Search This Blog

Friday, October 30, 2015

Grief, Costumes, and Journaling

This month's painting time was absorbed by making costumes for my kids, grieving the loss of 3 terrific people I know who died too young, and clearing out the garden for the future.  The last act has been therapuedic, symbolic, and practical.

Costumes: Son Michael has been making cartoons of dogs and cats wearing Vatican-style vestments for some time now.  He decided he'd like to dress as a Vatican Cardinal for Halloween.  Guess what? There's not a big demand among kids these days to dress as Catholic (or any) clergymember! So I will count making his costume, including the chinese-food-take-out-box looking hat, called a biretta, as a creative endeavor. (Did I mention I had to do all this with no pattern?)

Grief: it has been a long time since death has felt as close as it has this month.  It is always painful to loose someone you are fond of.  It is especially heavy when that person is a bright light to others, with the potential of many more years walking the planet with us.  It just cannot be made sense of, even with my faith in a loving creator and the promise of an eternal life beyond this one.
Rhoda, Andrea, Rudy: you are sorely missed.  See you on the other side!

Journalling: If you keep a sketchbook, journal, personal notebook, or have thought you might like to, then please check out this video of Austin Kleon at Book People:
It's a creat crash course (or refresher) on many styles of journalling, and Austin includes examples from journals of many well-known artists and thinkers over time.

Thank you for reading this and Happy All Hallows Eve

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How long did that painting take you?

    How long?  That's a question most artists, composers, and craftspeople have fielded at some point in their careers.  Even though I am a maker of paintings and other things, and I know how difficult it is to answer this question, I still wonder about it silently when admiring the creations of others. I think it is just human nature to be curious about the hows and whys. 
    Whether the "how long?" question is answered with "my entire adult life" or "7 days, 4 hours, and 26 minutes", I'm just glad art is not priced by the minute or hour!  What if we all had taxi-cab-type meters attached to our easels (or desks), and we had to activate the timer when we sat down to work?!  Surely very little art would then be affordable!

 Here is the latest version of the painting I showed you on my last blog.  I was sure I would be showing a final version by now, but I was wrong.  This scene, with a working title The High Life, needs more refinement.  Then I will turn it to the wall while I work on other images.  Often this helps clear the visual palette, so to speak, and helps me see my very familiar marks with a fresh perspective.

Do something refreshing for yourself this week!  Thanks for viewing this blog.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Blade, the Fish, and Me

Catchy title, no?  
The blade to which I refer is the Paramount Theatre's new blade sign reproduction which is being officially lit this Wednesday, September 23, as part of the celebration of the theatre's 100th birthday.  If you can make it to downtown Austin, it should be pretty cool to watch as the 1,386 bulbs are switched on.  The street party starts at 6pm, and the lighting is planned for 7:15 to 7:45 (to allow for speechifying!)

The Fish?  Some of you know that I built a pond a few years ago, so now I'm a pond keeper. This involves periodic wading around to tend the water lilies and do some cleaning.  It's also a good time for me to hand feed and 'pet' my favorite koi, Key Largo.

If you like to see a wide variety of back-yard ponds from do-it-yourselfers like me, to professionally designed and installed ones, please plan on attending the Austin Pond Society's annual tours in June each year. Other great pond information may be found at 

And finally, me as painter.  I haven't managed to put in as many hours of painting this week as I'd like, due to some special events.  So I will have to show you the finished version of this painting on my next blog.  But here are some "in process" pictures:


Thanks for viewing my blog!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Carole

My mother is Carole McIntosh Sikes, and her birthday was yesterday.  If you know her, you will agree that she is multi-talented.  She's an accomplished painter (the first women to gain an MFA from the University of Texas, Austin).  Some of her paintings may be found here:  Also, she has written and published a history of her neck of the woods called Hudson Bend and the Birth of Lake Travis.  
It's available at
and also in Austin at the Tarrytown Pharmacy, the Oasis Restaurant, and Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

Since I always enjoy seeing process in others' work, I will show you a 'during' and an 'after' of one of this week's paintings:

The unfinished painting is much more exciting to me both because of the red under-color, and because of the way the twigs look, scratched out of the wet sky paint. The final image represents what I saw as we walked one of the trails at Mesa Verde National Park.  I wish I could get the best of both in one painting...I'll just have to keep seeking that elusive goal!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Back to Work!

Hello, Friends! 
I am back to painting and loving it!  I'm working on landscapes from our recent trip to northern New Mexico and the mesas and mountains of Colorado.  My family and I love these spots and have been visiting them for many summers now.

I've also had fun revisiting the paintings of the Group of Seven and Tom Thompson.  They painted in Canada around the 1920's, and I love the freshness and immediacy of many of their works. Here are some examples and a link if you'd like to get more familiar with these excellent paintings: