Tuesday, January 21, 2014

THE GIRLS...so far

The Girls (WIP)
36x36" oil on canvas

This is the portrait I've been whining about having trouble with for the last year or so. I've come close but still no stogie. But no worries girls, I'll get there, I promise. I knew both of these young ladies before they made their respective entrances into this world, which is mostly likely the reason there is this, shall we say, rather mature looking, older woman staring back at me each morning from our bathroom mirror. Who is she??

Anyway, a dear friend and guardian angel used to live next door years back and these are her two beautiful girls, ahem....excuse me...three beautiful girls. You may remember Chloe...the one with the fur coat, from a portrait I did of her last year. I can see she needs some work as well...her right leg seems to be growing out of her neck!

I keep going back and trying to capture them and I will at some point. I think it's good for me to not give up. I used to. Such a brat! Not going my way? Fine, I'm done! I had started another portrait of these beautiful girls when they were much younger. Got halfway through and called it quits telling their mother it wasn't working. Years later I stumbled upon it and was really happy with it so, clearly, putting a painting away to marinate is a good idea. This particular one has been in the sauce way to long though.

I'm still recovering from my 30/30 Challenge attempt. Haven't been back in the studio since. Going in tomorrow. I'm ready. The store room is tidy, there are bags of things to donate and I have 3 (of 6) huge construction garbage bags of mail to sort and shred so things are moving along. Tim is hysterically laughing right now. He witnessed me move those bags from garage to closet to garage to store room to garage and back to closet and store room, again! I found some statements and mail from the eighties! He wasn't a fan of sorting and shredding. I can see why. You can be sure however, that there is a standard operating procedure set up in the office for dispatching any incoming mail to it's proper destination! Shredder at the ready! Heavy sigh.

There is so much I want to say about Tim and the reading I had with medium Patrick Matthews but I fear it all sounds too outrageous to be believed. I'm the one who used to try and sell the metaphysical to Tim! Now he knows it's real and I'm balking! I hate when that happens!

I will say that I've been also whining about him not coming through to me in my dreams or me not remembering if he did. Well after the phone session began and Patrick said Tim was too excited to begin to allow him to quiet his mind, the first message he gave me was...

"He's heard you and he's working on a way to come through to you in dreams so you'll remember!"

Well yesterday morning around 4AM I woke up and for a bit couldn't get back to sleep. However when I did and woke up a few hours later it was to the very incredible and vivid memory of the most wonderful visit and tender kiss from my best friend in the world. We spent some time together and it's fuzzy now but it was just what I needed. And since then everything looks different, better somehow. I'm sure in a few days I'll be whining about needing more signs, more visits, but I'll try not to. He's probably exhausted.

I never expected this to be part of my mourning process. I would swear to the reality of it all if it were someone else all of this was happening to, but when it's you there's a hesitancy and the fear of being thought of as the poor widow who's lost her stuff if you know what I mean. I'm just going to continue to remain positive and grateful for even having met this man, let alone being his best friend and wife for twenty years. The rest, I'll leave up to him.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you too for the support and kind words on my Challenge attempt.

Monday, January 13, 2014


11x14" pencil on bristol board

It was this past Friday. I had just realized that the painting I had planned to post and had been working on for the previous 3 days, still needed at least 3 more days work. I had nothing in progress and had just painted newly arrived canvases black.

I began to panic and decided to do a floating face so I wouldn't miss a day. In the midst of that drawing, which is above and still not completed, I began to feel very uneasy because it wasn't going fast enough or looking like anything I would want to post.

It was then I realized that a semi-permanent knot had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach and that I was waking up each morning panicked, wondering what I could find to paint, wondering if the painting I did work on the day before was dry enough and would I be able to finish it in time, would it be good enough, and on and on and on.

I wasn't painting in the spirit of the challenge. I was painting to have my ego stroked and I was not enjoying myself, at all. I went online and instead of checking the posts for that day, I read Leslie's blog entry. Her words jumped out at me! She basically said that painting for 30 days isn't about creating 30 masterpieces...

I realized I was getting depressed and anxious, the studio began to resemble a detention room and I had lost any desire to create. Clearly, this wasn't the point of the challenge and I needed to step back and rethink my approach. I gave myself a few days to think about it and came to the conclusion that I would tap out and get back to my normal schedule of painting a few hours a day on an ongoing piece at my leisure.

I guess I felt guilty because the next day I decided to clean out the store room...a job I've been putting off for the last two years. Two problems were immediately realized...I'm a packrat and I have far too much inventory to keep. A sale of my work is being planned as we speak, so if you're interested, feel free to check here in the coming days and weeks.

I feel much better and relieved. I apologize for not completing the 30 days and thank everyone for their support and encouragement.

On top of that, I had an hour telephone reading by medium Patrick Matthews this past Wednesday and my feet still haven't touched the ground. Tim validated the movie scene I wrote about a few weeks ago and mentioned everything I had asked him to the day of the reading. I'm still trying to process it all but with the anniversary coming up I thought it best to find some peace and I certainly wasn't finding it in my manic approach to the challenge.

So, I tried. It didn't work. Maybe I'll experiment with some quick studies and see how that goes and try again next time. Thanks again and I so hope I haven't disappointed. I'm realizing that I'm not failing anymore, I'm just finding out what doesn't work for me and I feel really good about that.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


"Second Seating"
6x6" oil on canvas
Painting Nine


Eggs and floating faces will clearly be my fall back positions, but at least I'm actually painting, right? The Challenge honeymoon is over my friends. I wanna tap out. But I won't. I promised himself I would complete this and I will. (who said that?)

 Seriously, what was I thinking? Although I must admit, this is the part that I love. Posting yet another finished painting and then planning my next two. I still can't believe I'm actually doing this! Thank you again for your support!
You can view all of the Challenge submissions at http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


"How Many Days Left???"
10x10 oil on linen $75
Painting Eight


Okay, I'll admit it. All I felt like doing today was curling up with the remote. But as much as I dreaded getting started, I felt relieved and relaxed once I got going. I have two that I began yesterday but even after working on them today, I can see they're going to need some more time to marinate so I did a floating face instead.

Her expression describes my emotions today regarding the challenge at this point. I want to remain optimistic and excited but coming up with new and different subject matter is a challenge....oh.... yeah, I get it now...that's why it's called a challenge!

Thanks for stopping by! Off to tidy, relax and enjoy some wine and chat with himself.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


"Cooling Down"
8x8" oil on canvas
Painting Seven  $125


I thought just now while finishing this up that it was done on the wrong surface and for sure the kind of detail I wanted to achieve would have been best done on linen, however I like the soft gauzy feeling the canvas gives it. There were some pretty interesting water droplets on left top side of the bowl but with the course canvas it just was not workin. So I called it and I'm somewhat pleased. I would like to try it on linen though, those water droplets looked like they'd be fun to paint.

Day seven in the can! I haven't painted this much or this consistently since my first shaky days in DP! And I have the nervous stomach to prove it.

Off to begin the next two! Thank you so much for dropping by.

Monday, January 6, 2014


"Red Velvet Cup Cakes"
8x8" oil on canvas
Painting Six

Day six! If nothing else this is an excellent exercise for observing the ego...doing business as..The Voice. Nothing seemed to be working on the painting I wanted to finish today and there was much gnashing of teeth and a fair amount of sulking. Seeing that it would need at least another day of work I switched to this one which I had also begun painting yesterday.

Apparently all is well. The sulking seems to have abated and I could swear I heard some whistling a minute ago.

Leslie's advice for keeping the rhythm going is working flawlessly. Even if I don't feel like beginning another painting, knowing that I just need to splash in the basics helps me to keep going. Did I mention I was enjoying this?

Hopefully the illustrations will be done tomorrow and I'll be able to focus on the challenge all afternoon and my other work in the morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


20x20" oil on linen $175
Painting Five


Day five and I'm lookin' forward to the end of the month! Not losing interest, just miss sitting around wondering if I should paint. And still need to finish that freelance job, she said with a heavy sigh. Not complaining, (yes you are) but I just wanna focus on the challenge.  Hopefully I'll be able to wrap my end up early this week.

The contrast of thinking that I'm working a lot and actually working a lot is startling. I'm not sure I will keep this pace up after the challenge concludes (golly Suz, really?) but I was thinking maybe taking a month off, catch up on commissions and donations and then doing it again. Big talk for being just five days in, although I do feel reinvigorated and very enthusiastic...right now.

But I can see now that all of this work is keeping me miles from the pity pot. Berry is always right.

I love painting insects on a white canvas. Tidying it up with white paint when I'm done is crucial because not only do the smudges disappear but I can control the shadows and wings by toning them down.

Thanks for stopping by. Off to start days six and seven! Can't believe I'm actually doing this! And I know Tim is as surprised as I am!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


6x6" oil on canvas
Painting 4

I wasn't going to post this. Not very pleased with it but that's not the point of the challenge. I also think it's good for me to post a painting that I'm not that proud of.

I usually thank everyone and then pay a visit to the blogs, but I'm swamped with a free lance job so I'll have to convey a very hearty thank you for your incredibly generous comments here and promise to get around to seeing all of the challenge posts and my other favorites very soon.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 3, 2014


"Baby Blu Berry"
8x8" oil on canvas $150
Painting Three

Okay, this is working! I splashed!! Tightened up to do the eye but this was done in about 2 hours! Had to force myself to call it though. So wanted to get into those details!

The love seat is under the picture window...do they still call them that?...in the living room and since I put it there it has become the boys "go to" perch. They spend the day barking at leaves, people, white cars and trucks and the mailman! Seriously, what is the deal with dogs and the mailman? They go nuts. Feels familiar...repeating myself again. Anyway, then they run to the back door to be let out so they can "chase" whoever they were barking at.

The love seat is in shambles but they love looking out the window so much I don't have the heart to try and keep them off of it. Plus, they exhaust themselves all day and sleep soundly the minute their little heads hit my pillow! Yep! Still hanging my kiester off the side of the king size but hey, they're comfy.

Anyway, this challenge thing so far is the best thing that could have happened. I say "happened" because I see, each and every day that what we focus on becomes our reality. I kept saying I wanted to get back to dailies but never really thought about how. Even finding this challenge that Leslie is hosting was through a new friend I've just made through a comment she left on my blog. And here I am, doing dailies and really enjoying myself! Repeating...again!

I love beginning on a black canvas. Unless I'm doing a bug, the white space seems so daunting and difficult to fill up for me. It becomes sort of like a scratch board exercise...picking the light out of the dark and mid tones just sort of happens. Plus it keeps me from working light to dark which never works out well, and yet I still insist on trying to make it.

I have so many great shots of the boys. I can see it now....eggs, pugs and fruit...fruit, eggs and pugs. I'm cool with that.

Tim worked some TV magic the other night. It's amazing, the man is Spirit and I'm still feeling insecure, in spite of all the signs, visits and validation from a world famous medium...ah yes,  those ever present abandonment issues (thanks mom). So, I'm thinking, it's almost been two years since I heard those magic words, what if he's found some blithe spirit to while away the hours with?

Turn on the tube, begin channel surfing, land on a movie some of my friends have been prompting me to see...Where Dreams May Come! It's been on for a few so I thought I'll check it out for a while. It's the scene where his wife...who by the way is an artist...is standing in front of her canvas in the middle of an ugly cry and he's standing so close, trying to make her feel and hear him and at that moment, he yells into her ear...."I LOVE YOU!!!" Happy tears followed. And lots of goose bumps! Another sign.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But not for me! Then the movie got weird. It's funny and tragic...seems humans cannot conceive of a place without conflict...not even heaven!

Off to get going on painting number 27 and thank you again and again for the lovely comments! It's wonderful to see all of the incredible work everyone is doing. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014


"Double Vision"
8x8" oil on canvas $125
Painting Two


Wow! Two in a row! I'm on a roll! Tim and I always used to say that we needed adult supervision to get things done on time and just look at me! Day two and I'm still on board! Adult supervision indeed!

This photographed a lot darker than it is but I guess it's okay. Not going out in the snow to snap another, this will have to do.

I can feel myself itching to splash paint on the canvas with abandon...however clearly that's not happening just yet. It will be interesting to see if I do get to that point as time goes by. I'm feeling like I have a lot to do, just got a free-lance illustration job (Tim's wheelhouse, not mine..help!) and there's commissions and donation work to do but it feels good to have my time consumed with projects, because believe me if there's a chance for me to put off today....you know the rest.

I've been telling my friend Brenda that I've wanted to get back to smaller canvases and daily painting and BOO-YA!! The 30-day challenge appears! Be careful what you wish for.

Kidding. Actually I'm feeling really grown up right now. Up early, wrote my thank yous, took care of the peripherals and got into the studio by 10 AM! Off to get more canvases ready and add a layer to tomorrow's. That egg photo shoot I did last year is really coming in handy. I dearly love what goes on with the yolks, color wise, and painting the white googlies on top is for me like icing on a cake. I loves me some protein!

Thank you so much for the comments and support! How can I fail with such assistance? And there's so many great paintings being submitted! I need time to look at them all! And I'm meeting new colleagues in the process. This is a wonderful concept, I'm so glad to be a part of it! Been watching from the side lines, telling myself I'm not a joiner. Guess I was wrong.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

30 PAINTINGS IN 30 DAYS Leslie Saeta

"Frauds Among Us"
8x8" oil on canvas
Painting One


In an attempt to delete the buy now button I inadvertently deleted the whole post!! PUTZ!!!

Thank you so much for all these wonderful comments!! I cannot believe I just did that! Apologies!