Art Commission

You can't wait for them to come to you, you need to find them!

I found that out several months ago when I became determined to pay for an upcoming trip to Italy. Feeling guilty that I was traveling with painting friends rather than any of my family members (although now I get to travel with my sister…yay!) I become determined to pay for the trip through the sale of my artwork — it was going to be an art related trip after all. So, sitting down at my trusted laptop, I reached out to local designers, developers, builders, and art consultants and was amazed by the encouraging responses. Not only did many people reply with such kind words about my work, but the timing was just about perfect when I reached a builder who was considering original artwork for a new apartment building in SW DC.

 They arrived!! 

They arrived!! 

A few emails, a phone call, a meeting, a site visit, and finally a contract, it was time to get started. Three large paintings on canvas— one 70”x70” and two 60”x94”— my biggest paintings yet! I have always wanted to paint large and after my amazing time at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, I was convinced that was what I was supposed to be doing. So, I quickly realized that I will need to stretch my own canvases (which I love doing) and found Upper Canada Stretchers, ordered all the supplies and was excited to get started.

The frames were quite easy to construct and I was lucky enough to enlist my super talented friend, Laurie Breen to assist me in the stretching part. Thank goodness. Not to boast, but we did an amazing job! So, three coats of gesso later, I was ready to go!

 Upper Canada Stretchers made them super easy to build.

Upper Canada Stretchers made them super easy to build.

 First frame built!

First frame built!

 Laurie, me and let's get started! 

Laurie, me and let's get started! 

 

How do you start on such large paintings? Just START! My favorite part!

 Setup for something to work from.   

Setup for something to work from.

 

 Making a mess.   

Making a mess.

 

The client had given me an interior design rendering to use as a guide for the color palette so I set up a still life with similar colors from which to work. I knew I wouldn't actually be painting a still life but I needed some forms and connections to work from. After the first visit from the client to see the 70”x70”, I was freed – no longer did I need to stick to the palette. A little conflicted with that news (sometimes it’s actually nice to have parameters) but I forged ahead, loving every second.

Seriously.
Loving.
Every
.
Second.

So much painting, so much movement, so much thinking, painting, flipping, looking, meditating, and more painting. What could be more fun?!

By now my studio now had all three canvases up on the walls, covering 75% of my wall space. Did I mention these were WAY too big to go on an easel? I thought it was challenging rotating the large square piece but now I had two that were 60”x94” that were 10 lbs heavier and they were infinitely harder to manage! Yes, I can see why a studio mate would be nice. Lucky for me, Studio 3807 has their studio next door and my trusted neighbor was kind enough to help me when I swallowed my pride and asked for it. So painting, painting, painting continued to fill my days for the next two months, with some welcome interruptions of graphics responsibilities.

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As these paintings began to emerge, it was fascinating seeing how the abstraction of the city became apparent. Somehow harbors, boats, sidewalks, trees, buildings, cranes, bridges, streets, telephone poles, wires, chaos all started appearing without me consciously painting them. Not only did I see that imagery but others who came to the studio did as well. Is that a boat? Are those monuments? Is that the bridge in Georgetown? Is that a crane in SE? Is that the waterfront? Are those office buildings? Sure! If that is what you see, then that is what it is. I love to engage people’s imagination and see how the history inside of them affects what they see in my abstract paintings. They are left loose for a reason.

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So, the day came when they were approved, packaged up and off they went to the client. I was sad but excited to see them go, and I cannot wait to see them in their new home at 301 M Street, SW in February! I will finally be able to get some distance on them! I hope others enjoy them as much as I enjoyed painting them.

 I don't often look this tiny!

I don't often look this tiny!

Harbor
Acrylic on canvas
60"x94"

Intersection
Acrylic on canvas
0"x94"

Fresh Outlook
Acrylic on canvas
70"x70"

 
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Saturday Morninngs

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Saturday mornings from 10:00am – 1:00pm are a sacred for me, the time carved out to be part of an amazing and inspirational group of artists at Red Dirt for what Margaret Boozer has coined “Saturday Seminar”.  Artists currently at Red Dirt or those have a connection from  the past, come together in the studio (the old Firehouse in Mount Rainer) and we toss around ideas and work towards greater accomplishments in our professional practice (or eat really good food, drink coffee and share current cultural events that inspire us). 

So why am I sitting at home this Saturday morning rather than being there?
Good question!
Motherhood took priority today :)

But before my mommy responsibility, I had an hour of time to spare. So instead of pissing it away (cleaning or sleeping or snuggling my dog or eating) I decided to make my own Saturday Seminar all by myself, a time to focus on something that will help me improve my art and myself. So, after two years of saying I want to write a blog yet made excuse after excuse how I cannot write, how I cannot come up with anything folks would be interested in reading, how it takes so much time, etc, etc, I decided to take action and come up with painting blog post ideas.

After a quick search of the best Art Blogs to read daily (as inspiration), I discovered Smartblogger.com's Headline Hacks - A Cheat Sheet for Writing Blog Posts which kickstarted my brainstorming. (Sometimes i just need someone to tell me what to do!) I am not saying they are all brilliant post ideas or even worth writing about, or even anything I have the expertise to write about, but it was a fantastic exercise to realize there are things that would be fun to write about and perhaps some that may even interest people.

So here they are, in the order they were vomited out! Very little editing. They may be for the artist reader, they my be for the fans, they may be for me alone. It doesn’t matter, it's me moving forward, and for that, I am thankful.

 Any suggestions on which to write first? (See, I am still looking for someone to tell me what to do!)

  1. How to understand abstract art
  2. How to hang a painting
  3. How to choose a painting
  4. How to start a painting
  5. How do you know when a painting is done
  6. How to find inspiration
  7. How to choose a color palette
  8. How to choose a format
  9. How to transform a small painting into a large one
  10. You bought an unframed painting, now what do you do
  11. Why original art is important
  12. How to make a first impression
  13. How to make a decision on what to paint
  14. How to be productive when I would rather be (sleeping, exercising, eating, snuggling my dog, on and on and on)
  15. How to be a “real” artist
  16. How to be inspired
  17. How to be courageous when some of a painting is working and some is not
  18. How to make drastic changes without ruining a potential masterpiece
  19. How to communicate without using words
  20. How to fall in love with a painting and make it work in your home
  21. How to love a [blue] painting and hang it in a [green] room
  22. How to take time to paint and keep up with social media
  23. How I got started as an artist
  24. How to use magnets and postcards as gifts
  25. How to talk about your art
  26. How to create smaller priced items to make your art accessible to all
  27. How much I love my studio at Red Dirt!
  28. How to paint a painting in 5 minutes
  29. How to get inspired in 5 minutes (gestures)
  30. How to activate the right side of my brain in 5 minutes
  31. How to post on social media in 5 minutes
  32. How to prepare your canvas in 5 minutes
  33. What do the first 5 minutes when I get to my studio look like?
  34. 5 ways to start a canvas
  35. 5 ways to start an abstract painting
  36. How to get started when you really don’t want to
  37. How to get a website up quickly
  38. How to be an artist and think like a business person
  39. How to decide if you want to be an artist
  40. The Top 10 classic and contemporary artists who inspire me
  41. The Top 10 excuses I have for not painting
  42. The Top 10 negative comments that plague my brain
  43. The Top 10 things I love about my family
  44. The Top 10 things I love about my dog
  45. The Top 10 things I wish I knew 10 years ago
  46. The Top 10 artists I wish I would have known personally
  47. The Top 10 artists I wish I had on speed dial
  48. The Top 10 reasons people don’t spend money on real art
  49. The Top 10 reasons artists need support
  50. The Top 10 reasons artists don’t make art
  51. The Top 10 reasons artists need to be good business people
  52. The Top 10 museums I want to visit (again)
  53. The Top 10 DC visual artists who should be famous!
  54. The Top 10 things I see and wish I could paint at that very moment.
  55. 4 steps to mounting a painting on paper
  56. 5 steps to prepare a canvas for painting
  57. 5 Tips for staying sane when your painting is crap
  58. 5 Tips for showcasing your work on social media
  59. 5 Tips for viewing art you may not understand
  60. 5 mind blowing facts people should know about viewing art
  61. 5 shocking facts about art funding cuts
  62. 5 heart warming facts about art in hospitals
  63. 5 Quotes from famous artists that will put it into perspective
  64. A paintbrush that will change your life, (okay, maybe not yours, but MINE!)
  65. 5 Things you would never have known about me
  66. 5 Things you didn’t know about art and your brain
  67. 5 things you didn’t know about the quality of paint
  68. 5 things you didn’t know that are stressful for artists
  69. 5 things you didn’t know about art and healing
  70. 5 things I try to remember when everything seems to be going wrong with my painting
  71. 5 Things you should understand about my paintings
  72. Warning: It was a bad painting day!
  73. Warning: This may come off as boastful!
  74. Why buying original art is better than a print.
  75. What is the best way to support an artist.
  76. How to get a website up quickly
  77. Why a well designed website is important for an artist
  78. How to get started when you really don’t want to
  79. How to be an artist and think like a business person
  80. How to decide if you want to be an artist
  81. 3 things I would say to new artists

phew, you are done!