It's a good thing to be busy in the studio. Some days, everything comes together and it's a thrill to be painting and drawing. Other days, it feels like everything learned and earned has been forgotten, and the muse has left one stranded. The only thing to do on those tougher days is push on through. It always gets better.
I have been playing around with little grids of watercolor (well, gouache) grids of rabbits and quail. I find that jackrabbits are less likely to cooperate about being pushed into boxes. They have their own ideas...
The quail are not as picky. They don't need as much space. They don't seem to mind the boxes I put them in.
This little painting has already found a home, so I guess I better work on another one.
I'm also re-working a couple of coyotes that I never managed to resolve to my satisfaction. I will be able to show them, soon.
There is some news - big news! But I am not quite ready to share it just yet. Stay posted. (and if you really want the latest news, I highly recommend signing up for my newsletter. Link is in green below. I send out emails bi-monthly, or more often if there is exciting news to share. Art related. I don't share my email list with anyone, either.
It's 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a nice reprieve after a stretch of windy, cold days. Joshua Tree can get quite cold, and every now and then it even freezes. We can get snow! I have lived in plenty of cold places (South Dakota, Colorado) and quite frankly I have had my share of cold weather. I prefer the heat, which is why the desert and I are so well suited.
Here's what I've been working on:
"Frightened." Charcoal on toned paper, 9 x 12 inches.
"Scary Monster." Oil on Canvas, 8 x 8 inches.
No, not very desert-like. I'm working on desert stuff, too, but none of it is dry enough to photograph yet.
It was early in the morning, the air felt cool (finally!), and I was trudging uphill on one of our regular hikes. My mind was on everything I needed to get done that day, and I wasn't really paying attention to Ole, who was galloping with his floppy ear, big paw gallop ahead of me. Suddenly, three coyotes appeared, just in front of us and Ole stopped. He began to do his very-excited-puppy bounce and bark. One more coyote rose up from the ground. The first three wild things took off to the right of us, but this third coyote trotted towards us, hackles up. It stopped, closer than I would have thought, and stared at Ole. Ole was still barking and bouncing, and he stayed between me and the coyotes. Then, the coyote leaned forward, in a posture similar to a dog who wants to play. I have never seen a coyote do this before! Maybe, if I had been more alert, I would have snapped a photo of Ole's fuzzy head, as it kept appearing between me and the coyote as he bounced, but I didn't. I did manage to get the above photo of the coyote. Finally, after giving Ole several good stares, the fourth coyote trotted down the slope towards the waiting three. I guess some hikes are just more exciting than others.
My time in the studio has been frustratingly scarce, as I have been getting new art to both the Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley and Old Town Gallery and Gifts in Yucca Valley for the annual Hwy. 62 Art Tours. For the first time in eight years, I am not showing in my studio! I just needed a break. It's a great event, so if you are planning to be out in the high desert this October, I do recommend it highly. More information can be found here. I hope to get back in the studio soon!
Someone flipped a switch, and it finally feels like fall. Cooler nights, cooler days, clouds, and last week we even got some rain! After a long, hot summer, the change in weather is so welcomed. Never mind that I have felt cold ever since the cooler temperatures arrived! (poor desert girl) The other sign of fall in the desert is the bi-annual appearance of circling turkey vultures in the sky. Western turkey vultures migrate south for winter, moving through Central America. Sometimes, they travel as far as Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador. You can read more about this amazing bird here.
I am happy to announce that the Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition 2016 was a great event! I had a busy weekend of sales in 29 Palms over the weekend of September 17th & 18th, AND my "Supersized" jackrabbit was awarded an honorable mention during the awards reception on Saturday night! I even got my picture in the Hi Desert Star. If you haven't seen the show at the 29 Palms Gallery, this is your last chance! The show comes down this Sunday, October 2nd. Gallery hours are noon to 3 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. The gallery is located at 74055 Cottonwood Drive in 29 Palms, CA.
I have also been busy getting some new paintings finished for the opening this Saturday at Old Town Gallery & Gifts in Yucca Valley, CA. The opening is from 6 to 9 pm, and I will be showing with Chuck Caplinger. I hope you will stop in to see the new work, listen to some music, and enjoy a glass of wine with us! Old Town Gallery & Gifts is located at 55922 Twentynine Palms Hwy. in Yucca Valley.
It looks like once a week is too ambitious for me to post on the blog, so now I have decided that maybe twice a month is more reasonable. After all, getting in the studio and painting is the most important use of my time, isn't it? I leave you with one of the new paintings that will be debuting this weekend in Yucca Valley.
The desert summer seems endless this year. Hot and dry, the distant thunderstorms are nothing more than a torment to thirsty desert folk. I wake early each morning to walk Ole, before it's too hot. Even at 5:30 am, the temperature gauge reads 77 degrees - which really isn't that cool. The camera seems heavy, the sand deep. But the light remains as beautiful as ever, and there's really nothing like the quiet of a desert morning.
I'm working on a coyote painting that has been sitting on the floor in the studio for months. It stared at me as though it were already a finished work, but it wasn't and I couldn't touch it for all this time. FINALLY, I worked up the courage to pick it up - deadlines looming. On the easel for days, I finally got the drawing where I think it should be, only to realize that the back end of the coyote is going off the edge of the surface. So. This is making art. So much like life, where finally ONE THING seems to be going your way, when you discover something else isn't. No point in getting worked up over it. Just wait to see what happens next.
I am just now re-starting my blog, after giving it up in favor of other things. Since life is all about new beginnings, I am also just re-discovering my connection with my art. We lost our old dog, Pono, last fall, and I couldn't paint at all with out him - for many months. I still miss him. Grief takes its own sweet time to reach a tolerable level. I finally have gotten the new studio-assistant-in-training to a place where I can have a few hours to myself. Puppies are a lot of work! I am feeling more like the artist I know I can be. Ole will be a great dog, I think, but there were a few months there when all I seemed to do was chase him around the house saying "no" and "drop it!" and "LEAVE IT!" Working at home means that the dog rarely gets left alone, and sometimes, putting him in the crate seems like a cop-out. (I do it anyway.) So now things are back to a new normal. If only it would rain.
I hope to write something once a week, so I hope you stop back in and see how disciplined I can be. Greetings from the High Desert, all.