Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Top 10 Things Overheard in My Art Booth in 2015

I continue to be amazed at what people say at an art show while they're in your booth looking at your work. Let's face it:  it's a small space! You can hear everything - the good, the bad, and the unusual.

(Insert drumroll here). . . here are my "top ten" conversations, questions, and comments overheard in my art booth in 2015:

  1. "I hate to admit it, but I DO like these colors."
  2.  "We hung your painting above my easy chair. Anytime I'm sitting there, my wife often looks over and smiles at me. I thought she was looking at me. Turns out she was looking at your art."
  3. "Are you related to Elon Musk?"
  4. "I'm glad you didn't put any birds in this - - that would have really screwed it up."
  5. "Now this is work you can look at for a long time. You can just sip your wine and keep discovering something new. Pointing to a larger sized painting:  I'd need a whole bottle for that one". 
  6. "That orange reminds me too much of the countertop in my Mother's home. I don't want that orange in my house."
  7. "I can see why you won an award; they're very beautiful."
  8. "I thought Tesla was a car."
  9. Lady in my booth picking out a few paintings. Her husband is outside of the booth with his arms folded, and says: "Do I need to hold your wallet for you honey?"
  10. "Where are you from?" (me: Atlanta) "So, what do you do in Atlanta?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Leaving So You Can Come Back Stronger

Looking out over the Pacific.
I've done a lot of paintings this year, including starting a new abstract series entitled "Chrysalis". Long days in the studio, several shows, and new galleries showing my work. All in all, 2015 has been amazing! Its' hard to believe it's almost over.

My husband and I just returned from Mexico. We stayed at a retreat without electricity. It was lush, beautiful, and quiet. No schedule. Time seemed to go by slowly. It felt like a real break.

It occurred to me how great it is to just get away so that you can come back stronger. Going to a foreign country where the people, the language, the food, and the landscape are different  - - is exhilarating! Lots to see and experience. Your senses are heightened and you can't help but be inspired. 

Cat holding her new 12"x12" Chrysalis Studies.

Of course I couldn't wait to get back into the studio. But more importantly, I realized how important it is to get away - whether to another country or just taking a walk around the block - it's critical for an artist to do this for themselves.

 “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown; for going out, I found, was really going in.” 
~John Muir

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Yikes, Its October!

So it turns out I suck at blogging. Sometimes I don’t even remember I have a blog.

And yikes, it’s October! The year is going fast, but at least its fall. My favorite season.

The good news is I’m home for three-and-a-half weeks and I just made one of my favorite soups:  Italian white bean with kale. The house smells incredible.

This fall has been a whirlwind of art shows from Chicago to Houston, including way too many dinners out, and lots of pillows at hotels that are too high for my neck. Met a lot of new collectors, saw some previous collectors who (gratefully) continued collecting, and met a lot of folks who simply appreciate the art.

All the driving isn’t bad. My husband and I take turns. We’ve gone through a few audio books:  The Girl on the Train (don’t torture yourself – the narrator’s voices are completely irritating), Murder House (I think this is James Patterson’s worst ever – the fake drama is over the top), and finally finished Ken Follett’s unabridged sequel to Pillars. It was like 54 hours or something. Total blur at this point. Pillars was outstanding, though, if you haven’t read/listened to it.

I get tons of ideas when I’m driving across the country. Blue skies, pink skies, green fields, tall trees, silvery pavement at dusk. I start to see pieces of paintings. Which is weird, but is also the reason why I’m excited to get back into the studio. I’m ready.

My husband and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this past weekend. We woke up in Houston and thought:  how did we get here? (in a good way :) Life takes you in directions you can’t predict. I wouldn’t change a thing.

So here’s to being at home, being with friends, being in nature, being in the kitchen baking something buttery, and being back in the studio.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Inspiration from the Balkans

I just returned from an incredible vacation to Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia. My husband Simo is Serbian, and though he’s been there several times before, we’ve been wanting to go together.

Most people don’t have a clue where Serbia is and couldn’t pinpoint it on a world map. In grade school I learned about a country called Yugoslavia – located directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, south of Hungary, and north of Greece. Over time Yugoslavia has been under communist rule, fascism, dictatorships, and even royal rule. It’s been the middle of over 100 wars, and is now cut up into various countries:  Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, and Macedonia. 

We went on this vacation with dear friends and we mapped out a “circle” that started and ended in Belgrade, Serbia. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been connected to the Serbian community for more than half of my life, beginning with a friend from grad school in the 1980’s. My wedding was pretty much the same as depicted in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – you could have simply substituted the word “Serbian” for “Greek”. When my parents arrived at our home in Brookhaven (a burb in Atlanta) before the rehearsal dinner for my wedding, my soon-to-be in-laws were roasting a pig in the backyard. I remember whispering to my parents:  they’re roasting a pig in the backyard, and you need to smile and pretend like we do this everyday”. My mother exclaimed “did you say pig?” one nanosecond before my then-fiance’s parents were kissing her 3 times (traditional greeting in Serbia). 

Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia were stunning – most of all for the hues and colors and contrast of textures. Think Vancouver meets Costa Rica meets Italy. As an artist my senses were reeling – the color combinations were wonderful. Silvery blues against warm greens with pink, fuschia with crimson reds, bright Kelly greens and deep turquoise, and terra cotta with anything else (too many to mention!).

The food, drink, music, and fashion were outrageous. Smoked meats with roasted potatoes and grilled peppers with garlic, freshly made breads with olive oil, paprika, and red pepper, homemade šljivovica (Serbian plum brandy), slatko (a spoonful of a sweet berry confection as a start to your meal), and rakija (Serbian brandy or hard liquor) with stomach bitters and honey at the end of your meal (after you’ve had bite-sized decadent cakes in neat small squares and rectangles, topped with berries and cream, and of course baklava everywhere). Groups of musicians on every corner in every restaurant playing traditional music from the region – violins, accordions, prim’s, guitar, cello, brač's. Women and men dressed in designer wear just to go to the market – dark-haired beauties with clingy dresses and sexy heeled sandals and men with tight dress pants and shirts and Italian shoes (which are actually made in South Serbia), all with perfect skin and exotic features. Beautiful countries filled with beautiful people eating beautiful food. 

We saw plenty of beauty but also plenty of heartache. Buildings and homes covered in bullet holes, buildings and bridges still in pieces from bombings, and areas trying to recover economically and not succeeding. Wars have a price. 
My husband got to visit aunts, uncles, and cousins, and even met some he hadn’t before! The trip was a huge success on that account. We also hooked up with friends in Montenegro and Belgrade.

If you decide to venture to this part of the world, most people there speak some English. I speak enough Serbian to get by (and I’m pleased to report I did very well!) and my husband and friends are fluent so we had no issues with communicating.

It’s good to be home:  I’m full of inspiration and am heading to the studio today to begin pouring it all out onto the canvas.