Monday, January 27, 2014


I’m a little late with my post for this week.  I assure you I was not lollygagging.
 Joaquin Sorolla, Self Portrait, oil

Call it professional development.  Handsome Husband and I ventured to The Meadows Museum in Dallas Texas over the weekend to take in a once in a lifetime exhibit of paintings by one of Spain’s greatest artists, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.  Sharing this experience with us was my sis and her very own handsome husband, both historians who hold keen insight into Spanish tradition, culture and art. Having them along to share their observations was invaluable. Plus, we like them a lot.

A selfie at The Meadows, Dallas Tx, 2014, photograph
Studying original works of art is an intensely valuable experience for an artist. While surfing the web to visit collections from the Hermitage to MOMA is helpful, there’s nothing like being there…

Ninos A La Orilla Del Mar  1903, oil

... bare canvas peeking out from under a heavy swath of paint, thin swipes of color crosshatched into apparent texture … the dash of cerulean blue laid over a warm patch of rosy orange, and then that glob of brilliant sunlit … not white but almost so … oh! 
 Perhaps the most beautiful thigh ever painted.

Step back slowly and experience the dizzying coming together of those slashes and dashes into a scene of windblown beaches, brilliant sunshine on wet bodies… cool fabric on a damp thigh…it is almost possible to hear the waves crashing on the shoreline and voices calling to each other, to know damp ocean breeze against sun-warmed skin…

Joaquin Sorolla,  White Boat, 1905, oil
There were other paintings; it seemed as if speaking at all while in their presence would be an unwelcome intrusion.  Handled in dark, somber tones with quiet strokes of liquid paint, they spoke of hopelessness, desolation, loss…
Joaquin Sorolla, Another Marguerite! 1892, oil
Another Marguerite!, (for which he received the gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid, as well First Prize at the Chicago International Exhibition) can only be appreciated in life.  The hopelessness, the desolation and bone weariness Sorolla paints into this scene simply cannot be translated through a computer screen.

It seems Sorolla’s hand was never idle. Besides the collection of completed paintings, there were dozens of sketches done on restaurant menus, an array of nearly abstract dashes of gauche depicting the view below his hotel window, as well as several charcoal preparatory drawings for his beach paintings. This exhibit is a master class in dedication to one’s craft.
Joaquin Sorolla, Grand Army Plaza, 1911 gauche
 I’m still evaluating the experience, as you can tell. I’ve got a million questions. It seems the best way to find the answers will be to go to my work space, squirt out some paint, and get to work.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How To

Karen, with Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center welcomes my delivery of artwork

 “You’re doing it!” said a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. 


“You’re doing the artist thing! Lookatchyoo! Exhibits! Galleries! Sales!! What‘s your secret?”

Does anyone ever say to their banker, “Hey! Way to go on that whole money thing! How’dja do that?”

Or to their shoe salesman, “Wow! These shoes fit! What’s yer secret?”

I have just spent the last 3 hours writing clever and charming ways to let you in on my 10 fun secrets to “doing it”.  After 3 hours of pounding my keyboard and wearing out my delete button, this is what I’m left with:

Sorry to say, there are no 10, 8 or even 2 easy steps. There are no secrets.

Paintings at Crane Trust Nature and Visitors Center
And that's the hardest thing of all. No shortcuts, no quickies, no magic. 

What's left then? All toil and trouble? Don't be silly.

I get to wake up every day knowing I'm my boss, and I like working for me. I'm a good boss. I let me wear painty jeans to work.

I get to create. 

I get to talk to people about things that make them happy; color, shared experiences, memories.

I get to share what I've learned with some really great people.
I get to  make people happy. Really happy.

And I'm happy to tell you that The Crane Trust and Visitor Center on Interstate 80 at the Alda interchange, has invited me to share my work for the next six weeks. No secret there; they asked, I said yes. Show's up now until February 24th.

2014 Sandhills Gale 8x10 oil currently hanging at Crane Trust and Visitor Center
I'm also sharing my magic at The Burkholder Project in Lincoln, Ne. in the Corner Gallery, where I've got my very own wall to hang my paintings on forever. 

Come to think of it, that's how it's done.