Thursday, October 10, 2019

Art Thoughts


Back in my high school days, my art teacher signed me up for a painting class at the local museum.  The teacher at the museum was one of the local high school teachers. He was not really much older than I was. He was probably a new teacher in the WFISD. He is now retired and still in WF. I see him from time to time and visit with him, but he doesn’t remember me. But, oh how I remember him.

It was the early 70s and Mr. K was all about modern art. “If it feels good, paint it” was his motto. Even if you just want to paint a circle because it feels right – do it. Strokes, slashes, whatever! If it feels good, do it.  My eyebrow went up. I think I painted a silhouette of a windmill against a night sky.  And I argued with Mr. K. He loved it – my arguing, that is.  I told him that a painting needed to be liked by other people or what good was it?  If no one liked or enjoyed or understood your painting, why do it?  At the end of the class when the parents came to see our work, Mr. K told my dad how I had disagreed with him and argued my point and how much he liked that. Although these forty-plus years later he has forgotten that time, I have not.  

Now days, I can understand his point better, not that I want to paint a circle or some other modern/slashes. But sometimes when I’m painting, there is a feeling that “this is so right!” When a painting comes together the way you want it to, it can feel great. Sometimes painting is just a struggle – things you have to work through to get the painting to work the way it does in your brain.  Working through the struggle can feel good too. 

Most of the time I paint from photographs. When I sort through a stack of photos, there may be something that jumps out and makes me feel, “I can paint that.” Sometimes I look through the photos of things that I thought were great, and they make me feel nothing at all.  So, maybe it does have to feel right.

So, I am getting ready for the next Art Battle on November 9th.  I have a couple of ideas for paintings. Here is the thing: it has to be something that I can paint well in 20 minutes. It cannot be something with too much detail. Mixing colors is time consuming, so it is better to stick with basic paint colors and little mixing.  It needs to be something that catches the audience’s attention. Contrast is great. And here is the kicker: it needs to be something the audience can relate to.
So there, Mr. K! I was right! People like to connect to a painting. If they don’t “get it” they won’t vote for it.  If it doesn’t “pop”, the people will not like it.  Two examples: In my last art battle, there was a lady who was an excellent artist and my biggest competition. She painted an amazing face, but her colors were very muted. I painted a little boy in an airplane with bright colors. People could relate to my painting and it stood out because of the color, so I won the round.  In the other round there was a guy who painted a lion. It was not a great painting, but it was colorful and it was fun. It was also a bit of a surprise, because for a while no one knew what it was. Then suddenly you could see the lion. So it won its round. In the final round, I painted huge poppies. Other paintings were good, but not bright or not something people understood. My poppies won. Of course, Jesse said, “Paint it big. Paint it red, and you can’t go wrong. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lost Post

I thought I posted this last week, but it showed this morning as not posted yet. I'll try again.

Well, it has only been a month since I have posted.  Yikes!  I don't even have a good excuse.  While in Angel Fire with my paint buddy, Jo, I could have posted because we had WIFI (glorious WIFI). When I could have been posting to my blog, like my friend Jo was doing, I just wanted to chill and do other things on my phone and tablet.  I have grown lazy.

So, this summer I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  I posted back in June about Jesse winning the art battle in Wichita Falls.  Now I am signed up to do the one on August 17th at the Warehouse in downtown Wichita Falls.  The public is urged to attend and vote on their favorite artist. It would be fun to see you there.  In the meantime, I am frantically practicing and trying out different things to paint when I get up on stage and have to paint in front of 200 people. Any ideas would be appreciated.  It needs to be simple, but eye-catching with good contrast and light.  Something that can be painted well in 20 minutes. Every morning I try to paint something  - training for the battle.

We spent a week in NM with me doing the Wild Rivers Paint Out.  We stayed with my buddy Jo (and her great wifi) in Angel Fire.  During the day Jo and I painted like fiends (or friends) while our husbands hiked and biked and saw the sights.  It was a great place to stay. It was great to get to be with Jo and paint, paint, paint.  I think I finished six paintings.  On the last day there was a Quick Draw where we set up our easels and started painting at 9 AM. We had to be finished and turned in to be judged at noon.  I thought I had produced some good work, but I did not win any prizes or sell any paintings. Sigh! Maybe plein air painting is not my thing or maybe plein air style is not my style. Whatever! I enjoyed myself. I learned lots. Will I do it again next year? Maybe not. Maybe.

Now I am home.  This past week I have been working at the CTAC gallery hanging the Kickoff show.  We have 50 artists with several paintings apiece to show on August 8th (I think).  I about have all the paintings up, but stopped today to blog. Priorities, right?  It is good to be home. School starts August 14th. That sure seems close.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Art Battle

Last weekend was the big Art Battle in Wichita Falls.  Jesse was entered as an artist and I was volunteered to help put it on. The venue was an old warehouse in downtown WF that had been redone for events. It was perfect. There was a stage in the middle of a large open room. The room was two storied and people could set upstairs and view the battle downstairs.  So, the art battle consisted of 12 artists painting in two rounds of 6. Jesse was in the first round. The artist had 20 minutes to produce a 18x23 painting.  People walked around the artist's stage while the artists painted. When the 20 minutes were up, the crowd voted online.  The paintings were placed on easels in another area and could be bought via silent auction.  After the two rounds, the top four artists went to a final round of painting.  This was on a 20x30 canvas. These paintings were also up for silent auction.  Jesse had practiced and worked to prepare for the battle - unlike her mother, the great procrastinator.  And of course, Jesse won.  It was all great fun.  Yes, beer and pizza were a part of the night.

When Jesse signed up for the battle, she asked me to sign up also. I did, but Bob, the guy in charge (and friend of Jesse's) said that I should wait and do a different battle so as to not split our votes. That was probably a wise decision.  Sometimes when voting is the way to win, people who are really bad, but brought lots of people, win. In this case, there seemed to be lots of people without a dog in the fight and voted according to what they liked best.  Jesse's paintings were easily the best. Here is the first round painting 
Here is the final round painting
  Here is the venue




Thursday, June 06, 2019

Plan Change

Making plans is not my thing - probably because it means making decisions. For about a week now, I knew Toby had to go to Houston on Wed. I had made plans to go to Wichita Falls and spend the day with Jesse and maybe the night too.  WF has an art walk once a month (first Thursday) where artists can set up their stuff in the downtown area for free or pay $30 to set up in the covered farmer's market area.  Jesse says that lots of people show up and it is a good time. We were planning on either setting up a table and getting rid of some art or just browsing and maybe hanging out.  They have music and stuff for entertainment.

Since my niece's wedding is coming up soon, we were also hoping to do some shopping for a new dress. I was also hoping to have lunch with my SIL and Jesse. Those were the plans.

Plans change. Toby called from work on Monday and said that everyone was on their own to get to Houston and did I want to go with him. He sounded excited. Usually Halliburton rents a van for everyone to ride together or they fly everyone down. But this time everyone had their own ideas and plans.  Toby likes to drive, because by the time we drive to OKC airport and get their early for check-in, fly to Houston, rent a car, drive across town, it is about the same amount of time as driving to Houston.  I really hated the thought of him working half a day and then having to drive to Houston by himself.  So, I canceled my plans to go with him.

I had to hop through some hoops to get everything lined up and ready to go. I was babysitting Jesse's dog. Rosie and I ran errands on Tuesday morning, got packed, and left with Toby after lunch. I left Rosie in the house for Jesse to get later.  He came home for lunch and we took off. We stopped in Muenster to get summer sausage and smoked sausage and a bottle of wine. Toby loves to get their sausage, and he got lots! We stopped in Dallas at Trinity Ceramics to get clay and stuff. We made it to the hotel in Houston by 9 PM. It rained a bit on us, but not bad. Traffic in Dallas was horrible. Traffic on I-45 was typical - drive fast or die.

Now I am sitting in bed with my coffee and internet. Toby has gone to work at Halliburton in Houston. I can browse til my hearts content, or maybe go set by the pool or take a nap.

Rosie helping me pack
Errands are hard work

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Art Shows

I had a quiet week. It has rained so much that the yard has had rivers flowing through it - headed to the pond. We are in no danger of flooding, but the yard is saturated.  Oklahoma red clay does not drain well.  We finally had some sunshine starting on about Wed. I have been going out to the barn to throw some pots and take advantage of the still cool weather. On Monday Memorial Day, we worked in the barn, but we did work on the pottery room/man cave. We were putting the decking (ceiling) on top of the room. It required us to pick up and push sheets of plywood up on the walls. Toby rigged a thingie to help us. We pick up the plywood and set it on the thingie, breathed, and then pushed it up onto the top of the room. We almost died once. At that point, I called Bo to come help us. We really needed two people to put the plywood up and one person on the top to pull it up. Then that person could nail it in place, etc. Bo was a big help. If Toby and I had done it all  - all by ourselves, we would have been way worn out. As it was, we were just a bit worn out.

I also worked on getting some art pieces matted. Eventually, I will get those pieces framed. For a year now, I have known that CTAC signed Jesse and I to do a mother/daughter art show in Jan/Feb of 2020. I have been working to get some art ready for that show.  Recently, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center asked me to do an art show with the three ladies I used to paint with - the Painted Ladies - and they want the show in Jan/Feb of 2020. You may remember that one of the ladies died a year or so ago. Her daughter is tickled that we are doing this show and will show some of her work. But all that means that I have two art shows to prepare for. I can do this!

I am also getting ready for the Wild Rivers Paint Out in July again this year - lots to do.

We are in Wichita Falls at the moment visiting Toby's mom. I am stealing wifi. We will be having lunch with Jesse. She and Bo have birthdays coming up. Party time! I'll let you know more about that soon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hugs and Cheers

My last day at the Edge (alternative school) was yesterday. I have signed up to do it again next year.  The director of the Edge was so great and made things so easy, that the year was fun. I really enjoyed the kids. Unfortunately, the director is going to Comanche next year. I'm not sure who will be my boss or if the next year will go as well. Fortunately, it is only one day a week. I can do it.

After I hugged all the kids and left the Edge, I rushed over to attend Theo's official adoption day. We had a huge group of friends and family there to cheer Theo on and make the day very special. After the official paper work was signed and everyone hugged and cheered and wished well the little family, we went to lunch at Rib Crib - not my favorite, but it was okay. I was a bit anxious, because we were having everyone over to our house later for another friends and family gathering for Theo.  It all went well. When all was said and done, I was worn out. So was Theo.