Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas!! YAY!  We are eating delicious treats, watching Christmas movies, and burning wrapping paper in the fireplace.  Nate is comparing a couple of his presents:  the "Pit Mitt" and the "Ove Glove", while he tends to the fire.

These product names crack me up.

He also is happy about the Dominion box I painted.  I did a different scene on each side
a scene from Intrigue
Painting on the smooth wooden box was a lot different than painting on canvas.  It took several thin layers.  We're going to put a clear coat on top to protect it.
a vineyard scene
I can foresee drinking The Prisoner wine tonight and playing multiple rounds of Dominion.

Santa brought me some oil paints!
I am very excited to try these out.  I've never painted with oils before.

Time to fire up the cheese dips and bacon wrapped items.  We're trying out blue cheese on gingersnaps.  Have you ever tried that?  It's surprisingly good.  We're also trying bacon wrapped dates for the first time.  Lots of snacky tapas foods are on the menu today.   nom nom.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Santa is weird

The Picasso paintings I saw at Transfigurations inspired me to paint this Santa.

8"x10"x0.5" acrylic on canvas
Does anyone else think Santa is weird? Just me?  I saw a blurb on Facebook where a mom was appealing to other parents to not give expensive presents "from Santa".  She didn't want poorer children to notice the inequality and think Santa gave them the shaft.   Hasn't this always been an issue?  And why not just skip the whole Santa story altogether?  Why are presents from a stranger better?

Bad Santa.  Why is this lap thing a traditional Christmas ritual?  gross for everyone.
Here's some more things that are unsavory:
  • Keeping a list of everyone separated into "bad" and "good" sounds like borderline personality disorder.   
remember this scene from Billy Madison?  maybe Santa is like this.

  • If I don't measure up, I receive a lump of coal at the end of the year, just to rub it in my face that I am a failure.   nice.  Only a crazy person would do this.

I guess it's just a part of our culture and it's what everybody does.  Like watching football and getting a 30 year mortgage.  I don't get it, but oh well I do weird stuff, too,  so whatever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pine tree zen moment

10"x8"x0.5" acrylic on canvas
Here's something I just did tonight.  It's a mash up of a Christmas tree / pine tree, mixed with my love of the ocean.   Nate is calling it Kiawah Christmas. Do you see the little light house I put way in the distance?

When I paint, I usually use one or more photos for reference.  (or sometimes I just wing it).  After I get started, there always comes a point where I need to stop looking at the photo and just go with the painting.  Otherwise, I try too hard to duplicate the photo and I miss out on taking advantage of happy accidents.

Dude - that's totally like life.  Like, you might start out with a plan, and that's a good way to get moving.  But there comes a point when you have to be willing to abandon your exact original plan and go with the flow.  Improvise, and take those unforeseen opportunities.

And that concludes today's Bob Ross zen painting moment.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas present, Christmas past

I'm working on painting a present for Nate for Christmas. (Don't worry, it was a request, so I'm not ruining the surprise.) He has been collecting lots of cards for different versions of this game called Dominion. Have you heard of this game? I usually mess up and call it Domination. At first, I thought it was some sort of D&D thing, and I was like, "No, I refuse". But it's not at all, it's more like monopoly meets rummy. You accumulate properties through accumulating money through accumulating a strategically planned set of action cards. Changing it up with different cards totally changes the strategy and keeps it interesting.

here's my favorite version of the game

So anyhoo - instead of having 10 different boxes of cards stacking up, Nate picked out a wooden briefcase type of box from Hobby Lobby to organize all of them together in one big box. My present is to paint a Dominion style scene on it. I hope I do a good job. If you never hear of this project again, you'll know that it turned out horribly.

if you never see this box again, it's because it looks like crap

I did some painting presents last Christmas as well.
There was this stormy sky / twisted tree scene I did for my mom:

12"x12"x0.5" acrylic on canvas

I also did a set of four little magnets. They're an all-star sampler of favorite wildlife spotted in my friend's backyard:

Coopers Hawk, Hummingbird, Duck couple, and Indigo Bunting

God bless 'em, they actually have these on display in their homes. 

Something else I plan on making for Christmas are some delicious toffee cookies.  We went to a Christmas party last Saturday, and amongst the fabulous food were these cookies. The hostess told me it's the chocolate chip cookie recipe off the back of the Nestle chocolate chips bag  BUT - instead of chocolate chips, you use toffee chips.   I have bolded this information for your convenience.  Trust me, they're amazing.

buy a bag of these and head off to tasty town

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Transfigurations at the Wexner Center

Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I visited the Wexner Center to view the Transfigurations exhibit.  A collection of paintings and sculptures that Les and Abigail Wexner have loaned are on display through the end of the year.  Their personal art collection is stunning - millions of dollars worth of original art, including pieces by Picasso and Degas.
Wikipedia photo of the Degas sculpture we saw
 Can you imagine?  This is the decor in their house.  If I exhibited stuff from my house, it would be, like, dog hair encrusted toys and Star Wars drinking glasses.    Come see the bounty of my manor!
Bailey has curated this collection titled "Things I Chew"
Anyway, it was an awesome exhibit, and we weren't allowed to take any pictures.  So here is one from the collection's website:
Femme assise dans un jardin Pable Picasso

This is one of several Picasso's on display that he painted of Dora Maar. We overheard a tour guide describing Dora as the Lady Gaga of her day.    This one was also my favorite Picasso they had.

What's as interesting to me as seeing the art itself, is seeing the collection the Wexners put together.  I wondered - why did they choose this one?  Why did they collect this group?  I think they have a much more sophisticated appreciation of art than I do.
Femme de Venise IV  Alberto Giacometti.
cool tidbit: A lot of Alberto's other sculptures are of his brother, Diego.

 The collection was mostly human figures in different forms of distortion.  Curiously, there was one artist represented that did not create human figures.  Susan Rothenberg's paintings were all flat horse silhouettes.
Hector Protector Susan Rothenberg

What makes great art?  Accuracy in representation of reality?  Unique viewpoint in abstraction of reality?  Does it need to be making a statement?  Stir an emotion, pleasant or not?   Does it need to be attractive, or just thought provoking?  Is art great only when it creates a new style and propels expression in a new direction?
Pink Lady Willem de Kooning
I love that these billionaires invest in art in a way that it's clearly important to them.  I love that these artists invested their lives teasing out an idea over decades.  And I love that it made me think about things in a way that pop culture never does.

I highly recommend visiting the exhibit.  It was really inspiring on many levels.
Or at least click over to wexarts to see it online.  If you like to over think things like I do, you can obsess over it for days.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Christmas List

I like to take Christmas nice and easy.  Too many obligations, and I'm instantly stressed out.  No good!  Christmas cards? Those were abandoned over 10 years ago.  Maybe I bake some cookies, maybe not.  Putting up the tree is fun, but I definitely don't do a bunch of shopping.   If I putter along through life Christmas at my own little pace, not trying to guess and meet everyone's expectations, it's a happy experience.

These Pinterest words of wisdom sum it up pretty well:

Brilliant!  Ditch the obligations and focus on what you love.  Here is a quick list of some Christmas favorites make my heart triple in size.

The Nutcracker with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland.
We had this version on VHS (which we had recorded off of PBS) as a kid, and it's still my favorite Nutcracker.

White Christmas
I definitely watch this every year at least once.  I love Vera Ellen and Danny Kaye!

Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas".
Best Christmas CD ever.

Chris Cornell singing Ave Maria.
I could literally listen to him sing all day long.  Treat yourself right: listen to the entire Chris Cornell playlist.

And last, but not least, this light show:

Christmas joy in your FACE

Something else that I love is painting my little paintings.  Last night I painted a pine-cone.  After about 45 minutes, it looked decent enough so I slapped an "SR" on there and called it quits.
10"x8"x0.5" acrylic on canvas