29 May 2007

Tree Dreams

Today was a pretty good day -- did an artcard, almost finished a portrait, and transplanted trees -- but I'm tired. I usually take a break now and then for a cup of tea or to read a bit, but not today. As soon as I finished one thing, I moved on to the next. That worked well, except now I'm too tired to scan in the 'just finished' pieces. Oh well, everyone can wait for tomorrow!

Now about these trees. I got the idea to plant some tree seeds from the Chilopsis we have, so that I can have more. Well, of the 12 seeds planted, 11 came up. Today was the day I potted them up in individual pots, so they can grow. They really have healthy roots -- as any good desert tree does -- so they should do well in larger pots. My only problem is where will I eventually plant them? I wanted 2-3 new trees, but 11?! Course, I'll probably kill off one or two before they are big enough to plant in my yard. (Right now they are about 1-1.5 inches tall.)

There's a number of other trees I'd like either more of or some of. So much to the amusement of my husband, when we go places (such as the grocery store or to Palm Springs), I run around picking up seed pods. Okay, I'm a giant bald squirrel! Anyway, I'll be planting mimosa seeds, 3 kinds of mesquite, and if I can figure out how to reach them, sweet gum seeds.

I may plant only 3 or 4 seeds of each, so I don't end up with tons more trees. Then again, I have toyed with the idea of growing larger numbers of these trees and then selling them to the local nurseries. I don't know if they would buy them or what I would get for them. I suppose I should check into it before I plant 100 pots! Hmm, I wonder if they would trade for trees I don't have?

27 May 2007

One Down, One to Go

So far this weekend, I've been very productive. Ignoring all the household tasks I've caught up on, I actually finished one of the two older commissions and I just finished (maybe) a small painting.

Let's start with the latter. It's a small oil (5x7) on canvas of a pink waterlily. It's basically done, except... and this is where I get into trouble... I want to make a few corrections. I've done what I can today and am letting it dry a bit over night. Maybe then I'll decide there's nothing to be done or maybe I'll make the corrections. In any case, I can show folks a scan of it now because it's wet!

The one I can show you is this:

It's a western bluebird sitting on a fence post. I think the painting is terrific, but there's a tiny problem. The person wanted a mountain bluebird and had sent me this photo. Well, the more I worked on the piece, the more I realized that (1) the bird in the photo was a juvenile and (2) a mountain bluebird with it's pale blue breast wouldn't look as good as a western bluebird. So, it'll be interesting to see what happens -- either I'll keep this one (to sell on eBay) and paint a new bluebird or not. (Actually, I wouldn't mind doing an actual mountain bluebird, but it won't be on a fence post!)

Speaking of eBay, things sure are slow there. I guess I should email my former buyers and let them know I'm back to listing things. That reminds me, I just put up this art card:

It's a ram's head lady slipper orchid in watercolor. I really like the lady slipper orchids (or lady's slipper, or ladyslipper -- take your pick on the spelling) and am planning on doing a set of 8 small botanicals of them and then 2 or 3 larger paintings of them.

Anyway, since it's a holiday, I'm giving myself the night off and watching a DVD. After I medicate Emily, clean the litter boxes, do the dishes, call hubby, ...

25 May 2007

Memorial Day Weekend Plans

It's a holiday weekend. I'm not sure what that exactly means for me, because I'll do my normal weekend thing.

Okay, one minor thing is the lack of lookers on eBay. I posted my heron last night and so far there's been 2 -- count them, 1, 2 -- total views. I suppose everyone is getting ready for the weekend. Or everyone is saving money to buy gas. Or ... well, there's a whole lot of possibilities. I'm not terribly concerned because if it doesn't sell, then I'll put it in my store which really needs the inventory.

So, other than post another auction on Sunday, the only other thing I have planned is to actually finish the 2 commissions by Tuesday. I have been working on them, off and on -- actually more off than on -- so they are both about 75% done. It really should only take me a few hours each to get them done. I really need to get them done so I can work on another pencil portrait which I recently received.

That's it for my big holiday plans. While some people have suggested that I should get out more or something, I'm rather happy with sitting around my house, doing art, gardening, housework, etc. Years ago, I was more social and used to go to parties, but I guess as I got older I didn't find the drinking and parties so fun. I'd rather sit around discussing philosophy or politics than getting drunk. And since I have yet to find the intelligencia in Yucca Valley, I'll sip my whisky and read my philosopy all by my self.

23 May 2007

Heron Done!

As I said yesterday, I thought I would finish the night heron today. And I did. Heck, I even got it matted and framed. Yah, right. (Looks like I can't even cut electronic mats straight on the left side.)

I think this painting came out pretty good. The bird is very well done. The stump and grass are fine. The only problem I have is with the water -- it's a bit too dark among the grass, but I don't want to try to fix it. (Last time I got a brilliant idea to do something like that, I basically repainted the entire painting!) I really like the composition and am planning on trying this general idea on other pieces.

Over the years, I have resisted using acrylics, because I associate them with plastic. And while it's true that acrylic paint is plastic, if I take the time to build up layers, the finished piece doesn't look like plastic. They also have a distinct advantage over watercolors and over oils. With regards to watercolor, acrylics come with white paint, so any mistake is easily covered up and repainted. And with regards to oils, acrylics just dry so much faster. I think I prefer oils, but I did enjoy working with acrylics enough to use them again.

22 May 2007

Working on a Heron

Well, I finally go back to work. And it feels pretty good.

I'm working on a 12x16 acrylic painting of a black-capped night heron. I have the bird and the stump it's sitting on done, so tomorrow I only have the background and the water to do. I should be able to finish it tomorrow, but I'm sometimes surprised about how long it takes me to do backgrounds. (It's all the individual leaves of grass which take time.)

I must confess that I'm enjoying working on something a bit larger. I usually tend towards the small sizes, but there's only so many small birds plus the details are easier on a larger scale. Right now, I'm contemplating doing some larger birds, such as an eagle or an owl. These still won't be life-sized, but 20x30 or 18x24 is still a decent size for me. There's 2 problems with anything larger -- shipping and my ability to reach the top of the painting. Yes, it's sounds silly, but when you are short, trying to paint large paintings not on an easel is a challenge. I end up doing a lot of the painting upside down!

I think it's time to check on the fire again (large wildfire about 1 mile away) and then relax and watch a DVD.

21 May 2007

What's Next

With a bit of luck, I should be back to 'normal' in a day or two, assuming that I remember what that means!

After I wrote my last installment, Emily has a crisis on Friday night. She went blind and she started to pee every half hour. Then on Saturday, she was very lethargic and still couldn't see. Needless to say, I was a wreck, not just because it was my grumpy old lady cat, but because my vet was gone until Tuesday. Thankfully, by Sunday she was better and then started eating on her own. This blindness was due to high blood pressure, which cats with chronic renal failure often get. She's on medication now, but other than restore a bit of large shape vision, she's blind. She is getting around okay, including jumping up on the bed, so that's good.

Also, last week, hubby came home -- at the time we thought to maybe bury Emily. We had a good time which meant I didn't get much work done. One fun thing we did was go get some more alabaster.

Anyway, with Emily now stable and hubby on the road, I can get back to work. I did yesterday -- I got to work on the stone sculpture I had been working on. Today was more of a problem. My back and arms were a bit sore from working on the rock yesterday, so I didn't want to stress them today. Which meant I should do something else, but what? (Yes, I know I need to get back to those 2 commissions, but I'd rather do something less critical to get my creative juices flowing again.)

I know I have written about doing my own art, but it's been so long since I've done anything for me that I really didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do. I know I'm more than a bit emotionally tired, but I still wanted to work. But I have so many things I want to do, I don't know which one to start with. Part of the problem is my perfectionism -- I feel like I have to pick the perfect project.

Well, I did decide to get to work on a new woodblock print of alpacas. Maybe while I'm carving the block, I'll be able to figure out what's next.

10 May 2007

Well, I might be back and then again, I might not.

Since I last wrote anything, my life has been one mess after another, and yes, I will admit it that I created some of them. When I last wrote, Sammy had just died. Hubby then came home and his dog upset my older cat so she stopped eating. Then I adopted 2 more cats. Then my older cat started pawing at her mouth so there was an emergency trip to the vet for dental surgery -- she lost 6 teeth. Now she's still not eating and has a cold -- another trip to the vet. She's doing a bit better today, but I'm still having to force feed. These are the messes I admit to creating. Somewhere in all this, we got our $7000(!) IRS bill, hubby's big rig developed a new electrical problem, and diesel fuel is $3/gallon in many location, which really hurts since he fills his 300-gallon tanks about everyday. Those are hubby's messes which I have to deal with. And the final group of messes is the general stuff -- rabbits eating everything green, gas $3.55/gal, I'm getting fat, etc. Oh, and the gallery where I had some sculptures called and asked me to remove them, so now I'm gallery-less!

The one bright spot in this is I'm back to stone sculpting. Love working with stone. It's dusty, dirty, heavy, and somewhat dangerous with the power tools, but it's fun. Right now, it's what I need to do -- I can't think about cat problems while working unless I want to lose a finger or two. I actually finished one piece to the polishing stage and am working on a second, which I should get down in the next day or two. And then I'll probably start another one. I'm on a roll.

I'm also back, somewhat more tentatively, to painting. I'm working on two commissions right now -- a blue bird and a dog portrait. Both in oil and both should be done by Monday, barring anymore cat problems! I'm 'forcing' myself to get these done before launching off on some major projects.

And I'm also hoping to be back to listing pieces on eBay this weekend. I don't know for sure because I'm still not clear on the new postal regulations. I think I'll have to go to a calculated postage rather than a set postage because it really is going to depend on the distance. This also means I'll need to change a lot of my store items too!

Anyway, I'm sort of back. I'm definitely not back to where I was before Sammy got really sick, but I'm happy to have moved on a bit.