Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I Did 2008

Challenging year for many artists. Still, we managed. Never missed a meal and somehow paid the bills. It was a terrific year for the creative and ambitious to build up inventories of artwork and reassess goals, restructure business plans, sharpen skills and now focus intentions for 2009.

I'm doing okay!
  • Twice featured in Art Business News. With gallery owner Terry Lindsey at Equidae Gallery in Saratoga Springs, NY in January. I was then highlighted as an "emerging artist" in the November issue which attracted multiple opportunities from differing sources. The most attractive is a licensing deal with a couple of large, respected companies - contracts pending...
  • I applied for and was accepted into the 2008 Developmental Workshop in St. Petersburg.
  • Participated in a group equine art exhibit at Gallery Central in Hot Springs, Arkansas. My artwork was featured on the cover of Springs Magazine, a local hip/happening monthly. Gallery also used my artwork for advertising in the Springs Magazine.
  • Participated in my first museum exhibits, the first at the Museum of Florida Art in Deland. The second was a group exhibit with several of my Out of Hand Artists salon members at the Elliot Museum in Stuart, Florida.
  • Speaking of Out of Hand Artists, my salon is stronger than ever and entering it's third year! Most members have benefited from the mutual support and encouragement. Some have demonstrated exciting leaps in their professional careers. Like attracts like.
  • Lisa Wilson wrote a great article about my artwork in the Hot Springs Travel Host Magazine.
  • Recipient of a Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Artist Enhancement Grant.
  • Began exhibiting with the Alec P. and Louis H. Courtelis Equine Teaching Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
  • Exhibited at Great Art and Frame in Tampa at their group equine art show to benefit Bakas Equestrian Center.
  • Exhibited at Equidae Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York.
  • I finally installed my nine-canvas project "Diagonal" in the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Equine Art Exhibit 2008. It hung 15' up the wall and was a show stopper at the opening reception. Featured on the front page (and center) of the Star Banner's Sunday Arts & Travel section.
Here's the biggie that I'm most jazzed about:
  • My biggest coup and most exciting accomplishment was acquiring an audience with NYRA's (New York Racing Association) marketing department at Saratoga. With Michael's help and persistance, I was able to present an impressive promotional package. The powers that be have expressed a genuine interest in my participation as a backstretch vendor at the next meet. There has even been mention of of a long sleeve t-shirt designed by moi.
And of course I couldn't realize any of this without the support of my friends, family, galleries, investors and collectors. Those of you who have faith in my abilities and ambition (even dreams!) are a blessing in my life.
Thank you.

"The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged." - Ovid

Monday, December 29, 2008

Farm Painting Almost Finished

thoroughbred farmUnfinished painting, oil on canvas, 30"x40"

Back in the studio today after a mini vacation to work on this painting for a few hours. I increased the value and contrast on the moss at the top left to make it belong to the foreground tree. I'll also make the horses sun-dappled under same tree. And that horse on the left...you've seen the classical pinned ears of horse portraits by George Stubbs? Just standing there, ears pinned, eyes wild and nostrils drawn back in a sneer - what did Stubbs observe, what was he thinking? An artist after my heart.

george stubbsHollyhock by George Stubbs, c. 1765

Working on the accomplishments list and promise to post before the new year. Stay tuned.

A vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work” - Morris Fishbein

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa or however you choose to celebrate this time of peace.

I'll be tending my organic vegetable garden today, something I'm really looking forward to while Michael smokes a turkey breast. We've chosen to stay home this year and it's a lovely blessing. So quiet and restful. Should hit 80 degrees, a great day to be out in the sunshine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Painting In Progress

I've never met Elin Pendleton but I've been a fan of her paintings for years. It seems she burst onto the "scene" as a equine artist but lately has transitioned into landscapes with horses - beautifully. I found her blog (to the right in my blogroll) by accident. It inspires me.

A few years back I was asked to jury an exhibit of equine art sponsored by the Black Stallion Literacy Project. Elin entered a tiny gem of a horse headed to the paddock at the race track. I recall lots of vibrant grays and energetic brush work. I voted her piece "best of show". The other jurors agreed.

Elin sells these nifty flash cards of eight that represent various times of day. I couldn't resist. The cards illustrate not only the time of day but are also packed with information and suggestions for color, value, and ideas to capture the corresponding light.

I don't paint landscapes nor do I enjoy them. A client has a certain "request" and has granted me plenty of creative freedom. This beginning piece is the farm of my good friend Julie K. here in Ocala. You'll recall that I painted a rare plein air sketch a few weeks back at her place while horse sitting.

thoroughbredBeginning oil on canvas, 30"x40'

I'm using the flash card "late morning, early afternoon" as reference (it's late morning). The flash cards really simplify getting the "feel" of the atmosphere and light. It suggests adding a cool yellow into the sky which makes it greenish. When I read that I thought, yuk, but it really works in a subtle, cohesive way. This painting is progressing quickly.

"Occasionally, I like to select a mentor, a master, and let him guide me through a revision of one of my paintings... I try to move into his terrain, bringing my own ammunition... I do not believe... that this belittles my own personality." - Rico Lebrun

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Year in Review

Last year I wrote a commentary on every goal I set for 2007. I'll not bore you with another long-winded treatise as we are all well aware of the state of affairs in 2008. I will, however, post my accomplishments next week and they are surprisingly many. During the downturn, many of my artists friends as well as moi took advantage of the time to re-focus, re-organize and build up an inventory of artwork. Bring on 2009.

Of course sales were down but my overall spirits and intentions remain optimistic. I learned to shut off the media naysayers and their dire predictions that can invade your psyche on a cellular level. Michael created a "no news zone" to help maintain my concentration. I'm grateful.

I learned to say "no". Wisdom and experience are finally manifesting in my decision making. Galleries and corporations who exploit the over-eagerness of desperate artists are legion. I weeded the non-productive galleries, maintaining strong affiliations in Hot Springs, Lexington, Saratoga and of course here in Ocala.

I learned to say "yes" to the "stepping out of the box" concept. Listening to the wisdom of my feelings has provided wonderful, intuitive assessment of opportunities that reveal themselves from the most unlikely sources. It's all good if one just stays alert and pays attention. I still make stupid mistakes, but I no longer beat myself up over them. There is some truth to the saying "there is no bad publicity". In other words, something positive could actually come from my old bull-in-a-china-shop race track temperament. Be brave.

Gratefulness became a priority throughout the year. Observing loss suffered by others enlightened me to the multitude of gifts and blessings I possess.

Non-judgment informs me that we're all in this together. We cope with our lot as best we can, some being stronger and more resolute than others. Anger and blame is fading from my experience. Oh, I still get pissed off but that outburst is quickly countered with forbearance. Finally. There really are some positives to getting old...

"So, why would I be optimistic about the year of 2009? Because someone will survive this mess and continue to paint, so it may as well be me." - Linda Blondheim

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tree Ornament

I'll try anything - once.

Michael and I are attending a party this weekend for a young engaged couple. The invitation asks that we bring a ornament for their first tree. A light "bulb" went off in my head that a hand-painted ornament would be personal, special.

Christmas tree ornamentAs an artist who generally paints large canvases, this was a challenge. I sat stooped over my drafting table wearing white cotton gloves, shoulders cramping, all the while wondering what the heck has happened to my eyesight.

mares and foalsOh, and of course acrylic paints where in order. Those of you who paint with acrylics, well, I applaud you. As I mixed a perfect color and began to meticulously brush it on, the rest was quickly drying on my palette into a gooey mess.

Ocala, Florida
I'm pleased with the results though. The foals represent the young new love and there are oak trees draped in Spanish moss representing our beautiful Ocala .

"Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home". - Carol Nelson

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Finished Painting

I started this painting a few weeks back. With all the holiday commissions, it was relegated to leaning against the wall of the studio. I'm glad it leaned, I was able to see it with fresh eyes when I returned.

thoroughbred paintingUntitled as yet, 18"x30", oil on canvas.

The two powerful, muscular hindquarters were my focal point, therefore I modeled them meticulously. The rest was painted in single, intentional strokes, provided I loaded up my brush with enough paint. I contrasted the deep neutrals of the horses with intense greens of the turf, repeating the strong color in the saddle towels and a bit of silks in the upper right corner.

horse artThis detail illustrates the one stroke technique. While the paint was still wet, I used the end of my brush to score in the texture of flung grass.

"Art that wants to be felt does not have the need to be admired". - Darby Bannard

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Running with Scissors

When we were kids, my dad would yell at my brothers and I: "Stop that running! Somebody's gonna lose an eye!"

As a grownup, here's how you lose an arm:

gatorIt's called: let's see how close we can get to the very big alligator.

As the one who usually sits in front of the canoe, you could say I'm the very willing sacrificial lamb. Before you dismiss me as a whacked out danger junkie, let me say that I'm morbidly fascinated by these prehistoric holdovers.

For your mild amusement, a couple of very lame shorts. I am just not convinced that I'm actually recording, therefore you'll always get a sky shot early on. Turn on the speakers.


video


video


"Don't taunt the alligator until after you've crossed the creek." - Dan Rather

Monday, December 08, 2008

Doggie's Done

The corgi's are finished and yes, I repainted the ears on the right side dog to the correct actual size. Well, mostly. Maybe a schootch smaller.

welsh corgiCorgi's, oil on canvas, 16"x20"

I made the background a grayed-down violet to pop the many tones of ochre in their coats. Uploading to Google loses something in translation - it doesn't accurately represent the brushwork. The piece is looking somewhat graphic although that could be my lame photography skills. Anyway...

Getting an impression of the personalities of the dogs I never met, I realized a type of intuitive feeling that begins to evolve as the painting progresses. I can say that the dog on the left is friendly, laid back and affectionate. The pooch on the right is the watchdog, nervous and hesitant yet willing. He's intense.

"Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear". - Dave Barry

Friday, December 05, 2008

Season of the Dog

I'm generally protective of my client's privacy, but this commission is for a friend who granted me permission to post. I've received several commissions for dog portraits this year. Actually, more than ever. Doggies rule in 2008 .

The dog on the right has huge ears. I've painted them smaller, however, that may be his endearing quality.

welsh corgiThe start of two beloved corgis, 16x20 oil .

I would rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world” -- Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Coating for Giclees

For those of you who produce giclee fine art reproductions, I've discovered a textured coating that you may find interesting. For the last few years, I've dabbled in various coatings but most have been so-so with mostly cons. But I love this one: Bulldog Impasto. You simply brush it on over the giclee (after applying a UV protective coating) . I must mention, almost all my giclees are on canvas, so I can't speak for other substrates.

giclee reproductionsOkay, my photography is to be desired, but I'm attempting to illustrate the texture. It really adds another dimension. Not requiring that much time, you brush it on and follow the original brushstrokes. Repeat applications are also an option to build up more texture. The product goes on milky (like acrylic mediums) but dries crystal clear. So far, my clients have enthusiastically embraced it. Makes those affordable reproductions further mimic an original piece of art.

The Bulldog Company may or may not send you a sample. They did for me but I an a client of their canvas and coating products. Worth asking for anyway.

"Texture adds variety and visual stimulus to the surface of a painting". - Britton Francis (and giclees)

Monday, December 01, 2008

My Brief Foray into Plein Aire

This past weekend Michael and I had the pleasure of horse sitting at our friends' beautiful little farm here in Ocala. Two retired thoroughbred runners take up chief residence, along with cats, myriad birds, squirrels and raccoons, all of which we were most willingly required to attend to.

Several plein aire artists comprise my salon group, Out of Hand Artists. These painters are fully engaged in the activities of landscape painting - jurying into exhibits, winning countless awards, participating in paint outs, etc. So, to a studio painter such as myself, this is a major curiosity. Am I tempted to test the waters? Indeed, but with utmost respect and reverence to my peers.

I packed up my gear to participate after a morning feed. Standing on a three foot tall wash rack overlooking the horse's day paddock, I dove in. First, I realized that I hadn't applied a ground to the canvas paper I chose as support. Glaring white beamed back at me. Second, I realized I had forgotten my Liquin - no medium other than turps to use.

Working quickly, I covered the canvas paper with a neutral tone. Horses are awful models, and as rapidly as I sketched them, they rapidly moved about. I tried to paint them from memory, however, their continuous movement was such a distraction that my canvas paper quickly turned into a muddy mess.

There is a love/hate thing going on between these two horses who are half brothers. Oh, and did I mention the light that changed drastically every five minutes?

ocala thoroughbred horse farmPlein aire painting (sort of) oil on canvas paper, 8.5"x 5.5"

I admit that I worked on the horses back in the studio. They stood statue still on the easel.

"Do console your poor friend, who is so troubled to see his paintings so miserable, so sad, next to the radiant nature he has before his eyes"! - Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kentucky Derby Artwork 2009

Here's the official Kentucky Derby Artwork for 2009 by artist Jeff Williams.

kentucky derby artwork 2009And here's 2008 artwork, by artist Trish Biddle.

kentucky derby artwork 2008I must tread lightly as I certainly ruffled a lot of feathers with last year's post, although I thought my opinions were quite reserved. Decide for yourself: Kentucky Derby Artwork.

I don't see much differentiation between the two pieces. Appearing as if painted by the same artist with similar palettes, there's so much...beige. Same art deco style, same fashion emphasis, same ladies hats representing the roses of the Derby and lilies of the Oaks, same wealthy-for-a day fantasy. The celebrated horse race plays a distant, insignificant role. If you peruse the individual artist's websites, you'll find lovely, whimsical, strong artwork. So, why is the Derby artwork so bland? And so alike?

Most annoying is the bored, disinterested depiction of the "fashionistas". Stereotypically turning their backs on the most exciting two minutes in sports.

OMG, is it over yet?
kentucky oaks artwork 2009As if our passion is exclusively a male bastion of cigars and bourbon. Maybe back in the art deco epoch.
kentucky oaks artwork 2008Even Britain's Her Royal Majesty the Queen will trample the poor blokes who dare stand between her and the races. Even my own dear mother would elbow those blocking the entrance to the winner's circle.

Money, horse racing and women, three things the boys just can't figure out. - Will Rogers

Friday, November 21, 2008

Art Business News Emerging Artist

This large rock resembles the one I crawled out from under this morning....down with a wicked cold...all better now, however, what an imposition! The only good thing, if any be declared, is getting caught up on all the reading material. Read, doze, read, doze. Perhaps illness is a way of the body forcing rest on those who won't...

art business newsI would have participated in gleeful celebration upon receiving this news if not for the aforementioned: I'm featured as an "Emerging Artist" in this month's edition of "Art Business News". Yeah! I'm quite honored with the distinction.

The Free Online Dictionary defines "emerging" as:
Newly formed or just coming into prominence; emergent: as in emerging markets; the emerging states of Africa.

I thought I had emerged years ago but I'll not dicker over semantics.

Its plot is loose and tortuous and will take some time for its stars to emerge.” - Alan Hamilton (how gloriously melodramatic!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Artists Do Lunch

It was my great pleasure to finally meet landscape painter Linda Blondheim today. I've been a follower of her blog for a long time, and she is just as articulate, wise and generous with her vast knowledge of all things art in person. Joining us was my good friend, artist Jackie Schindehette. Both Jackie and Linda are Florida landscape painters, however, their style of painting and approach is so distinctly different. Check out their blogs to the right. And...both are terrific marketers of their work so you can imagine the exchange of ideas, suggestions and brainstorming that was bantered about over lunch. How refreshing to be in the company of real pros making a living with their art careers.

After lunch, we headed over to the FTBOA to view the equine art exhibit.

landscape artistsl.-r. moi, Linda and Jackie

Linda lives north of Gainesville, so we all agreed to meet again - this time in the Tally Ho wagon of the Misty Morning foxhunting club!

"When people are like each other they tend to like each other". - Anthony Robbins

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rear of the Horse

horse racing artOil wash, 18"x30"

A new painting begun. I'm inspired by the shod feet in mid stride, flinging up the dirt or turf (or synthetic stuff). Painting feet is always a challenge. Mighty little triangles offset and extremely flexible, capable of excessive angles of unnatural proportions. Supporting immense weight. I'm mesmerized by the super slow-mo videos illustrating the completion of the stride. You've seen them, when their feet wobble like ball joints in mid air.



I also want to illustrate the powerful muscles in the hind quarters. If you must, yes, I'm painting horses asses.

“Anatomically speaking, they run on their toes. That makes them very fragile. A human being would have to put his weight on his middle finger to duplicate the proportion of weight the horse hoof supports as it hits the ground". - Lawrence R. Soma, professor of anesthesia and clinical pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine


Monday, November 10, 2008

Florida Cracker Horses

That little dark speck is a wild horse on Paynes Prairie, between Ocala and Gainesville. He's been hanging out very close to State Rd. 441 for several months. I've spotted him three times. Probably a stallion that's been run off from the main herd by a younger, stronger stallion.

cracker horseI chirped, yelled and waved my arms but I couldn't get his attention. Therefore, Michael thinks he's stuffed.

Paynes Prairie is home to a wild herd of "cracker" horses descended from the Spanish Iberian horses of the sixteenth century. It's believed that Ponce de Leon brought these horses to America on his second trip to Florida. The name "cracker" is derived from the sound of the bullwhips used to round up cattle. Either from escape or release, vast herds of these horses as well as wild cattle roamed Florida from the seventeenth century into the turn of the twentieth century.

The horses were re-introduced into Paynes Prairie State Park along with American bison to restore the park to pre-European conditions. Yes, while hiking through the park, it's possible you'll come face to face with bison (I have, and they are HUGE and overwhelming). Bison were actually indigenous to Florida until the early 1800's. And you thought we were just about alligators...

Here's a great photo I grabbed off Flickr of the Paynes Prairie wild horses...

Paynes Prairie"...through his mane and tail the high wind sings, fanning the hairs, who wave like feather'd wings". - William Shakespeare



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Meow

In Siamese, it's more like mrrrrrrrrrooowwww.

Here's the dude, finally immortalized in paint. I showed him the canvas and he was downright rude. Yeah, whatever, chop up some chicken liver woman...now!

Siamese cat"Chow" 8"x10" oil on canvas

He may be a harsh judge of my artwork, but a more loyal and loving companion doesn't exist, though he'll never admit to it. See that expression? That's how he tolerates my rants, stupid ideas, depression, fears, insomnia and my general tendency to be clueless in all things important.

"There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person." - Dan Greenberg

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Millions

Better Than HonourI was riveted to HRTV tonight watching the Fasig-Tipton's Selected Fall Mixed Sale in Lexington. While the world markets continue on a riotous roller coaster ride and global economies groan to their knees, millions and millions of bucks flowed through the better horse racing sales department. Encouraging and hopeful for a business severely affected by the economic downturn and also suffering image problems of major proportions.

I was on the edge of my couch hoping Better Than Honour (pictured) would surpass the sales record of The Green Monkey. Didn't happen but 14 mil isn't too bad for a 12-year-old broodmare not in foal. I won't go into the stats of how much or who, you can look all that up yourself and catch up on the connections who were basically buying their own horse at dispersal. My interest is much more self-serving. I'm inclined to the current "spread it around" theory, especially when applied to investing in horse racing art.

Ambition is like love, impatient both of delays and rivals. - Buddha

Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31st, 1980 - October 31st, 2008

If you read the title, that's a span of twenty-eight years which is how long Michael and I have shared a ball and chain. That's right, we married on Halloween. Not only that, it was between races at Calder Race Course. Let me explain:

We thought a Halloween wedding would be over the top. We had two horses in that day, one in the first and the other in the last. After cooling out the one in the first, we rushed over to the race track chapel. Prepared with marriage license and blood tests, we approached Rev. Holzemer, race track chaplain at the time (bless him), and requested that he marry us quickly, as we had another horse to run. To say he was taken aback is an understatement. Patiently, he informed us that the state required two witnesses. Michael glanced around and dashed over to the HBPA to enlist the secretary, Mrs. Michael, followed by a short jaunt over to A.E. Cohen, the race track mercantile, to beg witness for our ceremony. They both acquiesced and Michael and I fondly refer to our "kosher" wedding.

Romantic? Not so much. Cheap? You bet and sans the complaining family, endless planning and pouring over ridiculous detail. Neither horse won that day but do you think we cared?

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.- Paul Sweeney

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Louise Nevelson

louise nevelsonA few posts back I raised the question of inviting ANY three living people to dinner. One comment came from artist extraordinaire Bonnie Luria of the St. Croix-nicity blog at right (check it out, one of my very favorite blogs). She stated that she would consider Louise Nevelson - believing she is an "iconoclast, an original". Even though Ms. N. has passed on, Bonnie got me reminiscing. Nevelson was alive and on fire in the New York art scene back in the early '70's when I was a student. An authentic pioneer, totally innovative and a flamboyant talent, I easily recall her matte black found object pieces at MOMA. "Sky Cathedral" is impressed on my brain forever and informed this young art student that there were infinite impressions of space and form, and that everyday materials could be arranged in compelling, provocative and genius original expression.

So, I'm further inspired to read the bio: Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life. About a third of the way through, I'm amazed at how she escaped from stereotypical wifedom/motherhood in the '30's to travel to Europe to study with Hans Hoffman (the push-pull theorist). Speaking of Hoffman, my painting teacher studied with Hoffman at the Art Students League. It took me many years to really understand what the hell push-pull meant in a painting.

Nevelson didn't acquire real fame until into her sixties, so there's still hope for me!

sky beauty"Sky Cathedral" - Louise Nevelson

"I never feel age... If you have creative work, you don't have age or time". - Louise Nevelson

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feline Subject

Many people have asked me if I've ever painted my cats. Brushing it off as being too focused on my business of producing horse racing artwork, slow times have invited experimentation (in case you haven't noticed lately). And they're soooo endearing to me...why not?

Here's why...siamese catMy beloved Siamese is the one I'd really love to immortalize in paint (blue eyes, charming regal personality). I respect that he hates to be photographed but this is ridiculous.

Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”- Andre Dubus (remind you of any cats you know?)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fun with Photoshop

Babush and I are like-minded girlfriends these days. We'd like nothing other than to just laze around in the cooling breeze and ponder what's for dinner...

calico catOld 35mm photo of Bay Meadows, circa 1990 with Michael galloping a horse on the training track. That's the dreaded 101 freeway in the background in San Mateo, California. Bay Meadows is now defunct and I wonder what's becoming of all my memories - the great, the terrible, and the bizarre. Oh the 90's drama ...
bay meadowsI scanned the photo and pulled it into Photoshop to manipulate with all those intriguing, wacky filters. Accidentally discovering a warm fog-like image, I decided that it would make a good oil sketch to test out an Ampersand Gessobord I purchased. I've been testing several different panels for another multi-piece project I have in the cooker. The panels must be rigid and this one is cradled, meaning it has a two-inch deep frame. Surface is akin to sanded pastel paper. I like it the best so far.

The paint is still very wet and I'll have to re-shoot in a few days when the shiny areas blend in...

ampersand gessobord As yet untitled, 11"x14" oil on panel

Michael was a "big boy" in exercise terms and I made him smaller, jock-like. Originally opting for this analogous color scheme to test out a tube of iridescent copper oil I purchased from Gamblin, it dries VERY quickly and gets VERY tacky and yucky. Interesting results were obtained with mixing in various colors, however, but I became focused on the hot cadmium colors and soon forgot all about it. It sits neglected on my palette for now.

So easily distracted...

Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.
- Steven Wright

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Florida Suntan Club

As the weather cools here in central Florida, sunbathing becomes a pleasurable pursuit. The sweltering temps have subsided and the Silver River is swamped with members and their guests in this sub-tropical resort. Come early as the best spots are claimed quickly.

turtlesIn the euphoria of sun-kissed bliss, unlikely romantic liaisons often occur. Sometimes the emboldened advancements are embarrassing...

turtle and anhingaWater aerobics are popular. Yoga and other stretching exercises are encouraged.

water aerobicsIf you prefer solitude in the sun, consider your own private island, available to elite members on demand.

alligatorSerious athletic-types enjoy access to unlimited space and opportunity for long distance swims.

gator swimmingWhen you come right down to it all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. All the rest is nothing. - Pablo Picasso

Friday, October 17, 2008

Legends of Racing

Tomorrow's fourth race on the card at Santa Anita is an allowance providing mounts for the "Living Legends" - Hall of Fame champion jockeys coaxed out of retirement. They be: Pat Day, Julie Krone, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Chris McCarron, Angel Cordero Jr., Sandy Hawley and Jacinto Vasquez - it can't get any better than that. Not just an exhibition race, it's the real deal with pari-mutual wagering.

I received an e-mail today from my friend Tom Chapman out in California who is himself a former race-rider turned terrific artist. He's painted a fantastic, and I mean *fantastic* depiction of some of the legendary characters squeezing back into various silks.

living legends
The piece is an absolute hoot, and you can read more about it here, including Tom's inspiration and ideas on his website. Giclees of the original are also available.

Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ''the rat race'' is not yet final. - Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Experimenting

One of the many benefits of my artists salon, "Out of Hand Artists", is the inspiration gleaned from each other. Gathering together at different members studios every other week is something I really look forward to. We exchange information, network, fill each other in on what's occurring in the arts and with ourselves, support and suggest, drink wine and just be a group of professional artists in very good company. Did I mention we all kick back with a glass or two of wine?

OoHA member Carlynne Hershberger creates highly textured, beautifully pigmented abstracts that give reference to tangible places in nature, but mostly exist in luscious form, movement and color. She and her studio/workshop partner Kelli Money Huff published a North Light Book last year, "Creative Colored Pencil Workshop". But the book is about much more. Inside you'll find fascinating exercises combining colored pencils with other mediums and of course - finger loving texture.

You could say Carlynne inspired me to put away the oils for a bit and play.

horse painting"Cavorting" 10"x13", mixed media

The image was rendered in acrylics which are not my medium as the oiler in me wants to work wet-in-wet. I found my way around that dilemma by using a very large brush, painting simply and quickly. But the real fun was going crazy with the texture. Applying both silver and gold leaf, glass beads acrylic texture gel along with a bit of black lava texture gel and many layers later, I was smiling. I felt as good as the horse kicking up the glass and metal surf.

"Paint like you're retired." - Carlynne Hershberger (Carlynne and Kelli's blog can be accessed at my list to the right.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dinner Guests

If you could invite any three living persons to dinner, who would you ask? That's the question posed by Katie Couric last night to the presidential candidates. Which of course, spurred my noggin into gear...who would I ask?

Warren Buffet, for his phenomenal knowledge of money and his generosity in sharing said knowledge. Deepak Chopra for my spiritual fix. And then I thought about who I'd invite from the art biz, a mentor type, an icon, a mover and shaker. Reality check...all my heroes have passed on. Try as I might, I couldn't think of a single art-related person from whom I would glean insight, great knowledge, or the secret to flaming art world success. Someone who'd exude an aura of gigantic significance over mashed potatoes. You know, the person who's aesthetic brilliance and insight would leave us all jaw-dropping spellbound.

So, who would YOU ask to dinner? And you artists out there, what art biz celebrity/sage/business icon is worthy of one of those precious three invites? Perhaps you would choose someone local, closer to you who has created a significant impact on your art career.

"The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it". - Author Unknown


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Reception at FTBOA

A few photos of our reception at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association last Wednesday evening. Courtesy of photographer Steve Floethe and Ocala.com.

florida thoroughbred charitiesRealtor Lorrett Fisher, Quarter Pole Tack Shop owner Jim Au and realtor Becky Faircloth.

florida thoroughbred breeders' and owners' associationMy book partner Dale Jarusik and a couple of art lovers.

equine art exhibit 2008Friends and art lovers in front of my painting "On the Grass".

horse paintingsSculptor Mindy Colton with one of her bronzes.

equine artAnd of course moi in front of my nine-panel piece, "Diagonal".


-on seeing his 1967 retrospective
"It gives me the feeling that I should continue heading in the direction I am taking". E. J. Hughes



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Reception Tonight

The opening reception for the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Equine Art Exhibit 2008 is today, October 1st. Viewing begins at 2:30 with a "meet and greet" the artists between 4:30 and 6:30. All this takes place at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association at 801 SW 60th Ave. in Ocala.

Michael has assembled a diverse group of artists representing painting styles from realism to abstract. Same for sculpture. Besides my huge piece "Diagonal", I've added this painting that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

thoroughbred painting"On the Grass" oil on canvas, 34" x 60"

I'm pleased with the color. Throughout the years I've studied Johannes Itten and Josef Albers along with color field painters Ellsworth Kelly and Morris Louis. I recall a painting teacher making us cut up expensive Color Aid paper for projects to duplicate Itten's color theories. His book "The Art of Color" became my studio bible.

In the last few years I've discovered a modern colorist, Nita Leland. Not academic as the aforementioned, her book "Exploring Color" is still fun to browse through.

"Only those who love color are admitted to its beauty and immanent presence. It affords utility to all, but unveils its deeper mysteries only to its devotees". - Johannes Itten

Monday, September 29, 2008

Great Shout Out

As Michael and I were hanging the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Equine Art Exhibit 2008 last week, we were interviewed by Lashonda Stinson Curry, entertainment features writer for the Ocala Star Banner local newspaper. In her reliably excellent journalistic style, she covered our show with insight and articulate observation. A fabulous story resulted that you can read about here. Unfortunately, the online version doesn't illustrate the fantastic photographic spread featured on the "Arts and Travel" front page.

Many thanks to Lashonda, photographer Erica Brough and the Ocala Star Banner!

Publicity, publicity, publicity is the greatest moral factor and force in our public life” - Joseph Pulitzer

Friday, September 26, 2008

Installation

Michael and I have spent the last week preparing for the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Fall Equine Art Exhibit 2008. You see, Michael as curator must attend to all the paperwork involved in addition to acquiring the artwork and fielding phone calls. Events Coordinator Betsy Whitaker and Public Relations Coordinator Meredith Woods have lent their invaluable help with all facets of organizing this event.

florida thoroughbred charitiesMichael has his hands full. Not to mention his wife dumps the monumental task of hanging her huge nine-panel piece, "Diagonal" It took almost two days and required a lift to install the upper canvases.

sharon crute diagonalThere were logistics of weight and balance to be considered. During creation, I often pondered how the heck we'd hang the ever growing artwork but was told..."just paint it and we'll worry about that later". Uh-huh, as one canvas begets another and another.

A request that we minimize the impact on the wall led to further challenges. The bottom third of the piece is suspended with the gallery hanging system and the top third is secured directly to the wall.

horse racing artThe back of the canvases are secured with t-braces and the top three pieces are reinforced with one long horizontal aluminum brace. Because the gallery hanging system would not allow the cohesive unit that I originally intended, a bit of velcro and tape secured the transition into the top canvases. Of course, this won't be an issue when permanently installed.

"A painting that makes me stretch beyond the comfortable and easy is one that makes me want to paint more. Too many of the easy ones and I'd be looking for something else to do". - Gary English (I hear ya, Gary)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tile Experiments

The task of tiling the shower is now upon me. I thought it best to do a few test runs. I've never tiled anything, but I thought, heck, it's not rocket science. Sure, the pros could show me some techniques and shortcuts, but I'll jump in with both feet and see what this thinset and grouting is all about.

terracotta planterFirst project - a small terracotta pot. The fun part is smashing up the tiles and then embellishing with found objects. Here, I've added marbles (see, I haven't lost 'em all). I purchased terracotta stained grout to match the pot. The bromeliad is thriving in it's new stylish digs.

terracotta paversOn to large round pavers with my big foot to illustrate scale. These will go out into my garden, however, the grout instructions call for a 21 day wait. Until then, they pretty-up my concrete studio floor. Hmmm, arty stepping stones throughout the studio?

tilesYou can add just about any found object or use stuff that's piling up in the junk or jewelry box. Those round opalescent objects are too-heavy earrings along with a few sterling and plastic beads. One must be mindful of small things that will be swallowed up by the grout.

You can forget about placing another tile on the roof of your country house. - Monique Gadaud
(huh? what about my marbles?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

North-South Bovine Theory

A scientific report released last month disclosed that cows and other types of grazing animals have a knack for aligning themselves with the poles of the planet. Most face north and about 1/3 face south.

cows facing northYup. I'll never look at a herd of cows the same ever again. From now on, upon spotting these languid creatures out my car window, I'll be searching for the position of the sun and other directional clues to test out this theory.
cows aligned north and southNotice there's a few rebels in the herd. Those that graze on their own terms, refusing to follow the herd. Are these the visionaries? The creatives? Or are these the bad girls who can't help being naughty and contrary...

bisonDeer also participate within these uncanny sensory parameters. Do bison?

Okay, before you dismiss me as udderly corny and silly, wait...if you share the humor of an eight year old as I do, prepare yourself for:

Q. Why did the roping horse head west?
book previewA. He wanted to see Cow-la-fornia!

No longer diverted by other emotions, I work the way a cow grazes” - Kathe Kollwitz (and now facing north, no doubt)