Saturday, August 30, 2008

rainy saturday, or "out of it".

Ahhhh... waking up to fresh coffee and a slow rain, and a day without a to-do list. Heaven!

I dropped my art off at the Maltex building yesterday for the Art Hop, and I'm taking in the exhalation that has surprisingly come with it all. I didn't realize how hard I had worked on all of this over the past few months, and now that it's behind me I can appreciate how much was put into it all. I think that makes sense! Sometimes you just don't realize how far you were into it until you're actually out of it. Not that I'm no longer into it. I'm just not in it. Today, at least!

I had a blast with Liv the other night goofing around with the camera. She's such a beautiful and funny hambone. I love those moments when it's just the two of us, being goofy and free. We recreated the mini-article that Vanity Fair does with famous actors portraying all-too-human 'characters.'

Here she is, a mom at a soccer game, in the cold rain, showing her support for the team:


And as the 4 year old on Christmas morning, seeing her new Barbie Dreamhouse under the tree:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

new ride


So the kids are back in school and it feels like a brand new life for me (again.) Even though I've been away from a "real job" since the end of April, I haven't had much of an opportunity to get a good feel for the type of freedom that comes without that day-to-day commitment. There's a big pile of oysters at my feet and I just need to bend my tired old back over enough to pick one up, crack it open, and slurp it down.

For now, the first oyster is in the shape of art. I'm chugging along, and am just about ready for the Art Hop. A few minor details to go, but all in all, I'm satisfied with the work I'll have on exhibit. There's a consistent look that's coming out, so I'm quite happy with that. I still want to take some of the pieces and sand them down and repaint and sand some more, but I have to let them go and have lives of their own now.

Next, clean the Intervale off a big pile of summer squash, onions, beets, zucchini and potatoes and roast them in the oven. Eat them up. Take a nap. Have some carrot sticks cut up for when the kids get home.

Today... eh, I'll take the nap first. Time to quiet the mind a bit, and work on being right here. On my couch, in sunny Burlington, with a dining room full of paintings that people might love, or like, or not. I just don't know. No more figuring it out, today. No more guessing. Today, I'm going to close my eyes, drift off, and prepare for the next ride.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Home again, diddly dee


Back to Burlington, VT after a wonderful road / air trip to PA and OR! So much fun with sibs Michael, Karen, Sue; family Danyelle and Julianna, then Phil's daughter Kate and her love Tony. It was a long trip that never felt long, with people I love with all my heart.

Creatively, I got a few paintings started while in Oregon. I didn't think that any inspiration was coming my way, but after I lined them up I realized that the bounty of fresh free fruit found its way onto the paintbrush! Brighter colors and shapes that drip of sweetness cover the canvas boards. They're not quite finished, and who knows what will happen to them, but I'm glad that I had the time and the space to get a head start on them.

I got to spend a few hours on some other pieces here at home today outside on the back porch. In a sweater and corduroys! The air is so cool and refreshing, but a bit challenging in a way because the crispness in Vermont in late August arrives with an unforgiving bang that reminds us that yes, summer is over. Quick! Hit the beach one more time... Crap! I didn't climb Camel's Hump afterall.... Damn, was that actually a tan that I almost had?

But overall, I'm happy for the change in seasons. My body has a memory of the slower pace of the fall and winter, and I'm in need of an empty house for awhile. I look forward to getting the kids off to school, exercising my body and/or my mind, then painting alone for a few hours. It seems like the pieces that I've created in the past few months haven't found a common thread, and that's mostly because I've been trying to paint in the swirl of a busy and happy summertime family household. Like writing poetry at the dining room table at Grandma's on Thanksgiving. Kinda hard to get into the groove. Kinda hard to find that place....

So, today I look at my living room absent one chair (found in a dumpster, then sold online $$!), 6+ paintings lined up where the chair once stood, paintings ready to go on exhibit and hopefully off to another home somewhere. A guitar on the sofa, 2 weeks' worth of unread Sunday NY Times, a few suitcases and a few containers of camping equipment, and I think, "Ahhhh, it can wait until tomorrow." Right now, I'm going to put on a sweater, go out to the front porch, and sit with my husband as the sun goes down over Lake Champlain. I'll chat with a neighbor and talk about the last flowers in the garden, plans for the fall, and the quickness of the passing of another season. Tomorrow......?... !

Friday, August 8, 2008

This is Scranton

Friday morning, woke up around 5am to a dark Scranton sky. Dozed off again, and then got up with Phil and walked around the city for awhile. An amazing cup of espresso, followed by a journey between the past and the future, as we walked through a city that is in the middle of a rebirth, or in some ways, a slow passing on. There's something sad but necessary about saying goodbye to an old Pennsylvania downtown, like the way you have to accept the death of a grandparent who had lived a full life and had suffered long enough. It's hard to let go, but you know it's time.Walking around this city, where I saw facades with "1875" carved into the stonework next to large signs that said, "Coming soon....!", I searched eagerly for the craft of my grandfather's --- hand painted signs. We found a few beauties, and I realized how endangered this art form has become.In an hour or so we'll pack up the kids and the car and head west toward Jamison City (pop. 102) to spend the weekend with my wonderfully wonderful siblings (Mike, Karen, Sue), Mike's wife Danyelle, and their daughter Julianna. Plus dogs Tucker and Bo! No internet, no connection to the "outside world", just the camp, the town watering hole, and each other. Perfect!(downtown Jamison City, now I think it's the bar!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why I am an artist and not a gardener!


One of two wheelbarrow loads of weeds from my front flower bed.
Ooops!

I'm sitting here chomping on a hot pepper, writing one more time before we head out to good old Pennsylvania tomorrow. I packed some boards and fabulous travel-sized tubes of paint that I found at Boutellier's today. I finished a nice piece yesterday that has an almost paisley/India kind of feel to it. Better seen than said.... but the camera is packed and I'm heading out the door, so pics will come later. Jamming and cramming to get ready for the Art Hop, which is coming up on Sept. 5-6th. ((( www.seaba.com ))) I'd love to have a few more wonderful pieces ready, so I guess I'll be laying some stuff together out in Oregon. Wonderful!

Happy trails, amigos. More next week!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lovely Day

oh...
I had a day to meself today. I drank coffee, and lots of it. Brought a bunch of boards (I don't use canvas, I prefer birch plywood boards) out to the back porch and had some fun. Downloaded some albums that I owned (gulp) 15 years ago. Lenny Kravitz, REM and Pearl Jam. Ahhh those days... that's another post, eh? ;)

So, alone on the porch, encaustic wax in one hand, my trusty wood burning tool in the other, and some cool stuff started to appear. One that isn't quite done but is leaning toward being a tree. A tree of life, perhaps? One that I finished and goes along with the blue / life / growth series that's starting to emerge. Two others that are in the early stages.

Many many layers go into my paintings --- so many of them start out as one thing and end up as something completely different. My family thinks I'm nuts at times... sometimes when I show them a finished painting and say, "Oh, yeah, that was the one that had the tree in it", when, upon sight it's a crazy abstract with scratches and whirls, they send out a collective growl, "Ohhhhh I liked that one!!!" Oh well! This is not design by committee! No, it's all fun and good. I just can't put something out there until I feel good about it. It's as simple as that.

So, tonight I get ready for my trip. No painting for almost 2 weeks ---ugggh! I don't know if I'll like that! Maybe some minis will appear.. they'll fit in my suitcase!

More later.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Unknowing

Well hey I had my first sale on Etsy yesterday! One of my favorite paintings, "The Unknowing" will be making the journey across the US to Eugene, Oregon. What a joy! It's a sweet piece too, so I'm very happy that it have a new home.

I have a few more days here at home before we head out for some vacationing. I have a few paintings here that are in need of some love and attention -- they're not quite ready, but close. The kids will be gone tomorrow, so that will be a great time to set up the easel on the back porch and let it all fly. I hope to get them up before we leave on Thursday.

We'll be in PA and OR on our trip, so I'll take the sketch book along and grab some inspiration. I'm certain Oregon will provide some new perspective of shapes, textures, and colors. Pennsylvania always impresses me with how lush it all is. This time of year it's bursting green. The trees get so full, rolling fields are like soft bellies, baskets of green peppers at the farmers market beckon.

So this morning, as I sit here, I start my day with gratitude. Not a bad practice, eh? A new day, more unknowing, more opportunities for new growth. Yeehaw!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

..... those who love......

Saturday morning. The sun is shining. Kids are stirring.

I spent a big portion of yesterday working on a new piece. I have an old, old Sears catalog (1950's, I believe) that I got from my brother Michael during a family 'Christmas in July Yankee Swap' that we did at last year's Whalen Weekend (sibling get-together at my sister's camp). It's been sitting around the house for a year, not really doing anything. In the past week or so I realized that it was time to explore a new direction, creatively, so I did what I really like to do.... look around me and see what's here, what's ready to be something else. So the catalog and some old books now tell new stories.

I went to Recycle North (great local non-profit used household goods store: http://www.recyclenorth.org) and grabbed some great old books. I looked for variations in color, language style, content, and most of all, repetitive headers that were interesting. At first the focus of the piece was the line "Enthusiasm Makes the Difference" from an old Dale Carnegie book, but the words, "Those Who Love" eventually became the strength behind the image.

What do I see? Women and self esteem, the isolation of motherhood, the prioritization of shoes over issues, the loss of confidence that girls often go through after age 9. What do you see? Just look....Those Who Love 1
For sale on www.jodiwhalen.etsy.com