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.