Blue skies…

are now breaking out over the studio …

earlier it looked like this…

This is all good. Last Friday was in the 70’s and, even though we started the day with a hospital visit for an infusion of Reclast, we stopped on the way home for a picnic and a walk in the park with Finn and enjoyed most of the day just being out in the warm sun.

The rest of the weekend was no picnic. The occasionally reported flu-like reactions to that drug turned out to be more like the Dengue Flu. A short controlled burst of the pneumonia I was plagued with this time last year… and then some.

But, hopefully, short is the keyword in that last sentence because I am marginally better each day and back in the studio this morning. The pretty snowfall that we awoke to has helped to send me back into the much needed winter of creative hibernation and the continuing muscle fatigue and soreness is forcing me not to shovel this one out.

The days of laying in a sick bed were not completely wasted as I signed back up with Lynda.com to challenge my brain to learn something new in Photoshop. Long story short, last week I learned that I had fallen prey to purchasing a bogus Cs5 upgrade a few months ago. It had started to crash and burn which led me to realize that my computer which had been having it’s own problems was actually 5 years old now. Ancient in the graphics world. And, with the unexpected sale of a painting here in the studio, I decided to bite the techno bullet and upgrade both hardware and software at the same time.

As an artist who pays homage to detail, I have spent as much time sharpening my computer skills lately as I have my pencils. Both are tools and only as good as the craftsman who uses them so I study and practice and learn. The tutorials are terrific because I can work at my own pace and dip back in for refreshers as needed. I have already learned about fifty things that will make a huge difference in my “workflow” and am eager to try them out with the new machine.

It’s all about getting the composition up on the panel as efficiently and quickly as possible…then I can settle in and let the muses take over.

Now, it’s time to put this bump in the road behind me and get back my mojo…

carpe diem !


Hinging…

Getting lost in the details can sometimes mean losing the details themselves.

It can take hours and many layers of paint to make a convincing shingle, or door. Especially when the wood is painted white. Every angle and corner reflects the light differently. And you can’t just mix up a “blue” for the shadows because they rely on what’s under them as much as what the sun is doing for their color. And all those parameters can change in a heartbeat on what you thought was a stable sunny summer day when a cloud passes over.

So I’ve been paying close attention to those shadow passages for a few days as I built up the layers on this vineyard doorway…

And, as is my practice, I sat back at the end of the day to review the progress and make notes on things to address in the morning and something about this stage bothered me. So I got up and turned the lights off and heat down and came back once more before heading home…and it jumped out at me.  Did you catch it too ?

There was only one hinge on that door.

I was concentrating on the depth of that blue and missed the tiny little detail of hardware without which that door would fly away in a stiff ocean breeze.

I’ve got it on there now, along with the next couple layers of light and some the rest of the hardware and my walking stick.

Now if I only had time to fix the door to Pat’s office in the log cabin that has fallen completely off it’s hinges. Must be the theme of the week.


Art Business

This is the chair I would like to be in this morning…

But this is the chair that I’ve actually been in all morning…

Because being a self-employed professional artist is serious…well…business. Which I think they should be a required course for any art major these days !

And lately this seems to take up a whole lot more of my time that it used to.  And the creative right brained visual learners amongst us can empathize with the struggle it can sometimes be to balance all the numbers on those little bits of paper that the CPA would like you to sort out. It  is only one reason that I am intensely grateful for our team of accountants headed up by Pam Bazella at Brown, Schultz, Sheridan and Fritz in Lancaster, PA. They are clever and patient and kindly have our backs and I simply could not function without them.

Self-promotion is another aspect of  “the business of making art”  (which should also be taught in that art major’s curriculum) and it can be layered with a healthy dose of  narcissistic potholes that are sometimes hard for the shy me to step over and around. But it is a vital part of being successful when you are measuring your goals with mortgage payments and health insurance bills. So I swallow…humbly…and plow ahead with announcements each time a new rung of the ladder is reached.

AND I have another partner in this adventure…and this life…without whom I could not exist let alone function…Herself, my Lackey, my Pat. So it is with great relief that she has made it home after a week of watching the new grandbaby up in the north country. I was happy and oh so jealous that she got some good bonding time with Zoe…but happier to have her home with Finn and me.

And now, with all that business out of the way…

I’m gonna go slop some paint around.