Thursday, May 31, 2018

Finished (almost) art studio

After several months of being topsy-turvy, my art studio is done - almost.  The walls are painted, the cabinets I ordered came in, and the carpenter installed them and built the shelves above them.  Now, I need the painter to come back and stain them.  However, I've already put things on the shelves.  I figure I can empty the shelves easily when they're ready to do the staining.  I will need Ron's help to get the bulletin boards put back up.  Then I will hang the paintings I want in there - and it will be done.  However, the good news is that it is already ready to be used again - and it HAS been used.

Here is a photo of as the carpenter was finishing up.


I babysat Evey and Bradley Wednesday of last week, and they both completed painting projects at the desks.  I've been out of town since last Thursday - a full week - but I'm ready to get back in the studio again to finish up paintings I've started and do some new ones.

And here are some more photos.  Shelves and drawers are organized and filled. My acrylic station and oil station are both set up and ready to go. The sitting alcove is ready.  I just need to put bulletin board and art work on walls and get shelves stained. Oh!  And lighting installed above each station. 










My studio is back in order - so no more reasons not to paint.

Ceramic Churches on Shelves

I just spent a week at my mother's in Georgia.  While there, I completed one painting.  My mother collects ceramic, wooden, and tin churches.  Most of them have lights inside.  Mother has them lined up on shelves all around her family room and also in other places around her house. The churches are along the tops of shelves.  However, I wanted it to look like like they were on two shelves - one shelf over the other.  So I removed photos from the bottom shelf and added churches.  Then took photos and put everything back where it was.  Here is the photo I used as a reference for my painting:


Then I blocked in basic shapes and started painting.  I forgot to take a photo of the work in progress until I had gotten the basic design on the churches on the bottom row.



Notice I did the bottom row first.  Lesson learned.  LOL!  When I started painting the top row, I kept bumping my arm against the bottom row of churches. Work top to bottom from now on!



Once I finished the churches it was time to go back and do some fine tuning. 




I added shadows behind the churches, and I believe I’m done. I know that there are steeples that are leaning a little, and I changed the design on a couple of them to make them a little simpler - added colorful stained glass windows in several that had clear or simply black/white windows.  Overall, I really like it.  Now I want to work on a poem to go with it.

I may go back and do a little more fine-tuning after it has dried a few days.  I'm wondering if I use oil-based Sharpies if I could get some of the more exact details done.
Oil on 12x12 Gessobord.

(Much later - 6/12/2018)  And here is the poem to go with this painting.  It took me a LONG time to get this poem written - and I could work on it more, but I reached the point of saying, "It's done."


My Mother’s Churches

My mother collects small churches, displayed on shelves and table tops
They’re gifts from friends and family, or treasures found in thrift shops

As a child, at her mill town church, when she was eleven years old
She gave her heart to Jesus, and was welcomed into God’s fold

She married and became a mother -  and, afterwards, a pastor’s wife
Serving churches in Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia - a big part of her life

Later, she became a widow - and studied to be a pastor herself
That’s when she got her first small church and lovingly placed it on the shelf

She was in church for baptisms and weddings, in church for potluck meals and preaching
In church for Sunday School and worship, in church for meetings and for teaching

It’s only fitting she collects churches – churches of ceramic, wood, or tin
Churches symbolize her life’s path, where she worked and where she’s been

The church collection, how it has grown!  It reflects the story of the sacred place
Where a woman we all know and love was “The Church” for others, by God’s grace

~Mary Carol Shaw Johnston, June 2018~

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Plein Air Conference and Expo in Santa Fe, NM

Last month, I spent a week in Santa Fe, NM at the Plein Air Conference and Expo.  It was fun!  Ron went with me.  I've already signed up for next year's conference that will be in San Francisco in late April.

There were 1100 people at the convention.  It was very crowded.  Quite honestly, the demos and lectures were the least enjoyable part of the conference.  There's just no way you can get more out of a painting demo when there are hundreds of people crowded in a room, and you can only see the artist by looking at a monitor.  No personal interaction with the artist.  The expo part was a large ballroom that had vendors for all the major art suppliers.  It was so fun and cool to see all the things available.  I bought paint, bought a mini plein air setup, some brushes, wet-panel carriers, and other assorted supplies and t-shirts.

I had never been to New Mexico, and I learned that high altitudes can really affect one's body!  I didn't have a serious case of altitude sickness (although a few of the conference attendees did!), but all week I felt out of breath and tight-chested. I actually wondered if I might have had a slight heart attack, but dismissed that since I felt okay otherwise - just easily winded. The minute we got off the plane in Dallas on the trip home, I felt completely back to normal. It was just the altitude.

I was initially disappointed that we decided to fly commercial at the last minute because of the weather forecast.  I had planned on taking my paintings for the art exhibit with me, and it was too late to ship them ahead to the hotel. We didn't have room to take the paintings with us on our commercial flight.  So I sold my space for the exhibit to another artist.  However the wind was horrible most of the week.  It would have been dangerous to have attempted the flight in Ron's small Bonanza.  So flying commercial was definitely the right decision.

In preparing those three paintings to take with me, I learned how to very nicely frame a painting.  I'm really pleased with how professional those paintings look (the framing).  I learned how to cover the back with brown paper, and I had stickers to put on the back of each painting - 3 per painting - one for the "story" of the painting, one for the poem, and one for identifying info (title, medium, size, date etc.)




I did two paintings while there.  I started a third one, but it was so bad, I cleaned off the panel entirely.  I also took many photos of scenes I'd like to paint someday.
The highlights of the conference were the paintouts.  We traveled to Chimayo to paint - hundreds of artists setting up all around the village of Chimayo to paint. Ron and I got there early and looked around.  There was a chapel that was hundreds of years old - adobe, small.  There was a room lined with crutches where people had gone to the church to pray for healing and then left their crutches there.  There was a feeling about the place - holy - real.  I immediately went to the altar, knelt down and prayed for Lily. The sense of being on holy ground was overwhelming.  It was surreal in many ways - I was near tears the whole time we were there.  I knew that the chapel was what I wanted to paint.  I still want to work it more - but it is essentially finished.  I love it simply because of the meaning behind it.
Another day we had a paintout in downtown Santa Fe.  I saw this tree right in the center of town and I wanted to paint it.  The background, though, was so busy that I decided to paint a simpler background by painting the building in the far background in the near background.  Artistic license, you know.  There were so many interestingly shaped trees around downtown. There were lots of unique shops, churches, stores and other buildings, too.


I told Ron and my children that after I looked at that tree for a long time it looked like someone upside down with their butt and legs sticking out of the ground. It's kinda funny looking, I think. I still need to finish this painting, too.  When I painted this downtown Santa Fe scene, I had set up my plein air easel/tripod on the sidewalk across from that park. My friend, Sheryl, was painting next to me.  She painted the same tree.  It was an interesting experience to have people walk by and watch me paint.  That happened in Chimayo, too.  It was good to help get me out of being self-conscious. 
I'm waiting for my art studio to be finished, and then I will finish the two Santa Fe paintings, and the other approximately 7-8 paintings that are just waiting for me to have the space to work on them.
The other great paintout for the Santa Fe trip was to Ghost Ranch - where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and painted.  What an interesting place!  I didn't take my paints on that side trip.  I decided I would take photographs and paint later, and I'm glad I did.  If I'd painted, I wouldn't have had the time to do the tour and all the walking around that I did.  Fascinating place!
All in all, the PACE 18 experience was a good one.  I'm looking forward to San Francisco next year.  It will be fun - and I will have the opportunity to see another part of the country that I haven't visited before.

Paint Us! Paint Us! - a painting by Candy Crawford Day

One of the blessings of getting involved in the art community is the opportunity to make connections with other artists. I once wrote that p...