Category Archives: art

the world is a vampire

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This is for Inktober.

Do you remember a band called Smashing Pumpkins? They had a song I liked and the first lyrics were, “The world is a vampire.” I think about them every year in Oct.

Back then, a local radio station called the Buzz had a pumpkin carving contest and I entered. You had to put the word buzz somewhere on your pumpkin. I cut the bottom off the pumpkin and saved it to use as ears and tongue. I got a lush looking piece of moss out of the woods and put it on top of my pumpkin with toothpicks for hair. To make the face I carved off the orange color top layer of the pumpkin except for the lips and eyebrows which I left natural, dug out some eye sockets and stuck some google eyes in the holes. Then attached the tongue with buzz written on it in magic marker by sticking it in a little slot I cut open between the lips, and stuck the ears on with toothpicks. It was the winner! The D.J.s called it the Chia pumpkin. I got 2 free tickets to see the Smashing Pumpkins and took my daughter, Sarah.

It was a good concert, Sarah’s first concert ever. Billy Corgan was like a demon onstage.

In unrelated art news that guy who was so interested in buying my unfinished watercolor a few days ago, he’s a scammer. I’m sure of it. I’ll just keep the painting. For a while there, I didn’t get any robo calls. I should have listened to my instincts and not called him, but  he asked me to call him so he could buy the painting.  Now he has my number because I texted him the painting was finished if he wants to see it. Darn it, I got a robo call last night, but that’s not the only reason I think he’s a scammer. He was overly friendly.  First I tried to call him but he didn’t answer and his voice mail was full. Does that sound odd? Someone wants to buy a painting before it’s finished then when you try to call them they’re hard to get and you can only contact them by texting. Too bad a good looking and charming guy like that is a vampire and scammer.

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marsh @ Pleasure House Point

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This is watercolor with some Inktense pencil in the grass.

The tide was high all week and the sandy path to my overlook was flooded every day.  At least the water looked the same every day too, because it’s a lot different at low tide. A lot of people walked in the water, some fishermen wearing waders and others, including me, took their shoes off and walked barefoot  in the water. It’s still warm here.

A guy stopped and talked to me. He said Pleasure House Point is his favorite place for work and recreation. I asked him what kind of work he does and he said he tests water quality. Doesn’t that sound like a good job for a nature lover? He was interested in buying my painting and it was only half finished. He gave me his phone number.  I’ll call him tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed I get a sale. IMG_2389

This is what I did to my fan brush. I cut it zig zag so I could make waves. I was trying to figure out a way to paint the water with wind going over it and this was what I came up with. I think I’m on the right path with this and I’ll use it again.

In wildlife news, the birds were squawking loudly and I heard a fisherman yell out, “Shut up! We’re trying to fish here!” I thought it was funny.

 

watercolor fun time / dunes

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They gave all of us Plein air artists a great swag bag at the Ghost Ranch with a lot of art supplies. The thing I wanted to try first is this little color sample test palette  with 6  dry colors from QoR Modern Watercolors made by Golden. I was just playing around and made the colors bleed because it’s kind of fun to see what you get when they mix and also to watch the bleed.

That’s Mars Orange Deep on the dunes with Indanthrone Blue in the shadows and Manganese Blue in the sky. The blues don’t show up right in this photo because I took it in the yellowish light over my work table. They’re both good blues in real life.

They are some real nice bright colors and I might buy tubes of them in the future.

It rained today and it might rain tomorrow. That’s ok. It’s been dry here for 3 weeks. I started my watercolor at the Pleasure House Point marsh, but didn’t get very far with it yesterday. I will finish that thing some time soon. Not exactly sure how to proceed.  At least I had good weather for my vacation. I’m glad I made it home before the bad weather moved in out west.

Desert, dreaming

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I woke up from a dream of the desert. It felt like my subconscious came to some profound understanding about the places of strange beauty and the places of strange mystery.

This photo came from a tour book of sites for the plein air artists.

I don’t know if I can express it in words, but I’ll try.

The time I spent at the Ghost Ranch and the time I spent on the road must have had an effect on me. I was glad I took the time to sit there and stare at it.  One thing about the plein air week was that the artists are expected to make lasting friendships and go to another plein air event to feel part of the plein air family, but I didn’t do that, alas. The group was rushing around to as many beautiful places and whipping out as many oil or watercolor sketches as they could every day and I, with my weak social skills and slow way of working, still kept to myself too much. I didn’t want to try to go fast with it like they did. I wanted to sit there in the beautiful spots and commune with nature every day as I worked on my painting.

How can an artist get the most out of it if they hurry through it? How can they pick up the vibe of the desert if they’re socializing with so many people?  Can they see the mystery in the empty spaces if they fly over it?  When I woke up I felt like out of all the 100 or so artists at the event, I was definitely the slowest, but something else. I have my doubts that any of the others felt it like  I did. Could I ever give up painting the way I do so that I could fit in better socially? Should I change my style? Should I do unfinished paintings that are sketchy and have no depth or detail? No. I remember it well, at least for now. It’s not a fast food hamburger, it’s a piece of prime rib to be savored. Do you know what I mean?

so long, Ghost Ranch / hello Oklahoma

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I took this photo yesterday when I left the Ghost Ranch after breakfast.  This cabin was a popular subject for the Plein air artists. If I had more time there I’d have sketched it.

In OK news tonight, women in OKC are fighting for the right to go topless because men can go topless. They had a topless protest. A lawyer said they should be free to go topless but this opens up a whole can of worms.

 

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I’m in Shawnee OK. after driving for 7 hours across northern Texas then into OK on rte. 40. Traffic was light until I got close to Oklahoma City then it was very heavy and I got in my first traffic jam of this drive. When I crossed the state line I stopped at the rest area and wanted to figure out how far I’d get in OK today so I looked at the map they have taped to the counter and a lady working there spoke to me. I knew I could easily get past Oklahoma City and pointed to a town east of there and said, maybe I’ll stay there tonight. The lady said, ” There’s not much out there.” I had just driven through a couple hundred miles of “not much out there”.  I enjoyed the drive. It was another day on the plain with wide open spaces on both sides of the road.  I left the desert and got into a greener state. I saw thousands of wind turbines, a couple huge stock yards in North Texas and a couple dead armadillos next to the road.

After I got past Oklahoma City it was still early, but I remembered what the lady said about ” not much out there,”  and I knew what she meant because it was a long distance between Amarillo and Oklahoma City with few towns and fewer hotels. I did see a couple exits with motels and got a room before all those truckers and travelers on 40 fill these places up. Oh, the beauty of the vast empty space out there.

The rest area lady gave me this free tour book for OK and I think  the cover is real nice.

 

Ghost Ranch paintings by Gary Alsum

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Gary is from Loveland CO. These paintings are small, there’s a shine on the right. It’s still wet oil paint.

Darn it, my computer is telling me WordPress is taking up too much space. I hope I can keep posting until I get home and get this puppy to Best Buy where they will fix it for free.IMG_2368

I checked out of the Ghost Ranch and drove all day on a high desert plain. I had the open road for hours. It’s pretty much unpopulated from Santa Fe to Roswell.

I shopped in Roswell for ET souvenirs then decided to head east. Now I’m in Clovis New Mexico.

Got a new phone in Roswell, finally, after my old one died a week or so ago.

It’s hot with a strong dry wind out there. I enjoyed looking at the desert. Not many trees until I got almost here.

I missed my turn onto 60 into Texas by a couple blocks, not too bad for a long fast easy drive through a vast desert, to only be a couple blocks off the route. So, I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express. I remember Clovis is famous. They have a natural history museum with a fossil of a saber tooth tiger, and they also have a history of being a music town. Led Zeppelin played here and so did Buddy Holly to name a couple famous acts. I wonder if the music place or the museum is open on Mon.

Box Canyon @ Ghost Ranch / oil

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If I could describe the Ghost Ranch, I’d call it mystical.

I have to make this a fast post because it’s hard to stay connected.

A weird thing happened to my roomie and me. Half the time the lights don’t work in our cabin. Sometimes they flicker. Sue told the maintenance guy and he came right over. Naturally they worked then. He left and the lights went out 10 minutes later. I think it’s a bad circuit breaker, but are we haunted?

a view from the Ghost Ranch / oil

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Art camp is great! There’s so much to do and the energy is great! The food is good, the artists are friendly and there’s no drama! It’s so beautiful up here at the Ghost Ranch, I’m not going on the field trips. I want to stay right here.

I tried to make a post with more pictures but it didn’t fly.

I’ll try again with just this, but I have my doubts the computer will continue to work as hoped,

 

Taos Art Museum Fechin House

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This is the front of Fechin house. Nicolai Fechin was an artist and Russian. They have Russian themed things in the gift shop out back.IMG_2353

This is the back of the museum. It’s a privately owned house but they don’t live there. There’s also a studio in back and I peeked in. Some artists were taking a class.

They change their exhibits to include other Taos artists but Nicolai Fechin’s works are always on display.IMG_2352

This is Fechin’s “Indian Profile”. It’s larger than life, charcoal on paper. He did mainly portraits.IMG_2351

This is Nicolai Fechin’s self portrait. charcoal on paperIMG_2350

This is “Eva in Peasant Blouse” painted in 1933, oil on canvas.IMG_2349

This is the by other artist represented this month, Marjorie Eaton. “The Boy” charcoal on paper.

Marjorie Eaton / 1901 – 1986. She was born in California. Her dad was a doctor and her mom died when she was a baby, but her dad remarried and she loved her step mom. Marjorie’s step mom took her to Europe shopping for clothes.IMG_2348

Eaton came to Taos and was so inspired by the natives she became good friends with her models, and had an Indian boyfriend. I don’t know if they got married.

This is “Man in Cloak”, oil on paper mounted on board.IMG_2347

She painted this “Nude” at the San Francisco Art school in 1924. Marjorie was recognized for her talent and had an offer to study with Picasso, but the war happened and she didn’t get to go to Europe then.

She went to Mexico and loved it there. She became good friends with Diego Rivera and Freda Kahlo, among other famous artists of the time.

Darn it, my phone isn’t taking a charge. I’m heading up to the Ghost Ranch today where there might not be a signal anyway. If I can’t get it to charge this week out in the middle of nowhere, I’ll stop at a Verizon store before I head home.