Aging (an annual birthday posting)

This is an annual birthday re-post. Sunday is my birthday. I plan on taking a few days away from my studio to enjoy family and celebrate a wonderful year. Thank you all for helping this year be one of the best!

 

“At times it seems that I am living my life backwards, and that at the approach of old age my real youth will begin. My soul was born covered with wrinkles— wrinkles that my ancestors and parents most assiduously put there, and that I had the greatest trouble removing.” —Andre Gide

Aging

So quick another birthday

always a time of reflection

I look back with

a heart so full

my face all deep wrinkles

a road map of memories

 calmer wiser rounder grayer

yet still full of dreams

full of hope

of longing 

still a young girl

behind these old eyes

it seems

“Age should not have it’s face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the firm line of character.” -Ralph B. Perry

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New Work Headed to High Country Art/Blue Ridge, GA

“The job, as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it.” -Maria Popova

Well there can be no better news for an artist than hearing their work has sold. Coming home from vacation and getting that news was thrilling — but then, I realized that meant I needed to get to work. As I said in my last post, I returned home with a terrible cold and as you all know, coming back from vacation means laundry, grocery shopping and all those tasks it takes to re-claim your space. Mine will take even longer because my son and a few of his male friends used our cabin for their vacation – kayaking, playing cards, emptying my pantry . . . lol.

But the most important task is to make new work for my gallery. This is busy tourist season. Cheryl has given me a wall and her front window and I can’t leave her empty-handed. I think some people think the life of an artist is carefree – we sleep late, ponder and paint, but actually painting is my job. It requires hours of work and a lot of that work is non-painting work.

Anyway, the laundry and a clean house can wait. I headed to the grocery store, so we could at least eat and then stayed in my studio for hours cranking out work. These pieces are small, but I am working on some larger ones as well.

I head to Nashville to Bennett Galleries to drop off work to them on Tuesday. We are still in the process of buying our townhouse. Is there anything more aggravating than trying to buy a home? Why do they make it so difficult – from inspections to appraisals to all the paperwork – it’s so annoying.

Here’s the work headed to High Country Art:

DuckDuck-NoGoose:JudyShreve

Duck Duck – No Goose acrylics 9×7 birch panel

A Girl And Her Dog acrylics 10x10 birch panel

A Girl And Her Dog
acrylics
10×10 birch panel

Take Your Pony To Town acrylics and oil pastels 10x10 birch panel

Take Your Pony To Town
acrylics and oil pastels
10×10 birch panel

Sneaking Out acrylics 12x12 birch panel

Sneaking Out
acrylics
12×12 birch panel

Out Picking Apples acrylics and charcoal 12x16 birch panel

Out Picking Apples
acrylics and charcoal
12×16 birch panel

“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.” –Vincent Van Gogh

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Sneaking Out! Gallery News

“I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here.” – Charles Bukowski

Sneaking Out! acrylics & charcoal 12x12 birch panel

Sneaking Out!
acrylics & charcoal
12×12 birch panel

Did you ever sneak out as a kid? Or better yet try to sneak back in? Now that I’ve been a parent to a teenager, I realize I was never as smart or as sneaky as I thought I was at the time. How do parents always know?

This past weekend was a big arts festival in Blue Ridge, GA. People flock to our mountain communities and with the art festival, a lot of people are up here looking to purchase art. My work is still in the window at High Country Art. And I just heard from Cheryl, the gallery owner – she sold seven of my paintings this past week – five just this weekend! Amazing news!

Only problem is I have been very busy trying to gather all the paperwork to buy our town home in Atlanta. We took a week long vacation to Asheville (NC) and I came home with a terrible cold. I am also trying to produce enough work for my new gallery – Bennett Galleries in Nashville, TN. I am delivering that work on June 2 and now Cheryl is asking for replacements for the pieces that sold — a happy problem indeed. It’s just difficult to paint when you’re sneezing.

I find it’s not as easy to be in that imaginative place when I have so much going on. For me, it takes a certain amount of solitude allowing me the freedom to let my mind wander. I need to be able to play – play with my thoughts, play with my sketchbook and images – that’s how I find my creative space. What works for you?

“Creativity is not the possession of some special talent. It’s about the willingness to play.” -John Cleese

Posted in acrylics, art philosophy, folk art, galleries, painting, rabbits | 8 Comments

Elephants Down In Birdland and Gallery News

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

Elephants Down In Birdland mixed media 24x24 cradled birch panel

Elephants Down In Birdland
mixed media
24×24 cradled birch panel

It’s been crazy around my house lately. A couple of months ago we decided to put our house on the market. Bob still drives 1 1/2 hours each way to work at least three days a week and has been doing it for over three years. That’s a lot of miles – a lot of time wasted, too much fuel burned, and too many miles on a vehicle. When we first moved here, he thought he would be able to work from home. That just didn’t happen. So we talked with realtors, signed contracts to sell and put our house on the market.

But it only took one Sunday working in the garden and shaking winter loose from the yard for us to change our minds. And when you put your house on the market, you fix and paint and polish everything. Our house looked and felt great. We knew we had to think of another way to accomplish easing that commute. We cancelled the contract to sell our mountain home and went in search of a small townhouse close to Bob’s office. So now we are in the middle of buying property, gathering all those documents, scheduling inspections and appraisals. It’s difficult to live in my imaginative, painting world when dealing with all this. And I’ve also planted my garden.

I’m happy about this decision. I’ve actually missed certain aspects of city life and happy to have the best of both worlds – at least until Bob retires in a few years.

And just to make things more interesting I’ve been accepted into another gallery. One I have wanted to be in for a long while — Bennett’s Gallery in Nashville, TN. I am thrilled! My gallery in Blue Ridge is also starting to get busy again, as mountain tourist season has started again. The piece below sold this past week. I wish I could personally thank folks who purchase my work. I am always so moved and grateful when someone shares one of my paintings in their home.

Catching The Early Bird (sold)

Catching The Early Bird (sold)

So if you don’t hear from me in awhile, hopefully I’m busy painting – but I could be packing or unpacking. I plan on setting up a studio in both places. I’m just worried that inevitably what I’m looking for at any particular moment will not be at the house where I am. That’s one of those ‘murphy’s-laws,’ right?

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller

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Busy In The Studio

“My reality is elsewhere.” –Marc Chagall

Every Horse Needs A Friend mixed media 12x12 birch panel

Every Horse Needs A Friend
mixed media
12×12 birch panel

This time of year I should be in my studio everyday painting. My galleries are all requesting new work. Everyone has stepped out from their winter stupor and wandering the streets and shops again. Blue Ridge is a busy tourist town. Plus I’m trying to have enough new work in case I get juried into the gallery in Waynesville.  The garden also keeps me very busy this time of year as well. Balance – yeah balance – that’s what I need to focus on – ha!

I finished the piece above yesterday and have started a new one below. The story is still developing for it. Sometimes my stories come quickly, but some take time. I knew I wanted an elephant and birds  . . .  still waiting to hear the elephant’s secrets.

WIP:judyshreve

WIP mixed media 24×24 cradled birch panel

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

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Window Dressing and Sales

“You don’t get into the mood to create. It’s discipline.” -Twyla Tharp

Cheryl, the owner of my gallery in Blue Ridge (GA) asked for some work for her window display. She said, ‘I usually sell more of an artist’s work when they have pieces in the window.’ And sure enough, about an hour after she created the display – the two pieces below sold! YAY and thank you!

Saturday we drove to Waynesville, NC about 3 hours from where we live. I am hoping to be juried into a gallery there and I had to bring samples of my work. Waynesville is about 30 minutes from one of my most favorite cities – Asheville and the drive takes me through the Nantahala National Forest and the road winds right beside the Nantahala river, a popular rafting area and just gorgeous.

And then Sunday, we worked in the garden. Our nights have been really cool and most veggies like warm soil, so I am planting later than usual this year. And I probably won’t plant my pole beans until mid-May. I’m not planting as much this year, so I’ve filled some of the beds with flowers. This spot is paradise for me -)

IMG_0976

“Creativity is not a talent; it’s a way of operating.” -John Cleese

Posted in folk art | 8 Comments

Don’t Be Blue

“The world doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? –Pablo Picasso

Don't Be Blue acrylics and charcoal 14x14 birch panel

Don’t Be Blue
acrylics and charcoal
14×14 birch panel

 

I think everyone who knows me or has been reading my blog, knows that this four legged guy is my studio companion. No, not just studio, my companion. We spend our days together. He has a routine he makes me follow – it’s a joy filled, walking, chasing balls, playing routine. He’s quite the comedian and actually makes noises in his throat to get me to do what he wants. I seriously think he thinks he’s talking. Watson! And the best thing is he just won’t let me ever be blue. It’s those eyes.

IMG_1535

 

“Sometimes the night wakes in the middle of me and I can do nothing but become the moon.” -Nayyirah Waheed

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The Seeker and Lady Olga

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” –Henry David Thoreau

The Seeker (sold)

The Seeker (sold)

I painted this after a return from New Mexico – a beautiful place, but very different from my green north Georgia mountains. I felt I had to search to really see the subtleties of the landscape. And it also seems to be a place where folks go to seek out themselves, so I wanted the figure to appear to be looking in as well as looking out. This painting sold at the Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance in Macon, GA. I wish I could meet the people who purchase my work. If I could, I would give them a giant smile and a big hug. Thank you!

If you follow me on FaceBook, you already know I am taking a Sculpey Doll class with Judy Wise. It’s so much fun and it really has me thinking about firing up my kiln again. When I make these with clay, I will just bisque them and finish them with acrylics. It would be quicker and easier. There are so many ways the kiln can mess with you when you are glaze firing -)

This one is Lady Olga and she is a trapeze artist. She loves being up high so much that she likes to hang when taking her naps . . .shhh don’t wake her.

The Amazing Olga sculpey and acrylics

The Amazing Olga
sculpey and acrylics

 

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” -George Bernard Shaw

Posted in acrylics, ceramics, folk art, workshop | 6 Comments

Leaving Town

“Drawing is the simplest way of establishing a picture vocabulary because it is an instant, personal declaration of what is important and what is not.” -Betty Goodwin

Leaving Town acrylics, charcoal, DerWent Pencils, oil pastels 30×30 cradled birch panel

I’ve been asked by my gallery, High Country Art in Blue Ridge GA to make some bigger pieces for a window display. Blue Ridge is a wonderfully quaint mountain town that is so busy with tourists, you can barely walk down the sidewalks where all the shops and galleries are. I’m thrilled for my work to be featured with a window display. This piece is 30×30 and I will include two others that are 24×24. I’ve finished one of the 24×24 but I’m still working on the final piece.

Meanwhile I am taking an online class with Judy Wise, Sculpey Dolls. It is so much fun! I worked with clay for about 20 years – mostly wheel-thrown functional pieces, but sometimes I would build boxes or make something sculptural. I have not touched clay since I started painting 3 years ago. I still have my slab roller, all of my tools, clay and glazes and my kiln. Clay has been on my mind lately, so I thought this sculpey class would be a great way to not invest too much time and see if I truly did want to work with clay again. I will tell you that for me painting is relaxing and working in clay is a little more challenging. But the beauty of the sculpey clay is it fires in 15 minutes at 275 degrees in a toaster oven! I could get used to that. Here is my first piece:

Spike and his Little Dog, Spot Sculpey Clay, acrylics

Spike and his Little Dog, Spot
Sculpey Clay, acrylics

There is a lot I got wrong with this first piece. It’s all about the learning curve – how to work with these new materials. I hope to make a few more before releasing them out into the world.

Here’s a sample of a clay piece I did a couple of years ago –

Jack In The Box clay, slips and glazes 13x5x4

Jack In The Box
clay, slips and glazes
13x5x4

I could not quit painting if I tried. I absolutely love the process of painting. It’s meditative, exhilarating, challenging and extremely rewarding all at the same time. I’m hoping what I’ve learned while painting will change my clay work in positive ways.

“You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout and to grow.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Posted in acrylics, ceramics, charcoal, drawing, folk art, galleries, painting | 10 Comments

Gallery News!

“Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.” -Kiki Smith

The Whole Town Was Talking About It

The Whole Town Was Talking About It (sold)

Sold! YAY! This piece was at High Country Art in Blue Ridge GA. I am always so surprised when someone actually sends me a check for one of my paintings. I could not stop painting if I tried. I absolutely love being in my studio and drawing and painting these little stories. It’s my happy place and I learn something new every time I paint — about my materials and about myself. I am so fortunate I discovered my love for painting and so very fortunate I am able to pursue it. So thank you for supporting me by purchasing a piece. And also thanks to all of you who read my blog and comment (and on FaceBook) – your encouragement also keeps me in my studio.

I am constantly taking new work to High Country Art. Here’s some recent pieces I’ve added to the gallery. It’s a beautiful gallery filled with lots of nice art work, pottery and sculpture. And it’s a wonderful time to be in the north Georgia mountains, so if you are in the area, go check it out.

“I could paint for a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing.” -Paul Cezanne

Posted in acrylics, blog, ceramics, drawing, folk art, galleries, mixed media | 8 Comments