Friday, October 26, 2007

Rise and Shine

Acrylic on 20" x 30" canvas, 2007

Here's my new painting shot in daylight. It's kind of overcast today, but sometimes that diffused light can be better than direct sunshine. Still, I am thinking that I need a new digital camera. I know how crisp a picture CAN be and this camera just doesn't quite cut it. It's a good camera, and it's given me a good few years, but I'd love to be able to get high quality shots of my larger pieces to use for prints. At this point, I just make prints from pieces I can scan. I know a really good camera is expensive, so it's time to start saving my pennies! I'm not even close to being able to afford one, but does anyone have any good suggestions for a make and/or model?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Come back here, light!

I love the autumn leaves changing color. I love the crisp feeling in the air. What I don't love this time of year is to lose the light! I need to get an earlier start to my day because by the time I finish something, the sun has gone down and I can't get a good photograph. This is a new painting I finished today. I took the picture inside with a flash so it's not perfect, but at least it's a glimpse! Not sure of a name yet....

I also have to add that it's been a year that I've been on Etsy! I must give a shout out to the site that I love so very very much. Thank you Etsy, I look forward to a long, wonderful relationship!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Layers and Levity

I took this shot last night after I finished Layers and Levity (seen below). After several days of adding layer after layer of fabric, paper, and paint, the last "blast" was done working on the floor with me standing over it painting with a wide, wet brush. It allowed me to work the surface all over in a different way then on an easel. I like the way the wet areas dried and created different textures.

Mixed media on canvas, 20" x 30", 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Contemplating Ana by Jessica Torrant

Available in My Etsy Shop

earth and fire tamed in one
surrounded by the light of truth

if you ever come to be as a she
your name will be ana

Identity Evolution

Identity Evolution, originally uploaded by livefunky.


Homemade tools of the trade

Ok, so this picture is really blurry, but it shows me holding my transformed milk jug. I have found this to be one of my fav inventions in the studio in a while. I took one of the large, plastic milk containers with a handle and cut out a section at the top to fit my brush handles. Wash, fill with water, and voila! - you've got a portable water source! This comes in handy when I am dipping large brushes into paint on my palette, then into water for that "drippy" effect. Do you have any DIY tools you love to use when you are working?

It Feels Like Home

Oh wait! It IS home! Here is me standing in the studio with some works in progress behind me. Have I mentioned how happy I am to have a studio in my own backyard? Have I? Have I?!

Well if I haven't (and I'm pretending that I haven't) let me tell you - I am SOOOOO happy! I could cry I'm so happy. I could jump for joy, and I DO, I'm so happy!

It just feels so right.

I brought some canvases out from the house today that were hanging around as "supposedly" completed paintings, but each canvas was missing that spark, so I decided, instead of buying new canvases, I'd take these guys to the next level. One of them I am calling the "cursed canvas" because it's taken on so many lives and just never, ever seems to work, no matter what direction I try to take it. Maybe tomorrow I will do a chant to remove the curse "please allow this canvas to purge itself of any negative energy and take on it's true, beautiful form". hahhaha - no but seriously, i think i might do that.

Maybe the problem is that I always go to that painting first when I start my day's session of painting. The first movements/strokes are always the most stilted and disconnected. For the past few days though, I wake up wanting to transform that canvas into something special. Each day it changes - each day it stays "blah". I should ignore it for a while and THEN do a chant to remove the curse! Yeah, that's what I'll do. (If you didn't know already, now you are certain that I am crazy - I will not dispute you).

Fortunately, some real winners are emerging, and filling me with excitement for this groove I am only beginning to connect to. The groove of waking, going online and/or the post office, then walking out to paint for the better part of the day.

This space I have... I know how lucky I am. I keep thinking of Virginia Woolf's A Room Of One's Own... I've got it. Now what am I going to do with it? The good thing is, that question doesn't give me fear or doubt or anguish in any way - only a full body/soul/mind thrill that I can't, and don't want to, shake.

My gratitude goes out to all forces, here on Earth and beyond, that have helped me get to this place in my life and career (which absolutely merge into one). And if I could offer anything to an aspiring artist today, it is the belief that if this is what you really want, you can make it happen.

Love. Live. Make Art. Make Peace. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Funny Valentine

We Love Seals

Do not worry! This seal is not dead, he/she is basking in the sun. We know because we saw him/her flip sand onto his/her belly like the hundreds of other seals we saw basking in the sun on this stretch of the California coast.

Here is Emily on the left and me on the right, showcasing the seal. We like seals. We support their beautiful experience living in the sea and enjoying the sun and the sand too.

New big paintings on Etsy!

The Question
24" x 36" acrylic on canvas, 2006
Available at

Today I listed a bunch of paintings on Etsy that I scooped up from my studio in Indian Orchard. These pieces have only been seen at our open studio shows, and I'm excited to share them with my online community finally! I didn't do any painting today (just listing on Etsy), but I did a lot of thinking about painting.... we'll see how that manifests itself tomorrow in the studio.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ed, You are the man!

Good friends are hard to come by, and we are quite lucky to know and love our Ed (shown here in process of giving me Slayer hands). He and Marissa stopped by today with this awesome machine that lays piping deep under the ground. It's the first step to getting power out to the studio. Thank you Ed! You seriously are THE MAN!

I did some painting today and here is one that I finished called Looking Up.

It is available in my Etsy shop here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Breakthrough II

Also, you can see the original Breakthrough at HERE on

I Think It Is Done

As you can see, I got back into the commissioned painting today (see yesterday's post below for a "before" picture). I worked in more translucent layers of color mixed with a glazing medium applied with a dry brush. A lot got scrubbed off with my hands or scratched at with the ends of brushes and my fingers. I'm happy with the more layered effects of color and texture now.

This was an interesting experience, and GREAT first painting to do in the studio. It came with new challenges, and therefore new learned techniques and observations. I've done commissioned paintings based on previous works before but there were differences. For example, one was a large, painted canvas based on an ink drawing. The drawing was translated first onto the canvas, then after that, the painting took on it's own life. Another commission was for two large canvases in the style of one of my paintings called Ribbon Candy. Again, translating to such a huge scale based on an 8" x 10" concept took on it's own life, too. One more story (not to bore you here) was when I recreated Freedom for a commission. That was a drip painting, so there was only the decisions of what colors to mix and where to swipe my wide, wet brush that I had control over.

This time I had a print out of the original painting in front of me and I referred to it the whole way through. At one point I asked myself if this was even what the client wanted, but I knew that she was open to whatever the painting "became" so I went with my gut and kept looking.... and attempting to recreate. By last night I was pretty close to the original but that spark was missing. Today I came in and responded to the painting in front of me more than the printout. I let each space speak for itself - maybe it needed more green, or to merge with the "box" next to it - in each case I let those moments either be or change based on instinct, not what was in the original, which was what needed to happen to make this painting come alive. At least I think so,,, what do you think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Commission in Progress

Here are some shots of a commissioned painting I've been working on. It's an 18" x 24" version of a smaller painting I made some time ago called Breakthrough. I was hoping to finish it today, but there's still that something that is missing. I want a few more layers of color, a little more texture, a bit more cohesiveness here and there (that yellow needs taming). I will have more pictures tomorrow of the finished piece. Hopefully a little brighter too (today was pretty overcast and rainy - which is a good thing, we've needed rain in this area desperately!).

Thanks for all of the supportive comments from my last post. You all are wonderful friends! :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Drum Roll, Please....

....the new studio has arrived!! Here it is in our backyard. I'll of course be sharing more pictures soon, but I couldn't wait to share my excitement with everyone. The second day of having it, I slept out in the screened in porch area with Leo (our yellow lab). It's still so warm here in New England. Last year it was a really warm fall/winter, too. As much as we've been having beautiful days, there's still that feeling of "it shouldn't be this warm in October". But I digress...

It's everything I've wanted and more. I can sleep outdoors whenever I want, protected from the elements but surrounded by them at the same time. Leo wasn't happy about it, but he was such a good boy. He paced and couldn't really sleep, being my protector, but he didn't go crazy barking or scratching at the screen (thank goodness - puppy Leo would have destroyed that room in forty five minutes). We live in a small, country town, but there's always that risk. I'm not scared when I have my 110 pound, all muscle doggie best friend and body guard by my side.

That screened in area is just going to have a collapsible, big table and chairs, that can be moved aside for "camping" (the airbed) where we will eat family meals, share evenings with friends and during the day, I can sit and paint watercolors, or do crafts at the table by myself or with my mom, the kids, or anybody.

Now the main attraction (even though I'm so pumped about our "nature room"), is the main studio. The enclosed section will be where I work year round, and right now we're looking into how to best insulate the building before we get an electrician out to connect it to the house. Right now I don't need heat, but winter will be coming soon enough (let's hope) so I've got to make the most of these nice autumn days while they are here....

So, with that, I'm going to go out and play and maybe take some pictures too. :)

Happy painting everyone.


Oh and by the way, I'll be moving out of my Indian Orchard studio at the end of November, which means I'll be there to catch one last show. This year's winter show is the weekend of November 11th. I will make a bigger announcement when I have more details very soon.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The sun sets over the Pacific

Ok my friends. Vacation September has come to a close and I'm back in business. After a trip to Florida at the beginning of the month, a few weeks of part time working while I visited with friends from out of town, and then the big bang - a wonderful ten day vacation on the west coast with my husband Rob and my best friend Emily. We just got back in town late Tuesday night. What can I say.... it was a blessed vacation, to say the least.

Here's the rundown.

Rob and I flew to LA 9/23 and waited for our connecting flight to San Luis Obispo. We expected a smaller plane, but not a prop plane (which is what we got, and it was my first experience on one). I did a lot of deep breathing and tried to clear my mind of all bad thoughts. I squeezed Rob's hand so hard on take off that I could've popped a pinkie off. But the take off ended up being pretty smooth. The ride up the coast was spectacular. The sun had already gone down, and we flew low over the coastline looking down on clusters of lights. It was beautiful. Then came the landing, which was a whole different story then take off, and I was very thankful for my tightly secured seat belt. Once we got on land I was still shaking but partly with excitement to see my soul sister waiting for us in the teeny tiny airport. The parking lot was smaller than my local Big Y - that says it all.

That first night we stayed in S.L.O. at a hotel. It was only 9 in CA but it felt like midnight to us, so we had a few glasses of wine, chatted it up, then slept off our weary day of traveling. The next morning we drove up the coast to Big Sur. Ten years ago, when I was going to school for a semester exchange at UCSC in Santa Cruz, I had gone as far north as San Fran and as far south as Big Sur. That morning drive covered new ground for me, and Rob was in total awe of the majesty of the California coast. (He jokes that he's never been farther west than New York state). We did a lot of ooing and awing as Emily drove along the wild, twisty turny route 1. That night we stayed in Pfieffer State Park and camped next to the Big Sur river. We spent some time at the beach and had a beautiful dinner at the restaurant at the campground (they also have a lodge - kind of a plush park, if you ask me! I dig it!).

The next day we continued up the coast to Monterey and went to the aquarium. That was a must do on Rob's list and he was like a kid in the candy store. It was adorable, if I do say so myself. :) We all enjoyed it very much. Then we continued up to Santa Cruz where we got a room and went out on the town. So much has changed in ten years, of course. I honestly thought I'd be able to slip right back into the geographical situation of all of my favorite spots - from beaches, to restaurants, to even the campus. Unfortunately, I was lost. But we managed and I got to go to Natural Bridges, which was my favorite beach, and got to cruise through the campus which was more like looking at your fav celebrity after a major face lift - who are you?

The next day was the one day everyone has on a vacation - the "bust" day. We had planned on going to wine country, which was a longer drive away then we thought. Emily had an ear infection that had seemed to disappear, then reappeared with force. I took over the wheel and by the time we got to wine country, everything was closed and we needed to cross over mountains to get to the campground we were hoping we could get into, but being first come first serve and late in the afternoon, we knew our chances were slim. The major first bust in the day was taking a road over the mountains that turned out to be the most dangerous driving I've ever done in my life. It was a one lane (but two way, mind you) twister of a road, slim as a freaking sidewalk, that climbed a mile plus high in the sky. The locals would come out of nowhere in big trucks and I kept telling myself that if I confronted a car, just hit it head on and resist the instinct to turn, because avoiding an accident could easily cause our little rental car to plummet off the side of a cliff. As our elevation kept increasing, my friend was in greater and greater pain. My mom's words from years ago telling me to never fly with a sinus or ear infection because "your eardrum could explode" was on repeat in my head. There was no turning around, just keep going up and up, honking my horn around every blind turn like I was taught in drivers ed oh so many years ago. It seemed like it never ended. Maybe because it was 7 miles long and the most I could go at any point was 20 mph.

The point is, we survived. But once we were in the valley, the focus was on getting Emily to an emergency room because she was in serious pain by this point and very ill. We took her to the ER and I was a nervous nelly waiting for her to come out. When she did, she was like a new person. Without giving you the gory details, they made her feel all better, and we were off to find a hotel for the night. We sorted through the land of the richey rich to find a great affordable room for the night and dinner outside listening to live jazz. Our luck had turned back around.

We enjoyed the next day as real wine country day and yours truly didn't turn down a tasting. Yours truly was an emotional lady around the campfire that night. Yours truly poured herself out of the tent the next day wishing I could be tied to the roof in my sleeping bag. Needless to say, I loved every minute of it.

We drove for most of the day up to Eugene where we stayed overnight and spent the next day thoroughly enjoying the downtown farmer's market/art/craft fair. I met some wonderful artists and added to my collection a bit with a painting by - I love it. I could see myself living in Eugene and loving it.

We continued up and east to the edge of the Cascade Mountains to a place called Breitenbush Hot Springs . We got there in time for dinner, a vegetarian meal shared by all guests in the lodge, served cafeteria style. It was Thai night - so good! Then we set up our tent and hung around inside it for a while waiting until late night to go out to the hot springs. They were amazing. Only two very kind women were there to share them and we all had nice conversations soaking in the hot, healing waters. The contrast was sleeping out in our tent on a cold, rainy Oregon night. Fortunately we all had airbeds to sleep on that kept us up and dry out of the two inch puddle underneath us, but there was no shaking the way a cold dampness can settle into your bones and chill you to the core. We loooooovvved the car heater the next morning, all soggy three of us!!

From there we traveled north to Pacific City where we stopped for a yummy warm lunch and a few brews at a brewery right on the majestic beach. We kept going to Cape Lookout where we had a yurt reserved. Now, I have known about these things, being a nature loving New Englander, but I've never seen one in person, let alone slept in one. This is the way to go, man. You get all of the beauty of camping, but at night, you get to sleep on a cot in a heated structure. No worries about bears or mountain lions busting into your tent because you forgot you left a cherry chapstick in your pocket. No worries about waking up in the middle of the night shaking and as deep and tucked into your sleeping bag as possible without asphyxiating yourself. Life is real good in a yurt. I kind of want to buy land now and build a series of yurts to live in - sleeping yurt, kitchen yurt, living area yurt, studio yurt....

As much as I was ready to set up shop in our yurt for another few months, we had an excited lady on our hands, eagerly awaiting her reunion with her boyfriend in Seattle. So we drove up enjoying the spectacular Oregon coast, had lunch in Astoria then continued on to Seattle. It's a beautiful city, from what little I saw. We found Emily's boyfriend Miguel and checked into our little B&B in the Pike Place Market. It was such a funky, laid back, but still very clean and beautiful inn - I loved it, and if anyone needs a recommendation for your next Seattle trip, I say check out Pensione Nichols Bed and Breakfast! After freshening up in our two cute rooms side by side, both couples emerged ready for a night on the town. We walked into the common area and three funky cats were sitting with a guitar case and one funky cat asked "where are you guys going tonight?" and I replied "we don't know?!". Then we were more told than asked (love you funky cats) that we need to go to the Lava Lounge because one of the funky cats (Lana) was going to be playing and they were having a benefit for a really great friend of theirs. Naturally, we said yes and took on our roles of insta-entourage. It could not have been more perfect. We were guided to the hippest spot in town, the music was great, it was for a great cause, and we had a blast. If you want to know more about the amazing music we heard, check out Deering Down - they just released a CD called Break This Record.

We flew out the next morning and so ends my long tale about our trip.