Stay in the Loop! Free!

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz


search my blog posts?

Monday, June 30, 2008

'phew Josh, holy mother, back at the easel and A'Ha's

Well, sing along together to the tune of 'Back in the Saddle Again'...'Back at the Easel Again'...Teehee!

ACTUALLY, I made changes suggested by Mr. Leslie B. DeMille (or at least attempted)...and took heed at Grandma's comment about his hair being the wrong color...and here he is! This incarnation, anyway. My main 'phew, Josh!

Today is daughter Betsy Ross Nobel's birthday...the day started with an update on the new 'nobel' due in late summer. What a kick...sorry betsy...I'm sure you are getting the kikx!

Anyway, delightful day in good 'ole Rogers at the Ross abode. Slow start...did an 'I ching' reading about our (think positive) upcoming move and got a message about maintenance, repair, pride, etc. Randy came in from his fav therapy (washing cars) and said he wanted to open the pool...but first we'd have to clean leaves, weeds, etc. While he engaged in his other fav therapy (napping) I worked on Josh. It never ceases to amaze me how good it is to lose yourself in some kind of creative activity. It doesn't have to be an easel...or wetting a could be cooking, writing, decorating, rebuilding a car, or WHATEVER! For me, it is the easel.

After a couple hours, (and waiting for the spray to hopefully have killed the ticks in the back) we decided to tackle the weeds. (ala advice from Kippy...get dirty). That went quickly, so we decided to remove the cover from the pool. Randy was feeling so good that he tackled a few limbs to clear a better view of the LPGA tournament (this week). He then disappeared for an hour or so (turns out he was dumping the yard debris). 

In the meantime, I settled in on one of the decks, drinking a cool one...and my iPod started playing one of my favorite songs...'Holy Mother' written by Eric Clapton and performed by Eric and Pavarotti...FABULOUS! So good, I listened louder 5 or 6 times, memorizing the words. Made me realize that quiet time, is SO theraputic.  We are way too busy for quiet. Well, quiet except for 'Holy Mother'. For my new friends who aren't aware of the book I helped create 'Mélanger avec Amour' with Kippy Hammond and Jerome Henriquez of La Bonne Etoile in France, I have had several 'epiphanies' while there. Totally don't know why I would try to 'splain' here...except to say that things are quiet there. Peaceful. Like the day I had here (not as exotic)

Except to be grateful...for the fireflies...the sun setting over the Pinnacle lake...a newly cleaned up back yard...and for the glorious song written by Eric...and the awareness that he has had the devastating experience of losing a child. And lived to be such an inspiration to others. I personally don't think this is a religious song per se, Holy Mother might just be a generic label for some higher power...definitely not owned by the 'cat-licks'. Whatever floats your boat, these lyrics are worth reading.

Just hope my art can someday do the same for someone else.

Link to music video:


Holy Mother, where are you?
Tonight I feel broken in two.
I've seen the stars fall from the sky.
Holy mother, can't keep from crying.
Oh I need your help this time, Get me through this lonely night.
Tell me please which way to turn To find myself again.
Holy mother, hear my prayer, Somehow I know you're still there.
Send me please some peace of mind; Take away this pain.
I can't wait, i can't wait, I can't wait any longer.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait for you.

Then the orchestra swells...takes it up a notch and then...the angel voice of Pavarotti:

Holy mother, hear my cry. I've cursed your name a thousand times.
I've felt the anger running through my soul; Holy mother can't keep control.
Oh, I feel the end has come, no longer my legs will run.
You know I would rather be in your arms tonight.

Then things get quiet, and Eric and Pavarotti duet the finish:

When my hands no longer play, My voice is still, I fade away.
Holy mother, then I'll be lying in, safe within your arms.

And a hair-raising guitar solo...and chorus.

Find something that makes your heart sing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Nesting and other Studio Maintenance

Part of an artist's psyche is 'puttering'. Not to be confused with procrastination. Nope. This is any activity that is remotely art or creativity related...even cleaning and organizing your studio space. Consider these activities 'brain play'...nesting...or a method of switching from left brain mode to creative right brain mode. As my friend and mentor, Charles Reid, said when asked why he makes squiggles with his pencil when doing a contour drawing, "I guess I'm just running in place while I decide which direction to go next."

The day before I flew out on my last greatest adventure to France, I took down my paintings from the Julie Wait Gallery. Barely had time to get them out of the car and stacked up in the floor before a whirlwind packing. When I got home, I had to deal with them! Our nephew, Josh spent a few days with us and in addition to 'sitting' for a painting...figured out that the 30 or so paintings in the upstairs floor were beginning to wear on me. Besides the fact that the frames needed to be up for safekeeping. Anyway, he suggested we move them down to the studio. I balked. Big Time! Because then they would just be down there, stacked up in the floor against the wall.

He persisted (I trained him too well), and when I grudgingly agreed, announced that every painting on the wall had to be removed, every painting grouped, and re-hung. Four hours later, almost every painting (except some that should never have been framed) was hanging neatly on the wall!

This week I finished up a baby (well, a 9 month project anyway)! I'm 99% finished and happy with the programming I did, all the pages work as planned, and BFF Dustie linked my site to hers. I've been earning 18 cents a day! Whoo-hoo! Up to $7.26. She is the one who FORCED me to do my clip art site ( (grin) is designed around free (little-bitty) pieces of art and photos. If someone needs a larger size for print purposes, they are available for sale. The entire thing is designed around Google ads. And hundreds or thousands of page views. My site has been complete (with around 200 different clips) just this week...with the in-progress pages live for a couple of months and this week, I've logged around 4,000 hits (web language for people who look at the site).

Next week...THE newly organized STUDIO and PAINTING! Left brain will be put in storage for awhile!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Painting makes my shoulders hurt and other related trivia!

AN EPIPHANY! I was just whining to Durinda Cheek (she is at La Bonne Etoile now and I'm not) about how much sleep I've been needing since my return...and my first live model since returning...nephew Josh. Then mentioned to her that I've been nursing cramping shoulders. Originally thought sleeping on different pillows while gone had caused the pain, but after one hour painting Josh...Viola! The height of my easel!

Next thought process, about having your 'nest' built. Yeah, my spreadsheet queen, Lisa Rico (in the white coat top pic, in Kippy's huge studio with skylights) from California was dubbed most obsessive-compulsive of our group! I think I must rate right up there with her, because I was aware of not being comfortable with my 'nest'. You know, the comfort zone where you know exactly where your easel is comfortable, exactly the table your pastels/palette sit on, the light is right.  My trip to France and Leslie B. DeMille's workshop was in such flux right up until the day before I flew out that I did not have some of my traveling Hobby Lobby in my suitcase. Then, Kippy's studio equipment, borrowed materials, Les' color palette, AND DID I MENTION WORKING FROM LIVE MODELS?

No wonder I was discombobulated! SO, what did I do when I set up to paint from life here at home? SET UP IN A COMPLETELY NEW SPOT (pic 2)...pastels on the pool table, model stand at the top of 4 steps (don't have a model stand per se), close blinds, step around everything, old sheet on the floor that slipped and slidded. STILL NO NEST!

Josh, bless his lil' ole pea-pickin heart...kept asking me why we weren't doing this downstairs in the which I answered, no MODEL STAND. He proved his point when he pointed out that I have TWO office chairs that raise to put a model on eye level. I hate kids.

Now the 64-million dollar question that I would love to see some comments on: The more professional you get, is the 'nest' less important? Give Les his 15 favorite pastel sticks, a model and an easel and I think the man could do a portrait in the dark, regardless of the details of his nest setup. 

Me an' Lisa? Gotta have the spreadsheet on color swatches, samples of all the papers available, precision lighting, 300+ colors at hand, read and studied every book/resource material we can possibly absorb before making the first mark on paper! Stall long enough and you don't even have to make that first mark.

Josh is below. Photo of him on the 'stand', then resorting to a print-out (to make me 'see' what was in front of me), and the last version. Goal is to 'see' the model and make sure the measurements are right from life, not photo.

ps: in order to 'save' paper I worked on a scrap instead of Les' recommendation of a 16x20 extravagant size sheet of paper...he is right...I felt constricted with this smaller size.

pss: lowered my easel, and my shoulders relaxed.

psss: moving this temporary setup to the studio and set up a real 'nest'. with swatches in hand, 300+ colors...and a real artist's apron. THEN I'll be able to do this! I think my model is DONE with 'sitting', though. But will use him to move everything and test it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Au Revoir

I was so pooped after Les few extra days were spent recuping. Durinda Cheek arrived the same day, so I got to connect with another stateside artist/teacher. Her group was to arrive on Friday...a great idea having the group leader come a few days early to de-stress and get their 'legs'. Anyway, Durinda and I walked around the 4th trip to Fontaine-Fourches and my first WALK around the village! We had a great time hanging our cameras through fences to get perfect shots...good thing none of these had big bad dogs, or that we didn't drop our cameras on the locked side! I'm sure the Mairie (city hall) was called about the crazy Americans.

I had a 27 hour door to door travel. Left La Bonne Etoile at 5:30 on Thurs am (11pm wed here) even though my flight did not leave until 12:45...Paul was also flying out, but at 8:30. 

Great flight on Northwest, but since it is daylight all the way home, I opted to watch 3 movies! Talk about brain dead...and I ate every time they put something in front of me. I swear the airlines fill you with carbs to keep everyone dazed!

SEVEN hour layover in Minneapolis after customs (which was the best customs airport I've ever gone through)...storms delayed our flight another 2 hours. I was so glad I didn't have to find a place to stay another night. got home at 2:30am Friday. 

I was beyond tired. Thankfully luggage usually comes in the next morning so they deliver it...

Saturday morning we had a house guest, Kippy's son Michael, who came for a few days at the ROSS retreat to talk business with Randy. We had a fine time...he looks so much like Kippy that every time he looked up it was startling! Luckily he needed some couch time, so we spent sat afternoon napping and laptopping.

This week has been busy. I feel the need to curtail some of my extracurricular (art-related) volunteer work because it takes up as much time as a real job! Have to get back in the studio. Last night was an artists' appreciation party at Poor Richard's Art and I volunteered to do a demo portrait with Clarice! Now we're talking PRESSURE! Les and Kippy will be proud of me (but I intend to practice on her first).

Yesterday a real good friend of ours, Joe May, transitioned from physical life after an on and off again battle with throat cancer. The wake is planned for saturday in Fort Worth, TX (about 6 hours drive), but we are going to wait until the dust settles (that's maybe a poor choice of words) and go down to be with Echo. After all the family goes gets quiet...then we can step in. See ya, Joe! Hope you are enjoying a great big juicy rare steak since you haven't had one in 7 years!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Last Day (well sort of)

I am married to the best man in the world! I even brought his last valentine card with me because it was so cute. Here it is at La Bonne Etoile. This is Amy (a wine grower from Napa), daughter of Bettie and David who posed the first day for Les. In the second photo I think I forgot to say cheese...they don't look like happy campers!

Anyway, I was supposed to get up Monday am at 6 and leave with Les for the airport and trip home. Durinda came in sunday (she is the instructor for the next workshop) for a couple days acclimation before her group arrives on Friday. SO, at the last minute Kippy and Jerome invited me to stay over a few days...I will go to the airport with Chantal when she takes Paul for his journey back. Saves a trip for K&J. Randy was all in favor of me staying fact encouraged it. Kippy's son Michael will be at our house in Rogers when I get I'll get to meet him!

The way I feel today is like I have just been put in a blender on high for the last 2 weeks. Guess I worked really hard. Painting clouds will be a walk in the park with a bucket of chicken...after all, they don't REALLY have to look like the exact cloud. Who cares if there are 3 trees instead of 4!

Trying to not only remember and execute the facial features to look like a person, you have 2 hours to do all that AND capture the soul of the model. It is more and more impressive that Les is able to do all that in a few hours.

He did a sepia tone portrait of each of us...I'll send something on that later, after I collect my thoughts. It is rainy today and very cool, so Durinda and I might go up to the studio and set up a quiet, little, stress-free still life.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Overs with Chantal

We all agreed to ask Chantal to sit again. 

We then decided that her beauty is impossible to capture...but how 'bout that hair! I did her eyes so many times that I wore the velour off the paper!

The gang (Kippy, Les, Suzanne, Lisa, Vicki, Paul) at the street party (see previous blog).

We kept trying ! Suzanne at her easel, Kippy and Les at hers, Lisa with hers.

A Walk in the village of Fontaine-Fourches, France

First photo is of a wonderful rose bush. Flowers are popping up all over, and roses seem to be a favorite.

Second photo is of the barn, where the studio is on the second floor. These doors have been painted many times, by many artists.

Third photo with the white shutters is of the main house, fourth is from our walk one afternoon...beautiful skies! Makes me wish I had been able to be outside painting en plein aire...

Last 2 photos are of the church and an outbuilding. Very low key, very old...some structures are 250+ years old. 

Later this same evening, we were invited to come to a street party in the village. Their population is 535, and this was a party for one of the streets. Everyone brought what they wanted to grill, and a side dish. It was held in a triangular area between 2 streets, kids rode their bikes, adults visited and networked. The sun was going down and created a glow to the afternoon that would have been impossible to capture with a camera. 

Neat thing was that they had tables set up in a long row, with real tablecloths...setting for probably 50 or so.

Leslie B. DeMille does a still life demo in oil

One evening we walked to the farm and selected some items for the still life. Les has a method of cutting melons so they won't be perfect. We had carte blanche to pull any item from the house for his selection for the still life. Something hard, something soft, something metal, something shiny...then...

WOW! in a matter of a couple hours (3-4) we go from  nothing to something! Darn Lisa, she bought the finished canvas before we could even draw straws or talk about it, or ANYTHING.

It was a nice break from painting models. Never enough time, though...we would have all loved to paint a still life too...and maybe have something GREAT to show for all our effort. Painting from live models is a bit stressful...and he has 60 some odd years experience.