I love kid drawings, especially before about 3rd or 4th grade, when they all start to look the same and kids start to lose their confidence about their ability. I love love love preschool - 3rd grade drawings. I am moved and intrigued. Shadow #3 draws everyday and I hang her drawings around the whole house, and then the older shadows ask why none of their drawings are hung up. Hmmmm. They have grown out of that best stage.
So a few of you have been asking for pictures of my new and majorly improved studio space. So here they are:
I decided I wanted to start with a bright white background to minimize the visual clutter and I love it. So most everything is white or wood. This is in our basement and was formerly 2 bedrooms and a storage room. I had some handyman tear down the 2 walls, put in 13 can lights and drywall the ceiling and the storage room. It is crazy amazing how much difference it makes to me as I paint and even as I dream about going to my studio to paint. It is now a refuge for me to sit in quiet and be surrounded by things and images that inspire me.
This is looking toward the old storage room, which is now my framing area. Let me just say that the husband is very glad to not have me framing in the kitchen anymore.
In one of the old bedrooms, I kept the carpet in (we may need that bedroom someday for one of the kids turned teenager). I want it to be kind of an inspiration area with a couch and all my books, and magnet boards for lots of images to draw inspiration from, and my drawing desk.
I love how clean it is, and organized and I actually have space to stretch out and get some distance from my paintings I am working on. It is not quite done, and needs a little more "decor" but the bones and organizing is done. You can see in this picture a little table and chair I have for my little art shadows that love to paint with me. I am so lucky and grateful that I have my own area to create in and that my family is happy for me and they all love to show it off to their friends, which I find hilarious.
The show at Kayo Gallery was great, thank you to everyone who was able to come by and be with me and Chelsea. And thank you to Shilo for inviting us to show our work.
'Only if it Has Smocking'
I went through a phase in which I would only wear dresses or shirts with smocking. My poor mother.
My mom knitted this when she had 3 little girls under 3. I was the third.
My alter ego for most of my childhood was an Indian princess. Every Halloween from preschool to 5th grade I wore the same costume. I loooooved it. I would also don this costume when doing yard work or bathing in the sun (we have pictures to prove it).
We have been working on our kitchen over the past year. And by "we", I mean hiring professionals that know what they are doing. It took forever, because I hired one person at a time instead of planning them all at the same time. Purely because I didn't want a few months of complete chaos, but over a year of inconveniences...
It finally is finished, so here are some pictures.
BEFORE: (in case you cannot tell)
We were only going to change out the upper cabinets and keep the lowers and paint them, but once I got the uppers in, the lowers looked ridiculous. So I listed the cabinets on KSL, sold them to a nice polygamist man who is building his own house, and went forward.
I love it so much and I cannot believe what a difference it makes to me as I cook everyday. Who knew that elevating your environment would actually elevate what you create in that space? I suspected, but it is so nice and light now. And it makes me happy everyday.
P.S...the blacksplash is stainless steel penny tile, it is hard to see in these photos.
Here is the other side of the room just for perspective:
I am doing an invitational show next month at Kayo Gallery in Salt Lake City, and I have just finished all the paintings, 10 in all. My sister, Chelsea James, and I are each doing 10 paintings inspired by 'Childhood Memories'. It has been delightful reminiscing about my childhood as I have conceptualized and painted this series. I have remembered new things that I haven't thought of in 30 years. I will post the rest after the show opens October 19th.
This was our old stomping ground.... Foothill Village.
My great aunt was one of the first seamstresses at Disneyland. It was beyond cool. She was tight with Walt. We would stay at her house and she would take us to Disneyland. It is still so nostalgic to me, my kids are completely sick of hearing me talk about it.
'Pile in the White Wagon'
Memories of our great white wagon.
We loved this old horse. They just don't make toys like this anymore. Probably because it is about the most dangerous toy we had. If you have ever ridden on one, close your eyes and imagine the sound....Scissors?
"Stop and Go, 5 cents each"
As kids, we would sleep over at my Grandma's house all the time. She loves soda pop, and would let us take her empty bottles to the 'Stop-n-go' to return for 5 cents and use the money to buy candy. Best Grandma ever!
I have spent the last few weeks preserving....for what? I don't know, the winter I guess. I am so sick of it, but not sick enough to throw all the tomatoes, peaches, pears, raspberries, onions, in the trash. Sometimes I wish I were heartless and could just throw out perfectly good produce, because it becomes hours and hours of work. I could not, would not bottle the produce this year, so I decided to freeze everything and I will say it was 10,000 faster and 5,000 times less messy!
From left to right, back row first... tomatoes (roasted, then frozen), "sugar peaches" (our favorite, peel, slice, treat with 'fruit fresh', add sugar...freeze), pear sauce (an invention of mine this year...we'll see if it works out), and raspberries (mashed and frozen for smoothies or ice cream sauce).
This is how I feel looking at my fruit trees and garden and imagining all the work I have ahead of me.
Grandma is doing quite well for 100. She is on no medication, drinks Coke every day and cannot live without chocolate. She has an entire drawer in her bedroom dedicated to candy. And it is a big drawer! It is reserved for herself, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. It is the first thing my kids do when we get there. We have lunch together every week, fried potatoes, Coke, dessert (rocky road or chocolate covered almonds...from Costco), and salad only if somebody makes her. She is still witty and sweet to all the kids. She is so much fun to still have around. Happy 100th Grandma!
This is the same process I was using with the landscapes a few posts ago. I should clarify a little because I got several questions about it. It is more a process for the painting than it is for the drawing. Yes, grids are an old and proven way to draw from a source, but I think it can make you lazy too. Don't freak out, it's just my opinion. I think if I didn't continue to hone my drawing skills without a grid, I just might lose my eye for really finding the angles and perspective, etc. You may not agree. However, the process of painting within a grid is so intriguing to me. It makes me simplify the image and keep it more abstract. I am loving it! I am working on 4 more right now. 2 landscapes, 2 still lives.
These 3 paintings were sent to Wally Workman after they sold the other 2 within a week. So maybe they are going to go well and make me rich and famous (hubby wishes)....
Last year I had 3 big shows within 6 months, which is against my policy to have 6 months BETWEEN shows. It was hard. It was great. And I couldn't possibly say "no" to 3 really important opportunities. Needless to say, my house was feeling the neglect. And we ate a lot of take out and pizza. So, I hired 2 great ladies to deep clean my house a few times a month so that I could focus on painting and not feel the pressure of falling behind on the house...It was the best gift I have ever given myself. The coincidental part is, that one of the ladies, Elisa, has a well known artist mother who has recently retired (in her 80's). Elisa really likes my work and bought 2 paintings after just a few months of cleaning. These are commissions for her (trading now) because she collects perfume bottles. It was really fun to do and I think I would love to do more of these. And thank you Elisa for my very clean house. I will trade paintings for you ANYTIME!
I took a weekend workshop with a former professor a few months ago. It was so exciting for me because he introduced a process that he has been working with and we kind of played around with it a bit in class. The process is broken down into squares and as you go you just keep breaking down the squares until an image emerges. The cool thing about it for me is that it keeps my painting more loose than usual. I have the tendency to close the painting soon and with the squares it sort of forces me to keep it open and loose until the very end. It is the first time in several years that when I leave my studio, I can't wait until I can go down and paint again.
Oh and I did have my studio expanded to about 3 times the size...YAY! So I am sure that helps as well. I will definitely post the finished product (the studio) when I get it put back together.
These paintings are small, 8x10" and 12x12". It is fun and I have a few more in process now. I started by driving up on this old Texaco in Draper, Utah and I was so inspired by the shapes and the sign. It has spurred a series of 6 paintings of vintage signs so far. Let's just hope the galleries are willing to take them off my hands.
Painting her "princess chair" that goes with her "princess table".
Is this what happens when this little girl has been surrounded by mannequins her whole life? I think I have about 17 in my 'still life' collection now. So she is following me at the store and I hear "Mommy!". I turn around to see her holding hands with big, white, creepy mannequin, sooo proud of herself.
Ohhh. The curse of the baby fine hair that she inherited from Mom AND Dad. Sorry kid. This is from ONE night's sleep.
I just found out today that this painting (of shadow #1) was accepted into the Springville Salon 2012. I painted this last year for my show at Terzian Gallery in Park City. I have told my girls that I will do a painting of them at age 12. They seem less than excited to sit for me for hours on end. As I was conceptualizing this, I was thinking about when I was 12. I was becoming a young woman and starting to think about my future. In our family and culture, 12 is kind of a rite of passage. The beginning of a journey of becoming an accomplished and well-rounded young woman. As I got older I had a lot of thoughts about what I wanted to become. And quite a few apprehensions of the roles I would be considering. Hence the nest and the forward gaze to her future. Some may say I'm "projecting", but hopefully this painting could mean different things to different people.
So I'm driving along and I look back to change lanes and surprise! The funniest part about it is that they were totally quiet, watching a movie. They were not wearing these to make me laugh, just for their own pure enjoyment. And, that's right, I took the picture while I was driving....eyes on the road, just point and shoot. I laughed all day about this. I love the lack of any inhibitions in kids.
My friend Emily King did a beautiful paper cut for me of my family in return for this painting of a vintage dress. I am always so flattered when a friend wants a painting of mine. I hope she loves it forever.... And thanks for your beautiful piece, Emily!
Okay, this is top secret. This is a view of a day in the life of an artist/mother/wife I guess. So I had to get a few paintings framed to take to Park City to show for the Sundance Film Festival. But, I also had to make dinner. And for some insane reason I thought I could to both at the same time, and I just had to make chili because it was snowy and so cold outside. But the frames needed a few more coats of stain and polyeurathane. So, why not get the chili started while the frames dry. I am sure no drops of chili got on the paintings :)
I think I need a bigger house or maybe just a wood shop inside my kitchen. I wonder if I will ever be the kind of person to just do one project from start to finish....