From Keeping Studio “Field Notes”

IMG_0999

Still Treasure Seeking

In my 55 years, I’ve held a few jobs and one “career”.   However, my education was in cultural and earth sciences – archaeology and geology.  It didn’t take me long to conclude those jobs wouldn’t pay my bills – not very well at least.  So one thing lead to another and I mysteriously landed in the world of television advertising.  (The “career”.)

Long story short, I eventually married my boss.  Yeah, I did.  We didn’t want to work and live together, so I retired.  My new husband, or the “Dream Maker” as I like to call him, set me free to discover what it is I really loved to do.  Oh God.

Yes, that may sound like a blessing to you (and indeed it was).  But, not until a years-long-tortuous-journey of self discovery . . . I had no idea what I loved!  I only knew working to pay the bills, ya know?

Somehow, my husband survived it all.  Several years later, after much searching and crazy making, I discovered I am an artist.  Which is really weird, since I was raised by a lifelong painter!  (But until this time of wandering about, I had never once picked up a paintbrush.)

These days I may paint, wander with camera in hand, write a bit, teach an art workshop or host an art retreat, but I’m still treasure hunting and documenting my findings.  This is exactly what I did as a young archaeologist.  Now I KNOW, Treasure Seeker is my calling, my vocation, my career!  I was born for this.

Through a commitment to my 7 year long painting practice, I have found my process.  (I tend to paint deep layers of color-filled strata.  Then I begin my real work of uncovering the treasures beneath.  I use a handful of tools I’ve tucked away in my treasure hunter’s knapsack.)

On daily walks and adventures, I focus my lens on the world’s treasures.  I’ll go to any length to capture small moments of wonder and beauty.

In my personal journal and sometimes here on my blog, I document and share my discoveries.  I can’t help myself.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER A TREASURE SEEKER.

ALWAYS AND FOREVER SEEKER OF BEAUTY AND THE EXTRAORDINARY.

ALWAYS THE DREAM DIGGER.

I want to share with you some of my discoveries.

If you’d like to take a look, my photographs can be found heremy “Project Wanderstruck”.

Some of my more recent paintings can be found here.

My only hope in sharing this with you, is that it will in some way inspire you to dig your own dreams . . . Enjoy!

IMG_0757

My Warehouse Art Studio

I’m so fortunate to share a large studio space with my Mom,

Caroline Bell, a life long painter.

But trust me.  

Our studio doesn’t typically look THIS clean.  

But after 5 years here, we just freshened up the space with new paint/lighting/fans/etc.

AND this weekend, we had clients visit (so we had to clean, right)?

7 paintings were sold that day!  What!

(6 of her’s, 1 of mine.  Sigh.  LOL.)

Do you think our purty space contributed to selling so many? 

Naw.  Surely not.

I had to take some pics before those babies leave for new homes, ya know?

So here’s a little studio tour….

IMG_0742
A front “office” in our warehouse studio is used as a sitting area. Tea anyone?

 

The second "front office" is used as our kitchen.
Our second “front office” is a break room.  A small fridge and microwave mean we never have to leave.

 

IMG_0747
Just inside the warehouse is a VERY large worktable….we often paint flat and it’s big enough to work on together.

 

IMG_0748
We each have a rolling cart to pull to table or easel.

 

IMG_0749
To the right of the easel above is a rack loaded with paint we’ve “pooled”. We now separate it into bins labeled by color – it’s easy to see what colors might need!

 

IMG_0752
Two work tables in the back of the warehouse are great for varnishing finished pieces and laying down our stock of blank canvas.  (Hi Mom!)  Mediums and other supplies are kept on the table to the left of Mom…..

IMG_0754

 

IMG_0757
Another small seating area inside the warehouse area. Here, we can sit back and take a look at work in progress. Yes that’s a (fake) fireplace. It’s really a heater that keeps us warm when needed.  Concrete floors get so cold in the winter!

 

IMG_0762
Tunes and candles – check!

 

IMG_0760
The “powder room”.
IMG_0759
Shelf units in the back hold lots of supplies and work as a room divider – behind which is stored works in progress or finished pieces.

 

IMG_0758
Stacks of work await!

Hope you enjoyed the quick looksie at our renovated workspace!

Creative Living With Jamie – Her Chat With Me!

Recently, I had the pleasure of being featured on Jamie Ridler’s podcast.  In it we talk about everything from my relatively recent journey to discovering I was an artist, to the various types of journals I keep, to making time and space for your own artistic adventures!

I hope you’ll take a listen.

The interview is right here!

I hope you’ll find it useful and inspiring for your own creative life – do let me your thoughts!

IMG_5399_2

White Space

At least once a month, I head east on crowded freeways towards our second home, Palm Springs.  After an hour or two of loud and harried, I reach my favorite exit – a long stretch of road in the shadow of the towering Mount San Jacinto.  It’s flanked by a wide expanse of blinding white sand and craggy mountains.

It’s here, I breathe deeper than I have in days.  The air is clear, the pace is slow, the stillness palpable.   In near reverence, I lower my window, quiet my tunes and let my hand roll in the warm breeze.  It’s my church.

My intense love for the desert southwest is as old as I am.  I figure it’s the closest I’ll ever live to the deserts of my Texas birthplace.

I’m here for over a week and it’s such a gift!  The temperature may soar to 117 degrees by this weekend, but that only means the desert is in it’s quiet annual hibernation.  So, I venture out at dawn for long coolish walks through town.

IMG_6245

The only people out so early in this town are sleepy dog walkers and casino shift workers.  But, I have spotted a familiar braided-Native-American-ranger bumping his truck onto a canyon road.  I so envy his turquoise bracelets!  He shows them off each time he waves my husband and I through to hiking trails during the cool months.

After my walk, a dip in the lukewarm pool is in order.  I float for awhile in the silky water, cloud gazing and day dreaming.  Before it’s too hot, I’ll run my errands.  The rest of the hours will be spent in much too cold air conditioning deep in page, paint and pen.  It’s a working retreat, you see.  I’m so fortunate to have my work feel like play nowadays.

The white space I’ve managed on my calendar is not likely to come again for a year, so I intend to make the most of this time.  How about you?  What are you doing in these last days of summer – are you finding some white space of your own?

 

IMG_6251

 

Nearly Ripe

Playing Fast and Loose

This morning, I resumed work on a painting I started a couple of weeks ago.  Within minutes, I was getting  “perfectionistic”, but stubbornly, I kept at it.

I was holding the brush much too tightly and far down on the handle.  I was standing too close to the easel and focusing on small areas.  My breathing had grown shallow and frankly, there was no joy.

I know better than this.  Time to stop OR quickly find some pleasure in the process!  I decided to set aside the perfect crazy making painting.  I chose a blank canvas – a big one – 30″ x 40″ I think.

On my pin board, I’d recently hung a photo of pomegranates I’d seen in a catalog.  Aren’t pomegranates the coolest fruit ever?  So exotic, so symbolic, so ancient….and are part of one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read!

I quickly sketched them onto my fresh surface with a charcoal pencil.  I hardly EVER sketch or plan my paintings, but doing anything different is good at times like these.  I picked a few juicy paint colors and a BIG FAT brush – I wanted loose!

Below you’ll see the progress.  It was done in about 40 minutes. It was literally a painting aerobics session!

A fast, free, joy-making dance!

IMG_4448_2

IMG_4450_2

IMG_4451_2

IMG_4452_2

IMG_4453_2

IMG_4454_2

IMG_4455_2

IMG_4456_2

IMG_4457_2

IMG_4458_2

There are so many areas I want to fix…but that isn’t the point is it?  So I’ll call it done – I think.

No!

It’s.  Done.

Really.

IMG_4459_2

 

Nearly Ripe