Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reaquainting Myself With Figure Drawing

I'm getting ready to paint a large figure painting for Bianca Benson. She and her husband want a painting for their bedroom. It's exciting because it has been a long time since I've drawn or painted nude figures. The big, black leather portfolio made it's way out of storage this week and I've been going through some of my past work. These are my most recent drawings - over a decade old. Done in a class taken at PNCA - back when PNCA was small and located at Portland Art Museum.

From the late 80s to the late 90s I moved around the US so much that I got really good at purging - unfortunately I may have gotten too good because I didn't keep many drawings or figure studies from my days at Columbus College of Art & Design. I managed to hold onto this self portrait.

I loved that shirt! It was my father's and it was my favorite painting smock. When he passed in 1985 I wore that shirt and his big flannel robe until they were tattered and torn.

Over the last two years I've discovered that I really love painting. I love creating compositions, mixing color, studying value. But I've been away from painting and drawing for so long I struggle daily with my two brains.

I spent most of my childhood, teens and young adult life in my right brain - drawing and painting, living in my imagination. Then I left it all for the corporate world where I spent 15 years in my left brain marketing products, building databases, analyzing data, figuring out corporate politics. During those 15 years I tried very hard to keep my right brain in use as a way to keep my wits about me, saving me from corporate stress.

When I started my business almost six years ago I realized those 15 years were going to help a lot with the day-t0-day business. However, I was going to need to get out of my own way if I really wanted to build the mural/fine art aspect of my business. Unfortunately I didn't realize this until three years ago when I met Andrea Tober and was taking one of her mural classes. I came face-to-face with myself and really saw the perfectionist in me, and realized how much of a controlling person I had become. It's been a challenge to move out of my own way and it will take more time before I'm not controlling what goes onto my canvas. But in the last three years I've gotten so much better. I really have Jennifer Carrasco, William Cochran, Pierre Finkelstein and Andre Martinez to thank. All of them are wonderful, nurturing teachers. Most importantly they have taught me to constantly think about speed, not to fear paint, observe the world around me with a creative eye, explore my talent, be creative on a daily basis, and nurture myself.

I wish each day I could turn the world upside-down or spend my day hanging just to visualize the world in a different way and shake up my left brain. What about you? How do you shake up your brain hemispheres?

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Love Fall!

I'll try to make it back this week to do some new and exciting posts. Until then I hope you're having a great time watching the leaves transform and enjoying the crisp air.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old Fireplaces Are New Again - Going Green

Hey Bridget Otto, did you know that this fireplace doesn't need to be ripped out of the house in order to be transformed? It's also a 'green' process to keep this intact and use the existing structure as my armature. It's also a cost savings to the homeowner.

Pardon the dust - but I haven't completed the project yet. I'm transforming what was once a traditional fireplace to a limestone finish. It will be glazed today. Stay tuned for the finale!

I'm embarrassed to post my original before photo. I've been trying to get good at taking before shots, but that day I didn't have my tripod and this room is DARK, and I don't believe in the flash if I can help it. Well, that day I should have used my flash. But hey, the finished photos will make this project look that much better.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thank You Desire To Inspire

I just returned from a week of off. I need to give a big thanks to Kim Johnson over at Desire To Inspire for highlighting our latest project while I was away. Thanks Kim!

If you haven't visited Kim and MidCenturyJo's blog you should. There's a reason it's part of Martha's Circle.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different - Transforming your AT-AT

What in the world is an AT-AT? It is a large All Terrain Armored Transport from the Star Wars universe that traverses the landscape on mechanical legs. The AT-AT was introduced in The Empire Strikes Back during the Battle of Hoth.

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

This blog entry may not pertain to your design sensibilities, but it's fun nonetheless. Some of you readers may find yourselves relating to my story.

You see, I have this wonderful man in my life, and said wonderful man is a pack rat, and owns a rather large collection of Star Wars toys. Over a year ago his aunt phoned to say that he needed to get his boxes out of her storage space. We pulled over 30 boxes from that storage space and brought them home. Yikes! Right?! Well, we built a spreadsheet and cataloged every piece in the collection. He has decided to let most of it go. However there are some pieces that are worth more than others and he does not want to part with them.

His mother used to run a day care and those children were allowed to play with this AT-AT. So it came to us beat up and quite dirty. He may have parted with it but after it sat on the floor of his computer room for months I sensed he was having trouble letting it go. So, I started thinking about how I could incorporate it into our main living area - I do want to show him his things are important to have in our space. With his permission (because he has another unopened AT-AT in a box) he agreed to let me play around with it.

Over the last couple of months it has transformed from it's original putty color to being silver-leafed, then glazed to make it look aged.

Voila! The finished AT-AT

What do you think George Lucas? May I have a job a Lucas Arts?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Melbourne International Arts Festival - Kristy Edmunds

I have the privilege of knowing this astounding human being, Kristy Edmunds.

I met Kristy while working at the Portland Art Museum from 1990 - 1993. Shortly after meeting Kristy we became friends. Several times a week we would wonder over to Coffee People or up to Rich's coffe cart and enjoy a coffee break together. I would sit in the presence of this woman in awe of her talent, wit and intelligence. A talented artist in many mediums, and at that time a curator then director at PAM's ground-breaking 'Art On The Edge' Program, introducing contemporary visual and performance art to Portland. I was membership manager at the time and we would strategize how to build AOTE membership and lower attrition of museum membership by keeping then current members intrigued. Kristy opened my eyes to many amazing artists. I had never been exposed to artists like Diamanda Galas. My Mid-West sensabilities were blown through the roof when I saw this avant-garde performance artist. I'll never forget sitting in the audience of Susie Bright hoping that some of those older museum donors hadn't read the description of this show and were squirming in their seats as we heard some of the best erotic tales to be told. Kristy left the museum soon after I moved back to the Mid-West and launched Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. That's when her career really started to soar.

When I moved back to Portland in 1999 I was able to sneak several hours of her precious time catching up over cocktails. Soon after Kristy's life changed and off she went to Australia. For the last four years Kristy has been Artistic Director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, and this is her final year before she moves on to Head, VCA Performing Arts in Melbourne – Australia’s premier tertiary training and education institution for the performing and visual arts.

This is a great picture of Kristy with the exception that this image should be in reverse, because this woman goes 100MPH, 24/7 while the world stands still. If you're lucky you catch a glimpse of her. She is one of the brightest stars in our world. If live in Melbourne and have the chance attend this year's festival, you should do so. It seems Kristy has some many wonderful surprises for you. I wish I were there to experience some of them.

Kristy you continue to astound me. Congratulations to you my dear friend. I wish you the best in your new endeavor. Call me when you come back to Portland - I need a Kristy fix!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Obsession with Faux Crocodile

I think it's officially an obsession - the amount of blogging I've done lately about faux crocodile one might say I have a fetish. I can't help it, I just get so excited when the ideas I have to do projects are reinforced by the design world.

Yesterday I had a little time to catch up on my pile of design magazines. How happy was I when I came across the Trend Alert in the October issue of Elle Decor? Ecstatic! Last week I was flipping through channels and watched a moment of Rachel Zoe as she oogled a croc skin armoire in the Fendi Casa store. I believe she said - "this is a must". Crocodile is everywhere! Love that!

Luckily no crocodiles were harmed for this finish.

I'm really considering making the sample board into a table. Seriously, if I had wood tools and knew how to use them I'd be all over it. Anyone in Portland that has a wood hobby and wants a project that would be great fun? Call me. Rachel Zoe - call me... I'll croc skin your powder room or the wall of your studio - it needs a little texture and color.