Saturday, June 29, 2013

New work

"Bluestocking babe" oil on linen by Kerry Steele
I finished two oil on linen paintings this week. They were both canvases in limbo that I had put aside because I was not pleased with the direction they were going. That is how I get unstuck.
"Bluestocking babe" got a massive edit to the fist go which was an oil and charcoal figure that started out beautifully and then I gave her red hair. Suddenly she was a cartoon hooker and I couldn't even look at it.
I prefer her in the abstract.
The word bluestocking means a woman with strong scholarly or literary interests. Now at least she is a smart tart.

"Laying under the table and dreaming" oil on linen by Kerry Steele

Twice this week I heard the Dave Matthews song "Ants marching" on the radio. Its been years but every time I hear it the line "and he remembers being small, laying under the table and dreaming" brings back an assortment of memories. This painting is sort of the way I can illustrate that.

I am occasionally asked how I come up with titles for my paintings. Sometimes it is very easy sometimes not when it is not I use this random title generator. I generally don't take exactly what it spits out but it gives words to me quickly and one jumps out I go with it.
If you ever need to kill a few minutes, use it. It will make you laugh with titles like "Broken wind" (I am not making that up) and other nonsense that is amusing.

Friday, June 28, 2013

B-day wishlist

Today I turn 45. It sounds like such a ridiculous age because I am really 27 in my head. 
(Be quiet, Mom)
Here is a bit of a wishlist that will not come to be, for this birthday at least.

Hiroshi Matsumoto
*sigh* The name Hiroshi Matsumoto alone, is romantic sounding, but his work is very consistent and beyond beautiful. I was going to ask for one but I peeked at his Etsy shop and the one one above is long gone and any that I sort of want is over budget, Boo hoo. I will bide my time and have one for sure someday.
The 4 x 4 inch paintings aren't crazy expensive but I want a larger piece.
Jack Rogers sandals
 If you know me, you would be surprised to know that I do not own a single pair of Jack Rogers sandals. They are preppy girl de rigueur footwear. I was the IT consultant for a Lilly Pulitzer boutique about 10 years ago and I wore Lilly everyday but just never got around to the "must have sandal"
Still want those damn thangs!

Also on my wishlist is a light fixture that would make other design bloggers slap their mom and say, SHUTUP!!!"

Actually this was quite "tongue in cheek", I treated myself rather generously yesterday.
 Thank you Etsy buyers! I have the cutest skirt two sizes smaller than a few months ago to wear to the First Friday opening at my new co-op gallery.
That member/ownership is the most fantastic birthday to me. I am meeting new artists that are local far and  more savvy, talented and educated than I envisioned... 
and I get to be included... my fondest wish ever!
shut up.. don't make me cry

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2 Decorating peeves and solutions

Okay, I know its popular to put your kid's name on the wall but I don't get it. Is it supposed to promote literacy, help forgetful parents, what?
If you are reading this chances are, you don't need my help but I saw one too many stupid nurseries in Pinterest and had to vent.
Words on walls is my #1 peeve in this post and in life.
If your kitchen wall says "Eat here" what on earth does it say in your bathroom?
I am a fan of original art anywhere you have a bare wall but that is not in the budget for everyone so here are two ideas for a kid's room that I prefer.

Map are interesting and in theory you can leave it on the wall until they head off to college. Maybe they will learn something other than their name.

Chalkboard walls aren't just black anymore.
The possibilities on a chalkboard wall are limitless and its just paint.

Peeve #2
Matching sofa and loveseat

Are everyone's eyes still in place? I removed all sharp objects before writing this post so I would not be tempted to gouge my own eyes out.
If you have this situation already a) burn the rug and b) stash that loveseat elsewhere and go chair shopping.

Grab a matching pair if you must but don't forget Craigslist, Ikea, and CB2 for affordable options.

See? Nothing matches.
World keeps spinning...

Mother in law and sister in law are en route...Surprise!
I might be out for the rest of the week. As long as I don't end up twitching in a corner, life's alright.

Monday, June 24, 2013

inspiring spaces

When I was seven or so, I painted alongside my grandmother in a small section of her attic near a window. Even at that age I recognized the romance of the setting. My painting spot is not nearly as romantic and inspiring as these studios but it gets the job done.

I spent the weekend wrist deep in paint and I have blue hands and ruined nails to prove it.

Do you have an inspiring space to work in?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm in and other news

"Elemental memory" 24 x 30 oil on canvas
I recently applied to a member owned gallery in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is a very established gallery and was Fredericksburg's first artist' cooperative. The process is similar to any gallery submission with a CD of images, resume and artist statement. These are considered by a membership jury and if accepted an interview is scheduled with the board of directors.
My interview was Tuesday evening and I was surprised by how well it went. I got a call yesterday to tell me that I was accepted. 
In the future, my work can be viewed there every month.
824 Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, Virginia

I have been having a little fun with olioboard lately too.

I love designing virtual rooms with no budget.
I also entered the Zatista picture perfect contest with the board below.

In my haste, I mistype the title "The collector's salon" and it reads "colletor" like I am dumb or something. I feel the need to point out that I know the difference.
Anyhoo, vote for me HERE if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Picking paint

Summer has given way to some seriously lazy mornings but I am feeling the itch to tackle projects around here. 2 1/2 years after moving in, I have chosen a paint color for my youngest daughter's room. Its about darn time!
I waffled between pink or pale gray for the last 6 months but a recent decision to paint my older daughter's room gray pushed me in the direction of pink. I know, I know...flow but it will work because it is in view of the living room which is a similar color and I don't want the bulk of my house to be gray.We also have plans to paint the large open spaces gray.

Over the weekend I grabbed two samples from a local Benjamin Moore dealer. I chose BM 1268 Cotton Candy and BM 885 Key pearl. I have been over and over my "one lighter" rule with my husband so many times that he got the right answer at quiz time. My "one lighter" rule is to choose a paint chip that you like and go with one a shade lighter even though it appears too light. This is especially important to me when I want an understated color in a bedroom. For this room I want the walls to be pink but not say pink. Like my very pale pink/coral living room.

Once I had the paint samples up, I asked my 16 year old daughter her opinion and she chose the bottom sample (Key Pearl)

 and then I showed her the paint chips and she was really surprised that Key Pearl was the one she chose since it reads nearly white on such a small sample.
This was my sneaky way of eventually influencing her paint color choice later this summer.
If you don't already buy and try paint samples, I encourage the investment of time and money. I spent less than $9 on two sample cans so that $100+ is the right choice.
Now if I can just get going with the actual painting.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Loving lately

This is a little bit of everything that I have bought or want to.

N.Y. Times

There has to be a DIY way to accomplish a similar shelf. I will be checking out Lowe's and another plumbing supplier to find out.

I received a sample of this skin serum and it is headed my way soon. To say it makes your face softer than a baby's bottom is an understatement. This stuff is gold!

I have mentioned this one before. Hoover does not pay me to say this but the Floormate is awesome. My old one bit the dust this week and I had all of the kitchen chairs moved out of the way in preparation to clean. Four hours, a trip to Walmart, a grocery load up, and a nap later my floor got cleaned like never before with the new model. OK, not never but I love that this thing sucks up the dirty wash water as opposed to just spreading it around.

Yangyang Pan
The artwork of Yangyang Pan is super inspiring to me lately. Check out her Pinterest board with all of her work.

What great product or inspiration have you found lately?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A left turn

"Still life with Shuāngxǐ "oil on canvas by Kerry Steele
I finished this painting this morning. I am not going to stop painting abstracts but needed to "cleanse my palette" pun intended.
I have two abstracts that I have started and put aside in frustration.Distractions, duties and sheer exhaustion don't lend themselves to creativity so I decided to paint something I could see...sort of.
 Part of the fun is not representing a subject but playing with color and line.
I got a little inspiration from my Meme (grandmother).


Painting in this simple, naive style was relaxing and quite satisfying. Now maybe I can get back to something more vague.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A kindred spirit for cheap

Yesterday the seamstress knocked on my door and said, "I lost your phone number but it is you. Do you want a delivery?" I was thrilled. Last week, I sent her away with my Spoonflower fabric and this pouf.

catalog photo
She was practically bouncing with excitement that I had created the fabric with a painting of mine and instantly understood what I was envisioning. We chatted about lots of creative, artsy things and despite being a few years my senior she was as cute and full of life as my four year-old.
I showed off my other fabrics and she was smitten.

I asked about the lead time and she got a familiar look on face. The one that says "you'll think I'm nuts" and told me it was kind of interesting and she'd probably go home and start cutting.

The bonus was that the price for the custom ottoman cover with lining and zipper was $95!!!!
Her pillow price is super reasonable too.
I sent her away with a few pieces of Le Lac I have been hoarding.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dispatch from the easel

"Fleurs trouvée" oil on cnavas by Kerry Steele
I feel like I have been in a bit of a slump when it comes to painting lately. This painting above sat behind my easel for several weeks because I painted what I call a lost canvas. My mother insisted that I keep painting.
I think I was able to salvage it.
The only reason I bothered was that I had three canvases that were looking pretty awful to me and I didn't want to screw up another so it was kind of a "nothing to lose, everything to gain" painting session.

I have to be really careful about the opinions of other people. Its hard to ignore praise and even harder to ignore criticism. I am really comfortable with failure as part of the process but others are not. Its so dangerous (to creativity) to embrace praise for something that you feel is not your best work. Then there are the people that mean well but don't get it and say things like "I see an elephant" to your latest abstract.
I have to put those things in another compartment of my brain so to speak so that it does not inform my painting.
I am hoping for a productive summer.
I am really liking the little paintings on paper lately and have been tempted to keep a few.
no. 80


no. 81
I also did another abstract on 18 x  24 canvas with a floral feel.

"The seventh dream" oil on canvas by Kerry Steele
I refuse to show you the figure painting that ended up looking like Brenda Starr. I am humble but not stupid.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday must haves

I really want a modern (vintage or not) credenza/sideboard/dresser for my TV room.
I saw the perfect one for $175 on my local Craigslist and it was gone in hours. This one above is $595 and its been up for weeks.
I don't think that is a crazy price I just know I can get it for much less with patience.
Here are a few others I like.

This one is from the Conran collection now at JcPenney. Its on sale for $765.
I am still really mad at JCP for debuting the JA Happy Chic collection and having only a construction zone in my local store. It just reinforces my belief that  Fredericksburg is a dowdy, provincial place. My husband and I have a running argument about that. I am right but that is another post.

This credenza from the Jonathan Adler collection is on sale for $715 but the lone review is by a disgruntled customer that was not expecting "put it together" furniture. I don't blame her. The regular price is nearly $1200.

I have a feeling that my patience will be rewarded.
Do you patiently wait for deals?

Friday, June 7, 2013

C'mon summer!

Geez! I thought I'd be sipping a margarita and forgetting to make dinner by now but, NO!

Its so close I can taste it, I think.
Our sons were in a car accident in Pennsylvania the other day and they are OK but my son's injuries involve the joy of "lawyering up". Just when I thought it would get easy.
Thursday was the last day of school for everyone but the seniors and I did manage some quality painting time.

I am darn lucky to have a hiatus from the rudeness of the alarm clock for a few months every year and after this many years of it I get a little cranky towards the end.

I am totally ready to start picking tomatoes, catch fireflies and stay up too late.

An after-dark dinner al fresco seems overdue too.

What summer activities or non-activities are looking forward to?