The place I grew up was heavily wooded. It offered a place to escape, play, build forts and feel free. I had a route that I followed through the woods. In the winter it led to a frozen swamp that I skated on. In the summer I went to an outcropping of huge rocks that tilted towards each other to make a cave. It was one of my many secret retreats. I would always leave something in the cave like a button or ribbon. When I came back the next day it would be gone! Someone, animal or person was taking my cave offerings! Pretty sure it wasn’t a person.
This doesn’t look exactly like my cave but it’s close. Plus I can’t really remember seeing any purple trees in upstate NY. http://sales.penzart.com
I saw one of my neighbors walking her dog. We stopped to chat and she said she was engaged to be married and that they had bought a place in the city. It was so sweet. We talked about her moving on and becoming an adult. I thought about my life as I draw little kitty-cats on a stone wall talking to the moon. Am I un-adulting? Do we revert, getting mentally younger as we age? Will I be going all the way back to finger painting and crayons? This drawing and several others are from a children’s story I wrote recently about a cat that worries she’s losing her home and her best friend the moon, only to be surprised by how it all works out in the end. Hopefully I can get all the drawings done soon! They’ve become cards for sale on my site. sales.penzart.com
Yes, a little corner of the paper it torn, the paint comes over the edge, and my corners aren’t square. I’ve always had trouble with perfection. Perfection requires patience, which apparently I don’t have 🙂 Having said that, how can there be life with no cracks, torn corners or smudges? It’s unnatural. So the question is, do I just not have the right amount of skill, talent or control over my art? Maybe I’m making excuses for not being good enough to pull off a perfect piece of art. Or do I like imperfection, like the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi? It’s probably a combination. It might be time to explore this more deeply. This is a painting on mat board sales.penzart.com
This is an unframed botanical watercolor, acrylic and colored pencil painting. It is floating on an 8×10 mat board.
I wrote a sweet little children’s book and am trying to decide what medium and style to use. It would be nice if the backgrounds didn’t overwhelm the main character – a cat. I’ve tried pen and ink and it was just a little too boring for a kids book for this particular story. Colored pencil mixed with graphite has captured my interest lately but I’m not totally convinced. Without knowing the story I can’t really ask for thoughts but I’d thought I’d share what I’ve been working on.
Another card entry with description @ sales.penzart.com
For decades I was lost in my own head trying to figure out what life was all about. Why was it so difficult, and why don’t I feel like I belong? After a lot of reading and tons of meditation I figured it out! It’s all about opening up the heart chakra. Really! When that one piece is open the world opens. I found I didn’t have to struggle as much with judgmental relationships. As it turns out I was the one judging. Opening the heart allowed me to go with the flow and just live in a gentler place.
Love should be an easy thing to write about, but it has so many moving parts. Our marriage has been pretty steady over the past 18 years, but it’s a balancing act on a roller coast all in slow motion. It’s subtle. Weird sneaks up out of nowhere and then dissolves with a laugh, a talk, or a walk in the woods. As soon as we can focus on each other for a few minutes, all the feelings of safety and warmth comes flooding back.
This one painting has gotten so much attention that I thought I post it on my sales website and share the story behind it. This is what’s written in the description of the painting. sales.penzart.com
A whimsical painting if crows had a bar. I imagined my own experience at bars and night clubs (many decades ago). As an introvert I’m usually observing. Expressions, body language and big gestures were fascinating to me. This started with a small soft sculpture of three crows on a branch. On the branch are martini glasses and beer bottles. Eventually it turned into a painting. The outer frame is roughly 23″ x 19
Birds have always fascinated me. When I was about three or four years old I very clearly remember asking my mother when I would get wings so that I could fly. She said she was sorry but people don’t get wings. I thought to myself what use is a body that can’t fly? I asked her if I could get rid of this body that felt like a lead weight and get a body with wings. She was not at all happy with that idea. I was crushed.
I’m slowly adding small paragraphs to each of my paintings and cards on my sales site. ( sales.penzart.com ). For instance here is a painting and what I said about it in the description. Sometimes I’ll add something to the description that I remembered, so it’s evolving and yes I need an editor. In the meantime, here is the card and the description that goes along with it.
My older brother once made a holiday card that was elegant and sweet. It was a branch of a Christmas tree with an ornament on the ground and bird tracks surrounding the ornament. You never saw the bird just his tracks. I keep trying to duplicate the simplicity and beauty of that card. He also drew a candle monster. I was about five years old and knew from that drawing that I needed to create images that came to life like his always seemed to.
Can I tell you a thrilling aspect of corona induced isolation that you might not have considered?
Two pieces of background you need to understand the thrill. First, you have to know that for decades I’ve worked as makeup artist in film and television. Second, to understand my perspective you would either have to be a woman, a tv reporter, tv correspondent, an actor, or a television pundit.
Ladies first: Have you ever gotten your makeup done at a department store and your artist smelled like he or she had eaten a pile of Roquefort cheese from the compost pile? No. The answer is no you have not! They are a scrubbed cleaned and polished lot, always hyper aware of their personal hygiene, their appearance, smile, and whether there is any possibility of emitting offensive odors. It’s a thing. This is for obvious reasons especially so we don’t turn off any current or potential clients because of a slight miscalculation from a night of pungent odor producing debauchery. Before work it’s an intense workout of showering, and the heavy lifting all the various personal cleaning products needed for the kind of clean, freshness required to be in close proximity with others.
So imagine this; for the last 40 some years in tv and film I was one of those conscientious stylists. Out of respect for my guests (sometimes called victims – playfully of course) I wouldn’t eat garlic for dinner the night before or heaven forbid at lunch during a shoot! And if I did happen to eat the pungent herb(bulb, vegetable?) during the week, or a Sunday night, I would apologize profusely the next day as I did someone’s makeup at arm’s length (hard to do). I’d lightheartedly say, “I’m sorry, pardon my garlic hang-over.” They would laugh and say: oh I don’t smell a thing, but that would be because I would be holding my breath in between eyelash applications.
Now for the first time in decades because of isolation, I am using far less products, mostly just soap, shampoo, modest amounts of deodorant and…fanfare please…I can freely eat as much garlic as I want!!! I’m so excited for the first time in years I can really reek and I don’t have to apologize!!!
I never thought about this before but now I can eat garlic anytime I want because of current mask-wearing-etiquette. My clients will think I’m just being politically correct! Genius, thank you covid 19, you just made a huge change in my life, that is if I ever get my job back.
Great Falls Va. has a community of artists and crafts people. My table will have hand-painted cards, all my kids books (five now and counting) watercolors and a few mixed-media/embroideries (sounds complicated but it works!) Here is an example:
Love to see you there if you’re in the area. Not sure which building I’ll be in but enjoy it all!!
On my daily walks with our dog, I saw some crocuses. Spring is just around the corner. So fun when all the color bursts out of the ground and from the trees! It made me want to do a loose, free painting.
I liked that one so much I did another!
I love just swinging the brush around!! Splash, swipe, sketch, sketch….voila!!
I’ve been working on and off on this book for months. Maybe it’s been a year or more, I’ve lost track. In any case, I have the bulk of it done but can’t help but add and subtract pictures. My husband, desperately trying to learn In-design, cringes every time I want to make a change. I’m so sorry, really I am.
The book is an easy reader, for ages 7 to 9. Most of the time publishers don’t want illustrations for that age or if they do, drawings are simple. Since I haven’t found an agent or publisher, I’m doing this on my own and not paying attention to publishing guidelines (standard me behavior).
Here is the problem. I started with a picture like the one below. At first making a simple magnifying glass, then deciding I could make it a little more interesting. And so it goes…one picture after the other.
What that means is that, if nothing else I’m enjoying the process.
I’m so honored when friends stop in to support me at the art show and say hello. But boy am I uncomfortable selling my art to them. Don’t you give stuff to friends? I love my friends and want to give to them, not take their money. . It’s the way I give gifts, which I don’t otherwise give. I really suck at gift giving. So this is really perfect…isn’t it? They pick out what they like, I give it to them – everyone’s happy!! When I explain that, the thought and sentiment behind it, is brushed off.
Then to top it off I had one young lady fall in love with a painting. When she asked how much I wanted for it she lost it. “That’s too low!” she gasped “It should be at least double what you have marked here!” …and then proceeded to pay the lower price. ( -.- shrugg). oh well.
Okay big lesson – add ten dollars to each tag. ok, $20. but that’s as high as I’ll go!
The top picture and at the bottom of the other pic, is a new little kids book I’m working on. It’s about an Ant and an Elephant. Before it’s even done I’ve gotten some interest. Actually someone wanted to buy that unfinished little sketch book. Wohoo! They also like the one about the seagull that gets kicked out of Bologna cartel. He then gets a kid to help flood the market with bolgna to ruin his former comrades. Once that’s done, he starts a new gang that seeks out and hords peanut butter….something like that.
I’m gearing up to do the annual Spring Art Show in Great Falls. May 5th and 6th. I was reluctant at first but with some encouragement and incentives I’ve decided to go for it. They want to set up a time for me to read my children’s book. I’m not sure which one, maybe both? If enough kids show up, that makes it more of a community event rather than a sales event. I also have a dozen or so watercolors to hang up. I’ve been matching the paintings up with fabric and scraps of paper, like this:
Some are more elaborate than this one but they’re already under glass making it harder to photograph. All but one out of the dozen or so, are in an 11 x 14 black frame with the same off white mat-board. Hopefully it will look professional and enticing. Of course there’s always insecurities but I guess I just have to suck it up.
Its been really hard to not do stuff while on vacation. I’m really trying to not think about stuff like making the the reservation for the ferry to get off island, or making painting for the next book, or anticipating the long ride home. So little outside paintings, walks, watching the tides roll in and out and so on. Why is it so hard to relax? Anyway, actively trying.
My older sister once said, in her most snide voice “Why are you always drawing trees?” I was stunned and didn’t know how to answer. I love the trees, I thought to myself but she, being the big sister must right. So, I stopped drawing trees or at least was very aware of all my seven year old obsessive tree drawing. Continue reading →
Just a little summer offering. It clouds, it rains, it suns, it winds. I can’t tell when to walk the dog. The path next to the creek is way too muddy. The clouds are bouncy thick…will it rain now? Now? Maybe I just have to get wet and muddy.
I bought grey ink and wanted to see what it would look like on watercolor and pastel. This is it but it doesn’t look very grey….However, the paper was white. Not sure why it looks pink.
I was going to title this Why Drain the Swamp. But then I thought wait a second I wouldn’t mind draining the stinky, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, rotting parts of the swamp. Otherwise, what’s wrong with the swamp?
I used to make up bedtime stories for my kids. One story that we all loved was about a a very smart Macaw who adopted a family and then takes them on an adventure to find his home. “Clever” was one of those stories that survived the test of time (about 25 years since my kids were little). My eldest requested an illustrate version of the story so that she could share it with her children.
I’ve been playing with acrylic ink. Who knew? The difference, I’m guessing, is that regular ink is transparent and the acrylic is opaque and a little thick. The result is that I can use a fine tip pen (the dipping kind) over an existing watercolor.