Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Last Hundred Days of 2009

hand in hands
pencil, 11 x 8 1/2 inches

playground tree
pen, 6 3/4 x 3 3/4 inches

Last night, after I'd tucked the girls in bed, I got online and discovered that, yes, Rowena is at it again!

I was feeling a little lost since the 100 in 100 ended. I got a commission out of it (thanks, dirk), and I'm almost done with that painting, but I miss the permission I gave myself to indulge a daily habit. So, I did a quick hand sketch last night and I'm going to join Rowena with The Last Hundred Days of 2009. I'm still going to be drawing/painting (my writer self is so deeply buried, she'll take years to revive), but I'm gonna go easy on myself and just say 100 life studies, whatever form they take (for example, this morning's was the above 5 minute sketch of a playground while waiting for my daughter).

My goal is to continue working my eye & hand skills, while completing a work each day.

And I'm going to take a page from the Jim Armenti playbook: Jim has observed that often when adults try to start something, they have in their mind the romanticized vision of what it will look like. For example, someone starting guitar lessons will promise themselves that they'll practice an hour every day. Then, after the first couple days, when it's too hard to sustain that effort in a busy life, they skip a day, then another, promising themselves two hours of practice on the weekend.

This is what happened to me a few times during the 100 in 100, and I would make up the drawings/paintings, sometimes two in a day, sometimes as many as five.

Jim advises a simpler and more honest approach: for guitar, keep your guitar handy so you can pick it up and practice for the five minutes you're waiting for the oatmeal to cook or the ten minutes for the phone call to be returned. So I'm going to carry my sketchbook with me (I didn't have it this morning, so all I had available to sketch on was a file-o-fax page), and sketch from life every day until the end of the year. Some days, I will have an hour, or even two, in the studio, and on those days, I'll be able to paint.

Join me?

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today was a better day. Thanks to everyone who offered support. I appreciate it.

Friday Kidblogging

schoolyard flowers

library fish

Yesterday was a challenging parenting day. Somehow I've gotten to where I have no local support network, no friends I can call when I need help. As a single parent, I needed someone's help yesterday so that I could take one kid to a party and leave the other one home. But I had no one to call.

We managed okay, the three of us. But I want better than okay. I need better than okay. For me, but especially for my daughters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you to the generous reader who sent me these presents! Everyone loves presents. I'll let you choose whether to remain anonymous and please let me know if you'd like a drawing or painting in exchange for your generosity!

I have really wanted this Uri Shulevitz book since I stumbled upon a reference to it somewhere online. I first heard of him when I found the book One Monday Morning at a neighborhood tag sale.

I love his artwork. Here's my very sloppy video reading of it (complete with messy house in the background)...

I also want to thank Culture of Truth for giving me a highly coveted link at the big blue house.

And now, back to making art.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another in a Series of Self Portraits with Produce

self portrait with watermelon

There were four this year in the garden. This is the second we've harvested so far. The bad news: the girls, having been raised on seedless watermelon, found the seeds not joyful for spitting but extremely bothersome, to the point of despising this poor defenseless fruit.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

100 in 100, Day 100

self portrait, dirty brush wash
painted with left hand
oil on paper, 12x9 inches

self portrait with head scarf
painted with left hand
oil on paper, 12x9 inches

self portrait, a smaller cucumber
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, brush cleaner for #98
oil on paper, 12x9 inches

self portrait with sun hat
oil on paper, 12x9 inches

Whoohoo! I did it! If you'd like to see them all as a gallery, here's my facebook album. Yes, there are really one hundred! I have enjoyed this project. Thank you again to Rowena for being the ringleader. It has been a long time since I've made art a daily practice. It feels good to have my artist self reawaken.

Over the course of these one hundred works, it was much easier for me to create a finished piece using pastels. Painting, especially a painting in a day, or an hour, was tough for me. My brush handling skills are rusty, so things sometimes turned to mud. There have been some drawing and painting disasters here, along with some good works. It was liberating to have committed to the challenge, and just keep moving forward. I learned a lot and had fun.

What's next?

Friday, September 4, 2009

100 in 100, Day 96?

self portrait with cucumber

Yes, I think this is Day 96. I have all kinds of excuses why there was a gap here, near the finish line. The garden harvest is demanding my attention. The girls needed to get ready to go back to school. I'm lazy.

The real reasons are more likely that switching to painting was much harder for me than drawing with pastel, and also that nearing 100 forces me to think about what the heck I'm doing and where I want to go next. So. Of course, I ran away ran away ran away! But I came back! And though I value creating everyday, my realistic goal for this project was to complete 100 works of art in 100 days.

I did number 84 on Tuesday night, and it turned out pretty clunky, so I was discouraged. So I skipped a day, and then, on Thursday, I did numbers 85 through 90. Then today, I did 91 through 95.

4 days left to complete 5 more works to make it to 100 in 100.

self portrait with clouds
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, red tube
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, nude in the studio
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait with pepper and paintbrush
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, modest
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, ultramarine
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait, goddess
oil on paper, 17x14 inches

self portrait in the studio
pastel, 17x14 inches

self portrait, blue rectangle
pastel, 17x14 inches

self portrait, standing
pastel, 17x14 inches

self portrait, holding shoulder
pastel, 17x14 inches

self portrait with scarf
pastel, 17x14 inches