What a thrill it was to hang my show at Guardino Gallery a couple of weeks ago. I always like behind the scenes photos, so I thought it would be fun to share the highlights of the hanging on May 25, 2022. My show partner, Nadine Gay, was there with her husband, and my husband/studio assistant/business manager showed up and did a bit of everything to help get the show hung. It took six of us four hours to get the whole show hung.
I did an earlier post about Howard’s hanging of my 25-piece grid made up of individual 8×8 inch pieces, and you can see that post by clicking here.
Last fall, I received the email that always thrills and humbles me: I had been selected by Donna Guardino to have a show in the Main Gallery at Guardino Gallery in June of 2022. I didn’t celebrate too long, but instead studied the schematics of the gallery, the wall spaces to be filled, pulled together a batch of boards, and got to work.
The getting to work initially meant prepping the boards for painting. I knew early on that I wanted to pair art quotes with vivid colors, so right from the beginning these elements were prominent.
After all the boards were prepped (with massive help from my studio assistant), they were ready for paint to be applied.
This part of the process required many layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. The dominant theme was layers of paint with the writing of quotes in between the layers.
After several months of work, the pieces began to take shape. Some boards got scraped, some were finished, but then I decided they weren’t finished so more layers were applied. Writing was always present, but it was in the last six weeks of working that I began applying the words more boldly on the surface of the painted surfaces, and these turned out to be my favorite pieces.
And before I knew it, it was time to stop painting. The oil and cold wax needed time to dry, cure, and set before applying a final coat of cold wax. For the month of May, the paintings were in my studio, in the hallway, and in our bathroom just resting.
Today as I put together this post, all the paintings have been moved to the main floor of our house. They are being prepared to be wrapped and loaded into a van we had to rent to transport the 44 paintings (yes, 44!) to the gallery in the morning.
The show hangs on Wednesday, May 25, and opens on Thursday, May 26, with the opening reception from 6-9 pm; the show will be up through June 26. An added bonus is you can see (and shop) all the pieces by going to Guardino Gallery’s website.
We laugh and we laugh and there is nothing else like it in the world.
A beautiful opportunity presented itself last June and after giving it some deep thought, I accepted a commission to create a painting in honor of a loved one who had passed. My collector (and friend) knew she wanted the piece to include collage and paint, but was open to how I would incorporate the two. We met at my house a couple of times to look through photos, passports, music, and ephemera, which all represented an interesting and rich life. I got a better idea of what she was thinking and proposed that I include words throughout the process, along with an initial layer of collage. It was agreed that the words and collage would imbue the piece with the spirit of this person, but the next layers would be an abstract landscape to reflect the color and vibrancy of a life lost too soon.
After I had a chance to go through the stacks of materials, we met again to make a few more decisions, giving me clarity of which original documents I would use to energize the painting. I decided I would create two paintings alongside each other so my collector would have a choice between which piece resonated with her the most. I chose to work on cradled panels: 24×36 inches and 30×40 inches.
Over several months, the two boards were painted, writing added, a second layer of paint, bigger and bolder words added, and then a complete layer of collage, with just snippets of the underlying words peeking through.
The process of alternating layers of acrylic paint with words continued, and eventually I began to focus on the composition, moving toward an abstracted landscape. I was pleased, but not satisfied, so in a fit of knowing I wasn’t finished, I took both boards to the back yard and using an electric sander, sanded the surface of both paintings, revealing the various layers as I sanded. Snippets of words, paint, and even some of the earlier layers of collage were revealed.
It was around this time I decided I would switch mediums and move to applying layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. The vibrancy of oil and cold wax and the rich luminosity of the materials seemed like the right choice. I took the smaller of the two boards with me to Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in early September, where I was teaching a four-day workshop in oil and cold wax. I taught during the day, and then when the students went home for the night, I went into the studio and worked on the 24×36 inch piece, building layers of oil and cold wax.
When I got home, I continued to work on “Trying So Hard to Listen,” with more layers of oil and cold wax.
I completed the 24×36 inch piece on October 4, 2021, and titled it “Trying So Hard to Listen.”
I had also started to add layers of oil and cold wax to the larger piece, “On My Journey Home.”
The larger piece, 30×40 inches, was completed on my birthday, October 14, and I titled it “On My Journey Home.”
My wonderful friend and collector decided she wanted both of the paintings and in mid December, the paintings were delivered and hung. It was such an honor to see them hanging, knowing that they each had multiple layers of images, words, and paint and reflected emotional energy, love, and memories of a life well lived.
A journey of discovering that I love people, I love myself, I love my secrets.
I declared the past eight days an Artist in Residency, self proclaimed because my husband hopped on a jet for the east coast to visit his nieces and I had eight days to myself. I often hem and haw, do a little of this, a little of that, throw in a load of laundry, check out Instagram, read emails . . . . before heading to my studio. Last week I still did some of those things, but I made it a priority to get into my studio. It was a little easier last week not because Howard was gone, well, that was part of it, but because of the oppressive heat. My painting studio is upstairs in our 1926 house so the old furnace ducting doesn’t allow the air conditioned air to reach the second floor, making the upstairs pretty unbearable by noon.
So I made it my mission to get up there every morning and do something, anything. I had a productive week, getting a few things out of the way that I needed to do, but more than that, I painted. I painted just for the joy of painting and spreading paint.
On the first morning, I did a warm up using scraps of brown paper bags from my recent #100dayproject. It felt good to revisit being playful and loose while painting on unimportant little bits of paper.
Then I got to work. One of my projects was to simply gesso a stack of boards for a class I’m taking in July.
I spent a little time most days painting with acrylic on a repurposed canvas and recording my progress.
I prepped panels with plaster, which required multiple steps: acrylic, plaster, sanding, sealing . . . .
I wove these steps into my mornings, allowing things to dry overnight, ready to tackle the next day. One morning I did a reset in my studio, moving things around on my collection of rolling carts, causing a traffic jam at one point.
I was finally ready to pull out the oil and cold wax and start painting. Home again. . . . the smell of the wax, the feel of the materials as I mixed and spread the buttery concoction . . . .
Many layers of oil and cold wax were applied. It was a time of experimentation, to play, to try out different ideas. I finished a few, several are still in process. Some are on boards, some are on Arches oil paper.
Last month, I wrote about my art being in a boutique hotel, along the bank of the Willamette River, The Independence, and just a 15 minute drive from Salem. When I wrote that blog post, I had three pieces of art on display at the hotel. As of writing this post, I now have an additional ten pieces there, and I haven’t even seen them yet! We plan to pay another visit (and another overnight) later this summer after their restaurant reopens in July.
I am writing now about another hotel in the Trace Hotel family, where I also have art, The Dundee. This hotel is located in Dundee, Oregon, in the heart of Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley wine country, and about a 40 minute drive from Salem. My art was installed the end of 2019, and then 2020 arrived, bringing Covid with it, and everything shut down. As things reopened in 2021, we decided to visit The Dundee. We were invited to come stay at the hotel, so earlier this month we went to The Dundee for three nights. Oh my. The Dundee has a stylish vibe and touches of luxury. Photos tell it best.
Once we were settled in, we started exploring, looking for my nine pieces of art; it was a bit like a scavenger hunt. Three of the paintings were right outside the door of our room on the second floor of the first building.
We continued our search. Right around the corner from our room, was the conference room, or Boardroom, and inside were three of my acrylic pieces.
When we were in the hallway, Jim, the hotel’s maintenance person, found out I had painted several of the paintings in the hotel and asked if I had by chance painted the pieces in the Boardroom. When I replied that I had, he said, “Come with me. I’ve studied those paintings, and I have questions for you.” In we went.
Jim’s question was if I had intentionally placed animals in my paintings. I told him I hadn’t, but he insisted he saw a bee, a bird, a cat, and a COW!
We set out again on our mission to find my paintings, leaving the first building, passing a great courtyard between the two buildings, and then entering the second building.
We spied the first painting on the landing between the first and second floors.
We had a beautiful three nights in the heart of the Willamette Valley (surrounded by wineries if you are a lover of wine) and we are already looking forward to our next visit.
Back in the fall of 2019, I was invited to show my art in a new hotel in Independence, Oregon, a small town about 15 minutes from Salem and across the Willamette River. The hotel, The Independence, was along the river and wanted to feature local artists and makers. I painted three paintings with the hotel in mind and its location along the river.
The three paintings for the hotel, oil and cold wax over plaster, and 30×40 inches each, were delivered in November, 2019. A reception was planned for the end of March, 2020.
And then the pandemic hit and everything was cancelled.
Fast forward to May, 2021, and we were finally able to visit the hotel and see my art in place. The hotel invited us to stay, so last week we planned a two night staycation. It was lovely to only drive 15 minutes to reach our destination, and what a beautiful destination.
The beautiful lobby.
Into the elevator and down the hallway . . .
Arrival on the third floor.
As soon as we were settled, we took off to visit my art.
The next thing we did was to grab kombuchas and head to the rooftop patio.
Then we did a little exploring in downtown Independence.
What a lovely location and a beautiful hotel.
In preparation for our visit, The Independence Hotel interviewed me and posted the interview on their blog. Here’s a LINK.
Coming next month, a visit to The Dundee Hotel in Dundee, Oregon, where I have nine pieces of art on display!