Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Sweetness of Motherhood

This is one of my favorite paintings. I like textiles representing creation and the rearing and raising of children. The softness of the colors and the texture of the yarn and the tiny, newborn baby makes me feel the sweet and tender emotions of a mother. I'll be honest, sometimes I need to be reminded of the sweetness of motherhood. Her hands are busy, and though she has been at it a while, she is patient and peacful. Her productivity and focus are harmonious with the softness.

This entry is a tribute to my sister-in-law who had her first baby three weeks ago and is wondering if she will ever be able to get anything done again. There is a certain amount of submitting yourself, your life and your purpose to your children. You don't lose anything, you only gain and grow. Perspective is key: This life is a blip in eternity, our children as babies is a blip in this life, and we grow exponetially from the experience. And that is why we are here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Serena and the Lion

My fourth canvas print! It will come out this autumn. I'm glad Greenwich chose this because it's one of my favorites. I called it Lion, they want to add Serena. I like it, it means peace. This piece, and many others I've done with animals, becomes an analogy on life. This is a lion she is tethered to and it could bite her head off. Yet, she is at peace.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Art, Life, Etc.

I have had unfinished projects stacking up all around my house. I finally realized that I haven't been finishing any house projects because of guilt. If I do a project it means I wasn't painting. Therefore, neglect means productivity. Well, that's stupid. So, I set out to finish a few things I have hangin' around. I purchased this light fixture in January, but couldn't decide if I liked it... for seven months. I really wanted some color in my living room and the fixture was brown, but I loved the shape and the sparkle. So, there it sat, making a mess of my living room. Then I had the brilliant idea to paint it! Better yet, I painted it turquoise and rubbed in a black glaze.
I liked the off-blue of the chandelier so much that I used the same-ish color to paint the lids of a bunch of jars I have been collecting - oh, I'm green alright. I couldn't stop there. I took an old fixture that we had replaced and spray-painted it mango to go in my lime sorbet studio. Love it. Now I just have to sew a few wacky dolls to tuck into the center... I'll get right on that. I finished a few other projects and chores and it turns out that I feel intense satisfaction - no guilt - every time I look at the fruits of my labors. Besides, I don't have deadlines till October, which means I have another month and a half till sheer panic sets in.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I made some progress on my Julia painting yesterday. I try to paint my first layer of flesh monochromatic. It's usually hard not to add in all sorts of colors, rosy cheeks and whatnot, but I stuck to it with this one. I think it gives the face more depth in the end. Hair, on the other hand, I try to nail on the first round, with the exception of a few highlights. The blue in the background is the color I started on, gesso tinted with acrylic - what a delicious color. I'll have a hard time painting over it, but I've left a gesso background before and it looked icky after liquining. I get a kick out of watching a painting progress, so I'll probably keep you up to date with this one.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

J'aime le craquelleur!

I frequently get asked (making it an official FAQ) how I do that exquisite crackly finish on my paintings. Alas, a magician never reveals her secrets. Just kidding. Crackling is putting the icing on the cake, it is a real treat - I would love to share.
My dad discovered this product and quickly addicted my sister and me when he gave us each a pair of bottles for Christmas. The product, by LeFranc & Bourgeous (very French), is a two step process. I usually finish the painting with a coat of Liquin which makes me sneeze (another topic for another day). The first step is to apply an even coat of the ageing varnish. You then wait two to three hours, depending on how fine you want your crackles. The drier the ageing varnish, the smaller the crackles, yum. You want tacky, but not sticky. I usually wait till the tack is almost gone, I like 'em fine. Here comes the mad skills. You only get one swipe to apply the cracking varnish. Thin, but not too thin, streak free, but don't fuss with it, fast, but keep it even. This layer is water soluble, so if you mess up you can wash it off with soap and water. But don't, it's a pain in the @%$. Wait a few hours, or a day, and then you can make the magic happen. Paint the whole thing over with an oil paint-asphaltum, sepia, and transparent oxide brown are my favorites. Then you rub with kleenex, q-tips, those cotton things the dentist packs your teeth with (thank dad for that one too!). It's so much fun, you can deepen shadows, pop highlights, bring down the tone of an area, leave the edges darker to make it look old, and on and on... It's so much fun. When that is dry, I spray with a gloss damar varnish... and voila!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Swarming Leitmotif

As her leitmotif buzzed and swarmed about her,
the rhythmic hum became harmonious and soothing,
and she found peace in the chaos.

leit·mo·tif [lahyt-moh-teef] –noun
a motif or theme associated throughout a music drama with
a particular person, situation, or idea.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Portrait of Julia

My sweet big-sister, Cass, wanted to know what I am working on. I have a lot of paintings in the works. This is a drawing for a piece I am really excited about. I can't wait to paint it!

The model is Julia Pugh. Her husband, Jeff, is a talented landscape artist. We are working on a trade and this will probably be the piece I offer him. Julia's dad, Gary Smith, and my dad studied art at BYU together. I thought it would be fun to trade Jeff with a portrait of Julia after I saw a portrait that Gary did of my mom, when they were probably about our age, hanging in my parents house.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Today I got a proof for my third canvas print. Crocodile will come out this fall. Having my paintings made into prints has been very exciting. One of my first two, Birdcage, was released a few months ago and has already sold out! It was a small edition, only seventy-five, but I'm pretty jazzed about it. Thanks Greenwich Workshop!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I love this piece. I love the strength in her pose and the boldness the red. I wish I could feel like this, as a mother, all the time. Strong, contained in the comfort of our nest, kids content and occupied, eyes turned toward heaven, beautiful and sexy. The butterfly makes me feel like she is growing and developing and releasing her happiness and exquisite goodness. I want to be her.

The painting was in a miniatures show (it's 8"x6") in Ohio last March. It didn't sell and is still at the gallery. I hope I get it back. I really like it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recurring Theme

I can't help myself. A woman's head is so often just asking for a bird. Symbolically, a bird represents the inbetweeness of heaven and earth. I have used this idea a lot in correlation with babies. When they come, it seems to me that they are still a little heavenly and only partially here, earthly with us. I like the idea of the baby descending from above and landing on her mother's head while her mother aids in her transformation and her earthly creation.
The fun part about these three pieces is when they were painted. I went from one baby, to two, and then there were three. The third has three birdies with mouths wide open, ready to feed. I was feeling a little stretched when I did that one.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Plein Air Painting

Last month my dad, my sister Cass, and I participated in Thanksgiving Point's first annual Plein Air Festival.

We had so much fun. Which I measure by time spent and amount of gusto to our giggling. I love sharing painting with them. They are great mentors and teachers. I am so lucky to have them around!

I titled my piece "Pastiche Bo Peep." Pastiche is a term for an artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources. An apt word to describe what I felt I was doing - imitating a plein air painter with a Bouguereau-like figure. At the end there was a silent auction and we all sold our pieces. Not bad for a few days work.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sheep Farm

The Dali Lama said sheep mean love. OK, I don't know if the Dali Lama actually said that. My good friend forwarded me one of those emails that you answer questions, like list five people that remind you of a horse, a dog, sheep etc. Then you use the Dali Lama's meanings for these animals to tell you what you think of your friends. I have to admit, I didn't make a list, I skimmed through the whole email. But it made me think. And if I did make a list, I would have a lot of sheep.

Here is my little flock. Always on my mind. Love, love, love, love.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sutilis Chordae Tendineae

Art reflects life. The majority of my day is consumed with attending to the needs of my children. It is time consuming and emotionally exerting. Thus the Toil. They are so sweet and full to the brim with love for me. They give my days meaning and purpose. Thus the tenderness.

Tenderness and Toil: A description of this piece. A thematic description of my art. And a general description of my life.