The Art Game

There has been a facebook campaign of late to flood the social networking space with art. So far I have been a lurker, learning of some new artists and revisiting some old friends…but yesterday An artist friend of particular note, Michael Allen…

check out his work here…  http://michaelallenstudio.blogspot.com/

convinced me to play along and assigned to me the artist Rogier van der Weyden.

So, after a morning of playing in the latest snow storm with Zoe, here is my chosen entry, The Magdalena Reading…

herself reading

because it reminds me, of course, of Herself doing the same…Drifting1

although today,
instead of sitting at the old ironing board
while the snow piles up on the log cabin roof
she is most probably making forts and playing with legos…
Happy Studio Snow Day to all…

 


The Contemplative Follansbee

The thread of our friendship has been weaving itself for nigh on to three decades now, and lately I believe my little studio wren has one end and his beloved cedar waxwings up north have hold of the other…drawing us ever closer… in spirit if not in miles.

After a hearty breakfast of sausage and French toast, Herself and Finn have left the building to give me some of that concentrated painting time that has been my bliss this winter. But a quick look at this morning’s missive by Himself encourages a quicker note here…passed along for your pleasure.

We have been lobbing these musings back and forth via the blogosphere but I sure would prefer to pull up one of those fancy pants chairs he carves next to his window and spend the day carving a spoon alongside the master and listening to Rose and Daniel telling stories about squirrels and pirates in the background.

pf

Here’s the link to read how he is spending his creative snow day…

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/


Creative hibernation

…Don’t get me wrong, I love a blizzard. EVERYTHING ABOUT A BLIZZARD, from the early rumblings of “something to keep an eye on” on the weather sites, to the empty aisles in the grocery stores…who needs milk and bread, we hit the chocolate and cheese sections, to making sure there is a shovel of some kind just outside each door, firewood on the back porch, emergency candles, rubber ducks floating in the water-filled bathtub…

duck

then the countdown as NOAA tweaks and teases the snow totals out of the more reliable European model…like that.

Anticipation builds and nothing beats those few extra flakes that trump the forecasted foot or two. Yes, I love a blizzard.

But the last time we got one of those was when Finnegan was a little pup. And the winters in between have been dismally short on temps cold enough to produce the white stuff.

But……this winter is shaping up and laying down…in short controlled bursts… and I have been simply reeking of positivity lately, so I am happily learning to also LOVE these back to back to back little snowfalls.

snowshine

Turns out 2-6 inches of snow offer almost all of the same gifts of beauty and soul warming wooly slippered comfort…without the sore shoveling muscles from moving those big mountains and drifts… and the cabin fever that hovers over Herself when she can’t get out of the lane.

shoveler

The hearty Bernese Mt. Dog Finnegan has had weekly doses of heaven and has begun to take for granted that her first few steps each morning will be giant leaps into deliciously soft cold snow. I have rarely seen her this happy.finn

Herself has made several batches of her favorite snowstorm apple bake and now has the recipe…down Pat.

Sue and Zola helped to re-stock the firewood and the log cabin has been a toasty refuge for this tired artiste at the end of long luxurious days at the easel.

And, indeed, those long, glorious days at the easel have been pure bliss.

cs

I was going to wax on about how the muses tend to find artists when the winter dampens the bridge to the outside world. How, in this world of bells and whistles which emanate from our pockets and conspire to shatter those hard fought for slivers of emptiness, we struggle to find mental rest stops.

And how magical it is,
that when just a couple inches of snow falls,
in the studio yard,
being forced to sit in stillness,
reshuffles the creative deck.

There ya go,
now I’m headed back to work.
Stay frosty out there…


Resolutions…

Bucket List, Available at Sugarman Peterson Gallery in Santa Fe, NM

Bucket List, Available at Sugarman Peterson Gallery in Santa Fe, NM

I love this time of year.
When the fussy parts of the holidays are over,
and the warm cuddly bits of the festivities are still glowing softly…

When the long nights make for even longer shadows
in between which the muses dart and tease
on my frosty walks to and from the studio…

When I actually come close
to the creative hibernation that I seek
and the crazy world without…
is jettisoned for the crazy world within…

When my hands,
which are ever battling the dragons of idleness,
can reach for the always nearby knitting bag,
and find the comfort of the soft woolen winter addiction…

And when the calendar rolls around, again,
and still finds me here, a bit crustier and rustier,
but showing up…with heart wide open…
as I reach back and pick up the thread
of promised resolves.

With renewed determination
I stand, with brushes at the ready,
to weave those choices and colors
into something brave and bold and
gut wrenchingly beautiful…

There, that ought to do it.

Now, I think there’s one more cookie left…
Oh, yeah,

Happy New Year !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thinking of Light…and you…

the mender72

These longest nights of the year are magical
and on this eve of Christmas day
as I finish up a little bit of ribbon tying
and warm up this second cup of tea…

I’m thinking of you.
Wishing you laughter
and peace
and above all…
light.

 


A Season of Greetings

Skating on Thin Ice

The Studio is alive with dancing muses…
The Teacups are dividing up into twos and threes
donning their mittens and warmest scarves
and the props have been hears whispering of yuletide mischief and cheer.

Our best and our brightest…
are wishing you and yours
a season of clear frosty nights,
with morning cups of steaming tea,
and afternoon walks amongst the snowy pines.

Be well,
stay safe,
and maybe we will catch up,
grab an elbow,
and walk a little ways
down the path with you.

Yours in hibernating brushes and winter wisps of Darjeeling,

Heather and Herself,

AND Finn !

 This painting is currently featured in a new CyberShow…an online exhibition hosted by Gallery 1261 …which does exist as a brick and mortar gallery in Denver, Colorado…by day…but, as with all things worth taking a second look at…
there are many layers of mystery awarding the curious “mouse” clicker…
(click on this link to view… http://gallery1261.com/html_shows/13-small-works/neill-heather-skating-on-thin-ice-12×16-oil.htm#.Uq20EXZ3vGg )

 


Advent

This morning Finn and I took advantage of a warm spell and walked around the yard filling the bird feeders. I had been heeding the woodland warnings not to put out seed until the bears are hibernating. I have never, repeat never, seen a bear in my yard… but lately, I seem to be leaning into the winds of caution.

At the end of the path, just before the lilac bushes, we found this feather…hawk feather

It’s about 6 inches long and the tips on the right side are dipped in a burnt sienna which the sun wants to make red. The top, which is at the bottom of this photo, is a mottled grey. I first thought of a red tailed hawk. Possibly a big owl ? But my heart wants it to be a Hawk.

Peter will know, or possibly his friend Marie, and most probably several others of you out there…so I decided to toss it to the cyber winds for some helpful answer.

It’s so beautiful, on it’s own, against the creamy ivory of my journal, and I am grateful to the muses for this gift of Advent.


Ok Here We Go !

It’s time to launch the countdown to this year’s Granary Gallery Show !

15 days from now, on Sunday July 21st, we will be at the gallery for opening night. There’s a whole lot to do between now and then and, in these days of record heat, I’m going to start this ball rolling with a look back at a winter morning in the studio. I’ll be posting a-painting-a-day from now on so check back tomorrow for the next installment but for now I give you…

Morning Studio – 24″ x 30″

Morning Studio

This was a truly collaborative venture.
And heaven help us, it is a product of Social Media.
I’ve got this blog thing going and one or two people out there actually seem to read it. So, when I came over to the studio on a cold November morning with the barest hint of light in the early eastern sky I went inside and turned on the lights, took my pill, and walked out to join Finn for our daily trek around the lower forty.

As we turned the corner, by the hibernating lilacs, I was drawn to the warm rich color glowing from the kitchen windows. Outside, and all around us,  the ground, the sky, the air, was  steely blue grey. The rest of the neighborhood, the farm and the houses here and over there were dark and still save for that tiny light in our little corner and the bliss felt so good…I wanted to share.

So I snapped a pic with the phone and sent it to my blog readers and facebook friends so they too would have something warm and beautiful to greet them when they awoke. Some of them liked and some of them loved and most of them thought it was a painting and more than a couple of them said is should be a painting and I guess I agreed.

I started this the week before my knee replacement surgery. I was fearful and anxious, and needed a distraction, and I deliberately left it on the easel unfinished, thinking I would have an easier time of getting back into the swing of things if most of the compositional decisions hade been made, and what was left was the detail…the fun part.

It was a long hard two months until my creative energy returned enough to make my way back to the studio. And, when I finally was able to manage the short walk over from the log cabin and turned on that kitchen light,

I knew everything would be all right.  It’s all in the details.

 

 

 


Midwinter Details

 In the early days of January, in the deep midwinter studio, when I sit down with the piles of sketchbooks and sort throught the long lists of painting ideas… I feel unfettered. Before the filters of deadlines and salability and subjectable subject choices begin to weigh me down… I take chances. I choose challenges. I tease the muses who whisper, “keep it simple” and  “No not THAT nightgown”.

I have spent the last few weeks wading in that most wonderful of seas…the sea of details. Frolicking with the tiniest brushes. Taking extra days to glaze down and bring back up entire areas of light only to glaze them back down again and slowly, slowly refine. I’ve taunted and tweaked compositions and twisted ribbons and fringes in the wind.

Here is a sneak peak of the first of these, The Mender…

It will appear in Denver in March at the Gallery 1261 Contemporary Realism Show. It’s companion, The Tinker, was finished last night and you will have to wait a bit for that pic but it shares a few elements with it’s Mender…a rug, a teacup, a pair of spectacles…and the number three.

Now, all the wheels of creativity turn to…the island. The trove of images which I’ve stored up from Martha’s Vineyard is indeed full of treasure. And before those afore mentioned weighty filters and deadlines begin to creep in…I will let only the carefree muses in from the cold. The ones who say, “Go for it” and “If not now, when”, and let them sit alongside while I turn the pages of this sketchbook…

and decide what to paint next.


A new year, a new knee, a new wave of creative energy…

and a good time to catch you up on the progress here in the studio…
It’s now been two months since my first knee replacement surgery and by all accounts things are moving along swimmingly. The first month was all about learning to walk again…

and the second month has been about taking a defibrilator to my mojo. Even though I was able to walk over to the studio by week three…the creative muses had decided to take a longer vacation and it was many more weeks before I had the energy to lift even the tiniest of brushes. But…thanks to my long suffering nurse and team of PT helpers… I’m back !

Before this saga began I had decided to get a painting started so that I would have all the setup work done and, post surgery, could just sit and paint. I had posted a facebook photo taken early one morning as I came to work in the studio…

and the muses must have been working on that website because the responses made it clear that I HAD to paint this. So with a few tweeks I  I painted right up until the day before surgery and had a pretty good start…

And after sitting patiently on the easel for weeks, it was more than ready for my impatient attentions. The first few days were short controlled bursts of playing with puddles of paint but finally the spark returned and I put the finishing touches on this work in the very last hours of 2012 and it felt great.

And day one of the new year found me in the studio beginning again to fill requests from galleries for new work. My goal is to sharpen the focus of who I am as an artist and to lay back and enjoy the gift of being able to do what I love right up until the fat lady sings…or at least until she has finished her mending.

May all of you find your sparkles alive and well in this new year.