Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Do Cookies Count as Art?

I think they do. I  have been enjoying this holiday season immensely this year. I decided to make cookies for my sons and to give as gifts. I had my mom over to help with the operations. We had a lovely evening, mixing, rolling, baking and mostly, talking.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and I wish you many blessings in 2015!

Thanks for following my blog this year. I'm in the process of adding many new features and information to my blog and website as well as online lessons. So, stayed tuned!

Happy Painting!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Summer Path

In the middle of winter, I did a little sketch of a summer pathway just to remind myself of what is just around the corner! That path, along with drawings of Christmas ornaments, thumbnails of landscapes and quite a few photographs have been put into the recipe for inspiration! Some of you might have thought I'd given up on the 108! No, way! I just haven't posted every day, not wanting to fill peoples already, very full in-boxes. This time of year, emails are especially numerous and we are all pretty busy.

Dropping out of the hustle and bustle of the season and dropping into a practice of art making has continued to serve me well. I have still managed to get my Christmas shopping done, work done, and all the things that for some reason I think I need to do, have continued to be done! I've found that the scarcity mentality that I usually operate under with regards to time, is simply not true. I have time enough and energy enough for exactly what happens in each day. 

Today, I couldn't resist stopping at the market and snapping these photos of flowers. So beautiful and festive. I didn't buy, just enjoyed and snapped these pics.

I decided to start a Facebook group called 108 Days of Art. It's an open group, so you can post work there if you choose. I'll post daily there and occasionally here on my blog.
Quick pastel sketch on colorfix paper 10x10 available on Daily Paint Works.
A fun video of this.

Pastel on Pastelmatte 11x11 available on Daily Paint Works
Happy Painting!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Working Means

Many years ago, I came across a list by Eric Maisel, author of Fearless Creating, of what working means. It's a great book and a great list that I read to all my workshop groups. I think it's a good reminder given my "108 days of creating" goal. Here is my version of his list.
Today's "mini pastel" on Wallis that I toned with colored gesso.

Remember that working entails all of the following:

  • Working means caring for the work.
  • Working means not thinking so much.
  • Working means starting.
  • Working means doing what you'd planned despite disturbances.
  • Working means working when you don't want to.
  • Working means working when you're sad and ecstatic and everything in between.
  • Working means being present for the work.
  • Working means letting go of all distractions but the work.
  • Working means making a choice to do a particular something.
  • Working means working amidst the chaos of life.
  • Working means manifesting drive and direction.
  • Working means believing in unlimited possibilities.
  • Working means believing there are no limits.
  • Working means working on a particular day.
  • Working means silencing distractions.
  • Working means loving even the "yucky" work.
  • Working means loving even the "awful" work.
  • Working means always working to your edge.
  • Working means working over a long period of time.
  • Working means not being a perfectionist.
  • Working means giving yourself permission to do it badly.
  • Working means being devoted.
  • Working means making a sacrifice.
  • Working means surrendering.
Good Luck!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sweetness in the Middle

Today was just one of those days...sort of. It involved a second call to the IRS, ( one hour each hold time), for a mistake THEY made. It also involved choosing new health insurance. You get the idea of where this day was headed! These days are part of conditions, inevitable and coming our way for certain. We just kinda hope they won't be today! Dumb to think that.

I really didn't want to do any art at the end of it. I wanted to sit and congratulate myself on the resolution of both issues. Both were fortunately resolved positively. I felt like loafing. But you see, some of you had already sent me some images and I'd promised to post some. I couldn't very well do that and NOT do my part! So I got off my duff and drew something in my sketchbook and then did a little "mini" pastel. That's where the sweetness comes in...I totally found my groove, my flow and remembered the love. How great is that? An amazing gift! And it came on an IRS day!! Thank you to those of you who sent me images...you made my day in more ways than one.

I know this time of year seems like a difficult time to start into a project like this, but I'm finding it to be just what the doctor ordered! It couldn't come at a better time. It's very much keeping me focused on what my intentions are and holding to the disciplines that are the glue of my otherwise crazy life. So join in the play and remember that Christmas ornaments make terrific drawing subjects!!

A couple lovely, former students sent these great pieces. Enjoy!

Pastel by Carol Smeraldo Day #1 The Cottage in late Afternoon” on Grumbacher Florentine Watercolor paper, soft pastels 9x12”
Pastel by Carol Smeraldo “Lake Eagle #2:  Overcast, Rainy Day” on Fabriano pastel paper, soft pastels, 4.5x6”
By Alejandra Gros 5x8 pastel

Thank you to everyone who purchased on Cyber Monday. I may try to get my act together and offer some more "mini's in a week or so for anyone who missed out!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday and Day #6 Send me your stuff!!

 A few FB friends and artists who follow my blog have expressed interest in doing this project too. If you are doing a small piece of art, any piece of art for the next 102 days, (until March 11th), please share with me some of your output! It doesn't have to be any big deal, just a thumbnail sketch a doodle, a zen doodle, or a full blown painting works too! Send images to marlabaggettastudio@gmail.com. I'll post it here and we can all share in the joy! Wouldn't that be great? Think of all the work we could do!! I'm not going to post every day; that's annoying, but every few days. Send me your story too!

I'm six days into a new journey. I am sooo happy to have given myself this gift of commitment. Already I see the wisdom of this discipline. The first night, I was all gung-ho about it, spending over an hour on the little vase sketch in my last post. The second night I sat in a favorite local spot, had a bowl of soup and sat quietly in the corner and sketched.
Day #2
 So far, so good. By the third night, resistance and procrastination had already set in! On the third day! But a commitment is a commitment, so I stayed downstairs and worked on a sketch that I needed to get done for a client.

Day #3
As soon as I started I was hooked! I love working late at night alone and although I know this, I sometimes forget and let myself be lazy.
Day #4
I am rediscovering my love of drawing. I'm rusty at it, but it feels so completely wonderful to dip back in!
Day #5

Day #6

It is also giving me an opportunity to do some writing with my sketching which is something I really haven't done much of and have long admired of other artists. So I'll see where that takes me too.

I am so happy, overjoyed really to be doing this. Please join in on the joy!!

Ok, now for the part where I make a living do this....Tomorrow is Cyber Monday so I'm discounting selected works, posters and miniatures on Daily Paintworks.

Monday, November 24, 2014

108 Days

It's the time of year for gifts and today certainly didn't disappoint. I received a lovely phone call from one of my sons; the second call in as many days!

I also received two books in the mail. One was Carol Marine's fabulous new book, Daily Painting - Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive and Sucessful Artist. What a great title! It's full of wonderful stuff to delve into; beautifully designed and of course filled with her work and I'm sure will be inspirational throughout the winter. The other book was The Journal of Eugene Delecroix, which also looks to be inspirational and fun to dip into.

Carol's book is especially timely. I've been immersed in developing my online courses and spending soooo much time on the computer getting up to speed with Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. I like working on the computer so although this project entails long concentrated days of work, I'm comfortable with it.  But I don't want to lose sight of just why I'm developing these courses and how I accumulated the content over the years; many years in front of an easel making stuff. Developing these courses is demanding but feels rewarding and timely.

Last week I made a commitment to begin a project along side the online courses. I'm impulsed to create and have decided to do a piece of art every day for 108 days. One hundred and eight is a sacred number and I wish these small pieces to be a gift of commitment. They might be only a tiny thumbnail sketch, a drawing, a collage, or perhaps a finished painting or maybe photograph. It doesn't matter. I just want to stay connected to the process of art making. Thinking ahead to what it might feel like 108 days from now,  it feels rich and sweet and comforting. Giving myself the latitude to have it be just about anything, no pressure,  just a sense of doing outside myself.

I invited a couple of my students to join me. You can too. It would be great to have the company of fellow artists and see what we come up with, don't you think? It will be March 11th in 108 days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Collaborative Painting and Letting Go

I have a friend who I paint with pretty regularly. He's a very good painter, but considers himself an amateur. I personally think his work is of high quality and if he so chose, could be selling his work. He brings a ton of energy into his brushwork and has a great color sense. He might argue otherwise, but he's not writing this blog, so he doesn't get to say!

We painted together on Saturday. Well he painted and I packed and prepared for my upcoming workshop trip to Nova Scotia and dabbled at my painting. I think at one point Dick started to lose interest or get a little frustrated in his piece then started to make some pretty bold moves to make dramatic changes. Sometimes a great tactic, other times great folly. Well, it worked out for him. He was scraping and scratching, then looked at me and with a brush in his outstretched hand said something like "here, you want to work on it?" This is not something I ordinarily do with students, but he's not currently, officially my student, so I grabbed the brush from him. I expected him to move away from the easel and put down his brush and let me have at it. Instead, he stayed there, working on it with another brush, and I must have commented with a remark, like "we're both going to paint on it at the same time?". That was clearly his intention. OK, I stuck with that for a little bit, before I elbowed him out, and made the moves that I was invited to make. I was maybe a little adamant. It's not like I did that much really, he had everything working and very established. I just finessed some color transitions and some edges.

Dick Eaton & Marla Baggetta

This taught me quite a lot. I very much like the spontaneity and energy that Dick brings to his work. I tend to leave that for my pastels and don't bring as much of that to my oil paintings as I'd like. This was encouraging for me in that way. 

I also think it's a great lesson in getting ones ego out of the way of the work. You have to let go and not be attached to the outcome of a piece, any piece. Letting someone else work on your painting gets you there pretty quick! It's so interesting how readily we will make a change to another persons work but will be very reticent to do so on our own, even when we know it's appropriate! I may incorporate this as an exercise in some of my workshops!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Something Special

I don't usually talk about how much I like a piece that I've done! Not my style, exactly but today I want to! I just posted one of my variation studies on Daily Paint Works. I painted it while I was demonstrating in NYC last month. It's a simple little piece, and after I'd done it, I liked it. It seemed just o.k. at the time. But today, when I'd finished posting it on DPW, I saw something pretty special in it. The quality of light that I'd captured was darn nice; something special. It wasn't really intended or at least planned, but I really love the light streaming into the middle ground near the trees; it's cool! Every now and again, you get to catch a little magic! It's what keeps me going back to the easel, again and again.

I also like that the marks for the river are so strong. I didn't mess around here. It's simple and direct. I also like the limited palette. Of course, I'm so amazed that this little composition continues to enchant me and call to me! It's quite a gift!

This piece is available on Daily Paint Works http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/marla-baggetta/variation-311/272764

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yesterday and Today

I got up unnaturally early, still a bit jet-lagged from my trip, but it was o.k. An early start is not so bad. I had lots of little errands, loose ends to tie up that weren't attended to in my absence. That was o.k. too. By the time I'd taken care of emails, bills and some household chores, it was 10:00 when I slide into my car and pulled carefully out of my small garage. I hadn't really driven in ten days, so it was a novel and new. Fall was already creeping in and a light rain meant windshield wipers. That was o.k.

My first stop was the Rental Sales Gallery in Portland. I had long procrastinated on picking up a piece that hadn't rented. Getting there early meant a parking spot right out front. Perfect. Knowing it would be a brief stop, I ignored the "Pay for Parking" sign and headed into the gallery, greeted by Jennifer who is the steady director of the place. I don't know how she does it, really. Tons of artists, tons of art. She handles it all with grace and ease.

Next stop was New Seasons to fill up the coffers with some food. I frequent the store in Sellwood and am greeted with familiar "hellos". It's nice. Food for home, and something to snack on, I'm off to my next stop...Macy's to return a dress that I just knew I would never, ever wear. Having checked that off my list, I made my way to Target where I had a long list of sundries to shop for. I hate Target. Did I say "hate". Yes, I did. But that's o.k. too.

The rest of my day continued along these lines until finally around 4:00,  I'd checked almost everything off my list and feeling satisfied with what I'd done, headed home and then to my room for a nap. I love naps!

Today was the same but different! I woke up way too early again; 4:00. Yikes! I tried to sleep a little longer with little success. But, I used the extra time to get some computer work done, then headed to NIA, my dance class. After NIA, I popped into Whole Foods for a snack, where fall is in full swing.

Notice there is no painting, drawing or art making of any sort included in either of these two days. That's o.k. I had two very, very satisfying days of shopping, bill paying, chores, catching up on sleep, and all kinds of fun stuff. Maybe tomorrow I will paint. Maybe not. I will have to get back to work pretty soon! In the meantime you can join me this Saturday at Art Elements Gallery in Newberg, Oregon from 4-6pm. This is the reception for my solo show featuring "Meditations of Light" in oil. You can do a little wine tasting before or after. Here is a link to some places to stop! http://www.newbergdowntown.org/wine-tasting/http:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Trees, Skies & Water in Ann Arbor

This week I'm in Ann Arbor teaching a three day workshop, followed by a one day marketing seminar/workshop. I'm having a blast with the group and always enjoy working with my able hostess, Debra Zamperla! Here is yesterday's demo.
Pastel on olive green Colorfix paper
Color Study

I like how this turned out. I had in mind to capture the glowing foliage between the tree trunks toward the bottom right and make that my focal point. It worked out nicely. Notice the test marks on the side. I think this is important and one of the reasons I'm not super fond of working on boards; I like this test area. I need to check values, intensity and I also am rolling the pastels around until I find the right edge to make the kind of mark I want.

This piece is available for purchase on Daily Paint Works. I will include the thumbnail if you would like! Go to http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/marla-baggetta/wandering/259825  

Happy Painting!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Comfort Zone in New York City

I got two calls from New York several weeks back. The first was from Jimmy Wright informing me that I'd won an award for my piece "Waiting for You"; The Pastel Painters of Cape Cod award in the Enduring Brilliance Exhibition of the Pastel Society of America. The second was from a board member of the PSA inviting me to demonstrate at the Materials and trade show, along with Liz Haywood Sullivan .When I received the first call I was of course very honored. I was honored that my piece was even accepted into the show. But I had a calm about it, an equanimity that has evaded me up until this point in my life. I was kind of chill! I believe its a sign that life's ups and downs, lifes experiences both high and low are not something I react to in the same way. A good place, I believe. Then I got the second call and I realized that I would have to go to NYC, and bring all my gear with me. Not only was I going to do a demo there, but I'd have to bring everything with me into the city that I'd need for my next workshop in Ann Arbor, MI. At this thought, I got a bit flustered. But just for a minute!

Calmness prevailed and I wrapped my head around making flight and hotel arrangements in one of the worlds most expensive cities. Luckily, I got hotel recommendations from the board of PSA. They provided a list of inexpensive, (relatively), options. I chose Seafarers International House. Liz had stayed there before, so I figured it must be ok. It's run by a Lutheran church. I shared a bathroom and the rooms are sparse and simple, but for $89. a night in Manhattan, I thought I couldn't do much better, plus it's walking distance to the Art Club. I got lucky on the flight too.

Outside the hotel with Liz Haywood-Sullivan

I planned an extra day so I could enjoy the city. Not a lot of time but enough to take in a little of the MET and Central park. It was a gorgeous day and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saturday was the Materials Fair at PSA's Enduring Brillance annual exhibition. I was invited to demo! I painted all day and chatted with so many wonderful people. Everyone was so excited about pastels! We were surrounded by the incredible exhibition which I'm very proud to be a part of. It's an amazing show.

Add caption
That evening I was wiped out from painting all day from about 10:00am until 4:00pm. A good kind of tired though. I found a great grocery store in the neighborhood and headed back to my hotel for a quiet evening. I loved it! The next day, I had brunch with Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Chris Ivers and Karen Israel at the Salmagundi Club. What I treat that was! We covered a lot of ground during that lunch!
Next up was the awards ceremony and the banquet. I had one of those moments before the banquet; I realized that I'd left my skirt at home, so didn't have quite the proper attire for the event. Too late to go out and shop, so it was one of those ego transcending moments. Oh, well! It was a beautiful evening!
Receiving my award from Jimmy Wright!

It was so amazing to talk with so many pastel luminaries and view all the incredible work. Thank you to all of the board members of PSA for making it such a successful and enjoyable event that is a tribute to the inspired work of so many pastelists! Congrats to Rae Smith for being inducted to the Hall of Fame. And a special thanks to Liz Haywood-Sullivan for her generous and kind support!!

Tonight, I'm in Ann Arbor, resting up for my Trees, Skies & Water workshop that starts tomorrow! Can't wait to get started!

Monday, August 18, 2014

When Doing Nothing is Doing Something

Ok, I don't own a T.V. and haven't for a couple of years. BUT, I do own a computer, and I subscribe to Amazon Prime. I hope I never sound self-righteous about the T.V. thing; it's just a choice to simplify my life. Anyway, it's not typical for me to watch any T.V. at all, just a few movies here and there. However, last week something odd came over me and I went on a junket! I woke up fully intending to put in a whole day's work; really I did! I had a ton of stuff to do to get ready for two outdoor festivals I have coming up. I got up, brushed my teeth, made a breakfast smoothie, then went right back to my bedroom climbed back in bed! I told myself that I'd watch just one episode.  Sure! By 12:00 noon, I'd decided to surrender the day to the thing. I watched all the episodes that were made of the series and was bummed to find out that it was cancelled after two seasons.

This was unusual behavior for me. I wondered what had gotten into me, until the next day. Then I got it; I was happy and really interested in getting things accomplished. I had a whole new energy for the many things I needed to do to get ready for my shows. Lots and lots of small details, and minor tasks that add up to a lot of work.Whatever happened the day before, made the next day all the more bright and shiny. I was rejuvenated!

So, I'll remember not to feel too, too guilty the next time I need a T.V. junket and I'm feeling like a turkey! So here I come Art in the High Desert and Art in the Pearl! I'm pretty ready!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Napa Valley

This morning I got up with my Dad and caught the early morning light. We took a long drive in Napa valley, I took over 150 photos...Yay!! Then we found a spot for me to paint before it got too hot.

"Mt. St. Helena Morning" oil on canvas 12x12
This piece is available on Daily Paint Works, http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/marla-baggetta/mt-st-helena-morning/247601 X

Check it out! Happy Painting. I sure am!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Painting in the California wine country!

I'm on a little painting vacation, so I'll be posting some pictures and some paintings along the way. It's a trip with many layers of goodies and layers of more depth. I'll be visiting some family, making connections with new friends and dropping work at my gallery in Pleaston; Studio Seven Fine Arts.

I have to get going early, since it's HOT, HOT, HOT. I already had a glitch in the packing plan and forgot brushes, of all things! A quick trip to Santa Rosa remedied that situation. They have a great art supply store called Rileystreet. They were super equipped and super nice. I'm getting to experience some crazy winding roads on they way! I'd forgotten what they were like. Driving from Middleton to Calistoga took me on one of them. Yikes! When I checked into my hotel last night, the guy at the front desk told me he commutes every day from there! He said 37 curves in 15 minutes. It felt more like 100 to me! I have to go back that way today to visit my dad. Hope it's easier the other way! Maybe I'll get used to it.

But before that, I'll scout out some locations, perhaps paint, but definitely take more pictures. Painting for sure this evening. Middle of the day is out. Too hot! I'll be posting some results on Daily Paint Works and of course share here on this blog! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Places to Paint

Why do we choose to paint certain scenes and not others? What are attracted to? I know that I'm interested in capturing more intimate views of the landscape; the band of light across a path or the tuft of grass silhouetted by a dark shape behind it. I'm enchanted by the dance of leaves in the fall or the warm earth poking through some grass. I'm not likely to paint the grand mountain reflecting in a lake.

I also know that a place needs to sink in for me to want to paint it. That's why going on trips to paint unfamiliar scenes is interesting to me, but often doesn't yield my best work. My best work is of places that have weight and meaning to me beyond the initial beauty of a landscape. Places that I visit often and get to experience in different seasons and at different times of day have the most impact on my work. These become sacred places that I am drawn to over and over again. They sink in. They seep in. These places have mystery and meaning to me.

I'm getting ready to start a small series of pieces of a local spot called Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. It's a place where I've been spending some time recently and have gathered reference both photographic and in memories. Whether or not they are of merit to sell has little interest to me.
If they capture some of the impact that the place has on me is what will be important.

One of the reasons that I find doing commission work from a clients photo so difficult is because of just this issue of a place needing to have meaning in order to do ones best work. I need to feel a connection with the place to really have magic happen. I just can't do it from a clients image. Whereas a place that I am connected with will have a profound impact on the work.

I'd love to hear how you decide on places to paint!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Discipline and Devotion

Lately I've been considering discipline in my work. I am a pretty disciplined person. Being self-employed for many years very simply requires this. But just how disciplined am I really. I've told myself that I work really, really hard, but what exactly does that mean and am I trying to get something from that??  Lots of people work really hard, so do I deserve something extra, some reward or consolation for this?

I don't think so. I think being disciplined means being devoted and doing the work that is required without thought to the reward. Just working through the tasks, not necessarily to get to an end point or reward, but because of the love of it. Love is the reward.

Mastering the disinclination to work, whatever form that work happens to take on a given day; maybe it's frustrating computer work, maybe it's exacting framing, maybe it's sublimely creative painting. Moving through all of it, because that's the deal. No thinking, pondering, procrastinating, perfecting required. No complaining, judging, whining either. Just moving from one thing on the list to the next. No resistance. Totally relinquishment to the work. You know those times when you are in between tasks and you sit and think and kind of put up a little tantrum about how you REALLY don't want to to the next thing at hand? Well, discipline is about shutting that down. Devotion is about shutting that down. 

Devotion and discipline go hand in hand. They need one another. Then everything you do can become a kind of art. Even the call to the insurance company.

From a practical standpoint this means that I make a list each night and intend to work through this list each day. It means that once that list is made, there is no bargaining about it and it is completed as thoroughly as possible each day without complaint and with love. The love part is important, 'cause some days it's hard to love making that call to the insurance company, honestly. But you never know, so I stay open to all possibilities!

Enough pontificating. Ok, so what's next up for me?

I'm doing a 3-day plein air workshop here in Portland, August 15-17. Come and join us!
I'll be at Art in the High Desert in Bend, OR, August 22-24. Showing my new animals!
Also, check out my new work at Art in the Pearl, Labor Day weekend, in the North Park Blocks.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Painting From Your Truth

Paint from our truth. First we have to remove our egos from the process. The minute we think about ourselves as this or that type of artist, the minute we come from a point of view about ourselves, we limit ourselves. We're dead in our tracks. If we open ourselves up to the possibilities of what we can do and ask ourselves, “what if”, then we can speak truly and move ourselves in new directions.

How many times have you approached a painting and had this little voice in your head that says, “well, I could try that, but that's not how I paint”. As an artist, it's true that you need to develop a consistent body of work in order to approach galleries, submit work to festivals, and even to enter competitions to a degree. But in order to truly grow and push oneself to new territory, one must, in the comfort and privacy of their studio or workspace, allow and even invite uncertainty. After all, nothing in life is certain. We didn't come with a guarantee. The only certainty is change, so embrace that in your painting as well as in daily life. What is the alternative?

Trust your truth. One must trust oneself. We all have this insidious voice inside us, that tells us that we might not be good enough, real enough, talented enough. But the truth is, each and every one of us, is supremely good enough, whole enough and deeply capable and complete. We have to tap into that boundless source rather than take the limited view that we somehow don't measure up. The simple act of stepping up to a blank canvas is a leap of faith, so why not take it a bit further and put everything on the table while you are up there? 

My last workshop in Southern California was a lovely adventure in teaching, reconnecting with old friends and experiencing a different kind of landscape. Who knows what will develop from the trip?
Thank you Pastel Society of Southern California for making it such a delightful time!