Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Mission Churches

San Antonia de Pudra in Questa
I am painting a new round of missions this week and am at the matching drawings to available canvas and cradled board. With the canvas other sizes and shapes can always be stretched. So in addition to the two new churches I have sketched I was looking back through some of my earlier missions to see if there is one I want to re-do maybe larger. The one above is 12 x 12 by it is a very impressive mission and would look wonderful say 14 x 14. And maybe on the square instead of diagonal.

Basking in the Sun

This was always one of my favorites and like the one above it sold quite quickly. And I think I would like to do it larger and on the square. Or is it the diagonal that makes it intriguing?
Gentle Night

I redid the top mission in a night scene and I rather liked it at night. It too sold quickly. Another that sold very fast was my first larger church. I used to do all my missions in a smaller format but Hot was 16 x 20 I believe. I have never done a night version of this church. Nor does it, and the ones above,  have sheep which have become an increasing signature of my missions.

I think it is very important for all artists to photograph their work And to keep their sketches. It is very good to look back at your work from time to time if for no other reason but to mark your progress. Looking at these paintings above I see where my style has grown and my technique improved and if the subject is worthy they why not repaint them. Monet did water lilies over and over. Time to delve through the flat file for the sketches of these works and give them more consideration.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poetic Journey - Dreaming of Spring

Too Close To The Sun

Here in the midst of winter facing a huge storm from the Pacific it is not realistic to think of warm canyons and spring days but that is where my head is at. Yesterday I escaped to sit in a warm hot tub following exercise at the Taos Spa and totally missed my intentions to write a poem for this week's Poetic Journey. So Poem Hunter again to the rescue. If you are enduring winter hope this warms your heart.

Spring, the Sweet Spring

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!

Thomas Nashe

 Nicholas V at Intelliblog

RD at Shore Life

And if you have a poem for us please post a comment with your link. Thank you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Window on the Past

Window on the Past
20 x 16 Mixed Media on Canvas

This is really one of those is this really done photographs. It still amazes me that what I fail to see in the canvas I can see in a photograph of the canvas. Or casually passing it over the next few days. So it will sit up in my studio and be looked at and ignored and tweaked some more no doubt. One needs some distance from a subject I have worked up close and personal with for a few days.

I will debate and fret a little. And come to the point of putting the final coatings on it. This seems to happen more when it is a departure from usual subject or a larger than normal canvas. While this period drags on I will be working on the other canvas I have not finished.

I have done a picture of Rainbow Bridge before and am striving for a different look this time. I believe it is time to close the portfolio on the picture of the previous rendition. I think college art classes taught me too well how to copy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Things I do between paintings

Malachite Necklace with silver cross and accents

Thought I would post my latest re-creation. I say re-creation because the cross was made by a Native American craftsman and once hung on a silver chain. And the necklace was a gift and included a weird assortment of bead shapes and gold plated beads.

Malachite is suppose to bring you wealth or money and the necklace was given to me by a friend that wished to bring me abundance. I just never wore it much. It hung funny. And the cross would not slip over the bigger beads in the necklace. Besides it was silver and the necklace had gold in it - not that I don't frequently mix metals. I was between knitting projects while watching a couple DVD's and decided to redo this necklace. Which brings me to where I began with jewelry making.

It was and still is in my estimation a hobby but as I agreed to go with my jeweler friend, Jessica Duke, to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show it dawned on me that perhaps I was getting rather deep into this whole business to call it a hobby much longer. I find myself setting limits. I certainly do not want to spend a fortune to be able to solder and cast, but I love the metal bending and cold join approach. And I find creating beaded necklaces (or re-creating them) very relaxing. Come summer I may add some necklaces to my things for sale in my studio. Mostly to fund my hobby.

Oh, BTW, I also made the horse sculpture I am using as a prop. Sculpture is also something I do between paintings.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Poetic Journey - Snow


I awake in the predawn dark
And know the snow falling outside
By its very silence
I lie there and listen
To the absolute stillness
Hearing only the snow.

There is silence
About snow
Not only does it creep like fog
on pussy paws
But it hushes the world
With its whisper.

I tiptoe down the stairs
Playing at this silent game
But were I to stomp
Would there be a sound
Or would it be sucked
Into the silence.

The world is muffled
Both in sound
And color
All swallowed up by weightless flakes
Like the foot prints
That vanish as they are left.

To know snow
Is to know nothing
And yet everything
By its very absence
Beneath the snow

(c) J. Binford-Bell  -- January 2010

The Poetic Journey is open for your additions. If you have a poem you love or one you have written please leave a comment with your url or link. We are a multi-blog event.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Have Been Painting Finally

Artist at Work January 15, 2010

I have so many of these pictures of my work table with paintings in progress that I have decided to start labeling them with dates. This is my first such picture for the new year.

As those frequent readers of Creative Journey know I generally work on anywhere from four to six canvases at a time of varying sizes. This is due in part to drying time for the liquid watercolors on canvas. But the paintings will share the same palate and ergo be a "set." I don't sell them in groups but I have had customers buy them in a group because they go so well together. These all share the same colors of blues which in this run includes cobalt blue. Not a blue I have used before a lot but it seems to be very good for the type of clear winter skies we are currently having here.

And these are all canyon pictures. Next round is churches. I am working on the sketches and transfer of drawings to platform while I am waiting for paint to dry. The drying period is particularly important for poured blue skies. There is masking to be removed and the next round of color is laid up close to the edge of sky. If the sky is even a bit damp it smears with removal of masking and leeches into the canyon walls.

In any group of paintings I am working on there are those that get out in front of the others. And it is generally the smaller ones. These two canvases below are 10 x 18, a relatively new size for me. I have worked that size vertically in my paintings Of the Valley and Spider Rock.

Mesa Arch and Landscape Arch

The painters of old were very fond of doing studies. These were generally smaller works on cheaper materials to study a new color combination or subject. With the market very good at this time for smaller works to fit on walls if not within budgets a study might as well be a painting. But if they don't work I simply take off the canvas and re-stretch new canvas on the bars.

In the first picture there is a framed watercolor on the left shelf which was one of my first water color renditions of Landscape Arch. I have it out to provide a perspective to the new version on the right in the lower picture. I have also done Mesa Arch before but when I was working more in browns and grays. I currently really like where this one is going but there is a lot of white to be filled in still ergo a lot of room to mess it up.

The higher center painting in the opening photograph is the painting I am doing of the sketch with the face in the arch posted here before. Meant to be a self portrait but we will see how honest I am about that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Roots - You have come a long way, Baby

Cities of Gold
Watercolor and Ink on paper

At lunch Tuesday with my artist friends Katherine McDermott, Jennifer Cavan, and Julia Margaret we chatted about our roots and the directions we had taken to arrive where we were. Not that where we are is the final destination. Artists should continue to grow though there are any number that achieved a degree of success and then froze their style at that point. But most artists continue to explore their limits and so there is a progression of styles.

When I was majoring in art at the University of New Mexico I fell in love with watercolor. Oil smelled and was impossible to get out from under fingernails, pastel became this colorful dust cloud that followed me about, and acrylics just never would do what I wanted them to do. It was not in their nature.

After college my day jobs got in the way of my art and I transferred to photography as a creative form of expression. And textiles. But I still dabbled in watercolor creating art for my own apartments and houses. But when I returned to New Mexico and my creative life I by happenstance fell into making masks and did that as a profitable business for 15 years. Until the summer of 2006 when a falling garden shovel almost totally severed my little finger of my right hand. Pins and cast and physical therapy sidelined my 3-D work which definitely required two hands. And so I painted. First with my left hand and then tentatively with my right as the casts got smaller.

The above traditional watercolor with the addition of ink as the Chinese do is still one of my favorite works. I keep it on my wall at the top of the stairs to see it daily. It is a mile post in the development of my current style. It shows the love of my cliffs and canyons and the beginning of color for the sake of light: portraying a scene as you remember it.

It would be interesting to take the sketch for this piece and do it again on canvas in the style I have since developed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poetic Journey - Just One of Those Days

Just One of Those Days

I had one of those days
Of which of late there have been too many
A morning too full of reality
The need to be real and present
Too imperative.

The child in me wanted to run away
Down some White Rabbit hole
To the other side of the looking glass
Erase myself like a Cheshire Cat
Goodbye cruel world, so long
You just think Alice used to live here.

The canyons of my mind called to me
Whispered of places
I would rather be
Trails I would prefer to walk
Away from this boring reality
Away from here to just anywhere.

I tried to be strong
Kept on keeping on
Promised myself an escape
To the Mad Hatter's Tea Party
When all this worldly stuff was done
Just me and fantasy.

I had one of those mornings
That stretched into a day and another
One of those weeks I am increasingly less fond of
Business demanded my undivided attention
Behind me the White Rabbit called.

I'm late
Oh, so very late
I have this date, my child cried
With my muse, my paints
To dream and create.

I had one of those days
Oh, I pray them to soon be over
For if not I will just tiptoe away
Like it or not
I'm late.

(c) J. Binford-Bell

I went looking in my computer files for a specific poem to re-post but did not find it. Then began thumbing through my journal to see it it was there and never posted. Couldn't find it. Maybe I dreamed up writing it. But I found this one which also does not seem to be on my computer. I haven't a clue. But this one (with some tweaking) seems to describe my life of late.


Never On Sunday 


Do you have a poem to share with us? Leave us the link to your blog page.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time for a Creative Escape

Received some of my first fair/event invitations this week and it dawned on me with alarming clarity that I have not actually finished a painting in the new year.

I have an artist friend that is trying to post a painting a day on her website. I want to say she works with a media that allows that - oil pastels and so that is easy.  But I just have been feeling too fragmented to give my attention to creating anything of beauty.

Oh, sure, I have done a sketch there and a transfer here. Stretched a new canvas. Plotted out some ideas for the heralded triptych I want to do. But my life has been taken up with depression and worry and getting documents in line for the upcoming court date - January 20th. The real world has taken center stage, and well it should really because if I lose my house then I lose my studio.

But working creatively does relax my spirit and recharge my energy. So my goal is to force myself into the studio this weekend. There will be nothing I can do on the legal list of documents to round up. I have done well this week to fill the holes per my attorney's list. The weather will be sunny and in the 40's so the studio will be light and warm. I began this post today with photograph I want to render in paint. It was in my file of art ideas and I noticed a couple others there that excite me.

Monday I need to go back to the "real world" but I think a weekend creative escape is past due.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Poetic Journey - My Spot in the Sun

Was going through photographs of my aspect of finishing the studio after I let the contractor go and found this from the summer of 2008. The three plants in the corner have gotten larger and now share their space with more plants. The tomatoes on the right were a noble experiment but blocked too much of my sun. That is in a huge part what the studio is about - Sun and the warmth it provides as passive solar to the rest of my house.

This poem is about the sun in the studio on a winter afternoon.

That Spot

In the midst of winter
Seeking that spot
Vying with the cats
And dogs
For that treasured warmth
The fleeting spot in the sun.

The angling sun
Still low on the snow-capped horizon
Shines coolly outside my windows
But graces our winter days
With illumination and warmth
Sun Spots on the tile
Pools of warmth on the chairs
Plants hugging window sills
For their spot in the sun.

The circles of light move
As the sun traverses the treetops
Dogs inch across the floor
The cats change chairs
I inch mine around
Unwilling to relinquish
The warmth of its touch on my shoulders

A gentle mid-winter's day
Of chasing sunspots
Across the room
Warming chilled bones and muscles.

Oh, to be a gecko
On a sun-baked outcrop of sandstone
With naught to do but bask
In that so warm spot
Of winter sun.

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell
January 2010

If you have a poem to share for this week's poetic journey please leave a comment here or on Facebook with your url. We are a multi-blog event.

Nicholas V - Epiphany

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

One of the concepts (epiphany moments) which came out of the New Year's Eve meeting of creative minds I blogged about was self-promotion and how that varied from marketing. Up to now I have centered my efforts (never as extensive as my creative ones) on marketing. This I did largely through participation in higher and higher end shows. As they are also the ones which cost the most money, last year's economy brought a lot of that to a screeching halt. I had finished and opened the studio and I thought it would take up the slack of the three fairs I dropped. NOT.

I had not totally grasped consciously that I had to also replace the promotion those fairs gave me for the cost of entry. Fairs are not just an exposure to a market but they also have websites and brochures and postcards and advertising which promotes not merely the event but the artists juryed into the event.

I did spend a lot of effort last year with networking and posting blogs and links that got me high up on the list of mentions in Google. But blogs and websites are still not as effective promoting yourself as articles in magazines. And here comes the Catch 22. I have worked as a freelance writer and am master of the query letter but magazines don't want article written by the subject. Pen name? I do have one which I have not used in a while. Or do I ghost for someone willing to submit in their name? Or do we as artists promote each other? Or do I approach my friends in the media on a personal level and say, "Hey, how about me?"

Yesterday, while still mulling over those questions, I sat down and developed a "game plan" for 2010 to promote my studio. Obviously I am going to have to spend some money on advertisements. The art tour I belong to is set up to do out of my immediate neck of the woods but is that enough in the height of the art season? I win prizes for my work and I need to really capitalize on that.

How have other artistic readers of this blog dealt with these issues? How do you shamelessly self-promote?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Creative Conversation


I spent New Year's Eve in the company of creative people with very creative minds. And it made me realize how very special the salons and academies of France must have been to the Impressionists like Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Matisse. The synergy and movement that was created by sharing a meal, an idea, a goal, a technique.

Oh, I am sure it was not always wine and roses. Perhaps often entirely too much wine. And the lead used in paints at the time may well have been a contributor to Van Gogh's madness. But would they all be so outstanding had they painted in isolation scattered across Europe? Do we know them all because they belonged to a school of art? The same salon in Paris?

Katherine McDermott, painter and owner of Artspace Gallery and Jessica Duke, jeweler, and myself were there with "support staff" and emerging artisans in their own right. It was not the wild and crazy party we were more familiar with in our youth. It was more like Monet's Luncheon on the Grass and less like Manet's Luncheon on the Grass. We spent time talking about the sixth anniversary of Artspace Gallery just celebrated and the original ten artists that were first exhibited there. The five which have gone the distance thus far and the changes (progress) we have all made in our own personal creative journey.

It all began with trying to form a guild of artists to work toward having a coop gallery or venue to display our work. That group, Northern New Mexico Artists' Guild, ultimately failed. We got bogged down with personalities and the business side of trying to put together a non-profit organization that could apply for grants. But friendships were formed and ideas hatched which have lasted. Recently, one of the original people in that group, suggested that perhaps our mistake was trying to be too organized and what we needed, and should look at getting started, was just an informal group that met once or twice a month for Luncheon on the Grass or in our studios and seek only creative conversation.

I would say it sounds like a plan but artists don't do well with plans per se but we love the spark of a good idea nurtured over a table of good food.