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Abstract Cityscapes, Y’all

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Someone stop me. SOOOOO many abstracts for Ratatat Tats! I decided to include a couple abstracts that are more like my dancer series, inasmuch as there is something identifiable within the abstract painting. Instead of figures this time, I went for cityscapes. Sort of. It’s a “barely there” kind of dealio for this first one:

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Abstract Cityscape I 30″ x 26″ oil on canvas

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More Abstracts, Y’all

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I’m still having SO much fun with these abstracts for the tattoo studio. Like the last post, I had a good time playing with the palette knife, though it was on a much smaller canvas this time. I painted over an old painting that was just sort of meh. This isn’t usually a color combo that I love, but S asked me to do something in these colors, and I actually kinda dig it! Don’t ya just kind of want to lick it? Wait, is that just me? Too weird? Oh, well.

Abstract II

Abstract II 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

Marie Catoinette

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I have a friend. She turned 50. I know: quite the accomplishment. In order to help her celebrate said milestone, I promised her a work of original art. She likes cats. And words. And fantasy. And, based on some of the art in her home, 18th century fashion? I don’t know, I could be getting that wrong. But she has a kickass sense of humor, so I decided to combine several of her loves for her very special, one of a kind, original Emily Page painting:

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Marie Catoinette 20″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas

Elle est tres jolie, non? Happy birthday, Laura!

Prints and stuffs available here and here.

Abstracts, Y’all

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I had forgotten how much fun painting abstracts could be! I had been doing such tight, controlled, realistic work, that I forgot how freeing it could be to slap paint on the canvas all thick and gushy-like. I forgot how satisfying squishing and sliding paint around with a palette knife could be. I also forgot how hard on the hands it is working with big paintbrushes. Phew! That’s a workout! But, admittedly, a very fun one.

Here is the largest of the ones I’ve created for my tattoo studio, Ratatat Tats. I love diptychs and triptychs because you can go large and still fit the canvases in your car and not have to rent a van to transport it locally.

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Abstract I 48″ x 84″ oil on canvas

The Very Fabric

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Of all the paintings I’ve created for the tattoo studio lobby, this one is probably my favorite. It’s a totally different style from the others, but sticks to a similar color scheme. I had some leftover oil-primed linen which has a really smooth finish, so I didn’t want to waste it by doing thick, impasto paint and losing that wonderful surface. So I went for thinner, smoother paint that allowed for a little more realism, and played with texture via the subject matter instead. So here’s the next lobby painting for the tattoo studio I’m opening, Ratatat Tats.

Very Fabric

The Very Fabric 36″ x 36″ oil on linen

Prints and other fun swag here and here.

Grace

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Remember how I said that most of the paintings I’m creating for the tattoo studio I’m opening involve painting over old ones that I wasn’t so fond of? Well, here’s one of those. I’m applying plaster to the studio lobby walls, but there’s a little alcove that leads to 2 of the tattoo rooms that I’m not plastering. In order to segue from the plastered room to the non-plastered studio rooms, I’m mimicking the look of said plastering on the painting I’m hanging in the alcove. This is almost entirely palette knife work, with just a little brushed on glazing at the end:

Grace

Grace 45″ x 30″ diptych oil on canvas

Prints and other fun merchandise available here and here.

A Train For Dad

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Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death. I still think about him every day. I still go through bouts of serious grief. I still picture those final, horrible, painful days with him as we sat by his bedside and watched him die. I still have nightmares. But, very slowly, I’m also starting to remember some small things from before his dementia, or at least in the very early phases of it. They’re not huge things, and there aren’t as many of those memories as I’d like compared to memories post-diagnosis. But they’re there.

I’m not going to lie and say that time has made this all easier to bear. It hasn’t. Life without my dad in it is lonelier. It’s a little less colorful. I feel less confident without him there to cheer me on. And I go through periods where the world seems bound and determined to remind me of him and make me cry. I want him back. Now. I want him to stop by and check on me, though I don’t even know if that’s possible. It’s hard not being a person of faith. Sometimes I think that his soul might be floating around out there, still tethered to mine somehow, like some big, transparent, elephant-shaped balloon. Other times that seems ridiculous. It feels like I’m looking for signs that aren’t really there. Or maybe they are.

In this time of transition in my life, I need him more desperately than ever to help confirm that I’m on the right path. Closing the paint and sip studio was hard, because it was a huge chapter of my life that he never got to see. And closing it reminds me of how many more chapters I’ll begin and end that he won’t be here to witness. But even if those chapters can’t be ours, they’ll still happen.

As we gear up to open the tattoo studio, I’m so sad that he’s not here to hug me and tell me how proud he is of me. I still need that paternal affirmation. So, I find myself doing little things to make him a part of things there. And that’s where this painting comes in. Long time readers know my dad was a huge train buff, so I created this painting for the tattoo studio lobby in hopes that I’ll feel like he’s taking part in this next phase of my life.

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Steam Engine Wheels 36″ x 46″ oil on canvas

Prints and other merchandise available here and here.

And in case you don’t already know: Know a caregiver, or someone with dementia, or someone who knows someone with dementia, or someone who knows someone who knows someone else who’s a caregiver? Or heck, do you know a person? Well, you should tell them about my book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too. Part memoir and part coffee table art book, I recount my family’s heartbreaking and hilarious journey through my father’s dementia. Available to purchase here (this is my favorite way if you live in the U.S.), here or here if you’d rather get the eBook than a print copy, and here (especially if you want a hard cover copy).

Book cover 1

Rouen In the Rain

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I’m having so much fun, y’all!! As we get closer and closer to opening the tattoo studio, I’ve been getting to make paintings to decorate the lobby. Big paintings. In different styles. Of random stuff. Stuff I don’t normally get to paint. This is soooooooo exciting for an artist.

As I’ve talked about before, I’m a very restless artist. I get bored doing the same style or subject matter for too long. But that’s what gallery owners and critics demand. You have to get known for one thing and just that one thing. And then you can very slowly evolve to get known for one more thing. But you have to do painting after painting in each theme/style. And partly, that’s good, because it means you get really good at that one thing. But, if you’re anything like me, you get bored.

As I’ve also talked about before, I have no more room to store large paintings. So I’ve mostly switched to small canvases. And that can be fun, because painting can go very quickly and you don’t have to wait long for the gratification of a finished painting. But I really like the physicality of working on large canvases. It allows me to get emotion out of myself and onto the canvas, regardless of the subject matter. It just feels good while you’re painting. And when you’re done, you’ve created something substantial. It announces to the world that it needs to exist.

So combining working in a range of styles and subject matter with working on large canvases is making me a very happy camper. I’ve also taken some older paintings that I wasn’t in love with and painted over them, which has the bonus win of freeing up that storage space the old painting was taking up.

So over the next few days, I’m going to post some images of the paintings I’ve been doing. I’ve had a hard time photographing everything because our weather has been so wonky (rainy or too windy or too cloudly or too sunny) and I have to shoot the images outside, but I’ll post them as I’m able. Here’s the first. See below it for an explanation:

Rouen in the Rain

Rouen In the Rain 64″ x 36″ oil on linen

Merchandise and prints here, and here. When I took that Viking River Cruise down the Seine last year, my favorite stop was Rouen. I used some pics I’d taken of one street as inspiration for this painting. Here’s the pic I took, and then a little watercolor I did on the trip of that street.

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Painting - Rouen 2

Beauty That Moves

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I have a friend who said to me recently that she’s never felt beautiful. Actually, I’ve had a couple of friends who have said that, and it makes me so incredibly sad. These women are, objectively, lovely. I’m an artist, so I get to pretend to be an expert on these things. And when you get the chance to know the women who have told me this, they become even more beautiful. It’s unbelievable that no one has told them just how lovely they are in a way that convinces them. We all have our doubts about our own beauty. The media preys on that insecurity, and even the most gorgeous among us will obsess over her “flaws.” It claims to know the true definition of beauty and insists that we agree, even if we don’t fit into the current beauty fads.

But even with that knowledge, it’s been seriously bothering me that my one friend, in particular, doesn’t know what a beauty she is. There’s a line in an Ani Difranco song, Evolve, that says,

“it took me too long to realize

that i don’t take good pictures

cuz i have the kind of beauty

that moves”

I think that’s true for so many of us. Ours is a beauty that moves. It is in our laugh, or in our look of love. It’s in the kindness and joy and sadness and vulnerability that shine from our eyes. This beauty is not static, or easy to catch and capture. It flies, it runs, it does somersaults. Our beauty does not sit and wait for a photographer to tell us how to pose.

My friend is actually a photographer herself. It’s her job to make other people see their inherent beauty. She brings out the best in her subjects. And it’s high time someone did that for her. So I took a photo from her Facebook page and created a painting of her as I see her. It’s still not as beautiful as she is, but I feel it captures at least a hint of this beauty of hers that refuses to sit still.

Audrey

“Beauty That Moves” 11″ x 14″ watercolor on paper

Our Lesbian Cat Wedding

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So, this conversation just happened with my husband:

ME: Should we have a lesbian cat wedding and have Maddie marry Keely?

HIM: Absolutely not!

ME (a little shocked): Why not?

HIM: They’re WAY too young and there’s a huge age gap!

ME: But it’s cat years! If they’re 1 and 2, that’s only like a 7 year difference in cat years.

HIM: Exactly. Keely’s, like, 14, and Maddie’s 7. They’re too young to get married.

Sigh. I hate when he’s right.

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This is neither Keely nor Maddie. It’s Dizzy. But he thinks we’re hilarious. And I suspect he’s secretly relieved that we’re not trying to marry him off. But now that I think about it, he and Maddie would make an awfully cute couple…