Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Life...

"High Meadows"
Oil on Canvas

Well, things have been crazy as usual, so I’ve been trying to restrain myself from spending too much time on the internet and not enough time working and painting. But on the off chance that anyone ever still checks in on this blog, here’s what’s up.

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The artist residency at the Forbes ranch was fantastic.

There were about 20 artists there – 10 who got picked by applying to the magazine contest like me, and the rest who were invited. It was a great group of artists to spend the week with. The night we all showed our portfolios to each other was intimidating but inspiring because the quality of work was so high, and there was so much diversity. There were artists that spanned a huge range of ages and styles, and it pushed me to think a little bit harder about what I want my paintings to be about, and where I want to go with my art. There were also a couple of gallery owners there throughout the week, and I got to sit in on a number of valuable conversations about marketing as an artist.

Through the course of seven days painting, I completed twelve plein air studies and managed to start three studio pieces. It rained on and off for much of the week, and I found that I wasn’t able to spend as much time on my feet as I normally can due to my ever-expanding preggo belly, so I didn’t get quite as much painting done as I might have otherwise (normally I’d do three plein air studies a day). When I wasn’t painting, I took hundreds of pictures of the ranch for reference.

There will be a show in NYC in March of 2007, which I have to have painting ready for by November of this year. My plein air studies are mostly just reference, so I’ll be working from a combination of those and photos to do studio paintings for the show. Since I’m due at the start of December, I’m starting to get what I can done now, just in case I’m not up for painting during my last trimester.

Wish I had time to write more about the experience (I’d like to write it down at some point so I don’t forget!), but that’s the summary for now…

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I’ve made a rule that I can’t watch TV or get on the internet at home to keep me from wasting time and get me into the studio. In addition to the paintings that have to be done for the Forbes show by November, I’ve got to keep the gallery supplied with paintings, start and finish a new 18x24” commission piece, and complete 5-6 small works for a holiday miniature show at the end of the year.

I feel good now, but I’m worried that as my belly expands into the third trimester I’ll be uncomfortable and tired to the point of not wanting to paint much. I’m trying to prepare for that by getting as much done as I can now, while I’m still comfortable and energetic. So, all my free time goes to painting, and I spend the rest of my time fantasizing about how great it would be to not have a day job.

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As for being preggo, I was 25 weeks yesterday, and I’m at the point now where everyone who sees me feels the need to comment on the size of my belly. I’m feeling pretty decent though, and can’t complain about being too uncomfortable. My body feels like a walking freak show – I’m always amazed at the weird things that pregnancy brings (funny looking veins, numb toes, quick growing nails, etc).

Anyhow, I had my 24 week appointment last week and my doc was nice enough to do a second ultrasound for us since they couldn’t coax our little bubble into the right position to tell the sex at my 20 week ultrasound. After 20 minutes, the doc still couldn’t get the little bugger to spread ‘em, so she went and visited another patient and instructed me to guzzle water in the meantime to fill my bladder. When she got back, she put me up on the table again and immediately proclaimed that we’re having a girl, with “99.9% certainty”. So, we can finally start arguing about names and buying things – yay!

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As for work, things have been way too busy. I think everyone’s panicking because they know I’ll be leaving for maternity leave in November, so they’re loading me up with work to get done beforehand. I’m not too thrilled about it, but keep telling myself I only have a few more months of this left.

My boss has been bugging me about my maternity leave and when I’ll be back. So far I’ve told them I’m taking at least 16 weeks off, and that I won’t be returning fulltime. In the meantime, my coworkers have discovered my website and figured out that I’m pretty serious about my art. My boss actually came out and asked me the other day if I was going to quit and become an artist fulltime. I laughed it off and repeated that I won’t be back to work fulltime after the baby. That’s all they’re getting out of me for the time being!

Next week I’m heading to Baltimore for a conference on air pollution controls. I don’t particularly want to go at this point, but I figure it’ll be my last business trip for a while, so I’ll try to enjoy it!

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Hmmm… not sure what else to say. Guess that’s it for now – my life, in a nutshell!

Oh, wait, one thing I forgot!! I'm featured in the September issue of Southwest Art Magazine as one of their "21 Under 31: The Next Generation" artists. It's a yearly article they do where they interview 21 young artists in the emerging artists issue, and I'm thrilled that they're including me this year. The magazine's out now, and I'm a bit disappointed because the printing made the painting they chose look nothing like it does in real life. The colors look like they're on crack, and the subtlety of the painting is completely lost, but I can't complain because it's really an honor to be chosen. I'm just hoping that the bad image doesn't turn people off from looking into my work.

Anyhow, next time you're at Barnes and Noble or whatnot, pick up a copy and check it out. That's my shameless plug for the day.

And now, I'm really done. Time to go home and paint!!