Saturday, April 11, 2015

Finished Commission - and Thoughts

I was reminded yesterday by an online friend that my blog is suffering from neglect!  Yes, it's true.  As I have worked to get a presence on FB, Etsy, Artstack and Saatchi, I have run out of internet posting patience.  It can be exhausting all this sitting and typing on a flickering screen - and with my particular visual problems - painful.I often end up in bed with a powerful headache, too drained to blog. 

And yet Blogspot is where I feel most comfortable; where those who stop by are more like to look closely, read and interact in more than just a superficial manner (as on FB).  I've met some wonderful people here over the years and I want to maintain those relationships and continue to meet new folks.

So even though I am a visual artist by trade, writing helps me to work out what I really think.  It forces me to organize my thoughts and understand the "whys" of things and thoughts and opinions, not just the "whats." And finally, here on Blogspot (and WordPress) there is such a wealth of talented people who write, paint, photograph, or perform and whose creativity inspires and delights.  I love that we are each others audience.
Commission:  Lady Godiva -Triumphant . 60 x 36 acrylic on canvas
This commission occupied me on and off for the past several months; researching, drawing, making changes and finally completing this large ode to classicism and symbolism.  No head bowed and posture cowed Godiva here.  She sits relaxed and confident upon her powerful steed, her scepter symbolizing her great heart and love of life.  In her left hand she clutches a rose, her representation of rebirth.
Installed in client's home.

The background depicts landmarks from the client's home region: a rushing river, a particular mountain, distant vineyards and vegetation - all meaningful to her.  I loved painting the prancing free rein horse and doing a figure study was quite a change of pace for me!  I really hated covering up the wonderful job I did painting the left breast - ah well - propriety won out... 

No post is complete without a cat picture... so here is my latest foster failure, Stratton, aka Bratty Stratty.  She is actually very sweet except she's at that stage where feets under the sheets are wa-ay too tempting.  She's half Siamese, has one slightly crossed eye and chronic sinusitis - which is why she's ended up staying with me,  

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Dabbling in Paint Therapy

Ghost of #2.
In winter, I heat only part of my house, and I often spend evenings in my warmest room painting wee small thingies on little panels. The panels rarely exceed 6 x 6 inches in any direction, but occasionally I substitute other   materials upon which to paint such as wooden bowls or ceiling tiles.  I "read" an audio book or put on a favorite movie to listen to while fervently not wasting time (as in watching bad television).  Like most artists who formerly worked a day job, "evenings for art" is a habit difficult to break, even now when I often paint all day as well. 

Tuxedo cat on tin ceiling tile
It's more than just habit though.  Making these little paintings relaxes me. By offering an outlet akin to journaling, I can translate my day or my dreams into images. And even if I don't create any masterpieces, I am working.  I am producing.  I am fulfilling my drive to create, which assuages "artist guilt" over time I might have wasted in the past. I can feel good about myself (wink and grin)!  The artists out there will understand.

There are no rules.  Depending on mood, I might portray anything from the little birds I love to versions of faces in my head, bits of dreams or imaginings. Sometimes I see images clearly and paint what is there. "What is there" has been on occasion, a manifestation of something or someone unpleasant, like an ex-husband's haunting expression of scorn or superiority (hah - see photos).  Painting it out works just like talking it out. I can rid myself of certain mental junk by examining and portraying what is in my mind's eye. When I can hold it in my hand, I have power over the image, memory, mood - and I can literally put it aside for later scrutiny, laugh at it, or banish it altogether!  The power of symbolism is extraordinary! 
Ghost of #1.
The apple cheeked lady.
I've found it helps to keep the palette somewhat limited.  Again, mood may determine the colors selected, but just as often I choose favorite combinations such as all the colors found in apples or lavender, celery and acid green with varied hues of white. When I am creatively upbeat, the paint will often have its own way; leading me to new interpretations of things recently seen, or even resolving old visual/perceptual difficulties.  Sometimes I don't even try to do anything challenging, painting cat faces or little dolls that I will never sew.  On these occasions, painting is like knitting or crocheting: an exercise to keep the hands busy while the mind refreshes with aimless wandering.

Sparrow #1.  Sold.
Some of the little paintings have never left my house.  Others become gifts for friends.  And quite a few end up for sale.  I really didn't exhibit them much until recently when I began a series of small works for my newly opened Etsy space.  I was surprised by how much others enjoyed them... even the creepy ones! 
Dolly with an ouchie.
What cats think.
Mr. Bland

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Verle Mickish - honoring lifetime work in the arts.

One of my personal favorites - done recently when the artist was forced to "reinvent himself"
This past Sunday I attended an artist's reception for Verle Mickish at the Sautee-Nacoochee Center Galleries.  Verle is a featured artist for the first show of 2015. I'd seen the exhibit the day before as it was my regular volunteer day - and the best part of being there the day before was meeting Verle and his charming wife of 69 years, Ginny.  They came by to see how the show had been hung and to take a few photographs.  I was able to spend a hour chatting about life, art, and being an aging artist who is losing his sight.  Sadly Verle has lost most of his vision to macular degeneration.  But as you will see, he's still painting!  And his humor and zest for life remain intact.

The first ones are earlier works (I think) and I'll follow up with what he's been doing recently.
An early oil.
A delicate winter landscape
Selected works

This was done about 10 years ago.
one of his magazine covers
Another illustration for a wildlife publication
A fabulous abstract

Verle Mickish with a recent painting.

The show flyer
Verle and Ginny
Another recent painting - completed after Verle lost most of his vision.
Ginny and Verle are obviously devoted to one another.  They are vibrant and funny and a joy to hand out with.  Ginny and I are now FB friends so I'll sharing this post to her and all of their friends. 

I'd never heard of Verle Mickish - and it's likely you haven't either, but there are literally thousand and thousands of incredible artists out there who just keep making great art so whenever there's an opportunity to see works from 50+ years as a painter, illustrator and educator, I don't think one should pass! Over 90 works are exhibited.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Social Media: That Love/Hate Thing

When I opened up my blog this evening, I was shocked to see my last post had been in October of last year. My surprise stems partly from the fact that I'm often thinking about blogging - but apparently not actually blogging!  I enjoy the outlet and the effort of trying to post worthwhile or interesting bits, sharing my art and getting to know other bloggers and followers.  I'm embarrassed.  And thus, I hereby vow to post at least weekly unless I am at death's door or .... (can't think of another excuse).

One reason I've not been around is (yuck) Facebook.  That's where the love/hate thing is coming from.  Last year I met and spoke with Bradley Tyler Wilson, (his small and wackily charming bird paintings are below) at an area art exhibit and sale.  He asked me if I did FB and I made a face and said no.  In less than 5 minutes he convinced me I should do it - and use it strictly as a professional tool.  It's taken me weeks and weeks to figure out how to have a personal profile AND a page.  I just couldn't get the hang of it.  Not sure I have even now, but it's done.  I still think it's confusing and unless I get, say, a gazillion "likes", I still have to post everything in both places or it's just sitting there.  The only real advantage I see at this point is quick access to lots of my work for FB people.
Bradley Tyler Wilson's birds (now mine)The small one is 4 x 4,  6 x 6.  They make me smile.
I have to admit to being distracted by finding old friends, lost friends, acquaintances and family members there, as well as seeking out artist groups (a recent discovery).

So I get my photographs posted to albums on my personal profile (Patrice Young) and then I set up my page (Patrice Lynne Young as that is my on-art signature) and re-post all the photographs.  Then I find I cannot change the name on the personal profile to match the page.  More confusion.

To top that off, another of my online artist friends posted that FB would soon stop letting those of us who do not pay to advertise link back to FB.  So what good is it to me if that is the case?  If anyone reading this knows more about this, please give me a shout.  Oh - nearly forgot.  My FB page is here patricelynneyoung.

I aspire to have as many likes as my heroine Holly Friesen, who at this blogging has over 1500!  But mostly, I hope to better understand marketing online.

And because all blog posts are better with cats:  Here's Sugarbuns - adopted last year after spending her entire first 7 months in a shelter.  She's all cinnamon and sugar...

Thursday, October 09, 2014

"Emergency" Cabinet Redo

I am often asked to update or makeover cabinets and furniture, but I'd never had anyone call their cabinets " a total disaster" and ask for my opinion, and then my services, as an EMT.

I had just finished a glazing/distressing job with my painting buddy Carol, and was headed out the client's drive when the interior designer who had hired us called.  She said that if we weren't too far down the road, she'd like us to go back to the newly constructed home next door and offer a critique of finishes their cabinet contractor had done in the master bath and the kitchen.  Apparently the results were disastrous and the homeowners distraught about what to do.  As you can see from the "before" photos, the cabinets were pretty awful.

Kitchen "after" repaint and refinish.
Aged distressed cabinet detail.
I've seen quite a few amateurish distressing and finish outcomes, but never anything so outrageously unacceptable done by a professional.  I asked if the cabinet maker had been paid. When they said he was still owed a substantial sum, I told them not to pay any more until they were satisfied.  If he would not or could not fix them, they should get bids on the cost the cost of refinishing and subtract that cost from the balance.  I took a few photos as they indicated I might be called to give an estimate.  I ended up with both "emergency" fixes.
The disastrous "before"
Another portion of the "before"...
When the cabinet maker was confronted, he first got angry - then admitted he had lost his "finisher" - and so he'd done the work himself.  He admitted they were not like the sample he'd shown them (which was similar to what I did).   But it's lucky I took photos, as his cooperative attitude was short lived. He had carpentry work yet to finish there, and when they called me to re-do the jobs, they warned me he might be "unpleasant."  He was.

Suffice it to say, I am glad I am a rather laid back person as he kept snooping and sniping about the owners as I worked; trying to see how I did what I do and having the nerve to ask me what products I use.  It's really not much about what you use, it's how you use it. 

And for a little lighter mood:  Here's a couple of my most recent fosters:  Briggs and Stratton... Well they have great motors...  purrrrrr....
Briggs - with his nursing mustache...
Foster kitten "Stratton" at four weeks of age.  I love her spotted nose.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Ch- ch - ch - ch - changes... And an Altar that is a series within a series...

Recently I posted this 24 x 24 landscape that I had finished quickly for an event.  Bringing it home and living with it a bit, I found it lacked something.   A friend suggested horses, and at first I couldn't see them.  But like the figures in a Harry Potter photograph or painting, they entered the frame and moved across the surface until I found them lolling there.  There was a Dylan song with the line: All the tired horses in the sun, how'm I s'posed to get any riding done...   Yes, these could be Dylan's horses, basking in the sunny golden grasses.
Fields of Gold - 24 x 24 acrylic on deep cradle panel - now at Sautee Gallery for the Fall show.. 
I also softened the tree's foliage.  It looks complete to me now.  I do love those "empty" spaces in landscape, though.  I'll prolly be doing another version of this - sans equine - until I get it right, or the horses move in again.
Original version. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

New Altar: From Every Dream - And it's SOLD!

Finished another.  I really love making these and I've only two more pre-constructed - er- constructions.  Can't wait to work up some new ones in different sizes and configurations.  I made twenty of these 28 x 23 x 2 - and all but those last two have been sold.

I continue to love grape tendrils as additions.  They are each so unique, spiraling and reaching out.  They can be bouquets, branches, decorations, twigs, and even tiny trees.  They are tough and paintable, and can be woven into quite strong and resilient forms.  I've even made jewelry from them... (now there's a post I should do).
Acrylic painting and mixed media including pine, cedar branches, grape tendrils, feathers, wire, found objects.
And being a person who loves poetry and recombinant verbiage (my term), I have made the piece fun to read out loud.  Listen, glean, glisten, gleam... Ideas come from every dream.
The painting in detail.  Acrylic on wood panel.