into the center which usually has some sort of seat to rest and reflect. You return the same way you came. The path itself is as simple as this one today at Shalom or as intricately designed as a British maze.

I walk the labyrinth at my church, Oakbrook Life Enrichment Center when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I ask for an answer to whatever is troubling me and it's usually revealed by the time I'm finished. Their labyrinth is patterned after the elaborately designed Chartes Cathedral labyrinth.

There was an abundance of this Florida indigenous bush call Beauty Berry. It's a gaudy food source for certain birds who then poop this brilliant fuscia color on your car.

I can never resit photographing a group of horses, especially in waning light. On the way home from Shalom park, we drove by this clan and I got lucky enough to shoot them before they noticed me. The challenge of photographing horses on farms is to be quick, before they spot you, which will inevitably peak their curiosity and they will begin to walk towards you ruining the composition. Their heads turn to you as they say to each other: "Oh look, visitors."

I wasn't as lucky with this photo. It was a horse and this piggy sharing a hay bale together. The horse immediately walked over to greet me. The pig was less interested.

Oh gawd, not another sunset photo. Humor me - winter sunsets in Florida are always spectacular. Tomorrow I get back into the studio to work on just such a fou-fou painting.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's December 12th...

I've mentioned in my advertising and e-cards that December 12th was the last day to order gifts and giclees to ensure a December 24th delivery. This is not to say that I won't still take orders, I can just no longer promise holiday delivery. However, I will do my best. Last year I was still filling orders up until January 10th for holiday gifts. So if you're a last minute shopper or in a quandary about what to get that horse lover in your life, I will gladly mail/e-mail a gift certificate for any amount. Contact me through my website and we'll figure out something together.

Phew! Michael and I have been printing and shipping for two weeks solid. My heavy-duty stretcher bars arrived today to continue with my multi-canvas project. Anxious to get back at it but that will probably be after the first of the year. I finally did a bit of shopping today. As for's eggnog and card writing for me!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Shout Out

On page 19 of this month's "The Florida Horse" magazine is a short piece about the art exhibit that Michael and I are helping to organize. It'll be racing themed paintings and sculpture although some farm scenes are included (as long as they're thoroughbreds). They ran a photo of me standing in front of my big commission piece - the same one that I'm using on the bio of my website. I overlooked including the photo credit for which I truly apologize. It's a great photo by Cindy Mikell who graciously came to my studio and agreed to an artist's exchange for her talent.

We asked our friend Ben Baugh to write the article which will be in next month's issue of "The Florida Horse". He produced an exceptional piece as usual and we're so thankful for his generosity and talent. We've managed to get some top equine artists to participate including Erica Nordean who is the 2006 Kentucky Oaks poster artist, and we're thrilled to get Booth Malone who is the 2006 Breeders' Cup poster artist. It's going to be a strong exhibit.

Michael and I have spent the last five days printing giclees, stretching and shipping. As I mentioned in a previous post, this season the print business is booming for us. Orders are coming in daily and we're working like mad to fill them in a timely manner.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday Sales

In previous years, I've been absolutely inundated with private commissions in the weeks prior to the holidays. I'm painting like a fiend right up until the last few days before Christmas. Business has been different this year. I'm finishing up with the commissions in a timely manner and it's only December 6th. However, the giclee print business is booming like never before. We have 30 or so reproductions to produce this weekend alone and more are ordered daily. This has caused me to contemplate the shift that's occurred this year. Is it due to political influences, the war, the reallocation of power, technological changes, economic mood and the like? I discussed this with some of my artist friends and and surprisingly, they share my experience. One friend said that she usually closes the book on commissions on October 31st but it's still wide open. Hmmm, times are a-changin'. I'm not complaining, I happen to be married to my printer and money is money. One thing you can be certain of in this universe - everything is in a state of continuous flux.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Catching Up

After exhibiting at the Stallion Showcase last Sunday, it was off to Lexington, Kentucky on Monday morning. I dropped off my painting, "Sneaking Off" at Cross Gate Gallery for the traveling exhibit "Masters of Foxhounds". A visit to Fayette Gallery followed, and we negotiated for representation. It was a most successful and rewarding trip.

Because I-75 is insufferably under constant construction throughout Georgia and Tennessee, Michael and I decided to head east towards Aiken, SC. Skirting the Great Smokies was a nostalgic treat for this native New Englander.
The mountains were brown and the trees mostly bare. Leaves thickly carpeted the ground. Memories of winter even though it was unusually warm - mid 60's.

Not only is Aiken becoming quite the center for all things equine, it's also becoming quite artsy. The city sponsored a public art project of painted fiberglass horses a few years back, just like our "Horse Fever" project here in Ocala.

Aiken is so funky. We stopped by Equine Divine to visit with Lydia del Rossi but we missed her. We met our friend Ben Baugh, a journalist at the Aiken Standard, for lunch and got caught up with each other.

We returned home late Wednesday night. Thursday night was the "Block Party", a fundraiser for the Marion Cultural Alliance. This was my entry and it was chosen by the first winning bidder. I am so blessed.

Today we were invited by our friend, Monty Thomas, Jr., to attend a stallion show at their farm "Ups and Downs" in Citra, FL. This is Weekend Cruise, by A.P. Indy. The farm is absolutely beautiful with so many mature live oaks everywhere.

This stallion handler was very competant and patient as this big boy shows off for the crowd.

I'm just so enamored at their powerful beauty. This is what inspires evocative paintings.

On the way home from the stallion show we passed by these bison relaxing in a sandy patch. One never knows what one will see in the tropical plains of central Florida!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stallion Showcase

A pic of my exhibit space at the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers "Stallion Showcase and Equine Trade Show". The weather was perfect and I got to catch up with lots of my horsey and artists friends that I haven't seen for awhile.

View from another angle showing my merchandise table which is quickly depleting. Michael is committing to helping me keep up with the inventory of small-end items. I can't believe I'm almost completely out of t-shirts, mousepads, etc.

When working a show like this, I don't get to see much as I'm busy in my space. I did get out a few minutes to get these photos of Denise Boudrot Hopkins preparing for her comedy racehorse skit. Michael and I knew Denise way back when she was the first leading female jockey riding in New England.

Here's Carole Fletcher with her Peruvian stallion Magnifico. He's just gorgeous and performs elegant "tricks". I think I prefer to call them "movements" as he brings music to mind with such grace. Magnifico has recently been immortalized into a Breyer's model horse!

Tomorrow I'm Kentucky-bound to deliver a painting to Cross Gate Gallery. I was invited by Catherine Ladd to participate in a traveling exhibition of foxhunting artwork. I'm very excited about this and looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stallion Parade

Tomorrow I'm exhibiting at the Florida Farm Managers "Parade of Stallions and Equine Trade Show" here in Ocala. This is A "Not for Profit", Educational and Charitable Organization that does fabulous work. Every year the thoroughbred stallions come out to strut their stuff and there are usually other equine entertainers in the lineup. A silent auction fundraiser offers stallion seasons, gifts, products, services etc. The trade show continues to increase in size with a diverse variety of cool horsey stuff. If you're in Ocala and plan on attending, (oh, and it's free and open to the public) please stop by my exhibit in the big tent and say hi. The timing is perfect with holiday gift giving in mind!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Maggie's race injury is almost completely healed. She never walked sore, it was just painful to the touch. Michael hosed her and did her up in sweats daily. The cold weather is making all the horses incredibly frisky and here, Maggie is poised to explode sideways!

I have so much to be grateful for this year. I've picked up three new galleries - in Aiken, SC, Lexington, KY, and Hot Springs, AR and another in negotiation. I've got terrific clients and friends who support me not only with my artwork but with my career efforts. The work itself is in breakthrough mode. I've been wanting to push this envelope and it's really working. Big! Bigger and bigger! Outgrowing the workspace. Getting out of the studio more to meet and mingle is another goal I'm accomplishing. The website re-do looks terrific thanks to the talents of Angee Chase of Webwrx. Another mural commission is on the horizon for 2007. Lots of travel for shows and promo is in the mix. I'll blog closer to New Year's with a list of intentions for the year. Paintings are all over the place and Michael is organizing a group exhibit of equine art at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners Association for January. He's attracting some strong talent for this one, more on that when it's a done deal.

So thank you Universe for all my blessings. I'm so thankful for all the good in my life now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I believe that race horses run to their names. Consider the names of the big horses this year - Invasor - Barbaro - Bandolini - Lava Man - Gorella. Strong, no-nonsense, in-your-face, powerful names. I just looked over the result charts at Calder for today and I see horses named Chip In A Chair? - Zoobstick? Please.

Maggie is the nickname for Seeking First. Nicknames evolve naturally in accordance with an revealing personality. The character Maggie in the movie "Million Dollar Baby" was a tenacious female prizefighter. Our Maggie walks over people, ever ready, poised to go in a dogged determination whenever approached to train or just go outside. The halter is presented, Maggie is on her way.

In her race last week, Maggie was almost knocked down by the inside horse. She and her rider checked sharply and ended up last by many lengths. She endured this nasty rap, this bruise on her shin and still ran on to finish a very close third. Heart and courage.

Maggie's boo boo. A slight cut, lots of swelling, painful to the touch. Yet she is still jumping and playing around the barn. Resilience.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Update

I've finished three canvases for the multi-canvas project. Only six more to go! Due to the holiday commission crunch time, the project will be set aside for several weeks.

I pulled apart these two canvases and I'm surprised that the gesso is sticking together on the sides. It easily separated when I ran my palette knife between them but it's another perplexing challenge that's a first for me. Now that the image and the application of paint is beginning to take shape, I'm very happy with the direction this is all going. And speaking of paint application, I'm really stepping out of the box with this one. Lots of luscious thick paint applied with brush and palette knife, scraped down, thinned, layered upon layer, scumbled and I have to resist the urge to eat it! Paint for paintings sake.

Maggie finished 3rd at Calder this afternoon (a.k.a. Seeking First). I didn't go down to Miami with Michael as the studio is getting busy. I watched her race on satellite and it appeared that she was badly impeded by the inside horse which caused her to check and drop way back of the pack, maybe 20 lengths. She was totally off the TV screen until a few yards before the wire and then there she was coming on like a freight train! She was in a photo for second, getting beat for everything only about a length and a half. Good girl!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Maggie's In

Maggie's in the 5th race on Thursday at Calder. (a.k.a. Seeking First) I made a little video of her returning after a half mile workout last Saturday but I'm having trouble posting it since switching over to Blogger Beta. I hope they resolve this issue quickly as I love having it right in the blog. If you'd like to see it you can go to Video Google here. Even YouTube won't post it in beta. As usual, I'm bugging the help with my incessant photographing/videoing.

I was commissioned to paint this large canvas, 7'x10'. The clients came to see it this past weekend and were very pleased with the results. What a relief. I'm keeping it in the studio as their home is being extensively renovated. I don't mind, I get to show it to other clients.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Best of the Season

Last night I attended the opening reception for the "Best of the Season" exhibit hosted by the Brick City Artists Association at Central Florida Community College. I juried in with this little acrylic and gold leaf horse head that I tried to sell on eBay. (no more ebay until I learn more about it) The gallery is located at the Webber Center on campus and it's a beautiful space with it's own ambiance. They hung my piece on an end dividing wall by itself and it looked exceptional. I found out today that the theater lighting pro also lights the art exhibits and it looked it. Gorgeous!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Walking Ring

This is one of the paintings that's hanging in the conference room at Farm Credit of North Florida. It was on the cover of the Ocala Breeders Sales Fall Mixed Sale in 2001. I'm surprised that it never sold or was purchased by the powers that be at OBS. It's a light-filled painting with sunshine filtering through the oaks onto the back of the chestnut horse in the foreground. So, I pulled it out of the rack and it looks lovely on their wall.

Don Dean of FCNF writes and produces their quarterly magazine and visited the studio to interview me last week. We had an intriguing conversation which I considered most thought-provoking. He was especially interested in my current multi-canvas project and asked very relevant questions about it. These viable questions challenged my ability to explain my processes and intentions which turned out to be an invaluable exercise for me. Thank you Don!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Update on Multi-Canvas Project

Added another smaller canvas to the right side. This project is fraught (love that word) with technical challenges. When I attached the new canvas it became evident how much the wooden stretcher bars had bowed. They're heavy duty and braced - still they bow. It isn't noticeable until placed up against each other, then a sliver of daylight peeks through. Now I'm wondering about every canvas I've ever stretched. I'm sure our Florida humid weather contributes. I clamped the canvases together tightly with several C-clamps and I think the wood is relaxing into it's original straightness.

Here's the bottom canvas that I leaned up against the easel to get an idea of the scale and direction all this is headed. I'm still concerned with the weight and I won't be able to assemble it in my small studio. My neighbor visited to see what I was working on and he offered his pool house to use as an alternate workspace. Damn considerate of him but the ceilings are still only nine foot like mine.

Things are happening everyday. I received an invitation to participate in a traveling exhibit hosted by Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky. Very prestigious, upscale gallery featuring sporting art. The exhibit will consist of foxhunting artwork.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Breeders' Cup

I spent all of Saturday afternoon, for six hours or more watching the Breeders' Cup like the rest of the racing world. I admit my participation is mostly self-serving in keeping an eye on the events of my clients/potential clients. Interesting to note the circles of direction racing takes, i.e. who's hot, not, rising stars, fading stars, frustrated stars, etc. I found the interview with the owners of Lava Man to be particularly interesting. Can't remember which partner (Dave Kenly or Jason Wood, pardon me gentlemen) waxing philosophical about their rare fortune to claim their "blue collar" horse for $50,000, when indeed, the huge majority of such claims are lucky to yield a resultant $10,000 horse or less. Now there's a realistic investor.

Congratulations to trainer Doug O'Neill. Many years ago when Michael and I had a small stable at Bay Meadows, Doug had one horse right next to ours. He came to the barn very early to get his one horse out and then had to leave to work a job as a cable TV installer. Success could not have happened to nicer, classier guy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ethereal Week

This has been one of those weeks when upon rising in the morning, you hit the floor running , go go go all day, drop into bed exhausted, and still don't seem to accomplish much. Health has been an issue as well. I got some work done on the big "multiple canvas project" until I ran out of two important colors, yellow ochre and burnt umber. Ocala is to be desired in the art supply market, so Sunday I'm driving down to Altamonte Springs to Pearl Paint to replenish. The normal sized tubes of oil won't cut it with me, I need the BIG ones.

I've got some irons in the fire though - a couple of local projects of note that I've put on my calender. I'm going to exhibit at the Stallion Parade next month. I'm entering the "Best of the Season" exhibit at Brick City Artists' Association at Central Florida Community College. I'll submit a concept for the 50th Anniversay Poster at CFCC. I also received an invitation to apply for inclusion in a traveling art exhibit from a very prestigious gallery in Kentucky. And I'll work on my artist's statement for the Weekend Professional Development Retreats for Artists. Also getting my new website tweeked. It needs lots of work but it looks fabulous...check it out:

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Block Party

Here's my finished 12" canvas square that I created for the Marion Cultural Alliance's "Block Party". I don't think they'll mind if I show it, they invited us upstairs to view all of them when I delivered it last Friday. Just a little preview. As I mentioned in the earlier post, the diversity is fascinating. I especially love the entries from the young "serious" artists. Very edgey. Great company. Some artists opted to do more than one canvas, producing mini-triptychs and pushing the boundaries of the canvas edge into a larger statement.

I'm acknowledging this sort of "series" I've undertaken of horse heads and gold leaf. It began as an experiment with the medium of gold leaf but now it's taken on a direction of it's own. As someone who paints very large canvases this small format is a welcome respite. And the challenge of the mediums, acrylic and gold leaf, is a great diversion. I'm also enjoying the detail in the faces. In my large oils, my mission is to depict direction and motion with the brushstrokes, be they fast, sweeping, vague, tentative or bold. I love the accidental properties inherent in the gold leaf. Sometimes relinquishing control is a good thing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Melancholy Day

I delivered my 12" square canvas for the "Block Party" project sponsored by the Marion Cultural Alliance today. Several had already been turned in and it was interesting to see the diversity in style, content, interpretation, etc. This is going to be a unique project. Again, look to Nancy Moskovitz's blog for the details.

Yesterday was a defining moment in love/hate relationships. Howie ran dead last for reasons we're still not completely sure of and he was claimed. Maggie ran a game second to a 3-2 buzzsaw which was overshadowed by our concern and angst over Howie. This is the "business" and one must be ever aware of the possibilities when entering in claiming races. It still sucks. We know the consequence of attachment yet we're still human and we are bonded to these living animals. God's precious race horses, in my opinion. So, I love this game with a passion but I hate this impersonal shift in ownership. All we can do is make their time with us as positive an experience as possible and when they must leave us, say a prayer for their well-being. My heart still aches for their confusion and Michael's deep sadness.

Here's Maggie in her stall after cooling out from her race. I promised the groom not to take any photos before the race (it's bad luck). The racetrack is fraught with superstition and these opinions must be respected.

She's bright and alert looking out from her stall occasionally. Might miss something. I believe that these competitive athletes know when they've performed well.

Michael got a call at about 7:00 pm after the races from a member of the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission stating that the person scheduled to interview on the local radio show in the morning had cancelled and would he mind doing it? An intense drive home back from Miami ensued and we arrived bleary-eyed after midnight. At 8:00 am he showed up at the station and proceeded to conduct a most excellent last-minute interview with NO preparation. I'm so proud of his professionalism in light of yesterday's events.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Getting the Work Out

Pardon my poor photography but I still think this looks cool. Here's "Blue Blinkers" in the conference room at Farm Credit of North Florida. It's at the head of the table and I love the way it reflects in the wood sheen. Dori Morgan invited me to hang some pieces in their newly remodeled offices. I'm grateful for the opportunity as these paintings are stored my studio in the rack. Can't sell them if no one sees them. As I've promised myself, I'm making an effort to get out of the studio and get more involved in the community and also with local art groups and events.

I finished my "block" for the latest project sponsored by the Marion Cultural Alliance. It's a 12" square canvas which will form a patchwork display with 200 other canvases created by local artists. I think this will be a kick. For more info, check out Nancy Moskovitz's blog, she explains the project in detail.

Sent out some e-mails today to some galleries in Kentucky and Virginia. I have an appointment next Tuesday with a gallery in Lexington, KY but I'm a bit apprehensive. I'm trying to pay attention to my feelings and question exactly why I feel this way. They seem luke warm regarding giclees, not because they don't handle prints but they don't want to pay the high-end prices for them. Still prefer colorless, fading off-set lithos. However, I need a solid presence in Kentucky and hopefully they'll want to deal with the originals.

Howie (a.k.a. Howdy Pardner) and Maggie (a.k.a. Seeking First) are both in tomorrow at Calder. I'm going to Miami watch them run this time but it's a flying trip for me, down and back. I really want to be there this time. They're in the 3rd and 8th races, respectively.

My re-designed website is up! It's got some tweaking and fixing to be done but it looks sooo much better than what I had. Kudos to my web guru, Angee Chase of Webwrx. Check it out:

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Monumental Chore

I sent the last page over to my web guru today. What a job. I created and have been maintaining my website for the last eight years and it looks it. Hey, it was adequate back then. I'm just like every other painter, I just want to paint. The old website was so ancient and obsolete (I still used frames). What a job it was to overhaul it.

I consulted with an internet expert about the potential in e-commerce and came to the conclusion that I was really missing the boat of possibility. After I finally decided on the changes and asked myself exactly what I desired the website to represent, be, do and could it also clean my house, I made some sweeping decisions. I used to view the site as a "virtual portfolio" for prospective clients. No more. My web guru, Angee Chase of Webwrx, has helped me with a fresh presentation, beautiful clean design, PayPayl, forms, e-mail software Constant Contact, etc. She also designed a drop dead awesome logo that says ME and then some. It should be up in a couple of days. We'll still have to fine tune it and that's okay, it's going up anyway.

I dumped all the images that I didn't scan or have digital files made. On the new site, if it can't make money, it t'aint there. This is a commerce driven business venture, and I've also found myself overhauling other aspects of my business as well. Interesting. I never thought I'd jump into the fray like this, but I'm actually enjoying this marketing project. I'm reading related blogs, looking up resources for promoting and putting a good chunk of the evening studying ways to sell artwork.

Florida artists take note: I received a postcard in the mail about a 3-day professional retreat for artists in Florida funded by National Endowment for the Arts, Challenge America Program and Creative Capital Foundation in conjuction with the Florida Cultural Affairs Division. The application requirements are challenging such as an artist statement not only describing your work but also your primary motivation, your passion, where you want your career to be in five years and what you see as key opportunities/challenges relative to your artistic career. Not the same ol' same ol'. The retreats will be hosted in two locations with only 24 artists being selected per location. Of course, moi is game and going for it. I feel better prepared after spending a weekend at an intensive Bruce Baker conference last winter.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another Try with E-Bay

I painted this little piece a couple of weeks ago. It's a head portrait embellished with gold leaf. I also embellished the frame. I think it's a little "jewel" of a painting and I enjoyed creating it. I made one last winter which was much smaller and it was snapped up immediately. The only drawback is that it's difficult to capture the true luster of the gold in a photograph. I'm still experimenting with this online auction stuff. That's okay, I'm learning. I'll keep trying different formats until I find one that works. Please feel free to advise. Click here for the auction.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Back on a Horse

Yesterday I went to visit my friend Julie who I used to work with at Wire to Wire. We actually met years ago in California but that's another story. She and hubby Marcos have a gorgeous little five acre farm in northwest Ocala, across and next to millionaire thoroughbred breeders. Julie has two thoroughbreds that she bred, raced, and retired into pets. How awesome. She invited me to go riding. It's been ten years. And yes it is like the bicycle saying - it all came back. We rode down the street past those $$$ farms with yearlings following us along the fence line. Then down a dirt road past more farms. The area is incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Here's Julie hosing down "the boys". When I think about how much time I spend working in the studio I feel like I'm losing out on the joys of life. How pathetic. I love my work with a passion but I'm feeling the weary warning signs of burnout.

If I didn't have the horses for distraction I would become a self-imposed recluse. As it is, there are days and days that I never leave the property. My canoe is turning green and I never made it to the beach all summer.

Julie turns them loose after bathing. Although she has several paddocks, they are free to roam around the property. I've been thinking about this experience and am making a commitment to get out of the studio and enjoy myself. Play. Have some fun. Keep in touch with my great friends. I may even go out to OBS (Ocala Breeders Sales) this week to check out the sales and see who's there.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Beautiful Mornings

Yesterday, my friends Helenea and Steve came to the barn bright and early to watch Howie breeze 5/8ths.
The weather is blessedly starting to cool off here in central Florida. Everything is bathed in golden sunrise and fog.

I'm walking beside Howie as he makes his way down the track. He's got his eye right on me and the camera. Mr. Personality Plus.

Howie's regular exercise rider is Hall of Fame jockey Mary Russ, now Mary Tortora. How cool is that?

Today I've been invited by another friend, Julie, to go riding with her. It's been ten years since I've been on a horse and I can't wait. She has two retired thoroughbreds, Miles and Kimba. It feels so good to be getting out of the studio.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The First Canvases

And so we begin! I sketched out and did a grisaille study. Blocked in some darks and a few details. Choosing the color for the background is always an issue. I want it to resemble the track surface but I also want some vibrancy. Only seven more canvases to go - all attached to each other! I'm really concerned about the logistics i.e. size, weight, etc. Michael says go on with it, we'll figure it out as we go along. That cavalier-game-race track attitude. I'm considering the weight of the heavy-duty stretcher bars all pile up on top of each other and that the project will be over fourteen feet tall when completed. In theory, it's a spectacular piece. In my head it's awesome. Hmmm. I'm figuring how all those canvases will be mounted on the wall while being attached to each other and, how to attach? Sculptors who create huge pieces several stories high must go through this same apprehension. And, I won't be able to assemble it when it's finished in my studio as my max ceiling height is nine feet.

Monday, October 02, 2006

On Familiar Ground (or scaffold)

After shedrowing for three days, Michael decided against getting back on horses. Not that he doesn't have the ability and stamina, he's concerned with his weight. I agree with his decision, althought I understand his frustration with the horses coming up short. I feel alot of changes in the air- expectations and possibilities abound.

I started the huge multi-canvas project. The scent of oil and turps makes everything right with the world. Familiar comfort. Last week I completed a piece that I'll try on e-bay this week. I'm feeling quite intrepid with these online auctions, affirming that I'll figure them out. It's a horse head portrait in gold leaf and acrylic. Developed into a lovely little gem.

PayPal is my new friend.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Real Art

Getting back to the "real" art. I have an intention to pull this equine genre into the mainstream. I know I have the inventiveness, drive and vision. I'm embarking on a very big multi-canvas piece which takes up the entire studio. I love to work at home but may have to acquiesce to a larger work space soon. (Michael covets my space anyway) I just can't step back from it. The canvases loom overhead like aliens peering down and closing in. I'm so jazzed. As much as I'm grateful for my non-stop commission work, I'd love some time to sink my teeth into this project. It's been in my head for a couple of years. Oh yeah.

I absolutely adore and am drawn to ambitious, creative, inventive doer's. (might be the mirroring principle) Kudos to Ben Baugh for a beautiful article he wrote about my trip to Aiken, SC in the Aiken Standard. His writing style is powerful, flowing and brilliant. You are the bomb, Ben. It's going to be interesting to see where this stop takes off for him...and hey, you read it here first...

Speaking of ambition, my better half informed me today that he desires to start getting back on horses. He's about 50 lbs. from where he left off. Eat up your din din Howie. This endeavor begins tomorrow. Story and pictures at 11. (a.m. that is)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hooking up with Virtual Terminal

Did you know that when you open an account with PayPal they offer a service that enables you to take credit cards from anywhere? This includes phone, fax, mail, e-mail or, as an artist, at shows. It's called Virtual Terminal. How awesome. Michael says - "Who didn't know that!" and I'm dating myself.

My web guru, Angee Chase of Webwrx is working diligently on the re-design of my website. I think we both under-estimated the amount of dog work involved but when it's finished it'll be so powerful and dynamic. She "listened" to her client (me) and got a feel for what I wanted to convey. This is an issue that I have with my artist peers who don't listen, don't do research or try to get a feel for the needs of their clients. I've already written about this so I'll spare those who've persevered through my rants.

Maggie finished fourth by a nostril. It appears that she doesn't appreciate horses crowding her from the outside. Blinkers are in order. Michael left her at Calder with Milo this week so that she can get some company to break out of the gate and get her blinker card. She's very green and inexperienced having run only four times. This will be good for her although we already miss her.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Maggie's back in at Calder

Maggie's (a.k.a. Seeking First) in the 4th race on Monday at Calder. Michael always ships the day before so the horses can get some rest from the van ride. It's early Sunday morning and we're waiting for the van which is an hour late. All chores and preparation for the trip are finished. What to do? Photograph playful barn cats.

Maggie strikes a pose while Michael instructs the van drivers


She walks on the van like a good, classy filly. Always game.

Backing into her stall.

Makes friends with the grey.

See ya down there kids!