Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hanging a show tomorrow

The night before the night before. It's like the eve of Christmas Eve, two days left of school when you were in grade 6 and couldn't wait for summer holidays. Tomorrow I am helping to hang the Aurora Art Group's Art show and sale which will take place in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on Saturday the 8th of May. I will be one of eleven artists participating in the show.

All those paintings I did this winter and a few that I just finished will finally get seen. I can finally ask my artist friends what they think of my latest works. It's kind of late to make any changes once they are hanging in the show, but maybe I will get some good advice for my next paintings.

I paint alone, many artists do. It can be a lonely pass time. No one to discuss techniques with, to bounce ideas off or just to share the long hours with. Some artists can't create any other way but by locking themselves away for long period of solitude but I'm not one of them. I like to talk about what I'm doing and get advice or even criticism in order to feel like my paintings are really moving forward. I used to paint with many of the artists in this group but have since moved away from Prince Albert and have not found a similar group to get together and paint with. Actually now that I think about it I don't think I got near as many painting finished as I do now. hmmmm.

My partner, who's never been interesting in Art before he met me, never been to an Art Gallery before he met me and certainly has never been asked about a painting in progress and what it needs to give it that perfect final touch, has really stepped up and has become very good at helping when I'm stuck. Maybe because he isn't an artist he can see things in the work that I miss but then again he is a realist. He wants the subject in the painting to look exactly like it should look in real life. He has a little trouble with my latest paintings of cows, I made them blue.

Tomorrow I will unwrap about 30 paintings that only a very few have seen and put them out for the world, or at least for the guests of the Aurora Art show to see. A piece of myself is in each of those paintings and I had only myself, and my non artist partner, to decide if they are any good.
It will be a painful and an exhilarating day tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Snow makes time to sew

I left the sunny warm southern tip of Texas about 3 weeks ago and had a great drive home. We stopped and explored two wonderful unique towns along the way home, Fredericksburg, Tx and Deadwood, SD. Both are full of history and we enjoyed walking around each and soaking in the scenery.

We got home to the south east part of Saskatchewan on a beautiful sunny and warm day and were so excited to be home. Well it's the beginning of May now and it's either been raining or snowing since we were teased with those couple of nice warm days. I have to wonder why we left Texas so soon.

One good thing about crappy weather is that I get to stay inside and paint. It's to cold to mow grass or pull weeds so I have no excuses. I finished 6 of the paintings that I had started while in Brownsville. I also got working on my latest sewing project. I had this idea to turn t-shirts into handbags and had all the pieces cut out in Texas and ready to sew once I got back to Sask. where my sewing machine was waiting for me. It was a great idea and they turned out pretty good, but much tougher than I thought. I used a pretty heavy interfacing on the stretch material of the t-shirts and the lining was kinda slippery. Putting all those fabrics and textures together was a challenge. I managed to figure it out though and turned 5 t-shirts into 5 interesting looking bags.

When that project was done I went back to painting but this time I combined painting with sewing and made some hand painted shopping bags. No t-shirts this time but 100%cotton. Once I had the pattern cut out the material looked pretty boring so I got out my paints and did a little something on it. What fun! I tried painting on wet fabric, dry fabric, using pens, then indian ink with a brush.

Everyone needs reusable shopping bags, we are filling the world with plastic ones and when you see how they get caught in the trees and stay there for years, maybe decades you know you need to stop using them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time to Pack up.

B and I are going to be moving back to Odessa, Saskatchewan in a few weeks. We call Odessa home for about 6 months in the spring and summer and then Brownsville, Texas is home for 6 months, November to April. That would make us Snowbirds, the offical name for all us Canadian wimps that take off for the south when the weather in Canada starts to get tough. Once we make the 4 day trip to Texas we move into our little place in a retirement park called Palm Resaca. We love it here and have made some wonderful friends. My life has taken many strange turns but I never thought I would be spending my winters in Brownsville, Texas in a retirement community for people over 55 especially since I'm still in my 40's, ok almost 50, but I am hanging on to 40 for another 11 months. Hanging on to being in my 40's with my teeth and what I have left of my finger nails. (they all broke off after a disastrous attempt at wearing acrylic nails this winter)

I'm going to have to start packing soon and that is always such a bitter sweet time. The weather had been less than perfect all winter but right now it is absolutely heavenly. The azaleas are finally starting to bloom, I planted a rose bush a few short weeks ago and already have my first blossom. There are little tiny green tomatoes on the plants that B planted in January. I miss all this green and flowers when we leave. It will be July before my gardens look decent at home in Saskatchewan.

Packing my paintings is going to take a while. The cold winter left me lots of time to be creative and I think I am taking home close to thirty paintings. Some are stacked around the room where I paint, others are actually hanging on the walls and my home is going to look really bare and lonely when I take them down to wrap and box up. There are still a few paintings that are not finished but they will have to wait now until I get my studio set up at home. While I'm waiting for spring to arrive in Saskatchewan I will be painting Texas beaches.

I'm pretty pleased with the paintings I got done this winter. The four or five I did of Red Eyed frogs all make me smile. Who would have thought frogs could have such cute facial expressions. I also tried something new and attempted to capture a misty rain forest and I painted Makaws after watching them at the Gladys Porter Zoo. Of course I did more paintings of the beach and surf at Boca Chica, my favorite subject while in Texas. I am anxious to show them all off at the Aurora Art Group Show in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in May.

The Aurora Group has invited me back for the second year as their guest artist. I was so pleased to get their invitation again. Prince Albert was my home town for over 40 years and it's so good to get back. I have family there and also get to see old friends. Hopefully they will come to the Art show and I can sell them a few paintings while catching up on the winter news.

When I get back to Canada I have to find a printer and discuss turning a few of my paintings into limited edition prints, something I have never done but maybe now is a good time. If any of you readers have done this I would love to hear how that went for you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time to paint again, but can I?

I put my paints away way back in February to make room in our little home for some company that was staying for 2 weeks, then when they left I didn't paint again sighting the reason that more company was arriving in 2 more weeks and I would just have to put it all away again. Well that company has now left and I have 16 days until my girl friend shows up and will need my studio space for her bedroom.

This blog is supposed to be about my painting and how my days are set up to encourage and inspire my creative journey. What happens when you can't find the time, or is finding the time not really the problem but not being disciplined more of the problem. I have read how an artist must paint every day, preferably at the same time and with no distractions. Visions of the solitary painter, surrounded by stacked canvas and dirty palettes and brushes, feverishly painting away and growling at everyone who comes to visit come to mind. Do I want to become like that, I don't think so, so how does one find a balance? How can you be creative everyday and still live in a social community, interact with friends, spend time with your spouse and be a part of the community?

I made up my mind yesterday to set out my supplies again and not to worry about having to put them all away in a few days but to just get started and not worry about stopping again. Then I had a terrible thought. What if I can't paint anymore? What if I sit down and have forgotten everything I have learned and just can't make it happen again. Restarting is so tough and I put myself through this agony way to often. I want to know how others handle this. I can't be the only one with this dilemma. Any advice?

It may take a few canvass to get back into the grove and I may have to toss out those canvass when I'm done but I think the thing to do is to just start. Putting it off isn't going to make it any easier. So here goes, I will squeeze out some color, go look for my favorite brushes because now they are all mixed up with my not so favorite ones and just see what happens.

I really hope that I can get my brushes to do what I want them to do. I want to disappear into a painting, let my music and the paint flow through me onto the canvas and reappear some hours later with a nearly finished picture. My coffee will be cold, I will be stiff from sitting so still for to long but the part of me that needs to be creative will be happy again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A forced break from painting

Since my last posting I have finished 6 paintings and started 5 more. Almost all are from photos I took while at the beach at Boca Chica. This is the first time I have taken a subject and explored it in so many ways but while watching my mom, aunt and cousin picking shells I was inspired and wanted to get all the ideas floating around in my head down on canvas before something else interfered. Figuring out water relections was a fun challenge.

My painting seems to happen in fits and starts with days, weeks or in the case this winter months going by when nothing can stop me and I paint or plan a painting every day. One painting leads to another and another. I push my own limits and work out all kinds of problems. I guess that would be what artists ultimately strive for, to be in the zone, happily creating with few or no distractions. Then along comes life and we need to take a break.

I am on a little break right now. Nothing serious but when you live in the semi tropics during the winter months you have to expect some company and I am pleased to have some of our family here visiting from Canada. Since my studio is also the guest bedroom I have tidied up my paints, moved the stack of finished canvas's out and cleaned off my work station.

I think this break will be exactly what I need. When I get my studio back it will be clean and I will be refreshed as well as anxious to get back to work. Maybe those half finished painting will have worked themselves out in my head. Meanwhile I have my camera and hope to get lots of inspiration for my next painting marathon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Boca Chica Beach

I'm going to head out to Boca Chica Beach today, leaving in about an hour. Boca Chica is one of my favorite places and I hope to get some great ideas for paintings while there today. If you are a little familiar with my work then you will have seen my paintings of the surf and the sand dunes there and maybe understand why I feel such a pull to the place.

Boca Chica is a natural beach down here in Texas and if you drive along the beach for about 3 or 4 miles you will come to the Rio Grande River mouth. Along the way are surf fisherman, sun bathers, families out playing with their kids and once you get to the river mouth there are usually net fishermen standing in the shallow water and Mexican families picnicking and enjoying the very same things on the other side.

It's Sunday so bound to be lots of people around.

I have fresh battery in my camera and I better go get my sketch book and pens.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


After 14 days of living in a fog of congestion and headaches I think I am finally feeling better and am ready to get back to what ever normal was. My creative side definitely suffered while I was sick but I did manage to finish two paintings and am working on a third. I have learned that when you are a creative person you have no choice, you have to be creating something. If I'm not creating I become cranky, miserable and even depressed but I can change the way I feel just by getting my paints out and pushing them around on a canvas.

This morning I am drinking from my new coffee cup and it reminds me to be creative. Written on the cup is this: Create joy, create happiness and create the life you imagine. I'm going to drink my coffee from this cup every morning and be thankful that I don't have to be stuck behind a desk trying to please someone else. I don't have to go to meetings every monday and make up some excuse about why I didn't make 45 cold calls last week. I'm going to drink my coffee every morning and know that I have made the best life for me and I don't have to please anyone else.

I am a creative person and I live the life I imagined.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Donwest Flea Market

We drove up the valley on Sunday. To my Non-Texas followers that means we drove west from Brownsville along the Rio Grande river valley and went to the flea market in between the towns of Donna and Weslaco. This flea market, like many all over the country was full of great stuff. Some would call it a treasure hunters paradise. Some call it old junk, but isn't it the absolute best form of recycling?

There were beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables and I loaded up with peppers, squash, radishes and tomatoes, but the best buy was B's. He is my loving partner and recycler extraordinaire and he found tires for his old golf cart.

Now this is a recycle story of the best sort.

B found an old Harley Davidson 3 wheel golf cart in the Sherwood Forest near Regina, Sask.
Elm bark beetles have nearly wiped out our elms and he was hired by the Sask. government to remove the dead and deceased trees before the beetles did any more damage.

The golf cart had obviously been there for a long time as the trees had grown in all around it. Being the kind of guy who knows a treasure when he sees one B asked the land owner if he could buy it from him. The old fellow, I'm sure, thought that B would never get that old cart out of the thick brush and since he had totally forgotten about it years ago said that he could just have it. B had to cut trees anyway so as he cut he dragged that old cart along with him. Being the recycle master that he is B put that old golf cart into his own tree row back on the farm and waited for the right time to dig it back out.

I call that tree row of his the Superstore because he can always find just what he needs for what ever project we are working on, drags it home all dirty and covered with who knows what, but once cleaned up it always seems to work and has saved us a lot of trips to town and a lot of money.

The right time, I guess, was this fall because he dragged it up into our utility trailer and we hauled it all the way down here to Texas.
I won't get into the situation at the border crossing.

It sat on our driveway here for a month, still dirty from Sherwood forest upteen years ago. 3 flat tires, old, scared and defiantly an eye sore, in my opinion, but I guess he was making his plan because he started puttering on that darn thing a couple days ago and since it keeps him busy while I get to indulge in my favorite pass time ( painting) I don't mind.

I have to admit that it is looking a whole lot better. It still has a long way to go. It will need a paint job and from what I hear that may be something never before seen on a golf cart, but I'm starting to see the potential and since the whole thing only cost him about $100.00 for batteries and tires and it is a great way to recycle I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Red Eyed Frogs make me laugh.

Last winter I went to an Art show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts I can't remember the name of the artist that was showing but her paintings left a great impretion on me. She had a beautiful exhibit of paintings showing large green philadrendom leaves, bird of paradise, great leaves of all sorts and in the paintings were little frogs. Their little legs were hanging down, their eyes were red and even though they were not the focus of the paintings they stole the show for me.

I had to paint one of those frogs. I found a little picture for a reference and did a 8 x 10 in acrylic. He was so cute and colorful. That painting sold at the Aurora Art Show in May, 2009. A picture of it is posted in my facebook site and I guess I wasn't the only person that liked it because I had a couple others ask abut it so this winter I painted three more. Those little Red Eye Frogs make me laugh.

While looking for more reference photos for the frogs I discovered an amazing book. Rain forest by the photographer Thomas Marent. He is so obviously passionate about the rain forests of the world and his photography. His images will take your breath away so if you have an afternoon to sit and browse thru an amazing album then find this book and enjoy yourself as much as I did. Meanwhile this will give you an idea of his work.

Watch for frogs!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

G-mabee Art's first Blog post ever

It's 2010, what a great number. Twenty ten sounds so smooth. Will the year also be?

Like I said in the title this is my first blog posting as G-mabee Art. I have been making art for a life time so that is not new to me but blogging is. You will have to be patient with me as I get my head around writing my thoughts down here for everyone to see. I hope not to bore you.

Where do I want to start?
Maybe a little history.

I currently live in 2 places. During the summer I live in the wide open prairie of southern Saskatchewan. Im surrounded by fields of canola, wheat, barley or maybe even peas or lentils depending on what is in rotation for that particular year. The skys are huge, they fill your eyes. I had a family of fox living under one of the old grain bins in my yard this past summer, a robin made a nest on my deck and a friendly moose came to visit my garden a few times as well. That was pretty much my only company all summer. Come November I head south, a snow bird. I am the youngest resident, at 48 in a 55+ retirement park in Texas. My partner and I moved here in 2007. It's been great fun. I look forward to getting away from Saskatchewan winters, seeing my winter friends and neighbours and doing lots and lots of painting.