Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Is It Enough?

It's Monday...and I took it upon myself to start the week off by sleeping in for once. Then slowly but deliberately got myself going for the day. I have lots of deadlines, real and imagined ones that I think in my head I should be attending to today; my website, mini-lessons that I'm behind on, new DVD series, promotions and last but certainly not least, painting.

But as I was having my tea, then mediating I began to realize how my attention is going in various directions. What is the meaning of all of that? Why? Does it ever end, our striving and seeking to finally get it all together. If I could just get this one project completed, I'd be settled or happy or whatever! Life isn't about that really. There is no ultimately satisfying act or completion or any "thing" after which we can say "now I'm done". At least not until death!

So, when I get up and feel some sort of pressure to get it all "done", I have to examine that and observe it more carefully and see that for what it is. It's just not true. So, as I get the little bits "done" and move through my day, any kind of satisfaction is in being settled with being unsettled. It's OK. It's OK to feel unsettled. Feel it.

I spent some time in my new backyard which is graced with a lovely little lilac tree/bush in the center. Now, when I moved in this sort of oddly placed and funny little tree was just a curiosity. I had no idea what it was. I considered removing it because it was smack in the middle of the yard. But, I put some Christmas lights on it and began to enjoy it's unusual charm. I called it my Edward Scissorhands tree. I had a wonderful landscape designer come and consult with me on the yard and she told me it was a lilac. Still, I was not that enthralled. I thought maybe it was some lesser kind of variety with small flowers. I don't know why I thought that, (more thinking, thinking). Of course this little tree has revealed itself to me. As a child, the smell of lilacs was thick in the spring air and has since been a source of comfort and joy. My funny little tree will stay exactly where it is. It's OK, it's more than OK.

Getting things done, persisting even when conditions seem very good, even when conditions seem very bad....or not getting anything at all done.

Here are a couple of blogs that you might find interesting. http://brittbsteele.com/blog .
Britte is a yoga teacher and just a higher being. Addicted to Veggies is a great blog that has raw and vegetarian recipes. Now I'm not preaching, just saying that these two ladies have helped me to "feel" better in my life.

I realize this post may not seem to have much to do about painting, but it actually does have everything to do about painting if you are a painter or want to be a painter, need to be a painter.

Happy Painting,
Love Marla

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Addicted to Pastels

I have learned over the past several years that I have a very addictive personality. Mostly this is something to be very aware of and to attend to...it can lead to serious trouble.

But, it can also be a positive thing if that addiction is something, well, like pastels! I'm sure a few of you can relate. Living in the Northwest within shouting distance of such places like Dakota Pastels has no doubt contributed to this addiction.

I shot this little video on my phone yesterday when the depth of my "problem" became very apparent when doing some studio organization. Although I'd like to say that the jumble of pastels will soon be put in order, I don't think that day is soon on the calendar!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tension & Release

I've been in my new studio almost six months! It's hard for me to believe. Time just whips by, doesn't it? I'm pretty comfortable there, but as was working through some projects I realized that I was saying to myself, "I'm getting comfortable", which meant that I wasn't entirely comfortable. What was missing? It's an amazing space; plenty of room, light, I made it warm and inviting, it's pretty and functional. What is the resistance? I had to figure it out because I knew it was somehow effecting my productivity and deep enjoyment of the space.

I'd scheduled a "check in" meeting with my friend and executive advisor Mr. Eaton to prioritize my work for the next few months, so this was an issue that I was keen to bring up to him. I wasn't there more than ten minutes before he'd nailed it! He asked me about the space; whether I brought my computer out to the space and if I had a spot to just sit back and look at my work. He was familiar with my old work space and knew my desk used to be opposite my easel as well as a soft chair to lounge in and gaze back at the work! Dick is also an artist, so he is very aware of how important it is to get perspective on your work from a distance.

I knew instantly this was BIG! I didn't have any release from the creative tension inside the studio, so I was constantly leaving the studio to get that release and then having a lot of resistance to getting back in the flow. Not good! A trip to a second hand furniture store up the street from me solved the issue in a jiffy.  I feel silly that I didn't think of it before. Now, we'll have to see how I do over the course of the next few weeks.

Dick and I discussed lots of other things that will guide me over the next months for which I'm very grateful, but his insight into my working process, I'm sure will have an immediate, positive impact!

Thank you, Dick!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sparkles and Novicane

As I was getting ready to head to the dentist this morning, I suddenly ditched my simple green earrings for some dangling sparkly ones….very uncharacteristic for me! What prompted this you might ask? Well, I suppose the spirit of busting out of the norm, letting myself be free of all limits and self conscious tendencies. Also, I was thinking I might just need a little something more to sparkle about after my appointment!

Well, indeed! It's just teeth and money.  I need those teeth for a bit longer, so I'll be investing in them for a bit it seems.

But, I'm wasn't about to let a little Novocaine and discomfort spoil my Friday, so I made my way to the studio to finish a piece I'd started as a demo for my Thursday painting group. It's a little snippet of the botanical garden in Scottsdale, AZ. The reference photo was taken long, long ago... maybe fifteen years ago when my sons were just little boys. We'd visited the gardens together on a family vacation. What made today super special was that my younger son (now 23), came over to do some prep in my studio for a painting he is working on, just as I was getting started. We worked quietly together in the studio, chatting here and there. A great way to connect, enjoying each others company.  It just so happened that I was working on this piece and could connect the memory of it with him today as we worked. Nice!! Funny how stuff like that works.

Desert Memory, 8 x 8, Pastel, $150. Purchase on Daily Paintworks
No amount of dentistry could have spoiled that part of my day! I didn't really need the sparkles after all!
I hope your painting day was as rich as mine!!

Don't forget to head on over to my new website, www.landscapepaintinglessons.com and to subscribe to my free mini-lessons. I give a weekly, or almost weekly little tidbit that I hope will be helpful to you on your painting journey. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sleepy Afternoon

"Sleepy Afternoon", pastel, 13 x 9, $150. Available on Daily Paintworks.

This is a demo I did for a group in Raleigh, NC last year. I have fond memories of this place in Taos, New Mexico. I did the original piece while on a lovely painting trip! It's painted on leaf green Colorfix paper. Most of it is pretty thinly painted. I got a little more bold with the foreground, but wanted a very light airy feel to the tree shapes. I think I got it!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Blue Skies Ahead

Blue Skies Ahead, pastel, 8 x 8, $100. Available on Daily Paintworks

This time of year, Oregon can boast some pretty spectacular skies! This is no exception! I am loving capturing the movement of the clouds. It's cool to paint them because nobody can really tell you that you have it wrong! This one was done on terracotta Colorfix paper. I ended up covering most of the reddish paper, but I think some little bits of red paper still sparkle through to add some interest for the viewer to play with. I might stay on the cloud theme a little longer.

Happy Painting!

Monday, February 1, 2016

More Sunsets

Purple Storm, pastel, 6 x 17, $150. Visit Daily Paintworks to purchase.
I've been enjoying the dramatic sunsets I've been doing. This one is a small version of a piece I did a while back. I thought it would be fun to revisit it. Sunsets are tricky....you have to get the values just right and save the lights for the bright, hot spots. I've sort of avoided doing "drama" feeling mostly that some scenes are best left to our memory or a good photo. Sunsets can also be rather trite and maudlin, or so I used to think. I'm revising my thoughts! This one is on Colorfix pastel paper. I used Terry Ludwig Pastels for some of the darks and relied on some Unison for some of the bright yellow. I think what I like best is the brown up in the left top corner. It's a little unusual and helps create a little more color harmony!