Thursday, April 30, 2015

Infomercial painting with a Blue bear

My parents recently came to visit this past weekend. I was having a mommy meltdown (the peacock was out of the country for 10 days) and I needed support. I love when my parents come and visit (I wish they could move into the building)....but my Dad's taste in TV is really one of a kind.

I usually paint at 4am-6am, alone and with music on or a Rockies game. I started painting this at 1pm, with one of the Harry Potter movies on and things quickly went down hill. In fact, this picture was not even going to be of the Blue Bear. I was attempting a fountain. It turned out terrible, so I scrapped the canvas and switched gears. This occurred at the same time my Dad switched the TV to a folk music infomercial to the objection of the others in the room.

"Mom, I want to watch the next Harry Potter!"
Me: No, you haven't finished that book yet.
"Mom, I just want to watch up to chapter 19."
Me: No, we're leaving the infomercial on.
Dad: It's not an infomercial, it's PBS. I could put on a Western.
"Mom, you don't even like this show. "
Me: I do now. I like the fact that since it's been on, for some reason my painting got better and when Harry Potter was on, Voldemort was clearly using the "Ridiculous" spell against me.

The infomercial stayed on.
And this painting is the result of Legends of Folk-PBS

Peter, Paul, Mary and the Blue Bear (2015) 
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6

Who knew the Blue bear gets down to the Folk.

The Blue bear likes not only folk music, but he would appreciate your support of PBS.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I now give you the Red Light Special

I love the strip of buildings on Market street between 16th street mall and 17th. In my 20's I spent a few nights dance crawling (it's a pub crawl, but you only go to places with a dance floor) through downtown and this wee strip holds some good, yet foggy memories. This is the strip where I had my first time..........eating sushi at Sonada's, of course! (Sadly, after 19 years, Sonada's is no longer in business) One of my best friends, Rie, taught me all I needed to know and safely got me through my first time on Market street.

And now for a short history lesson.

Apparently, Euclid Hall off 14th between Larimer & Market was the meeting place for many prominent politicians and law officers...and Market street was their pit stop on the way home. Market street in Denver was the Red Light District, back in the late 1800's. The street was originally named Holladay (after much drama), but with all the "happenings" on the street the family demanded that the street name be changed as to not disgrace the family name and derail the legacy. The miniseries of the naming of these downtown streets is quite interesting. The history of downtown Denver & the territorializing of its streets during this time, I predict could be the next big Downton Abby (those friends of ours working in Hollywood, you know who you are, feel free to use this idea, it would make a great period piece).

Anyway, if you're up for a brief history lesson, here is a blog that I enjoy reading about Denver. This one is about Market st. in particular.
Market Street history

Also, here is an additional Denver urban site that is also fantastic for those Denverfanatics like myself with some time to kill.
Denver Urbanism

Holladay, Market and Red Light...oh my (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x8

Lesson complete. For those who skipped the reading, you now must wait for the Hollywood version to come out. (miniseries; period piece..... I'm just saying)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

10,000 practice hours or the journey with a really rowdy band will get you there

In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. This is basically the amount of time it takes to be a professional or expert at your craft, job, art, whatever it is. I believe this concept to be true. It takes lots and lots of practice, trial and error, and learning from your mistakes. But Gladwell has never polka'd with my family.

I grew up around polka music. My dad, my dad's siblings, my brother, cousins, and my grandpa and his brothers can all play music. Every July 4th the family gathers for the reunion. This has been going on for 90 something years. These hooligans play music for 4-5 days (and nights) straight. There is no sleep. They don't quite hit 10,000 hours, but trust me, its the equivalent. Both people and instruments unite for the kind of music fest that must be experienced by all your senses. The music is loud, and rowdy, oh and really really good. What 10,000 hours of polka gets you in the mountains of Crested Butte is creative, uninhabited, free to try what ever the heck you want, even if it turns out to be a dud, because the group can work with that (if not,  they'll just crack some jokes at your expense and move on). They are not perfect, but they go out and kill it every day and night (There is however, a bit more creativity to the music in the wee hours of the night).

I take to my art the way the reunion musicians play. There's no right or wrong, there's no masterpiece, you do it for the journey. You do it for your family, you do it for yourself. This painting is my journey. When I look at it I see my breakthroughs and my duds. It was fun & frustrating; parts of it didn't turn out how I wanted (and I'm sure my brother will have some fun with that), and parts of it got rowdy, really rowdy.

Campster Polka (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x8

10,000 hours, ya, that's important....
but so is having a rowdy bunch of hooligans leading your way. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Excuse the interruption, I have a flare for the ADD

So, I haven't posted any paintings for a few days now and it has nothing to do with not painting, it has to do with painting too much and, well, I have been having a flare of my acquired distraction disorder. I currently have not 1, not 2, but 3 paintings that I have started......and not one of them is finished. I began the first then got bored; started a second, got frustrated, so I started the third (because clearly that's logical in a tornado of distracted thinking). For those who don't know about acquired distraction disorder, let me break it down. I acquired my disorder in 2002 when I first became a nurse and was continually interrupted during my work. Some of you call this "multi-tasking" and emphasize how great it is to be able to do this. I don't agree with this. It's so much more fulfilling and productive to be able to devote all your attention, 100% to ONE thing at a time. This is not always reality & I realize this. Anyways, when you acquire distraction disorder, your attention gets sliced and diced and crapped on by the minute. You can't tell your head from your ass. You don't know where you were going, what you were doing, saying, seeing, you have no attention to anything. You cannot focus and cannot sit still. You become the wind: all over the place and annoying everyone around you.

Once I became a parent I'd already had my "ADD" for 5 years, but the ADD exponentially grew. I now performed tasks at 20-50% at most.....otherwise known as "half-assed". Constant interruptions! Interrupted every minute they are awake! Interrruptions!!!!  I can't even count the times I forgot to brush my hair (Mom, I need some help), eat dinner (mom I spilled my water), call people back (Mom, I need a towel), start the dishwasher (Mom, I need tucked in, again) or turn off appliances (Mom, I had an the living room....on the couch). Interruptions directly lead to acquired distraction disorder and you eventually just have to accept it.

I have no completions to show for my many days of painting this week, other than the 3 works in progress on the easel. And I'm not sure where I will go with those yet.

I will have to keep you posted in between interruptions. 
But until then, I have started not 1, not 2, But 3......Yes 3 glasses of wine and a bag of chocolates! 
This is how you fix a flare. 


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hey Ma, Lilac you a lot

Yesterday was my Ma's birthday. I have the best mother on the planet. And that is what most people say about their moms. My mom is the greatest. She made all my dance costumes & birthday cakes. She claims that she has no artistic ability, but those of you who have seen some of my mom's cake decorating masterpieces, know she is wrong. And for those who have not seen it, here is a cake she made for my grandpa Emil, who was an accordion master.

I cannot even begin to list all the wonderful things about my mom. The best thing though is that my mom loves lilacs. These are her favorite. I'm so glad she doesn't like roses because I really hate roses. Roses are overrated. I don't enjoy painting them. They don't laugh at me like daffodils do, but they look down through their snobby silky petals, smirking and teasing. Roses are bullies. Any how, enough about roses. Lilacs are where it's at. They are the most beautiful (like my mom), suttle little flowers that bloom in April when it's still snowing here. They look so delicate, but they are tough (like my mom). They are the introverts of the flowers(like mom). You really don't notice them, they mostly hang out in the background, but when you glimpse their fragrance petals, you realize they are magnificently AWESOME! Like my Ma.

Lilacs for Ma (2015)
Acrylic on panel board 8x8

I'm glad my mom likes lilacs. 
However, if roses were her favorite, I'd still paint lilacs, because like I said, I don't like bullies. 

Happy birthday Ma. I love you. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rolling down the street...sipping on hipster juice, Laid Back.

Other than my fascination with old 90's gangster rap, I have an obsession with hipsters. I really can't explain it. For those who consider themselves a hipster, let me point out this guy. He is strolling on his vintage road bike carrying an acoustic guitar. You can't even compete. His mullet is red and black and matches The Cure, vintage, black leather jacket. He is vegan and gluten-free...100% hipster. He bleeds non-GMO organic blood. 100% hipster. I imagine he just rolled out of bed, at 7pm (there were some freaks in the living room & they didn't leave till 6 in the morn), to head over to his gig at the hookah & tea bar. No need to rush, he'll be there when he gets there. He is wearing his girlfriends jeans, she's a poet & fashion designer. 100% hipster. I love hipsters.
I often will hipster out at about 40%. When I do hipster it's the equivalent of Austin Power's doing the Macarena....tica tica tica tica tica tica tica tica......

100% Hipster (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 5x7

But, damn, it feels good to be a hipster. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When in doubt always use a Capital

My co-workers have learned that I like to capitalize words......unnecessarily and as often as possible. This has to do with the fact that I find many things important and I want everyone else to feel the same importance. Capitals are for important things. If you want to make a point, use a Capital. If you want to show power, use a Capital. If you have really important shit to resolve on your walk.......Walk by The Capital! When I route by The Capital, I can't help but walk a little brisker, stand a little taller, and speak to myself in ALL CAPS because I'm resolving important issues. The Capital commands your respect and attention in it's presence. It stands with confidence and pride.

Take Notice, Capitals are important (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

For God's sake there is Gold on the top of The Capital....REAL GOLD!


Monday, April 13, 2015

We only ditch school for opening day. Period.

Opening day is a holiday for our family. A big deal. We wait impatiently all winter for it, suffering through the lesser sports of football and basketball; waiting for the next best thing to chocolate to appear every April-October (hopefully October, please make it to October!). Baseball. This year was a bit different in that we were not planning to go, as the tickets were nearly impossible to get & the goldfish is completely out of control in crowds (actually she is socially inappropriate pretty much everywhere outside of the home). Since the Rockies were playing the Cubs, this added to the "no way in hell are we going to take the goldfish out of her tank for this." However, the peacock was able to score some rooftop tickets and that allowed for him and the boy to go. So we pulled our son out of school to go to opening day with his dad. We walked them down to the park and dropped them off into the mad chaotic glory known as Opening Day. "Have fun & listen to Dad."

Opening Day 2015 
Acrylic on canvas 8x10

And don't repeat any of the words you hear.....especially those from the Cubs fans, they are questionable at best.
Come to think of it, don't repeat any from your Dad either....He too is questionable.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Dancing Trees and squirrels with muffins

Part of my routine in the morning after I paint and drop off my son at school is my walk to work. My walk has become a key component to keeping my sanity and remaining calm. I have several different routes I take depending on my mood and what I'm wanting to think about. One route is through the park in front of the capital. This walk makes me so happy. Not only are the trees dancing in beautiful dresses, but the squirrels in this park are characters. They are all over actively prancing around with their morning muffin crumb and a spot of tea, greeting all passers by:  Hi! how are you? Where ya going? What's in your bag? What ya eating? A muffin, YUM! Wanna share? No, not today, you're running late? Must not be too late, you were able to stop and get a muffin and some tea, Oh, you really really gotta go,  Ok, see you tomorrow....possibly with a muffin????

Dancing Trees (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

Someone should introduce them to the daffodils, I have a feeling they'd get along. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bridge running and base jumping

I am not a runner. Back in my early 20's when I experimented with being a type A, I ran a lot. Honestly, I feel really good after I ran but it isn't any different from the feeling I get after biking, hiking, yoga, walking, swimming & a good nap. When I ran, I never really noticed how magnificent this bridge was. I've only seen it through the eyes of running to it, so that I can stop and walk. Running for me consisted of jogging to the bridge, then walking to the next bridge, then jogging to the next get the point. Bridges are key for running in my book. A successful run is all about the bridges.

On this particular day, I was not on the trail running. These days I only run to prevent the toddler from eating trash, licking the ground, laying in traffic, basically intervening with any instinct that occurs to her. This day I am at this wonderful downtown childrens park, across from the Pepsi Center, that looks on to this bridge. I'm trying to run some energy out of the goldfish, so she will take a LOOOOOOONG nap. Right now, she is getting ready to go down the big slide.............Oh Crap,

The Resting Bridge (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x8

I gotta run, she's going to base jump off a 4 foot climbing wall ledge. 
Time to put her back in the tank.


Monday, April 6, 2015

I must confess, I'm having an affair

As with most families we  spend a great deal of time exploring our neighborhood. We often take nightly strolls (mostly to get dinner, because I don't like cooking & frankly, if it's not made in a crock pot, I have a hard time doing it). 

Since I've been painting, I spend a lot of time now loving on downtown. I'm seriously in LOVE! One would think this would pose a problem considering that I'm married and all, but the peacock has often wanted a "sister wife" (his preference is a cooking chiropractor--of course), which coincidentally we have found............her name is Downtown Denver. She is marvelous! She is diverse, sassy, she cooks, she gives massage, she plays street music, and even though she doesn't seem to require sleep, she doesn't ask us for a glass of water at 2am. She is beautiful and inspiring. 

A Neighborhood Stroll (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

What more can I say? 
I love the night life, the day life, THIS LIFE! 

Oh, and I like to boogie. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sharing the walk and letting go

Almost everyday I walk my son to school. This is one of the most enjoyable times of my day. Usually it's just me and him. Talking, not talking, sharing wisdom, walking, and getting breakfast. He's 7 now, old enough to understand incredible things & young enough to still ask a lot of questions about what he doesn't know yet. Not too long from now he's going to be to cool to walk with his mom in such close proximity.  And WAY too cool to ask me any questions or possibly care what I have to teach him or even share so openly his life with me. He's going to have things to explore and thoughts to think. Places to go and people to impress. He's going to grow up. 

Rainy walk to school (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x6

But until that day, he is mine, all mine. 

Plus, I'm pretty sure as he gets older, he's always gonna need me to buy his breakfast. 


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Running with Dandelions....or how to swim with the goldfish.

It's not easy to be the youngest child. Always being dragged to her older brother's activities. These past few weeks we have been at baseball 3 days a week for 2 hours at a time. This is outside, which is great, buuuuut there is no playground. NO PLAYGROUND!  This is very challenging for a 2 year old with a load of energy and the attention span of a goldfish (which by the way, I read is between 3-7 seconds).

Lately, we have a little game we play. We pick handfuls of dandelions at one end of the park & then run them down to the creek at the other end, throw them in and watch them swim. This is loads of fun for a 2 year old.  It solves so many of our problems: first we  rid the rec. center of it's weeds, second we use up a ton of energy and third it's quite calming to watch the dandelions float down the creek; plus the creek is slow moving, so this takes up time.

Running with dandelions (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x8

As frustrating as it is to live with a "goldfish", these simple little moments fill up my heart and calm my soul while I watch a big bouquet of bright yellow dandelions floating down a muddy creek.  

I hope she never grows up........just gets a longer attention span. 


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Daffodils are laughing at me: a lesson in tenacity

Daffodils are all over downtown right now. They seem to always be the first one up prancing around like they already drank a pot of tea and had a muffin. Along with the hyacinth, I have been snapping photos and sketching these daffodils to paint them.

I got my paints out and viewed all my references and low and behold when I went to paint these tricksters, they posed quite a challenge. The daffodils laughed at me, that's right, they laughed at me! They laughed as I painted them from all angles (he he he) They laughed when I mixed my colors (ha ha ha). They laughed as my knife moved on the canvas (Baahhhhhh) Someone needs to cut off their caffeine and sugar (or possibly their head). 

Here was my first attempt at the laughing daffies. 
I used my trusty palette knife and came out with "it's kinda messy mom."
Agreed, but parts of it I really like (okay, I only like the stems). 

I'm going to try this again, with a new approach. I can't give in to these jokers. 

Daffodils laughing AT me (2015)
Acrylic with palette knife on canvas panel 6x6

Here's the next attempt with a brush, The White Stripes, and a little pink to problem solve (in my head all challenges can be solved with pink, yellow or purple and sometimes turquoise). 

Laughing WITH the daffodils (2015)
Acrylic on canvas panel 6x6

Suck it Daffodils! 
I too have been up since 4am with a pot of tea and a muffin.