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There aren’t too many good things to be said about moving.  It is first of all an awful lot of physical work, so who likes that?  And secondly, the “finds” in the studio are mostly either plain yucky or strange and puzzling.  There are the dead and desiccated flies hidden in corners and on the window sills.   For the life of me I can’t remember why I have a rather large box of rhinestones in varying sizes and colors…but keeping those just in case.   Likewise, there were the google-eyes…I remember the project, a google-eye covered lampshade (quite chic) for a charity auction but why would I have saved all the leftover eyes?  They’re gone.  Uncovered a plethora of paint tube caps from long gone tubes of paint…different brands, different sizes…which made some sense since the floor in my old studio had gaping holes, not so gaping that I would fall through but gaping enough to swallow paint caps, small change and once my studio keys when I dropped them…all gone to a special place, never to be seen again.  There was the small leak in the ceiling that I never knew about until I moved a stack of lovely drawing paper, lovely no more but apparently quite absorbent.  The culling of paintings and drawings was definitely necessary, nonetheless I had to keep reminding myself of a long ago newspaper review of a retrospective that said, as best I remember:  Obviously Artist Joe Blow never threw anything away!

I did find a stack  paintings that I’d forgotten about or chose to ignore. Some were canvases meant to be painted over (which I mostly cut up and tossed) and a few were canvases that were meant to be finished when the weather changed or when spirit moved me or  when I decided what exactly the muse was trying to say, and  there were some just turned against the wall for who knows what reason.  This is one of those paintings….

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Seattle Studio finally empty

Seattle Studio finally empty

If someone tells you that you have too many art supplies, for God’s sake, listen.   They are not jealous of your well stocked studio.  They are not coveting your art supplies nor questioning your expertise in multiple media.   They are not even (one hopes) plain, old ordinary mean and critical.   And while they may sound a just a tad snarky, they probably like you and mean well enough.   Probably.  My guess is that they are just afraid that you are going to ask them to help you move all that stuff from your old studio to your new one.   They’re not being  preachy, sarcastic or derogatory, they’re  just watching for that sucker punch….

The cabinet I wish I could have kept!

The cabinet I wish I could have kept!

To my surprise two of my friends actually volunteered to help me move, not counting the always pleasant Mr. T who had no choice in the matter.  But because I valued their friendship, of course I said Thanks but no, I’ve (meaning we’ve) got it covered.  What I didn’t but should have realized is that Mr. T and I have totally different moving styles.  I carefully study each item, deciding whether or not it should be kept or tossed.  He is of the “Toss it in a box, move it and decide later!” persuasion.  Between the two of us, we managed to be out of the Seattle studio at the end of January.  But, sweet heaven above, the chaos in the new studio has to be seen to be believed.

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Valentine's Day project

Valentine’s Day project

Mr. T and I spent Valentine’s Day in the new studio putting up and then painting peg board.Were we tired?  You betcha!  But not so tired that we couldn’t spend a romantic evening with a take out pizza and a bottle of red wine, dressed in our classiest  jammies in front of the tv.

 

 

 

December

Annual December madness is upon me…I’m not spending enough time at the studio and too much time at the post office…not memorizing the wanted posters as you might think, but mailing packages and buying stamps just in case I manage to get out holiday cards this year.   I didn’t manage to do that last year or the year before and I’m pretty sure not the year before that, so the perfect, carefully chosen cards will soon be candidates for the Antiques Road Show.

Star Dust & Cookie Crumbs

Star Dust & Cookie Crumbs

When I do go to the studio I pack a little, then paint a little, and then pack a little more.  These two paintings are both acrylic on canvas.  Winter Bouquet is a small painting ( 20″ x 16″)  and obviously (although not so obvious to me when I was painting it) influenced by the twinkling  Christmas lights… or perhaps the twinkling sugar on Christmas cookies… or perhaps the twinkling in the always pleasant Mr. T’s eyes as he happily plans my Christmas morning surprise.

Winter Bouquet

Winter Bouquet

Wishing joyous twinkling to you all this holiday season!

Au revoir, Seattle

After more than two weeks of the temperatures dropping below freezing, a tiny but nasty bit of snow and ice (hopefully the last of the season) and  blustery winds from the north I’ve decided to really and finally and at last move my studio south…to lovely Burien By The Sea.  I truly hate the thought of moving the studio since I love the SoDo location, but adding anther space heater (the fourth!) into my unheated and un-insulated studio only managed to raise the temperature to 65 after several hours and to that I say, “Ah, phooey!”  My new studio space has lower ceilings (too bad!) and equally bad lighting, but is slightly larger and very, very much warmer…but having to say good-bye to coffee-and-a-cookie at the incredible Macrina Bakery is going to break my heart.  I’m starting the  Pack Or Toss now, but will make the actual move in January when it will, most certainly,  be dark, cold…and raining.

The Snow Falling On Our Skin

The Snow Falling On Our Skin

This is the third oil on Yupo.  It started out a tad more romantic, but I was temperature-influenced and sorely cold-bit while painting.   I envisioned this painting as a sweet little (well, not so little since the Yupo measures  28″ x 40″, but definitely sweet) valentine but regretfully it morphed into a survivalist statement.  Sometimes paintings have a mind of their own.

I’m now on my third Yupo and oil stick painting, only to find out from them that know that this is not a good idea…something about chemical reactions and solvents and deterioration  (the paintings, not me.)  Too bad and so sad and am not quite certain what to do now with all that Yupo…too transparent for wearing, too thin for insulation, and too stiff for toilet paper…a conundrum,  for sure. Here is the first Yupo and oil stick painting…I was having a mighty good time painting it and it shows in these jolly jellybean colors. The always pleasant Mr. T pointed out (very carefully, I might add) that it really didn’t look like one of my paintings. Quite right, as I am not normally this cheerful. 003 This is the second painting, still happy, happy, crazy happy but a little more like my normal painting style. I started out with a teapot and a daisy, but it morphed.   Just as well, I suppose. 002 The third painting is not yet fit for human eyes to see,  but it is coming along nicely. Too bad it may fall apart faster than me.

Woke up yesterday morning to rain…at last!  It has been dry and sunny for so long in Seattle that I’ve been feeling like a broken potato chip.  Maddie, the pretty good Airedale, has totally forgotten rain and staggered through her morning walk as though it were her final mile.  Enzo, the tiny terror from L.A. who remembers everything he’s ever seen or smelled,  was thoroughly disgusted with the whole wet thing and did some serious canine grumbling, and the always pleasant Mr. T and I both got our socks wet dragging the beasties through the puddles (hot damn, puddles!)  It was a very good morning, indeed.

I love this time of year…this break between summer and winter.   In the studio this is that special time between running the fans and running the space heaters, and that means I can happy dance without the fear of a broken body part from a cord trip.  As the days get shorter and darker, I find my work becoming lighter and more serene…when I look at old paintings I might not remember what year I painted them but I can immediately tell you the time of year…dark and intense…had to be July.

 

Superman Picks Flowers For Lois Lane

Superman Picks Flowers For Lois Lane

 

Above is an acrylic painting from awhile back…it was lost in my computer for awhile and I finally found it again…must have been a summer painting.

It is unseasonably warm and dry here in Western Washington, to the happy amazement of sandal-footed Seattleites, most of whom have been eyeing his/her sandal socks since the first of September.   I’m still working in the studio wearing sandals sans socks, windows wide open and two fans a’blowing, with oil paints…and wondering what I’m going to do when the weather finally changes.

Still Life With Sticks

 

A friend recently gave me some oil sticks which I thought I could use like giant oil pastels…not quite!  I have some 28″ x 40″ sheets of Yupo (best described as very, very thin and bendy sheets of plastic or very, very thick and stiff sheets of plastic wrap) that have been gathering dust in the paper rack for years, which I’m using for my oil stick experiments.  The oil sticks stick to the surface well enough…it kind of “slicks” on… but I’m not sure that the paint won’t crack when I finally finish layering.   There’s a nice smeary, finger-painty feeling to these oil sticks, at least on Yupo,  that makes them kind of fun.  There are four different brands of oil sticks (maybe more, but that’s what I have) and each one feels and works differently…the Senneliers seem the softest but the other sticks might just be older and dryer.  Don’t know and, perhaps, I should find out.  The fastest way to learn about them, I suppose, is to find another artist who uses them and ask careful and useful questions…but where, in that, is the joy of discovery?