Doodle Bug

 Now it all makes sense, and if I'd figured out the logic behind my actions much earlier, maybe I could have convinced my school teachers? Sigh. Probably not....

During  classes in school, I often doodled. I did take notes, but the pages were covered with as many doodles as words. I kept telling my teachers that doodling helped me concentrate on what they were saying, but they never bought my excuses. Would you?

When I was in the business world, I doodled during business meetings. Sure, some of that was to try staying awake, but also it helped me concentrate on the highly technical and intricate engineering problems and their solutions I needed to be able to break down to help users learn how to use the hardware and software we were building.  My bosses and peers may not have been impressed, but, believe me, it was to their benefit that I did doodle.

Recently, since I have had time to pursue my art again, I have been listening to audio books while I paint. I just finished a book about the story of color  and now I'm "reading" one about a group of early 20th Century women artist.

What does all this mean? I think I figured it out. When I doodle during very left-brained meetings, I'm keeping my right brain occupied while I concentrate on all the important stuff.

When I paint, the audio books keep my left brain busy while my right brain paints and creates away. Does that make sense to you? It does to me.

So there teachers and bosses! There is and always was a method to my madness. I just figured out what it was!


 In the evening of a very hot day, I visited the opening of the show at  Liggett Studios early.  That was a mistake. I was thinking that an early visit would allow me to see the pictures in more depth, but next time, I'll wait until later in the evening so I can gauge the dynamics of the crowd. I am new at this game.

Here are my takeaways from the experience:

The space is wonderful for showcasing art. It's large and well lit. Even filling the space with two artists, it has plenty of room for both to display a hefty body of work. This show displays the works of two very different, but complementary artists, Allyssa Fields and Patrick Romine.

Allyssa's work is beautiful. Her paintings reflect the themes of love, romance, and emotion, often with a floral touch. Her portraits of her baby have almost a religious connotation, but being the mother of a newborn baby is somewhat of a spiritual experience for most mothers. At least it was for me, many years ago.

Patrick paints beautiful still lifes. Most have a rustic feel and include fruit, old fashioned cookware and lamps, etc. My favorite of his has a travel bag and a map. If I were to buy one painting from the show, I think that would be my choice.  

Patrick's works tend to be fairly small, while Allyssa's, on average, were larger.

Both artists are talented and create intriguing realistic paintings. And they both seem to have a clear direction and purpose to their work.  What I did not see in this show, interestingly, were abstracts, landscapes, and huge paintings for very large spaces.

I'd stopped by another gallery beforehand that is between exhibits, and was being painted and prepared for the fall season. Although they just had a lot of random pieces around, not a real show, I came away asking myself if size (huge) was more important than the paintings themselves and how they were rendered. The Liggett Studios show took my thoughts in another direction. Each painting told its own story. No chaos. The visit was a calm and uplifting experience. The crowds were just starting to drift in when I left. Like I said before, I will not be the early bird next time.

If you get a chance, take time to visit the studio in the East Village to view these artists' work for yourself.

314 S. Kenosha Ave.

Tulsa, OK 74120
Tel: 918-694-5719

I LOVE Crackles!!

First, how do artists paint for hours straight on a painting? I work with quick- drying acrylics, and I am always waiting for something to dry before I can move on to something else, but in interviews with artists,  I hear some say they paint straight through an eight hour day. How? And some even use oils, which takes days if not weeks to dry! So I work on multiple projects at a time, and have time for experiments.

 Today, my experiment was crackle paste. It just arrived today, and I couldn't wait to play. I have a crackled painting as the background for my phone, and I admire it every day. And the project I started today could use a little crackle, but I need to know what I am doing before I actually use it on that project.

The crackle paste I ordered is 

I decided to experiment on a small (5×7) wooden panel. I used a stencil on the top and just smeared it on thick on the bottom.  When I finished  it looked like this.

I  also used a kind of stamp at the bottom. I  couldn't wait to see what it did, so I used the blow dryer on it  and here are some pictures after that.

It'll probably be more cracked by tomorrow.  Then I'll wash it with some thin darker or contrasting paint to emphasize the cracks. I'll add "after" pictures tomorrow.

Have you ever used crackle paste. Do you think you ever would?

I promised to show the painting after applying a wash. I also included a close-up. As you can see, The blue wash does accent the crackling ( and it did crackle more overnight). I will probably push this experiment further later. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do next. Any ideas?

Gallery Opening: Living Arts Oh Tulsa! Art Show

Last night's opening of the Oh Tulsa! art show at Living Arts of Tulsa drew a lively, eccentric crowd of artists and Tulsans enjoying First Friday downtown. The streets were crowded, the temperature outside was hellishly hot, and the gallery offered a cool place to meet friends, enjoy the creativity of Tulsa artists and have a drink from the cash bar. The crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves and to be in no hurry to leave for other events.

The show included all kinds of artwork, including paintings in oil, acrylic, ink and multimedia, sculpture, pottery, photography, jewelry, and some works that seemed to defy labels or merge several into one visual experience.  

One sculpture that somewhat defined the artwork offered in the show, "Realities & Perseverance" by Bailee Green, seemed to capture the struggles of an artist. The figure sits on discarded artwork as it finally finds its voice to create. I loved the realistic touches of discarded crumbles of waste paper covered with paint and the figure's paint stained hands. I assume the cracks in the body indicate that the artist feels somewhat broken. I am reminded of the well-known combination of quotes by Hemingway and Lenard Cohen, “We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”   

Some work really hits you with a bang! Because of size, subject or something else, these works could not go unnoticed. The giant portrait, entitled "Patty Ryan," of a monotone cowboy with one prosthetic leg on a bright yellow background is a perfect example. The piece is huge and actually uses two canvases.

Another large painting, "Sugar" by Faith Green, a closeup of a singer, radiates  energy.

You can't walk past "Fallen" by Colleen Stiles, which you see as you enter the venue from the parking lot, without stopping to to view it from all angles.

Another piece that tickles your curiosity is a large UV print of plexiglass titled "When I Make it Back to Bluebird Ct." by Justin Ortiz. I had to Google UV printing  to find out what it is and discovered that a large flatbed scanner lays ink on a variety of materials and then immediately develops it with UV light. Who knew? Now I do! The image is of a face.

And finally, who cannot be delighted by "Lobby Boy" by Faith Green, obviously taken from the Wes Anderson movie, " The Grand Budapest Hotel" ?

Some works capture  your attention and won't let go until you dig a little deeper, because they offer so much, usually layers of meaning. In "Sun Catcher" by Vanessa Pettit, the title character is drawn against a collage of small black and white prints. What story do they tell?

A lot is going on in the mixed media giclee print, "Greenwood."  The closer you look, the more you see that it tells a tragic Tulsa story.

I revisited one photograph a few times to admire and marvel at its complexity. Entitled, "Fever Dream 11," it consisted of two joined photographs by Destiny Green. Not only was I fascinated by how she mounted the photographs together but at how she managed to give the model so many arms. I couldn't help thinking of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of death and destruction. But that's just me, projecting.

I haven't even touched on some of my favorite pieces, but I have to add a plug for myself. I have three framed photographs of Tulsa in the show, a black and white of a chilly day in front of the Williams Center with foggy steam escaping from underground pipes, a color photo of the Circle theater, and a shot of the roofs of downtown Tulsa. All are framed in museum quality frames.

If you want to see all the things, there's a catalog, where you can see them all and which are still available, and which have sold.  Click here or use the QR code below. Click "catalogue" on the top menu. 

I enjoyed the show and loved looking at all the work and being inspired.  But I can't wait for the next Tulsa gallery opening. I'm hooked!

This show runs through August 18th.  It's open for viewing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12:00 - 4:00 PM at Living Arts of Tulsa307 East Reconciliation Way, Tulsa. OK 74120.  918-585-1234

Life, the Universe and Everything

The world of art is a big one. Even when you narrow that world down to artworks that you can hang on your wall. Everyone who creates art has a whole  unique world inside themselves and life experiences that no one else has ever experienced . Even if they are only five years old. But especially if they have been repledged to live a long life. Like me.

My photograph in a show at Gilcrease.

When I was younger, especially in college, I never considered this question. I drew and painted from my own experiences. I painted float trips and fishing trips. I painted places I knew around Claremore and Oologah, where I grew up, and Philbrook where I took art classes as a child. Of course, I painted the obligatory still lives required in my college art classes and nude models too. I even tried my hand at abstracts.

But what about now? Luckily, I've been able to travel some, and luckily, I've taken pictures wherever I've traveled. I even got to live in Australia for two years. And I've learned to see with a photographer's eye, unique to myself, so I have a lifetime of photographic memories to explore in paint.

In the last decade, I've taken two magnicent car trips to the West Coast, taking different routes each time, through national parks and historic places. The American Southwest is mindblowing. So much is uninhabitable but starkly facinating.

I want to visit so many places I may never get the opportunity to see...The desserts of Iran, the coast of Crotia, and the vintage mansions of Romania, for instance. I'm not giving up those dreams, but I already have a thousand images from around the world and my own back yard to inspire my art.

I have been sharing my photography for some time now, selling my pictures internationally and showing in Philbrook, Gilcrease, and Living Arts of Tulsa. So now it's time to share the world I've seen and experienced in paint as well.  What do I have to say about life, the universe and everything? Maybe something that shares just a little of what life has meant to me in a way that connects with a few special people who see something that has meaning for them when they look at it.

I have always been an artist

 "You'd better do something with the artistic ability you've been given, or you'll lose it." 

I don't know how many people told me that when I was young, both friends my own age and adults. And I thought that, good gracious, I'd never let that happen! But adulthood came, with responsibilities and a child I raised myself for a while after divorcing his father. I had bills to pay and a career to nurture. I did actually use my artistic skills as an instructional designer and university professor, and eventually as a photographer, but not enough.

I even painted from time to time.... I wanted to do more, but then thought,  what would I do with more canvases? I didn't have room to hang them all, so they'd just be more to store. Silly me. I did cultivate my photographic skills and carved out a niche for myself with stock photography. But painting had to wait. I always knew I'd return to my first love, when I had time.

When the time came, I looked at the world of art with different, much older eyes. Instead of just digging in and painting for the sake of painting, I asked myself what I really wanted to accomplish. I guess I'd grown up.

I realized that I had never developed a style. Everything I drew or painted stood alone.  Who was the real me, as far as art was concerned? I'm still working on that one, but I have started collecting images of art I love and a pattern is emerging.

What did I want to paint? My years of photography and travel offer me lots of inspiration.  Over the years, I've developed a photographer's eye. I see pictures everywhere I look.  And I know I often see things in a way no one else does. If I don't capture it, no one will ever see that thing or place from my unique perspective. Ever. The same goes for art. I have a lot to say to the world. What the world looks like from my point of view.

So, I was ready to go! Paints, canvas, time!. But then I was confronted with the difficulty of portraying my vision for others to see. I am struggling with my paint. It used to do what I wanted. I often felt that someone else was even "channeling" through me, guiding my brush. But I think my muse may be coming back, slowly, as I work. But it's becoming fun, even consuming again.

I know I've lost some of my painting MOJO, but I think I can get it back. I even saw a video that proclaimed you don't have to be born an artist, that you can learn the skills, even if you don't have a talent for it. Mind
A painting from my early days

concept!! I know I have talent. It's just rusty talent.  Actually, the more I experiment and delve into technique, the more I wonder what I was taught in all those high school and college art classes I took. I know I was assigned certain projects, such as still lives. I was given opportunities  like drawing from models. Did they try to teach me basic design theory, and  like many of my university students, I just didn't listen? I've learned more through the years, as I created diagrams and illustrations for manuals and video for training, and worked on the art of photography.

I am reading books,  watching videos and I am planning on signing up for an  art class at a local college in the fall. I have college certificates in technical and fine art, but I need to be around other artists and be inspired by them. 

And the tools and paints have changed !! I don't remember acrylics being so transparent. I don't remember having to deal with gloss and matte paints.   I'm ending using tools I never considered before to get what I want. So I've discovered mediums. If we had those in my youth, I never knew it. 

But I've jumped in with both feet.  I don't know where all this is taking me, but I love the battle. 

Worth the Wait

 I actually chose a later date for my knee replacement surgery so I could attend the last two last weekends' gallery openings, and I'...