Monday, August 31, 2009

Fair Photo #4

Everyday at the Fair (at 2 p.m) there is a parade that weaves it's way across the fairgrounds. Along with other stuff, there are a couple of marching bands, a local celeb or two, T.C. Bear & the Fair mascots, and this little train that some of the kids at the fair get to ride in. ChooChoo....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fair Photo #3

Opening Day 2007. A little rainy, but not a washout. Kept the crowds at bay. Joel pulled on this Target freebie raincoat and did his Mary Tyler Moore twirl. Very Minnesotan. Classic.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fair Photo #2

At the Fair's International Bazaar, you will find a wide variety of wares being sold...offering you an incredible sight of different colors, textures, materials...quite lovely to take in, even if you're not buying. This is a shot of a row of purses, hanging from hooks, inviting the sun to shine down.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fair Photo #1

I have decided that each day of the fair I will offer a fair photo...taken this or a previous year--it's such a great photo opportunity!

This is my favorite photo from the first day at the fair (see more photos here
). It was late in the day and I spied these young fellows sitting on a bench holding their prizes from the day...they were so funny, just sitting on that bench. I quick snapped one photo, but that was a little happily, they allowed me to snap another.

I love the people watching at the can't beat it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's State Fair time!

Here in Minnesota we have the BEST State Fair--it's 12 days of fun! And wonderful photo opportunities! I don't go all 12 days, but I go at least 4-5 times. Here are a few favorite shots from previous years. Over the next 12 days I'll be bringing you favorite Fair shots.

I would write more, but I have to get ready for Day 1 of the Fair!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Savoring Summer

You know how when you're waiting for news, you keep checking your messages? Well, that was me today. In the back of my mind I was aware all day that the email should be sent out today about my submission into the AZ Gallery's exhibit titled "Savoring Summer".

It was a long day at work...and not because I was waiting for this email. I came home frustrated from work and feeling a bit discouraged. Then I logged on and there in my "inbox" was the email. I hesitated before opening it...I really dreaded getting any other bad news on an already dreary day. Instead...


My painting, Ode to Izzy's, was accepted into the show.
AZ Gallery is located in the Northern Warehouse Building at 308 Prince Street in St. Paul between Black Dog Cafe and Tanpopo Noodle Shop--it's a small, intimate gallery located just a block from our place. They frequently feature works of member artists, but also produce exhibits with various themes. Since they are nearby, I've been checking out their exhibits as they change each month and keeping an eye out for an opportunity to submit. I was also working up the courage to do so.

When the call for submissions went out, I thought about it...but sort of put it on the back burner. I didn't have a piece ready that necessarily fit the theme. But frankly, I was getting a little tired of letting those opportunities sit on "the back burner" until the deadline had passed. I decided it was time to at least make a valient effort.

As you have read here,
I went to work on a few new paintings with the deadline for submissions looming. I got this piece done with no time to spare, but was still not certain. And then I decided that it was better to try and not get in then to have never submitted and wonder "what if".

I'm awfully glad I tried.

The exhibit will open on Friday, September 4th with an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. A closing ceremony will be held on Friday, September 25th from 6-9 p.m. Normal gallery hours are Fridays 5-8 and Saturdays & Sundays from 10-2 p.m. (come and check out the Farmer's Market a block away). I hope you can come check it out sometime during the month of September!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Four Seasons

Another beautiful Sunday at the studio. Today I started work in earnest on a series of 4 paintings--all 10x20--each one of a woman representing a different season. The working title for the series is Four Seasons--but please, jump in here with better ideas!

Today I worked on Spring. The above pictures show the progression of today's work. It's not finished yet, but I got a good start. I have also started Summer, but not much actual work done on it yet. I have a good idea of what I want to do. Fall & Winter have not yet been started.

I'm hoping this series will be done in time for the Fall Art Crawl. The idea for this series was born around the time of the spring Art Crawl, so it's time for this series to be born!

Again, I'm trying some new things--first off, they will be mixed media pieces. On Spring's head is a nest made from cut up vintage song sheets and eggs cut from paper as well. Also these paintings are part of my exploration into painting faces...something I haven't done much of and I can understand why--it's not easy and I struggle with it. But I want to give it a try. I'm not trying to be a portrait artist or even paint a face that's highly realistic...I am just aiming for something visually pleasing and interesting (and interesting doesn't always equal realism!)

So there you have it. I'm planning to take pics as I work on each "season" and when I'm all done put together a little video montage. Sometimes I think it's fun to see the progression of a work from start to finish. I'm going to try to take more shots, so you can see the paintings at all stages--even when it's not looking good!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to School Sales!

Here I am--last spring--showing off my collection of canvases. Since then my supply has greatly diminished (really), so I am thrilled that Dick Blick has their great Back to School sale going on. Incredible prices on stretched canvas--with the best prices offered when you buy 20 or more (mix & match sizes possible).

Ya baby, I'll be buying 20 and then some!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ode to Izzy's (and summer too)

This is my newest painting that I finished this afternoon. I had hoped to finish another one I was working on, but am content just getting this one done. I don't think I could have worked any longer--my back is killing me from standing on the studio's concrete floor. I think I need to invest in one of those gel mats for the studio!

This is a mixed media work--completed on a 16x20 stretched canvas, acrylic paint largely, but I also used some oil pastels (to finish the face, arm) & some embellishments (some ribbon for the hat and dress, plus a decorated brad and the letters).

This is something different for me. It's good to mix things up now and then. I am thinking about entering this piece in an exhibition with the theme "Savoring Summer"--I have till Tuesday to decide.

What do you think?

(Oh ya, if you're not local--Izzy's ice cream is the best! Made locally in a little shop not far from my place--and my son now lives half a block away! That tiny little scoop on top--well, that is called a "izzy"--it's a mini scoop of another flavor that you get on the top of your ice cream. Yum!)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

When one door closes...

Poppies - 6x6 acrylic on canvas
(this is not the painting I entered into the competition)

Late Wednesday morning I got the dreaded e-mail letting me know that my painting was not accepted into the State Fair Fine Arts show. The subject line said it all, simply stating "2009 Fine Arts-Non-Accepted Works". It's disappointing, but not completely unexpected (just not hoped for!).

Friday morning I joined the many other artists who were "non-accepted". Waiting in line, I got to see some of the work picked up before's amazing the quality of the work that wasn't's humbling and consoling, in a sense.

But when one door closes, another one opens...

I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to enter my painting into the Hopkins Salon 300 show--an exhibit of work that didn't make it into the State Fair exhibit. The Hopkins Art Center sponsors this now-annual exhibit and calls it "Salon 300". I jokingly call it "The Reject Show"... but, hey, it's another opportunity to hang my painting in a gallery. Why not?

And not even 5 minutes after receiving the "non-accepted" e-mail about the State Fair show, I received another e-mail about another, even better opportunity. I can't say what it is yet (don't want to jinx it!), but it's good...very, very good.

Good things are happening!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finding the River-Four 8x10s

detail of center

I took some new pics of some completed paintings this evening--some newly finished work and some older stuff. I thought I'd share some from time to time.

These are four 8x10 canvases that I painted some time ago. At one of my first Art Crawls I hung a series of paintings I titled "Finding the River"...when I saw all those paintings together, I was struck at how the work all flowed one to another...and one of my studio visitors actually commented that it would be interesting to create a set of canvases that actually did just that...and so I did.

I like how this experiment turned out...I haven't quite figured out how I want to frame/present them--other than hanging them as above. The sides of the canvases are painted, so I could keep it simple. Or I could mount them on a painted hardboard.

Any thoughts?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend to weekday ...

It's almost Fair from the 2007 MN State Fair
taken by me!

Switching gears from weekend to weekday mode...not easy.

Overall, it was a lovely summer weekend. Friday, Date Night, we opted for a relaxing night at the movies. We saw Julie and Julia. Perfect choice. Incredible cast--Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Amy Adams. Inspiring story of two strong, creative women. Sensual. Humorous. Lively. Best movie I've seen in a bit (not that I go to many!). Great kick-off to the weekend.

Saturday morning we took a quick walk thru the Farmer's Market before we took off to run some errands. One of our stops was at the State fairgrounds to drop off my painting for the Fine Arts competition. I've talked to my artist friend about's like dropping off one of your kids! I entered last year, so I know the drill...on Wednesday or Thursday I'll get an email that tells me if my work is accepted or not. You better believe I'll be checking my email this week! The rest of the day was just more errands/chores, helping my son... Joel and I did manage to get out to take in an opening at a nearby gallery featuring the work of one of the other artists that live in our building.

Sunday was devoted to studio time...which made me very happy. Once I got to the studio I put on some tunes (Stevie Wonder, Boz Scaggs, VanMorrison...old school stuff) and went to work. I've been working on some new stuff, different stuff--different for me in some ways. This summer I seem to be working on more still lifes, "snapshots" of people...Two pieces I'm hoping to finish this coming weekend so I can enter them into a competition with a summer theme. Ironically, these paintings would have fit into the State Fair show nicely--and probably would have stood a better chance of being accepted. Oh well, maybe I'll have something ready for next year's State Fair competition!

But the weekend flew by all too fast as it always does and I had to shift gears and trudge off to the 9-5 job today. Monday's are always the hardest day to change focus. But I made it thru the day and even managed to make it to the studio for an hour this evening.

Things feel very busy...and I feel very busy, continuing to work on new pieces. I'm feeling the painting muse these days and trying to paint as much as I can. I'm also working at getting my work seen...entering or planning (hoping) to enter some shows, trying to finish up more work so I can truly go out there & approach some coffee shops, smaller galleries about showing my work. And the Fall Art Crawl is just two months away!

I feel like I'm waiting for some good things to fall into place, but while I'm waiting I'll just keep painting on!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Leap of Faith

Rebirth 16x20

I have sufficiently recovered from my Birch Trees painting not being selected for the art crawl competition to take another risk and enter the MN State Fair Fine Arts competition. As they say, "try, try again". Both are "free" entry fee. Nothing to lose in some ways. Certainly worth taking the risk.

I entered the State Fair competition last year without success. And yet entering was a success of sorts--it seems my entire adult life I've dreamed of being in this show. I don't might be silly that it means so much to me...but as those close to me know, I am a State Fair fanatic. I'm excited about being on vacation this year for the entire 10-day period of the fair! Woohoo!

It is a tough show to get into...last year there was around 2400 entrants with 385 pieces of artwork selected. And my "subject matter" isn't typical fair fare...jurors seem to favor local subject themes, landscapes and such...But as they say, "nothing ventured, nothing gained". Right...remind me of that when I'm sulking.

Regardless of whether this piece is accepted or not, it is a piece that means much to me. I thought I would share what I wrote about this painting when I have shown it in my studio--

For all of us, starting new ventures require us to summon up energy and courage, while still take care of our selves. Taking risks is full of challenges, but in the end, pays big dividends.

These past few years have been all about taking risks and starting new ventures. I saw my kids strike out on their own, moved myself, got married, returned to my job as a social worker, and last but not least, started making art in my studio.

Every time I start a painting, I feel as if I am pushing myself to take some risks. I am also aware of nurturing and listening to my inner voice and creative self that will guide me as I make my art. It's not always easy to strike that balance between staying true to your self while also trying new things.

This painting represents that "jumping off" point...of pushing myself to take risks, while nurturing my inner voice. It is a time filled with passion and energy.

I'm ready to take that leap of faith again.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And so it goes...

I apologize for the lack of blogging this past week. I had a bit of a disappointment mid-week--the form letter rejecting my work for the art crawl poster competition arrived in the mail. I know it's a form letter because it's the same damn letter I've received before! (the date, some names & numbers have been changed...but nothing else). Rejection always brings with it some sulking and self-doubt. I hate it, but I'm past it and that's all I'm going to say about least for now. I just keep painting...and wondering when things will turn around a little.

I keep painting because it's what I love to do. I've waited my whole life to have this opportunity to have the time & my own studio to paint in.

That's all I'm going to write for now. I'm battling a sinus infection right now and my head is pounding. Pictured above are some of the paintings I'm working on now...I've been thinking about painting eggplants for a year now (since a day last summer when I bought a bunch at the Farmer's Market, set up some still lifes and snapped some pics.)

I hate eating eggplant, but I love painting them.