Monday, January 29, 2007

more on 'big red'

Though it was a hugely social weekend with family etc-- I managed to get in a few hours of painting yesterday on ol' red.
...and by this afternoon I need to decide on a couple paintings to enter in the Sebastopol Art Center's juried show 'Multiple Choice'-- works done in 2 or more media. So many to choose from...
(update: all three of my entries were accepted to the show, juried by Marian Parmenter of the SF MOMA Artists' Gallery. installation shots to come)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

From Tony's Side

Here's a small sample from Tony's works in progress-- you can check it out in his posting over at Trout Salad!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Beauty of a Deadline

Oh, it's been close to finished for some time, but this morning this painting gets delivered to the Graton Gallery for its Alumni Show, so I finally dropped my office organization and headed back to the studio.
4 x 4 feet, acrylic & fabric (collage) on canvas, image copyright Lisa Beerntsen, 2007

Around here, when a painting gets close to finished, we like to get another one going, keep up the momentum, so often those finishing details are postponed until really needed. And then they always take longer than you expect.
Now I'm just hoping to finish this column of small ones by, say, the weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

let the painting begin!

Today I bought 20 canvases!

I'm a sucker for a sale, and these were 70% off! That's significant when you're buying 48 x 72" canvases. But you had to buy 20 (any size) to get the price. Which means some of them are 6 x 6". Guess I'm set for the year... or a while anyways. They were out of 48 x 48", my new, favored size.

In other news:
I'm going to be taking an online Photoshop Class. I know a bit of this, and a bit of that, but it seems like I keep coming up against things I can't do, with my current level of knowledge. Design-y things. I'm excited about it! And of course, I'll keep YOU apprised of my progress.

About that office re-design. You know how sometimes things have to get worse on their way to being better? We're now at much worse-- the office has exploded into the kitchen. Anyone who truly is interested in the ups and downs, the soul-searching, decision-making progress that is my office plan, should meet me over at Today in the Garden, where such thoughts wwill be confined in the future.

Monday, January 15, 2007

slow & more slow

(at right, Gary Evans, "studio view" by way of Toronto Gallery Paul Petro. Click image to enlarge)

Well, it's been a little slow in the studio (okay, I haven't been out there) and it'll be slow for a few days yet, as I have begun a massive undertaking. The organization and overhaul of the 'office' space. This is sooooo needed. This is a room that, in the four years we've lived here, has never really been unpacked and organized for maximum efficiancy. Or moderate efficiancy. And it is the catch-all room as well-- everything that doesn't have a permanent home or needs to be dealt with or sorted out gets shoved into this room.

This is theoretically ground zero for art-business operations. We recently had our computer 'optimized'-- all our old files and things moved over from the last computer. Now I'm also trying to re-design the room's floor plan so that it can also be useful for indoor crafts and stuff-- making collages and what-not when it just seems too cold to go out to the studio.

I'd post 'before' pictures-- but until 'after' is acheived they're just too pitiful.
Wish me luck!

(at right: studio view for Mark Lavatelli, of Buffalo, NY, or thereabouts.)
About these photos: I ran a google search on the words "studio view", just to see what would turn up (and also to see if there were any shelving/storage concepts I could use in my office re-design!), and turned up some interesting discoveries, such as these. Will share more as time goes by...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Donna Seager Gallery Reception

We DID go to the reception at Donna Seager's in San Rafael last night, and it was a great party. Plus great artwork, of course.
Here are a few of my personal favorites, though, of course, these little photos will not do them justice. All abstract, and paintings by women. hmmm... though one of the things I like about the gallery is its graceful blend of different styles.
Above, center, Cornelia Schultz



Carol Levy

Our friend
Carol Aust,
in front of
two of her
small paintings,
which are on

Happy people
having fun:

Michael &

Tony & Tara,

The Crowd

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Donna Seager Gallery!

My new favorite gallery? We've only recently discovered this very cool, new-ish gallery, and today we'll go down to help celebrate their one year anniversary. Pictures to come?
click to go to: Donna Seager Gallery

Friday, January 12, 2007

further developments

slowly but surely...
(work in progress 4 x 8')

Thursday, January 11, 2007

inspirations, esp. color

As an artist, I feel like a bit of a visual sponge-- I soak up the things I see, particularly the ones that really impress my eyeballs, and I never know when they might come out in something that I do. In the past couple days, I've been mentally composing a little post about some of the inspirations behind my new painting, especially it's irrepressible, difficult red-ness, and I was going to write about Tricia Guild, famous interior designer, noted for her bold use of color (I've only recently discovered her.)

She has a beautiful new book out on Pattern, which of course I want, and I recently picked up a used copy of her book called 'Inspirations'-- where she talks about the things that have influences on HER style. (I have a similar book about Kaffe Fassett's inspiration, which I also love). Anyways, lo & behold, I click into one of the blog-sites I regularly visit, that of Anahata, of the gorgeous, (fearlessly colored) Papaya! line of cards and products, and find she has written almost exactly the same thing. Really.

above: pages from Tricia Guild's 'Inspirations';
at right, one of Anahata's Greeting cards.
click here to go to her post re: T.Guild, here to visit Papaya!'s main page.

...and more

...on this big red monster. I'm re-sizing that lotus blossom and trying to find it's location; it's color--and all other colors--- still in flux. And I've mostly just been ignoring that right hand side. Oops, where did it go?

Pulling together the things in progress; sort of looks like something's going on here. I realize I have three shows to participate in coming up: the Faculty show at the JC, Graton Gallery's 'Reunion' show, and the Sonoma Cultural Arts Council Members show. Have to start finishing things off, and deciding what might fit where.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

quick update a little painting in today after a day of car repairs, rose-pruning, and a film... (work inprogress: 4 x 8')

Monday, January 08, 2007

little by little

... it's coming along. You might have to be another artist, or you might actually have to be ME, to know that there are signs of potential here. And a long way to go.
Interesting sidenote to this image: Tony has decided to do an experiment in film with this painting. He's taking very frequent progress shots, with the idea they can all be edited together into a very short film where you see the painting develop. Could be cool.Of course, at the end we'll have to hire a 13-year old to help us with the technology...
In color and format, this painting reminds me a bit of this one (that Jan really likes) from---7 or 8 years ago (?!). I didn't realize how much until I put up these photos together. And in format, (2 squares together) it also reminds me of this one, from just about a year ago...

red, red

Remember I mentioned my two new cavases and the 32 square feet of red? I found myself a bit daunted, not by size, but the sheer weight of so much red. I think I'm moving past it, but the painting is in a gawky, pre-adolescent stage right now. Details to come.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Flowers in Art

I was doing a search on Robert Kushner (below, this is a painting on two doors), a contemporary artist who uses flowers as a primary subject in his work, and it led me the this site -- or sub-site... "when Art Imitates Life"-- it's actually part of a science site, where they have photo-graphs of plants on the left, and numerous artist inter-pretations of those plants on the right. One of the things I like best about it is the range of styles they include; plus, well, they're flowers. what's not to like?
Go to: When Art Imitates Life.
Top to bottom: Marsden Hartley, Janet Fish, Matisse, Helen Frankenthaler, Van Gogh, Alex Katz.

And, on a recently discovered site, "Making a Mark", today Katherine Tyrrell posted her own investigation on floral motifs ...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

new 'banner' in the works

I'm working on a new header which will bring back the true name of my blog, 'studio view'... which is important. I can see I need bigger darker type where the blue is, and a dark border. Or to re-think the whole thing.
I've always liked the photos in artbooks which are labeled 'studio view' --where you get a peek of the art in the environment it's created in. I'll be scanning in some favorites in the future.

on painting BIG

The truth is, I enjoy painting most, and feel best about myself as a painter, when I'm painting pretty big. It became so when I was in graduate school. I was doing a series of paintings 8 feet tall, 8 to 12 feet wide. They ran all the way to the floor, and in an abstract way, were about creating a space that the viewer could enter. When I moved on to a space where that scale was impossible, it was quite hard for me to re-adjust.

That was all about 15 years ago, and since then, I've been big & I've been small, & I've been everything in between. But the truth is, if I work small for too long, I start to question all the whats & whys of why I'm doing this thing too much (angst), and I know it's time to get some big canvases and take it back up a notch.

Yesterday I went & bought 2 four foot square canvases, and now I've coated them in an under-layer of red. Yes, solid red, both of them, 32 square feet of red. A favored canvas size of mine for a long time has been 4 x 5 foot, vertical. My two recent pieces were 4 x 4 ft, and this seems to be a satisfying size, as well.

If I have a long term goal in the back of my mind, it's this. I'm doing the paintings for my next show, my big show at the end of the year at _______________________. (nice gallery, as yet unknown.) I think that over the past few years, I've been too scattered, too fractured, in my artmaking activities. And the gallery situations I've recently been in favored rushing things out of the studio somewhat quickly. I'm trying to (for now, at least!) stay more focused, eyes on the prize, et al. So, I'm working on this 'show'. I'd like to do 10 to 12 of these 4 foot canvases.Though with the way I tend to work, some of those squares are bound to team up, become diptychs. In fact, I think it may be happening even now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

not sure

I'm not sure how I feel about this one or where it's going just now, so let's just keep it small.
(true size=3 x 3')

another artist I really like

Thomas Morphis is one of the artists with whom we showed at Arches Gallery. In the relatively short time I've known his work, I've really enjoyed watching it develop; from more architectural, geometric watercolor pieces, to more airy, layered, mixed media pieces. You really need to see them in person to appreciate the way he's suspending collage elements in layers of resin so they actually become somewhat 3-dimensional. Visit his website, here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

paintings progress...

shown in its current state (still in progress) and as last posted.

Monday, January 01, 2007

my art year in review

Taking a cue from other artist-bloggers I visit, I guess it's time to take stock of (artistic) accomplishments of the year gone by.

1. We hosted two Open Studios at our place: Art at the Source, in June, with sculptor friend Patrick Scott; and ArTrails in October, for a total of 4 open weekends. (we've decided that next year at least, we'll do only the one in October) Both were extremely well-attended, and ArTrails in October was my most successful ever. Gretchen Giles, of the Bohemian wrote a nice column about us.

2. In January, we switched from being partners in Arches Gallery (Healdsburg), to having our work represented there. I had work prominantly featured in the very fun wine/painting pairing event in April, and also in the Final show, before Arches turned over to new management. In the final weeks, I had my biggest painting sale ever, the 'Coleman Valley" tripych, 4 x 10 feet. After almost three years at Arches, which has been good for both Tony and I, in terms of sales and exposure, this change seems like a good time to really evaluate what the best venues for showing our work will be in 2007.

3. We did this huge-ass (yes, that's the technical term) project for Burning Man, collaborating with dozens of other artists. It took over our studios and lives for a couple of months. 8 feet tall by 40 feet long, covered with thousands of drawings. And then we took it to Burning Man.

4. Not exactly art-related, I had neck surgery to remove a benign tumor of a nerve sheath in mid-July. So health was a major theme of particularly the first half of the year. It doesn't sound like such a big deal now, but from the previous fall, when I first felt the lump, until the surgery, through Cat scans and MRIs and inconclusive biopsies, we didn't know it was benign. It was pressing on both my carotid artery and jugular vein, and I was told that the surgery would involve severing the nerve, which would have a permanent side effect, perhaps effecting my eyes. It made for an interesing year, let's just say, and in a number of positive ways.

5. It was the year we started blogging. In March, of 2006, one fateful day, our friend Claire came over, and voila, this blog was born. (more on how blogging has Changed Our Lives in a separate post).

6. Since early October, I've had my work up on display at the Willow Wood, the excellent eatery just two blocks from our house. Everyone eats at the Willow Wood, and I've gotten loads of good feedback, and it sure beats storing them in the racks. I've also been showing at Mosaic, another excellent restaurant, one town over.

7. We started getting out to see art (outside of our own county) a lot more in the second half of the year, with more trips to San Francisco and the East Bay, exploring new galleries, the new De Young, and discovering the Art Murmur, in Oakland. We look forward to more in 2007! including a trip to New York and environs in May/June.

8. I made some good paintings, which is the most important thing. But not nearly as many as I'm going to make this year. As Tony likes to say, of painting goals, generally,
'Bigger, Better, Faster, More'.
Certainly more. And we always hope, better.
We're hoping for a very good year.

more steps along the way

Last night, in celebration of New Year's Eve, Tony and I stayed in the studio and painted. (way to get a jump on those resolutions!) Granted, we opened a bottle of wine, and yes, at 11:45 we walked 'downtown' to toast in the new year with other revelers... and we had been to a good-sized party the night before, chez Lois & Mark.

I started adding elements to two paintings which have been in the wings for some time... It's been a while since we had a bird, don't you think?

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