Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pot of Clover


I have an affinity for 5x7 flat panel canvases. They are relatively inexpensive in a world of spendy art supplies. They make charming postcard paintings, one of my pet side projects.  But most of all, they are the secret sauce in my creativity equation.  Often a canvas looks too big, a project too long to complete, an email too complicated to start, a catalogue mailing too boring, taxes too daunting and the list goes on forever. A lot of us creatives love the starting line...but the finish...? Well, there was a cafe I had to sit down at, a house I had to clean, dogs to walk, cats to pat, texts to return, Netflix to consume, I mean really important things!!!

But the minis? They are petite and approachable and unbelievably satisfying to complete. They are my reminders that frequent small painting will propel me further than large intricate occasional dabbling. These little pieces keep the paint wet. They keep me sitting down at the easel. They make me smile because there is something so silly and frivolous and ok about painting a donkey or dandelion or pot of clover. Do I need them wall size? No. But the spark of joy these miniatures bring me is priceless.

Often it is the days I do a mini that I open the channel to start a larger project or complete a task that's been lingering. They are also an excellent place to experiment with supplies and techniques. Composition, value, paint opacity, brush strokes. Sometimes I pay attention to these things, but often not. So much of painting is intuitive but when I use a small piece to execute a technique there is greater chance for me to slow down and practice.

People frequently ask me, do you paint every day? No. But I do paint almost every day and that has changed my life, changed my career, changed my joy level, changed my acceptance of my own work, changed my acceptance of other peoples work, so what I'm trying to say is that it has basically changed everything. xo

"Pot of Clover" 5x7"

P.S. Coming soon as direct result of these minis!
A beginner's painting course: "Wait, Wait, I Don't Paint: A Workshop for Beginners, the Curious, and the Creative." No experience necessary.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pink Roses


"I must have flowers, always and always." Monet

Well, one could argue Monet was on to something. For me, the inspiration is endless, regenerative, serene, peaceful, easy, difficult, contemplative and familiar. I paint florals frequently not only because I love the beauty of them (and what a great excuse to buy fresh flowers) but also for the complexity. They continue to challenge and delight. There are florals I do that flow naturally, and those I really need to study and correct and deliberate over. As often as I create them, each one is unique.They are my teachers. My muse. My faithful inspiration. xo

"Pink Roses" 11x14" SOLD


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dandelions


My garden is not really a garden. It's a yard. Actually, it's manicured dirt with some bushes. My house is on a hill, a steep ravine, so the backyard is more of a girls gone wild flower fest with things that bloom on their own time, mostly because it rains about 11 months of the year. The front has trees, bushes, one single rose plant that I bow down to every May, and a couple of rhodos that don't do much. Not compared to the neighbors at least! I live in a gardening jurassic park neighborhood. Peonies are wild, not from Trader Joe's. Lawns are the color of golf courses and daffodils sprout exactly the middle of March to let us know spring is really almost here even if you're wearing a puffy. One of my neighbors has a sign, an adorable little sign, painted by her gardening club that her house is on the "tour".

My garden, yard, area in front of house, does not look like that. It doesn't look bad. It just doesn't look like that. I have tried gardening several times. In the ground, in pots on the front porch, in pots on the back porch. I have a natural interest in flowers, I just don't seem to have a natural interest in GROWING them. Fast forward record scratch over to my dandelions here. My dandelions, my sweet, airy hippie blowing in the wind dandelions, however, are growing so beautifully, so perfectly, I wanted to capture them. They are abundant and healthy. There are more of them every morning when I go outside. I'm oddly happy with them and have no intention (today) of cutting them down. I am a dandelion gardener. I picked some. I blew on a few. I made a wish. Then I painted my wish. xo

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Steiff Donkey


I paint a lot. It is mostly my profession, my job, my hobby dare I say, one of my obsessions? And yet, the well can run dry. Or you just look at your canvases and think, nope, I can not paint one more flower. Or seascape. Or apothecary jar. Or..or...or.

I'm listening to "Theft by Finding" by David Sedaris right now and apart from my complete and utter devotion and undying love for him as a writer and satirist, I am in awe of his ability to chronicle the mundane and fascinating in his daily life. An apple, a chance encounter with a waitress, a taxi ride, anything, everything, is fodder for the ridiculous and sublime. I look at my world differently when I read him. I've always tended to see the world through slightly Seinfeld-ian glasses but Sedaris takes it to another level. His insights are sad, profound, hilarious, gross, loving, sensitive, profane and charming. And in walks my donkey.

I'm listening to Sedaris and I think, my version of chronicling my life, my diary as it were, are my paintings and subject matter. The minutiae of my world, the collections, the vintage treasures, the insights and humor I add. My miniature Steiff Donkey is one such nugget. He is a birthday present, purchased in Aajiic Mexico but presumably born in some German Steiff factory meticulously crafted 50 plus years ago. He is old, he is in mint condition. I love him and can't explain why but the second I saw him in a thrift store the obsession was ON. A love like that bears memorializing in a portrait.

I'm reviewing my obsessions and deciding they are good things after all. They are the fuel. The scratch you must itch, the novel you must write, the donkey you must paint. xo

"Steiff Donkey" 5x7" NFS

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Land and Sea


Sitting on a bench looking out at the ocean, a marina, a beach, a wharf; that is my slice of heaven and inspiration. Where the thoughts melt and the ideas have a chance to c a l m d o w n. This little piece of paradise is loosely based on Clover Point, a look out in Victoria, BC. Fresh and salty air, wind in the hair and the sound of seagulls. Home away from home. xo

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 
Henry David Thoreau

"Clover Point" 11x17" available at elizabethW Carmel (kelly@elizabetbw.com for questions)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

La Vie en Rose


It's been raining here in southern Oregon for about four months. I'm not kidding. I'm no weather stats expert but it has been the wettest soggiest blusteriest coldest are you effing kidding me how can the sky produce so much water kind of winter/spring season. I'm antsy. A little stir crazy. Yes, I can leave the house and water doesn't melt me but I admit, I'm affected by the non-stop grey skies, whipping winds and deluge of rain. It just doesn't inspire the cute outfit and a walk along Main Street. It inspires hibernation, yoga pants and a rotating selection of sweatshirts that moved from the Never Be Seen in Public Moving Day wardrobe to Don't Bug Me, At Least I'm Dressed pile.

The up side of all this weather related dreariness is that it's been a very productive prolific season of creating. The rain has literally grown my garden and I am painting, writing, shipping on a steady pace. That feels good. There are flowers on the easel, lots of flowers. In fact, so many that I have created a new category "Vintage Florals": a series of custom paintings, greeting cards and…who knows what else. They have literally and figuratively blossomed. Okay, one point rain.

In other art news , I released a fun new card launch to my customers (well received, yay!), reorganized by itty bitty office that holds my inventory (ah, space!), and dipped my toe back into painting seascapes (heaven). I also held a spring floral still life painting workshop at my home, purged a whole lot of clothes, books, art supplies and thought a lot about exercising while not doing it. This has been the season of hibernation, creation and resting. There has been a lot of travel in this season (and thank god other cities have sunshine) and a lot of coming back home to the "boring". The necessary. The list making. The Mailchimp setting up. The website. But upon reflection on this rainy day, it's been this wet season that has created a lot of beauty. I feel ready for something fun because I'm not tired. I am rested and restored. I've leaned into this season. It hasn't always been with a smile on my face but but I have somehow managed to grow a vintage floral garden in this la vie en rose life of mine. xo

"La Vie en Rose" 11x17"
Available at elizabethW Carmel

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Boats on the Bay


I did a brave scary exhilarating thing yesterday. I sent a detailed book proposal to a literary agent in New York.  It's taken me at least 4-5 missed self-imposed deadlines, a year to meet with an expert editing friend to get me to twelve sample chapters and one chaotically messy living room where there is art and paper and more art on every inch of the floor for easy viewing. What goes where, what stack belong to which and on it goes.  I had all of the individual pieces ready for months; the chapters, the art, the sample cards, postcards and catalogues from my company. The fabulous box I had to have to put the whole thing in! (Priorities!) It was the assembling of the pieces, the bigness of the project, that put me in Tomorrow Overwhelm.

I'll do it tomorrow. It's Sunday, I've got nothing planned. Tomorrow. It's Monday. The printer is open in case I need to run down there. Tomorrow, it's Thursday, I'm always productive on Thursdays. Really? I am? Tomorrow starts today. Please don't' mistake me for someone who can follow my own advice for overcoming procrastination. I'm a work in progress. I do know though, that I've made strides. There are tools. It's not willpower. It's action and accountability and telling your most productive organized friend your plan to start (and finish) and knowing you'll have to face said friend the next day and you're no longer in the mood to wiggle out of the why it's still sitting on your coffee table excuse. It was hailing! In April! The cat was moody. I had no groceries, had to run to Trader Joe's. I got a phone call. I had to ship an order. I've been traveling, I have to unpack.  (Your excuses are probably much more exciting and elaborate, mine are that boring and embarrassing that I have not been able to push through this block.)

So, I did it. I'll save the details of the proposal, the agent, the why I did this the way I did it for a later post because today, after lovingly packaging up all the pieces for this person i have never met on the other side of the county, I know that it was the doing it that mattered. I have no control of the outcome. I can't be pre-disappointed that it's a long shot. Because it is. It's a long shot. But if this doesn't work, I'm not the right fit, I know I can do this again. I broke through some invisible self-imposed barrier that New York agents and publishing world are "out there" and I am "here" and the two can't quite meet their fingers a la Sistine Chapel. But they can. They do all the time. I see it, I read it.

And what do boats on the bay have to do with this brave scary exhilarating thing I did yesterday? Not much. But I like this painting, took risks with it that are new for me (sensing a theme here!) and it took me outside my comfort zone. So maybe it has everything to do with my scary thing. I've written about this a lot but bears repeating, mostly for myself, this painting would not have happened unless I had done hundreds before it. Writing, running, cooking, sending proposals to literary agents. It's no different. Practice. Show up. Rinse repeat. Hit send. Write the letter. Put a stamp on it. Buy a box. Go to Fedex. xo

"Boats on the Bay" 16x20" SOLD